"I should not talk so much about myself if there were any body else whom I knew as well."
-Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, December 29, 2016


Things have been kind of crappy with Grandpa for a few days. The short of it is... 
His arterial fibrillation causes his heart rate to be irregular and sometimes dangerously high. The medication to control that has caused his blood pressure to go too low. Keeping him hydrated has been one way to encourage better blood pressure. Too much IV fluids caused fluid retention, complicated his congestive heart failure, and resulted in fluid in his lungs. Fluid in the lungs (in addition to laying in bed for such a long time) turned in to pneumonia and pulmonary edema. Treating pneumonia required antibiotics, treating pulmonary edema required steroids, and getting rid of excess fluid required Lasix. Too much Lasix can stress his already compromised kidneys, so that has to be closely monitored. All of that boils down to trying to find a balance that clears up his lungs and maintains an acceptable heart rate, oxygen levels, and blood pressure. How to fix one thing without making another worse has been an ordeal, but the doctors and nurses at Mercy Hosptal have been fantastic. One doctor put it like this... we are driving on a narrow road with large ditches on each side, we are just trying to stay on the road. Oh yeah, and this all started with a hip replacement. That part seems to be doing okay and today physical therapy was able to get him up and in a chair for the first time in a few days. This morning the doctor was hopeful that he will be stable enough to go back to rehab in the next day or two. 
Mentally, Grandpa has been anywhere from unwilling & unable to open his eyes or say anything understandable to wide eyed and alert but not quite coherent.  
I'm grateful that Drew has had this week off from work so that Eleanor can stay at home with Daddy and I can be at the hospital as necessary. 
Continued prayers are appreciated. 

In addition to all of Grandpa's stuff, Tuesday was Alex's birthday. She would have been 14 years old. We celebrated her by watching & sharing her 11th birthday Roar video and visiting her grave. Sunday will mark three years since she passed and that's hard to comprehend. In some ways it feels like it's been a hundred years and in other ways it seems like yesterday. That's a lot of emotion to process, especially on top of everything else that is happening with Grandpa right now. 

Am I the only one that thinks that having a project that is completely unnecessary can be therapeutic? I'm not talking about something that needs to be done. I'm talking about a wild hair that is done purely because it seems like a good idea. Something that serves almost no purpose but to look beautiful, burn some energy, and provide some sense of control over some tiny portion of life. I present to you... Mandy & Drew's Great Fireplace Makeover. Can you say shiplap and super awesome new mantle?  Designed by me and custom made by Drew. Move over Chip & Joanna Gaines, the Harrises are in town. 
Before (totally acceptable builder's choice fireplace & mantel, complete with toys & child sized furniture, because, you know, we live here): 
In process, with help from Eleanor (also, don't try this at home, the safety measures are questionable): 
Side by side. Left is before, right is after. 
You guys, it's so beautiful and I love it. I'll have to take better photos with the big camera, especially once I find the perfect thing to hang in the middle. Drew did a fabulous job, the living room has a fresh & custom feature, and nobody was injured in the makeover of this fireplace. Win, win, win. 

I'll leave you with a snap shot of an intense light saber battle between father and daughter. Y'all, I'm not even a Star Wars fan (gasp!) and even I know this is epic. 

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