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Through the Storm

September 8th, 2019 at 04:37 pm

Last night my husband and I were caught out in the most violent thunder and lightning storm I have ever seen in my life. I was just thankful we were together. We had just finished up our grocery shopping and I'd gotten in the van and it kept feeling like someone was flashing a strobe light. It took us until we got out onto the road before I realized that it was lightning and not a light show of some sort, because that was when the massive forks started.

We made it the mile home, passing a couple of bicyclists who I very much worried for the safety of, and sat in the driveway for an hour as the lightning forked all around us. We saw 52 distinctive forking strikes and another 3 dozen sky flashes, at least. Sometimes there were two or three forking strikes completely unattached to each other at the same time. The thunder, though, was the scariest part because it tells you how close the lightning is. I didn't even make it to half a second at the worst part of the storm.

We told the kids to stay in the house and not try to come out to us. The groceries were in insulated bags and we knew the safe time for meat to sit out is two hours. We knew we were safe in the car with the rubber tires insulating us.

I could feel the amount of electricity in the air. I am sensitive to electricity since I was electrocuted as a kid. If I go under high voltage power lines I feel it in the back of my neck and in my joints and all my hairs stand up and my skin feels like it wants to crawl away. This was like that on steroids.

There were a couple of times I screamed. Not from the lightning but from the thunder. My adrenaline was going overtime. For half of it, it didn't rain, but when it let loose, it really pounded down.

We lost internet for about the second half of the storm, but not cell service. But the lightning strikes kept turning off my phone camera, so I wasn't able to get any footage. I had wanted to show the kids what it looked like.

We had a couple false starts thinking the storm had ended, but then the next part of it would move through. Finally the storm moved away and once the thunder was 9 seconds behind the lightning and the rain had eased off we finally went into the house.

I have never seen anything like this storm. People misuse the word awesome all the time, but this truly was awesome. The amount of awe inspired by it was kind of jaw dropping. It was beautiful, in a way that only nature can be. It was definitely a case of "His power throughout the universe displayed," as the old hymn (How Great Thou Art) goes. It was hard to believe that something so dangerous can have such much beauty in it. But beautiful or not, I was the most grateful person in the world when it ended. I hope never to experience anything like that again. Once was more than enough.

X-rays, EF, Down Payment Goals, and Mom

June 19th, 2019 at 05:15 pm

Yesterday I finally went to the doctor about my hips/tailbone/pelvis. Today I went for x-rays. I don't think it will cost anything since we have hit the out of pocket max on insurance for the year. If nothing shows up on the x-rays I may end up getting an MRI. He is going to send me to physical therapy unless there is something significantly wrong that needs surgery. He's put in the order to be approved by the insurance at any rate, because that can take a while.

I may end up having to go to an orthopedist at some point. As long as it isn't the one who did my knee surgery in 2019. Rudest man in the world, worst bedside manner of any doctor I have ever known, but was the one who had the schedule to get me in right away, and I was in bad pain at the time. Still, at the age I am now, I won't put up with that, pain or not.

We got a lot done over the weekend with the property, but it about broke me. It is four days later and I am still so sore I am at bare minimums. I wouldn't have pushed so hard, but my mother was being kind of crazy about things and sometimes it is just easier to do what she wants so she will shut up about it. Even if it wrecks me. Of course then she feels all guilty because I'm out of commission for days afterwards, but at least she got what she wanted.

I love my mother, but sometimes she is so manipulative that it is awful living with her. She just really can't live on her own. She fell twice last week and she left the burner on the oven going twice in the last two weeks after she was done cooking. She'd turned off the fan on the stove though, so the gas fumes could have filled up the house if my son hadn't caught it. She's also left the front door open a couple of times in the last few months and gone to the grocery store early when everyone else was still sleeping.

Even when we do have a down payment saved up for a house I don't know what I am going to do about her. I am hoping my eldest sister will move in, since she is single and complains about her rent all the time. I don't think my middle sister will do anything to help. She hasn't so far. At least the eldest has helped both with Dad before he died and with Mom a little. Not much with Mom, but a little.

I guess we will see when we get there. We are still quite a ways off from when we can start saving for a house again. The debt should be paid off by March at the latest and then we work on the EF until we have 3 months wages, which will take 9 months which puts us out to December of 2020. So in January of 2021 we can start saving for a house.

I figure at that point we will save $1500 a month for a house and put the other $300 a month into the Emergency Fund. I want to build the EF to 6 months wages, but figure we can relax about how aggressive we need to be after 3 months are in place and work towards that a little more gradually.

When DH was given his raise they said not to expect another one before July of 2020, which is fine. It was a really large raise. So unless he gets a promotion before then and possibly even if he does, his income won't go up again until that point. There is a guy retiring in December and they are looking at DH to take his place. Whether or not that happens is anyone's guess.

I am not sure how big a deposit I want to build. The houses around here go for $250K to $450K depending on what part of the county you choose and whether or not you want more than a postage stamp yard, which we do for the garden. I want an acre so we can have a lawn as well as a big garden. So that probably puts us more around $350K range. So at the very least we'd need to save $70K for a 20 percent down payment. At $1500 a month that would take us 47 months or just shy of 4 more years or the end of 2024, beginning of 2025. By then we will be 55 years old. Maybe a little sooner if MIL continues to dole out money.

Even then, a part of me is hesitating. My mother turns 80 in August. I don't know how much longer she has, although I have often joked that she will outlive me. She is in good health physically, more or less, just worn out. Part of me thinks we should just stay here until she dies, if she is still alive by the time we have a down payment saved up.

Except when she goes on one of her manipulations, I like living here. We all get along pretty well. The house is nice, even if our section of it is small, and the property is great. I have my garden the way I want it and we are close to the doctors, the grocery stores, the bus line, the parks, and it is just a wonderful neighborhood aside from Evil Hummer Dude, who lets his dog poop in everyone's yard and doesn't clean up after it, and we seldom see him since he only lives here during the months when Nevada is too hot.

I guess I just worry about leaving my mom on her own. It is so weird how the roles reverse when our parents age.

Irlen, Rabbits, and Rain

May 24th, 2019 at 09:35 pm

I ordered some Irlen reading strips a while back and they finally arrived. My son, my daughter, and I all have some degree of difficulty with reading, particularly off a stark white page, but sometimes even off recycle paper color. I can adjust my computer with a filter, but I can't adjust books.

The reading strips are transparent and come in ten different colors and you put them over your page and move it down as you read. The difference in color makes it easier to read, especially with small print. This is something I have had more problems with since I broke my nose and had the concussion with it (I think in 2015), but I had no idea my kids had the same issue until I told them I had bought the strips and both piped up about it.

Anyway, it was fortunate that we all needed a different color. I was hoping that would be the case. I need a purple tint, my daughter needs a dark blue tint, and my son needs a lighter blue tint. This should help with headaches as well as words dancing and reading fatigue. Just judging from the little I've used it the difference is huge.

Today I cleaned out the rabbit shed with lots of petting bunny breaks and DH rearranged the rabbits so they are all on one wall. Then we brought in the haykeeper from the garage, which is also big enough to have the garbage can full of feed in it. It used to hold two bales of hay side by side, but since we only have 7 rabbits now, we only buy one bale at a time. And without the excess cages in the shed it can all fit in there nicely without taking up so much space in the garage.

It rained so there was no painting done today and no weeding. On the plus side it rained enough that I won't have to water the garden for 3 to 4 days. It was due to be watered today if it hadn't rained well. Tomorrow is supposed to be more of the same, but DH says he will fix a space to paint in the garage so we can get it done and hopefully be ready to assemble it on Sunday.

Odds and Ends

May 20th, 2019 at 11:19 pm

Well, I got some of the stuff done that I wanted to get done over the weekend, but nowhere near what I had hoped for. Mostly because MIL went into the ER for several hours and DH had to go be with her. But it turned out just to be an inner ear infection. She had never had one before, so didn't have a clue on the symptoms, and it was pretty severe and she had lost all sense of balance. This after they did an EKG and an MRI and ran a ton of tests. It can be pretty disconcerting the first time you have one of those infections. And then the next day DH wanted to go out and spend time with her.

I didn't have a ton of energy on Saturday anyway. On Sunday I did work in the garden for a couple of hours. I weeded 40 square feet of the onion beds and ringed those ones. I have 72 more square feet to do. I also planted basil (purple and sweet green) and broccoli and made up a hanging basket with nasturtiums.

I avoid planting nasturtiums in the ground or the beds at all costs and it will spread like crazy and take over. It is about as bad as morning glory for taking over, but it is not pernicious, in that when you pull it out it does not come back. Still, it crowds out other plants so confining it to a hanging basket where it can trail as much as it wants to without touching the ground and rooting is the way to go.

Mom roto-tilled the area for the corn and green beans and then this morning she planted the corn and made the hills for me to put the squash in. I haven't planted it yet, but I have the plants. Tomorrow she wants to plant the beans and I will work on painting the garden bed ends so we can get it moved off the table so I can start working on the sides. I want this bed built this coming weekend and I have 3 days of no rain to prime and paint in.

We rotated the mattress 90° last night as it was developing quite a dip on the side I sleep on and I thought it might be contributing to the pain in my hip. So now the head is the side, which is okay because it is a king size bed and it only takes a couple of inches off the end. It did make a big difference in how I felt when I woke up. I figure we'll have to rotate it again before this side breaks down, which is why I didn't just do 180° this time.

I need to sit down and make up my meal plan for the week. Usually I do that on Monday morning, but I slept in really late this morning and haven't got to it yet. I usually sleep in hard after working in the garden. It will only take me a few minutes, so I best hop to it.

Quiet on the Homestead

May 16th, 2019 at 01:01 am

I haven't been posting. I managed to pull a muscle in my back last Friday (didn't do anything, just happened) and am finally able to move around without being in agony. Today is the first day that sitting in the computer chair wasn't super painful. Hopefully that means I will sleep better tonight. I have been waking up a lot due to shifting and my back twinging. This was not a good week for my chiropractor to go on one of his many vacations.

I used my mom's jetted upright tub with the bench seat a couple of times and her massage chair. It is good to have someone with things like that in the family. MIL has one of those tubs, too.

I was able to manage to do the dishes today and I have been able to cook (but not clean) since Monday, so I think I am starting to get back to normal. I hope so. This Friday is payday and I need to do the grocery shop, although I might have to use the ride on cart.

We haven't spent anything on take out. DH cooked when I couldn't. I hate having him do that on weekdays after a full day at work, but weekends don't make me feel guilty. DH's meals were sandwiches, burgers, and fish and chips, so easy meals.

I am hoping to be able to go out to the garden tomorrow with DS. We need to start ringing the onions. I would have done it last weekend if I hadn't hurt my back. Hopefully DH and I can get the raised bed finished and painted over the weekend. But if I can't, I can't. Maybe DS will help him. Maybe even DD with the painting. I will just have to pace myself and be very careful.

I went online and got the grocery ads so I could start preparing for Friday's shop. There are some good steak prices at Fred Meyer and Safeway and FM has whole wild sockeye salmon on for $4.99/lb so I will get one whole salmon filleted.

I am starting meal prepping this week with help from the kids. Today DD and I made chicken glop for her. Appealing, isn't it? It is just chicken, rice, cream of chicken soup, chicken broth, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. We just plopped everything into my giant mixing bowl and stirred it up until she liked the consistency. Then we divided it up by putting two cups into freezer bags. This is something she can easily digest with her gastroparesis.

Tomorrow we will be making lamb glop, which will be rice, ground lamb, and gravy and we will divide it up, too. I know the name isn't attractive but it tastes good and I don't have the energy to write a big, long name on a Ziploc.

Then for DS and I we will be making up steaks and chicken thighs and cutting them into strips, measuring them out and dividing the into baggies for the freezer. He will get 9 oz and I will get 6 oz. Then we can easily pull out what we need the night before and make salads the next day or just warm up some veggies.

I will also be cutting up and putting 24 sausages into the Instant Pot, cooking them quickly, and measuring them out into containers and making some bell peppers and onions on the side. I have bags of cut up bell peppers and onions in the freezer still. I think I will also make some zucchini patties from the frozen shredded zucchini and then refreeze.

I just want to make our lunches simple and easy and not something we have to think about during the week.

Oh, and DD and I will also be making sushi rolls (with cooked meat) and freezing them. They will just be seaweed, rice, and either shrimp, salmon, or crab. Seaweed is one of the few vegetables she can still eat without getting ill. Then she can take one out as she needs it and cut it up. She needs to have simple foods that are easy to digest. I just need to pick up a new bamboo mat for rolling. I think they have them at Winco, but if not I'll go to the Asian grocery store. I just don't like to go there unless I have to because the aisles are not exactly ADA compliant.

Hopefully with the kids helping me, we can get the meal prepping done without it hurting my back too much, we can be eating better, and I can spend more time outdoors.

Bits and Pieces

April 10th, 2019 at 10:31 pm

It rained all day so I didn't get any gardening done. Actually, I didn't get much of anything done. I did take DD to the doctor and DS to the gym and I read a lot. This is the first time since I got so sick that I have been up to reading for a decent length of time.

My new regimen of eye vitamins seems to be working quite well. I take 5000 IU of vitamin A, 450 mg of vitamin E, 200 mcg of selenium, and Bilberry Ginkgo Lutein complex. The spots had been getting darker again for a while, but they are back to a light yellow/brown and are far less noticeable. I don't know that they are smaller, but when they aren't black they don't seem to interfere so much with things like reading.

I took my third Enbrel shot tonight. Again it seemed like things weren't as good after the first five days, but that could just be soreness from gardening. The brain fog seems to be gone, though. I have more energy, but not as much as I'd like to have. I feel capable of doing things, though. I have to remember to call the mail order pharmacy for the next set of shots in about 5 days. I found out my co-pay for the drug this month is $30. Not bad for a wildly expensive drug.

I really need to schedule a hair cut. My hair is back to length it was when it was at its longest. It just grows so fast. But it is getting caught in my armpits when I raise my arms and then bring them back down and it pulls my hair and hurts. And DH sometimes leans on it and that is not good, either. I am thinking of cutting off about a foot and getting to one inch past my chin. Which will really be at my chin because it bounces up with my loose curls. I will basically be getting it cut to the length of my bangs by doing that. I have money in the personal care envelope, so it is just a question of making the appointment and doing it.

I go to the doctor tomorrow. I think I still have a sinus infection going on. The pressure is out of my ears, but I still have a pretty bad headache above my eyebrows and the back teeth and jaw hurt, which is also a sign of sinus infection. I think the ones in my face are also in play, but not as badly. I just want to get this thing cleared up so I can maybe enjoy the spring.

I spent $1.09 on a candy bar today, but that came out of my allowance envelope. I have been trying to avoid having sweets in the house, but clearly today was not going to be one of those days. I kind of felt like a PMSing teenager needing chocolate. Sometimes I swear I'm menopausal even though I had a hysterectomy in 2003 and went through all that stuff when I was 33 to 35. I wonder if that is even possible because if I were normal, this would be the age I would have started peri-menopause. Like I need that on top of all my auto-immune issues.

I tried the cheese wrap today. It is called Folio's and it was the Parmesan one. Apparently they make a cheddar cheese one, too. I did find out some more info about them. They are only available in west coast Costco's, but they are available nationwide at Aldi's, though not really because Aldi is not a nationwide chain.

I used one wrap, 2 slices of deli turkey, some rather hot stone ground mustard, and some cucumber slices. It was great and surprisingly filling for its size. I imagine after swimming I would need two, but on a normal day one is fine for lunch. I did add more cucumber slices on the side, though.

I have found some youtube videos on how to make your own Folio's, which I may try, as homemade would be cheaper, but if it is too fiddly to make, I don't mind shelling out for these, because they are good and it makes my life a little easier.


March 4th, 2019 at 11:52 pm

I don't like being housebound. With DH having to drive the van, I have no way of going and doing anything and it is a little frustrating. I need to get my glasses adjusted because I fell asleep with them on again and rolled over on my face, I need to go cash some checks at the bank, and I need to make some doctor appointments, but I can't do any of that until the truck is fixed. It is going in on Wednesday, but I don't know if it will be a one day repair or take a couple. I hope it is only one day, because I want my mobility back.

We've only been a two car family for less than a year and a half after many years of only having one and already I have forgotten what that was like. I feel like I'm being a baby about it, having a case of I want, I want, I want. It really does curtail your freedom, though. If I weren't disabled, I could walk to a lot of places, but even walking the two blocks to the bus stop is difficult right now. Actually the walking isn't the problem so much as the standing and waiting. Moving isn't nearly as bad.

Back before my injuries and my rheumatoid arthritis, I could have walked the two miles to the doctor's office, even when sick. Now even walking the six blocks to the store is out of reach. Maybe it is just that not having the van right now is piling on top of my not being able to do much with my body.

I am going to have to cut down on my gardening this year. Even with two foot tall raised beds and the ability to pull up a chair to garden, it was hard in 2018 and I think it will be harder this year. Maybe I'll just grow peppers, tomatoes, salad fixings, and onions. Those give me the biggest bang for the buck without a ton of effort throughout the season and the least worry about pests. And of course the herbs, which come back every year. I am just going to have to realize that my limitations are getting stronger as I age and adjust my life accordingly.

I am considering getting a mobility scooter or an electric trike bike. Then I could at least go to the store. I would only need the electric motor on the trike bike on the way home as it is downhill all the way to the store. But perhaps the mobility scooter is the way to go. It would be nice to be able to go out in the neighborhood again when the weather gets better. They are pricey though. Even the used ones. We'll have to see.