It is just a week before Christmas and I wanted to give everyone an update on what is going on with HNCB. We ended the year's teaching with the Michigan convention, an HNCB workshop in Summerfield, NC, at the SPCA in Aiken, SC and finally at the Deer Creek Guild in Abingdon, MD the week before Thanksgiving. We had a great time at all these events and I believe everyone had a good time and made a bunch of nice baskets. We have also added a new how-to video to our website, "Completing the Ice Bucket Lid" in the Downloads, Videos & Demonstrations Section.
I also want to mention that the GoFundMe site that was set up for Billy and Theresa Owens has reached $12,735! In addition, we are aware that many individuals and guilds donated money directly to Billy and Theresa. Joni and I want to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts for helping Billy and Theresa through this really tough time with their house fire. The GoFundMe site address is GoFundMe - Billy & Theresa Owens House Fire
We had planned to take some time off until the first of January, when the 2018 schedule was supposed to kick in. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, we have had to cancel all of our events until the middle of March (probably later). Let me explain (the following description might be considered fairly graphic, so if you have a weak stomach, beware....):
Joni and I went to my Mom's house in Aiken, SC to be her caregivers while she went into the hospital to have an ablation to cure her heart arrhythmia. I was walking down the stairs into her basement when I dropped off into oblivion. Well, not oblivion to be exact, but it did feel like I stepped into a deep void. Kind of like Wile E. Coyote on a roadrunner cartoon when he drops into a deep canyon, only not nearly as funny! I thought I was on the bottom step, but in fact was on the 2nd or 3rd step from the bottom. At any rate, I thought I was on the bottom step and was in fact higher up. I landed awkwardly on both feet unexpectedly, my legs collapsed sharply at the knees, and the tendons that attach my quadriceps muscles in both of my legs tore completely through and separated from their patellas. "Traumatic quadriceps tendon separation injury", to use the orthopedic surgeon's words, as he dug his fingers into the depression above me kneecaps, and I grimaced in pain and I tried not to smack him. This sort of injury is fairly rare, and mostly seen in one leg only. The weird part is that both orthopedic surgeons and every orthopedic nurse, PA, etc, has never seen it happen in both legs at the same time! Well, Dr. Holford who did my surgery has seen "a couple" of dual tendon injuries, which I guess, means I am number two! When this happens, you are not able to bring your lower leg forward to a straight position. Moving side-to-side is working, but forward-or-back is not. Once you lock your legs, you can stand on them and walk straight legged, like Frankenstein. "UUUrrrrggghhhh".
To make a long story short, I had an MRI and surgery on Tuesday November 28, to reattach the tendons to my kneecaps, and I have been in leg braces ever since. I had complete leg immobilizer braces for a week and a half and have been wearing locking braces set at 20-30% since then. I start physical therapy on December 22, and should be back on my feet without braces in 3-6 months. Full recovery is expected in 6-12 months. Apparently, tendon repairs and subsequent healing take quite some time, as there is no blood flow to our tendons. Needless to say, I will not be able to stand at the lathe or work safely in the shop for quite some time. At this point, I am walking, again, like Frankenstein with a walker, and am not allowed to use any stairs.
I have the best family and friends in the world. As you all would expect, Joni has been like Florence Nightingale and has been quite amazing. I would not be this far along without her. She is a peach! Our Daughter, Lindsey has helped with house cleaning and with HNCB chores (with help from Aaron T.). Our son Craig got the downstairs bedroom prepped for us to live in for the next few months and raised the base of my Lazy Boy Chair so that I can get in and our of it (with help - I'm such a wuss!). Craig, Lindsey and Meredith have all cooked meals, Carol F. and Denise B. have sent Home Chef meals, Peggy A. has cooked and run errands, Christy N. sent a Rocky T-Shirt to lift my spirists, Billy O. sent a care package for bowl games, and Bill D. sent an audiobook. Wow. The basket community is awesome. As for me, I promise everyone that I will be doing all (and more!) than the torture experts at Physical Therapy ask of me, so I can beat the recovery timeline. I have even gotten out of the house a few times already, did a little (very little) stocking stuffer shopping, and went to the Nutcracker Tea with Kamaya, Joni and Meredith yesterday!
Due to all of this hubbub, Joni and I have cancelled all events until mid-March. At that time we will determine if we need to cancel any further events. We may be able to conduct some workshops with DELS materials after March, but we just do not know when we can resume a full schedule of: 1) Travel Plus 2) Teaching Plus 3) Making all of the basket parts for our own designs in the shop and studio. Watch this space and Joni's Facebook page for more news.
For the upcoming Basket Cruise at the end of January, Trisha Brown of DELS and her mother have very graciously offered and agreed to teach Joni's classes on the cruise. Joni has sent to Trisha all of the kits and molds that we have, and DELS will produce the rest. Joni has also given Trisha all of the information she will need to teach everyone the baskets they had originally signed up for. Trisha's husband Cole, and her father Dave Brown will cover Trisha's classes at the Georgia Convention on Feb. 2-4, 2018.
We are very sorry to inconvenience anyone who had signed up for classes and who had been looking forward to making baskets with Joni. This is the first and longest extended period of incapacity that I have faced, and frankly, I am REALLY looking forward to getting back in the shop. However, i am being told that I need to look forward to several more months before I start getting back to where I was. We will keep you informed. When we do see you again, I can show of some spiffy new 6" scars on both knees! All I can say to everyone in the meantime is to KNOW EXACTLY WHERE THAT BOTTOM STEP IS!
As for current orders: Joni is boxing them up for shipment. Several scrims have come in from the scrimshander, as well as some other items that we have ready.
in addition, Joni will be giving me a list of Nantucket basket kits that we have available, and I will list them on the website in case anyone would like to have one of Joni's kits to weave in the meantime. These kits will be priced at 20% off while they last. These items should be listed on the website right after Christmas. If there is anything special you want, please contact Joni and she can tell you if it is available. Likewise, if you need her to order anything for you, please contact her. While we are focusing on my recovery, she wants to be as involved in baskets as much as she possibly can!
Again, we are very sorry for any inconvenience we have caused anyone. We will be back as soon as we can. Until then, we hope everyone has Happy Holidays, a Happy Hanukkah, a Merry Christmas, a Happy Kwanzaa, a Wonderful Yuletide, a Peaceful Midwinter Winter Solstice, or a blessed Any-Other-Winter-Holiday-You-Might-Celebrate, and a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
As I look out the window, I note that it is a Beautiful Day....Don't let it slip away!!......David