Wednesday, October 20: Update

Things should be settling down again in the next two weeks once we’ve transitioned to the new home, and I’ll be more diligent at making posts again. For the time being, however, the blog is getting shorted on attention. It’s odd to love back over the last five days since we closed: a lot has happened.

 

I’ll start with Claire. Because of the Friday closing, Claire didn’t have her normal horse therapy session. She resumed on Monday with Tiffany as a saddlemate again. Claire improves with each successive lesson. Claire showed us just how much stronger her trunk is on Monday: Claire held her body upright with little support and sat back in the saddle rather than flop forward. It’s fun to watch her focus when she’s on the horse: her pupils close down and her eyes fixate. We’re seeing this focus in other areas as well.

Some friends who has not seen Claire in a while commented on her improved focus last Friday. Claire tracks to movement as it enters her vision now. Her eyes are more purposeful and she uses them to identify sensory sources. Tiffany has noted that Claire has little trouble finding her now, which is much different than a month ago. We feel that her awareness is becoming more acute and her sensory skills are improving.

 

Yet we have still had some hard days. Claire’s vomiting issues ebb and flow. They are much less frequent, but when they show themselves, it makes for a difficult day. Our plan is to be more aggressive with her nutrition plan after we get settled into the new house. Claire is still on a majority formula diet; once the move is done, we’re going to start experimenting with more real foods and bolus feeds as opposed to pump feeds. We hope that helps remove the volatility from her stomach.

 

There is a lot going on around Claire and that may be contributing to her nervous stomach. After we closed on Friday, we got to work on prepping the home. Jon and I were at the house until the wee hours of the morn’ removing the popcorn ceiling on the second floor. It was messy work. Delirium started to set in around 11:00 PM when we had to get the stairwell ceiling scraped. Since only one ladder leg could fit on the stairs, Jon pretended to be the other while I climbed up and scraped the ceiling. Dangerous, yes; but what’s a whole home remodel without a little intrigue?

 

The intrigue continued into Saturday. We had about ten people show up to help prep the house for this coming Saturday’s work. The task list included removing wallpaper from the kitchen and bathrooms, sanding down walls, priming the ceilings, removing molding, taping the windows and floors and installing the garage door opener. We accomplished most of the work; however, new items popped up. The virgin run for the garage door opener started well but ended tragically when the top panel on the door buckled. The previous owner had rigged the door to operate manually, but the load from the mechanical opener was too much. So we’re getting a new garage door. Next, the wallpaper in the kitchen didn’t come off as cleanly as we’d have hoped, so all the walls needed to be floated. After another late night, it was difficult to get up on Sunday.

 

I took Heidi and Autumn with me Sunday morning. They explored while I floated the kitchen walls. Tiffany showed up mid-morning and we all started taking turns watching Claire while the rest primed the ceilings and walls. We were making good progress and at the end of Sunday, we were on track for this Saturday’s work. When I say on track, that doesn’t mean the work was done professionally. The work was good enough, however, we knew that we would have to go back and redo some work on the house once we were moved in. But we had a deadline to keep.

 

After a zombie like performance on the soccer field, I came back to the house Sunday evening to work on a borrowed paint sprayer that had quit on me. The owner of the sprayer is a local Coppell contractor that had lent me the machine to expedite work. His arrival on Sunday night to help with the sprayer ended up being something much bigger. My friend Brian and I followed Larry around the house while he shook his head and picked apart the work we’d done. By the end of the night, Larry had convinced me to let his crew come in and do it right.

 

So here’s the deal: I’m paying for the parts. Larry is supplying all the labor. For a week. In a house that is being completely redone. I was at the house last night and the work is immaculate. The crew has removed the deck from the backyard completely. They floated nearly every wall in the house. They’re retexturing the walls today. And the house will be painted by the end of the week. (Don’t worry those of you who are coming out on Saturday: we have much more to accomplish than painting).

 

Tiffany and I have been overwhelmed. We are at a loss for what Larry, his crew and Sylvia Dendy are doing for us (Sylvia is the one that called Larry and is feeding his crew this week, and I suspect doing much more that she refuses to divulge to me).  We are trying to think of ways we can show Larry how much it means to us, while also learning how to be humble enough to accept his gift. One way I can give back is to share the story. Larry does exceptional work. If you are doing any work, I encourage you to call him. He’s honest, straightforward and skilled. His company is called the Home ER and he can be reached at 214-914-1609. I’ll be posting before and after pictures when all is said and done and you can see his work firsthand. It’s awesome.

 

Needless to say, we are excited to move into our new home. We are looking forward to seeing so many of you this Saturday. It’s going to be fun. If you are planning on coming and need the address, please reference the Facebook page or email me at tyler.tmartin@gmail.com for it.

 

Thank you for your continued prayers and support. Please continue to pray for Claire’s progress and that it moves forward. We are getting another round of Botox injections next Monday and we hope that helps alleviate some muscle irritation in her legs. Talk to you soon!

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Sunday, October 10: Update

No, I haven’t forgotten about you. The last eight days have been packed and I’m having to compartmentalize and prioritize my demands: school and the blog have been sidelined, subservient to the needs of work, family and the house. I apologize for another delayed update, and I regret that the next may be equally delayed as house demands accelerate. Just know that you are on my mind and I am eager to get back to you with updates.

We’re five days away from closing on the 15th. The preparation for move-in begins the next day on the 16th. That day is the most unpredictable right now. We did a walk through of the house yesterday and discovered that the kitchen wall treatment was done over wallpaper. So instead of sanding down the walls in the kitchen, we’ll be pulling down wallpaper before re-texturing and priming. The same goes for the upstairs bathroom. This makes things unpredictable because the job could be easier than we originally planned, or more formidable. At first blush it seems that the kitchen wallpaper will come off with relative ease; only time will tell.

We’re aiming to do a handful of things on the 16th: paint the ceilings, remove the moldings, sand down the non-uniform treatments, remove the popcorn ceilings on the second floor, re-texture the necessary walls and prep the house for painting the next week. It seems like a lot and it is; however, I think we have the right mix of manpower and equipment to get it done. It all depends on the number and magnitude of problems we run in to that day. That being said, if you were wanting to help on the 23rd and were not going to make it, feel free to join us next Saturday instead. We’d be glad to have you. We’ll be going from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM.

We’ve been running the project with multiple workstreams and everything seems to be converging in our two bedroom apartment: while we’re packing things in boxes, more things are arriving from Amazon with supplies for the new house. It frustrates Tiffany, but I get a little giddy at all the new toys. Similar to when I repaired the standing chair for Claire, I like to take each of my new tools out of the box and admire them. I’ve stopped short of naming them because that would just be over the top. With each new box, the house starts to take shape in my mind’s eye. I’m excited.

We shared our excitement with the girls yesterday when we took them to see the house for the first time. The girls had one criterion when we were looking for a house: stairs. Success. The house qualifies. The stairs, however, were soon relegated to second tier status after they saw their room. While we walked through the house making notes, the girls would pass in and out of our field of vision, quietly whispering and making their own plans. Autumn has the habit of making grandiose plans without consulting the necessary stakeholders, so I am curious to hear what she has cooked up with Heidi.

Claire’s first visit to the house wasn’t as successful because she much preferred to sleep. She had to wake up earlier than she wanted and let us know that she didn’t appreciate it. Papa, fresh off a plane from Colorado, held her and that helped calm her disposition. All in all it was a good visit and the whole family is excited to move in.

The house preparations were punctuated with our normal routine. Claire’s horse therapy session on Friday went well: Claire continues to strengthen her core muscles and her ability to hold her chest up. Tiffany also got to ride on the horse with Claire this time. She smiled the whole time.

We haven’t seen many significant changes in Claire of recent. The steps are small – sometimes they feel nonexistent – and she continues to move forward, albeit at a labored pace. The slow progress coupled with packing the home has been a vicious combination. Claire hasn’t know any home except the apartment. Claire was brought here after she was born and it’s where she sustained her injury. The emotion of this place closes in around us as we begin taking pictures down from the wall and putting memories into boxes. It’s been trying. We never know what we might find in the back of a closet that reminds us of the lives we led just four months ago. It weighs heavy on me and Tiffany. It will be hard to leave, no matter how good the house is for us.

We thank you for your continued support and prayers. We are looking forward to seeing (and meeting) a number of you on the 23rd. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

House News

October 15. Closing date. We bought the house. And we’re very excited.

It’s been a whirlwind week. Financing. Negotiations. Carpet. Paint. Scheduling. We’re trying to run a number of processes in parallel and it’s a lot to keep track. But we have had help. My mom has watched the girls while we research projects and the Barnes have helped organize the schedule to get us into our new home. The plan is to move in on October 30. That leaves two weekends to prep the house.

We will be painting the entire interior of the house on October 23rd. The day after closing, we will be sanding down some walls, re-texturing and prepping the house for primer and paint. We have a handful of other projects and if you are inclined to help, we’d love to have you join us. We’re planning on the big workday being the 23rd. Food and equipment will be provided (and an excellent workday soundtrack). We have a deck to remove, foliage to extract, walls to paint, windows to seal and pizza to eat. If you’d like to join us, please email me at tyler.tmartin@gmail.com. If you are a friend of Tiffany’s on Facebook, feel free to message her there and we’ll send you an invitation to the Facebook event page.

Needless to say we are beside ourselves with excitement. The neighborhood is great. The house is cozy. And we’ve got fantastic neighbors. Thank you for all the kind words and prayers you’ve shared with us since we mentioned the house earlier this week. We look forward to inviting you into our new home.

I will post a more substantial update tomorrow about Claire and her progress. Thanks again and sleep tight.