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Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Pond Life

Behind our house is a small man made pond that the builder put in when he started to develop the land. We assumed that there are no fish in it because no one stocked it. Each night we enjoy listening to the bullfrogs croaking and they croak all night long. I never realized that they're nocturnal. This summer we've had a great blue heron visit  the pond. Yesterday I was being lazy, I didn't want to get out of bed so I was reading. I happen to look out the window to the pond and saw this bird.

I wasn't sure what kind of bird it was but suddenly mom flew out of the cattails. The little bird followed her but flew very clumsily and just made it across the pond. It sort of looked like a heron but shorter and stockier.


 A few minutes later they flew back to the original side they were on. The fledgling is in the foreground and mom is in the background. She was teaching it how to get food. After some research I discovered that they are green herons. They live in this part of New York state only in the summer.

 Later in the day our resident great blue heron showed up 
wondering what she was going to have for dinner.
 On the menu was bullfrog. She held it in her beak for a good five minutes dipping it back into the water a few times. After dinner she went for a leisurely stroll along the edge of the pond.

Also at the pond yesterday was a female banded kingfisher. She dove head first into the pond and came up with a fish that I didn't know was there. She went up into a tree to eat her snack but she dropped it down into the weeds. 
I'm so lucky to live here.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

 It's been three weeks since my knee was replaced and honestly it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

 This is what the doctor installed. I saw one at a joint class and was surprised how heavy it was. The new joint cost anywhere between 4 to 8 thousand dollars!
Waiting to go into the operating room.
 I really wasn't too nervous about the surgery, I was at the point where I couldn't wait to have it done. I was more nervous about the anesthesia. I didn't have a general but a spinal, a nerve block and some twilight sleeping stuff. They said I may hear the doctor during surgery but wouldn't remember it. I remember nothing.

 I had to initial the knee that was being replaced but as I told my orthopedist it didn't matter if he did the other one in error, they are both the same, bone on bone.






The next day. If you have general anesthesia they have you up out of bed and walking that same day. If you have what I had you have to wait til the next day because your leg is  still numb. So this was the next day. I sent this picture to my kindergartners.





Twenty one staples later here it is. They were removed 13 days later and it's looking pretty good. My recovery has been going well. Apparently I'm way above where I should be in my PT. I'm young (for a knee replacement) and I have a high pain tolerance.  The absolute worse thing was a short bout of post op depression. That lasted about 10 days and I was miserable. Thank god I'm over that and am so lucky, some people suffer for much, much longer with it.

So one knee down, one to go. But not for at least 8-12 months.



Wednesday, May 01, 2013

I Robot


 I've had knee trouble since I was in my 30's. I really can't remember a time when I didn't have issues with them. I'd watch people run or jump and think , "Gee, I can't do that." Finally at age 40 I had an MRI and x rays My orthopedist told me he had good news and bad news. The good news was that I was only 40, the bad news; I had the knees of an 80 year old. Not only that, my knee caps were rotting away on the underside of them. Great.

For years I had shots of some medicine with 25 letters in it under my kneecap. I hated it. The doctor kept telling me I was too young for a knee replacements.  Fast forward to 2012. It was getting harder and harder to walk without a hitch in my giddy up as hubby called it. I really noticed pain while trying to Christmas shop in December. It got to the point that even when I wasn't using my knees they hurt. They hurt when I rolled over in bed at night. I had become bow legged, not a good look. My hips were bothering me. I had to get a freakin' handicap tag. Ugh. I try not to use it, I just don't want to feel like I need it. Denial I guess.  If there are spots within 5-7 spaces of one I'll park there not in the marked parking. I figure there must be someone older and more handicapped that could use the spot.

I decided it was time to see the doctor again and this time the x rays told the story. Both knees were bone on bone.It was time. On May 7 I will be having my right knee replaced with the left to follow within a year. Below is what they will be using.




 I'm happy to be doing it but not looking forward to the recovery. It'll be fine in the long run and I'll be a good girl and do all my rehab. I've seen first hand what happens when you don't follow through with it. My last surgery was brutal (36 inches of incision and over 450 stitches) and I hope this one will be easier.

This isn't my x ray but what mine will look like when this is finished.  I told my kindergartners that I was having this done and that I wouldn't be back to school until they are in first grade. I gave them the very basics of what the doctor will do. One little boy was so excited and blurted out, "Awesome, you'll have a robot knee! Will you be able to tell it what to do?" My first step on becoming a cyborg.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Tragic Holiday

I've had this entry waiting to be posted for a while and finally decided to do it.



In the early morning hours of December 24, 2012 a fire alarm was called in for a house fire on Lake Rd. The first engine to respond was from the West Webster station of the Webster Fire Department which were then fired upon by an assailant injuring 2 firefighters, Ted Scardino and Joseph Hofstetter and killing 2 others Mike Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka.

Lt. Michael "Chip" Chiapperini was 43 years old. He was a son, a husband, a father and hero. He had 3 children, the oldest is Nick age 19 who is also in the West Webster Fire Dept. Nick was working in the dept that morning as an ambulance dispatcher and got the call for his father and Tomasz. Two little girls also called Chiapperini daddy.



Lt. Chiapperini was a 25 year member of the WWFD and past Chief. Seven weeks prior to his murder he travelled to NYC to help with the clean up from hurricane Sandy and just two weeks before his death he was named Firefighter of the Year. Chiapperini was a mentor to young people who wanted to be firefighters and was in charge of the Explorer program in the department.  Remember that he was a volunteer in his service to the WWFD; his paying job was in the Webster Police Dept. where he was also a Lieutenant. Two public services lost a valuable member that day.





Tomasz Kaczowka was just 19 years old when he was murdered. On the morning of December 24, 2012 he was standing in for firefighters with families who were spending time together during the holiday.


Tomasz was a dedicated young man and mature beyond his years. He spent 3 years in the WWFD Explorer program under the tutelage of Lt. Chiapperini. It was there that he met his best friend Nick Chiapperini. When Tomasz turned 18 he joined the department as a full fledged firefighter. His paying job was as an overnight dispatcher for the 911 Emergency Dispatch Center in Rochester, NY. Tomasz was the youngest person on the job and was referred to as "every one's little brother".  He often brought in desserts made by his mother.  Tomasz was proud of his Polish heritage and his church. Several weeks earlier he and his father decorated the Church for the Christmas season. For many teens at that age it's all about them but not Tomasz. It was said that he was "unselfish with his time and gave freely of himself".



Above is Tomasz in his glory; talking to little ones about firefighting, telling them not to be afraid of a firefighter in a fire. Call to them or come to them if you can. They may sound like Darth Vader with the breathing apparatus but they will help you.



Tomasz Kaczowka and Lt. Michael Chiapperini

The following are pictures that I took as we stood on the side of the road to pay our respects as Lt. Chiapperini's funeral procession passed by on the way to the service.


Calling hours for both men and the funeral for Lt. Chiapperini were held in the local high school auditorium. A large space was needed for all the people to attend. On the day and evening of the calling hours over 5,000 people waited in the freezing cold to enter and honor these men. Thousands attended the funeral for Chiapperini, the auditorium was full as well as the cafeteria and classrooms where it was watched on CCTV. It was also live on local TV. I didn't see it because we were along the procession route.


Two ladder trucks hoisted the American flag.
On a side note I've been up several times in the ladder truck while on our yearly field trips to the fire house with my kindergartners. It was fun and the view was great but I would never want to be a firefighter, too scary.




Outside the school fire equipment could be seen lining both sides from all over the area.


Lt. Chiapperini's body is on the truck with an honor guard of fellow firefighters.


One of which was his son Nick. As the truck rolled by Nick took the time to raise his hand in acknowledgment of us standing in the bone numbing cold. That would make his father proud.




The Webster Fire Department is no stranger to us. My sister's husband has been a member since I've know him, over 20 years. This is him driving the truck from his firehouse. We've gone to countless parades, carnivals, turkey raffles and fund raisers for the department and  in our new home this is our fire department now.


Both of these senseless murders have affected our towns and city but for some reason the death of Tomasz Koczowka has hit me harder. Maybe because I have two boys myself not that much older. He was so young and had so little life experience. He'd not known the love of a wife or his own child. He was a kid himself. This picture is so heartbreaking to me. You may not be able to see what it is but parked inside his fire house behind all the flowers is his jeep that he loved and was so proud of. I know first hand how young men love their car. 

Tomasz's funeral was held the day after Chiapperini's on a smaller scale. It was held at his church St. Stanislaus,  in the city where there wasn't the room to park. His best friend Nick accompanied him on the truck as he did for his father the previous day. I watched on TV and cried like a baby.

On that fateful morning Tomasz awoke to a 6 AM  call for a house and car fire on Lake Rd. He jumped out of bed, into the pumper truck being driven by Lt. Chiapperini and away they went. Upon arrival they were fired upon as they exited the truck and killed almost immediately. Meanwhile firefighters Scardino and Hofstetter were wounded but miraculously were able to take cover and call for help. They were rescued by armored vehicle but it would be hours before anyone got close to their fallen comrades.

Go here if you want to know more about what happened that morning.

Go here if you want to know more about the killer. I'll not publish his name nor give him any publicity.


The surrounding towns have been very helpful in this tragedy, other fire companies  provided back up and have covered for the Webster Fire Department. Residents donated food, money and time. I don't think any  fire fighter or police officer that came into town for calling hours or funeral had to pay for their hotel room or meals. People paid for hotel rooms, donated gift cards to restaurants and paid for fire fighter's dinners when they were seen out and about in town.

One good thing that has come out of this horror is an organization called  Operation 12.24
This  description is from their facebook page:
Resulting from the tremendous outpouring of goodwill and acts of kindness after the tragic West Webster ambush this project seeks to encourage generosity, volunteerism and charitable initiatives. One of our primary missions is to assist and encourage attendance at funeral services in the wake of line of duty deaths in the uniformed services. We do this by organizing direct donations of hotel room stays and other comforts.

If you have a facebook account check out these two pages:

Operation 12.24   and   Prays and Support for Webster Firefighters



I'll end this post with a link to a tribute video to the West Webster Fire Dept.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Long Time No See




 So when I last left this blog we had sold our home of 29 years and moved in with my parents while our new house was being built.



Here we are just before ground was broken for the basement in July.The process of building a house was much easier than I thought it would be. The hardest part was staying in budget but as far as picking everything out we pretty much knew what we wanted. Of course I didn't get everything I wanted, I had to compromise but it worked out. We closed on Halloween so start to finish it took about 120 days start to finish.




Other than settling into our new home nothing else is new. I feel bad I abandoned this blog for a while but maybe no one really noticed. Well one person did (hi Gman).

Friday, June 08, 2012

Going, going, almost gone...

After living in our home for 29 years, raising our two sons and several dogs we've decided to sell our house.
We've thought about it off and on for the last several years but when push came to shove I couldn't do it. Too many memories, this is the only house my children have ever known. I remember years ago when my parents moved out of my childhood home; I hated that. It was a sad day and I didn't even live at home anymore. 

 Hubby and I were married just a year when we bought this house. We've cycled through countless remodels and paint jobs over the years. Hubby is very handy and has put down three tile floors, one hardwood floor and installed carpet. He's replaced our bathtub, toilets, done a glass tile back splash, built a beautiful oak banister going upstairs so there's a lot of sweat equity here.

The tipping point finally came now that my knees are getting pretty bad. Every where you go in our house you  have to climb stairs. That and I've realized that your house is just a place to live in, no matter where you are if you're with someone you love its home.

We aren't moving far, maybe 15 minutes away into a new subdivision. The new place will be just a little smaller but will have everything I want once its built; a bathroom off the master bedroom, one level, first floor laundry, open floor plan and what Hubby is most excited about, a two car garage.

Our current house is almost sold, waiting on their banks appraisal and mortgage commitment. We can't put the shovel in the ground until that happens. The buyers want to close at the end of July and our new place won't be ready. We'll be living with my parents for about 2-3 months.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Real World

My recent college graduate got a job!
And a new wardrobe. 
 He starts Tuesday as a paralegal at a law firm in downtown Rochester.