Monday, April 22, 2013


April 5th we hit the road headed to Memphis, TN!  A good friend of mine from college was getting married, and since I hadn't returned to work yet after my surgery, we were free to make the trip.  It was a beautiful day, and we were having an great drive until... car trouble struck =(  We were just over 100 miles from Memphis, in the middle of nowhere, when we were forced to spend some quality time on the side of I-40... because...

Blown upper radiator hose (didn't realize what had happened for a some time)
overheated engine
engine damage (not always, but def did this time...)
No. Good.
The gash in the radiator hose =/
Thankfully, we do have roadside assistance, and they came to tow our car to the nearest town, about 10 miles away.  While sitting on the side of the road, we realized that we had entered the Central Time Zone, therefore gaining and extra hour (which proved rather important when needing a mechanic on a Friday afternoon!)

Loading onto the tow truck
We were towed to an auto parts store, Andrew replaced the radiator hose, etc, and we drove to an auto shop just a few miles away.  By this point it was almost 5pm.  They were able to quickly determine that we definitely had further engine damage (coolant was in the cylinders)... one of the managers there was incredibly kind, offered to take us to the closest car rental location near where he lived, so that we could hopefully make it to Memphis.  He called the rental place ahead, we threw our bags in his truck, left my car in the parking lot, and off we went.  We just made it to Enterprise before 6pm when they close, to find lots of people and us waiting for cars... that they potentially weren't going to have available for us... =/  Long story short, we did finally get a vehicle... a pick-up truck, and by that point most any vehicle was acceptable!  The auto shop guy stayed with us the whole time until we were set with the truck... talk about customer service!   We weren't too sure what we were going to do about my car, but headed on to Memphis...  So thankful for the Lord's protection and working out all the details... so many things that could have been much, much worse!

Despite the car issues, we had a great weekend!  While there is plenty to do and see in Memphis, we had a relaxed and enjoyable time wandering downtown, seeing a lot of the sights, and meanwhile not overdoing it with my knee...

The fountain with the Marching Ducks at the Peabody Hotel...
we didn't get there in time to see the marching of the ducks...
Beale Street
The Memphis-Arkansas Bridge
A barge pushing what appears to be a load of coal up the Mississippi River.
The Memphis Pyramid
Trolley Car
Enjoying the Beautiful weather!
After working up an appetite, we had a late lunch of delicious (world famous) ribs at Charles Vergos' Rendevous =)  It's in the basement of this building, the entrance tucked away in an alley...
We had a little more time after lunch to ramble downtown Memphis before heading back to the hotel to get ready for the wedding... It was a beautiful service, but this is the only pic I managed to sneak that turned out at all =)
Mr. & Mrs. John Michael Leppert =)
First Dance
Fun table centerpieces... and a great idea using the paper lanterns!
John Michael and I were the same class, major, and sport in college... we spent A Lot of time together, and it was super great to see him and meet his beautiful bride!  He had also never met Andrew, so it was about time that happened as well =)
Yay! A picture of all 4 of us =)
After a Wonderful Saturday, we had some time to kill on Sunday before meeting my brother David and his wife Brittany who made the long trip out to pick up us and our car.  We are SO thankful they were available and willing to come get us!  Andrew realized we could feasibly travel through 3 states within an hour and decided we really needed to take advantage of the opportunity, lol.  So... we left Memphis and entered Mississippi (somehow missed the sign =/), then from Mississippi, crossed into Arkansas...

This bridge was paralleled by 2 other bridges...
Can sort of see all 3 bridges
If you look closely, you can see a train on the 3rd bridge.
Memphis Bridge again
Memphis from the Arkansas side of the river
Crossing the Memphis-Arkansas Bridge back into Tennessee!
And a close-up of the pyramid... it is being renovated currently...
After our 3-state excursion, a bite to eat, and a few minutes of walking downtown, we were on our way to meet David and Brittany.
Ready to load!
My car fit perfectly on the trailer, which meant
the doors couldn't be opened once it was loaded...
so Andrew climbed out the trunk =)
We drove several hours, stopped for the night, and then got up the next morning and finished the trip... quite the weekend, and we were all glad to make it home!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Home Projects

Now that it's been MONTHS since I said I'd post about a few projects we'd been working on, the list has grown and so has the post =)

In August we moved to our new apartment and we have gradually added a few details that help to make it feel more home-like.  Big blank walls are sometimes difficult to fill... our den area is fairly open and had two such walls....

Andrew had these paintings done in Mexico several years ago.

My parents were over for dinner one night and helping us hold up various wall-hangings to see where we wanted them.   My mom had a great idea for the location of these two paintings =)  But they needed to be framed.... calling for some quality time in the framing department of A.C. Moore!  Andrew agreed to go with me and after over an hour of configuring frames, matting, etc, we decided on:

An idea of the before and after look
As for the second blank wall, it's pretty sweet to be married to a guy who can create what my brain pictures but I certainly could never actually make happen =)  A couple in our church were getting rid of a very large mirror and inquired if Andrew had any use for it with any of his construction projects.  I happened to hear the conversation and immediately had a use for it!  He proceeded to tell them that he did not need it.... After finding pictures similar to what I was mentally picturing, he called the couple back, we proceeded to haul this very large mirror across town, and the project began.  First an evening playing with design/layout in Lowes....

Then Andrew cut the pieces and put it all together...

Painting in progress... it is one of the hammered metal spray paints...

Somewhere along the line of building this, Andrew was checking the wall where we planned to put it to discover it was anything but level =/  He got it in place non-the-less!!!
Sorry these pics are taken from different angles, but blank wall on the left is where the finished mirror is in the right side pic...
After Thanksgiving, we found some good sales... I really wanted a bench for under the mirror/shelf....
And some lamps that help to make various parts of the apartment more cozy =)  When we moved the TV and cabinet out to make room for the Christmas tree, we discovered it looked Significantly better in the corner than the TV, lol!  So when I finally decided it was time to part with the tree after Christmas, rearranging the den ensued... along with taking the TV to Goodwill... LOVE the new arrangement!
More recently, we acquired a little table from my sister's attic... I'd mentioned wanting a table next to our bench and she found a possibility in their attic!  So home it came... and after a minor repair, cleaning, and a bit of spray paint... you can see the transformation!
 And finally, I was eager for spring in early March, had time on my hands, and decided to make a spring wreath!  Best part... only thing I had to buy was the grapevine wreath for a few bucks at Old Time Pottery =)

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Knee...

About time for another blog update... I'm not too good at keeping up with it, but here goes...

After getting home from our trip to Ontario in early February, I had a few friends evaluate my knee and sadly all confirmed my most probable diagnosis of my injury.  Thankfully I was able to get a brace that allowed me to function better (and manage at work).  Wednesday I had an MRI and saw the orthopedic surgeon, confirming that I tore my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in my knee.  Surgery really being the only viable option, was scheduled for the upcoming Monday.

The nurse checking my name, etc. before giving me my IV.
IV in and waiting for the anesthesiologist...
And.... I don't remember this pic... or anything after it until the surgery was over!
Surgery went very well, the doctor found no further damage to my knee during surgery, and was able to reconstruct my ACL (use other tissue to give me a new one).
Home and resting on the couch with all my post-op apparatuses.
It is certainly different being on "this side" of orthopedic surgery... the one getting operated on and having to go through the recovery and rehab myself instead of helping others through it!  I certainly expected the worst and it has not been Nearly as horrible as I thought it might be.  Not to say I care to go through it again, but could have been Much worse.  Andrew took very good care of me after surgery, and my mom came over during the day for a few days that week to help me out so that Andrew could work which was very nice.  She was such a help for me getting around when I needed to but also just doing whatever needed to be done from laundry to dishes to food preparation among other things... not to mention just having the company.  So blessed!

Since I was rather incapacitated and didn't plan for Valentine's Day in advance... my mom helped me bake some brownies for Andrew's Valentine's chocolate =)  Needless to say it was a very simple Valentine's which was Just fine!  I thoroughly enjoyed my roses  (which I didn't get a picture of) sitting on the coffee table since I was spending many, many hours on the sofa =)

After a week I was able to get rid of a crutch and just use one... did that for the second week, and that was really the end of the crutches... thank goodness.  One night during that first week or so, I wanted to get out of the house for a while.  Andrew needed to go to Lowe's, so I accompanied him... legitimate chance to ride the scooter!  Way too slow to be much fun, but nice to get out regardless =)

The range of motion in my knee and strength of surrounding musculature progressed very well post-op and continues to do well.  The recovery road is long any way you cut it with ACL reconstruction... at least 6 months... but I am very thankful to have the first portion of it behind me!

because everyone takes pictures of injuries and recovery progress... =P