Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Is my house making me sick?

There was some question as to whether my recent illness's were do to an environmental factor. Mainly my house. Everyone's first speculation is my dog's, this is not the cause I can pretty much be certain of that. I developed a reaction to cats when I was about 8, it was very sudden and it was clear that was the cause. That's how I know it's not my dog's, and to be honest I get irritated when someone suggest that it is, silly maybe, but my dog's are a part of my family and it feels as if they were accusing a family member of wrong doing. Wow, that sounds ridiculous when I typed it out, but that's how I feel so whatever, I guess I sound ridiculous! My first thought was there could be mold in my house causing me to be sick. In our master bathroom there was water damage in front of the shower from a leaky shower door, the floor was rotted and Brad had put his foot through it so there was a hole with rotted floor and not to mention the bathroom had carpet. Where you have rotted wood and moisture, you most likely have some sort of mold and mildew. It's been like that for a long time and should have been fixed. I don't primarily use that bathroom only at night to tinkle, Brad uses it, and I share the other bathroom with Colton. Well when I was clinic last month we had talked about all the factors and just trying to pin point a reason for my recent worsening in health. Environment was one question, and I brought the bathroom situation up to the doctor (BTW he agrees with me about the dog's very slim possibility). I never thought it was a cause, because it's been like that and I've lived here for 6 years. Then we went on vacation for 4 days and stayed in a hotel, I felt great the whole time. We came home and by that night my chest felt tight, and I started having lung pain. That's when I said okay maybe it is something in my house. I called my insurance company to get a recommendation for someone to inspect and fix it, it was not covered under my policy so they weren't able to cover any of the cost. I called the guy and he came out and said that there was not the toxic mold everyone thinks and hears about, but there was some mold, it wouldn't probably bother the average person but very well could irritate someone with allergies or lung issues. So we hired him to get rid of the mold and fix the floor, we were originally gonna just have him fix it and then Brad was going to put the new laminate wood floor down. But then Brad decided he didn't really want to do it because you have to take the toilet out and he'd never done that before. And this gentlemen is a jack of trades kind of guy, so we hired him to finish the floor too. I painted the walls last night so it would be done before the new floor went in. The color is called smoky blue, it's a darker blue, and I really like the way it turned out. He's finishing the floor now and it already looks really good. So I guess if it was causing me any health problems it won't anymore.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Great Vacations = Great Memories Part 4 the final one!

So waking up Friday morning on June 10th, ready for our final day in the great Northern Michigan. Now I'm thinking how I'm going to go about getting ready doing my therapy and packing up, deciding whether I would do my therapy first pack that up, and then get ready or get myself all ready go eat breakfast and do my therapy and head out. Well I have to admit in the midst of all this packing and deciding, I forgot to tell Brad Happy Birthday. Now I did not forget it was his Birthday, it was the last thing on my mind before I went to bed and the first thing when I got up, but then my brain started working overtime on the days events and it slipped my mind. His phone kept going off and it was bugging me, and I said "Who keeps texting you?" and he said "It's my facebook, you know for my birthday, did you forget!?" And then I felt horrible and got slack for it the rest of the day from him and Colton, I deserved it I guess. We got ready, ate breakfast, and I did my therapy last. Packed up, checked out, and headed out to the first thing on our list to do before we headed home.

The Mackinac Ice Breaker Museum. She was the great Ice breaker of her century. Measuring 290 feet long the Mackinac was built in Toledo, Ohio and commissioned in December, 1944 and decommissioned June 10, 2006. We just happen to be there on June 10th, 2011, 5 years after it was decommissioned, I thought that was neat. It is a really cool tour they give you with a retired Coast guard member giving you all the neat info about the ship and her history. Very well done, kid friendly, not boring at all.

We next headed to Old Mackinaw Point Light House. There is also a fog station right next to the lighthouse. The fog station was actually built first in 1890, then the lighthouse was funded and built in 1892. The lighthouse was used for 65 years, but was deactivated after the completion of the Mackinac Bridge in 1957. There was no use for the light anymore because the bridge has lights on it at night. It's all a museum now, the fog house is a gift shop and entry for the light house tours, the barn/garage has a map and a short video about shipwrecks in the straits of Mackinac and the keepers house and light house tour are set up with the things and furniture they would have with fascinating information everywhere! You also can climb 62 steps up into the lighthouse to see from the top where the light lens would be (it's on display in the keepers house now). We climbed up it, but I forgot my camera so I have no pictures from there or the inside of the house.

I needed to do some more souvenir shopping so we headed down to Mackinaw Crossings Mall, which is basically a huge stripe mall with lots of interesting stores. I only ended up getting some fudge for my Dad, and some popcorn from the popcorn factory. But we decided to get lunch at one of the Pizza Parlor's before heading home. Lunch was good and we were all ready to take the long drive home, thoroughly exhausted, but also thoroughly pleased with our fun family vacation! Colton was so exhausted, he fell asleep almost before we even got out of town and slept all the way home, 3 plus hours with 2 stops. He woke up just before we turned onto our road.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Great Vacations = Great Memories Part 3

Here's a link to part 1&2

I never intended to have a 4 part blog about my vacation, but I guess it just sort of happen that way.

On day 3 the weather forecast was cloudy and chilly in the 50's. So we set off for our day on Mackinac Island. Mackinac Island is only accessible by boat, in fact there is no motorized vehicles allowed on the Island with the exception of 2 cop cars, 2 ambulances, a fire truck, and golf carts that are only allowed on the golf course. The only way to see and travel the Island is on foot, bicycle, and horse. So when I purchased our fairy tickets I bought a package deal that got us to and from the Island, a horse carriage tour of the historic city, and state park, and tickets to get inside Fort Mackinac. One of the main attractions on the Island and in Mackinaw city is FUDGE! There is 12 fudge shops you can visit on the Island and sample all the fudge, YUMMY, but it is almost guaranteed to give you a belly ache!

So we set out on the 2 horse carriage ride through the historic part of the city, up through town past the fort, the Grand Hotel, and up to the carriage house museum. They let you off the carriage to spend as much time as you want in the museum that has all sorts of old carriages and even the hearse carriage they use for Island residents funerals. *FYI-To be buried on the Island you have to have been born there, and lived there for 15 years.* There is also shops, and a butterfly house there. You then get on a 3 horse carriage that hauls 35 people and was specially made in Indiana for Mackinac Island, to your journey through the state park. *FYI- If you pick any flowers or anything in the state park it is against the law and even a dandelion can cost you a $50.00 fine!* You journey on up through and around the park past skull cave, and the cemetery's of the Island, on up to Arch Rock. You get to get out again at Arch Rock for about 10 minutes for pictures and to enjoy the view.

After Arch Rock you go back down to the Fort, and those that want to get out and enjoy Fort Mackinac, after you done you can either catch a carriage ride down or walk to the city, it's all down hill, and only about 1/2 mile. After we toured the Fort (I can't even start telling about all of it or this would be even longer) that's full of great history and done so well even kids enjoy it! We chose to walk back to the city, it was cool the whole day and had warmed up in the 60's by the time we headed to the city for yet another LATE lunch. Finished up some souvenir shopping and headed to our boat launch to catch our 6pm fairy ride. I forgot to mention the ride to the Island was horrible! The stone fly's were really bad up there, the fairy has an upper deck that's outside and lower deck that is inside with windows all around. Well the fly's were everywhere all over the boat, the seats, and on you and if you try to get them off of you they end up squashed with bug guts on you! Not to mention it was COLD! So we got there early to make sure we got on the lower deck! And that was a great ride back, unlike the ride there! It ended up being a wonderful day. We went to the hotel relaxed a bit and then went out for Ice Cream, it was homemade and it was AMAZING! Went to bed exhausted, for the next day we were to head home, and it was Brad's birthday the next day too!

Part 4, the final one, I promise! Coming soon.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Great Vacations= Great Memories Part 2

Read part one here.

So we had a relaxing night in our hotel the first night. After doing some research on the weather we changed our plans a bit for the next day. We had planned to go to the Island on day 2, and Tahquamenon Falls on day 3. Well the Falls are about an hour and a half from Mackinaw City. The weather was gonna be stormy in Mackinaw, but beautiful up at the falls, so we switched the days. We headed out from Mackinaw City for the drive to the Falls. When we got to the falls it was beautiful as the weather had said it would be, it got up to about 80 degrees. Tahquamenon falls sits back in the woods, and it's a little hike to get back to the river and then you take 94 steps down to get level with the falls. You get right next to the amazingly beautiful falls, so close you can feel the mist coming off of them. You can also go down into what they call the gouge, it's down the river away from the falls, you take about twice as many stairs down so your at river level and can see the falls straight in front of you. We did not go down in the gouge, it's just not worth all the steps for a view that's not that great.

Instead we took the nature trail back to the parking lot, the normal trail is paved and about a 1/2 mile. The nature trail is a beaten path through the woods that's about 1 1/2 miles. It was really quite nice on the nature trail with lots of wild flowers and interesting looking trees. Next on the agenda was Oswald's Bear Ranch, it was about 20 miles down the road. Well here comes the next hiccup. The bridge to the main road was out. If you know anything about Northern Michigan you know that there are main roads and the back roads or side roads are basically 2 tracks. We ended up taking an hour and a half detour down the county roads, which are not 2 tracks, but they are dirt and go every which way but in a straight line! So 20 more miles out of our way and an 1 hour and 1/2 later we made it to the Bear Ranch. We went inside paid to go see the Bears, get out there and no more then 5 minutes later it starts down pouring on us! We had umbrella's so we did get to see the Baby's that were about 4 months old and they were so cute! We also seen the yearlings, and one adult male. They were all beautiful animals. And of course once we got in the car and left it stopped raining! O, the fun of vacations :) We headed back to the hotel, stopping and eating a VERY late lunch. Relaxing the rest of the night in the hotel again with our game plan ready for day 3.

Again this is long so I will add a part 3.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Great Vacations = Great Memories

The Mighty Mac!

So when I posted my last blog I had intended to post about our wonderful vacation, and then that happen with Colton so I had to write about it. So here's my intended blog.

We live in mid Michigan, right near the center of the mite. Northern Michigan has always been a great place to get away, that's where Brad's and my parents took us on vacations as children(separate of course, we never knew each other until we were 20). So I wanted to take Colton on one of those vacations I remember as a child. Much like I have taken him to so many other places I loved as a kid. Now I only went to Mackinac Island once as a girl scout in 4th or 5th grade, never with the family. But we had many trips up north across the Mighty Mackinac Bridge, to many different places in the Upper Peninsula. We had intended on getting an early start around 8 am Tuesday morning, well we did not get out of bed until 8 am! Mind you we had little to nothing packed to go! We took our time getting around after that, I figured it's a vacation take your time don't stress out, everything is still gonna be there when you do get there. So we didn't end up leaving until around 2pm, and had to make a couple stops. Our destination was Mackinaw City which is on the south side of the Mackinac Bridge.

Now for a little history lesson, Mackinaw city chose to use the "aw" in the name of their city to define them as separate from Mackinac Island which along with the Bridge has the "ac" ending. But either way it is spelled it's still pronounced "aw". They say the Mackinac Bridge is 5 miles, but actually it's 20 feet short of 5 miles, most don't know that little fact. It's construction began in 1954 and took 42 months to complete, opening on November 1st, 1957. Total cost was upwards of $100 million, originally only estimated to cost around 70 million.

We arrived at our hotel around 6pm. Now it's about a 3 hour trip from our house, we had a few stops before even hitting the highway. And then for the first hiccup in our trip, we were about a mile from a rest area and I told Brad to stop there well he kicked it in high gear to get around a motorcycle and low and behold a cop was sitting at the bottom of the hill right before the rest area...BUSTED! He knew he was hit so he pulled over immediately, before he even turned on his lights! Told the officer what had happen, told the cop how fast he thought he was going, ended up being 90 MPH in a 70 zone! Brad has a clean record, and the cop was nice enough to only write him for 5 over that way he would keep his clean record, but ended up costing $105.00! Nice added expense to the trip..NOT! I could think of at least 10 things better we could have done with that $$! I still had to pee! So we went to the rest area took a break and stretched the legs, we were about 40 miles from Mackinaw City. We didn't do much the first night, relaxed in our room, went out for supper and took a swim in the pool and hot tub. Oh that was another thing when we checked in the clerk said well your room is actually booked right in a bus group full of kids! So we can upgrade you to a suite for $20 extra a night? Sure why not it's our vacation right?! So once we got to the room it was really nice. Now I want you to remember how many bags I need just for me..4! That's right I have to haul 3 bags plus a travel O2 concentrator. So he tells us after we are all booked and checked in... you go to the elevator take it to the 3rd floor, your on the 4th and the elevator doesn't go up there so you have to take 2 flights of stairs to your room! Seriously? That's exactly what came out of my mouth! But I didn't want to mess around, and Brad's a big guy I figured we only got to haul it up once and down once 4 days later, we could deal. Not realizing the stair way and halls past the 3rd floor were not air conditioned, it was 80 degrees that day! We were pretty sweaty once we got there, and the room was hot at first but the air worked good and cooled it pretty fast. But it was a really nice room! 2 room suite with a jacuzzi in the bathroom, and a nice balcony. The hotel over all was really great, had a wonderful full bar breakfast, pool, hot tub, gym, and private beach.

Oops, too many bubbles in the Jacuzzi!

This is longer then I intended so I think I'll stop here and do a part 2 over the weekend sometime :) Tune back in for the other 3 days of our vacation with more "hiccups"!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Seven year old's shouldn't have to worry..

To say Colton is a special kid is an understatement. And I'm not just saying that because he's my son. Other people recognize this in him as well, always being referred to as a little man, smart and wise beyond his years. I have always believed God created Colton tailor made for me, he is a great sleeper always has been, this is a child who never climbed out of his crib let alone on top of things, and to be completely honest he still cannot climb that great! He's just the right pace for me, he went through stages as a toddler where I struggled to keep up, but other then that he is a great kid for me. He is so slow paced in fact it gets him in trouble sometimes at school, and with us. Known nick names for Colton include pokey, slow poke, turtle, and Eeyore. Colton's a sit back and watch kinda kid, let's see what happens then maybe I will join in. Most kids his age enjoy super hero's, baseball and car's, Colton on the other hand enjoys antiques, vacuums, watches, marbles, and radio's. Colton has always been aware of my disease, I have never kept it from him, always been completely honest in an age appropriate way. And every hospital stay has been hard on him, but I think the fact that they were mostly around a year apart he has recovered from them and been able to not worry and get back to being a kid with no worries, except whether or not I'd let him have oreo's for breakfast (some morning's I do). Well it has become painfully obvious my recent continued illness's is taking it's toll on him. I have noticed he has been more clingy to me, not wanting to stay nights away, while I was napping at Mom's she said he was checking up on me. He tells me he loves and hugs me at least 20 times a day. And our usual bedtime routine includes more I love you's, hugs and kisses. Tonight was a usual night until I hugged him. I gave him the usual hug, kiss and said good night. I turned around to leave and he said "Can I have another hug, because I could really use one" I of course said yes and went back to hug him and when I did he squeezed me really tight and said "I love you so much" and started to cry. I said "I love you too buddy, why are you crying?" Through his tears and sobs he said "It's hard to explain" I said "You just love me so much" him "yes, I just worry about you sometimes" And chocking back tears myself, I did my best to reassure him I will be fine and he shouldn't worry about me, that it was my job to worry about him, and put him to bed for the night. Then I came to the living room and cried like a baby. Seven year old's shouldn't have to worry....

Colton and I at Tahquamenon Falls, Newberry MI on our vacation