Saturday, August 18, 2012

Upon Which I Show You How to Fix Small Holes in Your Vinyl Siding - CHEAP

Hale damage to vinyl siding
A couple years ago we had a few heavy-duty hail storms go through town.  A lot of folks got new roofs out of that thanks to hefty insurance checks.  But our roof, barely one year old, had only a couple nicks and no real damage.  (Still, even though we paid for it ourselves the prior year, we're happy to have been able to do so.)

The hail DID put a few small holes in our 40-year-old vinyl siding. The stuff gets brittle with time.  We decided to do a simple repair job that cost us all of $5.00 for materials.

Here's my supply list. Sample siding, Scotch tape to hold it temporarily in place, DAP auto/marine silicone sealant in a tube, and scissors to cut the tip of the sealant.
Supplies necessary to the fixit job!

We found free samples of siding of the same color at Lowe's.  I asked for a half dozen pieces and told them we weren't planning to buy siding...just needed some patch material.  They sent us away with their blessing. (We buy plenty of other supplies there!)

The repair was easy as could be. First I washed the dust off the siding, drying it carefully. Then I dabbed some of the silicone sealant on the back of the sample, put it into position, and taped it to hold it securely till the silicone set up.  The tape was probably not necessary but it took only a minute. The next day I removed the tape and the repair was solidly secured.

Georgia Pacific sample of vinyl siding
Perfect color match

A year later, the repair is still holding and is almost not noticeable unless one is looking for it.   Of course, if your damage is extensive, especially if it is covered by insurance, this is not your remedy.  But in our case it was perfect.

You can tell 'em you got the idea from WhiteStone!  *smile*
P.S. Disclaimer! We are not affiliated in any way with any of the products named herein...just happy customers.  (We had no leftover pieces of the original siding...if you do, simply cut to an appropriate size and apply a patch, sealing the edges well with the silicone.)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Whereupon I Almost Obtain a Medical Degree and Also Extol Bag Balm

Sometimes I think I should have a medical degree.  I kid you not. In the three and a half years since being diagnosed with ovarian cancer I believe I've Googled every symptom under the sun and also every drug combo available for treatment.

I've learned that caffeine may slighty inhibit the efficacy (I love that word) of topotecan.  I didn't know that after my first dosage.  But by my second, I had come across that little tidbit of information and for the duration (of the topotecan treatments) I gave up my morning coffee which consists of two or three cups of instant Folgers.  I'm not a caffeine fanatic as's the ritual of selecting a cup, scooping and stirring the coffee granules, nuking in the microwave, sitting down with my Bible or sometimes yesterday's newspaper still lying unread on the table.  I love that morning ritual. But I gave up my coffee for the duration until the topotecan, like all my previous chemo drugs, stopped working.
Palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia.
Day 28 of Cycle 3

Thanks to Google I'm quite well versed on peripheral neuropathy, ocular migraines, palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia (PPE), and other side-effects of chemotherapy. PPE, otherwise known as hand/foot syndrome, is a widely known side-effect of the chemo drug Doxil. I'm not on Doxil, but I am on its virtual twin, a drug called Lipo-Dox imported from India.  (Doxil, the American drug, is currently unavailable.)

I've learned that the lowly Bag Balm, a veterinary product originally intended to soothe the udders of milk cows, is a soothing balm for hand-foot syndrome. I buy mine at the local farm store on the edge of town and the past three weeks have slathered it twice daily on my poor, tender, reddened feet.  Thanks to Bag Balm my toes healed and are now merely "red and tender" this time round.

Thanks to an online forum for ovarian cancer patients I've become knowledgeable about various treatments, supplements (some advised, some not advised, some ill-advised), the importance of staying active, and maintaining a positive attitude.

Bag Balm, the farmer's friend (and mine)
It's that last one that is difficult. Some compare attitude to the half-full/half-empty glass.  But frankly, at my age, and with my diagnosis, I don't see the "half" as quite accurate.  I figure my glass, in terms of future longevity, is nearing "empty".  Yes, I may have a few years left. Three? Two? Four? Seven?  Who knows. My cancer can metastasize...any time!

Lipo-Dox is my fifth chemo regimen (sixth if I count the few weeks of tamoxifen taken jointly with my third regimen).  I use one drug until it stops working. When my tumor marker begins rising quickly, we know the chemo is no longer working. And we try the next drug.

Frankly I'm amazed.  I've been on carbo/taxol, carbo/taxol/avastin, carbo/gemzar, topotecan, and now Lipo-Dox.   I'm amazed my body is still in decent condition.  Up until recently I've been walking two miles several times a week.  Last month's hand-foot syndrome put the kibosh on walking. At least temporarily.

I'm trying to remain positive...not that the drugs will cure me. I know they won't. Not after so many recurrences, not unless there is a miracle from God Himself.  Nevertheless, I remain positive that treatment will keep me stable for a good while yet.

Some of my online friends have achieved long months or even years of remission.  But more of them are like myself, going through one chemo regimen after another, hoping for a few months in between to rest up for the next drug.

Many of these friends are Christians and recognize that the Bible tells us that God knows our every day before we are even born (Psalm 139:16).  They know that Christians, like everyone else, go through the ordinary travails of life in this world, including cancer.  They know, too, that God is the giver of courage and of faith itself (Ephesians 2:8-9).  As Christians we know that God is with us as we walk through the fire (Isaiah 43:2). We will not be overwhelmed. Instead we will praise God until that very last drop of water in that proverbial half-full/half-empty glass is gone.

May your day be full of good things. As is mine.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Early Morning Emergency -- A ROAR in the Garage!

Our neighbor rang our doorbell this morning at 6:30 am.  I knew something must be amiss but I never expected his next words.  "Your car is running in your garage!"  He and his wife had stepped out on their back deck for their morning coffee and heard the roar of the engine!

Ours is a detached garage. And hubby drove the car yesterday afternoon!  Could he have possibly exited without turning off the car?  If so, the poor car had been running ALL NIGHT LONG!  That is not the sort of news a proud car owner wishes to hear.

I grabbed the garage keys and ran out the backdoor. As I skipped down the steps of the deck I could hear the ROAR!  The closer I got, the louder it became! When I opened the garage door it sounded as if the engine was running at a horrendously fast idle and I thought to myself, "This can't be good for the engine!"  I saw $$$ signs floating in front of my eyes...floating and flying across town to the mechanic!
No key in the ignition!!!

But Lo! And Behold! There were no keys in the ignition. Now I know some cars run without the keys but ours does not.

The ROAR continued!

Then my eyes fell on the leaf blower hanging on the side wall.  It was running full blast!

I KNOW hubby would never have exited the garage with that ROAR in his ears.

The only thing we can figure is that the switch was not turned off securely!  We have a wall switch like that...if one is not careful, it stops in the center position instead of "off".

In the past we've had our paper shredder begin running spontaneously.  In the middle of the night!  It's quite startling to all of a sudden, in the quiet of the night, to hear a high-pitched whine start resounding through the house.  I've read that paper shredders can do this. And they have been known to start fires.  So now we always keep it unplugged except when in use.

The leaf blower is now unplugged, too.

And our nice little black car is just fine!