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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.

Putting 2 and 2 Together

July 28th, 2017 at 01:41 am

I went to the doctor today after being up all night and I have a kidney infection which explains everything in the past month with the exhaustion, the mid-back pain, the headache right where Ben Shapiro wears his yarmulke, the pain in my mid-back, the Charley horses in my calves, the more and more frequent runs to the bathroom, and as of two days ago, what I like to describe as kidney breath where it smells like something died in your throat somewhere.

He gave me an antibiotic, but made me make another appointment for tomorrow. He said if I felt better in the morning to cancel the appointment, but if not to come in and we'd determine whether or not I'd need IV antibiotics. He was pretty worried about me because I fell asleep on the table between when the nurse left and he came in. I told him it was just because I didn't sleep last night, but I don't think he believed me.

So do you think I came home and rested? No, I had a case of apricots that had to be dealt with today. So I made two double batches of jam and have 22 half-pints to show for it. Plus 2 more that went directly in the fridges of my family and my mother. I did it the easy way, though, and just liquified them in the Vitamix instead of cooking them down. It takes a half an hour off of every jam batch. It's a trick I learned a couple years ago when I got fed up with using a hand cranked food mill.

The rest of the apricots are all cut up and ready to be canned tomorrow. The hard part is over. Tomorrow all I need to do is put the apricots in the jars, make a simple syrup, ladle it into the jars, and water bath can it for 30 minutes. I should be out of the kitchen in an hour unless there is more than 7 quarts worth left. I don't think there is, but it's possible there is 8, which would mean doing a second water bath session as the canner only fits 7 quart jars.

I'm not doing anything else for the rest of the night tonight. DD will take over my rabbit duties. And we are all fending for ourselves for dinner. Which means I will likely just go to bed and not bother. I did way more than I should have, but I didn't want $40 worth of organic apricots to go bad. As it was I had to toss a few. I should have done it yesterday, but after physical therapy I was beat. The softest ones went in the jam. The firmer ones go in the jars tomorrow. They hold up better to the canning process.

All right, now I really should go get in bed and hope everything is better in the morning. Oh, and co-pay was $30 and $5.77 for the prescription.

Spendy Day

July 27th, 2017 at 05:50 am

I spent $35.41 on gas today at the Safeway gas station. The van was running on fumes and that bought 16.712 gallons. I paid $2.12 a gallon. I got 10 cents per gallon off for paying in cash and then I had 4 points, so got an additional 40 cents a gallon off.

I end up getting a lot of points from my mother. She doesn't have her own club card, so she just gives them DH's phone number and what she buys counts towards our points. It really builds up fast that way.

I also picked up two prescriptions at Walgreens for $21.08, then swung by the fruit stand and bought nectarines, corn, and watermelon, all from Eastern WA. He has someone who drives over the pass and brings back produce four times a week and he also sells local stuff, but our corn won't be ready until the end of August here, and nectarines and watermelon are not a crop in Western WA.

I also had a two hour session at P.T. today, so that was $120. She did some massage on my foot, because super klutz that I am, I dropped a glass Pyrex storage bowl on it yesterday. I still occasionally drop things randomly due to the nerve damage in my hand.

The medication the rheumatologist gave me seems to be working really well, so I hope it doesn't screw with my eyes. It's the first time I haven't has severe joint pain in ages. I still have it on the left side ankle, hip, and knee, but I don't feel it much on the right side anymore except just in my hand and wrist sometimes as opposed to all the time. I still get the random swelling, but it doesn't stick around for days, just usually 24 to 48 hours now. So a major improvement.

My FIL was in the hospital for four days and has now been moved to a nursing home. I don't think it is for good, just that he needs more care than MIL is capable of giving him. He ended up getting a blood transfusion and IV fluids, but they still couldn't figure out what was wrong with him. It wasn't his heart (he's had a previous myocardial infarction), it wasn't his kidneys (one only has 4% function as a result of the heart thing), and it wasn't the cancer. His blood pressure was really low, he had a high fever, and chills that wouldn't stop. Prayers for him would be appreciated.

My daughter's new psychiatrist wants her to see a nutritional counselor, but the woman has a two month wait time for new patients. She has a partner that does the same stuff, but that woman doesn't take insurance, so she's out. We can't absorb the cost of anymore out of pocket stuff. The shrink won't see her if she isn't seeing a therapist. I thought the shrink was supposed to take the place of the therapist.

I mean, if she's just there to prescribe pills and not to help fix the underlying problems, she's not that much good to us. Although the new pill is making a major difference and I am glad to have her off the certraline. I've seen huge progress with her anxiety issues and she isn't acting depressed anymore, either. I just wish the medicine didn't make her so sleepy.

DS and I are doing low carb and heading towards the keto diet. It is nice to have someone to do things with. He is carrying an extra 20 pounds he wants to get rid of. He's been going out on 2 hour walks for the last week or so, but he's too self-conscious to go use the gym by himself. If I can stop hurting myself long enough with my clumsiness, we'll start going to the pool together again.

There's not that much else going on. We don't have any pregnant livestock so the youngest babies are coming up on ten weeks old. I don't breed for July or August delivery as it is too hard on the animals with the heat in those months. The garden continues to thrive and produce. So really nothing to speak of on the farm front, either.

I'll try to do a payday report for last Friday tomorrow. Or maybe I'll just wait until Friday and bundle them in one post.

Odds and Ends

July 19th, 2017 at 03:25 am

I fell asleep at 1 a.m. and slept straight through until 10:30, got up long enough to make sure my son had taken care of the animals, drank a glass of water and went back to bed until 2:30. I slept hard. Apparently my body really needed it. I still feel tired, but hopefully I will sleep just as hard tonight and I'll get caught up on this sleep debt.

We weaned kits yesterday. Just Ella's and just the males. I was going to do Persephone's boys as well, but there is something wrong with the cage I was going to put them in, so I have to clean another cage before I can do that. I'll get it done tomorrow.

The garden is going crazy. I've never seen squash leaves this big before and the Brussels sprouts are huge. I am glad I gave them so much space. That is something that is hard for me, because they are so little when you plant them and you have to plant them based on how big they will be and not try to fill in all the space early on.

I spent $64 at Trader Joe's. I stocked up on chicken, lots of eggs (the birds are being slackers), rice, and picked up some Proscuitto.

For dinner tonight I made two new recipes. The first was a lazy version of chicken saltimbocca. I am not all for pounding the chicken out flat or browning or making a wine sauce. I just took the boneless skinless chicken thighs and seasoned them with salt and pepper, laid out a piece of prosciutto, put sage leaves down on it, put the chicken in the center and wrapped the prosciutto around it. The into the cast iron skillet for 30 minutes at 425 on the middle wrack of the oven. Came out perfect and everyone loved it.

Then I made a new version of Mexican rice. Almost everything in that recipe was from Thrive Life, so freeze dried. I used their chopped onions, chopped green chiles, and instant rice, then added fresh garlic, salt, and tomato paste. It was a big hit with my son and my daughter liked it well enough. I thought it was great and will make it again. I really love using the Thrive Life stuff. It is so nice not having to chop stuff up for recipes, just rehydrate however much you need and go to it.

I deposited the refund check from one of our medical bills. It was just $126.03. I haven't decided what I am going to do with it, yet. Probably put it aside for any incoming bills.

DD's appointment yesterday with the eye surgeon made him decide to send her to a neurologist. So we are waiting on a referral for that. The appointment was a $40 co-pay. He also gave her a new medication to try since Topiramate wasn't working for her migraines. I don't remember the cost on that as I bought it was a bunch of other things at the drug store that came to a total of $ 91.53.

I am trying not to be spendy, but sometimes you just have to buy things.

Pick a Title, Any Title

July 13th, 2017 at 06:28 am

This morning I took my daughter to the sleep doctor so that was a $40 co-pay right out of the gate. It's better than the $50 co-pay for specialists on our old insurance. He's got some things he wants her to try, but he won't up her dosage on the sleeping pill to the same level as what I take, which is what she really needs, in my opinion.

After that I had an hour before I had to go to my physical therapy appointment. I found out my therapist's father probably had another stroke. He had been doing pretty well, but in the last few days it's all been downhill again, so they will probably lose him this week. It's sad. We are really good friends after all these years and I hate to see her hurting, especially since she lost one of her best friends a month ago.

He's not her bio-dad, but he is the one who raised her and she loves him more than she loves her bio-dad. She's going back home tomorrow as they think he'll die soon. He's not eating or drinking and not excreting, and it is clear he's shutting down. I hope she can stay strong for her mother and that her brother (it is his bio-dad) can stay strong for her.

It's hard and it is bringing back memories of when my dad died. Three years out I no longer feel the big hole he left. We've managed to fill it in as new babies come into the family. Now it's more of a small hole.

I went to the store to pick up some medicine and grabbed some marked down chicken. It's gmo free and free range chicken wings, that worked out to less than a dollar a pound with the mark down. I also got a flank steak as I've been in the mood for carnitas (made with beef, not pork). I may sub out something in meal plan to make this this week. I bought a couple of magazines as well and ended up spending a total of $61.93.

I finished my Debbie Maccomber novel Starting Now so now have to decide between Rapture by Lauren Kate, which is third in a supernatural YA series I've been reading and Million Dollar Cowboy by Lori Wilde. I'll probably read Rapture first as it has bigger type. They are about the same length, but I'm sure Rapture has less words even though there is a 28 page difference.

Did some work on the novel but it was more timeline stuff and character development.

Well, I best toddle off to bed. Mom has physical therapy in the morning and I have to be up in time to drive her.

Caregiving Makes the Days Seem So Long

July 12th, 2017 at 07:10 am

I didn't sleep so well last night again. Sometimes these things only last a couple days and sometimes they last a week. I hope it isn't going to last a week. I was up early again to take care of the animals and then got a load of dishes going and did a couple loads of laundry. Then I went up and did the first session of physical therapy exercises with Mom, made sure she had breakfast, and got her set up for the morning.

Then I went out to the garden and harvested calendula, echinacea, hyssop, bee balm (bergamot, monarda) and basil. My echinacea is only in its second year so it is not going to be big enough to dig roots for medicinal use this year. Next year it will be, though. But if I use the seed heads it will have a similar effect to how roots work, just not as potent.

I filled the dehydrator with the herbs and got it going and it should be done by morning. With herbs and medicinal flowers you have to set it at the lowest setting to keep the medicinal properties as strong as possible.

I worked in the garden some more after that and then went up to take Mom to her physical therapist. We were there about an hour. Afterwards she wanted to go to Safeway for bread, but ended up walking out of there with a cantaloupe, a watermelon, cherries, nectarines, and apples. Then we finally crossed the store to get the bread and then she decided we needed to go back across the store to get juice. So a lot of walking back and forth and now my ankles and knees are badly swollen, because I was wearing flip flops and not shoes with support.

I managed not to spend anything and thought it would be a NSD for sure, but then kids came around selling chocolate door to door and they had World's Finest without nuts, which I am a goner for. I haven't seem them in years. They are half as big as the ones I had to sell for orchestra and choir were, but still the same old recipe. So I spent $5 for that.

The kid really cleaned up because Mom bought some and the sister formerly known as the Ice Queen happened to be here visiting Mom so she bought some, too. I've really got to come up with a new moniker for her. She has thawed considerably in the last two years.

Then my sister cut up the watermelon and cantaloupe for our mother. I was glad I didn't have to do it as it is hard on my hands due to the rheumatoid arthritis. Mom and I did her second batch of home exercises. We only did two today, because actually going to the physical therapist counts as one.

I did the necessary filming and editing for my next two vids and have uploaded them into the scheduler so they will post automatically at the times I want them to. I have the material for one more. And ideas on what I want to do next.

I am considering doing a 5 or 6 part vid series on What I Learned from Living without an Income for 9 months. I've written it all up in outline format, so I know I can do it, I just don't know if I will. If I do, I'll link to it.

I got a little reading done today and rolled yarn into balls from the skein. No work on the novel, though. It's been too much to add to my stress level.

Well, my eyes are closing in front of me so I better end this and go to bed now. I'll fix any spelling mistakes in the morning.

Bits and Pieces--Farm, Garden, Medical, Work

July 7th, 2017 at 03:05 am

It has been hot here the last few days. In the 80's, which is hot for here. Fortunately not humid, though. It's made the garden go nuts with some of the plants, mostly the squashes, having bigger leaves than I've ever seen in all my years of gardening. Another week and I should have zucchini, patty pan, and gold rush squash big enough to eat.

As it is, I harvested 7 kohlrabi, enough lettuce for a week, a huge bunch of kale, a dozen carrots, 4 heads of broccoli, blood-veined sorrel, calendula, yarrow, strawberries, and raspberries. And the blueberries have started. Just a few here and there, but I wasn't expecting any until the end of July, really. So I have to incorporate all of that into the meal plan this week. Well, not the calendula and yarrow, those will be dried for tea.

I've still got a lot to do out there. I need to pick peas and harvest a Chinese cabbage and two types of parsley and pick those ripe blueberries.

We'll be butchering tomorrow and then washing cages afterwards and then washing more cages on Saturday. I also need to dust out the windows in their enclosure and go through and clean fur out of all their fans. Everyone is blowing their coats right now, so the fur is flying. I've got 8 week olds that need to be weaned as soon as we have the empty cages to do so. I have not bred anyone again as their are 5 (but we are keeping the one broken red girl) grow outs and 14 younger kits right behind them, so 18 out of 19 destined for freezer camp.

Medically we spent $90 for my physical therapy and a $30 co-pay for my daughter's first session with a psychiatrist. She's been seeing a therapist for a while now to deal with her PTSD, anxiety, depression, and eating disorder. Psychiatrist is weaning her off her current meds and starting her on a new one once she is. She also has recommended she see a nutritional psychotherapist.

She had a bad side effect to one of the medications she was recently put on and no one could figure out what was going on, then I looked up the side effects of the drug and listed under uncommon side effects were all the symptoms of what had happened laid out all in a row, so she had to stop that one and we aren't putting her back on one like it. She's just going to go without for a while.

My shoulder is burning all the time right now. It is from all the physical therapy exercises I have to help Mom with. DH has taken over the morning session, but I still do them with her twice a day and he's leaving on Sunday anyway. Her recovery is going well, though she does try to push things as far as she can, and I try to get her to do only what she is supposed to do. She's hard-headed. I really see where my son gets it from. Less than 2 weeks to go now and hopefully she will get out of the sling. They say 6 to 8 weeks and of course she is fixated on 6 weeks.

I will be glad when all this is done and she doesn't need my help anymore, but that could be another 6 weeks or so. It's really run my health into the ground and it wasn't like it was that far from the ground to begin with. The new med the rheumatologist gave me for my auto-immune disease is helping in most of my joints, but not my shoulder and not my hip. At least not yet. I haven't noticed any side-effects on my eyes with it, but it is cumulative and these are early days.

We still don't know about DH's work beyond December. The other project and company is way behind schedule. I'd like things to be settled. Living with uncertainty again is really difficult. The stress is making me a little nuts on top of everything else that is going on. I really just want to go back to the days when I didn't have to worry about anything other than paying the bills and getting out of debt. At least I don't have to worry about debt on top of everything else right now, though. I hold on to that.

Planning and Plotting with the Six Week Budget Cycle

July 2nd, 2017 at 09:06 pm

I was able to pay some of the medical bills this month, but our next payday isn't until July 21st. I ended up putting some of it on my Citi card which isn't due until August 3rd. That will give me two paydays, the 21st and 28th, in which to pay that card off before it is due and I should be able to do that.

The bill for my daughter's hospital visit has not been paid yet. It is due on July 6th and is $2,333.48. So on July 6th I will go online and pay it using the American Express card, which is not due until the 14th of August. That gives me the full payday on August 4th and the four day payday on the 11th to pay that card off before it is due.

I will still have to borrow about $1500 from the Emergency Fund, but hopefully I will get that put back by the end of the coming pay cycle or at least most of it. I should be getting a paycheck from Google/Youtube this month, too. A small one. It'll go into savings.

After the August 11th paycheck DH won't get paid again until September 1st. I am not a big fan of the 3 weeks on/3 weeks off work hitch. It makes it really hard to budget for six weeks. The 2 weeks on/2 weeks off fell much more nicely into a monthly budget.

One of the things we did to make it easier is we changed our storage payment from an auto withdrawal from checking to an auto charge to our credit card. That way I don't have to worry that the money is in the account on the right day, just that it is there for the due date on the credit card. I am considering finding out if we can have the life insurance put on the card as well so we'd no longer have any auto payments coming directly out of checking. Might do that with internet as well. We still get a paper bill on that, but I think we can set it up to go to a card.

If everything is on cards, then I don't have to worry about it so much. And the only bills I will expect to see in the mail are medical bills and the garbage bill. The garbage company does not allow for credit card billing. It comes once every 2 months, so not a big deal with a six week pay cycle instead of a 4 week pay cycle.

I know I'll adjust to this way of budgeting eventually, but until I do, I'll have to keep doing mental gymnastics to make sure everything gets paid on time and that I don't have to pay interest on anything.

Feeling So Much Better

July 1st, 2017 at 08:40 pm

I still get a little nauseous when I bend over, like to take stuff out of the dryer, and a little light-headed when I stand up, but I've kept my food down since Friday at 4 a.m. and I feel far closer to my old self again. Getting a lot of sleep the last two days has helped tremendously as well.

I got caught up on recording all of the medical receipts into my spreadsheet for keeping track of our HSA stuff and we hit the amount for the HSA this month. I was hoping we'd hit the full amount before the new insurance started so we could deduct it all. I knew we were getting close.

Today starts the new insurance and it only has a $1000 family deductible, so once we get past that hurdle we should see our medical expenses drop drastically. The kids and DH are all scheduled for dentist appointments (mine won't be until September). DH will be getting an eye exam and glasses. Everyone else will need an eye exam in August. I think my prescription may have changed due to the retinal damage. I don't know about the kids as neither is complaining.

Speaking of glasses, I went through my sock drawer, where I stash things sometimes, and there were four pairs of glasses in there. I put back the one that had the most current prescription and the other 3 I have ready to go to the Lion's Club glasses recycling box the next time we go to get glasses adjusted. I like to have one back up pair of glasses in case something goes wrong and I break my current ones.

I know I can wear my contacts in a pinch for driving, but not for reading, since they are good for distance only, nothing up close. Reading glasses over contacts would work if my eyes weren't two different magnifications. One eye is 1.75 and the other is 1.50. If I could find two identical glasses, one in each magnification I could cobble something together, but so far I haven't. So far I'm even lucky if I can find ones with 1.75 at all.

I am glad we are on a new insurance. If we had stayed on the old one, we still would have had to find a new one at the start of 2018. Regence is getting out of the individual insurance program and only doing medical insurance through jobs next year. That kind of sucks for those depending on it. I really don't know what is going to happen in my state if anymore companies drop out. I am assuming the mandate will be gone by then, but who knows?

Well, I best quit procrastinating and get out to the garden. I had to let it go except for picking strawberries for five days, so I've got a lot to harvest. It'll be nice to spend some time outside.

Sick and Exhausted

June 29th, 2017 at 10:31 am

I've come down with a stomach virus of some sort and it is really dragging my energy levels on the ground. DH has been back since Friday, so I am not taking care of Mom all by myself anymore, but there are some things I do have to do, even with a fever of 100 and the inability to keep my food down. Like help her shower, which is quite an ordeal, and help her change her clothes. Fortunately she is doing a lot better three weeks post surgery.

I got my daughter's ER visit bill yesterday. It is $2333.48. Ouch. That is really going to be a hit. I'll have to take money out of the Emergency Fund for that. DH will be working 4 extra days at the end of his next hitch, so all of that money will go to replace some of what I take out of savings. I am not sure it will replace all of it.

I saw the rheumatologist on Monday with a $50 co-pay. She is putting me on a medication that is supposed to help, but might not show any improvement for a couple of months. It can do damage to the retinas, though, in 30% of people. With my medical luck, I will be in that 30%.

I saw the eye doctor on Tuesday with a $50 co-pay. He said the retina has healed nicely and I will go back in 3 months and then he will take a baseline map reading of the retinas so that we can monitor whether the new medication is affecting my retinas. If he sees even the hint of damage I will stop the medicine. I can't have my eyes getting worse. I'd rather deal with the pain in my joints than my vision getting further damaged.

I just want to get past all this stuff and get back to feeling normal (for me, anyway). I have 3 weeks before Mom gets out of the sling and then starts full on physical therapy. The stuff we are doing now is pretty light as she is not allowed to move her shoulder away from her body. It takes about 10 minutes 3 times per day and DH has taken over the morning shift.

I went to Trader Joe's today to stock up on a few things and spent $128.97. I also went to my own physical therapy which cost $90. I probably shouldn't have done either thing with being so sick, but we really needed to pick up some food and the massage part of PT was sorely needed.

Odds and Ends

June 7th, 2017 at 06:37 am

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 3rd, 2017 at 12:01 am

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.

Adjusting

May 28th, 2017 at 01:49 pm

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.

Surfacing, Drowning

May 20th, 2017 at 06:03 am

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 11:48 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.

Doing Much Better and Errands

May 13th, 2017 at 05:15 am

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 11th, 2017 at 04:48 am

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.

Blood Test Results

April 26th, 2017 at 06:44 am

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.

Shaking it Off

April 22nd, 2017 at 06:41 pm

I think I might actually be starting on the upswing now with this head cold. I woke up feeling less tired than when I went to bed, it took less time to clear the gunk out of my nose and throat because there was less of it, and I had just enough energy to get a load of dishes and a load of laundry going. Of course, then I had to sit down because I am still a bit light-headed. I'll pace myself today, but if I can manage to get one more load of laundry and one more load of dishes done after this, I should be caught up. Unless I decide to change the sheets, but I may wait and do that tomorrow. Baby steps.

I watched the first season of Back in Time for Dinner. It was really interesting how food, its availability, its method of preservation and production and preparation all impacted family life and especially the lives of women.

I would have been quite frustrated during rationing and I know my family would have felt hungry with such small amounts of meat. We would have had to grow a lot of potatoes in our garden to make up for the lack. Potatoes will fill you when meat is scarce. The lack of fat would have been difficult, too. As farmers we would have been better off than most, but still...if we had to live under their exact conditions, than potatoes it would be.

I came away from the series with a greater appreciation of the abundance of fresh food we have today and the ease with which we can prepare it. It made me grateful I live now, with refrigeration and microwaves and freezers and dehydrators.

I see there are a couple more seasons available, so since I still have to rest a lot while I finish getting over this cold, I will probably tuck into those. I am getting a lot of granny squares crocheted for my bedspread so at least I don't feel completely unproductive.

I do have to go out and buy eggs at some point today. The birds are molting so I'm not getting any duck eggs at all. Or else they are hiding them again. I'm too sick to brave Costco on a Saturday. They have the cheapest organic eggs. I'm not even sure I want to brave Safeway on a Saturday, but I'll have to since Haggens is way too expensive for eggs. Plus I like the doughnuts at Haggens and they are hard for me to resist when I am sick and I am doing so well with the diet it is not worth putting them in my path. Maybe I can sit in the parking lot and just send my son in with a $20. That might be the easiest solution all around.

Not Much to Report

April 19th, 2017 at 06:47 am

Today I managed to drive DD to the doctor for the follow up on her eyes. That was a $50 co-pay. Then we went to the pharmacy to get the prescriptions I was too wiped out to pick up yesterday, and also got some psuedophedrine and a nasal rinse kit, so spent $31.91 there.

Then we stopped by the store and DD ran in and got some Breathe Easy and some Throat Coat tea from Traditional Medicinals, so that was $14.97.

I went to bed after we got back home, then got up briefly to tell DS where to dump the soil in the garden and then back to bed for a couple more hours, got up, cut up the rabbits we butchered last week and got them in the freezer, went back to bed again until night time, then went out with DS to take care of the rabbits, though I wasn't much more use than to do a belly check on the kits to make sure they were being fed (they were). And now I can't sleep. It's not like I slept during the day, either, just rested.

Dinner was TV dinners. I haven't done that in a very long time. Oh, well, a Fit Kitchen is still better than fast food or pizza delivery.

Spring Cold

April 18th, 2017 at 05:04 am



Last night I started getting a scratchy throat and this morning I woke up with a full-fledged cold. Sometimes I think spring and summer colds are worse than winter ones, because in the winter all you want to do is hole up and rest and in the spring and summer you want to be out there doing things.

I went to the doctor this morning, so $30 co-pay. I really liked the new doctor. I was her first patient on her first day. She really listened to me. She decided to order blood work and they'll be testing for rheumatoid arthritis, nightshade allergies, thyroid, and a regular blood workup that checks cholesterol and all that. Maybe some other stuff. They drew five vials. I have a follow up with my own doctor on the 4th.

I was a little light-headed afterwards, but I don't know if that is from the head cold or the blood draw. I ate and laid down for 3 hours. I'm not sure if napped or not. If I did it was a surface sleep. I hope I sleep better tonight because I still feel exhausted.

Bonfire's litter is doing really well. Her four bio-kits all have their eyes open, and her foster kit is catching up in size, but may not open its eyes for another week, if I adjust its age for being premature. It could be 4 day to 7 days from now due to that. It's a lovely litter and the broken red is just gorgeous.

We need to replace 12 cages. That will be quite an expense, but I've put it off long enough and it needs to be done. I will probably replace 3 at a time, just so I don't have the cartons taking up a bunch of room while we build them out. It'll go slower with just me and DS putting them together, but I don't want to wait until DH gets back to get started. Hopefully, by the time the cages arrive I will be over my cold and able to put them together.

Tomorrow is a doctor's appointment for my daughter and I will have to pick up some prescriptions that I was too tired to pick up tonight. So more medical expenses. Yippee.

Good health and wellness forever eludes us. It's not so much to ask for is it? I'm tired of being tired and I'm sick of being sick. I am blessed in many aspects of my life. I sure wish this was one of them.

Somewhat Productive Day

April 17th, 2017 at 01:38 am

I spent about 2 hours in the garden today and I will probably be paying for it for the next two days. I got all the strawberry plants that I had dug up and separated while DH was still home transplanted back into the garden. What had been in one 8 x 2 foot bed is now in three 8 x 2 foot beds and I have two 18 count flats worth of strawberry crowns still in 4 inch pots. I will probably sell them. The stores sell them for $1.50 a pot now so I can probably easily get 50 cents a plant.

After that I got about half of my copra keeping onions in. I need my son to add a bag of soil to the one end of the garden bed because it is much lower than the other before I plant the rest. I planted some blue lobelia, a blue harmony anemone, a purple and white cinnararia, and a blue and white cinnararia. I pulled some weeds, though there weren't very many in the raised beds, just a few.

I have some celery, curly-leafed parsley, and flat leafed parsley that I need to plant still, but I ran out of steam. I am really glad that dinner is in the crockpot. I made rack of lamb. All I did was cover it heavily with herbs de provence. I've made it several times before and it is always so falling off the bone tender and wonderful. I don't usually splurge for lamb, especially rack of lamb, but it was worth it for today. Sides are strawberries, broccoli, and baked sweet potatoes.

I am thinking of going...well, not exactly kosher, but eliminating all of the meats that were considered unclean in Leviticus. Which means bottom feeder fish, shellfish, and pork will be eliminated from my diet. Not sure about rabbit. Hare is excluded, but rabbit is a different species and not specifically mentioned. I think it probably is, though. We've been selling most of our rabbit anyway.

To be honest, sometimes having the rabbits really gets to me, like when we lose litters. Or during butchering time. Sometimes I think it would be nice to narrow down the numbers, keep a few for pets, a few for sales, and not have so much. But they pay for themselves and the family really enjoys the meat. So do I, but I do want to try this kinda kosher thing and see if it makes any difference to my health. I'd still make it for the others.

I can get on very well with the right kind of fish, chicken, turkey, lamb, beef, duck, goose, quail, etc. I eat mostly chicken and turkey anyway. I'd miss lobster, crab, and shrimp, but I don't eat much of that anyway because of the expense.

I see the doctor tomorrow morning. She's new in the practice. I am hoping she is not a ditz like one of the other female doctors and one of the other male doctors. I wanted to see my own doctor, but the receptionist thought I should get in for pain meds on Monday and we could figure out everything else from there. My doctor didn't have an opening this week, as usual. Who knows? If I like this woman, I may switch to her. I have no attachment to my own doctor. I'm lucky if I see him once a year and have no loyalty to him at all, though I like him.

I think I'll go to bed early tonight. I wish this exhaustion would stop. Two hours of fairly slow, but steady working, should not wipe me out this way.

Yesterday was Spendy

April 14th, 2017 at 08:35 pm

So my foot is doing a lot better after the needle incident. Boy howdy was it difficult to walk the first 24 hours. I felt it quite a bit yesterday, but today when I stood up I didn't feel it when I walked. I can still feel it if I press on it with my finger, but I don't need to do that. It looks good. We couldn't really flush the wound, but we did smear antibiotic ointment on either end and I see no signs of infection.

Yesterday was a long day for me. I had to go to Walgreens and pick up a prescription for my daughter, $5. Fortunately they have a drive-thru so I didn't have to get out of the car for that. Then we went to Lowe's which is right next door and picked up some bags of garden soil, 2 major power strips with surge protectors and large separations between some of the plug-ins so when you have the giant plugs that will normally cover two plug-ins or the weirdly shaped ones that go sideways like a phone charger cord that will do the same thing, that is not something that will be an issue unless you have more than 3 of those. It also has usb ports in them. I spent $110.66 there. The two power strips were $52 of that amount.

After that I went to Rite-Aid to buy a padded envelope and then to the UPS store to mail DH his computer cord that he left at home. That cost $77 to do 2-day air to Alaska. He needs his computer usable ASAP though, so not much choice there. I'm going to be double checking his stuff next time. I don't want to pay that again.

Then we went to Trader Joe's and spent $82.28 on groceries. After that I picked up my daughter (my son ran all the errands with me to make sure I didn't fall down) and took her to the lab for another blood draw while my son walked home from the lab because he wanted to go for a walk. It took us 40 minutes at the lab. This time it was 6 vials of blood for 29 tests, as opposed to the 8 vials of blood last time.

By the end of all that I was wiped out. All of my joints were aching,my leg muscles were very tight, and I felt like I'd been put through the wringer. I think I've got something auto-immune. Either rheumatoid arthritis or MS like Dad had. But we are too busy getting my daughter diagnosed to deal with my stuff right now. After she is sorted I'll deal with me.

I was too tired to cook dinner so we grabbed fast food which was another $30.47. I felt bad about it, but I woke up with so much brain fog I did not think ahead and make it a crock pot day. I had no resistance by then.

Today will be better. I've got the fixings for loaded baked potato soup and the potatoes are already chopped up, so aside from cooking the bacon and assembling the soup, there is not that much to do.

We do have one errand to run today, but it is somewhere that has ride on carts so that should make it easier on me. I've also got my ankle braces and knee brace on this time. That should help, too.

The Medical is Good

April 13th, 2017 at 04:08 am

Okay, so the medical plan is pretty good. They had 3 plans to choose from and we got the one that has the lowest deductible and covers the most. It will be $300 a month for our portion for the whole family. The deductible is $500 per person with a $1500 max per family. Generic prescriptions are $20 each. It is a PPO, but their coverage of non-PPO is decent. We don't have a list of doctors yet, but it is Blue Cross/Blue Shield so it is probably virtually everyone in town.

Dental insurance is $18 a month for the family. It covers cleanings and x-rays at 100%. It covers fillings and crowns at a decent percentage, too.

Vision is $50 a month for the whole family and allows for one pair of lenses and frames every 12 months. That is $600 for the year, but all four of us wear glasses and by the time we walk out of the glasses shop we've dropped about $1200. Exams are covered at 100%.

So our total out of pocket for insurance will be $368 a month taken out pre-tax. That is a far cry from the $1337 a month in after tax dollars we are paying now. We won't qualify for an HSA because of the low deductible. I do not believe they have a FSA available.

If we had gone with the $5000 deductible plan it would have been $100 a month for the family and the $15,000 deductible plan would have been free, but covers nothing until you hit that. We could have had an HSA with those plans and the parent company gives you $1000 to start it with each year. Doing the numbers though, with our prescription costs and number of doctor visits a year, our best choice was the $300 plan and honestly, I did not think there were companies out there that had insurance like this anymore.

The new insurance won't go into effect for 60 days, so we will have to pay for the more expensive Regence for May and June. After that, though, it will feel like life got a whole lot easier again.

DH is Off 4/11/2017

April 12th, 2017 at 07:26 am

I dropped DH off at the airport tonight and things will return to some semblance of our old normal now. It is going to be really weird to have him gone for so long after having him home for nearly nine months. He will be gone more than 3 weeks this time, because he starts training this week. Not that he needs it. He could teach the training, but each new company requires it. Last time he did the training he basically told the trainer what was what, because the trainer didn't know anything really and wanted to know the types of things he needed to know. Hopefully it is not quite like that again this time.

DH's first real paycheck will be on the 28th, but he will get something for training on the 21st. He won't get hazard pay for the training, he'll get 70% of harzard pay plus a per diem for food and the hotel. I believe DH said the per diem was $189 per day, but it might have been $169. His hotel that he's staying at is $77 and then he will have taxi fare and food costs. He will likely come in under that so there might be extra unless they are the type of company that will reimburse you up to that amount, instead of that full amount. Some only give you what you actually have receipts for. Also he will get reimbursed for his first ticket up there so that will be nice.

Company B waited so long to get back to him on what training days he needed to be there for that the only tickets left were first class. The difference between the coach tickets and first class was only $112 so DH figured he could pay the difference if necessary. I say if they couldn't bother to return his messages, they deserve to have to pay first class prices. They will also pay the change fee since his original ticket that he bought to go up on Thursday, the day he was first told, had to be changed.

His ticket went from $250 bought a few weeks in advance to $650. So if the Company B had been on the ball they could have saved themselves a lot of money. Oh, well. I really hope they are more on the ball about other things, though it doesn't sound much like it.

Oh, well, the 401K is a dream and so is the medical insurance. I will do different posts on those.

I've been pretty quiet the last several days as we have been doing everything that needed to be done that I need to have DH do. We bought duck feed, rabbit feed, and oats. The mill we get our oats and turkey feed from moved to the next county instead of ours. It used to be in my city. But at least it is at the near end of the next county and it is also on the way to the mill that does the rabbit feed. And there is a feed store in between the two that sells the organic duck feed we use.

We butchered and we mucked out the rabbit shed. We moved the chickens into the big coop as it was getting too hard to use the smaller one since 2 chickens won't get off the roost (one is injured and the other is old) and it is too small a coop to get inside. The big one you can walk inside.

We had 3 litters of kits born and lost 2. It was bad. We lost a total of 14 kits and one mother who we pulled 9 premature kits from that were a couple days short of term. 2 days is a lot in a 31 day pregnancy. I do not want to go through that again any time soon. There are five healthy kits now, though one is a couple days premature he is eating and his fur is coming in. He has become pretty vigorous, but he shakes a little so I don't know if he'll be normal or not.

We took stuff to storage, went through boxes and cleaned the house except for the kitchen and hallway. We donated more clothes. We got manure spread in garden beds and compost put on top. I did some planting. We got a lot accomplished but blogging wasn't one of those things.

Then tonight I stepped on a needle. It went in sideways somehow into the ball of my foot. It was a two inch needle and only 1/2 inch was sticking out. It hurts a lot. It was worse pulling it out than it was stepping on it. My son cleaned up the blood off the carpet and my daughter doctored the wound then washed the blood out of my sock and then out of her sock since she's stepped in one of the blood spots. It all came out.

It hurts to walk on it, but I can avoid that spot if I don't put any weight on the half of the ball that got pierced. I was going to start going to the pool again tomorrow morning, but I don't think I can do water Zumba on this. Maybe Monday.

I hope everyone else had a less busy week than I did.

Doctor's Visit

March 31st, 2017 at 08:14 pm

I had an appointment with the sleep doctor this morning so that was a $50 co-pay. He says I'm doing well enough now that he doesn't have to see me again for a year. It's the Dreamwear Sleep Apnea Mask. It has made a world of difference since I am a side sleeper. It doesn't leak like most of the other masks I've used, either. I am now able to get about 6 hours of sleep before I wake up instead of 4. Also, I can usually get back to sleep for a couple more hours. But on the days I can't, I am now running on a much better amount of sleep than I was before.

While I was at the sleep doctor, I made an appointment with the weight loss doctor. I haven't seen her since November when I fell. I am about out of the prescription weight loss medicine and have no more refills, so I didn't have much choice if I want to stay on them, which I do, because I still have a long way to go.

My daughter got her blood test results emailed to her yesterday and while we don't go back to the doctor until Tuesday for official reading of the results, from what we were able to figure out based on the internet, she does seem to have an autoimmune issue. Her levels of inflammation are off the charts and those two particular tests point in the direction of lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

Afterwards we went to the no spray garden place and picked up some plant starts. I spent about $55 on starts and then an additional $17 on a quart of honey. Most of my stuff will be planted from seeds, but I wanted to get a jump start on some of the cold season plants. I am going to do more succession planting this year, where instead of planting 18 broccoli plants at once, I'll plant 6, then two weeks later plant 6 more, and then continue that, so that I won't have a ton ripening all at once. It's easier to deal with it whether we are eating it fresh or blanching and freezing it for future use when there aren't mass quantities.

I'll do that with a lot of vegetables, kohlrabi, lettuce, carrots, beets, turnips. I am not giving cauliflower any space in my garden this year. It takes up so much room for a vegetable I don't even like that much. And I have a hard time growing it. Every other brassica grows like a dream in the same conditions, but cauliflower hates me. I'm also not growing cabbage, I don't think, because of the space it takes up. Organic cabbage is plentiful and cheap at the grocery store.

We are repairing the garden beds this afternoon and then I can get some things planted. I have to have the netting ready to go. I've already had a problem with the squirrels trying to dig up my onion sets, so that one is covered. They don't even like onions so it was super annoying to go out there and find them sitting on the surface because the squirrels didn't like it.

We have not received the benefits package yet that Company B was supposed to send to DH. Hopefully it will show up today or tomorrow. Usually it only takes 3 days from Anchorage to here. I am anxious to go over it and see what there is. Not super anxious, but I do want to be able to plan. I am such a planner and it helps to have actual numbers to work with.

His drug, alcohol, and fitness test was on Tuesday so the results of that should be back to us soon. I have no doubt he passed with flying colors as he doesn't drink or do drugs or smoke. He was able to do all the things asked of him in the fitness test as well. It's just more waiting, which I still dislike, but I am getting used to.

I think we will go down to the farm tomorrow. I am down to one jar of canned beef and one jar of canned hamburger and would like to buy more meat to can, because having it on hand on the shelf is such a time saver for me. So that will be an outlay of about $300.

I am also keeping an eye out for organic chicken breasts to go on sale or be in the markdown bins as I am down to 8 pints of canned chicken. I still have plenty of canned salmon and canned rabbit, though. Ideally, I'd like to have at least 8 more pints of chicken on the shelves.

I'm also going to make an order for 6 #10 cans of freeze dried onion dices. Those are making a huge difference for me and should last until my onions are ready in the garden in the summer. It's quite a discount if I order 6 instead of getting them one at a time as I need them.

Well, I better wrap this ramble up. It's time to go fix the garden beds.

An Update on My Daughter

March 30th, 2017 at 07:05 pm

My daughter had another appointment with the eye doctor ($50 co-pay) and she is doing somewhat better. The official diagnosis is uveitis and it was caused by some sort of microbe. It had improved with treatment and she was allowed to stop using the dilation drops and just use the ones that killed the microbes. She has to treat both eyes now, though, but only 4 times a day instead of every 2 hours.

He sent us to the lab after the appointment and they took forever. I've never seen this lab be so slow, especially when we walked into an empty waiting room. Eventually they got their act together, though, and she had 8 vials of blood drawn. He is looking for autoimmune diseases. She already has the one that is called granuloma annulare that we are aware of, onset with her last dose of the HPV vaccine.

He is worried most about lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, because her symptoms since receiving the HPV vaccine match up pretty closely with both, worsening with each dose given. The more I research that vaccine and all of the side effects, the worse I feel. I know hindsight is 20/20, but I still should have trusted my gut.

I let her make her own decision on that one as I felt she was old enough, but I wish now I had not, because I was leaning away from it, as it had not been around long enough and was rushed through approval. The reproductive system failures and the autoimmune diseases linked to it are piling up. All of the bleeding issues, everything seems to tie back to it.

Turns out that vaccine only protects against 13 strains of HPV and there are well over 100. So it isn't even particularly effective. Nor does it seem to be particularly effective in preventing the cervical cancer from happening that it was touted to do.

I don't generally subscribe to conspiracy theories, but the one that says this is about population control is starting to sound scarily realistic. The number of young women ending up with premature ovarian death and excessive menstrual bleeding after this vaccine is piling up. Well, if you kill the ovaries there will be no babies. You have bleeding that lasts ten or twelve weeks that is so heavy you soak a pad an hour with debilitating cramps, become severely anemic, and cannot live your life, you will be happy to go on the drugs that will stop it and incidentally prevent pregnancy. There is case after case after case of this if you dig deep enough.

Yet the government and the drug companies continue to insist this particular vaccine is safe and effective. It causes convulsions in many girls when given which sometimes leads to paralysis. How is that even allowed? I am furious about this. It never should have made it through the FDA to begin with. It's all about profits for drug companies. If it weren't, we would be allowed to sue vaccine makers in this country when they damage our kids, instead of them being legally protected from litigation by the government.

I am not an anti-vaxxer by a long shot. There is such a huge benefit in so many vaccines. But in my opinion this one is worse than what it is supposed to protect against. This one is a crime against women and girls and endangers the future of the human race. And now they are pushing it on boys, too. My son wants kids some day. He will never take that vaccine. Hopefully his future wife will have been saved from its ravages as well.

If It's Not One Thing

March 25th, 2017 at 08:06 am

Something is wrong with my daughter's eyes to the point that she started losing vision in the lower half of one of them today. Called her regular eye doctor who, is only an optometrist and he said take her to the regular doctor, so we did, just managing to get the last appointment of the day.

The doctor their said he could tell something was wrong with it, but it wasn't anything he had ever seen before and that she needed to go see an opthamologist and managed to get her a late night appointment with one (he came back after dinner to see her).

The diagnoses is one of two things. Either a virus that sprang from nowhere or a virus that is caused by an auto-immune disease. So she'll be going back next week during regular office hours and having blood work done to test for auto-immune diseases. The hope is it is just a virus. If it is, you treat it, it goes away. If it is a virus caused by an auto-immune disease it will go away with treatment but will reoccur.

Auto-immune diseases most likely to cause this are rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. I've long suspected she had an auto-immune disease, but I figured it would be MS like Dad or fibromyalgia. I hope it isn't any of the above, though.

This could get expensive. Our insurance doesn't cover labs until you've met the deductible. Although she might be getting close on hers. Her prescriptions were $210.

In other news, I paid the 6 month premium on the car insurance of $436.01 today and a medical bill for my daughter of $130. Plus a regular co-pay of $30 and a specialists co-pay of $50. The car insurance was down about $50 from last time. Our car is over five years old now, so I think that may be why.

DH got his schedule for his drug test for work so that's moving along as expected. I really want to see the benefits packet. I do hope it comes on Monday as it is supposed to.

We spent some time putting the cabinet together. We still have to add two more shelves, the top, the back, and the earthquake guards and then it will be done. It shouldn't take more than an hour. Hopefully DH will get around to fixing the two garden bed corners that are coming apart as well.

Stocked Up on Soup and Dermatologist Visit

March 12th, 2017 at 09:45 am

Today was not a no spend day as we went to Winco and stocked up on more soup. I will be glad when cold and flu season is over, because about all my kids are eating right now is soup. They are, at least, adding eggs into it to increase the protein content. If I were making it from scratch, there is no way I could keep up with their consumption right now.

Yesterday I had my appointment with the dermatologist. Apparently I have three different things wrong with me, two of which are treatable and one that is not. He gave me a cream for the patch under my nose (and I sometimes get it by my right eye, too) that will not heal and an ointment for the rashes on my fingers. Already there has been tremendous improvement and they don't itch all the time.

The non-treatable thing is called knuckle pads. It's a thickening of the skin over the knuckles and is generally hereditary. It is also a sign of insulin resistance, which I've had for years, and diabetes (which I don't have and have never come close to having).

On the bright side, he does not think I am actually allergic to nightshades, but getting nightshades on the rashes can aggravate them. Just like chopping onions and garlic and getting their juices on the rash can aggravate them. Mostly because the juice of these things cause pain if left on the skin. Once the rashes heal I should be okay if I get it on my skin.

So I decided to try eating them again and was very careful not to get them on my hands or the skin above my lips. No reaction. I am still going to be careful about reintroducing peppers, but it's nice to think I may get to have all the Mexican foods I love back.

I've had to switch out all my products. Even though they were all supposedly safe for my skin, they aren't. One lotion that claims to be good for eczema has alcohol in it, near the start of the ingredients. Alcohol dries the skin out and has no business being in skin cream.

So I've bought Kiss My Face olive oil soap, the only ingredients of which are saponified olive oil, water, and salt and am to use it on my face, not just my hands. I have Neutregena Norwegian hand cream and am supposed to use it every time after I wash my hands. Just a tiny amount though, not slopped on like most people do with lotion. I've got Bio-Kleen laundry soap that is unscented. I was using citrus, but no scents at all. I already used the free and clear Bounce.

I have Seventh Generation free and clear dishwashing liquid, but I have to use rubber gloves from now on every time I do the dishes. Dishwashing liquid is not good for hands (not even the Palmolive, you're soaking in it one) and I am not to get it on my hands.

I washed all of my bedding yesterday and I think it is already making a difference there, too. Between the co-pay and all the soap, lotion, prescriptions, and cleaning products, I spent about $125. Better than I'd hoped, but more than I wanted to spend. Still, if it heals my hands, I'm all for it.


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