cabinet makeover – lockdown 2 day 79


I remembered that before the proverbial hit the fan on Sunday I had planned to share the first of the finished makeover projects I’ve been working on.

Firstly I apologise I don’t have any before pics. I tend to forget and just get down to the job at hand. Here is a photo halfway through:

It was a varnished pine cabinet, ie basic and ugly and yellowed with time. The plywood front doors were added before I got to it making it into a much more useful piece of furniture.

First thing I did was give it a sand, gap fill, re-sand, then a coat of oil based undercoat. Then 3 coats of water based top coat in Benjamin Moore Oyster. The closest to the chalk paint colour I was using on the bedsides I could find.

The drawer knobs were plain yellowed pine so I bought some unvarnished pine knobs and painted them myself.

Starfish in keeping with a holiday on the island theme.

Figured it was time to post something positive!

z

restless nights – lockdown 2 day 78

I spent most of the day, and all night at the hospital. I didn’t want to risk another night like the last where all hell broke loose. Fortunately Aunt 1 was slower and quieter thanks to the sedatives they are now giving her.

Not that she’s calm. Unless she’s actually asleep, she’s pulling off her covers, murming or giving the odd yell to keep you on your toes, and struggling to get out of bed. Still. I’m amazed at her strength, will and resistance to drugs. Even when drugged to the eyeballs, slurred speech, eyes half closed, her hands and legs are struggling towards freedom.

Since 2 ladies left there are empty beds so I helped myself to one using a blanket over the plastic sheet and yucky pillow. And my scarf to lay my face on. Ugh. Its not easy sleeping in hospital unless you’re actually sick or injurred and your body just wants to sleep. but I got a couple of hours at least. Once I se the doctor this morning and full nursing staff is back on I think I’ll go shower and see if I can nap. Doubtful but you can always hope.

I did see the orthopedic surgeon for about 1 minute yesterday… Aunt 1 has 3 broken vertebrae, she’s had broken vertebrae before but these are in a new spot. I actually counted her broken bones vs mine last night. I’m still ahead at 12 to her 9. Unless any of her breaks were multiple spots in one area as some of mine were.

Anyway, the doctor said that all going well Aunt 1 would be released. Perhaps with a back brace. I’ll see him today and we will find out.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that its really rough out there and the ferries may not be allowed to travel. There’s a ferry to Paros tonight, none on Wednesday, another on Thursday. If we can’t get one tonight we’re here for another day and night.

UGH.

Since its quiet around here I snuck around and took some photos just around the room…

Evidence of leaks and mould on the ceiling in the hallway.
The wall between this room and the next.
I guess there are more important things to spend money on than holes in the bathroom ceiling.
There is no toilet seat in the toilet in the room… for people who are unsteady on their feet and can’t hover to pee!
Something sweet: the cat that lives outside the hospital. She’s always there to greet me as I come and go.

I’m off to find some coffee…

z

cyborgs and 3rd worlds – lockdown 2 day 77

Let me start this post with an update on Aunt 1, or the person I may start to refer to as my Cyborg. I’m convinced that that woman is invincible, beyond pain and impervious to drugs. She keeps going, no matter how many bullets are plugged into her.

Yesterday, the ferry got us here (to Syros) around 12ish. The ambulance brought us to the hospital where she was whisked in to have a CT scan while I was told to wait outside (despite being her designated ‘escort’*). I waited outside till 3.30pm when they finally let me in cause she was being unco-operative. That’s code for being a total uncontrollable pain in the ass.

So, in here, she was taken finally taken to a room on the first floor, shared with 4 other women. I felt sorry for them in advance.

I stayed here with my Cyborg till 10.00pm. She was calm for the most part… Going in and out of touch with reality. She wanted to go home cause her family was waiting for her and would be worried… Family? Yes, her mom and dad. Hm. She spent a couple of hours asking who I was, I was definitely not her niece, I didn’t even look like her. But what a coincidence that I had the same name! She spoke about people and places from her youth, saw people on the ceiling and then spoke to a cousin of mine on the phone and knew who she was, asked about her sister and parents. Made a total fool of me since she was lucid!

So I went and got a decent night’s sleep in a guest house provided by the church. I must say, that feels a bit weird to me since I’m not a church going person. I’m not religious at all… I feel rather hypocritical accepting their hospitality for free. Then again, my Cyborg is in a church owned nursing home and they arranged it for me as her ‘escort’. Plus, who can afford to pay for an air bnb (which looks like I may not use for sleeping in again, just a place to go, use the toilet** and keep my overnight bag).

I was way too tired to post last night.

Anyway, I got to the hospital at 9.15am this morning to find Cyborg tied to the bed by one hand and one foot. And to the complaints of all her room mates for her behaviour during the night. Luckily they like me and are nice ladies cause they were really angry. Apparently Cyborg, feeling no pain and having no sense of her condition, tried to get out of bed all night. Almost managed it a few times till she was tied down. She swore like a trooper, called on satan to curse on those around her and generally kept everyone awake all night. All the poor women are on headache pills this morning. One of them put crosses all over herself to ward off evil.

Meanhile, Cyborg was still in fine form despite having been given pain meds and something to calm her down. She struggled against the restraints, was constantly trying to get off the bed, twisting about in ways which reminded me uncomfortably of Linda Blair minus the pea soup vomit, swore at me and anyone nearby and even hit the nurse who brought her another dose of anti anxiety stuff. Ha. I think she needs a horse tranquilizer. Where’s a vet when you need him?

Maybe they shouldn’t give her pain meds… like they don’t give them to dogs cause if a dog doesn’t feel pain it will do things which will cause further damage…I’m not comparing my good ol’ Cyborg to a dog, but hey… the theory fits!

The second pill has finally kicked in or I wouldn’t be able to write this. A moment of breathing as she drifts in and out of sleep, muttering the whole while.

So…. now its time for the rant on the hospital… but before the general rant, let me address those asterisks.

*An escort is a person who is designated as THE person who accompanies someone in hospital. Pre COVID days this chore was split among family members who would take shifts. Now an escort is ONE person who has had a COVID test and has the paperwork to prove it and their role. Escorts are necessary cause greek public hospitals are either lacking in nursing staff. nursing staff don’t have actual ‘caring for patients beyond the very basics’ in their job description, or think certain aspects of care are beneath them. From what I gather, if Cyborg needs a bath I’m it. If Cyborg soils herself, I’m the one to change her pad (unless I’m not here, in which case someone will take care of it reluctantly). Anything she needs, I’m it.

Boy am I glad I’m here.

Yet despite the rules, two women in here have had more than the one person with them. One of them had 3 visitors last night. Another has two with her today. Go figure. Its Greece. Maybe its all about who you know. As always. A good friend’s son died yesterday in an Athens hospital and his mother was not allowed to go see him. His wife was his ‘escort’, no one else was allowed in. He was positive for COVID after spending weeks in hospital, but he died of cancer and she wasn’t allowed to see him even before he contracted COVID.

**The toilets… Another whole rant just on this one subject. The toilet in the room is for patients only. It has toilet paper and hand soap. No toilet paper. No soap should someone need a shower. No towels are  provided that I can see. When I mentioned that to a nurse she actually snorted. Maybe if a patient is well enough to have a shower and bring their own soap, they can ask for a towel. Maybe. I don’t know. Since Cyborg is unlikely to be allowed upright to shower I’m not going to find out any time soon.

The toilet for the public has no toilet seats. The one I braved didn’t flush. The hand soap pump didn’t work. There are no hand towels. Hands must be drip dried or wiped on pants apparently. Hygiene at its best.

Oh great. Cyborg is awake again and complaining that someone stole her glasses.

I’m back.

Greek public hospital. Wonderful places. I highly recommend them to anyone without self respect. And to those with a self sacrificing need to do for others. Great places where you have to provide  your own tissues, hand towels, and who knows what else.

Apparently the doctors in Greece are great… but the hospitals? I think I’ll go back to Australia when my time comes as I don’t have a daughter to be my designated escort.

That’s all for now. The tablet batter is running low. It didn’t charge up properly last night. I’m sure I’ll have more to complain about later.

z

things got too quiet – lockdown 2 day 76

It seems things got too quiet here on Paros so the universe decided it was time to shake me out of my comfortable little groove.

Aunt 1, the one who’s in the nursing home, fell and fractured a vertebrae. Apparently, from what I can gather, she’s broken one of the thoracic vertebrae and its causing some neurological issues. Such as her abiity to urinate. Till she has a CT scan they won’t know exactly what’s going on and what treatment she may need, including surgery. She needs to go to Syros to the hospital cause Paros only has a very basic health center.

My phone was on silent cause I’d been messing with settings and put it on silent accidentally so I didn’t get the calls till this afternoon. I had to come down to the health center to see what was going on. I was told the above, that it was a matter of urgency, that the small fast boat used for emergencies would be leaving for Syros in about an hour and someone (me) had to go with her, for most likely more than just one night.

Wasn’t there a CT scan anywhere on the island, in one of the private clinics I ask stupidly? Not today I was told. Not till Monday. I didn’t get that then, but I do now…

So I scrambled. Organised mom and an aunt to go to my house and pick up Lainee and all her stuff to stay with them and to pack me an overnight bag. I got the neighbour to look after Eric. There was a lot of running around for people to get things together for me.

Meanwhile people from the nursing home ran around getting Aunt 1’s stuff together.

An hour passed. Then another hour. The boat wasn’t coming, the weather was too rough. And it was going to be rougher tomorrow. Aunt 1 could have her CT scan up the road here at 6.30. PM.

What? Its urgent, but she can wait 24 hours for a CT scan?

Yep. Cause the doctor that does it isn’t on Paros till 5.30pm tomorrow. Now I get it… Just like a pet will always need the vet on a Sunday night, so will an aunt have an accident when no clinics are open.

So, if she needs surgery and needs to get to Syros, when does she go there?

The nursing home manager was here and he did some running around and organised us to take the ferry to Syros in the morning.

At this point let me explain: Syros is right across from here. One hour away by ferry. You can see it. Its the capital of the Cyclades Islands, of which Paros is a member. Its where the closest hospital is. Its where the courthouse is. Its where local government is. Yet there is no daily ferry to and from there. You can only go to Syros on whatever day the ferry goes there and return 1-3 days later when it does the route again.

Very handy.

So its settled. Aunt 1 (and I) will take the ferry at around 10.15am tomorrow morning. I had a very long Q tip stuck up my nostril (I wasn’t aware my nostril went that deep) cause I need to show a COVID19 test in order to go into the hospital. Since no one came running in here to kick me out I presume it was negative.

Aunt 1 is as annoying as ever. She’s not in pain for he most part, just confused. Not so many references to why God didn’t just take her so she wouldn’t suffer, but constant restlessness and repeated questions. She recognised me, most of the time, but didn’t know where she was, what that thing on her wrist was (IV) or what the tube in her stomach was (catheter) and asked what they were every 2 minutes. Also tried to remove them every 2.2 minutes. I had to sit and hold her hands.

She’s finally off the stretcher where she’s spent all day and into a bed. There is another bed in the room but not a single chair.

Every 2 minutes she’s fussing. She wants to turn over but it hurts. She’s too hot, throws the covers on the floor. She wants to get up and go to bed. She wants to pull the tubes out. The IV hanging over her head bothers her, etc etc. She sleeps, wakes up and starts again.

I fall asleep. I wake up when hear her tossing and turning, repeating the same words: You can’t turn over cause it hurts. You fell. You can’t get out of bed cause you hurt your back. You are in bed. You’re sleeping here tonight. You’re in hospital cause you fell. You hurt your back. That’s why it hurts. You can’t turn over, yada ada yada.

It’s hard not to yell at her to stop it and settle down. The bed has no sides, and I don’t think to ask for them. I mean, how was I to know they could ‘clip on’ sides? I’ve repeatedly asked for sleeping pills or something for her to stop the fussing over her drips and the restlessness and anxiety.

I am woken up suddenly by a loud crash. Yep. She’s falled out of bed. Or she tried to get up and fell. Either way, she’s lying on the floor with a split eyebrow and pathetically asking how she fell out of bed.

I run to get help and get yelled at by the doctor. How did she fall out of bed? Where was I? What good was I if I wasn’t watching her. F^%&. I fell asleep!

She’s got the bedside manner of a bull in a china shop, yelling and carrying on about how now my aunt needs xrays again and its the middle of the night, prodding her roughly ‘does it hurt here? what about here?’ Now I’m afraid to fall asleep again, though NOW, they pushed the bed up against the wall on side and put a rail up on the other.

Do I sound angry, frustrated, tired, fed up?

And joy… today is only the beginning of this adventure!

z

black dog – lockdown 2 day 75

Meet Petey. The first portrait dog sculpture I’ve made. And the first black dog!

Petey belongs to a good friend and one of his photos inspired this. He’s a newfoundland x gordon setter, ie huge, loving and drooly. He’s one of Lainee’s good friends though she regularly walks under his stomach.

I love how he turned out.

Petey was found in a dumpster. He was covered in fleas and ticks and his tail had been cut off. I’ve given him a full tail again in this sculpture. He’s the sweetest dog you’ve ever met and his colour and size scares the crap out of little old greek ladies (a bonus).

Petey (the sculpture) was made the usual way: cardboard, paper, masking tape, wire, alfoil, paper pulp, air dry clay, recycled fabric, glue, paint. 90% recycled.

So, other than finally getting around to photographing work, what have I been doing that kept me from posting? Well… A couple of great days where the sun shone and it was warm again meant a little more time spent outdoors. More work at my aunt’s unit, though its so slow progress. Another coat on this, another on that. Let’s put on the handles. Ooops, don’t have the pliers to cut the excess off the screw that goes into the knob. A coat of wax on the one finished piece…oops they gave me the wrong stuff. A trip to the hardware store to swap it. Take mom to the doctor, spend hours in town waiting for her to finish her chores. Groom a dog, meanwhile Lainee is getting hairier.

Bascially, the usual.

I took Lainee to the vet again. Most of the smaller lumps have disappeared with the treatment so thats good. The big lump remains though, and might be angrier… The vet was concerned cause I said Lainee seemed to be coughing more, not less, with her heart medication so we added a diuretic to her treatment. That seems to be working great. First thing she did was pee on a friend’s good rug. Ooops. But the coughing is definitely reduced now. Fingers crossed.

Eric is beginning to look like a cat now, no longer the cute little kitten… he’s an adolescent cat with a naughty face. But he’s still cuddly between bouts of insanity so there’s hope.

z

naked ladies – lockdown 2 day 74

To be honest I’m not sure I should be calling this a lockdown any more. Schools are back in session for the most part and retails shops are open. The only things that remain closed are restaurants and cafes. We still have to send sms when we go out and wear masks and abide by the safe distance rules, no large gatherings, festivals still cancelled, limits on how many can travel in one car, still not allowed to travel from one county to another… but is it still a lock down? This seems almost like back to normal life… funny what you get used to.

Should I continue to number my posts by lockdown days?

Anyway, thought I’d share another of my projects… I’ve started making naked ladies. I’ve done something similar to this before but not the same. I’m going with a sort of greek statue-esque look. Maybe some will be more fertility goddess looking… for now this is the first one ready to share.

And for those of you who haven’t clicked yet… given I love art from trash and recycling and using everyday things to create art… Can you guess what she’s made from?

She’s made using a dishwashing liquid bottle as the base with DIY paper pulp, recycled cardboard and air dry clay.

Not bad for an old dishwashing liquid bottle huh?

z

simple stars – lockdown 2 day 73

A quickie – just to catch up. I made these a while ago but wasn’t able to photograph them till yesterday. I’m still working on the photographic setup…

Very simple star shaped tea light holders made with air dry concrete clay.

I like the way they stack and the way they look when lit. They’d make a great little gift I think.

That’s it for now!

z

cat house finished – lockdown 2 day 72

Ok, I realise I skipped a couple of days, so I’m catching up retroactively.

The cat house is finally finished. I’d run into a snag with the door… basically it didn’t close properly so I had to go buy a different type of closer. But it works now and I’m really happy with it.

I brought it home yesterday and I love it. Eric got in and explored it already but I’m not sure which cat will choose to make it her home. I say ‘her’ of course, since all the cats out the front here are girls.

I put in one of the pet beds I’ve been making for Eric and Lainee. I buy cheap fleecy throws from the supermarket (it works out cheaper than buying the fabric) and can make 4 medium sized beds from one throw. I use stuffing from the excess cushions on my couch and from pillows. Animals aren’t fussed about the stuffing being new!

All ready to go! I’m happy, one cat will be happy, and all is good in the world.

I also donated a crate I had outside to the cat colony. I wrapped it in plastic to make it waterproof, put a ledge on the front at the top and bottom to make it cosier, and sat it on bricks. Another cat shelter. Our cat colony is getting spoilt.

I have offered to help make cat shelters for other parts of the island, but I can’t volunteer my time, my tools and my effort without some help (I have tons of stuff on my plate though I LOVE helping) – I have asked for people to donate wood, screws, nails, time and muscle to the project. The couple that runs the Buy Nothing Paros group on FB have offered to help so we’re working on collecting a few more pallets to start working on a few more boxes. This is great news!

z

i did something – lockdown 2 day 70 & 71

Yesterday was a washout in creative terms. I was out all day, playing taxi driver to mom and aunts, then had mom and one aunt come over to my place for a catch up.

Today, however, I had a plan. I’d go to my aunt’s unit (and my temporary workspace), I’d build a table for the stray cat food* then do a last coat of paint on one bedside table and the kitchen cabinet I’m working on. Get them finished finally. Ditto the cat house I’ve been making.

*There are a ton of stray cats living around the bins near the beach just down the road from the family place on Paros. People put food out for the cats daily but the 2 guts dogs my aunts own rush down there every morning to eat as much cat food as they can. People have tried to stop the dogs, unsuccessfully, a few times so I decided to have a shot at it myself..

Well, I made the cat food table. With a shelter inside. But no painting. It was freezing outside – snow weather. 3 degrees C. There was snow on the mountains this morning and a killer wind. Yikes. By the time I’d finished the cat table I was frozen solid.

Not a great day to work outside but I had a bee in my bonnet. Someone had put together a really poor shelter for the stray cats and I was insulted. It has no back, no front, just sides and top and a bit of foam mattress in the bottom. Pitiful for this weather. I had to act.

I saw my uncle George and told him my plan, he said I could help myself to as much wood as I wanted to from the scrap heap in the garage. (His dog is the worst culprit). So I took a load of wood down to the unit and starting making it up as I went along.

Not a bad result considering I used scrap wood of various types and had no real plan to follow. I measured, cut, screwed together bits, added bits, got more wood when I ran out… and this is the result. It looks like a work bench. Makes me think I should build myself a work bench! (Once I have a regular workspace of course!)

Its got a wide top to hold the metal tray the volunteers use as a food tray. Three full sides to keep the inside protected from the weather. Partly opened front so cats can get in. A shelf inside and a cut up piece of foam for a bed inside. Its not really big but it will house 3 or 4 cats if they don’t mind sharing. Not nearly enough, I know, but its something.

I got one of my aunts to help me carry it down and put it behind the bins, a sort of protected area between the bins and the wall, with trees overhead. Its like I’d measured the tray as its the perfect size. (I didn’t measure, I’m not that organised!)

I put the opening at the back, facing the wall for better protection from wind and rain. You can see the pathetic shelter behind mine. I added that crate to the back of it to close up at least part of the open back.

I’m pleased with it. One cat was already having a snack as I was leaving. I really hope the dogs will leave the food alone now.

Lainee and I were sure glad to get home and get warm! Sheesh. Who’s brilliant idea was it to work outside in this weather?

z

just a peek – lockdown 2 day 69

Here you go. Just a peek at a couple of the dog figures I’m working on currently. I’ve been working on my sculpture all day on and off, but now everything is drying again.

Had a bit of adventure. Those of you who follow me on FB already know we had a wild storm today. A typical Paros storm which hits suddenly and disappears after a few wild minutes of wreaking havoc.

The day started out looking fine. I took Lainee out for a pee at 8.30am and it wasn’t even cold. It was overcast but fine, no wind, just nice. But as the morning wore on the day got darker and darker till I made the executive decision to not go furniture painting today. At 12.30pm I took Lainee out for a bit and soon as we walked back into the house the wind kicked up into a tornado. I looked at the trees outside and was amazed none of them blew over. I’d never seen wind like that before.

Well, not here. It gets really windy, but this was something else.

Then the rain started. And the hail. Thunder and lightning. And the water started coming in under my front door. I kicked the rug I had to the door to catch the water and ran over to pull the couch from the wall under the window seconds before the water started gushing in through the bottom of the window pane.

These windows are decent, but they’re not watertight as I discovered in summer when I decided the best way to clean the flyscreen was the hose it down…

No serious damage. It was over fast but not before soaking a few towels and small rugs. The wall under the window has moisture damage. Not sure how bad it is till I can look at it properly. For now I’m waiting and hoping it doesn’t happen again. A few more days of storms are predicted. Hopefully tamer ones than that!

There’s been snow in Athens. I’m sorry to have missed that. Though I’m pretty sure I saw a snowflake on the wind when I went out to sweep away the hailstones.

Who said its not exciting living on a small Greek island in winter?

z