Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Pain in the Neck (or Back, or Wrist)

The backyard after a thorough clean-up.

On Wednesday night, around 10, my mother called to say she and my dad would arrive the next day. I had an inkling they might come, as she mentioned on Tuesday they were thinking of it, but I've been so busy with my hundreds of baby clothing listings and with some home projects I didn't venture upstairs until Thursday morning. When I got up there I was NOT amused. Last weekend we bought floor to ceiling book cases at IKEA. My husband and son got them assembled and installed and I pulled out several boxes of books I've been unable to unpack and began shelving them. I wasn't finished on Wednesday (I'm still not finished).

We are trying to make use of an odd area of our home: a wide hallway open to the family room below, which has thus far been a totally wasted space. We are turning it into a home library with bookshelves and easy chairs. People can sit up there and read or watch T.V. in the family room below. You can actually hear the T.V. and feel the fireplace warmth better on the balcony because of the stupid slanted cathedral ceiling in the family room.

We had an old entertainment center housing our record player and printer up in the hallway, but it didn't provide nearly enough space. We gave the entertainment center to neighbors. One thing it did hold was our record album collection. These are too wide for our new book shelves and I had them sitting on our couches which turn into guest beds. So, Thursday I went to relocate those and found, even though the kids supposedly cleaned their bathrooms and bedrooms and stuff on Monday, the whole upstairs was trashed. I ended up cleaning all day.

Then my parents arrived. My step-father is incapable of sitting still. If he's awake, he's working; usually at hard labor in his yard. Evidently, the back yard at our house has been really bothering him. It's a wild natural area so far; we will have to cut down many more trees to grow anything. Right now, wild grapevine (but not grapes; it's too dark) and kudzu grow over everything, with some other weeds interspersed. My dad brought me a "present," which turned out to be a hoe with two sharp prongs on back. "Now you can get all that grass and stuff our of your pine straw!" he said. And since he went to the trouble to come help in our yard and buy a tool I said, "Great!" and got to work hoeing, although to be honest the natural area in the back is really the least of my worries as far as landscaping is concerned.

Sadly, though our yard looks much better, my hand was all swollen on Monday. It still hurts, as does my back. I guess the yard work over the weekend combined with last week's cleaning marathon and epic eBay listing strained some tendons or something. Recently I read an account of a study that showed carpal tunnel patients who applied flax seed oil topically to their wrists every day for 4 weeks showed an improvement in pain relief and mobility as compared to a placebo group who showed no improvement. The omega-3 fatty acids in flax seed oil are believed to be the active ingredient in reducing joint pain and inflammation. So, I thought I might make my DIY Ortho-Ease  pain oil with flax seed as the carrier oil and see if it helps. I haven't been able to locate any in our tiny town but when I find some I will let you know how it works. My recipe is working pretty well as it is, at least when I can slow down enough to apply some.

A rain chain
In other news, my husband finally got around to installing a rain chain I bought him years ago. We stayed at a resort in the Dominican Republic which utilized these everywhere and I loved them so much I got one for us. We replaced our downspout with the chain and it makes a musical sound almost like wind chimes as the rain goes down. I placed a large pot below to catch the rain so I can use it in the yard. We had a couple stormy days to fill the pot but since then hardly a drop. Even Hurricane Erika didn't even produce enough to accumulate in the bird bath. So, I'm really glad I had one rain barrel for this terrible drought. It's getting low now, though. I really wish we could replace all the downspouts with these. As you can see, the old downspout has not yet been removed. I'm hoping that will occur soon. I love the way the rain chain looks!

The chain feeds a rain barrel.

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