I have never been one to suffer from allergies. When I thought of allergies, I always thought of how miserable my husband and son are when allergy season begins. We discovered my son was allergic to life. We knew he had some allergies to the different seasons but we had no idea the extent of his allergies. The doctors decided that he should be tested after picking up a neighbors cat and having an anaphylactic reaction to the cat. He is allergic to every tree, grass, various molds, nuts, now dogs, and chicken. I mean seriously, who is allergic to chicken? He looked up at the allergist and told her that he would just have a pet chicken then and eat the cat. =) He was 8 years old at the time.

In dealing with him, I have learned a lot about allergies. I learned that Virginia has the highest rate of adult onset of allergies. This is due to our location. Virginia is where the Northern trees and grasses converge with the Southern trees and grasses. That is how she explained it. You can go your entire life never having had an allergic reaction and wake up one day deathly allergic to something you have eaten or been exposed to all along. This was me.

When we were dating and newly married, we would go out for dinner and depending on where we went, I would come home sick. I now know that was an allergy to anything with MSG and a variety of spices. We found out about the cayenne pepper while eating at a Chinese place one day. It started out slow, half way through our meal, I started itching. By the time we left the restaurant, I felt like I had a thousand mosquito bites.  We were one block up from the Walmart. By the time we hit the light at the Walmart, I was breaking out in hives. We stopped to grab some benedryl. Randy dropped my sister and I off in the front.The reaction was progressing pretty fast. By the time we walked into the Walmart, my throat was starting to close up and I was clawing at my face. The itching was indescribable.  We find the benedryl and I am unable to get it open. I am barely getting any oxygen at this point. The Pharmacist is watching us as Peaches is frantically trying to get the box open. He offers to call 911 but I said no…=) That is typical me. I knew we were down to bare seconds before I was completely unable to breathe. She finally got it open and I drank half the bottle.  I had to let it trickle down my throat and held the liquid in my mouth until it started to work. I could feel it  working when my throat loosened a little. It was a mere couple of minutes before I could finally breathe freely and was only wheezing slightly at this point. It took 2 hours at least before the hives and itching stopped.

Guess who got tested next…=)?

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July 16, 2012 Posted by | Allergy, Just Life | , | Leave a comment

A Long Week……Part 1

This has been a long week for me. It started out by arguing with HST+. It has a steep learning curve and my brain is partially fried right now. I did manage to get through a few things and am slowly starting to understand. (Sort Of…..)

I then get a phone call from a friend asking me to help her son with his book report. At first is was one, no problem. I had to refresh my memory with the book. No problem. Then he gets here and I find out we are actually correcting two other reports and the one book report is actually two book reports done on the one book….not a problem. THEN…there is the last book report. He hasn’t even read the book yet. This should be interesting. Still not a problem….I love his mother as one of my dearest friends. She is an awesome lady who just happens to have 8 kids. Two sets of twins. It is one of the older twins that I am helping. He is such a goofy but sweet kid. He sort of lives in his own little world at times. He is also 16. Anyway….we corrected the two reports and got part 1 of the third report done. Then something happened.

My niece showed up.

He tells her that he remembers when she was little….”Hello!” He is only 2 years older than her……:) There went the concentration and his attention right out the window. I had to ban the girls from the upstairs to get him to concentrate. He will be back on Monday to finish part 2 of the third report and start reading the other book. My house is not quite as chaotic as I offered to let him stay here and read. “WE” are reading The Merchant of Venice. This should be fun. It’s been awhile since I read that one……so it will be a refresher for me.

On top of all of that….another friend has a birthday this weekend. Saturday to be exact. She was “concerned” that her husband hadn’t called me yet to finalize the details. I didn’t know he was supposed to finalize details with me….I didn’t even know I had a part in any of the details accept for offering to make her CC’s famous chocolate cake (with a few ammendments….:)) No….apparently I was supposed to do the cooking for the party also…..Now I have a friend who is angry that her husband can’t get it right on her birthday. “HELLOOOO”, I told her she was expecting too much from him when he didn’t know what she wanted to begin with….this pacified her somewhat.

Here I am on the house phone talking with her, calming her down. The husband used taking the trash out as an excuse to call me on his cell phone….I have the house phone on one ear and MY cell phone on the other ear listening to the wife rant in the one and the husband asking me to help him salvage what he messed up on, somehow not realizing what exactly it is he did wrong…….

Are you still with me……?

She hangs up…..Finally!! He is off to the grocery store…..I told him to just pick up whatever he wanted fixed and we could either do it at my house or do it at their apartment. You can’t have a grill at their apartment. Sooooooo. He calls me from the store to tell me that he got a package of steaks, but wasn’t sure what exactly the type of meat it was….if it was soso or good steak. It was okay steak….until I marinaded it. It was fantastic steak the next day when I cooked it…..:) He also got a large package of hot dogs for all the kids.

I guess he forgot that he should probably have something else…or they would just be eating steak and cake. Hey….that would have worked for me…..:)

I had been so busy with the book report that I didn’t think to ask what he was having as a side dish. I should have really paid attention to that on Friday. Saturday saw me in the usually horrendous traffic for the weekend here, trying to get to the store and back home in time to start his steak on my grill. He was in class so he couldn’t cook….or help. He wasn’t supposed to be out of class until 4. He got home early and was told to call me about some chicken. I didn’t know about any chicken….and he was off to the pool to swim with his wife. Okay….I am picky about how steaks are cooked anyway… I didn’t say much.

Back to the side dishes…….I ran out to the local stuffmart to grab some more almond flavoring for the ganache filling for the cake. I also needed some garlic seasoning for the potatoes. I nuke them first to pre-cook. I then cut them in half and baste them with a butter, garlic and herb seasoning with some sea salt and a dash of parmesan cheese. I cook them on the grill untill the skins are nice and crunchy and the white part is a nice golden brown. They are yummy this way. It was my idea to just do the roasted potatoes and mac’n cheese for the kids. I could have bought or made some potatoe salad or macaroni salad…..but they are such picky eaters……If you haven’t figured it out….I am either a walking piece of carpet that says doormat or just a good friend. I know I am whining a little but this was not the week for me to have to do so many other things and nooooo since she looks on me as a surrogate mother/sister I couldn’t let her down. I really don’t mind doing things like this for them….It was just a little overwhelming on this particular week. I also had a selfish ulterior motive….;) My friend doesn’t cook that well…..and we happen to like my cooking and I knew if I cooked it? It would be good…yes…that was humility….:)

Back to the store if you are still hanging in here……
I only live five minutes from stuff mart. It took me 58 minutes to get home….When I got home I handed the potatoes to hubby and asked him to scrub in between him putting up my new curtains…..Hopefully our dog will leave these alone. He has gotten used to the piano being in front of the window so maybe the curtains won’t bother him anymore. Having a great pyrenees has not been dull.

Here I am weighing my Ghiradelli semi sweet chocolate chips. I have my vanilla out and remembered that one of the people coming to my friends house is severely nuts, allergic I mean. Hmmmm….that means I cannot use the pure almond extract in the ganache. Kahlua….Kahlua works….I mean the cake all ready has espresso powder in it…..what’s a little more coffee flavor…….:)

It was at this point I remembered the one thing I absolutely went out to get……….? I forgot!! I am now doing a frantic search on the internet for whipping cream substitutions. I decided to check out the ever faithful (Local news, traffic and weather every 8 on the 8  ) Traffic land cameras……Did you know that the beltway, I95, Woodrow Wilson Bridge, the Chesapeake Bay bridge are all on camera….? Oh yes….if you are truly bored and want to feel sorry for me…..go look some day…Mon-Fri between 4 and 7pm. Who knows….you might actually see my car sitting there somewhere along that stretch of highway………

There is a break in traffic so I run back out to get whipping cream. I opted not to use the substitutions……left my house at 3:28 and pulled back into my driveway at 4:02. That was pretty good for a Saturday….at least in our neck of the woods. I left hubby scrubbing potatoes….and nuking them. He didn’t realize that it takes 10 minutes to do 6 potatoes and sometimes you have to add an extra five if they are large. We had 12 potatoes to do. He tells me they are in the oven staying warm…..So…me being me….must check the potatoes.

They were still hard……….all I could think was they are not done….and started to laugh. My hubby, being the smart man that he is looks at me funny….I guess it wasn’t a normal laugh? I don’t know……He says, “the potatoes are still hot.” “Yes, I know that” grimacing I replied. “They are also not done.” “They’re not?” “No……they are still hard,” as I am gingerly squeezing each potato. I just turned around and looked at him. I had to ask……”Did you feel them before taking them out of the microwave?” “NO…” he replied. “Why not?” Do you know what he had the nerve to tell me…..?

“Of course not!!…They were too hot!”

I could tell just from looking at his face that we both had the same thought running through our heads. Yep!! Hot potato, hot potato…..Needless to say….we both started laughing. That lightened the mood a little……we did get all of the food cooked and delivered with only one minor incident.

I burnt my belly.

I burnt my belly from the heat of the grill roasting potatoes, cooking hot dogs and 16 steaks. Go figure.

I forgot to mention that this week started out by sitting with my sister at the emergency room with my niece for 8 hours….I’ll just save that one for tomorrow…..I ended up with a major migraine from all that cooking in the heat and not drinking enough….I finally was able to get up around noon on Sunday…..but since I slept so much….here I sit at 2am.

Everything came together like it was supposed to and the food was a big hit….I soothed feathers and ruffled heads…..just a normal day around here……..

Wow…..did you actually make it all the way through…….? You deserve a piece of chocolate overdose cake…..I will send you mine….:)

August 6, 2007 Posted by | Allergy, Celebrations, Family, Food/Recipes, Friends, Humor, Just Life, Marriage, Men, Observances, Sanity, Teenagers | 10 Comments

My Hairy House…..

It’s that time of year. Pollen is floating in the air like a green cloud. If you live in the south, you have been experiencing high counts of pollen and the overall miserable sneezing, watery, itchy eyes. The worst is the yucky, thick mucus that drains down you throat. Allergy season has arrived with a vengeance.

We live in a part of the country that has the highest onset of adult asthma, according to my Doctor that is. We live on the line where the trees from the south converge with the trees of the north. We get it all!!!

My husband and son have suffered the most thru out the years. I feel so sorry for my husband. He has strange allergies though. He will be fine until he hits the Occoquan Bridge. His nose will kick in and he is sneezing miserably. He has discovered that he is severely allergic to the dust in the Data Center. If he is handling any of the computers in the back he cannot touch his face at all. He has also been know to have olfactory hallucinations. He will be sitting at his desk and smell bacon cooking or some other meat dish. His coworkers have learned to expect the unexpected with him. He is known for the odd and unusual sense of humor. I mean the man does have a brain with a fish tie on his desk.

Our son has also inherited his father’s allergies. Last year was the first good year our son didn’t come down with bronchitis or pneumonia. It wasn’t until we discovered that he has an anaphylactic reaction to cats that he was tested. The boy has some major allergies. He is allergic to every tree, grass and weed, not to mention cats and of all things chicken. No more cheap hotdogs for us. His severest tree allergy is the oak family. The trees are broken into groups. Oak is the big one. He was further tested to see if it was just the pollen or the wood. Fortunately for us, it is only the pollen. Oak is nice in a fireplace when you have to have the dead tree taken down.

For years this child suffered from the severest eczema. His eczema was so bad his legs looked like a burn victim.  I was afraid to put him in shorts.  After the allergy testing the Allergist told me that the eczema was caused by his grass allergy.  During the grass pollen season, don’t let him go out in shorts. Make sure he showers everyday when he is outside playing during the high pollen seasons. When we stopped putting shorts on him during the grass season, his eczema went away.  He hasn’t had a single flair up!! In our area, grass pollen season is from April to June.

It’s ironic that he is allergic to oak…..we have nothing but oak in our yard and the surrounding yards. That could be why our street is Oak street. There are some very interesting things you can do with the acorns from oak trees. The Native American Indians would collect the acorns (must be from White Oaks) and soak them in water. The acorns were shelled, placed in some type of bag and left in a creek where they would be in the water’s current. This would leech the tanic acid from the acorns. They can then be ground into flour. WE have yet to try this. We have only had one really good crop of acorns and that was also the precursor of a bad winter for us. We have noticed that the more acorns we have the harsher the winter. My husband and I will go out onto the back deck in the fall and sit and talk. He has taken to wearing a construction hard hat. You have no idea how hard an acorn is until you have been beaned in the head by one falling out of the trees. It is pretty wicked at night when they are falling and hitting the roof. Imagine a constant hail storm for 2-3 months.

That was just a little bit of information, you can file it under useless knowledge if you would like.

Back to my son…..Last year we started the allergy shots. I have never been so happy. He has had the most incredible year. His only complaint this year has been itchy eyes but considering what we have dealt with in the past, itchy eyes are nothing. We discovered that his large bronchial airways were open and working at 98% capacity. His small bronchial airway was only functioning at 60%. That was why he would bottom out on us when allergy season kicked in. He would start out with the normal allergic reactions and end up with pneumonia. Their last year in school, he missed the first week due to pneumonia.

If you suffer from allergies to the severity of my son…I strongly advocate getting tested and starting the allergy shots. It has given my son a whole new lease on life. You have to be responsible enough to go every week for your shot. If you do it haphazardly you will not benefit from this.

What does all of this have to do with my hairy house?

Nothing really….It is Oak Mating season. My roof is covered with huge clumps of oak pollen. There are piles of it everywhere, on the streets, on my deck, in my yard. My yard no longer looks green from the grass. Even the dirt looks like it is sprouting stringy hair.

We need to have the limbs that are hanging over the roof taken down. I offered to go up on the roof  using the leaf blower, blow all that mess off the roof. I even offered to bring the 24 ft ladder up to the deck and take down the two limbs that need brought down. For some reason my husband wasn’t open to these suggestions. I know why (yes, I am accident prone, sort of…) but thought I would off anyway. I’m not afraid of heights. My husband said that was the problem…:)

Here are a couple of pictures of our hairy roof………




That is a closeup of the mess everywhere. If you are an allergy sufferer, there are a couple of sites you may find helpful. One site gives you your local pollen count. The other site is a survivors guide to allergies and asthma. It is chock full of information. Take some time to go thru the site. There are several pages for kids.

Allergy Forecast

Survival Guide

May 5, 2007 Posted by | Allergy, Children, Gardening, Humor, Just Life, Observances | 5 Comments

Allergic Reactions…..Oh Brother!!!

I have a wide and varied list of allergies to some strange foods….Wasabi being the oddest I would think.

But who in the world could possibly be allergic to “Pork’n Beans”…..Well, your’s truly apparently…….

We ate dinner and I started to feel funny…..ears itching, throat itching and a headache.

I pulled out the pork’n bean cans….and they have paprika in them……paprika is on the list of spices and seasonings to avoid…..

I had several choices….one of which was taking the benedryl , which I did.

The other was in how to scratch my ears……because nothing is worse than your ears starting to itch….well, maybe your nose when you’re elbow deep in hamburger making meatloaf.

It is my humble opinion that the Bic pens with the lovely blue caps are the best…..which of course is how I ended up with an ear infection once……If you scratch to hard….you can cause an infection if you happen to break the skin…been there done that…..that’s how I know.

The other choice was to have hubby go in search of the q’tips. Well, after the last infection he opted for the q’tips.

They just don’t quite do the job….my million dollar idea is to take the tips of the q’tips and rap them with a fine grain sandpaper……that cotton on the end just doesn’t get the itch.

It’s like asking your husband to scratch your back with a feather……

Needless to say, from taking the benedryl, I missed the revival tonight. I didn’t think the evangelist would appreciate my soundtrak being added to his preaching.

Those of you who have had the distinct pleasure of meeting my husband….could only imagine what his reply to that statement was…….

To fully appreciate his sense of humor, you must understand his theory on “spontaneous human combustion.”

He feels that when the body needs to pass gas….one should expel said gas….regardless of the consequences to those who have the misfortune to be sitting, standing, in the same room, or even lying next to him…..never fluff the blankets when you husband has passed gas in the bed……not unless you have access to one of the military’s special bio hazard masks….fill it with lots of charcoal……It’s that whole methane business.

He goes on to comment that snoring thru the sermon would be better than spontaneously combusting in the pew from trying to hold in the gas that would be created from ingesting beanie weanies.

I know the family that sits behind us quite well……I felt sorry for them tonight……..

I think Pork’n Beans will be on the “Do not buy” list……I can deal with the allergy to them….it’s other people who may have to be around my husband that will insure the “Bean Boycott.”

Just another day in the life of………….

March 27, 2007 Posted by | Allergy, Food/Recipes, Just Life, Observances, Uncategorized | Leave a comment