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.
Viewing the 'When Life Happens' Category
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
DH interviewed for a different job this week with what I will call company C. It would be switching back to his old company where he worked for almost 15 years. It would also be switching parent companies to what I will call parent company B. It would be in maintaining existing infrastructure and not dependent on creating new infrastructure, so it would be remarkably more stable. And it would be a 5 plus 2 plus 2 contract which is basically a nine year contract for company C with parent company B.
The guy was very positive with him, telling him how highly recommended he was by a lot of people. They have to hold the interview process open for a couple weeks, so he won't know anything for a while yet. I would certainly feel more secure if he went to work for them. DH did not apply for this job. They called him out of the blue.
With things being less stable between company B and parent company A then DH was led to believe, I would feel a lot better if he got this other job, even if the current one likely has better benefits. I'll take job security over slightly better benefits any day. Plus, company B told him to go for it if offered, because they are not sure if they are going to get their problems straightened out enough for parent company A to give them the work they could have with the contract, but aren't getting because of the screw-ups.
So hopefully DH will get this other job. I'm going to be praying pretty hard about it.
I really don't like it when companies do stupid things, especially ones that normally have a good reputation of producing quality products. I don't like spending my money only to get a nasty surprise.
Campbell's has ruined its Chicken and Stars soup. Gone are the little pasta stars that go down without chewing, perfect for the sore throats it has soothed for generations. In their place are those loathsome large pastas like they have in their cartoon character soups. Like the Spaghettio pastas. The ones my kids wouldn't touch when they were little despite the fact they were shaped like Dora and I choked down so they wouldn't go to waste.
The are very chewy, don't go down easy with a sore throat at all, in fact they hurt, and they don't taste good. Not only do they not taste good, they have changed the broth, too. Instead of being golden, it is orange.
Now I understand that they took out a bunch of the chemicals they used to have in their soup to make it better for us, but the soup never had food coloring in it to make it yellow. So removing the nasties from it should not have turned chicken soup orange or even have changed the flavor as much as it has. There are also globs of a darker orange consistency on top, though they did stir in once cooked.
Now the reason they have given for the change of the pasta is that there were complaints of the stars clumping, a non-problem if I ever heard one. I have been eating this soup since I was two and preparing it myself since I was nine. In all of those years, not once was there an issue of the stars clumping. And you know what stops pasta from clumping? Stirring. It's not rocket science.
Campbell's claims this is the reason though. I think not. I am sure there are more complaints about the change, and will be even more as more people realize what happened the next time they get sick and reach for the old favorite and get something gross, than there ever were for clumping pasta.
I think Campbell's has pulled a New Coke and hopefully it will go the way of the New Coke debacle if enough consumers protest. Oh, and here's the kicker. The normal stars are still available in their soup on the go with no plans to change it. Gee, don't those stars clump, too?
Soup on the Go is $2.79 a container. Because it is not condensed it works out to half the amount you would have with a condensed soup. The condensed Chicken and Stars soup runs at $1.79 a can, which is outrageous enough for 10.5 ounces of soup (product shrinkage again, too), considering most of their other soups are $1.29 a can. I'm not going to pay a whole dollar more for half the amount of soup. Until they change back, they have lost me as a customer. If they don't change back, then I'm done. 43 years of being a loyal customer means nothing to them, so no more of my hard earned dollars are going their way.
Today was finally a no spend day, by dint of the fact that I didn't go anywhere or do anything. I spent the majority of the day resting. This head cold has really knocked me for a loop. I did manage to make lunch and dinner and do the evening rabbit check with my son. I also put one load of laundry that I washed last night into the dryer, where it remains. Considering how I am feeling, I call that a victory.
Tomorrow afternoon DD has a follow-up with the allergist, so that will be $50. And DH has to call in a feed order for turkey food for us to pick up on Friday, which will likely be around $100. Now that the mill has moved counties I have to buy in larger amounts so we are not making the trip all the time. It was a lot more convenient when it was just a couple miles from my house. I just hope I have the energy to drive down there Friday. I guess I'll have to. If I wait until Monday, the turkeys will be completely out of food.
I also have to pick up some black oil sunflower seeds for the rabbits as we are almost out. They get a tbsp of that each daily. It makes their coats glossy. It takes a long time to get through a bag, but we are almost there.
Speaking of the rabbits, the premature kit had his eyes open tonight, so now they all have their eyes open. He is also catching up in size to the smallest of the rest of the litter. They are moving into the too stinking cute stage now. Between two weeks and five weeks is when they are the most adorable.
The kids had to clean Gina's nose out tonight. I would have gone out if they had needed me, but fortunately they did not. Gina was so grateful. She'd managed to get mud lodged in her nostrils and was only breathing through her mouth. If you've never seen a turkey panting before, it is quite a sight. At first she was less than thrilled about being restrained, but once she realized what they were doing, she went completely limp and let them do it. She did her happy whistling trill afterwards.
George wasn't happy, but they'd had the foresight to lock him in the pen before they went after Gina. The last thing anyone needed was a protective tom going nuts on them. He's usually a mild-mannered fellow, but not if he perceives there is a threat to his mate.
I am well ahead of target for reading 50 books for the year. I am currently reading the latest Icicle Falls novel. My hold finally came in at the library. Of course once you go pick up one, that same night you get a notification that there are 4 more waiting for you that were not ready when you were actually there. Oh, well, free books are worth the trip and it is not that far.
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.
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.
...you've come to walk with me again. Yes, totally singing it to the tune of The Sound of Silence (Disturbed's version, not the original Simon and Garfunkle).
The hot water tank exploded. Well, not literally, but the water coming out of it did. It made quite a mess and we have had no hot water in our part of the house for two days. There is still hot water in the main house, but it is on a different hot water heater.
The one that exploded feeds the laundry room, the outdoor hot water hose, and our bathroom and shower. It is freezing out, snowing for 3 or 4 days now, so when you come in from doing something outside and have to wash your hands in cold water it is very hard to warm up.
They came to look at the tank today and it is still under warranty, so the tank itself will be replaced for free. The labor, however, will cost $700. Ugh. And they will be starting work early in the morning. Double ugh.
We have washed all the towels used to soak up the water on cold and dried them, but that was just so they weren't sitting around mildewing for a couple days. They will have to be rewashed in hot water as soon as we have it again.
I am using paper plates, bowls, and plastic cups for the most part so we don't have to deal with dishes. Right now having hot water involves heating it up in the microwave and mixing it with some cold so it doesn't burn you.
It reminds me of one of the Little House books, where Pa would bring in buckets of cold water from the well and then Ma would heat water in the kettle on the wood stove to add to the bathwater to get it to the right temperature. Only no bath, just the sink.
Oh, well, I can shower tomorrow after the workers leave.
Well, DH didn't get the job, though they strongly encouraged him to apply for anything that comes up in the future. It's positive, in that they clearly liked him, but it is very discouraging over all.
It has been six months. We get one more unemployment check and then he's maxed out his benefits. The longest DH has ever been unemployed in his life since he was 15 years old was six weeks.
He's worked really hard at finding a job. He's learned an entire new software program to update his skills. Now I am starting to think we might have to look at him getting his Bachelor's Degree now. School is just so expensive.
The oil jobs don't seem to be recovering as quickly as everyone claimed they would. We really wanted to wait until he was working before he started taking a class towards his degree. There is another option of taking this big test that basically gives him a degree based on his experience and hours worked if he can pass it and document his time spent in the field. I think he is going to pursue that first.
I worked on my novel some more last night. Insomnia does have one benefit if I'm not too tired to write. Hopefully I'll be awake enough to work on it some more today. I may need caffeine, though, to get me through the day.
I sent for my Pinecone check. I earned $12 in February from them. So between the rabbit sale and this I earned $37 this month. And one $5 Amazon gift card from Swagbucks. And I earned my google/youtube money, but they still haven't sent it. That would be January's earnings that were supposed to be paid in February, but because my bank account wasn't verified in time it didn't come.
Or at least that is what I am assuming. Normally they only issue payments once a month, but I figured they'd issue it once the account was verified. It was only 3 days after the regular payment date. So if I don't get January and February's earnings when the day comes in March, I guess I have to follow up some more. It would be nice to actually get that money, although it is not enough to make too much of a difference, it could pay for a few weeks of groceries.
DH did our taxes today and we will be getting back $9043.02. Most of this is due to medical expenses. This will be a welcome boon to our bank account and should cover about 2 months of living expenses. DH only gets unemployment until the middle of March and then it ends. I never imagined he'd be unemployed this long.
The interview he had earlier did not pan out. He was too over-qualified and it was an entry level position. He said he would work it no matter what it was, but that's not what they wanted. It is frustrating.
He put in for some upcoming stuff at Hanford, so maybe something there will pan out. At this point I don't care where we have to move, though I'm not thrilled about some of the possibilities.
It feels like everything is grinding so slowly. I just want to get back to some kind of normal life where we don't have this hanging over us anymore.
After today's transfer we are down to just over $35,000 in savings. Today's transfer will pay for all of February's expenses with a little left over towards March. I try to make only one transfer a month.
I am going to try to belt-tighten some more, but it is getting hard to find places to do so. I don't want to cut out all fresh fruits and vegetables for canned, but I may have to until it is warm enough to grow lettuce and spinach. I'm making bread and rolls now and that is helping a bit. We were spending a lot on that. I always forget how expensive it is in comparison to making it and with the Kitchen-Aid it is not hard at all to make it.
Oh, my goodness that freaking helicopter just flew too close to the house. I don't think that was the Med-Evac as it is still flying around and didn't land. Med-Evac is supposed to fly above a certain height and is supposed to circle around and come in over the freeway, not the neighborhoods. This was so low it shook the house, the windows were rattling, things fell on the floor. I wonder if there is a man-hunt going on? Excuse me while I go double check that the doors are locked.
Oh, it's back... Dang, that helicopter barely cleared the neighbor's ham operator antenna. It's not Medi-Evac, no cross on it. I can't tell if it is a police chopper or a news media one. If it is news media I am going to be peeved. I can't see any markings, but they are shining a spotlight. Man, I hope I don't lose any rabbits. I've had low-flying helicopters freak them out enough that one broke her back and died. I can hear the tom turkey freaking out. *sighs*
So anyway, I'm just not sure what other cuts to make right now. I hate to take away the kids' allowances as they work really hard with the animals. They both know it might be coming, though.
Well, maybe I am just going to have to try to cut the food budget even further. I can manage with only oranges for fresh fruit. We can give up the more expensive spinach and eat more cabbage. I wish healthy food wasn't so expensive. At least I don't have to worry about buying meat, though.
I might have to cut back on my physical therapy, but it is being so effective right now, I would hate to do that. Might finally give up the DVD's on Netflix. I hate to, it's our only entertainment, but if we do, we do. That's the way the ball bounces.
Nothing on the job front. This good news is about my body. Last week the physical therapist tried a new treatment on me. I went in on Monday and then again on Wednesday. I felt improvement after the first time and after the second I was kind of shocked. Guys, I am walking without pain. I am sitting up without pain.
Things had gotten so bad that even going to the grocery store was getting really hard. Forget going to more than one grocery store in a day. One trip would wipe me out for the rest of the day and night. The day after the first treatment we easily went to three stores. Then on Wednesday we went to two. No limping, no pain, no having to recover from it all afterwards.
The only issue is I have very little stamina. I'm weak because I haven't been in the pool since late October when I got so sick and then hurt myself so bad in November when I fell. So while I can walk okay now, I tire very quickly. I will have to work on that. I am going to attempt to start using the treadmill again. Just 5 minutes a day to start and then add on and see how I do.
I can sit in a chair now for more than 5 minutes without having to shift my position. Or throw my legs over the arm while sitting half sideways. It is really remarkable. I hope it lasts. So far it seems to be. I will get another treatment on Wednesday. If I can start walking again when the whether warms up I will be such a happy person.
It may be a few days before I start up the regimen, though. My PT had a cold that she said she was over, but she coughed in both sessions and I came down with it Thursday evening. It feels like the plague, I swear, though it is probably just a very bad head cold. I am treating with elderberry tincture, elderberry syrup, honey/lemon/ginger/garlic tea, and the lovely orange, pseudophedrine, mucus relief pills, and blue/green cold pills. That allows me to function enough to eat, shower, and dress myself, but not much else. Hopefully it will pass soon.
So my PT is on both my good and bad list this week. I think walking wins, though.
Just a warning. If you don't want to start your morning off with a full frontal of a naked obese man, stay off your Yahoo News Feed today. It links to a Huffington Post article. Of course. No way to flag the stupid thing, either. It cannot be unseen. Yuck.
Does anyone know who is in charge of SA now and how to contact them? I have been trying to update my blog photo avatar for a couple of weeks now and it fails every time. I delete the old file and update changes. It's gone. I choose the new file. It appears to upload, but when I hit update changes the old photo reappears, even though I deleted it. I can upload photos to the blog without problems. I went into the forum side of things to my account to see if I could upload an avatar there and it won't upload a custom avatar there either. It says upload fails every time. I have tried with a .gif, a .png, and even with an html file. Nothing works. So who do I need to talk to?
So DH received a Christmas Bonus in the mail from his former employer. We knew we were going to get something because they sent us some paperwork back around Thanksgiving, but I figured it was going to be some token amount or a percentage based on how many months out of the year he'd worked for them (75%). But it was actually $200 more than last year's bonus. Maybe the additional was due to him staying until the bitter end.
Anyway, the amount was $3900.91. So no unemployment this week, but this is way better than that and it means the unemployment will last longer. I am hoping that this bonus will get us through January.
There are starting to be a few more oil jobs being posted. He's put in for two slope listings, but we don't expect to hear anything until after the holidays at this point. Slope usually goes to skeleton crew at this time of year. We expect that oil jobs will pick up now that the electoral college has officially declared Trump president. But we don't expect hiring or interviews to begin until January. No one does stuff over the holidays.
DH did have an in-person interview with the aeronautics company that he did two phone interviews with previously. They are just at the start of the live interview process (he was one of the first, if not the first in person interview they were doing) and they wouldn't hire until the end of January if they hire. It's not a permanent job anyway. It's one that would be series of small contracts as work was available. Not ideal, but better than nothing and the experience in that field would widen his knowledge base.
In two more days, it'll have been 4 months and I am getting antsy. The stress is hard. Seeing savings being depleted is hard. It's a nagging worry that's always in the back of my mind except when it's in the front of my mind. I live with this constant rock in my stomach. I think I might be getting an ulcer from the stress, because I've been eating Tums like they are candy and this with eliminating peppers from my diet.
My ankles finally feel like they are heeling, though. I know I mentioned the bad fall I took and the major sprain of the one ankle, but I don't think I mentioned that I lost my balance and rolled the other ankle about 10 days later and sprained it, too. It had minor swelling and minor pain, and was just enough to make it difficult for me to stand for more than a minute at a time. I still have swelling in the first ankle 5 weeks after the injury, but the pain is mostly just if I press the area where the ligaments were stretched too far or if I do too much standing.
I did get in to see the ENT a week ago and he put me back on steroids and gave me 2 Z-packs and sent a letter to my doctor to be placed in my file about how to treat this condition. He also told me he had sent them one back in March. The on-call doctor had claimed there was no record of this type of treatment. I did find out later that it was in there. Anyway, the ENT is sending a copy of the new letter to me so I can have one, so if they conveniently can't find it in the future I can pull it out of my purse and go, "It looks just like this."
The ENT was really annoyed with my doctor's office. He said I should not be having to go through this crap for 8 weeks before getting the right treatment, when he'd told them before and I told them what it needed to be. I will be looking for a new doctor after the holidays. I want to see a holistic type doctor instead. I'm so tired of doctors who look at me but don't see me. I miss my old doctor so much. Why did he have to get old, retire, and die? I mean, he was only 83. They don't make doctors like him anymore.
But I did get the medicine and it is helping now that it's the right dosage and the meds are being taken together.
We had a litter born on the 18th. There are five healthy kits, 3 broken blacks and 2 that are either solid blacks or steels. I'm leaning toward steels.
The older litter is 5 weeks now. They are doing well. It looks like I have two broken blues, one broken black, one broken steel, a lightly broken fawn, and a steel (black with white hairs mixed in) there. Colors don't fully set until they are older though, so that's just a best estimate for the time being.
Life going on on the farm makes me happy. I am waiting for 3 more does to give birth. They are a day overdue. If the two whites don't have kits this time, I think I will have to declare Jasper a dud. I will give him one more try, but this will make 3 breedings with nothing from him. Zander on the other hand is doing his job, as you can tell from all the broken and colored kits being born.
70,000,000 registered voters did not vote in the election this week. A further 20,000,000 eligible voters did not register to vote. That means 90,000,000 people, give or take a few thousand due to life circumstances like a heart attack or stroke or giving birth, in America did not think who became the next president was important enough to vote for or register to vote for.
Or else they thought it was a done deal because of a media that wished it so and pollsters who over sampled in predominately liberal areas like large cities and college campuses and got such skewed data that it made them think they did not need to bother. Or they did it on purpose just so their polls would have the results they wanted them to have. If you looked at the collection data and not just the charts it was obvious what they were doing. But most of America didn't look. The propaganda machine did exactly the opposite of what it wanted to achieve.
It makes me wonder how many of those now protesting voted and how many did not. Based on my reasonable knowledge of statistics and my cynical opinion of human nature, I'd estimate at least 55% did vote but of those 5% voted for Johnson or Stein, 30% did not vote, the rest may or may not have but of those 10% are paid protesters, 3% didn't have anything better to do, and 2% are there just to try to incite violence to break out so they can riot, steal, beat people they pull out of random cars, and set things on fire, all of which have happened in most of the protesting cities, even Seattle, although at least in Seattle they are just burning garbage.
I wouldn't believe any polling data coming now that breaks down how America voted by race or sex, or any other label they want to put on us to divide us out, either. We saw how they polled only in select areas, not across America, certainly not in rural areas. We saw that people obviously lied to the pollsters as well, due to fear of getting beaten up, shame, or privacy issues. I think if there is one takeaway anyone should have from this election, it is that you can never believe the polls again, if you ever did in the first place. With my knowledge of statistics, including how to manipulate them, I never did.
So we're getting ready for what they are calling a post typhoon cyclone coming our way. This will likely be the worst storm to hit the west coast in my lifetime. Actually, it is to be a series of 3 storms to hit in rapid succession which are stemming from a Super Typhoon called Songda that is making its way across the Pacific Ocean from Japan.
We have plenty of shelf stable food, I've canned so much, and we have all of the staples I normally keep in food storage. We have our regular two cases of water in food storage and tonight we'll fill one of the bathtubs just in case we end up needing washing water or flushing water. We also have the 3 50 gallon rain barrels for further backup and to water the animals.
We've got a new, full BBQ-sized propane tank and 2 of the smaller propane tanks for the camp stove in case we end up having to cook on that. We've filled up the gas tank in the van. We've got the power station charging. It'll run my c-pap machine and DH's b-pap machine if we lose power. DH and I have been talking about getting a generator as well. I'd like to have something we can plug a couple of heaters into and a lamp and the fridge.
Our batteries are stocked up. Our cameras and cell phones are charged. Our computer batteries are charged. Our flashlights that don't take batteries are charged. Our regular flashlights and candles and lighters have all been rounded up.
We've tied down the garden low tunnels but we are talking about 50 to 70 knots of sustained winds so I am not sure it will make any difference in the end. Hopefully it will though. We've got all the empty pallets stacked in the garage now so they won't get rained on or go flying.
The rabbits have been taken care of early and the shutters are locked on the rabbit shed. The birds are going in early as well with extra food and water in case they can't come out tomorrow. Garage chicken has been secured with extra food and water (she's recovering from an injury) in her cage.
I can't think of anything else we need to do. We don't generally get storms quite this bad. Those of you who go through hurricanes on a regular basis over on the East coast, can you think of anything else I might need to do to prep?
DH has been unemployed for 6 weeks now with not a lot of progress, unfortunately. He did have his resume accepted by a local refinery and was contacted to say he had been placed into the pool of candidates to be considered for upcoming jobs starting November through February. And that's pretty much what we've been hearing. Most jobs in his field won't be hiring for a few months.
A short term (4 to 6 month) job listing came up today here in town for a job he is qualified for, probably over-qualified for, so he sent a resume in for that. Even if there is no prospect for a job before the refineries start hiring again, we will be okay for a while. But I do hope he finds a good job soon. I am trying hard not to put pressure on him, since he is working hard at looking. These lulls happen. He's just never been caught in one before, and shouldn't have gotten caught in this one, but you've heard that rant already.
I made the second withdrawal from our Emergency Fund today, $3,500. We should be able to get through most of October on that, plus the unemployment when it comes again. That brings the EF down to $13,500, but remember we still have $45,000 in the House Down Payment Fund we can tap if we need to. And a few hundred in the Moving Fund.
The reason why we won't make it through the whole month on the $3,500 is that we will have to make an insurance premium payment and that is somewhere between $1100 and $1200. Ouch. I'm just not sure when. We will likely charge it to get the cash back points. We finally got approved and our acceptance letter came today with a paper we can use temporarily until our cards come which should be later on this week. That will put our prescriptions at $10 each and regular doctor visits at $20 each and specialist visits at $45, period, without the deductible kicking in. It is a $5000 deductible for everything else for the family.. No vision or dental for anyone but DS, since it is law to require it for anyone under 18, but they don't care about adults (even though 75% of the population in the US wears glasses or contacts).
We ended up going with a silver plan, because when we plugged in all the numbers it was going to be cheaper for us to do a silver plan than a bronze plan. And while the gold plan has a $2000 family deductible, it wasn't worth the difference in costs since doctors visits and prescriptions were so reasonable outside the deductible.
Both DD and I had to buy glasses in September out of pocket as we both had severe prescription changes in just one year. Out of pocket costs were close to $1000 (including her eye exam which happened after losing our insurance). But seeing is necessary, and it has made a tremendous difference for me. My headaches are gone and they were getting quite bad.
I didn't post much in September. I pulled that muscle in my back again and was in a lot of pain. Still am in some, but it is starting to improve. I have to budget what I can do, though. I have to make choices. If I need to go grocery shopping, that is all I will be doing that day. If I need to can tomatoes, they get chopped up one day and canned the next. I finally made dinner tonight for the first time in a while, but had to have help with chopping things. And it was exhausting.
DH has had to take over my rabbit duties. I miss them and have only managed to go out twice in three weeks to do general health checks. Good thing I did, as Ruby had an abscess. DD (vet tech student) was able to drain it and treat it, but if I hadn't checked on them no one would have known to do so.
I didn't get too much of a fall crop in, as the time I should have been planting was when the muscle pull happened and I went down really hard. I can still plant some carrots and turnips and put some greenhouse plastic on the supports that normally hold netting to keep out the birds and squirrels. I can put in radishes, green onions, and kohlrabi as well. I just have to have the energy to do it. I worry about bending over the garden bed, too, even from a chair, as I don't want the muscles to spasm again. I have another month until I need to plant my garlic.
We are getting kale, lettuce, broccoli, kohlrabi, peppers, tomatoes, basil, and sage still. Chard will be ready to start harvesting in another week or so. No sign of the first frost yet, but that usually doesn't happen until Halloween at the soonest, sometimes not until well into November. Last year it was December before we got a frost hard enough to kill anything except the tomatoes and we overwintered kale and chard.
Tomorrow I need to chop and freeze peppers. I have serrano, ancho, jalapeno, Anaheim, and sweet bells. And we need to start chopping and freezing onions, too, though they will last a lot longer than the peppers without it. I'll have to take it in steps with DH helping me. Fortunately peppers are easy to do, just have to wear gloves.
Not much else to talk about, though I'm sure I'm missing all kinds of things.
Have you ever heard of any government office starting their work week on a Sunday? Every government office starts their work week on a Monday. And ends it on Friday, but they definitely start on Mondays, so the corollary ought to be that if they did for some unknown reason work on weekends, their work week would end on Sunday. Logical, yes?
DH's work week started on Monday and ended on Sunday, also, logical. Every job he's ever worked, every job I've ever worked, Monday has been considered the first day of the work week and Sunday the last. The only place Sunday is the first day of the week is on the calendar.
So why, then, does unemployment consider the work week to start on Sunday and end on Saturday, instead of starting on Monday like the rest of the country?
DH's last day of work was on a Sunday. So that means his first week of being unemployed does not count, since he got paid for that Sunday and his wages that day are more than a week's unemployment. If he'd made less than that amount he'd have gotten the difference up to the max, but he did, so nothing for that week. He won't get anything for that week at all. *sighs*
I guess he didn't have qualifying job applications for that week anyway according to them, so it wouldn't even matter, but the hoops they special little qualifications they make you jump through here are ridiculous. He's been paying in without fail for 32 years. It should not be this hard to get a tiny little bit of it back.
Well, he's got properly qualifying and documented applications for this current week so it should start then, but won't arrive for a couple weeks after that. I want to tear my hair out. Actually, no, strike that. I want to tear someone else's hair out. Preferably one of the lawmakers who came up with some of these hoops. Or maybe they can just get stuck inside a giant stack of hoops conveniently dropped by a formerly unemployed fork lift driver with no hope of rescue for 24 hours and only 2 bottles of water and no bathroom. Actually make that 6 bottles of water and no bathroom.
I am actually thinking maybe there isn't much point in going after the gold plan. We might do bronze and pay far less out of pocket. In adding up our prescriptions and office visits at out of pocket cost, with the lowest cost plan that is still good insurance in a catastrophe, we'd be paying less than $1000 a month. With the gold plan we'd be paying about $1600 to $1700 a month out of pocket once we hit the deductible. Turns out the gold plan only has vision and dental for kids under 18, not adults, so that is all out of pocket anyway and is a game changer.
So back to the drawing board I guess. We have to do what will make our savings last the longest.
On the bright side, and I promise it has not all been doom and gloom around here, I sold a rabbit on Saturday for $83. That will pay for 3 to 4 month's of rabbit feed. We haven't sold any duck eggs because we are eating them all, but they have picked up production again, so between the ducks and the chickens we are getting enough eggs to eat daily again.
I am preserving food left and right from the garden. I have put up plums (canned, frozen, and dehydrated, made fruit leather, canned potatoes, green beans, and corn. I have frozen poblano, Anaheim, and bell peppers and am working on chopping up onions to freeze. The tomatoes are starting to produce. I might have enough to can two pints. That's not much, but they should start exploding in about 2 weeks.
The second crop of broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and lettuce is coming along nicely. The third crop of kohlrabi and radishes is too. My first crop of chard planted this year is struggling a bit, but with the weather turn and some real rain for the first time this summer it is perking up. I will be planting carrots, radishes, and turnips today. And possibly spinach if I can find starts or seeds. The last frost has been mid-November lately so I should get it in under the wire. Carrots are 60 days, turnips are 50 days, and radishes are 24 to 40 days depending on variety. And I can use frost cloths if we get an early frost.
All right, well, I better get back to the garden as there is a break in the rain.
We are trying to get all of our ducks in a row with unemployment, but I think it's going to take a lot of hoop jumping before our ducks aren't scattered all over the place. Just one example is that we were asked if we wanted direct deposit or a debit card with the money on it. DH checked the box for direct deposit. They said it would be a couple of weeks from the time the process it, but it was going to be a couple weeks anyway so whatever. But then they sent a debit card anyway???
I'm not sure why as that is the least convenient way for us to possibly use the money and we said we did not want it. There is no money on it yet, because he hasn't been unemployed for 2 weeks yet. It'll make it difficult for us to use for the thing we want to use it for, buying health insurance (direct withdrawal or credit card, no option for debit card). I don't know why the government has to make things 20 times harder than it has to be. Plus fees are deducted every time you use a debit card. We need all of that money.
They also want DH to apply for jobs their way and not in, you know, the way he should for his industry's standards. So he can send stuff in the proper way for the job he is applying for and through the correct channels, or in the way that unemployment will give him credit for but will be less likely in netting a job interview. He's trying for a happy medium, because the intended outcome is to actually GET a job, not remain on unemployment for 6.5 months.
DH is dealing with this, so I am only frustrated by default, not like crazy about it. I am sure it will all get ironed out eventually, it is just how many bumps there will be before it does. And you all know how I like for things to run smoothly. I just have to keep going along, put my head down, and keep my faith that God knows what he is doing.
I was right to be suspicious about something not adding up about DH not getting hired by company b, when parent company was so strongly recommending they hire him. Someone at company b sat on his resume. Claimed he never received it, although DH put it directly in his hands, and followed up with him numerous times over the past several months, until the guy suddenly went silent 3 weeks ago.
Also another employee with parent company put it directly in his hands as well and has come forward to say so. The first guy also claimed DH was never even at the first interview, when he was the second person interviewed and where there were multiple other people to verify he was there, not to mention 2 other people doing the interviews with this guy.
It looks like he made sure the resume was not there for the actual hiring process, so that the other guy would be hired, despite parent company's wishes that DH be in that position. It is being investigated by parent company and probably company b, too. DH has digital evidence and whatnot to back up his side of things. There's always a paper trail. I guess people don't realize just how easy it is to get caught in a lie these days.
Which is all well and good, but right now DH still doesn't have a job or a job offer. We do not know whether the guy who got the job colluded or just the first guy, but I suspect both, based on past behavior of the guy who was hired. They are friends.
I am shocked and yet at the same time I'm not. I knew something wasn't right. I just knew it. And now I am extremely frustrated that something like this would happen to someone like DH who is so kind, hard-working, and well-liked up there. He has a sterling reputation. It's just wrong.
Man, people can be such jerks. If you can't get the job fair and square, why not stack the deck and cheat and who cares who it hurts? How do people like that sleep at night? My only consolation is that if it is proven, he will probably be canned so hard that he'll never work up there again.
DH is pursing ND at this point and a few other things. Hopefully something will come up soon. He's home now and will go down and apply for unemployment tomorrow.
I really wanted to title it COBRA BS, but no. I found out how much the COBRA is going to cost us. It's not as high as the $2500 we originally thought, but it is still $2230.17 a month. We're going to have to see if we can't find something cheaper.
All we really need is catostrophic coverage. It is cheaper to pay out of pocket for all our medical stuff than to pay that kind of money for insurance. We'd go without if I wasn't afraid something big might happen. Or that the government would steal our tax refund as punishment.
DH will start investigating when he gets home on Monday. Right after he goes down to apply for unemployment. There's got to be something else that isn't going to drain our resources like that. Unemployment won't even come close to covering the cost of that. Considering how much he has paid into Unemployment over the years, he really ought to be getting more than he will be, but that's not how it really works.
Mom said we can completely suspend our loan payments to her until DH finds a new job. So that will help. It's not something I like at all, but we've got to make our savings last as long as possible. Unless company b comes in with a last minute offer, we are operating on the idea of Sunday being DH's last day of work.
We are also looking at DH starting his BS in Electrical Engineering. There are times when 20 years of experience, a strong recommendation from parent company, and two AS's still don't count as much as a BS in the hiring process. Of course ultimately, BS with only a few years of experience washes out and then DH gets hired, because book learning is never the same as real life on the job experience, but some HR people only want what looks good on paper (book learning) and always have to learn the hard way. Especially with this one guy who keeps getting hired over DH over the years and yet in the end DH is the one who ends up with the job when this guy can't handle it.
With college we'd go through our savings even faster, but in the long run it will help us so much for him to have that that I think we have to do it. If he does full time it would be $10,800 a year. We are looking at half time, though, as hopefully he'll be working at something, so $5,400. He'd do it completely online. We think all or most of his credits should transfer and he'll be able to just start at 3rd year, but he'll have to have a transcript review done, which of course costs money, too.
I won't take out loans. I'm not going down that road. Both kids have said they would get jobs to contribute. Can you believe that? I don't want it to come to that, though. Especially with my daughter, who is fragile in both health and mental health and has her next year of college paid for.
I have been trying to think of things I can do, though it is hard with my disabilities. I can't work a job where I'd be on my feet all day like when I was a cook without severe pain and with me being out of the workforce for 20 years, I'm not sure any of my bookkeeping or office skills would be current. My jobs were summer farm work, babysitting, Visiting Nurse chore worker, cook, tutor (but in outdated things like Word Perfect and DOS and Peachtree and Ten-Key calculator and old Data Entry systems), and receptionist/bookkeeper. Most of that I can't do anymore because of my physical limitations. I am broken and obsolete.
So hopefully DH finds something. Something in the $5000 a month take home range with semi-decent medical insurance so we can keep paying Mom and I can keep up with the out of pocket physical therapy that keeps me walking and gardening and taking care of our mini-farm. We can survive on less, but without the PT life would be miserable for me. And without being able to pay Mom back, it wouldn't be roses, either.
If he can find that until he can find something better, we will be just fine. I keep hoping for a last minute miracle, but I really do not think we are going to get one.
DH's alternate quit. He got tired of waiting for company b to do anything and got a job elsewhere. DH's company asked DH to stay over and finish out the time his alternate would have worked so DH will get one to two weeks extra, but then it's done. Assuming they don't get any bids for piecemeal stuff accepted.
We can get September's insurance paid for in August though. I'm still not sure if that is that work will pay for it or that it is simply pre-tax dollars going for the first COBRA payment. It would be really nice if it is the first thing, but even the second thing would be very helpful.
I seems to me like company b doesn't want to pay competitive wages or the hazard part of the pay. I think that if you don't want to pay hazard pay then you shouldn't be bidding on jobs that take place in hazardous environments. They are having trouble staffing up.
But the part I don't get is that DH has heard nothing from them at all, which is really weird considering they used his name in their bid paperwork. He hasn't been approached with an offer. Even a lower wage job while he continues to look that has health insurance is better than nothing and we can cut all savings for a down payment if we have to to get by on a reduced budget. With his resume and references and 20 years experience there and 10 of it in that precise job with two different companies and a good relationship with parent company it just makes no sense. No one has been tapped for the position at all.
There was an issue earlier on when someone high up in DH's company, company a, had told company b they weren't allowed to hire anyone from company a until they'd been officially laid off, but parent company told company b that was not true and company a got yelled at for pulling it. But I still think there is something going on with that, company a using leverage against company b to hold onto its employees until the bitter end regardless of what is best for the employees. Either that or someone just doesn't like DH, but considering how ridiculously likable he is and his spotless reputation, that seems far less likely to me.
It all just makes me want to tear my hair out. Nothing seems to be going on with the company next county over. They were supposed to start the hiring process mid-July, but they haven't. No news on that front.
DH is going to try to pursue ND at this point. That would be hard because he'd have to work 4 weeks on and 2 weeks off, but at this point it would be a job that pays well. Or a job that meets our expenses without us going into debt and pays for insurance.
I hate being in this limbo. I hate it. I know it could be worse, but the stress of the last 7 months has just been building and building. I just want to be able to let it go and to feel secure in my life again.
DH had a sort of interview with company #2. It sounded like things there are on shaky ground yet, like there might be some major growing pains about to happen like they did with company #1 several years ago when he started with them. These were preliminary interviews, more like feeling things out, not final interviews.
They did talk a little about benefits, but not too much on specifics. It's a high deductible medical plan. The 401K is decent with a 100% match on the first 3% and a 50% match on the second 3%, so if you put in 6% in a year, you'd get a 4.5% total match on that. It didn't sound like wages were discussed at all. Any job offers (for anyone) won't be forthcoming for several weeks.
It's not the best news, but it is better than no news, I guess. I still hope that DH will get an interview for the job next county over when they start the process mid to late July. That is the better job by far in every category. An interview and then gets hired. That's the holy grail right now.
At the moment, I don't even know if he has work after this hitch. I don't think his company knows either. Stressful. I miss not living in a state of peace.
I am trying really hard not to be stressed out, but it isn't really working. I am grinding my teeth so hard while I am sleeping that I am starting to wear a spot down on my mouth guard and the right side of my jaw hurts really bad from it.
I've also noticed my anxiety is going up. I'm doing things I usually only do during a high state of stress, like picking at my cuticles until they bleed or my OCD stuff getting a little out of control, where instead of having to do things twice it is more like doing it six or eight times (never an odd number, because my OCD is linked to doing things in pairs). So far it is mostly confined to checking my alarm clock or that all the doors are locked or windows are shut over and over, but I can feel it starting to shift into other things. Not good.
So far I am not stress eating at all. I think the phentermine is really helping with that. And I am losing weight, so the stress is not affecting that. I was sick for about five days (stomach bug, fever, dizziness), so I haven't been to the pool in over a week. I am mostly better, but still dizzy and dizzy and water don't mix. The exercise usually helps keep the OCD down (although I do have to swim an even number of laps on swimming days). I hope to get to the pool this weekend, though.
I did walk the mall today. My foot was regretting it afterwards, but not my knee or hip, which is progress. I did one lap of the mall, which is only 1/4 mile, but that's a lot further than usual. The only other time I usually walk that much is in doing a lap of Costco and that's a lot slower than this was. I have been walking a bit. Usually only one to two blocks, but I am trying to build up that strength in my knee again. Some days are good, some are bad, but I haven't needed the cane in about a month. The bad leg is why I do so much in the pool instead, but I miss walking.
The garden is producing really well. Right now I am getting broccoli, scallions, lettuce, kale, sorrel, herbs, and the snap peas are just starting. I've gotten 10 so far, but tomorrow or the next day there should be a lot more, maybe even enough to blanch and freeze. We still have some strawberries and I am now getting raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. Not enough to freeze yet, but enough for daily fresh eating. I've got a new batch of radishes at the two week mark and I want to get some more kohlrabi in the ground. My garlic is just about ready to pull.
I am trying not to spend things, but DH left his phone in Alaska, and since he is job hunting he can't be without a phone and it needs to be the number on his resumes, so he ended up getting a new phone. I mean, his old phone is five or six years old, so it's not like he wasn't due one, but I didn't want to sign a new contract in case he is out of work for a while and we need to drop down to one phone. He did get a dumb phone, not a smart phone, so it wasn't too expensive, but it was still $130 we wouldn't have needed to spend if he'd not left it behind.
I am trying not to be frustrated with him, but the time before that he left his driver's license and credit card at work, so he had to get a new license, because he was having to drive his parents to Seattle and back for follow up cancer stuff. It wasn't a case where he could just not drive for the ten days he was home. Fortunately he has a passport, so he could fly home. But it's just carelessness leading to having to spend money and it drives me crazy.
Also he keeps wanting to make all these little purchases like things are normal. I mean, I know he gets it, he's the one who will be out of a job soon, but at the same time he isn't changing his habits and he's being forgetful to the detriment of our budget. These things add up and suddenly there is $300 to $400 worth of stuff the last two months that shouldn't have needed to be gotten. I am really having to fight with myself to not make retaliation purchases, because that way lies madness and credit card debt. But I want to, and I haven't wanted to in a long, long time, so I hate that it is coming up.
I really hope he gets a job offer soon. This stuff is making me far too anxious.
DH called last night to say he's been laid off at the end of this hitch. So he's got a little less than two weeks and he's out of a job. Even if his company ends up getting the contract, they've decided to combine too many positions and DH's is being combined with another one that is up a couple of levels that he doesn't have that particular experience for.
There is still no news on who won that contract. If the other company does, he supposedly has a job, but I'm starting to wonder if that contract will ever be awarded. Since big company has been dragging its feet for so long now, it makes me wonder if they aren't changing their minds altogether and shutting that project down and don't want to announce it yet.
With gas prices on the upswing though, that doesn't seem as likely. I mean we're back to an average of around $2.60 a gallon around here. Still, it is kind of what I feel in the back of my mind.
DH has a couple of job leads and he's applying for his TWIC card, which a lot of people who work for refineries must have, so it'll be in place as soon as possible. The one job lead that I really, really hope for is a two year contract at a refinery one county over.
This husband and wife team that he used to work with at two previous companies, the wife works for the company who fills jobs for this and other similar companies and she is passing on his resume for this position. It would have way better insurance (only $100 per person, so $400 a month instead of $900) and actually a higher pay rate and we'd only have the cost of commuting a round trip of 60 miles instead of having to pay for air fare and an overnight in a hotel.
But first he'd have to get an interview, then interview, then he'd have to get the job, and right now all it is is passing along a resume with a super strong recommendation from the woman sending it along, who is the one responsible for putting forth candidates. And it might not even start right away so it could be a couple months out even if he did get it. It is near where we were looking at some farms. It would be perfect, but
I refuse to get my hopes up.
So I need you to pray for us if you do so. While we have enough money to live on for quite some time between the Emergency Fund and the Farm Down Payment Fund, having to do that would set all of our financial goals back a long time, plus having to pay COBRA for our medical will make it go a lot faster.
DH will apply for unemployment the day he gets home. It won't be much, nowhere near what he actually makes, but he's certainly paid enough into it for the last 30 years, so we will take what they have to give us. Anything that will stretch the money in savings is good. I am just so very grateful that we are not in debt. All of the work that we did paying it off was worth it for feeling like we'll survive for a while now.
I am not motivated at all today. I am trying to get myself motivated to go to Water Zumba, which I would need to leave for in 20 minutes and it's like pulling teeth. I crawled back into bed this morning after chores and haven't wanted to budge. I don't feel sick. I don't know what it is. General lethergy? Laziness? Back of the mind worrying?
My FIL is having cancer surgery today. It is a 7 hour surgery if all goes to play. I won't know anything for quite some time yet. IF you all could pray for him or send out positive thoughts or healing vibes, that would be wonderful. His name is Rich.
Maybe going would help me take my mind off of things.
My niece, the one who is only a year older than my daughter, gave birth to a baby girl last night and named her Braelynn Alice. I like the combination of a very modern name with an old-fashioned name. I did much the same with my daughter's name. She was 8 lbs 5 oz and 20.5 inches long. I've been to see her twice and got to hold her today. She has masses of black hair and I think her eyes are brown. Baby eye color often changes, though.
I can't even imagine having a baby at 20 years old. I know women used to do it all the time, but I felt so young when I was 20, not at all ready to be as grown up as having a child makes you need to be. But I think she will be a fantastic mother. She has such a nurturing instinct and she has always loved babies (which I did not).
I didn't go to the pool for 2 days as I really overdid it and then I gave myself a massive bruise on one shoulder. I got back there today. I have decided not to do anymore back to back classes. One a day, every other day until I can build up my muscles, then I can consider going more days a week. But I don't think I will try back to back classes again any time soon.
DH got a confirmation on the overtime so that will be nice. I had to order new curriculum for my son. The program he's been using, which is online, is down all the time or glitches, and earlier this week, it erased all of the progress he has made in his English class. It's just gone. And half of the history lessons he's done vanished, too. He's going to finish his money management class and then I'm pulling the plug on that curriculum. If I'm paying $100 a month, I expect it to work all the time.
His first new books arrived yesterday. It is an integrated chemistry and applied physics course and is two full credits. The local high school would consider this two year's worth of science as they give .5 credit per semester. He is really excited about it and is already working on it. I think it is set up very well. And it's all offline, so no website to go down.
I also ordered Washington state history, World history, and Algebra 1 from Hooked on Schoolhouse, which is an interactive CD-ROM based program. DS has been struggling with Geometry, so we are going to go back and do Algebra 1 again first. He missed a lot of school when he took Algebra as a Freshman and he had a bad teacher who couldn't keep the class under control, which made it hard for him to focus. He's good at math when he has the foundation in place, so we are going back to make that foundation stronger.
I got Hooked on Schoolhouse French, too. Again, all interactive CD-ROM stuff with worksheets to print out.
I also ordered a 6th grade spelling book because his spelling is really bad, so we're going back to drill. They don't seem to make high school spelling books, so I figure we'll do 6th, 7nth, and 8th and that will give him plenty of practice.
I got him a tenth grade Vocabulary and a 9th grade writing. His essay writing is not very good and he needs practice in the fundamentals. He will do a tenth grade literature course at the same time, skipping the stuff he already did in the online English course that vanished on him, which was mostly Shakespeare and poetry.
He should be able to test through some of the World History fast since he's taken a semester's worth of it and start about halfway through. The WA state one is not very long, so he'll zip through that.
Once he gets through all of that, we'll get 11th grade curriculum, mostly from the same place we got the science curriculum. Except for French which will stay with Hooked on Schoolhouse.
I spent about $600 on curriculum, but it'll average out over the next several months, instead of paying $100 a month. It'll be paid for with some of the overtime money.
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