Author Archives: kjgilhooly

Texas Trails

I am trying to track our multiple trips around the Great State of Texas to see where else we need to visit. (This includes the planned Big Bend trip.) We still need to go to the Panhandle. We still have far West Texas. We’ve covered a lot of ground, though.

We cheated and flew to the Valley. We landed in Lubbock because of weather in Dallas. Everywhere else, we drove.

Big Bend Country

This is the longest drive across Texas I think we’ve planned. From Dallas to Terlingua, and then into Big Bend National Park (and Big Bend Ranch State Park, if we have time.) We are going so we can sleep in a bubble.

It’s almost 590 miles according to the step-by-step driving instructions from the Google Map. If we went in the other direction, we’d be halfway to the kids in Ohio. The difference is that this drive is all within one State. (El Paso is even further away, and in a different time zone.)

I have been trying to get Virginia to go to Big Bend for years, but she never had much interest. I finally realized I was using the wrong approach.

“Hey, do you want to visit a ghost town in the middle of nowhere?”
No.

“Hey, do you want to see Big Bend? It’s only ten hours from here, and you can’t really fly there.”
No.

“Hey, do you want to drive half-way to Ohio, in the other direction?”
No.

“Hey, do you want to sleep in an inflatable bubble?”
Tell me more. What is this bubble of which you speak?

It has taken me longer to see all the regions of Texas than it has to visit most of the other States. This is a bit sad, but it shows the size of the State.

I grew up in Dallas, and am still here. I went to college in San Antonio. I worked in Houston for a couple of years. I’ve sailed on a cruise ship from Galveston. I had a college girlfriend from the Valley, and we visited her family. My family used to go to Port Aransas.

I spent a weekend in Midland years ago, helping a college classmate find an apartment. (I heard when his wife from St Louis landed and saw all the glory of West Texas, she cried. They may not have been tears of joy.)

Midland was about as far west in Texas as I have been. Once we get past Midland, it’s new territory for me. Plus, I flew to Midland, so I didn’t really see the landscape.

The Spousal Unit has been as far west as Weatherford, I think – we went to the Peach Festival one year. She may have been farther west to rescue a dog. (She reminded me we did spend an hour or so in Lubbock one year when Southwest needed to divert for storms in Dallas.)

She’s been through East Texas, because it’s on the way to New Jersey and Ohio. She’s been to South Padre and the Valley. She’s been to Galveston and Houston. She’s been to San Antonio, Castroville, Hondo and D’Hanis. We visited the Hill Country one year for Spring Break.

After this trip, we still have the Panhandle to visit. I think I’ve covered the other regions of the State.

RV Plans

So, for a couple of months after I left IBM in 2017, we were seriously considering getting an RV and hitting the road, mainly because we couldn’t afford a cruise ship. Being the planner that I am, I had a bunch of routes mapped out, just in case. (We’re still in the house. Sigh.)

So this is the only map that we actually didn’t travel. (Actually, we’ve driven parts of it in the car, so I guess that counts somewhat.)

A Plank in the Finger

Someone decided to rehang a mirror in the dining room, even though it had been on the floor hurting nobody for years. While moving it in place, someone got a splinter.

I used to get splinters when I was young. My pediatrician thought it was cute – it’s a rite of passage. He would remove it, tape it to a tongue depressor and date it. There’s a pile of them (along with some stitches) somewhere.

Splinters don’t usually happen after you get into double-digit ages unless you’re a carpenter or .. a SuperKlutz.

So, SuperKlutz tried to get it out with a tweezer. No luck. She searched the Internet and determined soaking the finger in vinegar would remove it. Who thinks this will work? She tied a banana skin around it with a bandage. (What sites is she reading?)

Finally, she went to the doctor. After about nine minutes of surgery and two tweezers, the splinter was removed. It would have taken less time if the nurse practitioner hadn’t been suppressing giggles the whole time.

She does not have it on a tongue depressor.

Physical Therapy

“Are you ready to start your shoulder therapy session?”

“Yes, but my other shoulder is still pretty sore. Oh, and I tore up my knee the other day, so I’m limping. Oh, and I have stitches in my hand.”

“Just go sit over there and think about healing.”

I’ve fallen, but I’m lighter than a washer

A few years ago, one of our idiot dogs (all of dogs are idiot dogs) peed on the floor. As I walked down a darkened hallway, I felt my foot going out from under me. I slid, cursed, avoided doing the splits, and managed to land on my knees, with most of the weight on the non-surgically reconstructed one. I was in pee, but I was fine.

Why is that important? It shows I’m not a SuperKlutz.

Here’s what happened today.

We had a new washer delivered, and paid extra to have the old one shipped away. While the crew was wrangling the old one out of the utility room, they spilled some of the residual water out.

Now, these guys deliver washers all day long, so they’re probably used to having a bit of water on the floor. Given time, they would have cleaned it up – in fact, they asked for a towel. A towel? Heaven forbid!

SuperKlutz to the rescue! She tried to vacuum up wet dog hair with a hand vac, and then realized there was more water than she thought. She got the mop, walked the 37 inches to the beginning of the puddle, and … slipped and fell on her knee. She tried to break her fall (and failed) with the hand that had been operated on … yesterday.

So, now she has a bandaged hand (with stitches), two shoulders being rehabbed, and a knee with a gouge in it.

How can I slip on an unknown puddle of pee in the middle of the night, and she can’t walk past a known spill that she is attempting to clean? She is a SuperKlutz.

Next time, give the nice man a towel and get out of the way.

The guys delivering the washer helped her get back on her feet. Actually, they just picked her up. They even counted down, like when they picked up the washer.

I suppose I should have tipped them, but how? It didn’t take long for them to raise her. Is there a one-time fee? Tip by the pound?

She has to see her shoulder surgeon on Friday. Luckily, he does knees, as well.

Surgery Questions

Most people have some important questions when a doctor recommends surgery. Questions like:

  • Is is covered by my insurance?
  • How long is the recovery period?
  • Will it hurt?
  • Will I still be able to play the piano?

Luckily, when you’re a SuperKlutz, there is only one question:

  • Will it interfere with the physical therapy from my last surgery?

Can I Borrow Your Appointment?

Virginia decided to go to my checkup with me one morning, and managed to trip and fall down the stair in the garage. The stair. Not “the stairs”, like normal people. Now, we had me and the limping partner.

So, when we got to the doctor, we just said, “Yes, it’s my appointment, but she needs it worse.”

That’s how you avoid the emergency room or doc-in-the-box. Only hurt yourself on the way to someone else’s appointment.

It’s Itchy

Virginia had a huge cast on her leg after her Achilles surgery. It was to keep everything in place for the early stages of healing, before moving on to the boot.

There’s really only one rule with a cast: Don’t stick anything in it. I’ve never actually worn a cast (just a bandage when I had knee surgery – update 2020: now I have), because I’m not a SuperKlutz, but I’ve heard they can be itchy.

Here’s the one rule again. Don’t stick anything in it.

Some people ignore this and scratch the itch. This can crumple the bandages under the cast which is bad, apparently.

Virginia would be some people.

I found her happily sticking a pencil in her cast to scratch away.

Really. There was just one rule.

So, we went back to the doctor and his PA took the whole thing off and redid it. He gave me the stink eye the whole time. Hey, buddy, you try to make her follow rules.

Virginia was happy because she got a new color cast. She didn’t like the first color she chose.

I Just Need A Couple of Items

Shoulder surgery is a big deal. You’re in a brace, you can’t use it for weeks, it needs physical therapy when the healing is done.

There’s really only three words at the beginning of recovery: Don’t Use It.

So, this is partially my fault, because I picked an inconvenient time to have a Vertigo attack that a couple of doctors thought might be a stroke. When they let me out of the hospital after keeping me overnight, the therapist mentioned to Virginia that she should not be driving in a brace as it’s a liability issue.

So, she took the brace off.

I needed some medication, so she decided to go pick it up. Since she was out, she decided to pick up a few things at the store.

This with her recently repaired arm out of the sling.

Her physical therapist was amazed by the change in motion when I took her for therapy. No, not amazed. Horrified.

The doctor said she hadn’t actually reinjured it, but to knock it off.