Last Monday evening I had an insect sting or bite that I didn't even notice until my arm began to swell. On Tuesday, I began taking benadryl for the swelling and I was heartened that it was contained -- it didn't spread. But it didn't go away either and I knew I had to see a doctor. We were planning to drive back to New York on Wednesday morning, so I decided not to see a local doctor here in Pennsylvania, but to wait until I was home -- a decision I shouldn't have made, but in fact there were no bad consequences.
On our way home Wednesday, after we had been gone an hour, we realized we had forgotten to bring a very important flash drive, so we turned around, went back to the cottage, got the flash drive, and proceeded to drive home, arriving two hours later than we had expected. And arriving into a very hot New York City, with record breaking 100 degree temperatures.
I got to the doctor on Thursday and he prescribed a powerful antibiotic and told me to come back in a week for blood tests. Also, if there was no improvement, he wanted me to come back Monday (that is, yesterday.) I noticed a small improvement on Friday, and by Sunday it was clear that the antibiotic was dramatically reducing the effects of the infection.
One of the things on our schedule in New York last week was to have work done on our car -- it needed a new power steering pump and and oil pan gasket. So we took the car to our mechanic Thursday morning. We also had an important joint meeting of the finance, property, and stewardship committees at St. Mary's. Liz is working on putting together a grant proposal for some of the money we need for a new boiler at St. Mary's.
But our major preoccupation while we were in New York was working towards a resolution of a family situation involving some property in Vermont. That took up almost all of Liz's time and good deal of my time on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Since my arm didn't need attention, on Monday morning we began loading the car for our return to Heart Lake. Thin coming weekend sees a trip to Vermont for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, a return to New York on Sunday so I can attend a meeting at Morningside Gardens on Monday, and then a return to Heart Lake next Tuesday, a week from today. So our packing took that upcoming schedule into consideration.
We got off shortly before ten in the morning, not good, but not too bad considering the things that had been occupying us on Sunday (I haven't yet mentioned the Vestry meeting and a farewell party for our interns, both on Sunday afternoon.)
After about 35 miles, at the top of the Palisades Parkway, I discovered that there was too much play in the brake. I was cautious with the brake as I went over Long Mountain on Route 6, and drove more slowly than usual on Route 17 to our favorite stop at Stewarts in Goshen. I began to notice a little stiffness in the steering, and thought, oh gee, I'll have to take it back to the garage to have that looked at. But as I pulled into Stewarts, I found that the power steering had failed completely. Manually steering a modern Buick is a lot different from manually steering a car was in the 1950's. A kind woman in the Stewarts directed us to a good garage in Goshen who sent us on to the local GM dealer. It turns out that we had sprung a leak in the brake line to one of the rear wheels, so we lost brake fluid. About the same time, the new (rebuilt) power steering pump failed. It was a message -- it's time to stop putting money into this car.
So we looked at cars in our price range that the dealer had, and narrowed the choices down to two, one five and one six years old -- a Buick LaCrosse and a Chevy Malibu. The Chevy is very like an updated version of the Vega we were driving when we first began going back and forth to Heart Lake -- it's very practical for carrying stuff, but not as comfortable as the Buick. The Buick has a very roomy trunk like our present Buick, and will suit our needs very well. So I think we'll go with the Buick. Both cars had to be prepped, so we got a loaner Malibu, and after the 2 hour drive to Heart Lake from Goshen, I am strongly leaning to the Buick.
Soon we face a four hour drive to pick up the car and come bake to the lake.