Thursday, November 14, 2013

Alternative Refresher

I was late for my meeting this morning as my hubby and I spent yesterday digging up some thirty year old rhodies and assorted large bushes.

Oye, I hurt today.

My thumbs are a mess. Swollen, throbbing, tender, useless.

I'm sure my hubby was happy to go back to his desk job today. His back was tender last night.

We are both getting old. 

I stopped by the local coffee shop for a feta and spinach wrap and a big berry hibiscus refresher.

I ended up much more refreshed than I had anticipated!

The wrap was hot, so I tried to hold the bag it was in away from my iced drink. Since the paper bag was scrunched in the fingers of my left hand, being that my thumbs aren't working, I had to squeeze my drink with the side of my left hand and the palm and fingers of my right hand.

Yep. The sides of that big, plastic drink cup collapsed inward, popping off the lid with straw and shooting ice cold 'refresher' down the front of me.

Fortunately I was wearing dark clothing so the spill wasn't as noticeable.

Unfortunately, it was 41°F out. 


Did I go back in and order another drink?

Not on your life.

The inability to use my thumbs may make me clumsy, but it doesn't make me stupid! 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Turkey Pinch Pot

The holidays are quickly approaching.

I would fail ceramics class if I were in school right now as there is no way on earth that I could 'pinch' myself, let alone a pottery clay figure such as this.


I am constantly stymied at the limitations I have forgotten about since last year's thumbless season. Perhaps my memory is as fleeting as my opposable digit useage this time of year.

It would be interesting to have my family members tape their thumbs and palms securely for a day so they could actually see what it is like for me. Of course, there wouldn't be the twinges and pain that I experience. Or the shock of grabbing something (having forgotten that I can't rely on that pesky old useless digit) and having it fall right out of my graspless clutch. The frantic waving in the air to try to rescue said flying object. The mess that may occur.

Ah shucks, dropped something again.

Seriously. With your thumbs loosely taped to the sides of your palm, try to write your name, pick up a coin, pick up a glass of water and drink, turn a doorknob, use a zipper, button or unbutton clothing, and tie shoe laces. For that matter, try pulling on a pair of tabless boots. If you manage to get your foot in, try to pull it off.

Put a key into your car door or ignition and turn it. Turn on or off the heater and defroster fan, the radio, your lights or wipers. Stop at the gas station and fill up (if you can get that gas cap off). Check your tire pressure. Squeegee your windows clean.

Yep, difficult.

Guess I will have to wait until summer to make those pinch pot ceramics.

Friday, November 8, 2013


Peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Simple, straight forward.

Slap a couple of pieces of bread on the board. 

Then try to wind the twisty tie around the bread bag using only your fingers. Some times I just toss the twisty and twirl the bag well & tuck the end under the loaf itself when putting it back in the drawer.

Opening the jars of peanut butter and the jelly isn't too bad as I have a super duper lid opener from Pampered Chef fastened to the bottom of a cupboard. I can hold the jars with both hands and twist.

But now I have to get the peanut butter out of the jar. 

The jelly is easy with a long handled ice tea spoon. Peanut butter is a horse of a different color.

If I use a knife, I have to clinch it very tightly with my fingers and palm. Even though I am not using my thumb, it hurts like bloody heck.

If I use some sort of spoon I have to then use a knife or spatula to scrap the peanut butter off of the spoon and onto the bread. Chances are that I will tear up the bread, as well as smear myself, the breadboard, the counter and any loose items nearby in the process.

It is much simpler to make a different sort of sandwich. Mayo and mustard are already in squeeze bottles which I can apply both palms to. Lunchmeat and cheese are presliced, and our salad greens come pre-torn in a nice big plastic box. Easy peasy.

Or I can call Kidlet in to help me, his dear old mum, with the peanut butter.

He's really sweet about it.

Except for the snickering...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Clipped & Nailed

Have you ever tried to clip your nails, either finger or toe, without using your thumbs? Go ahead and try it. Hold the clippers between your fingers. Or try gripping the clippers between your fingers and palm. Or try to push the clippers with your fingers against a counter or table edge.

Right, it's hard.

So is painting said nails. It is very difficult to steady the nail polish brush between your fingers.

Up until a few years ago I had never been to a nail salon in my life. Now I'm a regular.

It's not cheap.

I am starting to recognize how many things I am changing as a result of losing the use of my thumbs.

I no longer grate cheese. I buy it pre-shredded instead.

I don't chop up veggies like I use to.

Kneading dough and rolling pie crusts becomes a real endeavor.

I envision having to hire a housecleaning service in the not too distant future as it is becoming very difficult to adequately hang on to our vacuum cleaner, duster, sponges and scrub brushes. It's hard to wring out cloths. It's even becoming impossible to grip a spray pump on a household cleaner.

Some articles of clothing are nearly impossible to hook, snap, zip or button.


Speaking of which, I haven't been target shooting for a long time now. Or fishing.

I think I'm going to have to remedy that soon.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Can It

Temperatures have dropped again this morning. My thumbs are barely working. My hubby has already made coffee, so after pouring myself a cup all I need to do is make Kidlet's lunch.

I did a PBJ for him yesterday and there doesn't appear to be any lunch meat left, so I'll make a tuna sandwich for him. He loves tuna, and also egg salad sandwiches. Come to think of it, Kidlet loves food! At fifteen, he eats constantly.

Out of the fridge comes mayo, sweet relish, and lettuce. Third drawer down has the bread. Opening the door to the pantry is easy since I've replaced all the round doorknobs in the house with levers. Easy to use with fingers only. Disadvantage is that one of our dogs can open them too.

Oh for crying out loud! The tuna is in a can. 

I must open that can. I can't make a strong enough grasp this morning to twist the hand crank on the manual can opener that I usually use. 


I now bend down to dig the electric can opener out of a lower cupboard. It is behind the toaster, air popper, coffee bean grinder, and electric tea kettle. 

As you may have guessed, I don't use it a lot. I try to cook with fresh ingredients, so I don't purchase many canned goods. If one doesn't open cans more than a few times a month, there doesn't seem to be much point in leaving an electric can opener out on the sideboard. So I normally just grab the manual opener. 

Except when I can't grasp.

Okay doke. I now have the can of tuna open. I pop the little cutting gizmo out of the opener in order to clean off the tuna juice. With the gizmo and the tuna can, I go to the kitchen sink to drain the tuna and wash the gizmo. 

Whoa! I can't squeeze the the lid on the can into the can with my fingers and thumbs wrapped around the can to finish draining the tuna. 

Hmmm. I place the can in my left palm, wrapping my left fingers as tightly as possible around it. Then with the fingers of my right hand I push in on the lid as I turn it over above the drain. 


After washing the gizmo and the sink, I go back across the kitchen to complete Kidlet's sandwich making. Most everything else is easy peasy. I remember to use two hands to pick things up. I can push the baggie's zip lock against the counter with my fingers to close the sandwich up. I do find that the double zip bags are the best for this.

Once the kitchen is cleaned up and Kidlet is out the door, I go up to my office. It is very warm up here as we have a large window-like opening that overlooks the diningroom pellet stove. Since heat rises, my office is a nice, dry hideaway for the morning.

Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and eBay are my constant companions until my thumbs work better. Thankfully so!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Heat Wave

Woo hoo! The temp today is up to 50°F and I am soooo happy even though it is a cloudy, grey day that is threatening rain.

My thumbs are working!

Unfortunately that means I have to vacuum, fold clothes, pay bills and sort through my closets.

Fortunately, if I can get those done quickly enough I can scrapbook for a while!

I was going to try to meet a friend for coffee this morning, but will put it off until a non-functioning thumb day. 

My friends understand.

I try hard not to whine or complain. 

I seldom wear my hand braces in public. They are rigid bright red plastic with black velcro straps. Highly visible. Definitely worth wearing as they remind me to limit my thumb movements, which in turn alleviates my pain.

I can't drive well with my braces on. Without the braces I can hook my thumbs over the steering wheel to align with my fingers. I still forget occasionally and try to wrap my thumbs under the wheel to grasp the wheel tightly. I pay dearly later on for that lapse in judgement.

Another wonderful thing I can do today is pull. I can grasp a thumb drive and pull it out of my laptop.

I can pull a thread through material, so I need to get some mending done tonight.

I can make pulled pork, slice onions, and grate cheese!

Hurray for warmer weather!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Cold Cruel World

Holy cannoli, it's cold out. 

31° Fehrenheit at nine o'clock in the morning.

I am cold and I ache.

I'm wrapped in a king sized blanket from head to toe. I have thick woolly socks tucked into fur lined slippers, and am clothed in heavy sweats and thermal long johns. I do not have gloves on as I haven't figured out how to navigate a keyboard fully gloved yet. 

I am contemplating the purchase of Dragon Voice Recognition software.

Nice thing about keyboards though - I can 'rap' my thumbs against the space bar just fine. Thank you Lord for that.

I certainly understand how appealing a move to warm, dry climates can be when one advances in age. I just checked, and the actual age to become recognized as a senior citizen is typically 65. I have a couple of years to go.

One very ironic part of my life is that I still have a teenager at home. I will be able to buy Kidlet his high school graduation gift with my first social security check. Sobering fact, indeed.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my 'late in life' child, but I am so very glad that I don't have to deal with diapers right now. Nor worry about hanging onto a wiggling toddler. Or, for that matter, remembering where I left the little bugger! Funny to contemplate those possibilities.

I know that I need to get up and move around to increase my circulation. Perhaps I can go down to our dining room in order to do some jumping jacks directly in front of our pellet stove (which is currently cranked to mega heat setting). 

I suppose just running up and down the stairs would help a bit also. There are dishes to be done on the main floor and laundry to be completed in the basement. Wouldn't hurt to get the vacuum out, too. 

Kidlet plays football, though his season is winding down. He is living on Ibuprofen right now, as am I.  My sweet boy remembers to keep the cap on the bottle loosely after his morning dose in order for me to get my daily doses. Nothing worse than someone forgetting and screwing the 'childproof' cap on tight. I've actually taken a hack saw to a bottle before. I was not a happy camper.

The thought of unbundling from my current cozy blanket-nest is disheartening. But I doubt that I would be able to slide from my office chair and roll myself down the stairs with blanket intact. 


Oh how I long for summer!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Life Without Thumbs

As temperatures drop and autumn begins its relentless trudge towards winter, often impersonating that impending season with frightening accuracy, my hands begin their annual journey into nonfunctioning appendages.

I lose the use of my thumbs mostly when it becomes damp and cold out.

I have developed osteoarthritis.

Fortunately, we humans really don’t use our thumbs for much, so it’s truly not much of a loss.

Oh wait, cancel that.

Life without thumbs is a bitch.

Just a few days ago I grabbed my phone as I got out of the car, swinging my hand down to slip said phone into my pocket, and whoooooosh! Due to the lack of grip, my lovely link to the outside world went sailing through the air and rocketed against the ground with a sickening crunch.


Anyone know how to replace the face glass on a Galaxy S3?

Life without thumbs is challenging.

Gripping, pulling, lifting, holding, pinching, grasping, tugging, turning, and manipulating are all skills of my recent past.

I move into a season of my life that deprives me of brushing, tweezing, braiding, nail clipping, tying shoes, packaging, arts and crafts, buttoning, painting, picking, carpentry, zipping, baking, wrench turning, playing music, wearing jewelry, and using sign language.

The sign language thing is okay since I’ve actually never learned sign.

But still…

I wear slip on shoes, clothes with elastic and Velcro, and big pockets to rest those useless digits. I am unable to hitchhike. I should probably alert my bank to the fact that my signature is vastly different.

Even Charmin has become a challenge.

Life without thumbs is my new reality for the next six months.