A Good Day

I don’t often write about good days here, but today was one of those days that I wanted to share with the world.  It wasn’t exciting, extravagant, or exotic.  Nor were the burdens that weigh on us every day removed.  Today was a simple day spent together.  It’d be a normal day if it happened more frequently, but we’ll have to take them one day at a time.

After lunch, we went to visit my parents.  We do that every weekend and sometimes during the week if they need something.  Today we took them a couple of rye breads, a frozen dinner they asked for, a box of Tastykake cupcakes courtesy of my friend Alex, and a couple of treats.  While we’re visiting, we talk for awhile, watch TV, and help them any way we can.  Usually, the kids and Eliz hang out with my mom, while I talk with my dad.

Today was a bit different because my mom was preparing dinner when we arrived, so we all kind of hung out in the kitchen and dinning area.  When we arrived to their apartment, there was a gift on the shelf outside their door for my dad.  After we went through all the stuff we brought for them, he opened the present.  It was from a few ladies who my father taught to shoot pool.  My parents both laughed as Eliz read who the pound of fudge was from.  Between that gift, the treats we brought them, and the ice cream they have stashed in their freezer from the “cafe” down the hall, they should have enough sweets for a week or two.

After my mom had everything simmering on the stove, my parents, Eliz, and I went into the den, while the kids went into the bedroom to watch TV.  We talked about Shavu’ot, a jewish holiday that Jake has to do a presentation on at school (which neither I or my parents knew anything about,) Jake’s decision to got to Japan with the Japanese club from Westtown, some trips we took when I was a kid, and business.  We spent between and hour and a half and two hours visiting, then we headed across the street to Borders and then came home.

Since it is Hanukkah, we wanted to do one of our family traditions: make potato latkes.  (The kids are being raised without religion, though they are exposed to both jewish and catholic traditions.  If they want to pick a religion when they’re older, that’s up to them.)  The best part of latkes this year was that both kids wanted to help in the preparation.  They both peeled potatoes.  Jake then cut them up for Jane to feed into the food processor for shredding.  Eliz then grated the onion in the food processor.  I added the other ingredients and cooked them.  Jane later said she wanted to form some and cook them, so my cooking duties were over for the day.  Don’t tell her, but she is better at cooking them than me…  We then enjoyed them together, along with roasted turkey breast, at the dinner table.

Simply eating together at the dinner table is good.  We don’t get to do it as often as we should.  We all had a hand in making the latkes and spent real quality time with one another.  Eliz and I both really enjoyed it.

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One Year Later

So, today marked the first anniversary of my partial cornea transplant (for those that need to know specifics, I had a DSAEK procedure, which is a partial-thickness corneal transplant that replaces only the endothelial layer.)  I guess this means that at least part of my body (a very small part on a rather large body) is 70 years old.  God knows I often feel like I’m 70…

When I had the surgery, I wondered how well I would see in the days and months afterwards.  As I’ve mentioned in other posts, most of my doctors were pretty optimistic.  They all agreed that unless something went wrong, I’d get back to 20/200.  Some thought I could get to 20/100 or even better.  One year later and my vision is at 20/400.

Dreams of reading a newspaper, magazine, purchase orders, invoices (those that I create to send to a customer, not those sent by a vendor — Eliz can read those,) mail, and anything else printed on paper never came true.  Wild fantasies of tossing a softball around with Jane, hitting a tennis ball around with Jake, going to a Phillies, Flyers, or Eagles game (you know, I’ve never been to the Link) and enjoying it have all been placed back deep in the corner of my mind next to being a rock star, an action-hero actor, or a top chef.

As I’ve previously posted, none of my ophthalmologists know why my vision has deteriorated since June.  Maybe it’s from the mold at our business (we’ll know shortly, because we are vacating or current building very shortly.)  Maybe it’s age related.  Maybe it’s because I’ve gained weight.  Maybe it’s just supposed to be this way.

I have an appointment on 9 December with the cornea specialist.  Perhaps he will have an answer better than the last time I saw him, when he told me that he didn’t know what it was and it would be a hard fix.  I’ll post sometime after the appointment and let you know.

I do plenty of complaining, whining, and ranting here.  One thing I’m not sure I’ve ever done is thank the donor of the endothelia that now resides on the fifth layer of my cornea.  I don’t know who he or she was.  I only know that the donor was 69 years old when they died and without their cornea (even though they only used the endothelia, the whole cornea was available to me) I would almost certainly be much worse off.  Thank you sir/madam, I do appreciate your gift.

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Goodbye 44!

No, I’m not looking into the future and the 2012 presidential election.  I turned 45 the other day and, quite frankly, I’m hoping for a better year.  At 45, how many good years are there going to be?

There was a great deal of promise when I turned 44 last November.  I was having a very tough time seeing and surgery was scheduled for early December for a full cornea transplant or a partial cornea transplant (where only the endothelia is swapped out.)  The hope was for the endothelial transplant, but that was to be determined during surgery.  The surgeon was pretty optimistic that my vision would get to 20/100 or a tad bit better.

The result was the easier surgery, replacing only the endothelia, but vision that peaked at 20/200 in spring and then started going the wrong way by July.  I can now see 20/400 in my good eye and none of my ophthalmologists can tell me what the problem is now.  So the hopes and dreams from last Thanksgiving have been replaced by frustration and concern this year.

Then there is the business.  When I turned 44, I had absolutely no idea what was going to become of our business, Salon Supplies + Interiors (see the two previous paragraphs.)  Our lease at 1010 MacDade with the ganif (I am being too kind) was set to expire on 5 February.  Once my doctor informed me that the surgery was “a success,” we tried to negotiate a one year lease at a lower rent.  We were paying $3750 in rent, $1200 in taxes, and about $1100 for utilities on average per month.  (Utilities varied from $800 to $2000 and were billed by the ganif, not Peco.)

Now the question was to move or close.  I really wanted to launch ForYourSalon.com, which was suffering from massive delays (uh, yeah, my sight issues.)  Thankfully, Ken came on-board full time and got it moving again.  We looked at properties from the end of December to the third week in January, when we found our current location.  It was perfect!  It had a drive-in bay, a loading dock bay, and nearly 8,000 square feet.  This place could accommodate our cabinet shop, used equipment department, new equipment showroom, and beauty supplies department.  And the price was right too: $2,500 per month rent, no CAM charges, no taxes, and a utility bill that averages about $575 per month (highest was about $675 and lowest was about $350.)

We boxed all the supplies and moved everything in about five days.  We had everything setup in the new place in about three weeks, though we only closed for three days during the move (the last day at the old location and the first two days at the new location.)  The first few days at the new place were somewhat painful for me since we had so many different workers (moving temps, electricians, etc.)  While my staff knew to keep things off the floor and away from traffic areas, the others did not.  I walked into metal piping that was hanging out of the electricians truck by about three feet (the truck was parked in the warehouse.)  It literally brought me to my knees.

So our predicament is very similar this year.  Different building, different issues, with a move imminent.  This year there is greater worry.  The conditions of our “perfect” space began to worsen with every drop of rain that fell at the end of June.  As water poured in every day or two over the summer, the mold and fungus began thriving.  Samples taken by a mold remediation company in early November showed levels much higher than they should be.  We will be out of the space within weeks (hopefully two weeks.)

Besides my sight, my general health hasn’t been good over the past year.  I’ve had sinusitis multiple times since early summer.  Hmmm, I wonder if it has to do with the mold…  I am looking forward to evacuating that building and seeing if my health (and Eliz’s too) rebounds.

The immortal words of a great philosopher are always in the back of my mind, “It’s always something.  If it’s not one thing, it’s another…”  That said, I’m looking forward to a better year.  I’ll let you know right after I turn 46.

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