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Picked up Our Pork Order--Breakdown on Cuts

October 21st, 2017 at 12:28 am

We picked up the majority of our pork order today. The hanging weight on the hog (the amount after it has been gutted) was 245 pounds, so at $500 it worked out to $2.04 per pound. The bacon, ham, and sausage links will not be ready for another 7 to 10 days. Curing takes longer.

So anyone who has not purchased this way before can get an idea of what you get, this is what we have so far.

6 packages of spare ribs (at least 4 pounds each)
2 loin roasts (at least 2 pounds each)
3 shoulder roasts (at least 4 pounds each)
42 pounds ground pork
12 packages of pork chops (48 chops)
4 packages of pork steaks (16 steaks)

What is to come:

42 pounds of sausage links
I'm not sure how much bacon, but quite a bit
4 hams

Now they told me that each hog has 2 hams of about 17 to 18 pounds. I am having each ham cut in half, so they should be 8 to 9 pounds each. Every time we make up a ham, I will can the excess in cubes in pints and half-pints. Then on pizza night, a half-pint will be perfect and on ham and potato soup night a pint will be perfect.

Actually, come to think of it, I am supposed to be getting some shanks, too. They were not in what I got today. I thought I had told them not cure those, but I can't remember for sure and they might have done so, which would explain why I didn't get them today. Curing will make them ham-like, too. No big deal if they were cured, but I need to remember to make sure they are in the second half of the order.

I am going to be making jam and pie filling with a lot of the frozen berries that were in the freezer. I needed to get them out of the way for the pork. A lot of these berries are from last year. I plan to make strawberry jam, blueberry pie filling, blackberry jam, and maybe bumbleberry jam, too (which is a combo of blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, and blueberry). Or syrup. We'll see. And then if I can find the frozen plums, plum sauce and plum butter.

But strawberry is first up, because it is DH's favorite, we're out, and he keeps buying it. He won't have to do that if we make it at home and keeping him out of the grocery store is always beneficial to our budget.

I'm Getting a Pig

October 12th, 2017 at 12:17 am

Not one to raise, thank you very much, one for the freezer. A woman on my farm group is selling pork and originally she was just selling halves, but she was offering them $250 for a half. That includes slaughter, cut, and wrap as well. So I asked if it was possible I could get a whole one for $500 and she said absolutely. The hanging weight on one she just did was 130 lbs per half, so 260 pounds after all the waste is removed.

It could be as little as 200 pounds, but at just 200 pounds it still works out to $2.50 a pound. At 260 pounds it works out to $1.92 a pound. So the likelihood is somewhere in between the two, but maybe it'll be a bigger one, as she said they were getting rid of the feed burners first, which tend to be the biggest ones.

And they were fed a soy free diet, which is important with my daughter's soy allergies. You are what your food eats. What they were fed was barley, whey, corn, and vegetables. So I am pretty happy, even if it is not organic.

With this purchase I feel like we can go at least 9 months without having to buy beef or pork, possibly even a year without having to buy pork unless we run out of bacon. Well, we might run out of hamburger, too, but I can get a big box of that for $300 if it comes down to it. It makes me feel much more secure. I will be canning a lot of the pork, just because we mostly like pulled pork for various recipes. We still don't have enough chicken, but I've been working on that. We have plenty of fish and plenty of rabbit.

I'll be canning squash, too. I wish I could can it pureed, but that is not considered safe. I have to can it in chunks. But squash can sit for months before it has to be dealt with. I know we'll be fine when it comes to food now. It is just everything else that I still have to worry about.

Meal Planning for the Week

October 10th, 2017 at 03:46 am

I have been getting strongly back into meal planning mode. Since we'll be going mostly to eating from the pantry after DH gets laid off, I want to already be back in the habit of following a meal plan. However, I'm not assigning meals to the days of the week, so I can have some swap around days. This gives me a little more leeway based on how I am feeling on any given day. Some days when my RA is acting up I am too exhausted to do more extensive cooking or we just don't feel like a certain food on a certain day, I don't feel locked in. As long as it all gets made in a week, it doesn't particularly matter. I also allow myself to do a breakfast for dinner if any of the planned meals just doesn't happen. Pancakes and ham always go over well here and they are super easy to get on the table.

Day 1:
Baked Chicken
Baked Potatoes
Broccoli
Bananas

Day 2:
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Green Salad
Garlic Bread

Day 3:
Rabbit Stew with Potatoes and Carrots
Green Salad
Home-canned Pears

Day 4:
Taco Boats
Apples

Day 5:
Five Spice Crispy Duck Breasts
Peppers and Onions
Canned Pineapple

Day 6:
Teriyaki Flank Steak
Fried Potatoes
Broccoli
Canned Pineapple

Day 7:
Beef Pot Roast
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Green Beans
Grapes

Payday Report for 10-6-17

October 8th, 2017 at 05:09 am

$1867.89 American Express (in full, as per usual)
__475.00 Best Buy (Paid off 12 months same as cash)
__102.13 Life Insurance for DH and Me
__500.00 Mom's Utilities
__196.35 BoA MC (in full, as per usual)
___20.00 Food Bank donation
__477.78 Medical
-----------
$3639.15 Total

A little of this money was carry over from last payday. I did also reorder two boxes of checks, but forgot to ask them how much. It doesn't show up in my bank account until the day they are shipped, not the day they are ordered. It's usually around $15 for a box. We don't go through checks very fast since we started putting almost everything on the credit cards and just paying them off, but I wanted to get it out of the way before we have to start living on our savings again. It's not like they won't get used eventually.

This coming week my daughter has a physical therapy appointment and I have one. My son has his physical. My PT is $90, but I don't know how it will work for DD. I pay my own out of pocket because it is no longer deemed medically necessary, but it is what keeps me walking so it kind of is. What they really meant was the insurance didn't want to pay for it anymore and they didn't think there was anything further they could do, despite the facts that the sessions keep me from being crippled. Every time I have to skip a week things get bad. I've tried to not go and I end up using my cane and curled up in pain must days, so I deem it necessary. Don't know what will happen once we can't afford it anymore, though.

We have a $30 co-pay for regular doctor visits and $40 for specialists. I have no idea where her PT will fall, because sometimes specialists are not considered specialists. So it could be $70 out for them or $80.

Also, I know in the past that this company likes to wait until the full set of therapy is done before charging it, but I don't like that as it means a big bill at the end instead of paying as you go. But that was back in 2011 so things may very well have changed since then. I will have to wait and see, but I will ask about it when I take her to the first appointment.

I have no other spending that needs to be done this week, so other than going to the grocery store to get milk, we should be good.

Planning for November and December

October 6th, 2017 at 07:58 pm

I did the math and I think I've got a fairly good grasp on where things are right now. If DH works through the 20th, which is what they are thinking right now we will come out of things with about $7000 once all bills are met for October. If he goes through the original end date of the 26th it'll be around $10,000. If it goes longer, and with DH's experience with these things winding down, it often goes a lot longer than the PIC's think it will with all the last minute stuff that has to be done, then we will have more. Who knows?

Right now, though, I can guarantee $7000 for November and December. One silver lining is that they are paying his return home ticket, because they really aren't firm on his last day and there is no way he can buy a ticket without a firm date. So they will buy him his last minute final ticket.

That $7000 should cover all of November's expenses, plus some of December's. We do have to pay for my daughter's tooth implant, which will be $650 and my son has to get wisdom teeth x-rays to see if they need to be removed or not. If they do, that'll probably be $1000. It was $800 when my daughter had hers out 5 or 6 years ago, so I am assuming inflation.

So I'm not sure how far into December that $7000 will go, due to those upcoming expenses, but at least a little ways, before we will have to touch the Emergency Fund. If he can work until the 26th I think we can do 2 full months without having to touch savings.

We are going on lock down for expenses after October. No eating out, no computer games or downloadable music or all the things DH and the kids like to nickel and dime. No allowances for the kids. Just basic expenses and a jacket for my husband. The kids and I all have coats now and good shoes. No snow boots, but my work boots are insulated and we usually only have snow for a few weeks.

DD and I got our coats through a coupon that if you spend $100, you get $50 off. Our two coats together came to $137 so we got the $50 off, bringing the cost to $87 or $43.50 each. Both jackets are waterproof and warm and we got them big enough that we can wear sweaters underneath if they need to be warmer. They cost a little more since they are both plus size and waterproof.

DS got his on a clearance sale from JC Penney. Original cost was $120, but it was on a 50% off sale, which brought the price down to $60, but I had a gift card I'd earned from something a while back, so that was $20 off, and then when they rang it up after that it came out as just under $30 not $40, so I think there was an additional discount somewhere or else they made a mistake. Or it is possible they were doing the no sales tax weekend.

DH will probably have to order his from a magazine unless Freddy's has his size. He has a hard time finding coats that fit as he has a very long back and broad shoulders and needs a plus size as well. So probably the big and tall magazine.

I am determined that we all focus on weight loss during this job loss. I think that we all ate our emotions during the last one. Well, my son isn't in the same shape as the rest of us and he's already been working on losing weight and building muscle so I think he will just be happy to have the rest of us along. I have been trying, but it is just so much easier for me to have the whole family on board.

DH and I have been talking about school. If he doesn't find another job soon, we may just have to suck it up, take out loans and have him get his BA in electrical engineering. I hate the idea of student loans with a passion. We didn't use them the first time around and I hate to use them now, but his 20 years of experience and an AS and several glowing letters of recommendation seem to hold no weight to hiring people who think the expensive piece of paper that says BS on it is the end all and be all of life.

I don't know, we'll figure it out.

Side Effects and Ting Issues and Mom

October 6th, 2017 at 06:32 am

I'm having a hard time figuring out whether I am having bad side effects from the methotrexate or I've just caught some stomach bug. I really wish these things were easier to discern. In case it is the drug, I talked with the doctor's MA and she has altered my dosage and has me taking 5 mg of vitamin B-9 instead of 1 now. I don't know if it was a coincidence or not, but I didn't throw up today, so...either the uptick in B-9 is controlling the nausea or the possible illness has run its course.

I take my second dose tomorrow, so I guess if my symptoms get bad again within 24 hours, then the medicine is probably suspect. I started feeling yucky the morning after taking the drug for the first time.

DH screwed up his Ting phone, so now all he can do is message me via google hangouts when he is in a place that has an internet signal. It looks like we won't be able to talk on the phone at all while he's gone. He can't get the signal to change it back until he goes south. What a pain. If he'd left it with GSM instead of changing it to CDMA he'd have something. What a hassle. Still our bill this month is only $37, so once it is all sorted out things should be fine.

If I can figure out how to turn the microphone on on google hangouts then we can video chat. The problem with him not having his own phone for a couple weeks is that if anyone tries to respond to a resume he's submitted, he won't get the message, because when he switched between the two it deactivated his voice mail. So frustrating when he needs to find new work to realize there is a possibility he won't get the calls now.

My mother is driving me crazy. She has a 5000 square foot house and my family of four is relegated to 1000 square feet and she seems to resent every inch of it that we take up these days. I so wish we could get out of here. This wasn't supposed to be a permanent situation. She isn't happy unless she is complaining and she is complaining constantly. If it's not about us, it is about politics.

The problem for her is going to be when we do move. She isn't going to be able to afford her bills, because we pay everything right now and that will not continue when we do leave. She doesn't get it. We pay the electric, the gas, the water/sewer, and the garbage. I don't think she realizes just how hard that will be on her fixed income. She owns the house and it is worth $500K, maybe more, especially in this neighborhood, but that is not accessible money.

I think she's also mad at me because I said I would not take care of her by myself again if she has another replacement surgery (either knee, hip, or shoulder) during the first two weeks. That she would have to go into a nursing home during the first two weeks of recovery because I can't handle going through it again and I won't. It wrecked my back, it wrecked my health, and it wrecked my knees. I went into a flare that was super painful for me and everything was so swollen it hurt just to be alive. Not to mention that she was really mean during that time because she resented having to be taken care of. I absolutely will not put myself through it again. And Medicare will pay for it so she won't be out any money.

I think she thinks if she goes to a nursing home she won't be coming back home again, which is utter nonsense. I would not do that until she is at the point where it is necessary, and that certainly is not now. If she had stayed in the hospital the 3 days she was allowed to it would have been a lot better for me. But the doctor told her she could go home after 24 hours if she wanted to. Well, of course, she wanted to, but it was bad having her home before I was prepared to have her home.

I will have a word with her doctor the next go around, that is for sure. I supposed I could force the issue since I have her medical power of attorney, if it comes down to that, but I'd rather she just come to her senses of her own accord.

If we didn't live here, she'd have to make other arrangements because it is not like my sisters will step up. She doesn't seem to believe in my auto immune disease or that with rheumatoid arthritis it is extremely painful to do the things I had to do to take care of her. Or that only getting 4 hours of sleep a night was something I could function on for 3 weeks. So no, not doing it again. I value my sanity too much.

Garden Season is Winding Down

October 4th, 2017 at 04:23 am

The days keep flipping between really warm and nice and very cold with rain and wind. Every time the barometric pressure rises or falls dramatically and it does a number on me. For some reason I have always been sensitive to pressure changes. I know a few other people that are, but it seems a relatively rare thing. Today was particularly bad and had me skirting the edges of a migraine for several hours.

Every time I think it is time for me to just pull the garden out and be done with it, it warms up again. I am still getting zucchini, though it has slowed way down. The acorn squash is slowly ripening. There are a few cucumbers, but I'm not sure how much longer those will last. There are tomatoes. And the herbs, even the basil, are still going strong. The Brussels sprouts are ready.

I'm pretty tired of the garden by this time of year, but I don't want to give up on free food. I did replant some lettuce and blood veined sorrel, but it isn't big enough yet to harvest. I'm not sure it will become so, either, but it might.

My mother is pushing for us to get rid of the ducks, but I don't want to. At least not at this time. Saying good-bye to the turkey and chickens was enough for right now. I may be ready in another month or two. It'll be harder than the others, though. The ducks have such personalities and are just so much fun to watch.

Still, I am not looking forward to another cold winter of trying to keep their water thawed. I do have a heated waterer for drinking, but that doesn't give them anything to swim in and so they tend to get pretty dirty when their little pools keep freezing over.

I think I'm holding on out of emotional reasons. It feels like I'm giving up on a dream. Which in many ways, I am. But I've been slowly coming to the realization that the full on urban farm has just been too much since my fall last year and the double sprained ankles.

It's not a lot of fun recognizing your limitations. But recognizing them, I am, slowly but surely.

Rheumatologist Visit and Opthamologist Visit

September 30th, 2017 at 11:30 pm

On Thursday I had my appointment with the Rheumatologist, so that was a $40 co-pay. She is pleased that the medicine I've been on for 2 months is helping to the extent it is, but she thinks we could see more improvement to get my quality of life back close to where it was before things got so bad. She prescribed methotrexate, which is only taken once a week. The most common side effect is nausea, which I don't do well with, but so far no sign of it. The dosage gradually increases every two weeks until it gets were it needs to be. I am to continue to take the hydroxychloroquine as well.

The new prescription cost $36.09, plus I have to take vitamin B-9 with it, only that one is daily. It is a prescribed vitamin, but it was only $2.79. I also renewed my rescue inhaler because I am trying to build up a supply and it allows me one a month. I don't need a bunch, but it would be nice to have 3 or 4 extra. With the way the smog was this summer I needed it a lot more than usual. That was $50.

On Friday I had my appointment with the Opthamologist, another $40 co-pay, and I had all kinds of tests done. The did several photos of the eye and then an extensive visual field test, then health checks for glaucoma, etc. And the baseline scan of the retinas to make sure the hydroxychloroquine was not turning my retinas yellow. It can in 20% of the population. So far there is no discoloration in mine.

The torn spot in the retina has healed very well. He said the scar tissue from the repair is nice and healthy and this will be my last follow up from the laser surgery and I didn't have to come back again for a year. I was there for two hours. I almost had an asthma attack while there, because when they dilate your eyes they move you to this dimly lit room instead of keeping you in the exam room and tying it up.

About 10 minutes after I went in, they brought another lady in. I'm not sure what she had on. It smelled like layers of fragrance, but not floral. Like she probably had used scented body wash, scented shampoo, scented lotion, aerosol hair-spray, and then perfume on top of it and they all clashed and none of them smelled good. It smelled more like chemical air fresheners.

She was so heavily made up that her skin looked the color of a peach, except her cheeks which were creme rouged in orange and her lipstick which was coral. Her hair dye matched her lipstick. It was like someone used all the bad Avon samples from the 70's or something. So her makeup products might have added to it. The heavy-handedness was not doing her any favors. It was caked in the creases.

I think she could have been a very beautiful older woman with different, more natural choices or even a naked face, but was so afraid of being old that she tried to hide it all with pancaking on the foundation, etc. Why are some people so afraid to just let their face be their face? Why can't women just allow themselves to age like men?

I started reacting as soon as she walked in, but I thought I was going to be okay, but after two minutes I had to get up and leave the room. I used my inhaler, which helped with the breathing, but also felt a headache starting behind my eye from the cacophony of fragrances, since I am so freaking sensitive to inhalants.

So I discretely flagged down someone and told them quietly that I was going out to the main waiting room, and could they let whoever needed to know where I was, because as judgey as I can be in my head or when I rant on here, I didn't want her to feel bad that she was making it hard for me to breathe. Although, maybe I should have, because wearing that much scent anywhere where you are going to be around people, like a waiting room, is wildly inconsiderate. Especially in an office that has signs saying it is a fragrance free zone.

At least the regular waiting room had circulating air. It was way too bright, but I thought it was better to breathe and stave off a possible migraine, so I sat there with my eyes closed until they called me back again. My breathing was really affected by the wildfires this summer. It has not fully recovered since and I am more sensitive than ever to things that trigger it.

On the bright side, my hips did not hurt from sitting in all of the uncomfortable chairs for two hours. Thank goodness, or I might not have been able to get anything done today.

My new glasses came in, so I went over to pick them up today and it is taking some getting used to. It's usually a rough 24 hour adjustment and then a continuing minor adjustment for the next 10 days or so when I get a new prescription before my eyes feel normal again.

After that I stopped at The Spice Hut and picked up 2 oz of vanilla powder and impulse bought 2 oz of pumpkin pie spice. I usually make my own, but they had a little jar of it you could smell, and it was so wonderful, I wanted some. I'll use it at Thanksgiving when I make my pumpkin cheesecake. I spent a total of $12.02. Vanilla powder is a little pricey, but so worth it and I needed some for a recipe I want to try next week.

I do have to get my son a new coat tomorrow. His shoulders are getting so broad. But after that and the two medical bills I need to pay, I shouldn't have to spend anymore money this week. The two bills are $61.15 and $16.97 respectively.

I did get another bill for $477.78 for the new c-pap machine (deductible should be met after this), but that will come out of next payday. It'll be a day late, but they don't charge interest unless it is 60 days over and that will put me at 31 days. I asked if this was okay and they said fine because I always pay my bills. I would have charged it if not and then just paid it off, but this way is much easier.

Maybe one day the medical bills will end. That would be a good day.

Safe Driver Refund Check

September 28th, 2017 at 06:35 pm

I am a safe driver. I have a 29 year record of driving with no accidents. I always use my signal when turning or when changing lanes. I don't run red lights. I don't block intersections. I don't drive like an idiot. I am starting to think I am the only one.

I have been encountering an extraordinary number of unsafe drivers lately and it is really wearing me down avoiding these close calls. Just within the last three days, I had an oncoming car make a left hand turn from the right hand turn lane when I had a green light and if they had been in the actual left hand turn lane would have had a must yield on green sign they ignored.

At the same intersection I had someone in the oncoming left hand turn lane suddenly speed out in front of me while I was making a right hand turn on my green light. They came all the way across two lanes of traffic to the lane I was turning into. It is illegal to turn into that lane directly from their lane. But it was the fact that she didn't yield and almost hit me when I had already started my turn that makes me so annoyed.

This light has protected green arrows before it turns solid green, so it is not like they won't get a turn to go. They just don't want to have to wait through the light if they miss their arrow. I think it is time to remove the left turn yield on green signs and make it illegal for them to do so at that intersection. It already is for the cross street because there used to be so many accidents there. There are less now, but there are still a lot.

The people turning from that side also have a tendency to block the intersection so that people can't go straight during the green light. It's illegal to make a left hand turn if you can't clear the intersection. So many people need to go back to remedial driving school. If they put a police car there a couple of times a week, the police department would no longer need to keep trying to get money for a new jail. They'd have it made in tickets in less than six months.

I usually avoid this by taking another route, but that road is completely shut down right now, due to construction that has been going on for months to repair a bridge and stabilize the alternate road. Which is also causing back ups on the main road because more people are forced to use it.

The other intersection is nearer my house where people coming from the hospital think it is okay to get into the left hand turn lane and cross the intersection from it to go directly into the next block's left hand turn lane, even though at that end it is a left hand turn lane for the oncoming direction.

Unfortunately, this means they are preventing people from getting into the opposite left hand turn lane to turn onto my street. And even if you signal that you are trying to get into that lane they just keep coming across the intersection or honk at you when you attempt to get into that lane. Sometimes they even block the intersection from the left hand turn lane.

I can't tell you how many times I've nearly been hit by these illegal moves and I am super conscious and careful at all times that this will happen at this intersection. Park a cop there for a while and ticket like crazy and they will have no money worries for a long time.

When I can avoid that intersection, I do, but when the hour around when the school lets out is in play, looping around and coming from the other direction is even worse. You've got a bunch of illegally parked cars on both sides of the street, parked smack up against stop signs making it impossible to see cars coming from either direction until you are halfway into the road, and of course loose children running around not being monitored by their parents.

All this to say that my safe driver's refund check was deposited. 18 bucks plus change does not seem like much compared to what I deal with to be a safe driver. But it is better than nothing.

Adding to Our Food Storage in Preparation for Job Loss

September 27th, 2017 at 03:14 am

I spent the day canning and as much work as it is, I now have an additional 24 pints of potatoes on the shelves and Mom has 8 for her. It goes a lot faster when two people are doing the work, but even so we were at it for 4 hours with only a five minute break.

I hope to do 20 more pounds in a couple of days, but it depends on whether they have any at the no-spray farm or not. I am still trying to track down more green beans as I'd like to put up another 20 pounds. And I'll need to track down some sweet meat squash as I did not grow any this year, though I've got acorn squash growing. That doesn't keep for 10 months, though, just a few. Sweet meat keeps a long time.

I put in a pretty large order of freeze dried foods. I've been cooking with some of that fairly frequently, especially the chopped onions, celery, carrots, and bell peppers. I find it much easier on days that I have arthritis flare ups or exhaustion caused by the auto immune stuff, that I can still cook without having to peel and chop things, I just have to rehydrate it first.

I will probably do one more order next month when their semi-annual sale is on. That is the time to order the freeze-dried meats because the discount is substantial. They work great in chili, spaghetti, and tacos. And in soups. I like this company a lot as it is all non-GMO certified with almost everything coming from North America, most of it the US.

I'll have to put it on hold after that until DH gets another job. We should be able to pretty much weather six months without having to go to the grocery store except for greens once the garden dies.

Payday Report for Last Two Paydays

September 25th, 2017 at 11:22 pm

$5413.65 Citi VISA
__147.38 Dental
__452.88 Car Insurance (6 months)
__180.00 Physical Therapy
___60.00 Medical
--------------
$6253.91 Total Paid Out

I put the eye exams and glasses on Citi and BoA MC respectively. DD is building her credit history and is a signer on the MC. All credit cards are paid off in full each month. I am still running all groceries through the Citi or the AMEX depending on what store I shop at. Most incidentals as well. And prescriptions. BoA Visa is specifically for DH's work travel expenses, hotel, air fare, cold medicine from the commissary.

We are fully switched over to Ting now. It looks like our monthly bill will now be $50 instead of $137. DH decided to take the leap, too.

DH will be getting a reimbursement check from work for having to change his flight last minute when they wanted him to work longer. They pay the difference. Eventually. I think he said it will be $400. He is going to try to do the phone deposit thing again. Last time it didn't do so well, but last time he sent it from a dumb phone. It should not be so difficult with a smart phone. I'll probably just keep that around for the 1 day on the paycheck week.

Pleased with Purchase

September 24th, 2017 at 04:59 pm

After a lot of looking, and I mean a lot, I finally found a new cross body purse. So many purses just have handles and I hate that, because most of the time I need to have both hands free and I am not the type of person who is comfortable just putting my purse in the front of a shopping cart. I like it on me where it is less likely to get snatched.

I was looking for something in the teal to blue family, similar to my broken one. I couldn't find anything online that I liked. Well, there were some concealed carry cross body bags that I did like, but they were a little ostentatious for my personal taste. I do not, at this time, conceal carry, so it didn't seem all that practical for me.

I looked through several stores at the mall when we were there for my son's job interview, like J.C. Penney, Kohl's, Torrid, H&M, and a few others but ended up going to Macy's and finding one there. I hate going into Macy's because of all the perfume and they are pretty overpriced for my budget. Not Nordstrom's level of overpriced, but still.

I found two purses that I really liked, but one was $200, real leather with turquoise, lots of tooling, but no. I won't pay $100 for a purse, let alone $200. The purse I ended up settling on was a purple and white floral one from Kipling. I don't generally go for patterns and it is a bit more feminine than I typically get, but I still liked it. They were having a purse sale and then it was marked down an additional 40% off. Then I got some additional kind of discount off the total purchase because I had a Plenti card (which is Rite Aid, so I don't know how that works). My total cost for an $80 purse with tax was $38.40. The original price was $89.

It was a little higher than I liked to go, I usually keep it under $30, but was the only thing I had shown any interest in at all. It had a slot big enough for my phone. I was shocked at how many purses are still being designed with slots that only fit flip phone sized phones. It also had a large enough center compartment to fit a paperback novel in. And it has zippers and not snaps, which are the first thing to break on a purse in my experience. Those were pretty much my only requirements, plus pretty.

There were a lot of ugly bags. What I like to call "old lady with no taste" bags. Some pretty awful colors. The spring colors were so nice this year, but apparently the fall colors are not going to be. Here's hoping I can get a couple years out of it before it falls apart. I used to be able to go five years before a purse would break. Now it is closer to two years. And those were not expensive bags at all.

I did take off the little gorilla key chain that came with it. I guess it is the Kipling mascot. I will give it to my great niece the next time I see her.

The Week Just Whizzed By

September 23rd, 2017 at 02:53 am

DH arrived home on Friday morning last week and he'll be leaving again on Sunday. It feels like I've barely seen him as he's been doing so much running for his parents and appointments. DH spent all day Wednesday in Seattle with his parents. The day before that he got his permanent crown put on.

My son had a dental cleaning, my daughter and I had eye exams and I had a tiny cavity filled on the front of one of my teeth. It was an old filling that had fallen out being replaced by a new one. I had physical therapy and my daughter had an MRI.

We also went to the mall so I could find a new purse as my old one was falling apart. DS had a job interview at the same time, so we saved a trip. Now DH is over doing will and living will stuff with his parents. Tomorrow we have to butcher and then go to BelleWood Acres to U-pick apples and then run over to another farm and see if they have green beans.

DH and I did manage to eke out enough time to watch the second Guardians of the Galaxy movie together Thursday night. I need to do a couple of payday reports, and figure out how much we've spent on medical/dental this week, but the majority of money went to the Citi card.

Thing 1: Daughter's brain MRI came back and there is nothing physically wrong with her brain. Meanwhile the new migraine medication is working well.

Thing 2: The cancer doctor in Seattle is starting FIL on some auto-immune drugs that may help prolong his life. We're talking about a few months though. So we are still looking at 6 months to a year, though that seems better than just the 6 months he was told by a local doctor 6 weeks ago. He seemed in much better spirits when we saw him yesterday.

Thing 3: I've made the decision to give up the chickens. I think I've made the decision to give up the ducks, too. I don't want to give up the ducks, but I really do think it is for the best.

We Went U-Picking

September 16th, 2017 at 09:36 pm

Mom and I and DS went out to a U-pick farm this morning to pick green beans. We'd called and were told they had lots of green beans. We made the mistake of assuming they were pole beans, but they were actually bush beans which required either getting down on the ground to pick them or standing up and bending all the way down to pick them. I got on the ground because I figured screwed up legs were better than a screwed up back.

I was actually surprised that I didn't do too badly sitting on the ground. Maybe all that physical therapy is finally paying off. Or my body will hate me tomorrow morning when I wake up!

They didn't, as it turns out, have lots of green beans, though. They had two rows. We managed to pick ten pounds, which is not enough for a canner load, but should give me 5 quarts. It takes 14 to 15 pounds to do 7 quarts, but I will still can what we got. We were hoping for around 40 pounds. There was another family picking them, too, but it didn't look like they got more than 10 pounds either. But they were also digging potatoes and carrots and picking strawberries.

I guess we will try another farm tomorrow. What I did buy, besides the $20 worth of beans was $7 worth of strawberries that we picked as well. It was a fun experience, though.

My favorite type of apple should be ready next weekend, so we will go apple picking for Tsugarus if they are. They are not a good storage apple, they maybe last two to three months in the fridge, so we usually only pick about 20 pounds worth. If they are late, I guess it will be me and DS instead of DH, but I am hoping since their schedule says it, they will be ripe when DH is home. We had so much fun last year.

We might get some honeycrisps, too, since they opened this weekend. Not too many, maybe a small bag that has about a dozen apples. With all those apples in the fridge, they should last us until orange season in December.

I've got to get out and pick more plums. The trees are not nearly as loaded as last year, but there is still a large amount. I'll need to have DS go up the ladder for some of it. I also need to pick some tomatoes which I have finally been getting. I don't know if I will get enough tomatoes to can, but the ones I have on the table will go into a taco potato casserole tonight. A new recipe. I hope it is good. I might throw some zucchini in as well.

No Wonder it Felt Like Drowning

September 15th, 2017 at 05:20 am

I just added up how much we have paid on medical expenses this year through the end of August. And this is assuming I actually got every bill recorded. $19,637.14. Almost $20,000. And around $15,000 of that was when we had no income and had to pay out of savings. $8022 of that was insurance premiums for 6 months for a family of four.

I didn't even add up what that stupid insurance mandate cost us in 2016. I know it wasn't as bad as this year, but it wasn't pretty either.

I wish the Republicans would get off their butts and fix the darn thing the Democrats saddled us with. Not sure how it can be fixed, but they need to DO something. At least change the name from Affordable Care Act to Bankrupt the People Act, because at least that would be accurate.

A Few Extra Weeks

September 14th, 2017 at 07:12 am

They've asked DH to stay until Monday. He was going to come home on Friday, but now he will come home on Tuesday. He will only be at home for a week. In that time he has a dentist appointment on the 19th to get the permanent crown put on, he will be taking his dad down to the cancer center in Seattle on the 20th, doing a butcher session for the animals that have hit weight on Thursday or Friday, going over his parents' wills and living wills, and hopefully getting a day of rest in before hopping back on a plane and going up to work 5 weeks straight.

It might end up being a little longer. If we can get even one day into November that will cover another month of insurance. Which would be really helpful to the budget, but not as helpful as three extra weeks of work will be.

Someone got offered a new job, but had to start right away, so he quit and they are needing to cover that position. There is someone who can do it, but that leaves her position unoccupied during that time, so DH will be covering that one, which is stuff he does anyway.

It will be hard not having him home for very long, and I won't even get to see him on the one day at all, but we have gone through longer separations than this before and can do so again.

I will sock away as much money as I possibly can from the extra work. I certainly wasn't expecting this, but I am so glad it is happening. I think I will be able to stretch it into two months expenses, which means we can go further without an income if we have to, but hopefully it won't take him as long to find a new job this time.

Neurologist Visit and Homestead Changes

September 13th, 2017 at 06:18 am

Today was a long, semi-stressful day. Mostly because we spent about 2 hours with the neurologist my daughter got bumped up to see. The good news is that she doesn't think DD has MS. She is thinking just very severe migraines with something else in the brain being possible. DD has an MRI scheduled on the 18th. She does think DD needs to do physical therapy for muscle weakness, control, and balance. They can teach her how to exercise so she isn't pulling the muscle in her back all the time.

PT has a pool. We cancelled our gym membership, but we're paid up through October 12th, so if we can actually make it to the pool she could do more pool stuff than just on the days she has PT. But I don't know if that will be possible. Now that homeschool has started I don't have as much time to be running people around. Plus her headaches have been so bad, I doubt she'd want to go somewhere as loud as the gym pool.

I made it over to the school system's main office today and filled out the intent to homeschool form and got my copy of it for my files. I also found out that if DS has a job, he doesn't need permission from the school district on what he can work, so that is good, too.

I went to the pediatrician's office so DD could fill out the paperwork to get her medical file sent to her grown up doctor. It was supposed to have been sent 3 years ago and I only found out last week that her current doc had never gotten it.

I am thinking about giving up the ducks. I am so tired these days and without DD being able to pull her weight around here it is getting too difficult. We may give up the chickens, too, and just keep the rabbits. Plus if DS does get hired somewhere, he may not be available at sundown every day anyway to help put the birds in.

I'm just not sure I can handle it mentally or physically anymore. The rabbits are my joy, as is my garden. I do love my ducks, but they attract a lot of predators and they make a huge mess. The chickens I don't get attached to anymore because we have lost a lot to predation. While I enjoy them, they don't have semi-pet status.

I just don't feel capable of it with the rheumatoid arthritis and whatever else is running down all my energy these days. Even the kids are okay with it. They see the toll it is taking on me. This decision has been a long time coming. While I'm not 100% there, I feel like I am 80% there.

DH gets home by the end of the week and I hope to have made the decision by then. I am pretty sure I'll be rehoming them, though.

Payday Report for 9/8/17

September 10th, 2017 at 08:04 pm

We had/will have a lot of medical stuff this week. I think we are pretty close to hitting the deductible, though. A small amount of this was from money leftover from last payday. The Citi card is a partial payment and a larger one will be made to them next payday. We still have carried no interest by running our cards this way.

$300.00 Medical
$150.00 Best Buy (No interest same as cash)
$148.26 Medical
$500.00 September Utilities (water/power/gas)
__70.26 Garbage (2 months)
$650.78 BoA Visa (In Full)
__94.82 BoA MC (In Full)
$825.81 AMEX (In Full)
__71.41 Internet
$207.79 Chicken purchase from local farm for freezer
$300.00 to Citi Visa (Partial)
__90.00 For Upcoming physical therapy this week
__40.00 For Upcoming Neurology appt
----------
3449.13 Total Money Out

I Like Ting So Far

September 9th, 2017 at 11:39 pm

DS and I got our new phones from Ting on Thursday. His is a Samsung J3 2017 and mine is a Motorola Moto G5 Plus. I decided to go with a phone that would take better photos and decent video. With Petunia's link I got a discount that brought that phone to $214. Since I will hold onto this phone for several years, I feel okay about spending a little more for it.

It was really easy to learn to use. I thought it would be tougher as my last phone was a flamingo red Samsung Intensity with the slide out keyboard. But it wasn't hard at all, I caught right on. I do use a stylus, though, as otherwise the touch screen keyboard drives me up the wall.

It is still such a weird concept to me to have to pay for a cell phone. Every other time in the past they gave you a free phone with a contract, but haven't in the last several years which is another reason I never upgraded. I couldn't handle spending hundreds of dollars on something like that.

It was a little hard spending the money right now with the future so uncertain, but it will help with the farm business as well as the youtube channel which also generates income, albeit not terribly much yet. I did have to have a reliable phone, though. There is too much going on with all the various medical doctors and tests scheduled for my daughter that I have to keep track of it and not have messages get lost by the wayside.

My son's phone was $139 on sale. He is very happy with it and glad I talked him out of saving up for an iPhone. He doesn't need 1000 bells and whistles when 50 or so will do. My daughter will be getting one soon, too, as she gets the money together. Then she will switch to Ting as well.

I would like to get DH to switch, too, but I don't know that Ting has service on the North Slope. As far as I know, only Verizon does and I don't think Ting uses Verizon lines. It uses Sprint and LG. Although that may not matter much longer, since his last day of work up there is 10/26. If he does switch we'd be under $45 a month for the bill.

Even if he has to stay on Verizon by himself, it will still be far less spent on the monthly phone bills. Verizon for one person is not horrible. Especially if the the rest of us will only be generating $32 to $35 a month total depending on whether or not we use a small amount of data. Right now we have data turned off on our phones so they won't try to use it. My town is so wired though, that wireless is everywhere, either through Xfinity, the city wireless that includes the library and civic buildings and post offices, and almost every store in town.

I'm thinking about looking into some of those grocery savings things you need a smart phone for now. And I can finally use digital coupons in Safeway if I forget to preload them on my loyalty card.

Honestly, I wish I had switched to Ting sooner. I'm going to include my referral link here in case anyone decides to make the switch as well.

https://z9003s69khl.ting.com/

Doing Some Research and DD's Head Problems

September 6th, 2017 at 02:21 am

So I did some googling and I think DH will qualify for unemployment this time around. For the state of Alaska you have to have worked in two of the previous quarters and earned more than $2500.

DH worked in May and June of the 2nd quarter, and will have worked July, August, and September of the 3rd quarter, and then October for the 4th quarter, so if I understand it right, when he gets laid off in October that should mean he can get it again.

For some reason I always thought you had to work for a year before you could qualify for benefits again, but someone (PS, maybe or MEC) pointed out that in some states it's based on what you earned and Alaska appears to be one of those states. I'll have DH follow up on that, but it is looking good.

What's not looking good is that the doctor has ordered a brain MRI for DD. Hopefully there is nothing serious behind the debilitating headaches she's been having, but I am worried. He is waiting for approval and then he will call us so we can get it scheduled. He wants to rule out a tumor or brain aneurysm and look for signs of MS since it runs in the family.

I also need to call the eye surgeon who has been seeing her for her eye and headache issues and have him send over his records for her and then call her old pediatrician and have her do the same. For some reason the ped never sent her records over 3 years ago when we sent a request for them so current doctor has no history of her skull fracture, concussion, and brain injury.

The doctor also did a blood draw for mono. She is just not functional right now.

Also, the smoke cap is back. The Cle Elum fires are sending mass amounts of smoke this way along with ash in parts of the city. It's not where we live, but is on some of the foothills a mile to two miles away from us. It's also 82 degress right now at 7 p.m. And it is humid. We are supposed to get rain on Saturday. Hopefully we will get light wind pushing it away before that. I am using my happy light already. I don't want to drop down in mood again like last time.

I am so tired. I don't feel like I am getting restful sleep with the new c-pap. I think my mask might be too small. I will call them tomorrow and see. I think they gave me the wrong size.

Yesterday we canned 32 jars of pears, but one broke in the canner. So I have 15 pint and a half jars for me and Mom has 16 pint jars for her. We've got another box of pears to do, but they are not ripe yet, maybe Thursday. All of those will be for me. I also need to do some deli-style pickles. The cucumbers have gone nuts.

I've still got to do the potatoes, too. No green beans this year after all, though. The ones that are growing locally are all hollow and woody, so I'm glad I didn't waste garden space on them this year. It's been too hot during the growing season and then the smoke cap has been detrimental to their growth as well. We still have several jars from last year, though, and if we have to buy green beans in cans, at least they are very cheap compared to other veggies.

An Update of Sorts

September 4th, 2017 at 02:45 am

Well, DH has work through October. There for a while we weren't even sure he'd go back after this hitch ends or not. His last day should be the 26th. I wish he could extend it a week. All we'd need was one day worked in November and his job would pay for November insurance. But he texted me this morning, so one more month to pay off some of these surprise medical expenses like a new C-pap machine, and the dental work that needs to get done.

I'm not sure what will happen then, other than DH will be looking for work. He may have made enough since May to qualify him again for unemployment, but that's not much. We have $22,784.87 left in the Emergency Fund. Which will get us to March or April if DH doesn't find a job again. We'll get our tax refund as soon as possible and with the medical we've paid out this year that could be enough for an additional 2 months of living expenses.

If there is any money left over after paying all of our bills the next two months than I will save it, too. I'm pretty sure there will be nothing of September's pay, but barring any other medical emergency we should be able to put aside some of October's pay.

I hope he can find something reliable soon. We are as prepared as we can be, but this will be the last time we can go through this without having some serious time to rebuild our savings again. We won't be able to survive it a third time if we wipe out all of our savings.

Payday Report for 9-1-17

September 2nd, 2017 at 04:28 pm

I have been running most household expenses and a lot but not all of the medical expenses through credit cards. It makes it easier when payday comes to just pay the cards off in full. Most household expenses go on the Costo Citi card, most medical expenses go on the AMEX except for those companies who do not take it, as well as Netflix, storage, rare meals out, and cell phones, and all of DH's work travel expenses like plane tickets and hotels go on a miles card. The due dates are spaced through the month with the 3rd, 14, and 22nd so that works out nicely.

This is what I paid from the first paycheck in this cycle:

$2826.72 Citi Card
___56.83 Life Insurance DH
___45.30 Life Insurance Me
___90.50 BEP (Medical DD)
__120.00 Cash for Allowances and Gas
___40.00 BEP (Co-Pay DD)
___11.07 FCN (Medical DD)
___90.00 Next Wednesday's PT
-----------------
$3280.42 Total Bills Paid

I gassed up the car. I had 4 points and paid in cash so got a total of 50cents per gallon discount, which put me at $2 a gallon.

I Need a Ting Referral Link

September 1st, 2017 at 05:31 pm

Well, my phone finally bit the dust so I am going to buy a cheaper phone from Ting and cut the Verizon cord for myself. I know there are a handful of you that use Ting, so if someone wants to give me their link in the comments, than I'll use it when I sign up. I really hate to have to buy a new phone, though. I will be saying good-bye to my slide out keyboard. I hate touch screens and wish they still made the slide out version.

My son wants to get a job so he can help out with medical bills if needed. I was kind of floored he offered to as he is only 17, but we are very open about money and he knows the situation. I told him I'd consider it, but only if he can show me he's serious about it by keeping his school work going. We've got about 1.5 years of home school left before he can graduate. As much as possible, though, I'd want him to save his money for the vocational college where he wants to take welding.

My nephew is thinking of moving in. There are 3 more rooms in this house at my mom's end. His girlfriend lives here and so he wants to move here and find a job and save up so he can get an apartment here. He'd have to help pay for some things, too. Nominal rent and utilities and help Mom with things like yard work. It would be nice having him around.

The next few months are going to be interesting.

Today is Better

August 31st, 2017 at 02:43 am

My mental state is better now. I do appreciate all the words of support you gave me when I was totally overwhelmed. I am doing okay now. It looks like DH's company did not get the approval for what they wanted to do, so DH's job will run out in October. There is still no word on the other job yet. Or any other job. I don't know what we'll do at this point.

The rabbits are still paying for themselves. I sell just enough each month to cover the costs of their food and the ducks' food. So the meat and eggs we get from them are basically no cost.

I happened upon a great deal today at the grocery store. They had a bunch of chuck steaks and top and bottom round steaks that were marked down for quick sale. I know we have beef in the freezer, but this worked out to 19.6 pounds of beef for $1.40 a pound. I came home and cut every steak in half and we ended up with 14 steaks in the freezer. I know the stuff we butchered will keep for a year the way it is wrapped, so this can be used more quickly.

What I really need to find is chicken, though. Sometimes they have good markdowns on those, too, but not nearly as often as they have beef and pork in there. I want to get as much inexpensive chicken in the freezer as possible before we go into a possible time of no income. It really helped last time to have so much food available and we had to buy very little, just fresh fruit and greens and dairy through the winter.

I bought 20 pounds of potatoes to can from the local garden I get produce I don't grow myself from. That'll likely give me two canner loads. I will probably end up canning a total of 60 pounds of potatoes this month. Maybe 80 if I don't run out of steam and my arthritis doesn't act up too badly. The new medication has been working wonders though so hopefully it will continue to do so and I'll be able to peel and chop a boatload of them.

I am going to can carrots, too, but I am going to use those 5 pound bags of organic baby carrots from Costco that are already peeled and nicely sized for canning. They are very cheap and I can save myself a couple steps, so why not? I only need to do 10 pounds or so.

I don't think I am going to do green beans. I didn't grow them this year and I still have about 50 quarts so I don't think it is necessary. I will do pears, though if I can get a good deal on them. I'd like to get some more meat canned, too, but that'll come with our next butchering.

Having enough food to get through the bad times makes me feel I can be a lot more in control of at least one part of the situation.

Misery

August 26th, 2017 at 09:00 pm

I haven't posted much this month because truthfully everything sucks and I am so tired of things being so negative every time I do post. I am weepy all the time lately and I am not a weepy person. I feel like we're never going to get out of this situation where bad things happen one after the other after the other and we are given no time whatsoever to get our heads above water and breathe. I feel like I'm drowning and what's worse, I have no desire to keep fighting the current.

This month alone has just shattered me. First Gina dies, then we have to rehome George. Then we find out the news about FIL having six months to live because of the cancer spreading so aggressively. Then we get a visit by the humane society because someone called in an anonymous report about the living conditions of our rabbits. Nobody knows about our rabbits outside of family and two girls that used to be friends with my daughter but have been cyberbullying her for about two years now.

It came to nothing, because the woman who came back to see them said she'd never seen rabbits in such good condition. Everyone had food, water, bedding, and one fan per cage (rabbits don't do well in heat above 75 degrees) in an indoor shed.

Then she asked about our turkeys and I said we didn't have any turkeys, they were long gone. She said the person who called in specifically mentioned the turkeys, so they had no clue that we no longer had turkeys. Everyone who lives around us knew the turkeys were gone.

I asked who had called it in and she said the woman requested to be anonymous. I asked if it was a neighbor and she said no. Then I told her about the girls that have been harassing my daughter (one's a vegan but the militant kind) and she said she'd be sure to note that in her report. Apparently this happens all the time with petty people calling stuff in to try to get people they don't like in trouble. I did later find some FB evidence of gloating so my suspicions are likely correct on who did it.

Then we had to put Kalia down. She broke something in her back when the Med-Evac buzzed too low over the houses again. This is the third or fourth rabbit we've lost because of that stupid helicopter not following the flight height rules when it takes off. It almost hit the neighbor's ham operator antennae a few days ago. The loud noise and the shaking of the building just panics them sometimes. Sometimes we can save them, but she had lost control over her bladder and bowels and it was clear it wasn't just a leg injury, but a back injury, too.

Kalia was a special rabbit to us. She was the first one we had to dropper feed and so we spent a lot of time with her and she was a particular favorite. That one devastated my husband, but that was coming on top of the news about his dad so it all played together.

My daughter had yet another ER visit this month just when we'd finally gotten the last ones paid for and thought we'd be able to relax again. At least $700 will go on her deductible then who knows?

DH had to get a crown and had to pay $650 up front. Then if that wasn't all enough, my c-pap machine quit working. It was 2 months before the five year mark when I could qualify for a new machine, but they were able to get the insurance to agree to get me a new machine now. But it is a $600 machine and I still have $480 left on the deductible so I'll have to pay that up front as well. I can't go without one though. Right now I am using a loaner, but will get the new machine on Monday.

We still don't know whether or not DH will have a job after October and if he doesn't I don't think he will qualify for unemployment only having worked six months since he used up all his benefits. I don't know if my sanity can take another lay-off. I really don't.

I feel like everything is out to get us. I don't know how we are going to get through all this crap. If we had debt right now I think I'd have totally lost it. As it is, I'm ready to just give up, crawl into a hole, and never come out again. How do I fight that when nothing is going right? How do I force myself to stay on top of it all when I just don't care anymore to try?

I've lost my motivation. I guess I just need some encouragement right now.

And So it Goes

August 19th, 2017 at 09:34 am

My father in law was given the news that the cancer has spread and there is nothing further they can do to treat it. They said he has six months to live. It breaks my heart. I love him so much. Having FIL around made me not feel so lost when my own father died. I have to figure out how to be strong for my family, but all I want to do is cry my eyes out.

Payday Report for 8/11

August 12th, 2017 at 12:24 am

$1255.14 BoA Visa
__113.57 BoA Master Card
__125.00 Best Buy (12 months same as cash)
__500.00 August Utilities
__250.00 Chiropractor (won't be paid until 8/28)
__258.00 Medical (Another bill for my ER visit)
___54.54 Medical (DD)
___30.00 Medical (DD)
___11.69 Medical (DD)
------------
$2597.94 Total Bills Paid

I See Blue Skies!!!!

August 12th, 2017 at 12:15 am

Oh, you guys don't know what an amazing lift it is to see the sky again. It is so beautiful and open and freeing to see it. It's like an oppressive force that was pushing down on us is gone. It's so wonderful to see. I finally had hope late last night when we could faintly see Polaris, Jupiter, and the space station (the brightest things in the night sky) peaking though the haze and the moon wasn't orange, it was white.

DH mentioned that maybe part of my problem was that I have seasonal depression in the winter and maybe it was the lack of direct sunlight that was affecting me. I think that may be part of it.

I don't use my Happy Light in the late spring, summer, or early fall because I am outside enough not to need it. But since I couldn't be outside much due to the smoke affecting my lungs, even with the inhaler, I wasn't getting that light and I certainly wasn't getting the benefit of being in the outdoors with fresh air at all.

So that really makes me feel so much better, although it was still a sad day as we said good-bye to our tom turkey George. The lady who is taking him is very nice and she promises to send photos of him with the turkey hens. It was still hard to see him go, but I know it is for the best. It seems so quiet without him, though. I will miss him. He is such a love.

On the practical side, it is one less chore on the farm. The turkey coop will be cleaned out one last time and I think we will tear it down. It'll be too much of a reminder and it blocks the view of the yard from the back windows. I think we will leave the covered courtyard up, though. The chickens go in there when it is raining or snowing so they can be out of the elements while still being outside.

I hope not having a guard animal will be noticed by the local hawks or the nesting pair of eagles that live near the hospital. George won't be there to chase them off. He won't be there to gobble any time someone pulls into the driveway. He won't react to the Medevac helicopter flying over or the firefighting helicopter and airplane when they fly over. Or the coast guard who sometimes fly over as well. Yes, it will be very quiet on the farm, save for the quiet babble of the ducks and the cackling of the chickens. Very quiet, indeed.

I Still Can't See the Sky

August 11th, 2017 at 04:35 am

Today was supposed to be clear, but it still isn't. You can at least see the foothills now, though. It is supposed to rain on Sunday and I really hope it does. It is hard to not be able to go outside much if I want to breathe well. It's too hot to leave the windows closed with it being in the 80's and no A/C.

Today was my daughter's 21st birthday. How did that happen? When did I get old enough to have a twenty-one-year-old child? We went to Outback for dinner. I had lobster and everyone else had steak. It was pretty good, but I can make a better steak at home, which is why I got lobster. Or maybe it is just the difference between grass fed beef(what I have) and corn fed beef.

I did have a couple bites of the steak, because my daughter couldn't quite finish hers, but that only confirmed my call to get the lobster. It was an expensive night, but it's the only time in a year we've gone out to something like this. Tomorrow it'll be back to home-cooking.

Tomorrow MIL and FIL and DH meet with the doctor about FIL going down to the UW hospital and whether or not he is strong enough. They've already said he'd have to do a medical transport if he goes, that he is not strong enough to go in a regular car, not even our van which is very comfortable. They still don't know what is wrong with him, but I have a feeling it is the cancer working on a systemic level. Continued prayers for him would be appreciated.

We are rehoming our tom turkey George. He hasn't been the same since Gina died, and he will be going to a nice lady with 2 Royal Palm hens. I hate to see him go, but my mother has been getting aggressive with him again and of course he reacts to that. Honestly, I'm afraid she's going to hurt him.

She's been acting kind of crazy this week freaking out on everyone for very minor things. I wish we could move. I am so done right now. After everything I did taking care of her, for her to turn on us is just demoralizing. I am never mean to her, not even when her vindictive streak comes out. I am patient and seldom react because I know that's what she wants.

Half the time I feel like I'm the parent and she's an adolescent going through puberty. She sure acts like a 7nth grade girl in full on brat mode. She can never admit when she's wrong. Ever. She doesn't apologize except to say things like I'm sorry you feel that way and even that hardly ever happens. I'm ready to move across the country at this point just to have everything fall on my sisters since that is the only way they will ever do anything.

I want to go somewhere and scream at the sky, but I'm not entirely convinced it is still there. Man, that's really getting to me. I need to see some blue before I go off the deep end myself.

I Can't See the Sky

August 8th, 2017 at 07:40 pm

It's been 12 days since I've been able to see the sky. The smoke haze from B.C. is so bad it is like a ceiling of dirty white overhead. Not like when it is overcast, then you can still see clouds in various shades of grey and white. This is like a lid has been shut over us. Washington state has the worst air quality in the nation right now. Unfortunately, I am having to use my inhaler. It is messing with my lungs.

You take it for granted, seeing the sky. Not seeing it for so long is making it seem claustrophobic, like we are closed in. I can feel it at the back of my neck, making me want to raise my shoulders up and inward against it. I know it is psychological, but the longer it continues, the worse it seems. It makes me feel like I'm in some kind of sci-fi movie where the sky disappears.

The sun and moon through it have been amazing, though. Just brilliant shades of orange shining through to let us know that even if the sky is gone, space is still up there somewhere.

There's not much been going on. I finished up the kidney infection medication and spent a lot of time in bed sleeping during that time. We didn't go out to eat at all for three weeks, but we did get something this weekend and we will go out on the tenth for my daughter's 21st birthday. Then back to not eating out for a good while.

We are up to our ears in gold rush zucchini and patty pan squash. The green zucchini is not doing as well. I lost a lot of them to blossom end rot, so now I am pulling the blossoms off them once they have got to finger size and that seems to be helping. I have green tomatoes now so maybe in a couple more weeks I'll have some red ones.

We lost 2 chickens this week. Henrietta was our oldest chicken. She was six. And then one of the leghorns died as well, but they don't live as long since they are production birds. She was 3. So now we are down to 9 chickens, 6 ducks, and one turkey. We aren't replacing anyone. We thought we might have to get a new turkey hen after Gina died, but George seems to be doing okay now. He's a little sad at bedtime when he's alone, but during the day he seems fine and hangs out with the 3 Barnevelder hens he was raised with.

I didn't do a payday report this week, but all of the money went to pay the AMEX bill in full. That takes care of the last of the medical expenses from the two ER visits and the emergency eye surgery. We still had to pull $3500 out of the Emergency Fund, but at least we didn't have to pay interest on anything.

Maybe in September we can pull ahead again. At least for a little while. Who knows with the job situation still being up in the air like it is.


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