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Birthdays Behind Us and Surgery Ahead

September 1st, 2018 at 09:03 pm

Well, we've made it through the glut of August birthdays and now I don't have to worry about any until mine in February. Now the money that will be funneled into the Holidays/Birthdays Envelope will go towards Christmas, at least through to December. Right now it has $100 in it. My budget for Christmas is $500, so I just need to save $100 a month to meet that.

I don't think we are going to go to the ranch for our turkey this year. I think I am going to go to the young man we buy our chickens from instead. We seldom go to the ranch anymore as the gas is a little too expensive. If I have a rabbit to sell we will go, but that is it lately. We just really need to stick to our budget and that includes gas money, so going to someone in our own county instead of the next one over saves us a half a tank of gas. Our gas budget is $100 a month and I don't really want to go over that.

It's official that there will be no more overtime on this particular project, so I don't know if we will be able to make progress on the debt payoff in September.
I mean we'll be able to do the $500, but I don't think anything beyond that. This project is wrapping up, though, and then there will be the next one which might have some OT.

This next paycheck will be the first one with everything being taken out of it, but without any OT on it, so I will be able to see what the real base paycheck looks like. I have numbers pretty close to it, but I'd like to have the exact ones. It's the accounting nerd in me.

DH and I have to go through and allocate our 401K money to one of the plans, so that is on the agenda for tomorrow. I hope there is one without bonds in it, because I don't feel like bonds are worth it at this stage of the game. If not something like only 10% in bonds would be good. I wish there were more options, like with the IRA, where we could pick each mutual fund that we want, but there should be something decent in their choices. Most plans have at least one option that is for good growth.

We also need to finish going through our IRA. We only have 2 of the four funds picked out that we want, so it is sitting in those for now. It just takes time to research the funds and we haven't had much of a chance to sit down and look while he has been working all of that OT.

Our new insurance cards have not arrived yet. I hope they do soon as DD has an appointment with the opthamologist on the 4th, DS has a physical on the 6th, and I have a dentist appointment on the 11th. I have never had an insurance card not be here the week before the insurance kicks in so I am starting to get nervous it won't be here before we need to use it.

In fact, I can guarantee it won't be here in time for the 4th since there won't be any mail on Monday. Here appointment is at 3:30, so there is a chance the mail will come before that, but it doesn't always. It depends on if it is our regular carrier or a sub. DH will have to email the details so I can at least give the doctor's office the info that will be on the cards.

September and October are going to be full of appointments. Not just for my immediate family, but my mother has her surgery on the 19th and then the following week starts PT three times a week for two weeks and then twice a week for several weeks after that and I have to drive her, at least for six weeks. She is having her other knee done. This is her left knee so she will be able to drive sooner, supposedly.

I am still annoyed with her for refusing to go to a nursing home to recover for two weeks. She knows how difficult it is on me to take care of her and my daughter is in no shape to help. My husband is taking off the second half of the day the Friday she comes home so he'll be around for the first few days when she's at her worst, but after that I'm on my own. I barely make it through the day taking care of myself and my disabled daughter, but she doesn't care how much of a load it adds and it frustrates me.

This is her third surgery in a year's time and I wouldn't be surprised if she doesn't try to slip the other shoulder in before the year is up and her doctor retires. I swear I will have a nervous breakdown if she does. If one of my sisters would help it would be manageable, but nope. It would interfere with their lives too much. Even the one who actually lives here in town. I just really wish she would have had them all done at once and gone to nursing home to get better. It would have been a lot less stressful.

At least this time I will have my diet in order. I just hope taking care of her doesn't make me stress eat. But right now I am firmly in control and I am determined to stay that way. I have lost 15 pounds and she is not blowing this for me. I won't let myself get derailed again no matter how crazy she makes me.

ER Update

August 3rd, 2018 at 06:47 pm

So on Wednesday DD went to see the doctor and he told us to take her to the ER, that she needed a couple of bags of IV fluid. Meanwhile he started a referral to a gastroenterologist. So I spent 7 hours in the ER with her on Thursday, but they would only give her one bag of IV fluids and they gave her an anti-nausea drug that wasn't working and hadn't been working for the last couple weeks. They also sent a referral to the gastroenterologist, figuring two was better than one, and sometimes they go faster from the hospital.

I told them that the doctor had said she needed two bags of fluid, but after one she looked better so they sent her home and told her to drink Gatorade. She's been throwing up everything, including water, for two weeks. What made them think the Gatorade would stay down? It didn't. But they didn't want to give her a second bag of fluids, they wanted the bed and it was very clear they wanted the bed, they were talking about needing to clear beds, so they sent her home.

So after another 24 hours of vomiting, and her urine turning brown and being almost non-existent, she was thoroughly dehydrated again, so DH took her back. This time they gave her two bags of fluid and Reglan, a different more powerful anti-nausea drug. This one works.

The night time staff seems much better than the day time staff at the ER. I've felt that every time we've gone there. The night time staff always seems to be able to find her veins while the day time staff seems to make a game out of how many holes they can put in her without finding one. Okay, that's probably not fair, but seriously, if drawing blood is part of your job, you should learn how to do it well, not just stick someone and then poke around hoping you can slide into the vein from the side. Or miss it altogether and still start pumping the IV fluid in under the skin. That was a fun one a few weeks ago, but that was pre-surgery, not the ER. Same hospital, though.

They sent her home with a prescription for Reglan, too. She was able to eat at 4 a.m. and so far everything has stayed down. She has slept for most of the day and has been able to walk around without her cane, though she is still hugging the walls.

I am hoping this new drug will settle her stomach long enough for us to get in to see a gastroenterologist. But we still haven't heard from one and probably won't until some time mid-week next week. I wish they would be faster in getting back to us, but referrals seem to always be incredibly slow. And then it generally still takes weeks to see anyone once you can get an appointment.

I just hope we don't have to go back to the ER in the meanwhile. I know they can only do so much. It's just that when they don't do what they can do, that I get horribly frustrated. Most of the nurses have been really good, other than not being able to find veins. The doctors have been more of a crap shoot, but she got a good one last night. Not so much on Wednesday.

And at least this time when she used the restroom before leaving she didn't see a nurse come out of a stall, fluff her hair, and then leave without washing her hands. I mean, gross. Who would touch their hair without washing after using the toilet, for one thing? And for two, medical profession, wash your freaking hands after using the toilet. Ick. And for three, to do that in front of a witness? Not sure what she was thinking. When they send the survey that they always send after an ER visit, we are going to mention that incident, because seriously, ew.

I think I picked up something in the ER waiting room on Wednesday, too. I am running a fever and feeling mildly nauseated and exhausted and sleeping a ton. No other symptoms yet. I was fine before that. Hopefully it will pass quickly. I always get sick after spending time in the ER and their were people puking, so yay.

Thanks for all the prayers, people. They are appreciated.

More Identity Theft and Cancelling Credit Cards

July 2nd, 2018 at 11:33 pm

DH got a letter from the IRS today saying that someone had used his social security number to gain employment. They don't give out any specific information because apparently their system doesn't keep track of who used it, just that it was used somewhere that didn't jibe with their information on him, i.e. someone from a different state while he's earning in this one. They really ought to track that better.

This is not the first time this has happened. It happened back before we were married in the early 90's. When DH lost his job due to injury and had to file unemployment it was something that popped up on his list of jobs. It got taken off at that time. It was someone working a job in surprise, surprise, California who was an illegal immigrant. It's probably the same situation this time. Irritating.

So I've taken care of my side of things, setting a fraud alert on my accounts and pulling all three of my credit reports and going over them, since all my stuff is linked to his. My stuff is all correct. I don't think this is related to the fraudulent credit card use last month, but we just don't know. DH still has a fraud alert from then, but he needs to check his SSA account and pull his credit reports as well. All of it can be done easily online, thank goodness.

I cancelled our AMEX cards today. I had been planning on it anyway, but this letter spurred me on to get it done. They did not want to let me leave, but were very polite. I just kept saying no that I wanted to cancel and that I didn't want any other perks or cards. Honestly, after the supreme court ruling on what they can do with their business practices, I don't think I could ever use them again anyway.

I know we still have to cancel the Master Card. Baby steps. It is hard letting go of our credit. I know that it is the direction we really want to go in, but I didn't think it would be this hard to give up the ones we don't even use. It is psychological. It did feel good cutting up the AMEX cards, though. DH is the primary card holder on the MC so he will have to take care of that one himself.

Then the question will be do we want to do the Costco Citi card or the Alaskan Air Visa. Since we are only spending cash at stores now, we don't really need the Costco card. But I do want to get my cash rewards from it. And it doesn't look like DH will be going back to work in Alaska again (things look promising at work), so keeping the BoA is probably not necessary, except it is our oldest card and we will be wanting some credit history at least until we buy a new house and something for the auto pays to be on at places that don't accept debit or electronic checking. Plus for hotels and car rentals on future vacations. I know what Dave Ramsey says, but I'm not sure I want to make my life that difficult. They would be rare exceptions for credit card use and actual payment would be with the debit card, just using the credit card to hold things.

I am looking into Identity Theft insurance. We can get the whole family insured for $145 a year. This problem can get much worse and they will deal with it if it does. I know my daughter's info was breached because her high school sold all the information from the kids without permission to a company and then that company was breached, so it would be good to do all of us. I wish we didn't live in a world where this stuff happens, but we do.

Amazon Issues and Question

June 17th, 2018 at 03:54 pm

Well, Amazon may have the option of paying directly out of your checking account in theory, but in practice not so much. I ended up having to use the credit card after all. I will pay it off the minute the charge hits the account.

This irritates me immensely. I am going to go in on Monday and ask for a debit card for that checking account. I should be able to use that for any future Amazon purchases and it ought to work like a credit card. At least I hope it will. Has anyone been able to use their debit card on Amazon?

Fraudulent Charges and Credit Freezing Question

June 13th, 2018 at 01:45 pm

I think we are starting to see the first bit of fall out from the Equifax breach. Today someone tried to use our Master Card. This was always a card we rarely used, but we have not used in 2 months for sure. And it was for some service called NEVERBOUNCE, that cleans up email list servers or something like that. Not something we would ever sign up for. They tried to charge it three times.

Fortunately BOA was on the ball and temporarily froze the account. I had to fill out the fraud form, which is really easy online. Then they will likely be calling DH to confirm what I did online.

Tonight we are going to cancel the Master Card. Since we will be eliminating all but one card until I can figure out how to do everything through debit cards, auto bank deductions, and paypal, we might as well get started with this one. No more dragging our heels.

I know a couple of you have been through some identity theft issues before. If I freeze my credit through the three reporting agencies will that prevent me from using my card at all, or just prevent anyone from opening up a new credit card account or loan?

We won't be taking out new cards or any kind of loan until we are ready to buy a house again and need a mortgage. That is a few years down the road, so freezing our reports won't affect anything in that regard. Then when we are ready to apply for a mortgage we will unfreeze them.

Relief

June 7th, 2018 at 02:13 pm

My mother-in-law says she is going to pay my daughter's medical bills. I burst into tears on hearing that. I was so worried about this and that it would have completely wiped us out financially. I am so grateful that FIL left her so well provided for. With the value of the house she's just barely a millionaire. Without it, she's a 3/4 millionaire. So she can definitely help her kids and grandkids. And she has FIL's pension for life, plus social security, which covers all of her monthly bills and leaves her with about $900 a month leftover, so helping us won't put her in a bad way at all. They are making her take a distribution of $16K from the 401K, so she has the money available to do this without even breaking a sweat.

Our out of pocket costs are capped at $4500, which is more than we currently have in savings. It isn't so much that I would feel awful about her paying this. I don't feel bad about her paying as this is a gift she wants to give her granddaughter, but if it were $10K to $20K, I'd really hesitate. I am pretty sure she will be helping my pregnant niece with her medical bills as well and my other niece with living costs as her baby's father is out of the picture due to addiction issues.

I am just so grateful she has the resources and the heart to do this for us. I have always thought that I lucked out with my parents-in-law. We were always happy to help them with whatever we could, driving them to appointments after FIL couldn't drive anymore, taking MIL to do all the legal stuff after FIL died, doing yard work, helping with Christmas lights, taking her shopping, etc. Now MIL is able to help us back and wants to.

I really thought this was going to bury us. It is just such a relief to know that it is not.

Urgh

April 5th, 2018 at 09:49 pm

So yesterday after I posted we got a call to say that my daughter's surgery had been cancelled. Even though this has been on the books for 2 months, it was only yesterday that the anesthesiologist practice bothered to look at her chart. And they cancelled it based on her weight. They want her to lose 20 pounds. She's already lost 40 and we were told that was enough.

They claim they are worried about her airway during the surgery. I'm worried about her ability to breathe day to day, because with the one side crushed in like it is and the other side not super great either, she has about 40% of the air flow she would have if it was fixed. Her quality of life is nil. Of course these same anesthesiologists will do a gall bladder surgery, so I don't get it.

Anyway, so I started the refund process with both of the people I paid yesterday. They say it should take 2 weeks, which is fine since the credit card isn't due until the 3rd of May. I won't have to transfer any money to take care of it so I won't get charged interest, it'll be off with time to spare. I wish the anesthesia people had been on the ball, so I wouldn't have had to go through that rigmarole.

So whenever she loses the weight, I am going to ride the doctor's office about riding the anesthesia people to make sure she's lost adequate weight so I don't have to play these reindeer games a second time.

Meanwhile, DD and I are going to buckle down again on the weight loss and exercise regime. If I had known they were going to pull this crap, I would never have gone for the more expensive insurance program. Now we might not even be on it when she is able to have the surgery and we'll have wasted all this money for nothing.

On the bright side, it does give DD the kick in the pants she needed to get her diet going again.

The Surest Path to Poverty

March 11th, 2018 at 02:58 pm

According to the Brookings Institute, the surest path to get out of poverty is to do 3 things. Finish high school, get a job, and get married before having babies. Well, yet another one of my nieces is setting herself on a course to never getting out of poverty. She is 18 and pregnant. I guess she had to do her sister, who was 19 when she got pregnant, one better. At least they finished high school. But being an unwed teenage mother means they are unlikely to ever dig themselves out of the hole they currently reside in. If one does it will be the younger, but considering how they were raised, I don't think so.

Niece 1 is now on her own, having recently left her boyfriend. Her only job is watching her older half-sister's kids. Niece 2 has a catering job that requires a lot of heavy lifting, so she likely won't be able to continue in that job after a few more months. They have decided to get an apartment together. Niece 2 may have to drop out of college.

These girls knew about and had access to birth control. Free birth control because of their income level. While accidents can happen, if you are using the condom with spermicide and the pill it is really, really unlikely unless you are extremely careless.

SIL's family is such a train wreck. These are the ones that got violent over the holidays and we refuse to do Christmas and Thanksgiving with now. I do not understand how DH and SIL could be raised by the same set of parents and one be stable and solid with good values and one be so far off the boards. I guess her daughters didn't really have a chance. Rotating men after she divorced their father and then when she finally did have a steady boyfriend he was a married man. And their father has kids all around the state with different women, none of which he married.

All I know is that when I watched my sister do something similarly stupid (get married at 19 and get pregnant immediately) I swore to myself I'd never let it happen to me. When she had to leave her abusive husband and come home with her first born child and dig herself out of poverty via welfare and Pell grants to the technical college, I swore I'd do everything in my power not to put myself in a situation like that where I would have to struggle financially for years. It was so hard for her, but she did do it. She had the support of the whole family, though, and these girls do not.

I cannot imagine being niece 2 and having watched her sister go through this, and being on her way through college, deciding that being careless about birth control could ever be a good idea. You learn through your sister's mistakes. You don't repeat them.

Maybe niece 2's boyfriend will stick around for a year or two. Maybe he'll even see it out. Or maybe he'll go the way of niece 1's boyfriend, with no job, refusing to grow up, playing video games all day, and smoking pot. My faith in this family's choices seems to indicate it will be the latter, although niece 2's boyfriend is quite a bit older so maybe he'll do right by the child.

It is one thing to be an older, established, single woman who decides to get pregnant. While I still think it is better to be married and raise a kid in a two parent household, if your finances are in order and your support system is in place, then that is a choice that is relatively valid to make, though I think it puts your kid at a disadvantage. When you do it as a teenager, it can take all of your future choices away from you and you may never get them back. And what kind of life will you be providing for your child?

I just get so frustrated. I've tried to help this family for years and I kept my judgments to myself to their faces. I'd rant on here from time to time, but I never let it show in real life. Now I've just given up on the whole lot of them. Not because of this, because of Thanksgiving. I just worry for the babies. They will have no stability in their lives. But what are you going to do? You can't live people's lives for them. You can't force them to make good choices. You can only watch or choose not to watch at all.

Payday Report + Haircut + Mom + Murphy + Food Waste

March 10th, 2018 at 05:13 pm

Well, I did it. I got my hair cut to my collarbone. It was a foot or so of hair taken off. I had it thinned and layered and the curls are just crazy bouncy now. I am very happy with it. I can't remember being this happy with a haircut in a couple of decades. It is easy to care for and simple to style, though it takes more time than just braiding it or putting it up in pony tail. It just looks so nice that I don't care if it takes me an extra 10 minutes to curl it around my face.

Mom is home from the hospital and doing very well. She is only taking Tylenol for the pain and hasn't needed anything else. She is getting around very well and able to do much for herself. I am so happy. This is way easier than the shoulder surgery or the knee surgery.

We had quite a lot of overtime on the paycheck yesterday. As quickly as it comes in it is gone.

$255.00 Tithe
_474.36 AMEX (in full)
__56.61 Garbage (2 months)
_876.93 BoA Visa (in full)
_124.75 BoA MC (in full)
1000.00 Citi Visa (not in full, but not due until 4/3)
-----------
$2782.65 Total Money Out

This is over the amount of the paycheck. Mom and MIL both reimbursed us for stuff we bought for them so we had an extra $310 in checking from that.

As for Murphy, DH got a flat tire. He got a piece of metal in the tire. He's down at the shop now seeing about the repair. I don't know how much it will cost or if it will cost anything. Tire shops are weird that way. Sometimes they fix flats for free, depending on how bad the damage is. I am hoping we won't have to get new tires. This is on his father's truck that we technically have inherited, but we haven't taken the title to it yet. MIL is going to pay off the loan on it when the life insurance money comes in, but it hasn't yet. After that, we will take ownership of it.

If we have to buy new tires we will buy them from Costco. Still the cheapest place for tires I've ever found and good quality ones, too. I have loved the ones they put on the van. They drive very well. But I sure hope that expense is not one we have to shell out for right now.

DD's bed broke. The box spring and the frame collapsed. It's an old bed, a hand me down from my mother. We can't afford a new bed now. MIL has a bed we can take, but it has to be excavated first. She has so much junk in that room. The bed is covered with it and the path to the bed is covered with it. FIL was a real pack rat and MIL still is.

So after the tire is repaired, DH and DS will take the truck out to MIL's and try to get the bed out.

DD's surgery is scheduled for the 9th of April. We have to have $300 paid before then. Her deductible is $500. She's met some of it, and will meet some more with the pre-op appointment so $300 is what they reckon will be left to meet. The doctor's portion of the surgery itself costs $5449, but we won't have to pay all of that. The surgery center is supposed to get me a quote on their portion. I don't know about the doctor who administers the anesthesia. I believe our out of pocket is capped at $3000 per person. It might be $5000, though.

We still haven't been able to get the HSA to issue a corrected form. I think at this point we are just going to put the proper amount on the taxes and keep our fingers crossed that no on notices that proper form isn't there. And if we ever have an HSA again, it won't be there because they really don't know how to pull their heads out and do their jobs.

Otherwise, still muddling along. Still thinking I need to make up a meal plan, but still not doing it. I ended up throwing out a lot of veg and leftovers this week and so I really need to get back on top of the food waste issue. I kind of really let things go for a couple of weeks. I need to not do that, because is just wastes so much money. Some went to the ducks, some to the compost, and few things had to be binned.

I have been watching a show this week called Eat Well for Less. It is British. I found a couple of episodes on youtube and a few others elsewhere. It's a really good show. It focuses on fixing a family's food budget. It deals with brand addiction, food waste, picky eating, shopping without checking the pantry and fridge first, everyone eating different meals instead of the same meal, all of that stuff.

I found it very informative. And it gave me the incentive I needed to try to get my act back together again. I've got all my veggies that were left after cleaning the fridge prepped and ready to go so that it can get used up this week and not wasted. I am going to plan my meals around that when I finally sit down and make my meal plan tonight.

I don't need to buy any meat this week. I may need to buy salad greens and bananas, but I may hold off on the bananas because we have plenty of oranges and apples. I'd like some blackberries, though. Oh, I've got some freeze-dried ones. Those will do nicely. We have freeze-dried bananas, too, if it comes to that.

You Can't Pick Your Family

March 6th, 2018 at 11:30 pm

Mom's surgery was today. She had to be at the hospital at 6:30 a.m. She had her hip replaced and while they were in there they repaired a torn tendon they hadn't known about, which means her recovery is going to be a lot slower than they thought. Which also means I am going to need you all to pray for strength for me, because yet again it is all going to fall on me.

My one sister hasn't even called to see how she is doing. The other one called, but only after my aunt called her to see how Mom was doing. She had forgotten today was Mom's surgery. She did say thank you for being on top of everything. I said somebody has to, and she said better you than me. I kind of wanted to reach through the phone and shake her.

Then I told her what room number Mom is in and she isn't even going to go up and visit her. She'll be in the hospital for two days, possibly three, but oh, well, she has a "weird life," and "stuff to do." My sisters are not helpful when it comes to Mom, but I've just come to expect it.

Anyway, she came out of recovery around 1:00 and while she looked really pale, she was talking, hungry and asking for food. Which they still hadn't brought when I left around 2:30. She had a couple of crackers and some juice at least, but they were supposed to bring her lunch.

When I got home I called my aunt and gave her an update and then posted on Facebook so my cousins would know she was doing okay. I don't know why my aunt didn't just call me as I gave her my phone number when Mom had the shoulder surgery several months back.

I will be going back up tomorrow morning for her physical therapy session. They will teach us how to do the exercises properly. Supposedly they will teach her how to go up stairs with a walker. That's the part I am worried about because there are five steps into the house. Once we get her in it should be okay, there are no more stairs she will need to use. My son will be with me when we actually bring her home, though. DH will be at work, but thankfully DS is strong at almost 18 (a week from it).

I just hope my diet survives the next few weeks. I've lost 19 pounds since the start of February and I really don't want to start stress eating or worse, binge eating, again. Mom makes me want to do both on a good day, but when she is recovering from surgery that increases ten fold.

I prepped a ton of veggies today so that at least when she comes home I will not have to worry about that part of meal prep and can just easily cook dinners. I did six bell peppers, 2 yellow onions, 4 red onions, 6 stalks of broccoli, and 1 head of cauliflower. Tomorrow I will do carrots, celery, radishes, cucumbers, and parsnips.

I really should make up a meal plan as well. I've been flying by the seat of my pants for the last two months, but planning will be necessary once Mom is home. I just wish I didn't have to make separate meals for her. But Mrs. Pickypants has never met an herb or spice she liked besides onion salt, garlic salt, salt, pepper, and Lawry's seasoned salt.

We eat a much larger variety of herbs and spices and nowhere near the amount of salts. Plus she doesn't like vegetables other than broccoli, caulifower, green beans, potatoes, and corn. And she won't want broccoli and cauliflower while she is unable to get to the bathroom quickly. So lots of bland meals, all meat and potatoes, really.

She wouldn't get TV dinners this time to help, either. For some reason she wants good healthy food cooked fresh now. She doesn't even do that for herself. She didn't want to do up any homemade freezer meals ahead of time, either. So basically it feels like she just wants to make as much work as possible for me. Well, it's not going to happen. I will cook enough food for 3 dinners in a row, 3 lunches in a row, and either my son or I will make breakfasts each day for her. And if she gets bored with it, well, what's she going to do, get up and cook herself?

I really, really hope when I am old and dependent on my children, that I will not be difficult about things. Of course, I would prepare and freeze most of my foods ahead of time if it was me and if medicare would pay for nursing home care for two weeks, I'd go, not put it all on my kids because I wanted to be at home instead.

I love my mother very much, but the whole situation just frustrates me to no end. My sisters, I am not happy with at all.

/Rant

Well, That Was Dumb

January 5th, 2018 at 04:10 pm

I just discovered I didn't actually make a payment on the 30th. I recorded it in my check register, but I must have gotten distracted before I actually went online and paid it. Fortunately I had made a payment the week before, so there was no late fee, but that does mean we got charged interest for the $1400 balance. Ugh. I hate when that happens. I hate giving a single cent to the Evil Empire.

Okay, we were a bit distracted having to deal with DD's gall bladder attack, but still. I am usually so on the ball with paying the bills. Lesson learned, though. Don't enter it into the register until I've actually made the payment. I wish I'd realized this two days ago.

I was wondering why the balance was so high on that account. I couldn't find the payment there, so I checked my checking account online and couldn't find the payment there, either. I can't believe I did that. I know I haven't been feeling good and have been kind of spacey all week, but still. This is the second time I have done that in 4 months. *sighs*

I did finally catch all my budgets up to date on the spreadsheets. I finished up September, October, November and December, including entering all the medical bills into each month. I haven't added up the numbers yet, but I know as of August we'd already spent over $20K on medical bills for 2017. I'd say it is going to be around $27K from a guesstimate.

Can I just say again, the Affordable Care Act was badly misnamed? Burdonsomely Unaffordable Care Act would be a much better title. Or Bankrupting the Middle Class Care Act. That would be an acceptable title as well. I know it has helped the people that get it for free, but it has hurt just as many people, if not more so by driving up the cost of everything insurance related, making it more expensive for employers to offer plans, and shifting the expense directly to those who don't get any subsidies. And I'm not sure it is going to get any better any time soon, either. They like to talk about health care, but they don't like to do much, no matter what side they are on.

Oh, Thank Goodness it is 2018!

January 1st, 2018 at 01:21 am

I am so glad 2017 is over and 2018 is here. It can't possible be as big of a struggle as the last two years have been.

My daughter went to the emergency room Friday night at midnight in excruciating pain. They did an ultrasound and a CT scan and found out her gall bladder is full of stones. They did not need to do emergency surgery, but they think she needs to get it out soon. We don't have insurance until February.

So we will get her in to see a gastroenterologist ASAP and schedule the surgery for February. I can't even call until Tuesday and then I am sure it will be 2 to 3 weeks before we can even get in to see a specialist. I am glad that insurance still can't do squat about pre-existing conditions.

This visit is going to cost us roughly $2500, unless I miss my estimate of $1000 for the visit, $500 for the ultrasound, and $1000 for the CT, which is still less than paying COBRA. DH will have to work a lot of overtime to pay for that, but he is allowed 10 hours of OT a week without having to ask, and then if things get into a rush time, they will okay additional over that. Hopefully we can manage to get it paid without taking money out of the Emergency Fund, but we definitely won't be putting any money into the EF for a couple of months. *sighs*

I had to completely throw out my meal plan for the eat from the pantry challenge and start from scratch since DD can't have dairy, most fats, eggs, pork, only very lean beef, no refined white flour so no pasta (we don't have any whole wheat on hand) or bread or tortillas, no refined white sugar (she can have honey, molasses, and brown sugar), no fatty fish, and no brassicas. That means none of my go to vegetables of broccoli, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, cabbage, bok choy and the like.

So we will be eating more turkey, chicken, rabbit, white fish and shell fish. I do have that, but I don't know how long it will last. I will have to make some stuff for DH, because he can handle only so much poultry before he starts clucking about it and he is not the biggest fan of fish, though he does like white fish.

The hardest part for me is that I like to cook in butter and oil. I know it isn't terribly healthy, but it makes things taste good. I can use spray oil or lightly brush oil on things, but no frying. We have spray olive oil and we can brush on avocado oil. But I will be doing a lot of steaming in foil packets with lots of veggies and herbs and then putting fish on top so the veggie flavors rise up into the fish and the fish juices fall down to flavor the veggies.

DS and I have agreed to eat like this with DD as much as possible. The hardest part for me will be not eating pasta. I can take or leave bread, but I love spaghetti and Ziti and macaroni. I know DH won't eat like us, though he could stand to, but he will refrain from eating the junk she likes but can no longer have in front of her. He'll keep it at work or in the truck.

And speaking of the truck, DH has been using his dad's truck since before his dad died and DH will inherit it once the will is through whatever it has to go through. It doesn't actually have to go through probate here unless it is contested, but it does have to go through official filing and then I think there is a short waiting period. So we are basically a two car family now for the first time in five or six years. Which means our insurance will likely double. We did do our part of the filing, but we are waiting for the state to do its part.

There is a loan on the truck, but MIL will pay it off before we change ownership legally once the life insurance comes through. She has enough to pay off all debts, and because he was still actively employed when he died, though off on disability, she gets his full pension of $3000 a month and she gets social security based on his wages, so she will actually be sitting pretty. Not to mention there is some property in trust between her, her sister, and her brother, so we aren't going to have to worry about her after all.

I guess I will go back to worrying about us instead. *double sighs*

When it Rains, It Leaks

December 2nd, 2017 at 03:36 am

We have a leak in our storage unit roof. It ruined my husband's table saw and his small ratchet set. They are full of rust. It ruined one book, 2 pop up tents (the play kind), some old school report cards, a box of papers that just needed to be shredded, a video cassette cabinet (empty), an end table's feet so basically the whole thing, and possibly an original Jabba the Hutt action figure's outfit, but we are not sure on that one. It didn't look moldy, but it was soaked so we will have to dry it out and see. The rest of the action figures were just plastic, no clothes, but the whole case was full of water.

We videoed everything. There were several boxes that had mold on them, but no water damage and no damage to the books inside. We threw out some stuff while we were going through the boxes, too. Just some stuff that never should have been packed and put in there in the first place as we did the final clean out of the house. We took one pickup load of stuff to the dump and recycled an old computer monitor that was from 1994. It was an IBM brand monitor from a 286 (I think that was what it was called) computer from the early 90's. I know it ran windows 3.1. I don't think IBM has made hardware in two decades.

All in all there wasn't too much damage and our $2000 of insurance (no deductible) on the unit will cover the costs. I told DH I want to look for a new storage facility further from town, since they are cheaper. They have been raising the rates on this unit consistently every six months for the past few years and now the roof leaks and they don't know when it will be fixed. We have a 20 gallon tote under the leak at the moment.

When we do move to a new storage facility we will be going through every box and throwing out what needs to be tossed and donating what we thinkg is good enough to donate and hopefully we can get everything in one unit instead of the two we currently have. There is some furniture in there we will never use again and I don't know why we didn't get rid of it before.

Well, yes, I do, we were too attached to our things. And then inertia set in. I know there are a lot of toys that the kids didn't want us to get rid of at the time we moved, but now at 21 and 17, they could care less about so those can be donated, or ebayed depending. There are some boxes of clothes that no one will ever wear again, but of course we always thought we would, but we will never weigh what it would take to get into those clothes again and then some of them are children's clothes, too.

We have gotten by without any of the stuff in there and while I care about the photo albums and the books, there is so much that just doesn't matter to me anymore. When you live in 1000 square feet of space for almost 8 years you eventually become less attached to clutter and excess. I just wish we'd done this years ago.

Draining Week

November 18th, 2017 at 11:43 pm

The funeral on Wednesday was beautiful. I was able to speak, which was a good thing, because neither DH nor SIL could manage, though MIL did. I got a lot of compliments on what I said, which was nice, because I did not go in with a prepared speech. I don't like speaking in public, but I didn't feel it could go by without one of us saying something.

My favorite of DH's cousins did not attend. Her grandson, who is only 5, has a brain tumor. They biopsied on Tuesday and found out it is a very aggressive cancer and the tumor was the size of a tennis ball. Wednesday he had the surgery to remove it and they were able to get it all, but they still had to see if it had spread to the bloodstream. I am at such a loss. I am so tired of cancer hitting my family. This year has been a horror.

I am still pretty sick, but Thursday was my worst day. I think I have turned the corner with this cold, but I've been wrong before and gone on a second downswing. Hopefully not this time, though. Unfortunately, both kids are down with it, and DH started sneezing like crazy today. He's dosing on vitamin C. I hope he can keep going, because I am not at the stage where I can do any of the household or farm chores. Well, I did manage to fold one load of towels and one of clothes and then had to rest before I could put them away.

DH's interview was on Friday. He was supposed to be interviewed by two people, but the second one had a death in the family and couldn't be there. So the first guy said he needed to talk to the second guy when he gets back and see if he felt he needed to interview DH, too, or just go based on the first guy's opinion. He wanted to know if DH could start immediately, so I guess that is promising, but I'm not getting my hopes up yet.

DH and I went down to pick up our turkey today. We asked for one in the 13 to 16 pound range when we ordered a few months ago, and it is 15.07 pounds. I also picked up some sausage since we didn't get any with our pork. They had chorizo, which I was excited about, because I've never been able to find a chorizo without some bad additives in it. So one day next week I will make chorizo con huevoes with rice for dinner. Or possibly for breakfast with cauliflower rice.

I also picked up some roasts for canning. The roasts from our beef all have bones in them and I like them for pot roast dinners, anyway. But I want to can some meat for stews and chuck roasts available at the farm have no bones so are easier to cut up. In the winter I like to have stew once a week and we've been out of canned beef for a couple of months now.

We're also going to juice up a bunch of the apples we got when we went to the orchard a while back. I clearly got too many. If I juice it, I can can it and it will be shelf stable. That is a relatively easy task, but it will still have to wait until I feel decent enough to do it.

I was really hoping to do a better job at blogging with daily blogs this month, but I just haven't had the energy, so catch up posts a couple times a week are just going to have to do it for now.







FIL is Gone

November 5th, 2017 at 01:03 am

My father-in-law died about half an hour ago. My husband has been with him all day, except to come home, shove in a sandwich, and go back. Then at nine p.m. he came and got us and the kids and I stayed until nearly midnight. DH stayed with his Mom and sister and aunt (FIL's sister) and his eldest grandchild. It was peaceful. He never woke up while we were there.

We told him he could go, that everything was taken care of, that MIL would be looked after. I got a moment to kiss him on the forehead and tell him I loved him. DH and MIL are holding up pretty well. SIL and niece not so much. My son is doing pretty good, feels a sense of relief and a lot of sadness. My daughter is having a harder time and hiding in the shower so she can fall apart in private.

I've been crying off and on for days now, but tonight was so hard. I was lucky enough to be blessed with in-laws who love me like a daughter. And a father-in-law who made my own father's passing easier, because I still had someone to play that role in my life who felt like a dad to me.

We all feel like DH was laid off for this reason. So he could be home to spend time with his dad the last few weeks of his life and to be there for his mother. Just like the last time we felt like it was so he could be here to drive them to the cancer facility in Seattle and pick up the slack around their house, chores, grocery shopping, all of that.

He has been there when he needed to be there and it has made a world of difference to him and to his family. The worst is yet to come, though. He'll hold it in for a while and then he'll collapse with the grief for a while and then he'll move stoically forward because that is what he does. And I'll be there for him every step of the way. Because that is what I do.

I Don't Think FIL Has Much Longer

October 30th, 2017 at 11:56 pm

A couple of days ago the nursing home sent FIL to the hospital because he had a rash spreading all over his body. Turns out it is MRSA. And they did a scan of his lungs and the big cancer tumor is now 6 inches and their is a smaller one as well and they are almost completely filling one lung. The other lung is clear. They are talking about putting in a breathing tube. Right now he is just on oxygen, but if it worsens the tube will go in.

I'm not supposed to go up there right now because I have a cold and it is really hard. Same with my daughter. My son was able to go up with DH, though. If it gets worse I may go up anyway with a breathing mask on. And it sounds like it is going to get worse.

In a lot of ways, this is worse than when my own father was dying. His mind had gone years before. But FIL is still completely in his right mind. He is close to giving up because it has just been so hard. It is heart-breaking.

I still don't know what MIL is going to do. She doesn't know how to do anything financially. She's never worked and I don't think she is capable of it. The life insurance will be enough to pay off their house and their regular bills, but I don't know about the hospital bills at this point. We can't afford to take care of them.

Plus, emotionally, I don't know what she will do. They have been married 50 years. At least she is driving again, but that took a lot of doing. She doesn't like to make phone calls and deal with stuff, but she is going to have to.

Oh, plus, their disability insurance is breathing down their necks trying to make them prove that he is disabled beyond the point of working at any job right now. I've complained many times in the past about how sucky Aetna is, but this is a new low. If MIL even knew where the paperwork was for certain things, trying to deal with that wouldn't be so hard.

Please, if you are part of a married couple and one of you is clueless about all the finances and paperwork, have a conference with your spouse and get it so you both understand everything. This is not something you want to be dealing with at death's door.

Please pray for my FIL, MIL, DH, and SIL. Right now is the hardest time of their lives and I am helpless to do a single thing.

Well, That's That

October 27th, 2017 at 11:42 am

DH was laid off on the 20th and returned home on the 21st. Today is the last paycheck. Time to put our heads down and hope and pray that the $25K in savings will be enough to get us through until he finds another job. I really wish they had kept him on until the 28th like they'd first said. With cutting the time, it meant there was nothing extra to put into savings after all, and we will have to draw for December expenses in late November.

This is going to be a rough road to go down again. This is one of the worst times of the year to be trying to find work in his industry.

I won't bring in much with Thrive Life, but I'll get something. I bring in a little with the youtube channel. But it is so little as to make no difference. I wish I wasn't disabled. I'd go work at McDonald's if I could stand that long.

Side Effects and Ting Issues and Mom

October 5th, 2017 at 11:32 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Update of Sorts

September 3rd, 2017 at 07:45 pm

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

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

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

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

I Need a Ting Referral Link

September 1st, 2017 at 10:31 am

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

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

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

The next few months are going to be interesting.

Misery

August 26th, 2017 at 02:00 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And So it Goes

August 19th, 2017 at 02:34 am

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

I Still Can't See the Sky

August 10th, 2017 at 09:35 pm

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.

Putting 2 and 2 Together

July 27th, 2017 at 06:41 pm

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.

Pick a Title, Any Title

July 12th, 2017 at 11:28 pm

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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