Venturing Out for Solo Walks

This week I ventured out and took walks out in the hall by myself, without a trailing wheelchair in case I needed to rest. This was a first here. I’ve been building up to it by walking around the apartment with a walker instead of the chair. Obvious differences were distance and turns; the hallway is straight and the apartment has me making circles around furniture and turns into doorways. But it was still good practice and the living room looks way bigger without the wheelchair sitting in the way.

My first trips took me from my chair out the door, then a turn and down the hall to the first apartment, then turning around and going back to the chair. Today I upped the effort and went past the apartment to the fire doors before turning around and going back. Not sure how many feet that is, but it’s getting closer to the whole distance I did before with a trailing chair. My legs and feet weren’t tired, but my arms were. Note to self: more arm exercises are in order. I won’t push my luck, though, and will aim to do what I did today twice tomorrow.

I also called and made an appointment for my Medicare Wellness Visit with my primary care doctor, as well as researched local dentists. I really need to get my teeth cleaned but was worried about how to handle the visit in the wheelchair. Friends in my Facebook group for spinal cord injury rehab gave me some good tips and I will call this coming week to make an appointment. Hmmm. I also need to make an appointment with the cardiologist for my annual visit.

What bothers – not worries, just bothers – me the most is the amount of edema I have in my right foot and leg all the way from toe to groin. The left has some, but the right is really excessive. I’m already taking prescription diuretics balanced by extra potassium, drinking water, adding as much movement as I can. I sleep with my feet elevated as far as my adjustable bed will let them go. And I try sitting with legs elevated rather than the chair with legs down where that’s an option. So I hope one of the doctors has a good suggestion.

I did something else for myself this week: new granite countertops for my kitchen. I loved my new granite at the house sooooo much and then left it to move here, where the kitchen was nice but dark. I have warm wood cabinets, black appliances, and dark floors. I came to really hate the black patterned granite that always looked as though someone scratched it. I was really lucky to update my counters with granite remnants from a local company that were expertly cut and installed. They look fabulous and really brighten up the kitchen, especially with my pops of red on the counters. I lived in white apartments for so long that I learned how to perk things up to suit me, and my bright red Kitchen Aid mixer is a big part of the decor as well as a kitchen tool.

Making House Decisions

I’m making choices right and left; you’d think I’d been contemplating making changes to the house for years. Well, er, um, I have been, just not thinking I could actually do any of them.

In the last two weeks I’ve made decisions about a whole bunch of things.

  • Cabinets: I’m not painting them. I like the wood, and the dark wood trim in the kitchen, and I’m keeping them.
  • Countertop: I visited three granite yards, one of them three times. Such pretty colors and patterns! And the prettier the pattern, the pricier the slab.
  • I picked Giallo Napoli Granite. I fell in love with the purple splotches that look like little drops of wine. This wasn’t my first choice, but when I went to pick out faucets and sinks, I saw a counter on display made out of this granite. I just loved it, so I went back to the yard to look again. It’s hard to envision from a giant slab what a smaller section will look like, so it was great to have the chance to see it before I committed to my first (and more expensive) choice. It didn’t appeal as much in the slab but looks amazing as a counter, and I’m very pleased with it.
  • I picked a faucet and new composite sink (no sink picture; sorry, but here’s the faucet). The double sink will be “chestnut” which has a little sparkly in it, with a low divider between the two sides, making it easier to wash large pans. The faucet has a pull-out sprayer on the end that pulls back with magnets. I’m also getting a new disposal.
  • Yesterday I picked out a porcelain floor tile and a marble and glass tile backsplash. It has rough stone with both frosted and shiny glass, and is pretty neutral. Here they are with a small door from my cabinets and my granite sample. Because the cabinets are heavily grained and the granite is busy, I wanted neutral floor and backsplash that wouldn’t fight with either one. They will really brighten up the space, and the floor tile is textured so it won’t be slippery.

Still not sure what I’m doing about paint colors – so many! so many that look almost alike, except some are pinkish or tint yellow or green or are too dark or whatever. But it’s probably going to be one of these:

To help me figure it out, I’ve ordered more 12×12″ peel-and-stick samples from Samplize.com. These are so cool and so easy – they paint the squares with real Sherwin-Williams or Benjamin Moore paint. You peel off the backs, then slap them up on a wall – or cabinet, or ceiling. Whatever. Easy to peel off and slap up on another place to see how it looks in different light. Right now I’m leaning forward Kilim Beige but we’ll see after the samples get here.

I have an estimate from one contractor on all of the work requested, including screening in the back porch, reworking the garage dryer vent, and painting the bathrooms. The bottom line is below the number I’d mentally set as my limit. I’m pleased and relieved to know I can actually do this, with money left over for soft changes like window treatments, a new couch, and new seats for the dining room chairs.

I stopped by the cemetery today to talk with my mom about changing her kitchen. I know she’s not actually there, and I’ve talked with her here at the house. But I just want to feel that she’s okay with the changes I’m making to her home. And I think she would be. She would want me to be comfortable, to make this place mine. She wouldn’t be going as fast as I seem to be in moving forward, but she would support me – and go with me to pick things out. I miss you, Mom.