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Adventure's in Parentsitting

June 20th, 2017 at 11:04 am

It's been a long two weeks since Mom came home from her shoulder surgery and the stories I could recount up to this point could fill a book. Did you know that oxycodone and elderly people often equals hallucinations? I sure didn't. After the first week we had to switch to hydrocodone because that particular side effect was getting bad.

I haven't had any help from my sisters. The eldest has come to visit twice, once staying for 20 minutes a few days after Mom came home and the other time staying for an hour and a half to do some work on the computer. She spent very little time interacting with Mom. She only lives five minutes or so away. When I asked her if she could stay with Mom while I ran to the store, her answer was that she had to go. *sighs*

My middle sister seldom stirs herself to come see Mom and when she does it is more of a pit stop for her than anything else. She's always been this way unless there is something in it for her, like presents. She quit coming at Christmas time when Mom stopped giving presents. She's never come for Thanksgiving or invited anyone to her home for Thanksgiving.

It's only a 40 minute drive from her house to here, but she comes up usually only once a year. When we lived in the mountains it was a 45 minute drive and we were in here at least twice a week. I just don't get the mentality. Yet I've seen it before, when Mom was taking care of Grandma and her sister did very little to help.

I've heard that is often the way, that one child does it all in caring for a parent. I've seen it play out in other people's lives, too. One of my friends is the only one who helps her mom out with her step-father, who had a stroke a year and a half ago. He has five sons, all biological, and they don't really do anything, certainly nothing without being prompted, and their wives don't either. Even though they all live nearby while my friend lives 2 hours plus a ferry ride away.

It frustrates me that family members behave this way when they all ought to be pitching in to help. Especially my sisters. But they weren't here when Mom was dealing with Grandma. They were married and out of the house. So they didn't see first hand the strain it put on her. I did what I could to help at the time, but I was still a young teenager.

My kids are helping some. My son is doing all the morning farm chores that were my mother's, like letting the birds out in the morning, cleaning out the chicken coop (he already does the duck coop and the turkey coop), mowing the lawn (she likes to do that or it would have been his chore a long time ago), weed-eating, etc. Mom never had evening farm chores, those we do.

My daughter has helped with some of the day to day care, and the first few days, the night time care since she is usually up until two or three in the morning. They have both helped with hourly checks as well. Fortunately Mom is now getting to the point where she can be left alone for two or three hours and she is sleeping through the night. The first week was hard, though.

DH will be home on Friday and I will get a bit of a break. I'll still have to do a lot, but he can take some of the burden. I am sick from the lack of sleep and close to a full body break down. I have to ice my knees and ankles frequently due to the many trips up and down the stairs. It is only two steps, but when you do them 20 times a day when you are used to only doing them once or twice, it is hard on damaged joints.

I haven't had as much time in the garden as I would like, but it is going like gangbusters. Hopefully today I can get out there and harvest, because there is a lot to do and I still want to plant green beans. It's not too late for this part of the country.

My daughter managed to dislocate her middle finger on her dominant hand 3 days ago. She got it back in, but the swelling and pain has been pretty bad. The doctor said just treat it like a sprain once he made sure it was in place. So it is in a splint and taped to the finger next door. This has taken her out of the running for a lot of things, like doing the dishes, taking out the recycling, cleaning the bathroom, and folding the laundry, all chores she either does or helps with normally.

Her brother picks up a lot of that slack. I went in halfsies on Nintendo Switch for him due to all his hard work.

In the midst of all this, I managed to spill water on my laptop and it will be 4 to 6 weeks until I get it back. I remember when turnaround was only 10 days. I'm sure I just fried the motherboard. This is not my first time spilling water on a computer, but hopefully it is my last.

I am using a new desk top computer hooked up to my TV. It will be my daughter's computer after I get my laptop back. Her laptop has lasted 8 years, but it is showing its age, so this was on the agenda anyway. It was 12 months same as cash, so I went ahead and did that. I usually do.

The medical bills from my ER visit and emergency laser eye surgery came in. It's $1800 total since it all went on the deductible. And I had $450 of labs, also all on the deductible. My x-rays bill hasn't come yet, but that will also be on the deductible. The new medical insurance can't start soon enough. We will have to meet a $1000 family deductible for it, but then we are done with that nonsense for the rest of the year. Plus not having to pay $1337 a month for insurance will be great. It'll just be $300 pre-tax a month, which frees up a lot of money.

DH got a job offer, but it wasn't one that would be sustainable. It would have been a drop in pay of 40%. Which would work if it was a local job, but not for one he has to pay airfare and travel expenses for. This is an offer from the company he was laid off from. It is also a backwards step in his career to a lower position. While it would have been steady work, we would have had to take money from savings each month to meet all the bills, so he declined it.

The other job he interviewed for is taking forever to start up and he probably won't hear anything about that until August. He will continue to look for something else, but my hope is that things will straighten out with the company he is currently working for since their benefits are unbeatable. Right now they have been given an additional project and have work through December, not just through October. Maybe things will continue to pick up.

I have set a goal for myself to try to write at least 1000 words a day on my novel. I can normally do 1500 to 2000 a day, but not while caring for my mother. Still, I'd like to do as much as I can. I just need to make it a priority again.

Well, that should catch things up. Hopefully I will be able to post again soon.

Choices for a New Phone--Help Me Decide

June 9th, 2017 at 11:20 am

I really need to get a new cell phone. My current phone is a Samsung Intensity from 2009 so it is 8 years old. I wish it could muddle along forever, but sadly it is giving up the ghost. I've gone through three batteries and am on my third charger, all off E-bay since Samsung hasn't carried the proper items to replace these in several years. And while I know I could buy one off e-bay for between $10 and $25, I think it is time to drag myself kicking and screaming towards a more current phone.

I don't need bells and whistles, I just want a pull out keyboard, but they don't seem to make those anymore. I hate touch screen technology for phones. While it might be nice to access the internet at a grocery store for coupons, I don't need to be on the internet on my phone. I need it for texting mostly and a little bit of making phone calls.

I've been putting off buying a new one for about a year. I am debating what I should buy. I may take a photo or two, but I doubt I will ever use it for videos as my camera is so much better than any phone for that. I don't need to store music on it as I have a perfectly good I-pod for that. So I don't need a ton of memory, either.

I am thinking about the Samsung J7 ($163), the Motorola Moto G4 ($199), the Samsung J3 Emerge ($149), or the Samsung J3 ($129). Has anyone used any of these phones? If so, what are your opinions on them?



Odds and Ends

June 6th, 2017 at 11:37 pm

Mom's shoulder surgery went well. They kept pushing it back so I didn't hear anything until 4:30, but the doctor said it went beautifully. I was able to pop up and see her at 8:30. We didn't get to visit much since the nurse was in there with her until 8:50 and then visiting hours ended at 9. She said I didn't need to come today, but she seemed glad to see me.

Her doctor asked if she is being forgetful lately, because he was worried about it being a side-effect of the surgery or the pain medicine, but I told him she is getting forgetful about some things. It's not bad yet, just kind of irritating, but not so much that she needs help for it. Just aging. Though I do keep a watch on her about it.

I told the nurse I thought she should stay in the hospital for another day based on how she was last time. Medicaid and Bridge will pay for it so she might as well stay another day with people who can care for her full time, unlike me, who has a full day tomorrow. I based my schedule on what I was told, which was 2 days. And since I'm the only one who will be caring for her, since my siblings don't do that sort of thing, I'd like them to stick to the original plan.

DS is applying for his first job tomorrow. He got the application today and took the food handler's permit test and got that. It is a weird feeling. I really didn't want him to work this summer as he still has school work to catch up on, but he has promised he will continue with it through the summer and if he doesn't I'll make him quit.

He's applying at McDonalds. They are hiring and they've got the college tuition help so he could build that up if he works there. It was something I found so helpful when I was working there and going to college. It wasn't a ton, but it paid for my books. I hope he doesn't have any trouble getting hired there. He's never had a job before outside the farm. He can ride his bike or walk there (35 minute walk, 10 minute bike ride) unless it is raining, then I'd take him.

He wants to buy an iPhone, which I said okay on, but after he has the money for that, he has to put half of every paycheck into savings for college and open an IRA and put in $50 a week and contribute at least $10 a month to charity, either the local mission or the teenage runaway mission Covenant House.

If he does okay with his school work during the summer, than I may let him work part time during the school year. I just can't let his studies suffer. He's already 1/2 a year behind due to all the stuff leading up to and recovering from his sinus surgery. I want to keep him on track. His grades are good, he's just missed time.

So many things are changing right now and it is hard for me to deal with it all. I don't like change. I like steady, dependable, reliable routine. But I know he has to grow up, so I try not to be too crazy about it.

I am still worried about the job situation, but what else is new? Either it works out or it doesn't. Hopefully it does. Oh, and they ended up deciding to let him stay through Thursday of the third week since it was a screw up on their part. His boss will be retiring soon, too, so that should be helpful. It would still be nice, though, if he could get that other job.

The rabbit kits are growing up so well. The one eight week old broken red is a female. I was hoping for a male, but I'm keeping her. She has perfect markings and coloration. I do need a boy, though. There are two broken reds in Ella's 3.5 week old litter. One has good coloration, the other has good markings. I just don't know though. I'll need to wait and see how their coloring changes as they get bigger. If it isn't right, we can try again.

There is a gorgeous solid black 3.5 week old as well, that looks like he will stay that color. He is even darker than Ella. If he is a boy, I would be very tempted to keep him, but we really don't have the room right now.

The garden is doing really well. I have more lettuce than I know what to do with, but other things are coming along. I got my first kohlrabi and there are teeny tiny peas on the snow pea plants. Maybe in a week they will be ready. I saw some color on one of the strawberries yesterday so hopefully they will all be ripening up soon. If I can keep the squirrels off them we will have a bumper crop.


Slowest DMV in the West

June 2nd, 2017 at 05:01 pm

I took my son to get his learner's permit. We spent 2 and a 1/2 hours there. He had already taken his written test two days ago, so that was just wait time to actually get the actual permit. And it wasn't even a temporary permit, it was just a piece of paper saying he had permission to drive until his permit comes in the mail. Well, actually for 45 days, but regardless, they didn't have to use the special printer for it like they do with temp ID's and licenses, so it was kind of ridiculous to have to sit for 30 minutes after having his photo taken for a simple print out.

He also registered for the draft while we were there. That took like 2 seconds. I thought he didn't have to register until he turned 18, but I guess they want you to register before you turn 18 and on that day you can be called up if necessary. Happy Birthday, kid, you're going to war. As a mother, I really hope it never comes to that. He is the last of his entire line to carry on the family name on his dad's side, too, so if something happened to him during a drafted war, it ends with him.

So anyway, we spent $25 at the DMV and my hip is all messed up from sitting on those hard plastic chairs. I have an ice pack on it and took a muscle relaxant and hopefully it'll be gone by morning. After that I had physical therapy, which really hurt because of the chairs. So that was $60 as it wasn't a longer session, just a shorter one.

My mother's shoulder surgery is on the 6th, but her time got moved. Same day, but she needs to be there at 9 a.m. instead of 6:30 a.m. So that is a blessing, because I don't function well before 8. It's only a few blocks' drive, but she's not to walk it because they don't want the high amount of pollen getting on her and contaminating things.

So I can let the birds out then drive her up, drop her off, and get back in time to go turn on the rabbit fans if it is hot and refill water bottles and feeders. She doesn't want anyone to stay with her, which is usual. It makes her more anxious, not less. I'll see her the next day. She said not to come in that night as she'll be too drugged up and doesn't want her sleep interrupted.

It looks like she might get two nights in the hospital which would be the best thing for both of us. She'd have more time to recover with full care and I'd not have to run myself ragged until she was more easy to care for. I really wish she had scheduled this for when DH is home. Then he could help out with some of the care.

C1-360 Interest to Emergency Fund

June 2nd, 2017 at 04:19 pm

$26,495.82 Starting Balance
+__,_16.53 Interest Income
---------------
$26511.87 New Balance

$3488.13 to go to hit my next big goal.

Well, Maybe Not

May 30th, 2017 at 04:59 pm

I woke up in so much pain this morning, that I think maybe I just shouldn't exercise. It might be the weather swing, there was a huge change in barometric pressure overnight, but I think it is probably a combination. I've gotten better through the day as the muscles warmed up. I hate to think even swimming might be something I can't do. I will give it another few tries before I decide, but youch, it was bad.

If I can't swim, then there is no point in retaining our family gym membership. My son is the only one who would want to use it, but he can use our kettle bells, treadmill, his bike, and the free weights we have if it comes to that. If we get it welded, we have a weight bench set up in the garage he could use as well. Or we can get him an individual membership, since the branch of our gym that does not have the pool is within walking/safe biking distance.

The one exercise I seem to be okay with is gardening. Yes, I have to go slow and take frequent breaks, but I am able to maintain the garden mostly on my own. I do need help weed-eating the paths, but because the raised beds are two feet high, I can easily do weeding and planting and harvesting.

There has been a lot to harvest, lately, too. Two days ago, for example, I filled 4 2 gallon containers with six types of lettuce and spinach. I also pulled about 20 carrots. A couple days before that I had a 5 gallon bucket full of chard and kale and 2 full of sorrel. We can't eat all of it. I gave a big bag to the neighbor and at least half of it goes to help feed the animals. They appreciate the fresh greens.

I will soon have strawberries, green onions, and kohlrabi to harvest, and the broccoli may not be far behind. The snow peas are blossoming, so I hope to see peas in the next week or two as well. It can't come at a better time, when I have to cut the grocery bill so drastically.

Made it to the Pool and Started a New Dietbet

May 29th, 2017 at 08:14 pm

In an effort to start exercising again, we made it to the pool today. It was during open swim and while there was a free lap lane, I didn't swim laps. What I did was grab a pool noodle, stick it under my arms, and then do the bicycling legs while floating thing for 20 minutes. Then I pretty much just floated for a while. Gravity is not my friend right now, so anything that helps me defy it is wonderful.

I figured I should take it easy in the beginning as I don't want to hurt myself when I am just getting started. I have no stamina right now. A lot of times working in the garden I end up huffing and puffing. I am just so out of shape. It's a good thing I took it easy, too, because my legs felt like jelly when I got out.

I sat in the hot tub for about 15 minutes and then took a nice long shower, since no one else was in the locker room. I am almost out of my swim shampoo and conditioner. It takes the chlorine out of my hair so I will need to buy some more soon if I keep this up.

I picked up the new pool schedule for the summer and there is only one water Zumba class a week. I am not ready to go to that or water aerobics, though. Not until my feet and ankles are doing better. Hopefully I'll get some kind of medication from the rheumatologist and it will help with all the swelling and tightness that reoccurs.

I also signed up for two dietbets, one a six month transformer and one a month long kickstarter. I finally feel motivated enough to get this weight loss thing moving again. I didn't have to put any money out since I still have a bunch in my account. The kickstarter starts on June 1st and the transformer starts tomorrow.

My son is wanting to eat more healthy and so we will be supporting each other. I am probably going to make my daughter get on the band wagon as well. I hope DH does, too. He's gained back a lot of weight and it is messing with his back. I'm going to stop buying the junk food for the most part. If it isn't in the house no one can eat it in front of me and tempt me.

I'm sure my weight is contributing to my ankle pain and that it isn't all arthritis. It's just so bad and I can't do this to myself anymore. So for now I am motivated and hopefully I can stay motivated.

I am getting my positive attitude back. I think my brain is either adjusting to the spot in my vision or the Occu Power is actually helping to diminish it. Either way it is less irritating than it was even a couple days ago.

I am trying to keep that attitude going, but DH's work is really testing my frustration levels. They waited until the last minute to decide whether he was going to be coming up on Mondays or Thursdays, and finally told him the day he left as he was heading out to catch a plane that it was Thursdays.

Today he gets a call from his boss's boss wondering where he is, because his boss, who said he would take care of putting all the paperwork together, didn't. His boss is the same guy who months ago, conveniently "lost" all three copies of the resume DH gave him and claimed he never received one from him even though DH personally handed him copies of it twice. It feels an awful lot like sabotage part 2.

So while it is now all worked out and in the future he will be starting on Mondays, he has lost 3 days of work out of this coming hitch. That is a big chunk of money that we were depending on.

I won't be able to put anything in the EF and I'm not sure where else I will be able to make cuts. I may actually have to pull from the EF to cover this. I was hoping to buy some new rabbit cages and replace my daughter's bed and put some money aside in case I have to pay for the full amount of the laser eye surgery. Maybe I can get by with buying almost no food in the next six weeks. It'll mean eating a lot of greens from the garden, which we have, and eating from our freezer and canning pantry. Maybe I'll do a challenge.

DH has not heard from the other company who said they'd let him know by the 14th. He will follow up with them tomorrow. I told him he needs to continue job hunting. I just don't trust these guys and all their last minute stuff. The fact that quite a few of them seem to have permanent cases of cranial rectal inversion doesn't help either.

But think positive. I can do that. I need to do that.

Grocery Prices on the Rise?

May 28th, 2017 at 05:35 pm

I am trying to decide if grocery prices are going up or not. I know that I can still walk out of Trader Joe's with a cart full of groceries, including meat, for around $120 to $150. And the grocery outlet seems pretty steady, but it has a different price point anyway. No, it's the regular stores that seem to be going up.

I have noticed it a lot on produce and on things that are in season in our state right now. Most of the greens have gone up, so I am grateful I don't need to buy them at this time of year because of the garden. Chicken prices seem to have gone up about 30 cents a pound and that's on sale.

Fish has definitely gone up a dollar a pound pretty much across the board. Even trout which is usually the cheapest fish you can buy since around here they are competing with people who go out and catch the fish themselves to eat and people who sell direct off their boats.

Beef prices, which I don't have to worry about for at least the next six months seem to have risen about a dollar a pound as well, except hamburger, which has gone up about 50 cents a pound. Hot dogs and hot dog buns have gone up and at this time of year, especially around holidays, it is usually down a lot. Bread has gone way up. Now that I am feeling better I need to go back to baking my own loaves.

Milk seems to be steady, but we don't buy enough of it for me to be sure. Eggs have gone up. Cheese's regular price has gone up, but its sale price has gone down. Frozen foods seem to be very cheap right now, or at least going on a lot of sales.

I think I will have to just do more shopping at Trader Joe's, the grocery outlet, and Winco and only do sale shopping at Safeway and Haggen. Costco seems to have had a slight bump in some prices and gone down in others. But Costco is the only place I can get a few items, so that one I'll just have to deal with whatever price is on those items.

Have you been noticing food prices going up a lot this year? Or is it just where I live that this is going on?

Adjusting

May 28th, 2017 at 06:49 am

Well, I think I am finally starting to adjust to having this blob in the vision in my right eye. I've had to make some changes. I have to have the print on the computer screen set to 150% on most websites, and 175 on the ones that use teeny tiny font sizes to not have a blind spot when I'm reading.

If I want to read books, large print editions are the only ones that don't cause headaches. Normal print I can do for about twenty minutes, but I have to keep refocusing, and I end up with a headache. Forget 10 point font at all. It's almost an instant headache and a blind spot. Fortunately the library has a huge number of large print books and most Debbie Macomber novels have a large print copy and those that don't have an audio book available. Since I am working my way through her books right now, that works for me.

As for typing, if I increase the font and tilt my head and look through the lower part of my eye, I can almost make it disappear.

With distance vision, it is almost like it isn't there, so the only part of driving that is an issue is if I look at the GPS screen or at the speedometer. The head tilt works for that and I am using cruise control a lot more when I can.

I think it is still breaking up, but it is doing it slowly. I am taking a supplement that is supposed to help with the floaters. We'll see. I've only been on it 3 days. I am hoping by the time I see the doctor again at the end of the month that it will have gotten smaller, or even better, gone away, but I know it may not.

My daughter had her baby tooth pulled this week and they didn't give her anything for the pain. When she had her wisdom teeth out, they gave her hydrocodone. This is just as bad, but told her to just take Ibuprofen. Doctors and dentists have gotten downright stingy with painkillers in the last couple of years. They are so worried about people getting addicted that they don't want to give it out for actual bad pain.

Fortunately, she had some medication left from when she cracked her skull a couple years ago and was on it for 8 weeks so I gave her some of it and it helped her a lot.

It ended up costing $253. They had estimated $246, so not far off the mark. She needed an extra shot of novacaine, so I'm sure that was why the difference.

DH also had to go to a different chiropractor because ours is on vacation, so that was a $30 co-pay. He pinched a nerve or something in his back, so also got a massage the day before that for $60. That is not covered at all with our insurance. Fortunately he is doing much better. He will see that chiropractor again before he goes back to work on Wednesday.

Ours won't be back until the 6th and DH leaves on the 31st. My neck is out pretty bad, but I don't want to spend the money to see a different chiropractor. I may have to, though. I'm not sure I can go another ten days, especially since my physical therapist has flaked out on me again. I'm pretty sure I'll be barely walking by the time he gets back.

I'm really starting to resent the frequent vacations my chiropractor goes on. It seems like he's taking off every six weeks or so. Usually it is only for one week, but this time it is for two. He only works 4 half days a week as it is, so available hours are limited even when he is here. If he didn't have such a good family plan we would have left a long time ago.

I need to find a new physical therapist as mine is moving away in October. That's going to be a major pain. I know there are lots of them in this city, but I hate trying out new people. You may have noticed I'm not a real big fan of change. But I'll have to do it, because the sessions are one of the things that keep me walking and when I miss a week, I really feel it.

I am thinking of buying an ultrasound machine like they use in physical therapy, not like they use to see inside your body. My old doctor used to do those treatments on my knees when they would swell really bad and they worked wonders. A decent machine is around $200. Now that I am having both my ankles and knees swelling so frequently, it might be worthwhile to make the investment. They've got some with good reviews on Amazon. It'd be worth it if it improves my walking ability or even just decreases swelling and pain.

Picked Up Our Beef--Breakdown on Cuts

May 24th, 2017 at 08:41 pm

So our half a beef was ready and hanging weight came to 335 pounds. She had estimated hanging weight would be 300 with it's full hanging weight being 600, but it was bigger. It cost $1005 for the half and $250.64 for the cut and wrap fee, a total of $1255.64. So that works out to $3.75 per pound for a grass fed beef, which is pretty spectacular, considering grass fed hamburger alone is $8 a pound here. While she is not certified organic, they do not spray their hay fields and they still use organic practices.

She uses a different butcher than the one who lost our half a hog last year and then turned our plain ground pork into sausage when we specifically asked for it to not be sausage, but plain. I was glad she used someone else. I really don't want to deal with the other company again. 2 out of 3 times they've screwed up, so I have no faith in them, but unfortunately most farmers use them. I'll probably go with this lady again, though, since she uses the other place.

Here's what it breaks down to with all steaks in packages of 2 and cut 3/4 inch thick, the roasts around 2 pounds each except for the rump roasts which are 3, and the brisket which is 4 or 5:

Ground Beef: 54 l 1/2 pound packages
Heart: 1
Liver: 5 packages
Flank Steak: 1
Short Ribs: 5
Porterhouse: 2
Eye of Round: 2
Top Round Steak: 6
Sirloin: 6
Bottom Round Roasts: 3
Sirloin Tip Roasts: 4
Chuck Roasts: 6
Pot Roasts: 3
Rump Roasts: 2
Soup Bones: 4
Tri Tip: 1
T-bone Steak: 5
Brisket: 1
Tenderloin: 2
Rib Eye Steaks: 7

So it should last us quite some time, though not a year. Maybe half a year to 3/4 of a year. I reckon everything but the hamburger will be gone at the 1/2 year and the hamburger will last longer. I won't be afraid to get a full beef next time if I decide I want one. I was worried about space, but it only filled 3 1/3 compartments in my giant chest freezer. That will help me plan for a future order based on space.

I have to learn how to cook certain cuts that I've never made before as well as the heart and liver. I didn't get the tongue, because I didn't think I could handle that. If we like the heart and the liver, that's good, and if we don't, we will cut it up into little pieces and dole it out as treats to the birds, because despite what many people think, chickens, ducks, and turkeys are not vegetarians and in fact, being fed an all-vegetarian diet is not good for them.

It is easy enough to supplement them if they don't free range and get their own bugs and worms with packaged meal worms or whatever bits of meat you might have that they can eat, either raw or cooked. They don't need a lot, but they do need some. Even extra eggs if your layers are prolific, scrambled or hard boiled and diced, works, even if it feels slightly cannibalistic.

So the liver and heart will get used even if not by us. Actually, I'll see if the in-laws want some, too, if we don't like it. There's a lot and I know they eat one of them. Humans first, then animals.

It's Been Nice Here on the Farm

May 23rd, 2017 at 02:28 am

The weather the last few days has been really nice, though my latest garden transplants were not too happy with it. A little extra water, though, and they perked right up. Everything else has grown tremendously during these nicer days. I need to start hardening off my basil plants that I cloned off basil I was growing in the Aerogarden.

I've spent a couple of hours a day in the garden for the last two days and it has really helped to improve my mood. I'm still down a bit, but not feeling so hopeless. I've got almost everything in now. I just need to plant 3 pepper plants, bell, jalapeno, and cayenne, and some sunflowers and I am good until I've harvested enough to succession plant.

We haven't had to buy lettuce for 4 weeks now and we haven't had to buy spinach for 2 weeks. Kale and chard we have had all winter and spring. I pulled my first carrots from the batch that overwintered.

I wish I had a garden twice the size of what I do have. I don't like having to pick and choose what I can plant. I want to plant everything that I want to grow. As it is, I think I have to give up winter squash other than acorn and green beans this year. I can get both of those things at the no spray garden, along with good potatoes for canning, and they are cheap, so it is better to do that than to try to grow what takes up so much space in a limited area.

I put in more broccoli, some cauliflower, more kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, red shiso, 60 garlic starts, acorn squash, gold rush zucchini, patty pan summer squash, regular zucchini, English cucumbers, and pickling cucumbers. I don't need to make pickles, I just like the way those cukes taste.

I also put in red and yellow snap dragons, orange pansies, allysum (white), and heliotrope (deep purple). Flowers attract pollinators, plus they are beautiful and provide bright spots in what is mostly a sea of green right now. Most of my other flowers are herbs for tea and medicinal purposes, but not every flower has to pull double duty, just most of them.

I don't think I mentioned that we have new rabbit babies on the farm. They were born on Mother's Day. Ella had nine, 2 broken blacks, 2 blacks, 2 broken reds, and the rest are either white or a very light fawn (blond). It is hard to tell yet, as colors tend to darken with age. Persephone had five, all white. We gave Persephone two of Ella's kits to raise (one of the broken blacks and one of the blacks so we can tell whose are whose), so each mother is raising seven. This gives the kits a better shot at being evenly fed and is easier on the mother's and milk production.

Ruby and Serena missed again. I think Serena is just too old now. Ruby is still young so I don't know what is going on with her. We'll try again next month.

I am hoping that one of Ella's broken reds is a buck. We got a broken red doe kit from Bonfire that is the sweetest thing ever. She's six weeks old. If we could actually grow up a breeding pair I would be thrilled. I am also looking for a good broken black female. Zander keeps throwing male broken blacks, so far only one female, and she was poorly patterned with lots of white hairs in the black fur. And of course all of the males are beautifully patterned because that is the way it goes when you are trying for something.

Gina's laying eggs. So far we've gotten 3 eggs in two weeks. I wasn't sure she would ever lay again after last year's injury. I hope she clicks into gear a little bit faster now. Her first year she laid 3 to 4 eggs a week. Last year she didn't lay at all because it took 8 months to grow new feathers after the owl attack and turkeys can't lay eggs and grow new feathers at the same time. They use all their protein for one or the other and you can't just increase it because it can do damage to change from the proper ratio.

The ducks are all doing very well, though we lost one of the shelter chickens. She managed to wedge herself between the garage and the chicken coop and couldn't get out and gave herself a heart attack trying, poor thing. If it had to be someone, I was glad it wasn't one of the nice ones. Only two of the shelter birds are nice, the others are all bullies. I wish Mom had never got them because they've been really bad for flock dynamics.

We need to order feed in the morning, so that will be another expense. I need to find a bigger box for Gina. She's broody and the little box she's sitting in doesn't really fit her comfortably. I can probably find something for around $20. It needs to be plastic so it is easy to clean. I may just get a duplicate of what I use for the ducks. It is big enough for her, since two ducks can fit in one, and she used to sit in one the first year when she was broody.

We also need to buy a new cooler to be used as a chill tank on butcher days and a canopy to put up as a sunshade in front of the rabbit shed windows. It helps to keep it cooler inside. We've been using a tarp the last couple years, but I'd like something a bit more sturdy and that is easy to take down in wind storms.

Unfortunately I haven't sold any rabbits in a while, so I'll have to take the money out of the budget. That's okay, though. We've done it before and we can do it again.

A Long but Good Day

May 21st, 2017 at 12:27 am

I got to see sister #2 today for the first time since last summer. Sister #1 was there as well, but I see her a couple times a week, usually. It was a graduation party for S2's youngest child and all four of her children were there including her eldest who lives in Arizona and his new wife. S1's daughter was hosting it.

S1 and I always tend to gravitate to each other at these things and of course, when S2 saw that, she had to come over and talk to us, too. She's always been that way, can't be left out of a conversation her sisters are having. It was good catching up. I think S2 has changed a lot in the last couple of years. It is good to see that she isn't as lost as she used to be.

S2 is finally on the internet and has an email address, so it'll be a lot easier for me to stay in touch with her now. I was able to get a picture of the 3 of us together and the 3 of us with Mom. We haven't had a picture of us girls together since I was 19. I am going to print a copy of the one of us with Mom for Mom to have.

After that we went to my great niece's first birthday party. We missed the first part of it, but made it for an hour of it. It was a pretty exhausting day for me, but worth it to spend so much time with family. It helped lift my spirits a bit.

I'm still depressed about my eye, but at least I didn't have to think about it for a while today. I didn't eat anything at either party, it was all cake and chips and soda. On the way home we picked up Taco Time, though and spent about $40. I had a taco salad with no dressing and added some berries on the side when I got home. Taco salads are my favorite thing from there other than tacos, but I'm trying to limit corn and wheat right now.

Tomorrow I will get back into the swing of cooking again. I need to make up a meal plan and probably buy some more veggies.

Surfacing, Drowning

May 19th, 2017 at 11:03 pm

It's been a week since the emergency laser eye surgery and while it didn't seem like a big deal, it seems to have really sapped my strength. I was exhausted the first few days afterwards. I am having a hard time adjusting to the impaired vision. The spots are always there. Even when I close my eyes, if there is a light on, I can still see the big one against my eyelid, which makes it hard to get a rest from it during the day unless I cover my eye.

At least it goes away in darkness. At least I don't see it in my dreams. My vision has been bad for several years, but my glasses were always enough to correct it. The idea that these spots may be permanent unless I get another surgery to remove the vitreous and replace it with a solution of saline is very disheartening. Especially since there is no guarantee that new floaters won't develop.

I've dealt with so many health issues my entire adult life, but I always had the ability to escape into a book or into my writing. Now even that is tarnished. I can't read for long periods, because the right eye has to work too hard. It is better with large print books and zooming on the computer screen, but my eyes get so tired so fast trying to work around the floaters despite it. It kind of takes some of the joy from my life and makes me feel defeated.

I think I always took my eyesight for granted, even if it wasn't that good, it was good enough. Now...I don't know. It's like having a little bug flying in front of me constantly and nothing can make it go away. I just can't imagine having this for the rest of my life.

Usually I can look on the bright side and be optimistic, but with this, the fight has gone right out of me. I've never felt so overwhelmed before. I just want it all to go away, but I am afraid it never, ever will. It's the first time in my life where I've ever felt like giving up and it is a horrible feeling. And I'm helpless to do anything about it. Just wait and see. Or not see.

ER Visit and Emergency Laser Eye Surgery

May 13th, 2017 at 04:48 pm

The title makes it sound kind of melodramatic, it actually unfolded in a rather chilled out manner, but it is how I spent my morning. I've been having floaters in my eye for about a week, but really wasn't paying much attention to it, as they were tiny specks and I thought it was just from being so tired, and was possibly a side effect of my new medication which could cause some vision issues as you got used to it. Not, as it turns out, this one, though.

Last night the speck was really bugging me and I looked it up and it said to rotate your eye and it could sometimes move the floater to a different position. So I did and immediately there was a huge floater about the size of a fully dilated pupil in the middle right of my right eye. It was like a ball of cobwebs. So I rotated it again and there was a white flash that I can only describe as lightning in one eye.

I thought maybe I was just overly tired so I went to bed. When I woke up I had a very fast series of white flashes and the blob was still there and it had brought some much smaller friends. So I looked up the flashes and they had a simulator as to what someone with a detached retina saw and it was pretty similar, so I had DH take me to the emergency room since it said to seek immediate medical attention if you had the two symptoms together.

So off we went to the ER, where I spent an hour while they did a bunch of tests and then they located an eye doctor who was in his office today. It is in the building right next to the hospital so it took us two minutes to get there and he took us right back. He did many of the same tests after dilating my eyes and putting numbing drops in them and then some new ones with the brightest lights I have ever seen at an eye exam.

He determined that I had a torn, not a detached, retina. It was just starting to tear and he said if we zapped it now it would prevent the tear from getting bigger and turning into a detached retina. He also said it was a very good thing I did not wait to get treatment because it would have been far worse in a day or two.

So then we went into the other room and he put some more numbing drops and some gel in my eye and I sat in front of a device that kind of looked like a big microscope and put my head in the forehead and chin rest thing that eye doctors have on all their machines. It was kind of hard to stay in that position because those rests are built for men, not women. To stay close enough to the forehead rest to be comfortable you can't really have a bust in the way. I find this to be true of all eye doctor devices like this. So my low back is kind of achy from having to hold that position so awkwardly.

Then he put this lens in my eye and shot the laser through it. It was this brilliant flash of bright green with an afterimage of red with veins shot through it. He did about 30 zaps and the whole thing was over in about 5 minutes. Some of them were painful, but it was very fleeting and stopped after each blast was done. Some of them didn't hurt at all. Others were just mildly uncomfortable.

The big floater seems to have broken up some and is more see-through, but it could take 3 to 6 months to go away completely. And it might not. It's frustrating because it interferes with reading. There is another surgery that can be done if it doesn't subside on its own.

I can use my eyes as usual, though. If it feels too tired I can put a patch on it. The side that was lasered is puffy and swollen, but I think that is more from the number of things that were done to my eye today. It feels very tired and kind of like there is an eyelash in it, or possibly a stick, but it is actually a big broken blood vessel.

We got home about 3 hours after we'd left and I went to bed and crashed for 3 hours. I am glad it was something that did not turn out to be major, but it was not how I was expecting to spend my day. I don't know if insurance will pay for the eye doctor or not. They don't cover vision, as in eye glasses or contacts or that kind of exam, but I think this has to fall under medical. If not, we'll pay it. It's not like I could just not fix it.

I would seriously like a break now from all these medical issues. It's starting to get ridiculous. On the plus side, I'm no longer swollen.

Payday Report #3

May 12th, 2017 at 10:53 pm

Finally, we get to today's paycheck, which is a full seven day paycheck at hazard rate. Master Card is rarely used, but we have one that my daughter is a user on to build a credit history for her. It is basically used just for her online orders and when I am too exhausted to go into the store so she can go in with a list and get what I need while I wait in the car. We will be putting DH's flights and travel food and hotel overnights on the BOA VISA after this month. The previous plane tickets went on Citi VISA. We do not carry balances on any of our credit cards, but pay them in full every month. I am restarting the Car Repair Fund and the College Fund.

$190.00 Lab for Bloodwork
$288.79 BoA Master Card
$141.00 Charitable Giving
2739.55 Citi VISA
$120.00 BoA VISA
$100.00 Car Repair Fund
$100.00 College Fund
$_80.00 Car Insurance Fund (Six months)

Payday Report #2

May 12th, 2017 at 10:44 pm

This is for the paycheck on 5/5/17. It is a full seven day paycheck at hazard pay rate, so will be typical for that. Atypical payments for the tabs and the Beef Fund came out of this paycheck. We are getting half a grass fed beef. It was slaughtered on the 6th and has to hang for a bit. We don't make the payment until they are ready to cut and wrap and we know the final hanging weight. They estimated we'd be getting 300 pounds hanging weight. It is $3 a pound plus cut and wrap.

$500.00 Mom's Utilities
$_45.30 Life Insurance Me
$_52.34 Life Insurance DH
$_69.57 Internet
$_70.26 Garbage (2 months)
$177.31 Lab for Bloodwork
$125.75 License Plate tab renewal
$250.00 Chiropractor monthly family plan
1500.00 to Citi VISA
$_90.00 Physical Therapy
1000.00 Half a Beef Fund

Payday Report #1

May 12th, 2017 at 10:32 pm

Okay, so this is from the first paycheck from DH's new job and it's not typical because it was training for 2 days, which is not hazard pay, plus his per diem, and then 3 days actual slope rate. It wasn't a full week of work. I really want to get back into the habit of posting these with each paycheck.

$246.00 ENT doctor
$300.00 Cash for allowances and gas
$125.00 Sleep doctor
$252.00 Storage
$363.30 BOA VISA
1000.00 Mom Loan
$500.00 Emergency Fund
$_50.00 Eye doctor co-pay
$_30.00 Co-pay regular doctor
2459.21 AMEX

$1000.00 of the AMEX was paid from money previously taken from savings when we still weren't getting income. The AMEX card is what our monthly insurance premium of $1337 is charged to.

Doing Much Better and Errands

May 12th, 2017 at 10:15 pm

I am doing much better today than I was on the tenth. That night I was able to sleep and got 8 hours and then last night I got 10 hours. The water pills (diuretics) have been doing their job and while my legs, ankles, and feet are still swollen, it isn't nearly so bad. I'm able to wear my regular shoes again, my socks don't feel like tourniquets, and I was able to put my ring back on my finger since my hands are back to normal. It was pretty scary there for a while.

I lost 15 pounds in the last two days, but it is all water weight that I gained very quickly. I'm back to what my weight was before this happened. I must have been exposed to or eaten something that caused massive inflammation and water retention, but I can't for the life of me figure out what it was because I did nothing out of the ordinary.

After two nights of good sleep, the discoloration under my eyes is almost gone and the discoloration on my eyelids is gone. I looked like I had a couple two day old shiners there for a while when I wasn't sleeping. Lack of sleep like that is kind of crazy-making. I wonder if lack of sleep contributed to the water retention or had the increasing water retention contributed to the lack of sleep? That's probably a chicken and the egg scenario.

DH got home last night at midnight and it is good to have him back. I was capable of doing a Costco run today so we went and spent a little over $250. Half of that was on household supplies and the rest on food.

We also went and closed out our account at Credit Union #3. That will streamline our banking. This was originally DH's childhood account that had his allowance direct deposited out of his dad's paycheck each week when he was a kid. We've barely used it at all in the last few years and haven't used it at all in the past 15 months and got a note that said if it was inactive for 3 more months they'd close. It seemed silly to keep it open, especially because when a bank or CU closes your account they send the money to a government holding account and not to you and that is a major hassle I didn't want to go through. I've been wanting to close it for a while anyway.

Now we just have CU #1 where we do our primary banking with a checking account and savings account and CU #2 where I keep short-term funds that I don't need right away, since it is out of the way to go there and they only have one location. I have to actually deliberately plan to go there to easily use that money or transfer it electronically to my online bank account and then from there to CU #1. I set it up to be difficult for me to dip into that money without serious intention.

We also have the C1-360 online savings account for the Emergency Fund. Again, it is without super easy access, though in a true emergency it would not take too long to transfer money from it. And I keep a $1000 baby EF at CU #1 for an immediate emergency situation, like an unexpected car repair or a five day power failure where we have to eat out or something.

While I am pretty disciplined these days, when I set things up, I wasn't. I think I could probably have all the money in one place now, but I'd rather avoid temptation. Does anyone else do this sort of thing or am I just uniquely weird with my banking?

I Am Really Worn Out and Upcoming Dental Expenses

May 10th, 2017 at 09:48 pm

I don't know what is going on with my body, but I am so tired it is ridiculous. I'm having trouble sleeping even with sleeping pills and get about 4 hours a night. It is a little crazy making after a week. I'm also so swollen my feet don't fit into my tennis shoes or loafers. I am having to wear my flip flops. My calves AND my shins are bulging with retained water and I have no ankle bones sticking out of my ankles right now. My hands look really bad and I've gone up 3 rings sizes in 2 days. I had to take off my rings.

My blood pressure is normal, though. I have to take it daily to monitor myself as I am on medication for high blood pressure. I did pick up some OTC water pills, though, because clearly the one in my medication is not doing its job right now. My skin just feels so tight, like I'm going to burst out of it, like a sausage explodes out of its casing. I am making sure to drink lots of water, though, as the body doesn't release water unless you drink it. I am also being careful to avoid salt.

I still haven't heard from the rheumatologist yet. I hope they call soon. It took 2 weeks between when my daughter was referred and they called to schedule an appointment. And they are very don't call us, we'll call you for making the first appointment. It's not an insurance hold up, either, because the insurance does not require a referral. The rheumatologist does. I'd really like to get going on it, but as per usual, I wait.

I have two payday reports I need to do, but I haven't had the motivation to do it, and honestly, I am so out of the habit after 9 months with no income coming in. I have kept my spreadsheets updated pretty well, though. Even with my brain in fogland every morning.

DD is going to get her baby tooth pulled in two weeks, which is the soonest we could get her scheduled. It suddenly started to hurt a lot. We were trying to wait until we had dental insurance again, but that was only if she wasn't in pain. This is a molar that never developed an adult tooth underneath it to push it out.

The cost of the extraction is $265 so we decided to go ahead with it. Then in 3 months when we will have insurance, she can have an implant put in. It is $1065 and the insurance will probably cover it at 50%, so our portion will be $532.50. The dentist says if the implant does not go in immediately it has to wait 3 to 6 months to heal up first.

It is going to be a busy next couple of weeks and I am so glad that DH will be home soon. He comes in Thursday at midnight, which means he's taking a cab home. I won't drive that late at night in that area of town. Well, not the airport itself, but the area nearby is a little unsavory. I'd have to drive through the unsavory part to get to the airport and I'm not doing that. Either that or take the freeway and I don't drive on the freeway at night anymore as I don't have the best night vision to be going 60 miles per hour.

I wish I could post something that is not all full of complaining about my health, but I've got to vent somewhere and it does cause a lot of expenses. So be it, I guess.

Trying to Get What I Paid For

May 5th, 2017 at 12:11 am

Two of the three companies I emailed complaint letters to I've heard back from. Campbell's is sending me a two dollar coupon and gave me a list of products I can use it on. So clear they didn't read my letter at all. Although I now have a handy list of brands to avoid. Not that they were brands I use anyway, so no big hardship.

I heard back from Bounce, but only an email to say we got your email and hopefully someone will be with you in 3 business days. I bought some of the unscented dryer sheets, but when I opened the box, they stank of perfume. So I think there was an error at the manufacturing level and they put the wrong sheets into the box. The store wouldn't take it back since I'd opened the box. Since this was the 240 count $10 box, that's not a hit I feel I should have to take. I've been using their unscented sheets for a long time. I'm hoping they will send me a replacement box.

I still haven't heard from Reynolds. I bought their oven bags for turkeys, but there were no ties in the box. The bags are useless if there is no way to close them. This is the third box in the last two years I have bought from them that did not have the ties in them. Usually they are tucked into the instruction paper when they are in the box. Fortunately they have a tip on their website of how to use a strip of twisted foil to close the bag. Although that says to me this might be an awfully common occurrence.

I seldom bother with stuff like this unless it was a fairly big dollar number shelled out on a product, but I had all three negative product incidents happen in the same week, so I was irritated enough to actually try do something about it. If nothing comes of it, at least I tried. If something does, I'll feel better about the brands and not feel ripped off. And seeing how easy it is to actually do it, I'll probably do it more often in the future if it happens again. We should get what we pay for, not something else.

Week 18 Meal Plan with No Grains

May 3rd, 2017 at 04:17 pm

It took me a little while to do my meal plan as I can't just fall back on my old ones completely if I am eliminating all grains. Usually meal planning takes me all of 5 minutes. This time it took closer to 15 minutes, but I think next week will be easier. I will be looking for some grain free recipes this week so that I can maybe shake things up a bit.

Wednesday:
Chicken stir-fry with broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, onions, snow peas, and water chestnuts
Canned pineapple

Thursday:
Leftover Turkey
Leftover Mashed Potatoes
Home Canned Pears
Salad

Friday:
Herb Roasted Rabbit
Baked Potatoes
Green Beans
Oranges

Saturday:
Honey Apricot Chicken
Mashed Celeraic
Broccoli
Canned Pineapple

Sunday:
Beef stir-fry with onions and bell peppers
Salad
Oranges

Monday:
Cod fish
Parsnip fries
Cole slaw
Home Canned Pears

Tuesday:
Filipino Chicken Adobo with Potatoes and Carrots
Broccoli
Oranges

If I see any berries or other fruit on sale I may get it to use instead of the canned fruit.

No Grain, No Pain

May 3rd, 2017 at 04:08 pm

So I am reading the book No Grain, No Pain by Dr. Peter Osborne. He says that grain causes inflammation in those with autoimmune diseases and that eliminating it from you diet can result in a massive decrease in the amount of pain people with autoimmune diseases have.

Well, we are giving it a try for a week and then hopefully for 30 days. It will be hard. Rice, corn, and bread are pretty woven in to my meal plans. It's not as hard for me as it will be for my daughter, since I only ate them at one meal a day anyway. I have plenty of base items that are gluten free anyway, like coconut aminos or fish sauce, so I can make my sauces for stir-fries without worrying. And we can eat riced cauliflower done up like stir-fried rice. I am still keeping pork and shellfish out of the diet as well, since those are not recommended for lupus.

There are a couple of vitamins I will have to get different brands of because they use corn oil. And while reading through the ingredients on all the bottles, I discovered polysorbate 80 in one of them, so I'll have to get a different brand of that as well. Hopefully I can find them without those ingredients. It's only 3 vitamins I need to replace. The other 6 have clean ingredients. So that won't get too expensive all at once. It is the gel capsules that are the problem.

Things Just Got Interesting

May 2nd, 2017 at 06:59 pm

DH interviewed for a different job this week with what I will call company C. It would be switching back to his old company where he worked for almost 15 years. It would also be switching parent companies to what I will call parent company B. It would be in maintaining existing infrastructure and not dependent on creating new infrastructure, so it would be remarkably more stable. And it would be a 5 plus 2 plus 2 contract which is basically a nine year contract for company C with parent company B.

The guy was very positive with him, telling him how highly recommended he was by a lot of people. They have to hold the interview process open for a couple weeks, so he won't know anything for a while yet. I would certainly feel more secure if he went to work for them. DH did not apply for this job. They called him out of the blue.

With things being less stable between company B and parent company A then DH was led to believe, I would feel a lot better if he got this other job, even if the current one likely has better benefits. I'll take job security over slightly better benefits any day. Plus, company B told him to go for it if offered, because they are not sure if they are going to get their problems straightened out enough for parent company A to give them the work they could have with the contract, but aren't getting because of the screw-ups.

So hopefully DH will get this other job. I'm going to be praying pretty hard about it.

C1-360 Interest to the Emergency Fund

May 1st, 2017 at 06:40 pm

$26,477.87 Beginning EF
+__,_17.47 Interest Added
--------------------
$26,495.34 New Balance

Campbell's Has Ruined My Favorite Soup and Lost Me as a Customer

May 1st, 2017 at 05:44 pm

I really don't like it when companies do stupid things, especially ones that normally have a good reputation of producing quality products. I don't like spending my money only to get a nasty surprise.

Campbell's has ruined its Chicken and Stars soup. Gone are the little pasta stars that go down without chewing, perfect for the sore throats it has soothed for generations. In their place are those loathsome large pastas like they have in their cartoon character soups. Like the Spaghettio pastas. The ones my kids wouldn't touch when they were little despite the fact they were shaped like Dora and I choked down so they wouldn't go to waste.

The are very chewy, don't go down easy with a sore throat at all, in fact they hurt, and they don't taste good. Not only do they not taste good, they have changed the broth, too. Instead of being golden, it is orange.

Now I understand that they took out a bunch of the chemicals they used to have in their soup to make it better for us, but the soup never had food coloring in it to make it yellow. So removing the nasties from it should not have turned chicken soup orange or even have changed the flavor as much as it has. There are also globs of a darker orange consistency on top, though they did stir in once cooked.

Now the reason they have given for the change of the pasta is that there were complaints of the stars clumping, a non-problem if I ever heard one. I have been eating this soup since I was two and preparing it myself since I was nine. In all of those years, not once was there an issue of the stars clumping. And you know what stops pasta from clumping? Stirring. It's not rocket science.

Campbell's claims this is the reason though. I think not. I am sure there are more complaints about the change, and will be even more as more people realize what happened the next time they get sick and reach for the old favorite and get something gross, than there ever were for clumping pasta.

I think Campbell's has pulled a New Coke and hopefully it will go the way of the New Coke debacle if enough consumers protest. Oh, and here's the kicker. The normal stars are still available in their soup on the go with no plans to change it. Gee, don't those stars clump, too?

Soup on the Go is $2.79 a container. Because it is not condensed it works out to half the amount you would have with a condensed soup. The condensed Chicken and Stars soup runs at $1.79 a can, which is outrageous enough for 10.5 ounces of soup (product shrinkage again, too), considering most of their other soups are $1.29 a can. I'm not going to pay a whole dollar more for half the amount of soup. Until they change back, they have lost me as a customer. If they don't change back, then I'm done. 43 years of being a loyal customer means nothing to them, so no more of my hard earned dollars are going their way.

Emergency Fund Update

April 28th, 2017 at 09:41 pm

You can't imagine how much it made me smile to write that title again. I made a monthly deposit of $500 as well as a deposit of $34.50 from ones and rolled coin out of the coin jar.

And I'll get to make another one in a couple of days when the interest hits. Big Grin

$25,943.37 Beginning Balance
+__,534.50 Deposit
-----------------
$26,477.87 New Balance

Emergency Fund--Where It's At and Where It's Going

April 28th, 2017 at 01:57 pm

Alright, so after all is said and sifted, I am left with a grand total of $25,943.37 in savings. I have made the decision for it all to be the Emergency Fund and to have an empty Down Payment Fund for now. DH being unemployed set us back about 3 years, I think. There is no way we can think about moving at the moment, so I'm taking that fund off the table until I get the EF where I want it to be.

So where do I want it to be? By the end of this year I want it to be at $30,000. I'm not stopping there, either. Based on our expenses while DH was unemployed, we needed $6000 a month to survive. $1337 of that was for our monthly medical insurance premium, and about $650 was for medical out of pocket a month. So $2000 for medical each month and $4000 to pay bills and live on.

So we never figured he'd be unemployed more than 6 months and that wiped out our $20,000 Emergency Fund in 4 months. It would have been gone faster if we hadn't had a month without insurance. So my ultimate goal will be to have $72,000 in the EF, a full year of expenses. I know that will take a while to get to, and that's okay.

My incremental goals will be:

$30,000
$36,000
$42,000
$48,000
$54,000
$60,000
$66,000
$72,000

I figured that way divides it up into living expenses for a month. To hit $30,000 by the end of 2017 I need to deposit $500 a month for 8 months. I can do that. I will probably scrape up more here and there as well. I'd like it to be $1000, but I need to start paying Mom back on the loan, something that will take 3 years to pay off if we can swing $1000 a month. I still want it gone more than anything else.

Of course I will also set mini-goals for the EF. Every $1000 is what I used to do, so probably what I will do again. It will feel good to start making progress again each month instead of hemmorhaging money for 3/4 of a year.

Meal Planning for the Week

April 26th, 2017 at 02:35 am

I have switched my meal planning from Monday through Sunday, to Wednesday through Tuesday. That's because the sale adds come out on Tuesday and go active on Wednesday, so if I'm going to buy anything I can then incorporate it into my meal planning right from the start.

I was lucky this week that I not only found a lamb roast heavily marked down, but a non-GMO, free range, antibiotic free, not injected with anything to enhance it turkey for $25. It is 13 pounds, so that was less than $2 a pound. Usually this type of turkey sells for around $68. That is a savings of 64% of the original price. Plus they had a really good sale on organic bell peppers.

So all of those things heavily influenced my meal plan and were incorporated into it. We'll be using the other flank steak we got on markdown a couple weeks ago this week as well with the bell peppers.

Wednesday:
Baked Salmon
Steamed broccoli
Baked Root Vegetables
Strawberries

Thursday:
Roast Lamb
Steamed broccoli leftovers
Baked Potatoes
Pears

Friday:
Beef Carnitas (onions, peppers, tortillas)
Salad
Oranges

Saturday:
Turkey
Stuffing
Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans

Sunday:
Turkey Enchiladas
Salad
Oranges

Monday:
Leftover Turkey Casserole
Leftover Green Beans
Canned Pineapple

Tuesday:
Turkey Noodle Soup
French Bread
Cole Slaw
Oranges

Blood Test Results

April 25th, 2017 at 11:44 pm

The doctor did call and tell me that my ESR and CRP tests were both positive for massive inflammation, with a high sedimentation rate in the ESR, which is indicative of an autoimmune disease. The rate should be between 0 and 20. Mine is 45. My ANA is negative, which means I don't have lupus, thank goodness. That's the one that was positive on my daughter. My CRP is 29.2. Normal range is 0 to 7.9. My CMPA is normal. My thyroid is normal (it always is).

She thinks it is most likely to be rheumatoid arthritis, which is different in many ways from regular old osteoarthritis. Based on my symptoms that is the direction I was most heavily leaning myself. It definitely explains why sometimes I'm fine and sometimes I'm not. So now I need to make an appointment with the rheumatologist for me.

If it is not one thing it's another. Hopefully they can do something there to at least improve my quality of life. I know there is no cure.

Oh, and I am most definitely not allergic to peppers or tomatoes. She tested for that, too. It is good to know without a doubt. I am still wearing gloves when I cut them up.

Spring Cleaning Bug

April 24th, 2017 at 11:55 pm

Yesterday I got hit by the spring cleaning bug. My son and I reorganized 4 out of 5 of our cupboards and it is so much better now. We took everything out and wiped down all the shelves and then moved some things around. It is much easier to get to all of the storage containers now, not to mention the cups. We have one more upper cupboard to organize and four lower ones. One of the bottom ones was reorganized about two months ago, so it was fine.

I also redid the washcloth drawer and cleaned out the junk drawer so it can hold hand towels now. We got the kitchen floor cleaned off. I had some boxes of things that needed to be dealt with that were at one end of the kitchen and so I dealt with them and then there were some empty boxes that needed to be broken down and taken outside and a couple bags of canned goods that had never been put away. That got taken care of, too. The floor get well swept, but it still needs to be mopped. Hopefully I will have enough energy for that in couple of days.

I cleared a lot of stuff off of the long counter and put it away. Most of it does not need to be out all the time as it doesn't get used that often. So now all that is on that counter is the Kitchen-Aid, the crockpot, the Keurig, a box of storage lids and my rabbit medical kit. That last thing could find another home, but not until I get an additional bookcase in my room.

I did a lot of little things, like combining 3 partial bags of panko into one container, two partial bags of brown sugar into the canister, combining two containers of salt together, that sort of thing. I found the package of bucatini that went missing 3 months ago in a place I'm pretty sure my husband had to have put it, so now I can make pasta carbonara if the ducks ever start laying eggs again.

I reorganized the spices and the teas and the jams, the storage bags, crockpot bags, and oven bags, the freezer tins for cook ahead meals, and the numerous boxes of Clif bars, granola bars, fruit walked into a bar bars, etc., that everyone but me eats.

After I do the remaining cupboards, that just leaves me with about four boxes currently stored under the kitchen table to go through, my bedroom closet to finish, and the stack of boxes next to my armoire to go through. There is also a small section of the laundry room left, and a couple boxes in the hallway but once that is done, then the house should well and truly be tidy and organized. Except the kids' rooms which are slightly chaotic, but way better than they used to be.

I would like to get it all done before DH gets home, but that will depend on my energy levels. I got my test results back from the doctor and I definitely have something. But that is a post for tomorrow.


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