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Saturday, November 09, 2013

A Bit of This and a LIttle of That

“What day is it?"
It's today," squeaked Piglet.
My favorite day," said Pooh.”
― A.A. Milne
   The days since Les has come home are blending together now as a routine has worked itself out. We are enjoying the quiet, peace and privacy. He is resting and thrilled that "we are chilled out and relaxing and resting." Notice that "we?" ;)
   As soon as I am up every morning (7 am) I don't dare lounge in my jammies. I get cleaned up in the bathroom and get dressed because as soon as he gets up his stoma and urine bag, etc. will take center place in the loo for awhile and its best if I am cleaned up and out of the way especially since the loo is only a tiny room 4ft by 4 ft.
   While he is emptying and cleaning up, I make his bed, make my bed (I am sleeping on the fold out dinette bed because otherwise our bed would have to be pulled out into its full 6 ft and 6 ft mode to accommodate us both and either he would have to crawl over me or vice versa in order to use the loo in the night), rake out the wood stove, bring in more coal and wood, revive the fire, and by now he is sitting at the dinette feeling "peckish" and wanting breakfast. 
   I start him on his medication rounds, juice oranges for us, fix his organic oatmeal, do the breakfast dishes, clean the juicer, and finally sit down for a badly needed cup of coffee. Les eats, dresses, and collapses in his recliner. I am already thinking about laundry, moving the boat for water, what to fix for lunch, when to make the next batch of juice, making sure the boat is tidy and organized when the visiting nurse comes to call, working online, etc. etc. etc. 
   It really is good to "just chill and relax though, doing nothing!!" It really is a good thing I love him dearly!!! And really good I am a woman because I don't think most men could deal with "six impossible things at once before breakfast," as Lewis Carroll's Alice commented in Through the Looking Glass.
   Seriously though it is grand to have my baby back home. Each day is a new experience for Les as he has never been seriously ill before now. He was the patient his doctor called "The man who never needs to see me." This has all been extremely difficult for an active, healthy man used to being up and about his business each day without giving any of it a thought. Now he has to think about how to get from the bed to the bathroom; the mechanics of getting dressed and keeping warm. Now Les knows what I mean when I say, "I feel like I've been reincarnated as a limp dish rag."
Old decor: IKEA chairs, upholstery etc.
   Before Les went off to hospital we purchased new chairs for the saloon. It's funny how our minds travel in the same direction at the same time...each of us was searching on our respective computers for something suitable with which to replace our uncomfortable IKEA Poang chairs. Neither of us said a word about it to the other!
   Les was never really comfortable in those chairs so we knew he would feel even worse after abdominal surgery. I also figured he would have a terrible time rising out of the chair on his own since one's bum sits lower than one's knees. 
   Les went to his stalwart favorite source for all things boaty--Canal World Forum where a chap mentioned he found brilliant recliners for just under £100 at B & M which fit in his narrow boat! After chasing down a B & M store fairly near us in Bletchley, son Kevin took us to view them. Les measured them--and the recliners were narrower than the IKEA chairs. Sold!! 
New faux leather recliners--comfy!
   It was an easy bit of work for a brawny lad like Kev to help Les bring the chairs inside. They came in two pieces which fit through the door sideways and slotted together perfectly. Viola!! For the first time in my life as a short shanked person, I have a reclining chair that fits me. I don't feel like Lilly Tomlin's character Edith Ann sitting in daddy's over-sized chair!! Les can easily stretch out and unfold his surgical area, falling asleep easily in his chair. He is comfortable and finds it easy to sit and rise.
   The other bit of interior decor which required attention before Les' surgery
close up of threadbare dinette cushions
was replacing our dinette cushions. Worn with six years of use, the thin, cheap foam was disintegrating at the corners and the cheap, thin material had completely worn through in places--threadbare and sad. I knew one of us would be sleeping on the dinette bed and neither of us was going to find comfort or rest on the old upholstery.
   Again Les found the answer--the shop in Watford where he purchased the large chunk of foam to make our bed extension back in 2011. A trip to The Upholstery Workshop with daughter in law Bev allowed us to choose solid, high quality five inch thick foam for the cushions and a hard wearing, easy washing material for the covers. I chose Teal which accented the new red tiles Les installed around our hearth last summer. The shop owner was very accommodating in our need for speed due to Les' impending surgery--while he was quite busy, the chap pushed our order through in three weeks time and the new cushions came home to NB Valerie just shy of a week before Les came home too. We paid £348.00 for the three new cushions with covers which we thought was a great deal. The work is very high quality and we recommend this shop without reservation.
New cushions, coordinating throw pillows & plant
   Of course new cushions meant a re-do of some of the other bits of our interior design, so I replaced our throw pillows with new ones in red, and teal with a touch of light wheat to pull in the wheat colored curtains on the windows. I replaced our blanket wraps which hung over the backs of our old chairs, with soft red fleecy blankets to tuck around us while we lounge in our new recliners, enjoying the warmth of the fire. 
Sue, Ken and my favorite boater!

   Les' first days home were punctuated by a welcome visit from friends Ken and Sue Deveson. It cheered us no end to see them both, and we had a good natter over cups of coffee. Sue took me to Tesco's for a grocery top up while Ken and Les poured over some lovely canal related books Ken and Sue thoughtfully brought for Les to borrow and read. They also brought me a plant--a cyclamen the exact scarlet color of our new decor!
   We will hold them both in our thoughts as late November comes on and the Devesons fly to the States to enjoy Thanksgiving on the 28th with their son, daughter in law and grandchildren--the Cali Crew (California).
   Meanwhile on NB Valerie, we give thanks for Les' recovery and each other; for old friends and new along the canals and across the world; for the love of family here and in the States, and for the comfort and love we share with one another.  


Julie said...

Good to see Les is also colour co ordinated :)
Even better is to hear you are both comfortable and settling into some sort or routine.
Thanks for keeping us all updated, that's the thing with blogs - it feels as if you are old friends. x

Ross Mack said...

Hi you two. Just caught up with whats happened ..... damn! cant find the words at the moment, I really cant. Glad to see Les back on the boat though.
Long story but lost internet and all phone numbers a while back. Only found out about Les recently and this is the 1st chance I've had to get in touch. Boat being blacked so im at the girlfriends for a week. Mob number is still the same as before. I'll catch up with you as soon as I can. Take care my friends

Anonymous said...

Jaq you are a miracle worker... your home looks fabulous. Glorious changes. Les you need to eat eat eat. I'm glad you aren't minimizing the pressure on you Jaq...we all need to hear about that too. You two take care of each other AND your selves.
Pullman Karen still in Death Valley

Mike said...

I agree with Pullman Karen, Les needs some serious eating!! However, as he is till working with outside plumbing that may have to wait a while. Good luck, the pair of you.
Mike on GARNET

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Julie,
That is the thing about blogs...thank you for following ours!

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Ross!
We wondered why it seemed you had fallen off the edge of the earth. We kept checking your blog to see updates and were worried something terrible might have happened. Glad to here both you and your boat are okay. Looking forward to further installments on your blog.
Jaq and LesXX

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Karen,
you know me--straightforward as always. If sharing our life aboard with all its ups and downs can inform or entertain then we are willing.

Thank you for the compliment! I could not believe the difference in decor made by changing some cushions and throws! NBV feels like a new home inside.

We are taking care of each other and Les is eating, eating, eating.
Love and hugs to you and Jim.

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Mike,
Little and often is what we've been told and that is what I am doing. We hope you and Phill are well. Are you ensconced in your new marina mooring now?

Anonymous said...

NB Valerie looks fantastic in her new interior colours! Great to hear that Les is making steady progress. Patience is the key - my Dad's recovery took time following his stoma. We were told by the doc to measure improvement by weeks & months, not days (although Dad didn't have Jaq's juice machine to help!)

Love, Alistair

Mike on GARNET said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs