Wall between office/living room

Image by adamrice via Flickr

Apparently, houses stay up better with load bearing walls. Who knew?

No, the house hasn’t collapsed and the beam didn’t drop on my head as I helped steady it though I had visions of an ER visit, split skull and concussion whenever it wobbled.

Unsurprisingly, my husband did not ask for help even though I was sitting not ten feet away in the office and he could have called Silver earlier in the evening as Edie offered his assistance not once but twice in the same number of days this week.

I had to insist a bit. Not because I enjoy helping. All things hoisting provoke visions of muscle tearing and ligament wrenching when it doesn’t simply make me fear for my safety in general. I offered because the grunting is scary and the thumps – alarming.

By quarter to eleven – yes, that’s P.M. – one of new beams was in place and Dee, at least, was not likely to wake up in the former dining room.

The dust had settled enough to vacuum, which was good because my skin itched even where there were no hives and my eyes, one of which had nearly swelled shut, felt as raw as my sinuses. This was not, perhaps, the best week to be scheduled for allergy testing as I am not allowed any antihistamines or cold medication.

Fortunately, a yoga buddy clued me to the awesome power of gogi berry capsules. Two and my eyes were merely itchy as opposed to clamping shut.

The beams replace the load bearing wall and should be up and secured by end of week – all six of them. After that the front room opens up to us again and we can begin making hurried preparations for Christmas.

Rob’s family – blood and in-law – are converging from all directions, and I have a feeling that things will be Chinese curse equivalent at the very least.

But one interesting moment at a time.


Shadow, canola, and sky

Image by Chris & Lara Pawluk via Flickr


The fields surrounding the hamlet we live in are hard to see these days. Dust kicked up by the harvest as combines the size of houses roam with manic purpose, desperate to finish a harvest thwarted by a wetter than usual autumn that followed on the heels of a soggy summer.

Being allergic to the produce is only half my problem. I am reactive to dirty air in general as my lungs take issue with being required to perform the simple filtering task for which they were designed in the first place.  Gritty air plus allergens means my lungs burn even as the muscles of my chest, upper back and side knot in anticipation of the histamine onslaught.

Yesterday, it felt like my bottom ribs were riddled with cracks like an antique glaze on ceramic. Today is a tad better as there seem to be fewer farmers dusting the breeze.

The worst thing about my asthma, aside from having it at all, is the confinement. Even the windows hold me in as I strive to keep the particle saturation to a minimum indoors.

I saw the Doctor again today to follow-up on my lung function test – which they didn’t have – but she and I agree that it is my allergies that are ground-zero. Asthma is merely a by-product. Identify and control the allergies and the asthma will be subdued as a side-effect.

Allergy testing won’t commence until just before Christmas. That’s the first available appointment.

In the meantime, I am – uncharacteristically and well aware of the irony – hoping for a good rain.

Basically when you have food allergies, you don’t eat out. That kind of normal experience that nearly everyone takes for granted is not an option for you. Whereas food in the grocery comes with labels that are about 90% helpful in helping you avoid thing things that will make you sick, restaurants are not similarly labeled.

Friday night we tried to eat out at a new place in The Fort, a Vietnamese noodle house. Asian foods, if I am alert for peanuts, are strangely easier for me to eat. Rob was a bit dubious. He has learned (more quickly than I ironically) that dining out nearly always ends in disaster. The only safe bets include Subway, Subjoint and anyplace that serves eggs and toast any time of day. The short list of my allergies includes: peanuts, tomatoes, anything citrus, oil, butter, onions, red meat, pig, and chicken. It might not seem a long list but try to find a seasoning or sauce that doesn’t contain tomato or onion. You wouldn’t believe the number of foods that those two things alone knock off the “good foods” list. Vegetarian options are not plentiful when they exist at all and most dishes are prepared with some kind of oil and the more oil used the sicker I will be. 

When we arrived at the Noodle House, I had surprisingly high hopes. We walked in, however, and were greeted with a CASH ONLY PLEASE sign and promptly turned and left. Cash? Quaint. I was undeterred though Rob voiced suspicions of omens. We headed toward a strip mall on 99 Ave and while I hit the ATM there, Rob and Katy ran into the Shopper’s to pick up a registered letter the postlady had left him a note for earlier that day. Money and junk mail in hand we first hit the main post and then returned to the Noodle House. To make a long story a bit shorter, I will quote you Rob’s rendition of our noodle house adventures:

The Fort Noodle House was a total bust.  We returned, with our cash, and were eventually seated.  We looked at the menus; only one kids’ menu item (French fries, chicken wings, pop….wait, did that say chicken WINGS?  For KIDS?)  We looked over the rest of the selections.   There were a few vegetarian selections and we discussed a few possibilities.  But I was starting to get a bad vibe about the place.  It was filling up and it was visibly understaffed.  We decided to nip a potentially bad dining experiment experience in the bud and got up and left.

 and skip to the Chinese buffet that came after.

Normally I can eat Chinese. It’s hard to get into too much trouble with rice and veggies, but Rob had nearly filled a plate for Katy before I realized that this buffet was more Alberta than Chinese. Meat in nearly every dish and onions in the rest. And I was ready to cry. Seriously. Dining out is absolutely not on my list of fun things to do. If I am not trying to make a meal out of side dishes, I am trying to assure my fellow diners that I am really okay with not eating while they stuff themselves in my face. I am not sure which is worse sometimes. Feeling like a leper or knowing that aside from Rob, no one really has much patience with my food “issues”. People with food allergies are generally treated like closet anorexics – we just don’t like to eat or something because no one but the small children of anal retentive overparenters really has food allergies. Even the health profession tends to downplay the idea. I have been told I have an ulcer (nope), IBS (nope) or perhaps I mistook a stomach virus for something more. 

Let me tell you what happens when I eat tomatoes or citrus. I get a bumpy rash on both sides of my tongue leaving it feeling as though I have burned it, and sometimes my lips will tingle or go numb. Then I get horrible stomach pains which then travel through my digestive tract wreaking havoc. 

Yes, I know. That was TMI. But I don’t banish food from my life lightly, and I am as weary of my allergies to food being looked down on or dismissed as I am of smokers who crowd doorways and take insult when my asthma flares. I would rather be a “normal” person, but for whatever reason I am on my way to life in a plastic bubble.

Rob, though, is better than a plastic bubble. Perhaps in a way he is my bubble. When I told him I wasn’t going to be able to eat anything, he sprang into action. Grabbing a menu, he quickly found me suitable entrées and while ordering quizzed the hostess as to the types of ingredients used. Peanut Oil? MSG? Within ten minutes we were all seated and eating.

So the evening ended on a high note. Katy loves to get out and it was nice to not have to prepare an evening meal. I don’t think we will eat there again. It was, in Rob’s words a downtown skid row establishment.