Mark closed his business on July 26. He came home that night. He and I did laundry and packed on Saturday, then that night we enjoyed my sister Kathie's 60th birthday party at Clark's Fish Camp. Lots of people, lots of fun!
Sunday morning, we were off for the mountains! A ten hour trip, we got about six hours in, taking I-285, a road that takes you around the busy traffic in Columbia, SC, and the car stopped going. Our car limped to the curb of this very busy highway, big trucks and cars whizzing past only feet away. We were thirty miles from Columbia and had a broken fuel pump. AAA towed us to nearby Newberry, SC, dropped our car at a repair shop and we grabbed a few belongings, said a prayer that the rest of our very full car would be safe, and we were dropped off 1/2 mile away at an Econo-Lodge. The town was small, a Dollar General, Walmart, Hardees, and CVS were nearby. Just past the repair shop was a nice little restaurant that had a good following. We had dinner there the second night of our stay. After they fixed the in-tank fuel pump, a bunch of wires were noticed to be burned from heat of our clogged catalytic converter. They wrapped each wire, removed the CC and put in a "test pipe", basically a bypass. The car, an automatic transmission, wouldn't go into 2nd gear. We got frustrated, learned there was a GMC dealership three miles away, and Mark drove slowly, shifting into 2nd gear, and we were at the nicest dealership we ever encountered! They followed each wire, finding nothing wrong, so they replaced the whole set of wires with a new. Newberry was an expensive stop! Mark sure didn't expect to spend all day Monday and Tuesday in a car repair shop after closing his Snap-On Tool business just days before!
We finally arrived at our house on Beech Mountain on Tuesday night for what remained of our two week vacation. The weather in the mountains was shockingly cool. I think that summer had peaked and we were beginning to feel the beginnings of fall. Although there was a lot of rain, the most in years, we enjoyed our time, riding on the parkway, doing things around the house. We picked blueberries at a U-pick farm, canned a couple of dozen half-pints of jams, baked a big pie. We bought a large basket of peaches, which I made into 7 pints of pickled spiced peaches. We even saw a play at Lees MacRae college, Singing in the Rain. Our time there seemed cut short when it was time to go home. We need to get that house painted.
We arrived home on Sunday, August 11th. Monday was spent getting unpacked and washing, then to my parent's house, where I was surprised at how well my mother was doing, but daddy's back is agonizing for him, which breaks my heart. Tuesday morning Mark left for Orlando, where he fixed, then sold his big Snap-On Truck for much less than it was worth (Hard finding a buyer.) and had the catalytic converter tube worked on so it would be quiet once again (it sounded like a motor boat!). That same morning, momma had surgery at Baptist Hospital Beaches (LOVED that hospital and all the staff!). The silicone breast implants that were placed after mastectomy 26 years ago had to be removed. They were possibly ruptured, encapsulated in scar tissue and there were hematomas beneath both. Her doctor was pleased at how well the surgery went.
All last week was spent taking care of both parents, getting momma back to health and helping daddy cope with his back. He finally consented to use a walker, which made me feel better, as I feared he would fall, so he took mom's. That night I layed in bed and worried that momma would need her walker in the middle of the night and fall. Mom has an appointment Monday afternoon at the surgeon's to remove drain tubes. Daddy has an appointment at the spine clinic on Thursday, the 22nd for shots that are supposed to give some relief. I'd like to go with him and make an appointment for myself, as I have bulging disks in my neck causing pretty intense shoulder (and neck) pain. It's worst when I lay down and I have found that using a cervical collar in bed is the trick, but not a cure. I've begun having pain in my left leg as well; It's the nerve that makes pain that begins my fanny muscle and goes all the way down my leg and into the arch and bottom of my foot. I would compare it to having my skin taken off like a sock and put back on inside out. I am thankful it isn't a constant pain, but when it hits, it is always a surprise at how intense it is. I guess I have some other complications in my lower back as well, as this couldn't be from the neck problem. I wonder if it is from rheumatoid arthritis, or normal wear and tear? It really doesn't matter what the source is as I have no time to deal with this and am frustrated at my own failing health.
Mark got home Friday night and we spent Saturday at my parents' house, taking care of things as Patty did her weekend chores. It was nice to be with Patty and Jon and the four of us went for a late lunch at Rose and George Sarkee's sports bar/restaurant in Miramar. Patty and I are so much alike - we both had grilled tuna steak and roasted vegetables. Yummy. Back to the parents' house to wrap up things, then we all went to my house to watch a rented video, Parental Guidance with Bette Midler, Billy Crystal and Marisa Tormei. It was a really enjoyable movie and I'd like to buy it to watch again and again (rare for me). I made Pineapple Banana Smoothies for everyone from our Ninja Blender recipe book. Next time we should use a much riper banana, but other than that, it was pretty tasty.
Ready for next week!