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Two Days Somewhat Upright--Covid Hit Me Like a Freight Train

November 29th, 2022 at 02:50 am

I'd say I was starting to get back on my feet again, but that's not really true.  It's more like I'm able to get back into a chair again.  We all ended up coming down with Covid except Mom and it was worse than 2020.  I had the worst symptoms of everyone, but my nose and my son's nose would not test positive until Thanksgiving, so we were the last ones to get put on the medication.  At least that means DH was semi able to help me, since he was feeling a bit better, because I was so weak on two of the days I needed someone to help we walk to the bathroom and back.

The paxlovid has helped a lot.  The fireball body fever is gone, the lobster face and the pot it was boiling me in is gone, the cough down to my navel is more up in the bronchials and throat, the blinding headache has turned into a mild one, my ears are unblocked, my nose is unblocked and just runny, I'm only sleeping 15 hours instead of 22, and I can have a conversation, and hold both thoughts and plots in my head, which means I can watch a show again.  But I still sound like a foghorn, feel exhausted, fall asleep almost every time I close my eyes, and am still weak and can't be trusted to carry a bowl from the microwave to the tray table in my room, not even a plastic one.

Eating properly went out the window and I lost 5 pounds while sick.  The first two days was just chicken broth.  The third day was eggs and chicken broth.  Then it was Thanksgiving and that was the day I was positive.  That day I had a pudding cup because my throat was so sore, started my dose, and I slept the clock around, woke up, took my dose, and slept the clock around again.  After that I started eating half a can of soup once a day and a pudding cup once a day.  The medicine tastes bad and it takes the taste out.  Today I had half a sandwich with some actual protein with lettuce on it for breakfast and the other half for lunch.  That's all and that will probably be all.

I figure it is the best I can do for now.  I am trying not to make DH do too much for me.  He is trying to work from home.  I can make a sandwich and put it in a plastic container with a lid.  That way if I drop it on the way to my room it isn't ruined and doesn't need to be cleaned up.  I did, by the way, drop it, but I just pushed it to my room with my foot and alls well that ended well.  Sat down in my chair and picked it up with my reacher, because if I put my head below my knees, the dizziness is off the charts with this thing, and it was none the worse for wear.

Mom has been good about getting our prescriptions and she picked up some cans of soup and sandwich makings from the store.  I'm glad I had cash leftover from the previous payday, because the Thanksgiving payday was not going to happen.  I'm not even sure if we'll make it there at all this week.  Maybe on Friday.  DH is supposed to be safe by then to go out in public again, so if he feels up to it he can drive to the bank.  But he doesn't have to.

I have $160 in the beef fund (I used quite a bit of what I had in there when I was canning meat), I have $82 left in the grocery envelope, and I have $75 in the grocery envelope, and if we need to touch it, I have $550 in my allowance folder.  I would not want to touch that since I am saving up that money towards either a new computer or stuff for the garden, I haven't decided yet, since my computer is not that old.  It would obviously be replaced, but I know how that can go and would rather not do that.  Anyway, wiht the first 3 things, there is $317 we can tap, so that should be sufficient.

So we should be okay, whether we can make it the credit union this week or not.  Probably even if we can't make it there until the payday on the 23rd, so it only is an issue with cash, everything else is either writing a check or making an online payment or is an automatic payment.  Life in the 2020's, you know.

 

And the Medical I$$ue$ Because There are Always Medical Issues

November 13th, 2022 at 06:43 am

Just skip this one if you don't want to hear about my kid's upcoming surgery or what new thing I'm facing with my health.

My son has a surgery scheduled on Valentine's Day with an ENT at Virginia Mason to try to rebuild the part of his nose where the cartilage has collapsed.  I can't remember if I talked about this before or not, but depending on whether the doctor can harvest enough of his own cartilage to transplant or if he has to use artifical cartilage he should see a 40% to 80% improvement.  Even 40% will be such an improvement.  So his surgery will probably hit the 2/3 of the deductible right there as well as the out of pocket max for regular and specialist, although we will probably have another $1000 we have to max out for one of us because the family max is $3000, but the personal deductible max is $2000.  It's a weird system.

At least $3000 of that will be covered and I'm hoping we can save the rest in the medical fund between now and then.  Right now I've only been putting enough in to cover our monthly output, because we've had so much monthly output.  DH and his crowns,  DD and her cavities.  Our dental sucks.  Vision isn't is pretty good unless you are nearsighted and farsighted and have an astigmatism.  Raise your hand if you are me.  And we were wasting so much money over the summer and early fall while I was too sick to cook or shop and the guys were pretty much unwilling to and I was too weak to reorder their thinking.

But I'm well now. Or am I?  (Cue unsettling move music here.) Dun, dun, dun.  I got my fasting glucose results back.  139.  It should be between 70 and 100 mg/dL.  Now last time it was 124 which is the high range of 100 to 125 where they try to monitor it with dietary changes and exercise, but of course between my fall and being sick I could barely get out of bed for more than half an hour and on the days that I could it was to walk outside and tell my son what to pick and what to water and then sit in a chair to get some sunlight if it wasn't a scorcher.  I couldn't do much else before crawling back into bed.  And I certainly didn't eat right with all that takeout.  At least my choelesterol is really good.

So now that I have finally kicked that miserable illness out the door, I'm really facing diabetes.  I found out yesterday when my labs came back and I'll see the doctor again on the 23rd where I will start tracking my blood with a monitor.  I may not be diabetic, but I've had some symptoms for a while, so I could be.  This is the thing that is motivating me.  I have watched people die of this.  I don't want to die of this.

So I got off the phone with the receptionist, finished making dinner, and I had my spaghetti dinner, only instead of having 3 cups of noodles, I took 1, and had 4 meatballs instead of 3.  There was a diced zucchini in the sauce, maybe 2 cups worth, and I also made broccoli and there were salad fixings, so I had both of those.  I felt hungry around midnight, but I drank a bunch of water and it passed, so was probably just thirsty, then went to bed at one.  I'm trying to get to bed earlier, but I was going to bed at 3 before the time change, so I've progressed by an hour. I am getting up earlier.  Maybe no caffiene, very little sugar, and eating right will help.

Today I carefully planned out my food.  There are two methods of eating for diabetes.  One is almost completely vegetarian, which I know makes me binge because of fruit, and also I am allergic to lectins so beans, lentils, and almost all legumes are out of the question, which really limits you on protein, and one is controlling your carbs, but making sure you get just enough of them.  The second is the only one that I have ever lost a substantial amount of weight on.

I used some of the sausage from our pig (no sugar) to make two small patties for breakfast, each 3 oz on the food scale.  I had one soft-boiled egg, and half an English cucumber.

For lunch I had 5 oz of ling cod fish brushed lightly with melted ghee (because I can't stand oil on fish), seasoned with salt, pepper, and sazon and put in a foil packet with zucchini and sprigs of thyme, some sage leaves, some flatleaf parsley, some oregano and some finely minced garlic (home grown) and a couple tbsp of water, and placed in the oven to steam.  It was so good.

Then dinner was where I got the majority of my carbs for the day from.  I had two 4 oz beef kielbasas from this really clean brand Kiolbasa, 1 yellow potato diced, seasoned with salt, pepper, and thyme, and tossed with 2 tbsp of filtered bacon grese since I was cooking at 400°F (205°C).  I was planning to have some of the leftover broccoli but I ended up knocking it on the floor.  My hands just let go sometimes.  I have twitches.  I decided screw it, and made a big, big salad instead.  I had 3 tbsp of ketchup on the potatoes and 3 tbsp of 1000 Island dressing on the salad.  So I had 63 grams of carbs not counting the salad and the other green vegetables.  I was told to aim for 60, so if I had only done 2 tbsp of salad dressing I would have it.  But close enough.

I am steaming some hard boiled eggs tonight in my little cooker so I will have them if I need to snack or even if I don't feel like making breakfast.  Just having an egg or two to eat will wake up my brain.  I can't afford not to have regular meals anymore just because I don't want to eat breakfast in the morning.

I have gotten into some really bad habits.  Pepsi first thing in the morning, when I'd been off it for so long.  That alone probably has driven my glucose up, even with fasting that morning.  Eating way too many empty carbs, junk food, doughnuts, chocolate.  The only thing I wasn't eating was potato chips, because ever since Lays started using oil other than sunflower oil (Ukraine/Russia war) their chips don't taste the same and I don't like them, so I was off chips completely except if I made pico de gallo, then I'd eat Tostitos.

Anyhow today is day one with no Pepsi, very little sugar, only what's in the ketchup and dressing and those are 5g and 3g per tbsp respectively.  I'm sure I'll be going through withdrawals, but since I am already having painful symptoms from my pneumonia vaccine, and where the lady who did my labs left a massive bruise where she blew the vein in my arm trying to get into my vein and then blew the one in my hand with an even worse bruise and then had to call someone else to find a vein in my other arm which took her five minutes, what's one more?  I can handle it.  Just call me a pincushion.

I am not worried about fat.  The doctor said not to worry about fat, just carbs.  He said that animal sources of fat were actually better for me than plant derived fats, but olive and avocado oils have other health benefits and should always be included in one's diet according to the most recent studies.  I mean, I'm not to go eating a cup of butter or anything like that, but lard, or tallow, or bacon grease in one or two tbsp increments is fine.  And no deep frying anything.  I've always felt that way about animal fats, though.  I've been reading anecdotal stuff on it for years.  Plus all Eskimos survived on was whale blubber and whale meat and they were healthy.

I feel better, though, after one day of eating right.  My brain felt less foggy today.  I wasn't wanting to eat constantly, only when I'm hungry, which is at meal times.  I didn't feel like my blood sugar is crashing.  I didn't feel dizzy or light-headed at all today.  I feel a lot more tired at the end of the day, like I'm ready to go to sleep at a decen time and not late.

I don't know if my insurance will cover a glucose monitor or even how much they cost.  If they cover it, it won't cost anything.  And if I can drop it my number down to where it belongs and get a good start on getting my weight down, maybe we won't have to do anything more.  I hate having to get shots every 4 weeks.  I don't want to do it daily.  I have no idea how much insulin costs, but I know it is expensive even though it shouldn't be. I know there is some sort of pill now, too.  But maybe I won't need anything if I do this right.  It's just going to monitoring for now.  Hopefully, I can fix this.

I'm not telling my mother.  I don't need her to be twitting me about my weight, just like she and dad used to do when I put on the freshman fifteen in college, or didn't lose my baby weight after giving birth to my second kid, or her alone in later years after dad died.  I don't need any negatives from her.  She's the reason I stress eat so much.  That and all the medical issues that arise in my family.

 

 

 

 

All Over the Place

September 14th, 2022 at 12:12 am

We are spending too much money again.  I am not sure if we are going to get out of this month without carrying a balance forward into next month on our credit card.  Some of it was paying for glasses and contacts for me and my son, but a lot of it was eating out way too much and being a little too fast on the draw with that amazon mouse click thing.  You know when you suddenly get a big raise and you think, "Yee Haw! I can spend again, I don't have to be tight anymore!"  And you overdo it?  Yeah, that's us.  So now I need to reign it back in and get us back on track.  I don't want to use the emergency fund to cover us.  Maybe interest is what we need to teach us a lesson here.  Moving on.

I read an article the other day that said that those who get debt forgiveness for their college loans are going to have to claim that amount as income on their income taxes.  I wonder if they know that?  I bet it is going to hit a lot of people hard in the gut at tax time.  It'll make a lot of people used to getting a tax return have to pay taxes, maybe for the first time in their lives and they probably won't have that money to pay because they won't know about it.  No one is preparing them.  No one is showing them the dark side.  Just the la la la skipping through the daisies side.  It's not really forgiveness if it comes with that kind of string attached.  If they are going to do it, they should do it free and clear, not with a price tag.

It is so nice to see clear, blue skies again.  The forest fires were blowing their smoke this way again, giving us the apocalypse sky of light brownish gray with a brilliant orange sun behind it.  The sun always looks amazingly pretty when this happens, but I prefer to be able to go outside and breathe.  I did have to go outside one day with one of those medical masks they wouldn't let anyone buy at the start of Covid and quickly pick tomatoes, but otherwise stayed inside.  Even with that, I had to use a nebulizer treatment afterwards.  I got 12.2 pounds of tomatoes, making the running total of tomatoes 23.6 so far from the garden.  I'm going to pick more today, so will update that in the next post. 

On the medical front, I continue to lose weight, this time in a more healthy manner than when I had that horrible stomach flu.  Once I started eating again after that, the weight loss that stuck was 12 pounds.  I've now lost 20 pounds.  I'm eating mostly chicken and fish, regular vegetables, and starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, potatoes, and squash.  I'll have rice or corn on occasion, but no other grains.

I can't remember the last time I had beef, maybe 3 weeks ago when we had spaghetti, though we did have a ham from our half a hog a week ago.  I didn't have much, though it was very good, just a little too salty for my taste.  I cut off all the fat.  We'll save the other one for a holiday when there will be more people to eat it.  I did save the ham bone and will make broth with it later on.  It will flavor broth nicely with it's smokey saltiness. 

Plus I have all the scraps I have been saving, onion skins, garlic skins, shallot skins, carrot peels, celery tops, parsley stems, and a few herbs from the garden, to add in to making the broth for extra flavor.  I used to always do that when times were tight, but over the last couple years got out of the habit.  When food costs started skyrocketing, I got back in the habit of doing a scrap bag in the freezer again for broth. We have to be economical with food in these times of massive food cost rises.  I always try to be, but it is necessary now more than ever to go back to my previous cost cutting ways.  Which, in the end, is better for my diet.

As for other medical stuff, yesterday I got my mammogram.  It's been 7 years since I've had one done and the technology has changed.  It is very futuristic robot looking as opposed to a garage workshop vice clamp.  Don't get me wrong, in the end it is still a vice clamp, but looks like it belongs on a space ship.  They really ought to have some kind of chair that moves with the machine for disabled and old people though.  Getting into position hurt my back and legs, which was the part that caused pain.  Now my doctor will stop nagging me, though.

I know I should have done it sooner.  My mom had breast cancer at 40 and I did one at 30, one at 35, one at 40 and one at 45 and I was supposed to do one at 50 so I am 2 years overdue.  But I've has so much other medical crap to deal with between me and my daughter these last few years, I really didn't want to deal.  My eldest sister (64) had uterine cancer recently, so it has hit my family of origin twice.  That's what got me to go in.  That's the only one I don't have to worry about since I had a hysterectomy at 33, but still.

I'm thinking about having DD tested for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations and probably me, too, depending on cost.  If insurance covers it, great.  If it doesn't, than just DD.  I'd like to do genetic testing for Ehlers-Danlos on her, too.  If we can afford it.

Then today I went to the cardiologist and got my patch.  It's a portable EKG.  They used to have to do a harness thing, but now they can just attach a patch to your chest and it monitors stuff.  It has a button you can push if you feel anxious, arm or neck pain/tingling, chest pain or pressure, dizziness, fainted, light headed, pounded, fluttering or racing, short of breath, skipped or irregular beats, or other.  Then you mark it down in a book with the date, the time, the duration, and what you were doing.  It only gives 13 pages.  Hopefully that is enough or I might have to add some.  Some weeks I have a lot of incidents and others I have none.

It is a two week test.  It was ordered by my neurologist to try to get to the bottom of my fainting spells to see if I was having syncopy.  My regular doctor has been wanting to do one for a while, too, but we have been trying to control my asthma first, which got bad with Original Covid, then Covid II: The Return, then what they call long Covid.  Then the summers with smoke from forest fires have not helped.

The treatment plan I'm on has helped some, but not completely, so he has wanted to look at my heart next, because I have racing heart, and I was born with a heart murmur that may have gotten worse, and sometimes I feel pressure, and shortness of breath when I am sitting still that may or may not be caused by asthma or long Covid.  So this test will satisfy him as well, or at least give him information.  And if there is nothing wrong there, than I think the next step will be an MRI of my lungs.

Honestly, the possibility of heart issues, is what has kicked me into gear with the diet this time.  If that is something I have to fight, I need to get into a healthier body to do that.  I need to anyway.  It is exhausting to be this way.  Losing weight will help with my fibromyalgia and my joint pain, so it will help lesson some of my RA symptoms, too. What I have to do is just stay motivated, even if there is nothing wrong with my heart.  I am sick and tired of always being sick and tired.

I am going to be stopping the shot I've been on for RA.  The side effects have been bad.  They are frequent colds and respiratory infections.  I have had nothing but that since I started this drug.  I wash my hands all the time.  I use sanitizer when I'm out.  I sanitize the steering wheel and door handles if my husband drove last because he brings stuff home from work.

I santize the door knobs.  I wear my mask and vinyl gloves in stores on the rare times I go in one even though we are not required to and I still get sick.  Sure the RA pain has been completely gone, but I can't live like this.  Every time I've stopped it with antibiotic use and gotten better, then taken the shot again, two days later I've caught something else.  So, no more of that.  I can't deal with it.  It has been a miserable summer.  I've barely had a chance to enjoy it.  I want to enjoy what is left of it.

Okay, well, after all that word vomit, it's time to go make dinner and not order it.  Baked chiken thighs, roasted potatoes, and green breans.  The chicken I pulled out of the freezer said 99 cents a pound and was from May 7, 2022.  It was the last time I saw that sale price.  I'll proabably never see that in a store again.  But I've got 8 more pack of it in the freezer, so there's that.

 

 

You Take the Good, You Take The Bad

August 12th, 2022 at 04:25 am

Just before leaving for my son's eye appointment he came down and handed me an envelope from Regence, our health insurance company.  It was a thin business envelope, not the oddly sized explanation of benefits envelope.  I didn't want to open it.  About a week ago we had gotten one just like it saying they had received the appeal.

I decided not to open it and we headed off to get his eye exam and new glasses picked out.  He's also going to get contacts for the first time, so we will have to make an appointment to have them teach him how to use them and take care of them.  It's going to be interesting.  Insurance did not cover frames this time, just lenses and they won't cover contacts.  The exam, retinal mapping, $10 co-pay, and additional contact lens measuring came to $100.  I think that we pay more at the next appointment.

Anyway, they were having a 20% off sale on glasses, so with our insurance and that, his new glasses came to $210.  So we came out of there pretty good, I thought.  When my daughter and I get glasses our prescriptions are so bad it costs a lot more.  Even with the lower cost frames under $200, and insurance for the lenses, we still pay around $400 to $450 on a year that covers both.

So that was a good thing and we headed home to face that envelope.  I opened it up and I burst into tears.  I hardly ever cry unless I am watching something heartbreaking on youtube or a show.  I've got a real tight control on my emotions, but I just couldn't keep it in.  I had to read it four times to believe it.  She has been approved to stay on our insurance for 5 years!  5 years.  I thought it would only be one, but 5 years!  Then she'll have to go through exams again, but man, 5 years!  You cannot imagine the relief I feel about this.  No COBRA, no $753 monthly payments, just business as normal.

When I told DD, she also burst into tears.  You can't imagine the stress this has lifted off us.  It was like it evaporated away into nothing.  My husband and son are also so relieved and DH felt his stress, at least over this, lift in much the same way.  I don't think we really have to worry about all this in 5 years, either because her diseases are degenerative.  She won't get better, she'll get worse or if she is lucky stay the same, but to not have to worry about medical getting yanked out from under her is just amazing.

After that we went to the chiropractor, I told him about the spondylosis at the L2 and L3 that showed up on the x-rays I had on Monday, so we add that to the L4 and L5 degenerative discs in the treatment program.  Now that I've been cleared to do physical therapy again, I called to try to get scheduled, but they want me to get a new order from the doctor.  *sighs*  More work for me.  Hopefully I can just message him through the portal since I just saw him and get a new order sent without having to go in again.

After that, DS and I put soaker hoses on the green beans.  They have really perked up since putting on the shade cloth.  Some I thought were dead for sure are standing up and putting out new green leaves.  I am so happy.  I am going to poke some seeds into the ones that all the sprouts died in, just to see if they'll be ready in time to pick before the cold seasons, but at least the sun didn't kill them all.

Then DH got home and told me that his Great Aunt had died.  So I cried again, because I loved her a lot.  She's been doing poorly for a while and we knew it was coming, but she's been an instituion in this family.  Her older brother lived until he was 105 years old, so we thought maybe she would, too.  DH couldn't remember if she was 97 or 98, but she almost made it.  Her husband has been gone maybe 10 or 15 years now, so she's been alone for awhile.  One daughter lives in the mid-west and the other is an hour away, so one was near and some of the grandkids and they were taking turns to check on her.  It is for the best with the pain she was in, but I will miss her.

At least I have a nice dress I can wear to the funeral.  It's not exactly subdued, but it isn't a riot of colorful flowers, either, like what I usually buy.  Just a nice summer dress with sleeves and not a sundress.  I don't have any appropriate shoes unless I wear my boots and it has been way too hot to do that.  Funerals aren't exactly a place to wear flip flops and they don't make sandals in 4E width.  DD has a nice dress, too, it came 2 weeks ago.  I am focusing on the minutiae because I really don't want to think about it.  I'm not heartless, just discotiating.

My new wardrobe came and I'm happy it goes well with some of the pieces from my old wardrobe as well.  And everything is true to the colors they showed in the photos.  So I'm happy with that.  I finally have nice clothes again, not washed out, overly worn, incorrectly sized clothes.  It's a silly thing to be happy about on a day that has put me through the emotional wringer.

I need to get my tears out now, so I can be there to support my husband and MIL and my favorite of DH's cousins, her youngest daughter.  I'm not close with the older one, but I'll be there for her, too, if she needs me.

This is bringing up thoughts of my own mother who turns 83 at the end of the month. She is getting frail and more forgetful and I see her mortality every day now.  We need to pay for her to get a will made.  It needs to be done sooner rather than later, while she is still in her right mind.

It was such a good day, until it wasn't, but I am still riding high on the good news and maybe on the increased dosage of the drug that controls my hypomania and depression.  Maybe now I can allow myself to breathe again.

I'm well ahead on my reading goal for 2022.  I finished Child Zero on the tenth and it was a good book.  I'd give it 4.5 out of 5 stars, and the knock down was because incredibly excessive swearing.  Like you would be hard pressed to find a page that didn't have swearing in it if there was dialogue and sometimes when they were just thinking.  It was so bad it kept throwing me out of the story.  But I soldiered through and I really liked it.  Chris Holm is no Michael Crichton, even though they are comparing him to that author.  Not nearly enough medical details to even come close.  Still good though.

I started reading City of Orange, but I couldn't stand it, so turned that back into the library.  It is rare for me to not stick out a book, but yeesh.  Ten pages in and I felt like I was being tortured by bad writing.  Now I'm reading Summer at the Cape, but I'm not sure I'm really in the mood for book four in this series right now.

I have more books on hold, but they are taking forever.  I may have to actually go into the library to find some instead of purusing GoodReads.com and hoping the library carries whatever I am interested in.  I'm in the mood for a YA thriller or vampires or werewolves or something supernatural.  Just kind of fun, mindless things with overwrought teenagers, but well-written.  It's a guilty pleasure.  And they don't tend to have explicit love scenes.

Well, my son just took the pizza out of the oven so I guess it is time to finish this off.  Hope all is well with everyone.  You've all been pretty quiet.

Bits and Pieces

August 9th, 2022 at 06:58 am

I've finally updated my sidebar to reflect where everything is right now.  I subtracted the amount I pulled from the EF, which was $7000 and then added the amount retirement has raised, which was $5033.25.  It was so nice to see both retirement accounts gaining traction, although if Biden signs this new bill, I think they are going to plummet.  Anyway, that was a reduction of $1996.77, but I'm still pretty close to $150K.

I went to get x-rays.  The positions that they had to put me in about had me crying.  Turning my feet pigeon toed is the one that did me in, but none of them were comfortable and I couldn't use my cane because it was metal.  It about killed me to walk back from x-ray to my car.  It is a long walk for a medical facility because it is a sprawling building.  I had to sit in my car for about 5 minutes because I had to wait for the pain to get manageable before I trusted myself to drive.  When I got home my knee buckled badly on me, but I was able to catch myself on the seat of a chair before I fell.  Another fall right now would prove disasterous.  I went to the chiropracter and it helped some, but my hip is burning really badly.

I am not sure my green beans are going to make it.  They are getting sun scorched and some have died.  I am going to try to get a shade cloth over them, but I'm not sure if it is big enough for both arches.  The tomatoes love the weather, however.  I hate anything over 75°, but these 80° and higher days are killing me and most of the garden does not like that type of heat.  DH and I put up a shade cloth tonight and I did a really heavy watering, but I think I am going to have to replant the beans and hope for the best.  I've lost at least half of them to this sun.  I will also put up a drip hose, so I don't have to hand water.  They need daily watering right now.

I am eagerly awaiting next Friday so I will finally know what the new net paycheck and budget amount is going to be.  I hate waiting for things like this.  I'm not terribly good at waiting period, but with money things it is so much worse.

My doctor called in the wrong dosage on my prescription.  It should be 50 mg more.  I sent a message off on the patient portal, so hopefully I will hear from them tomorrow.  It can take a day or two, but it is better than waiting on hold for a half an hour.  I have enough for the time being to get through.

DH is going to go prawning one more time when they reopen for it sometime in the next two weeks.  The state fishers didn't get as much caught so far this year due to some boaters not being able to afford gas.  They plan to do some salmon fishing, too.  I don't know if the season is open yet, but as soon as it is they will go out for that.  Hopefully the two seasons coincide.

I saw that at the cheap gas station it was down to $3.95/gallon, which okay, fine, but it still sucks compared to before Biden started shutting down oil production and leases to try to force everyone to get electric cars, not realizing apparently that they burn fossil fuels to generate electricity for the charging stations.  They may run on solar somewhere, but definitely not where I live.  I mean, all the ones in my town have diesel generators running right there!  Not to mention the harm to the enviroment that mining lithium for the batteries causes.  Plus the supply of electric cars is low because they don't have batteries for them.  People need to be able to afford to drive and for too many people, electric cars are out of reach.

I do want to save up for a solar system, I really do, but they are so expensive and I won't take out debt to do it.  Before that we need to replace one bathtub that is cracked with a walk in shower and replace a half size walk in shower because it has holes in it and there is a leak in the wall.  And then the one bathroom floor needs to have a good section of it replaced before the one shower goes in, because it is kind of squidgey, so I think the leak got into the sub floor.

The mold remediation they did on the bathroom ceiling did not work and the paint is already peeling from the paint job.  They said they would come back and fix it, but they did not.  I kept saying I thought we should just take down the drywall on the ceiling and replace it with the mold resistant drywall, but no one wanted to do that and now it looks like we will have to do it anyway.  At least it isn't black mold, it is orange, but still I want no mold.  I am glad we have 4 bathrooms in this house.  Otherwise all this would be a nightmare and we'd have to drain our EF quickly to fix things.  We've already taken out $7000.  I don't want to deplete it further, but this house will not stop breaking down.

We are trying to figure out where a leak is coming from that is filling one corner of the basement with water.  It doesn't seem to be the piping and it doesn't seem to be the sewer line and we haven't been watering anything above that section of the basement.  It's a real stumper.  That's the corner with the drain in it, too.  Maybe the drain is backing up?  We might need to snake it.

I ordered more clothes.  I don't know if I mentioned it or not, but I got four pairs of jeans and four pairs of long-sleeved shirts.  I tried to make them mix and match with what I bought and the short-sleeved shirts I bought earlier.  I also bought 12 pairs of socks.  It took me forever to find some that don't have the brand name on the cuff.  I don't want neon orange brand names showing when I wear shorts, because they clash badly with what I own.  I just wanted plain white socks or ones that have the brand name hidden by the shoe.  I did finally find some at Fred Meyer.

DS and I have been cleaning out the closet so I can actually get in there and hang up my clothes again.  I am going to pack up a lot of the clothes that are in there and take them to storage, labelled by size, and then get rid of anything I don't want to keep, which is a lot.  I have several outfits I do like, but there are a lot I just don't like and didn't reallly like at the time I bought them, but needed clothes in my size.  This is before I found Woman Within online.  I look good in hot pink, but I had to buy things in pale pinks a lot and I don't like pale pinks and they wash me out.  Any pastels wash me out.

I figure with the new clothes I bought, I can keep a much smaller wardrobe where everything goes with everything else.  After the closet is done, I will be tackling the dresser.  I've got 3 drawers full of things that aren't even clothes.  I'd like to reclaim at least two of those.  The third one has stuff like old diaries of mine, baby books for the kids and me and DH, portrait photos of the kids and one of the whole family, our wedding album and wedding video and some scrapbooks I made back when I was in to scrapbooking.  Those are things I don't want to risk putting into storage.

I've been in a bit of a decluttering mode.  I shredded 4 paper grocery bags worth of paper.  I got behind again.  I said after the last time that that wouldn't happen, but alas it did.  I also need to go through all the cookbook magazines I have and tear out the pages I want to put in my binder and recycle the rest.  They are taking up a whole cubby that I could better use for something else.

I think my brain might be tipping into hypomania this week, but I will take advantage of it to get things done.  DS has promised not to let me bury myself and to make me eat at regular intervals and to not let me rabbit hole on youtube, so hopefully I will be okay until I level out.  Of course it just might be an uptick caused by taking a higher dosage of the medication.  I think I'd like that, because right now I feel motivated, and usually I don't.

All right, well I best get off to bed.  It's already eleven p.m. and staying up too late is getting to be a habit.

 

 

No Good Sales This Week and Things to Do

August 4th, 2022 at 10:58 am

I got my chuck roast canned.  I now have 28 quarts and 2 pints on my pantry shelves and 1 quart in the fridge because of a seal failure.  It's my fault for using a faulty ring.  I knew it was suspect, but didn't want to go find another one.  Anyway, it's a start.

The sales suck for the new ad cycle that started today.  I will be ordering 20 pounds of green beans and 40 pounds of gold potatoes for a Friday pickup from a local farm, if it isn't too soon and I will work on getting those canned.  I will likely not have green beans to pick until September and I don't want to have a bad season and then just not have any to can.  I will order 20 pounds of carrots after I get all that done.

I think our potatoes are doing fine, but what I can grow is never enough to make it through the year.  We added 3 more rows of potatoes this year, but there isn't room for more than that yet until we clear some more space.  That means a lot of weed eater work and then putting down black plastic, something that I am not capable of at the moment and haven't been since my last fall, so that will have to involve my husband and son.

I see the doctor on Friday for a mental health checkup and to see if he is ready to bump me up to 200 mg.  I've still had some hyper mania incidents, though they are getting fewer and further between.  I think another 50 mg is going to help me significantly.  It's like on sort of lingering on the cusp.  While I am there I am going to ask for new x-rays of my back and my other hip to be taken and my tailbone.

Those were not taken at the hosptial because I was feeling everything in my arm where I tore it open and the hand, wrist, elbow, shoulder, and collarbone.  The other pain didn't hit me until the next morning and was still overshadowed by the arm.  Until it wasn't.  And it has gotten worse and worse and after sitting up too long it just kills me, like the bones are rubbing together.  I can stand for 30 seconds only, so I'm back to that.  I can still walk okay, it's just when I stop that the unignorable pain comes back.  After canning it is severe, but that has to get done.

Regardless, of what they x-rays say, I mostly want to know if it is safe for me to go back to physical therapy or if I did some more damage to my spine or broke something in my tailbone.  Honestly, it could just be a lack of physical therapy.

DH's boss's wife and grandmother are having a joint birthday party and they want us to come.  I don't know that I am up for it with all the pain I'm having.  I also don't like being around large gatherings.  But I do like the man and his family.  DH will go even if I don't.  My immune system isn't the greatest so if someone comes there who is sick or doesn't know they are sick, I am likely to catch it.  It is not a lot of fun to be on immune suppressing drugs sometimes.

Tomorrow I will start back on a diet.  I do this so many times, but hopefully this one will take.  It is best for my overall health to get this weight off, especially because it pulls on my discs, but that is often easier said than done.  Plus I need to lose 75 pounds to get the nerve burning surgery done, assuming my insurance will pay for it.  It won't fix the problem, but at least I won't feel the pain there anymore.

 

This and That

August 2nd, 2022 at 07:15 pm

DH's raise went into effect August 1st, which means the paycheck on August 19th will be the first one with the higher rate.  I was kind of hoping it would be the one this Friday, but didn't really think it would.  Now I just have to wait and see how much net we will get so I can update my budget template and then work up budgets for the rest of the year.  They will be subject to change, but just having a basic one built helps me plan.

Today the weather has cooled off substantially so I am canning chuck roast.  After I get off the computer I will have 14 jars going in to the big canner.  Then later today I will go to Fred Meyer and get 10 more chuck roasts and get them cut up tonight so I can do it again tomorrow.  I have to take advantage of the $3.99/lb sale.  They don't have a limit so if I get them prepared tonight and can them tomorrow, I can then go and get another round.  Then I will have 42 jars on the shelf and I'll wait until the next meat sale and do it again.  I want to have 102 jars of roast beef on the shelf.

I am hoping a decent sale comes up on chicken thighs.  I can skin and debone myself, and then can it up.  I only want 52 jars of chicken on the shelf.  And then I need to think about canning up some of the ground beef we have left from our steer.  There is a ton of it still and we need to make room for our hog, because the butcher said it will be a few weeks, but I don't really know what a few means.  I am only getting half a hog, since it took so long and they got really big, so now a half is like a whole if I'd gotten it two and a half months ago.  It cost $753.  I will still have to pay the cut and wrap fee, which is $0.75 per pound, I think.  It might be per package of meat.  Well, they'll tell me when they are done, but I have budgeted about $300 for it.  It might be more, but I can pull from savings.

Once I see how much space I have left in the freezer, I can decide what I want to do about beef, since we are pretty much down to hamburger and a few roasts, ribs, and soup bones.  No steaks are left.  I may get a half if there is room, or just stock up on a lot of chicken and buy some steaks and roasts as we need them.  They just won't be grass fed, probably.  Plus, DH's friend's boat is fixed, so they will be fishing soon for salmon.  There is some seafood we need to start eating up so there will be room for that, too.

Not much going on in the financial aspect at the moment.  Not until payday anyway.  Still waiting on the appeal for DD on the insurance front, but preparing for having her to go on COBRA, getting all the paperwork to be submitted and it go smoothly into that as soon as possible.  Then we will schedule her MRI of her liver.  It is just a follow up from the surgery where they removed the tumor.  They want to make sure it isn't growing again and that her liver has regenerated.  She's been having some pain in that region again off and on, so hopefully it hasn't started to come back.  I would appreciate prayers for that.

My husband, kids, and I all filled out our ballets last night for the primary.  We went over the voter's book with them over the last week and we all agreed on who we wanted to vote for.  DH is dropping them off at the courthouse drop box after work today.  I hope it makes a difference and other people in the state are as fed up as we are, even Seattle.  King County likes to screw over everyone else and they usually have the population to do it, but a lot of people fled Seattle over the past three years due to rioting, so we might have a chance to get some sensible people in this year.  As sensible as a politician can manage, anyway.

 

I'm Finally Going Whole Hog! Plus Medical Expenses, Etc.

July 28th, 2022 at 11:32 pm

It has taken forever, between our first upright freezer breaking down, to having it replaced after many months when no one could repair it, which also took months because they were on backorder, to me ordering the hog, to the butcher dates being pushed back several times, to today, when my hog is actually being butchered.  It will be about 3 weeks before I actually get it, since they have to hang it for a while and then have to cure and smoke hams, bacon, and hocks.  But I will have it before the end of August, so that makes  me very happy.  I wanted it before fall, so this is great.  This saves a lot of money on meat in the long run.  Now I can start saving up for a beef.

I'm still trying to locate a pasture-raised lamb that has never been fed grain, but it is harder than you would think.  I may have to look outside my county.  Hopefully the next one over has some.  Otherwise I will have to give in to those who ate grain early on, but then switched to grass only.  As long as it is organic grain, I can deal.

The garden is doing well.  The onions need to be ringed, but they are growing nicely.  It'll be nice not to buy them at $.1.29 each.  I resent that so much, because before I could get them at 25 cents each.  I planted so many I think I may not have to buy them for 8 or 9 months.  I will probably braid all the yellows and the reds, but the Walla Walla sweets I will chop and freeze.

The garlic is pretty dry, so I think I another week and it'll be done.  Now I have to decide if I want to clip them or keep the stem on and braid them.  I love the way braided looks, but we don't really have a good place to hang them unless DH puts in a hook in the hallway or we hang them on a rod in the laundry room.  Neither place is convenient.  I will cut some up small and dehydrate it.  Then I can grind it for powder as I need it.  If I make it powder and keep it in a jar, it tends to clump badly or go hard.  I think I have enough garlic for a year, but we will see.  It's going for $1 for one head right now when you used to get 4 or 3 heads for $1.  That's outrageous.

The zucchini is quite small, about a dime in circumference for the largest and about 3 inches long.  I've got itty bitty cucumbers starting, but the vines don't want to climb the trellis yet.  I've got several green tomatoes coming on.  The green beans are about 8 inches tall, having been planted so late.  I'm still getting strawerries and the blueberries are starting to blush.

It'll be a while before I get more to harvest, but when I do I won't have to buy produce for some time.  I'm thinking about getting a CSA box in the meanwhile, since that is also cheaper than buying them from the store right now and I can pick out of several boxes of what I want, whether it be just fruit, just veg, or a combo, and there are different sizes at different price points.  They also have meat boxes and milk and egg boxes.  That's pretty neat.

I do want to get a box of nectarines to cut up and freeze, and two boxes of tomatoes for canning as I never have the space to grow enough.  I'll probably get 40 pounds of yellow potatoes and 20 pounds of carrots to can as well.  I'm not sure when, though.  And I will be buying chuck roast this week to can as it is $3.99/lb at Fred Meyer this ad cycle.  I'd like to get at least 14 quarts canned during this sale.  I'll do more if I can get it and my hands can take it.  I am almost out of that.  This sale seems to repeat itself somewhere around every six weeks, so I'll have a chance to do more.  These are still pre-Covid sale prices.  I use canned beef a lot during the winter, because it, canned potatoes, and canned carrots make a great quick stew.

I'm still waiting to see if there will be a good sale on boneless skinless chicken thighs.  I may have to just buy regular thighs, which do go on sale, and skin and debone them myself.  It's more work, but I can then make stock with the skins and bones, so I do get more out of it.  I need to make a lot of stock as I am completely out of canned stock.  It's an economical way to do both.  I can't get pre-Covid sales prices on the chicken, but the new sale is $1.29 per pound if you don't want to get the stuff injected with stuff, which is about what it was not on sale pre-Covid.

When I do go to Winco I will pick up some turkey sausage and turkey chorizo.  It is still pretty cheap at $2.99 a pound.  Way cheaper than pork sausage, which I will have a lot of with the hog, because I didn't get any roasts in my order.  I'm going to buckle down and start making the largest items from the freezer instead of what I feel like.  We've got some beef ribs and soup bones that take up a lot of space, so I need to deal with those.  We have some freezer burned pork that is meant for crab bait, so we need to get that to DH's boss, so he will have it when they go out crabbing.  It can sit in his freezer instead of ours.  And we will eat up the rest of the roasts from our beef.

I'm not sure how much room we will need for the hog.  When she first told me it was about 400 pounds, but that was six weeks ago.  It could easily be 600 pounds by now the way hogs eat, since she wasn't able to butcher on time.  I guess I'll know soon enough.  Funny thing was, I wanted a hog around that size originally, so I guess I get what I wanted.

When I go buy the meat later today, I won't have to buy any produce.  I still have plenty from last week.  2 watermelons, the first good cantaloupe I've seen this summer, 1 and a half bunches of bananas, 2 golden kiwis, WA state red cherries, 4 peaches, and 4 nectarines.  The latter two are still ripening.  I also have a nearly full bag of salad mix, a full bag of spinach, a green cabbage, a purple cabbage, a napa cabbage, 1 parsnip,  2 sweet potatoes, 2 stalks of celery, half a bag of Russet potatoes, a full bag of gold potatoes, 1 cucumber, 2 shallots, 1 yellow onions, 1 walla walla sweet onion, and 4 carrots.  I foresee cabbage rolls in my future as well as a root vegetable dish.  I need to use up the parsnip and the sweet potatoes before they go bad.

I scheduled DD's cavity appointments.  I wish we had been able to do them sooner, before she loses her insurance, but such is life.  I'm pretty sure the COBRA is just medical, not dental and vision.  We have spread it out over 3 appointments about six weeks between them.  The first one will cost $367, the second one will cost $258, and the third will cost $261.  That will allow us to cash flow fixing her teeth.  Then maybe after that we can get her the $400 night guard.  So $1286 all told.  We don't want to do it first because it will effect the shape of the mouthguard by small amounts and it might not fit right.

If we don't cash flow, we should have enough in the Medical Fund to cover it.  I put $500 in it every 2 weeks.  Of course we spend it a lot through the year, but I should have enough by September to pay for the first appointment.

If MIL gives us $10,000 like she did last year, I am going to dump $5k into the Medical Fund and $3K into the Emergency Fund and $2K to start saving for my son's education.  It's not much, but it's a start.  While he finished high school through homeschooling, he doesn't have the piece of paper.  So he needs to get his GED before going to the technical college.  You can also get an actual high school diploma through the technical college, so we might do that.  He'll have to test and see if he has enough knowledge to pass as that was a while ago.  He may have to take some more math to get into the program he wants, but everything else is where it should be except possibly his essay writing.  He always hated that because of his dyslexia.  He doesn't have the problem with numbers, only letters.

Insurance now covers the coating that takes out the blue light on computers and makes it easier to read things on white paper, so he'll be getting that with his new glasses this month.  Another expense, but one that the money is there for already, as are mine, if I decide to get them.  I may just wait until January when I can get both frames and lenses, not just lenses.  Or I might get contacts if the prescription hasn't changed much.

We'll See

July 10th, 2022 at 03:26 am

DH's boss has put in for a sizeable raise for DH.  I know he just got one in December, but his responsibilities have increased by a large margin...a margin that was not required for his job or the last raise.  The last raise was completely swallowed up by inflation.  I had to double, and then raise by another $50, our gas budget.  Electricity, gas, water/sewer, and even garbage have all gone up.

He said that if the raise goes through, DH will probably fall down on the floor.  About the only thing that would make me fall down on the floor would be $150K.  But anything more would be fine, especially if it will cover DD's COBRA (still waiting on the appeal, but who knows?) while we try to get her on disablility or find a cheaper insurance that will still cover her medications.  And maybe let us bump up our retirement contributions.  At least we will be able to claim a significant amount of medical this year and that was before paying for COBRA, which starts in August.

Right now we are at 16% and I would like to be at 20%, maybe even 25% one day.  Even if I can only go up to 17% or 18%, that will help.  I haven't looked at retirement since the freefall started.  I really don't want to, either.  I am hoping in November we will see a sea change and all these people willing to throw our money away on other countries and not take care of us here so we can recover in our own economy and infrastructure, get voted out.  I'll certainly vote against Patty Murray.  She stopped being the Mom in Tennis Shoes she originally campaigned as when I was young and is now just another rich career politician who has strayed so far from what she used to be, I just want her gone.  And I like her opponent.  But I digress.

I've been able to stay within my food budget only because I don't have to buy much in the way of meat, mostly just chicken and the occasional pork.  DH caught the limit on spot prawns and was given more by some of the others again.  They tried to catch Pacific sand dabs, which are in the flounder family, while they were out there but only caught little ones that they threw back.  There is not much meat on the little ones.  Still both prawning trips have been more than enough to cover the gas to go out.  These ones are super expensive to buy.  So we'll get a few meals out of those.  I am really looking forward to crabbing and salmon seasons and we may try to catch some river trout, too, since there are some fishing areas in our local parks.

So mostly I am buying produce right now and it'll be a while yet on when I can replace much of those types of groceries.  Right now I am getting scallions and the first peas are ready to be picked today.  I've got some herbs to harvest from and I am still picking strawberries.  The raspberries are starting to turn color.  So I am able to supplement a little.  Plus I'm pulling the elephant garlic today, now that I've had 7 days in a row with no rain or watering.  That helps them dry out some before being pulled and put on a ventilated drying rack for about 2 weeks and then I can cut off the greens and trim the roots and they can go into a box for dry storage in my coldest cabinet that seldom gets opened.  I think the Music garlic is ready, too, but I'll have to dig down and check.

Once all the garlic is out I can plant carrots, radishes, and 90 day parsnips.  Those are all great things to plant after garlic or onions.  The onions are starting to swell, but they have several weeks to go.  Maybe in another 2 weeks I can ring them and then their growth will take off significantly.  And I'll be able to use the sprinkler and just handwater once this garlic is out.  

I've got baby zucchinis starting and saw my first tomato (small and green) yesterday.  My cucumbers are still really small plants.    My lettuce has bolted and my spinach, too.  My herbs are big enough that I can start to harvest them.  But that's still not a lot of fruit or veggies.  We finally got the green beans planted, but they haven't come up yet.  I will be getting the sweet potatoes in today.  We'll have to do a peusdo greenhouse when the weather starts cooling off in the fall, since it took so long for DH to get the grow bags filled for me.  They are up on pallets to keep them off the ground for when the ground starts getting cold.

I am considering dumping the hog lady since she keeps having her butcher dates pushed back and I haven't heard from her in some time, and going with another beef.  Almost all that is left is hamburger.  Any new hamburger I get I can put through the grinder on a fine grind, mix with some ground chicken, some tallow, and with herbs and spices, run it all through again, and make sausage with it.  I can make mild Italian and I can make breakfast sausage.  And if I ask for the navel cut with the new steer, then I can make beef bacon as well, unless they will make the bacon and the sausage for me at the butchers.  They might not if the equipment for that is dedicated to hogs only, but it doesn't hurt to ask.  It might be, to keep kosher.  I know they will do kosher or halal when asked.

I need to do a stock up on herbs and spices at Costco this weekend, particulary salt, pepper, granulated garlic, paprika, and chili powder.  I also want to get more tomato sauce, some PH water, some TP, Ziplocs, some oil for the fryer, some olive oil, rice, stir-fry veggies, and some golden kiwis.  Maybe one or two more items, but I'll have to check.

I don't need to buy anymore fruit this week, as I still have strawberries to pick, a watermelon, 2/3 of a melon that was not labelled in the store, but tastes like a cross between cantaloupe and honeydew with a yellow rind, 2 small pineapples, some grapes, 3 nectarines, 1 peach, and 4 kiwis.  I might get Rainer cherries, though.  They are my favorite now and only have a short season.  But we don't really need it.  As for produce, we have two zucchini, 1 English cucumber, a head of lettuce, 1 green cabbage, 2 Napa cabbages (for cabbage rolls), 1/4 of a huge bag of frozen stir-fry veggies, 2 packs of frozen broccoli, carrots, potatoes, radishes, 4 yellow onions, 1 red onion, and a head of garlic.  Also, home canned green beans, canned corn, and a can of water chestnuts.   I think we should be fine, so I'll take the opportunity to stock up on some long-term food storage and longer-lasting pantry items, while saving enough money for week two of this grocery budget.

I had raised the grocery budget to $500, but I have popped it back down to $400 every payday, due to the increase in gas prices.  It had to come from somewhere, so I am economizing more and sticking more firmly to meal planning and eliminating take out to more than once a payday and one of those meals MIL pays for.  We have all but eliminated prepared foods and are cooking mostly from scratch, now that I am feeling better.  It took a lot for me to recover from that last fall.  My scab has almost completely fallen off and now I just have to work on keeping the scar tissue from pulling the skin tight, but using cream on it 3 times a day.  I still have some pain from the fall, but I'm down to just using Ibuprofen at bedtime, so it is obviously better.

It was hard to keep a good attitude through the healing process, because it has set me back, but I can still feel the higher dose of the stuff used to control my hypomania and death spirals (as I like to call them, not really death, just dark dives into misery) is doing it's job to keep me on a more even keel.  I still don't have a formal diagnosis other than hypomania and depression.  No one's come out and said bipolar, though.  Which is okay, because let's face it, I don't want to go on lithium.  I will likely be going up another 50 mg on my current drug the next time I see the doctor.  I feel it is the final step, because my outlook on life has improved tremendously over all.

I'm need to call in to physical therapy this week and get myself rescheduled.  I think I will need a new assessment, though, because my range of motion and the flexibility I was getting has now become less and so is the amount of time I can stand or walk with an assistance device and definitely without one and the pain is pretty bad unless I sit rather quickly.  I had been cane free for 8 weeks before this accident.  It's so frustrating, but I will put my head down, muddle through, and get stronger again.  I did it once, I can do it again.  I'll call the doctor, though.  I never got an x-ray of my lower back after I fell and I want to make sure I haven't done further damage, before I do.  I was so concerned with the pain my arm when I went to the hospital, I was completely unaware of other pain.  It wasn't until the next morning that I felt it and kept hoping it would get all the way better on it's own, but maybe it can't.  So we'll see.  We'll see about a lot of things.

It's a Ground Beef Thing

July 1st, 2022 at 08:04 am

So as we have eaten our way through the steer we bought last summer, we are now mostly left with ground beef.  A lot of ground beef.  3 compartments in the chest freezer and 1/2 a bin of it in the upright.  So I spent a good amount of time on youtube the last couple of days trying to find recipes that aren't all about Mexican food.  My daughter is having issues right now with those spices so I've been trying to veer away from them, but the hugest number seems go there.

Taco Mac, chili mac, enchiladas, Taco spaghetti, Taco penne bake, Taco bowl, Taco salad, Chili, Tacos, Taco Mac and Cheese, Taco Chili, Taco Lasagna and on and on and on.  The Italian ones are good, but are basically all variations on a theme, too, pasta or bread, meat, usually sauce, and cheese.  And there is only so much spaghetti, calzones, stromboli, pizza, goulash, meatball sandwiches, baked penne or ziti, macaroni and cheese and Fettuine Alfredo that one can eat in a week without being bogged down by a wheat hangover.

I was on a mission to find some other recipes and it took a lot of weeding through it, but I found some Asian inspired ones and some German ones, and of course there is meatloaf and burgers, cabbage rolls, etc., but I'm still lacking in much else.  I still have to do some recipe searching on google to see what else I can find.

But I have enough for a start and today I went to the grocery store and stocked up on what I needed to do this.  The goal is to have ground beef three times a week, or two if we are having steak.  Which we are just about out of, so probably not much of that will happen.

We've made a recommitment to cooking almost exclusively from scratch and eating healthy and not eating out for the month of July, because we really need to buckle down and stop spending money.  There are a few things in the freezer that are convenience foods, like fish sticks, fries, hot dogs, sausages, and garlic toast, but not a lot of that.  I'll be baking bread, rolls, and buns myself.  Everyone has pledged to help me as much as they are able, so hopefully this time around things will go as planned.  We have a good chance as summer tends to be the season I don't get badly sick in.  So if I can refrain from falling down or hurting my back for the rest of it, we can get this done.

We had a deer in the garden again today. It had big abscesses on its face, poor thing and was bashing it's head against one of our trellises until one of them popped.  It was really gross, but the thing needed to be drained.  We had to spray things down to get the gunk off and the smell was atrocious.  If I see it again, I will call animal control, because that is not a healthy animal.  We will be getting some fencing up tomorrow to hopefully keep the the deer out of the garden, and building some more low tunnels and cages for the thornless blackberries.  One day we will be able to fence everything tall enough to keep them out of the whole back yard, but this year is not that time.

We finally got DD's old doctor to fill out the forms needed for the insurance company and hopefully she will qualify to stay on our insurance.  We also need to have the chiropractor fill out one, because he has been treating her for congenital hip dysplasia since she was 3 months old, and correcting for hypermobile joints since she was 3 years old.  And he has seen first hand what her degenerative disc disease has done to her.

We had an online appointment with her new primary care doctor.  This is her second appointment and it was so nice to be heard.  Really heard.  She put DD on a muscle relaxant that does not interfere with her other meds.  It is actually the one I take, too.  The doctor also brought up this new treatment for obesity.  It is a diabetes drug that had a big side effect of weight loss.  It's called semaglutide and it's a pen injection.  They are very expensive, so I don't see us being able to do this for DD unless she is able to stay on our insurance and then they approve it.  She is hyperinsulinemic, the step before diabetes, so maybe.  If she doesn't we will be paying so much for COBRA or another insurance, we will never be able to afford it.

Prayers that the insurance company accepts from her reports that she is disabled enough to stay on it would be greatly appreciated.

 

A Walking Infinity Sign...but at Least I'm Walking

June 28th, 2022 at 04:36 am

Last Monday night, I had just finished picking strawberries and set them safely on the raised bed.  I went to sit down in my garden chair, but instead of double checking I was lined up properly and sitting on the seat, I sat down on the arm and it broke, collapsing the chair.  The sharp edges of the chair arm cut into my arm as I hit the pavement.  It was horrifically painful.  It cut two large gouges into my arm, which would be one without out the one inch break between them.  Altogether, it is 6.5 inches from the start of one to the tip of the other.

Hitting the concrete was awful.  I jarred everything in my hips and pelvis, the area where the discs are deviated, my upper back and my shoulders.  I had to sit there stunned for few minutes.  I hadn't brought my phone out with me to get help, and my husband was taking a nap, so I knew I had to get up by myself.  Fortunately the raised bed was right there, I just had to figure out how to get onto my knees from my butt with one working arm and crawl three feet, again with only one functioning arm.

Somehow I managed and then forced myself to use both arms to pull my body up.  By the time I was done, the pains in my shoulder, elbow (which hit the concrete) and wrist were excrucitating.  I managed to slowly walk into the house and as far as my daughter's room and asked her to check my arm.  She did and immediately said she needed to get my husband.  I said no, he was sleeping, and she argued with me for a minute before deciding to get him anyway.

DH came in, took one look at it and said I needed to go to the hospital.  I really didn't want to, because my whole body hurt and I was barely able to walk and the wheelchairs at the hospital are not well padded at all.  DH cleaned up my arm, got all the blood off and held a pad on it until it was just seeping and then tried washing it out again, because there was still dirt in it.  It started bleeding again and the dirt was still there.  Finally he took a photo of my arm on his phone and showed it to me and I agreed to go to the hospital.

For a Tuesday night it was packed.  By the time we got there my elbow had gone numb.  Once we got into triage my wrist was numb, and by the time we got called back to the acute care area my fingers were numb and the cut on my arm was bleeding through the bandage and got on my sundress.  I waited quite a while until they brought a little x-ray machine in to do my elbow and wrist.  I had no idea they had those.  It kind of reminded me of the x-rays on an arm my dentist uses, only this had a bottom plate for resting your arm on.

I laid back down on my side with a pillow under my arm and by the time a P.A. came in, I had bled all over the pillow.  He checked out the x-rays and thankfully, there were no aparent breaks.  He asked if anywhere else hurt and I said my shoulder so he poked around up there and rotated it around and found an incredibly painful spot so ordered a shoulder x-ray, too.  Then he inspected the cuts and said they didn't need stitches, but it did need some deeper cleaning out, so ordered some numbing gel put on, which helped a lot.

Then he asked me if I took anything for pain and I said no because if they were going to give me something I didn't want to interfere with that.  So he gave me 800mg of Ibuprofen and 1000mg of Tylenol.  It helped a little, but not much.  I was hoping for something a little stronger that would take me through the night, but at least I had hydrocodone at home.  I just knew it was going to be a long time until we got home.  He then rotated my elbow around until I heard a pop and then the numbness started to fade.  So something had been knocked out of alignment and was pinching on a nerve.

So then we waited for me to be taken to the big x-ray machine.  They took me there on the bed I was on and everytime we went through a door with a raised threshold it hurt so bad.  It just jarred everything.  By then my back was getting really sore and so were my hips.  X-ray took a while and then I was taken back to my room.  By then it was midnight and the nurse came in and washed out my wound.  It wasn't too bad because of the numbing gel.  She managed to get the dirt out.  Then she put on more numbing gel and bandaged it up.

The P.A. came back in shortly and said he didn't see any breaks in my shoulder or collar bone, although I don't know why he would, it was my  elbow and wrist that hit the ground.  But he still wanted us to wait for radiology to do a complete reading and it shouldn't take more than 15 minutes.  Hah!  At that point I was so exhausted I just wanted to go home and I had had a mask on for 4 hours.  While I had used my inhaler before coming into the hospital, it can only do so much when I have a mask on.  So I went to the private bathroom that was for acute care patients only, took off my mask, used my inhaler, and breathed in cool fresh air for about five minutes.  By then the inhaler was working, so I put my mask back on and went back to my room.

When it was about 1:00, we still hadn't heard from radiology.  I wanted to go home and take a real painkiller and go to bed.  DH went out and asked how much longer it would be.  They called down to radiology who said they'd look at it right away.  At 1:30, I finally said I was ready to go, I'd take the P.A.'s word for it that nothing was broken.  I didn't care if I had to sign out against medical advice.

They must have heard that because two minutes later as I'm getting into the wheelchair to leave, the P.A. shows back up again with the news that radiology agreed.  He then asked if I knew when my last tetanus shot was.  I told him I thought it was five years ago, but I'd call my doctor and ask.  Then we got to go home.  By then the bandages they had given me had popped off a few time.  I was later to learn that the location of the injury made it impossible to keep bandages on because if I moved my arm one way they popped off that side and moved it another way it would pop off the other side.

For the first night we used some vet wrap to hold some guaze in place.  I had some unopened ones from when we had animals.  It's the same as what they have for people only cheaper and with more pretty colors.  Even that managed to wad up overnight and leave part of the wound uncovered so I had a pink stain on my blanket. We struggled with that for another day and then I just left it uncovered.  It took a total of 4 days to stop seeping.

The first day I spent in bed on my side with my arm propped up and on hydrocodone.  By the second day I could move around a little and my arm was starting to get some range of motion back, but the cut pulled hard if I moved it too much.  I was able to get through that day on Ibuprofen and Tylenol and just take hydrocodone at night.  Last night was the first night I didn't take any, just Ibuprofen and Tylenol and today I have not taken any, but probably will tonight.  All of my joints still ache, but not like before.

I've been a lot more mobile since Thursday on.  I feel like my arm is almost back to normal with range of motion.  I can't raise it above my head with the scab still pulling so hard.  I've been keeping it moisturized to try to prevent that, but it may take another week or so before I can fully raise my arm up.

Meanwhile I found out on Wednesday that my last tetanus shot was in August of 2012, so I needed one, but they didn't have any openings for a nurse appointment, so I would need to go to urgent care.  At that point I decided, screw that.  I can't sit like that again for 2 more hours to get a shot.  I still had two months left from my last shot and it was plastic and dirt, not rusty metal.  Probably a dumb choice, but I was done.

A couple minutes later the person I talked to called back and said, check some pharmacies, most of them give tetanus shots.  So I called the one in the closest grocery store where I got my Covid vaccines and they had them, so I was able to go down and get one once my husband was done with work.  I couldn't drive yet.  So we got that taken care of.  Then I let the doctor's office know that I'd done it so they could put it in their records.

So where does the walking infinity sign come in, you might ask?  That's the shape of the purple bruising around my wounds.  It's a very pretty purple.  Or looked at another way, it looks like Mr. Peanut got gutted, which is a little closer to how I felt.  At least I can drive now.  Still ache all over, but every day it hurts less and I'm able to garden, just no heavy duty.

Thursday I went out and picked another collander full of strawberries.  Can't say that there wasn't a little bit of a PTSD moment when looking at the remains of the chair, but this time I took both my phone and my husband out with me and all was well.

Friday I was okay enough for DH to go out for spot prawns.  He caught his limit.  There were a total of six other guys on the boat, who all got their limits, but 3 of them were single, so when they got back to the guy's house who owns the boat, they only wanted to take enough for their dinners last night, so gave the extras to DH.  And since the boat guy had been out every day since the season opened, he gave his entire catch to DH.  So he come home with a lot of spot prawns.  If you've never had them they are the sweetest shrimp and they require nothing, no cocktail sauce, no clarified butter, no scampi sauce.  We had some for dinner and cooked up enough to snack on for a couple of days and the rest went into the freezer.

Saturday I was able to pick another round, this time with my phone and my oldest sister who came over.  So I've picked 13 pounds of berries last week and half a pound the week before.  After this massive heat wave, there will probably be some ready tomorrow.  I need my son to go out and water, though, because I still can't lift a hose high enough and those beds haven't had drip hose put in yet.

I also need to cut off the garlic scapes on the Music garlic and process them for the freezer.  I'll freeze them in tbsp size servings and put in a ziploc and then I can use that in place of garlic until the garlic I grew is ready, pulled, and properly dried.

Other items I have harvested so far is a head of lettuce and a bunch of green onions.  The garden went in late, but it is starting to produce.  I am looking forward the first snow pea.  They are about two inches long right now, so a couple more days to go.

I was able to go grocery shopping with my husband today after he got off work.  I used the ride on cart, though.  I was really happy to get out of the store under $250 and that means I have enough money leftover to take advantage of a chuck roast sale.  I need to can some for the winter.  It's $2.99/lb and it didn't list a limit, just that it was a digitial coupon.  Without the coupon it is still $3.99/lb.  So tomorrow DS and I will go to the store that has that.  Tomorrow is supposed to be below 70 after several days in the high 80's, so that would be a good day to can meat, since it takes so long.

Anyway, that was my week.  Hopefully this week will be anticlimactic.  Even without what happened to me, last week was a doozy.

Yesterday's Spending

May 30th, 2022 at 01:01 am

I spent $142 on garden stuff yesterday.  The welded wire tomato cages were the most expensive items.  I had hoped to make it back there before the turquoise cages were gone.  I would have bought a couple last time I was there, but they were all zip-tied together and they were closing in ten minutes, and it was too much of a hassle.  So I got two yellow ones and two hot pink ones in the smaller size.  I use these on peppers not tomatoes anyway.  It is just so windy here during May and June that the cages help keep the plants from being blown over.  They were pricey.

I was able to find a jalapeño plant, but they were out of bells.  They had cayenne, but I had one of those already along with 1 bell.  They had serrano and poblano, but I'm not growing any other spicy peppers this year.  There were no Anaheims.  I just wasn't able to get over there when I needed to.  But I was able to pick up 4 gold rush zucchini plants and 2 of the regular green ones, 4 cucumbers, 2 Early Girl tomatoes, and 1 Joe's best Roma.  I have 1 million pears already.  I also picked up four big sweet basil plants, decided not to get a Thai basil plant because the three they had looked very stressed.

After that I looked for some flowers.  As much as I wanted to get a couple flats of petunias, I have no place to plant those.  I ended up getting a 1/2 gallon pot of Veronica, which is a deep blue perrenial (unless it goes to 10 degrees, which might happen once every ten years or so, and a deep red yarrow.  Deer don't like either of those flowers so I will plant them with my zucchini.  The prices of starts have gone way up this year.  Next year I really have to start my own.  I have the grow lights and I have the station set up, I just haven't done it.  I have all the seeds and everything.

After that we went over to the grocery store that carries plants from the same nursery and found 3 Better Belles in 1/2 gallon pots. Better Belles are not my favorite type of bell pepper.  I feel like Northstar performs better here, but I waited too long and these are my choices if I want plants from a no-spray source and not a big box store.  I may yet check the food co-op, because they will often have things later than others and they are organic from another source.  I might find an Anaheim that way, but if not it is not a deal breaker.

That about did me in, just going to those two places, since I was still not doing that great, but again, I wore my mask, and DH handled the money and picked up the plants, so I didn't touch anything and I wasn't passing anything along to anybody.  Plus I had a negative Covid home test, so I think I'm okay.  We can't not ever go out with a head cold again, after all.  If I waited any longer there would have been nothing but flowers, herbs, and lettuces left.

I didn't plant anything yesterday, but I sat out in the fresh air and under the lightly overcast sky while DH put in another row of potatoes and then hilled up soil on the other four rows we planted before we left.  Those five rows were all the seed potatoes I purchased.  This morning DH put in two more rows before I got up.  These were the Kennebecs and Russets that I planted last year and saved for seed this year.  He's still got some more of that to do and then I have some grocery store potatoes that have sprouted as well that are golds.  I'll have to check the other potatoes I bought two weeks ago, too.  Everything that can go in the ground, will go in the ground.

After all the potatoes I have get planted, I will plant the sweet potato plants that I've been growing in water for 3 months.  One of the vines goes all the way up to the top of the window, so now that it is warm enough to plant those I want to get them in the ground.

I still have to plant the plants I bought yesterday and the put a wire cover over the zucchini and cucumbers.  I have to make the wire cover, though.  We have the welded wire fencing and the wire cutter, which is one I can operate with my arthritic hands, but the fencing is so heavy DH will have to help with it, since DS has come down with the cold.

I think I'm about at 60%, so I still need to take it easy and get enough sleep, but I definitely turned the corner yesterday and I think tomorrow, if I stay on this projectory will be about 70%.  I have physical therapy on Tuesday.  I won't make the decision on going or not until Monday around 3:00.  If I still feel sick then, I will cancel, because I have to touch too many things that others have to touch.

The cottonwood has started blooming and blowing its fluff balls all over the place, so it's hard to tell how much of the congestion is from my allergy to that and how much is left from the cold.  Either way, it is not helping.

DH is out running around trying to find a pharmacy that has Adderall that doesn't have blue dye.  DS is allergic to blue dye.  Walgreens is out in the whole county, so he was going to try one of the Rite Aids and have them call around to the others and then he'll try the Haggen pharmacies, then Costco, Fred Meyer, and Wal*Mart.  Hopefully he can find them, since DS left it to the last minute to tell us he needed it.

When he gets back I will plant my plants, since they are still in the back of the van.

 

 

Seattle was Exhausting

May 29th, 2022 at 02:18 am

Tuesday night after dinner we headed towards Seattle, but our hotel was in Lynnwood.  We stayed at a Hilton.  Let's just say it was not the best experience.  We get up to our suite and the door didn't unlock.  So my daughter and I are both left standing in the hallway while DH runs down to get the keys redone.  Standing is hard for both of us because we both have degenerative discs at the L-4 and L-5.  So does my mom so we think it is hereditary.

So DH comes back up with the keys again and it's still a no go.  And we can hear people inside who are very loud for 11:30 at night at a hotel.  So we figured it was locked from the inside and someone had gone into our suite who wasn't supposed to be in there.  DH runs down again and tells them someone is in suite.

Meanwhile, I am just about ready to cry from the pain.  So the front desk calls security and gives us an empty room across the hall.  One room, not a suite, but at least they were King size beds and had a fridge and microwave.  We reserved two rooms because I don't like sleeping in the same bed as DH.  He has restless legs and every movement or noise wakes me up.  It is horrible.  It felt like he was trying to pedal a bicycle next to me whenever we do.

So they booted the people out of the suite, but of course they had messed it up.  The bed clothes were off the beds, they'd used all the towels to clean up a spill.  There was honey on the floor and it reeked of alcohol.  There was no way to clean that up for us since there was no housekeeping until morning.

Needless to say I slept very poorly.  My fit bit says I managed 1 hour and 25 minutes.  The hotel breakfast was really good, though.  They had eggs, ham, sausage, potatoes, biscuits and gravy, blueberry and banana nut muffins, English muffins, bagels, cream cheese, toast, packets of peanut butter and jelly, 4 types of cereal, two of which were healthy, milk apple juice, orange juice, fruit punch, various teas, and 4 grind it on the spot coffees.  Oh, and 2 waffle makers.  So lots of options to choose from.  I just had eggs, ham, and a small amount of potatoes, with milk.  I seldom drink milk but it sounded good that morning.

DD's first appointment with the ENT went well.  She does not have a 95% deviated septum like the previous ENT claimed.  She has a mild deviation that isn't worth correcting as it is not what was causing her problems.  She has very, very fraglie blood vessels close to the surface that keep bursting.  He put a scope up there and I got to watch on the computer and you could see where the vessles had been bursting.  It looked nasty.  So he did electric cauterization, which is different from burning it somehow and last longer and is far more effective.  Hopefully that will put an end to the nosebleeds for a good six months.

After that appointment we went to Duke's seafood restaurant.  It was nice, but casual nice.  We got chowders and sour dough bread with real butter. It was delcious and light after having breakfast only a couple hours earlier.  Then we headed back to Virginia Mason for DD's second appointment with the endocrinologist.  By the time we were done, both of us were dragging.

Then we went back to the hotel and ordered dinner from Red Lobster, since there is one in Lynnwood.  I got the ultimate feast but they forgot the Walt's favorite shrimp and there was an extra linguine.  It worked out to the same price and I had plenty off food so we just let it go.  I had just figured I'd have some for breakfast, but no biggie.  I wouldn't get the crispy Brussels sprouts for a side there, though.  They were mushy and super spicy, not crispy at all.  And they had the dinkiest baked potato I have ever seen from a restaurant.  But again, it was enough food.  The forgot the clarified butter, though for the crab and lobster.  *sighs*

After dinner DD and I both felt like we got hit by a freight train.  I mean, it was full on cold symptoms just bowling us over.  DH ran out to a Walgreens and got us Dayquil and Nyquil.  I slept better that night, but only 5 hours.  I wish I had insisted on bringing my wedge.  I do better when I sleep propped up, but DH didn't want the hassle.  Next time he is going to have the hassle.

Neither DD or I felt good enough to have breakfast the next morning, so DH ate the extra linguine and we headed back to Virginia Mason and saw the internal medicine doctor who specializes in chronic illnesses.  It went well and we really liked her.  I know we shouldn't have gone into a doctor's office with a head cold, but we were both masked and this appointment was too important to miss.  So, yeah, I feel guilty, but it is not like it is Covid and people have been going to doctors for years with colds or other infections.

We headed home after that. We picked up some water bottles and Pringles at a convenince store because DD and I were craving salt and feeling very dehydrated.  Somewhere along the way DH stopped at a McDonalds and we got some food.  Not a lot for DD and me as we didn't have much appetite.  I got a cup of ice, though, as we had a case of Real Sugar Pepsi in the car. I don't drink it often, but I was barely staying awake.

I went straight to bed when we got home.  DH went and got me and DD ice cream.  I ate some and then went to sleep and had a wonderful nights sleep on a bed that doesn't have springs you can feel through the bed (or springs at all) and my nice wedge pillow.  I slept very well, dosed up on cold meds.  I spent most of Friday in bed, had some potatoes and gravy for lunch and a sandwich for dinner.  Today I feel a little better after another great night of sleep.  So does DD.  Still very tired, stuffed up, and throats a little sore.  And the cottonwood is blooming.  But definitely on the mend.  I think it'll be a few days before I feel back to normal again.

DH's mom covered the hotel stay and every meal, except Red Lobster, because we felt that was too expensive for her to cover.  She's very good with taking care of our travel expenses when DD has to go the hospital.

The main point I am taking away from all of this is that we won't be staying in a Hilton hotel again.  Next time we'll try for a VRBO.  Or maybe a Mariott.  At least they have good beds.

I Wrote the Check

May 17th, 2022 at 07:28 am

Honestly, I thought it was going to hurt writing such a large check.  Nearly $6000 is a lot of money.  But I felt really okay with it.  Having my son's teeth fixed will be worth it. He had his appointment today where they did x-rays, took photos, and did some kind of scan of his teeth with a tool.  On June 20th he will get his full set of Invisaligns.  I didn't know he would get all of them at once, but he will.  You move onto the next set every ten days.  It's different, but seems so much more convenient than traditional braces.

I would, one day, like to get this for myself as my teeth have moved since I had an appliance to fix my bite.  My teeth were always straight and I never had a gap, but over the last ten years or so I've had a gap between my top front teeth that is getting bigger and bigger.  And I have a couple of teeth on the bottom that seem to be pushing forward a bit.  They aren't visible so they don't bother me so much, but I don't like being in photos because of the gap in my front teeth.  So I avoid it.  But I want my kids to have photos of me when I'm gone, so I've thought about fixing them for a while.  But that was back burnered when DS needed to get them.

I feel like I'm always give stuff up for my kids (but mostly my daughter).  Probably because I am.  I guess that is motherhood in a nutshell, though, always sacrificing your own needs or wants for theirs.  And for my mother as well.  I think I am getting caregiver burnout.  I really just want to run away for a while.  I think I need to go down by the water and soak up the negative ions and just let myself read a book for a couple of hours.  It would do me a world of good.

Bits and Pieces

April 30th, 2022 at 07:22 am

I ordered my hog so that's taken care of.  She's going to give me the original price of $3.50 per pound even though she raised her prices last month to $4.00 per pound to account for higher feed costs.  She just felt so sorry for me with the whole freezer saga.  I've kept her updated as we went along.  She said the hog's butchered weight should be around 170 pounds.  A bit smaller than I've gotten before, usually around 200 pounds, but I don't care.  Cut and wrap is .89/lb, plus extra if we want sausage which we do.  They don't charge extra for bacon.  We don't eat as much pork as we do chicken, beef, or even seafood usually, so a smaller amount is not as big a deal and it means I should have room in the freezer for a fall lamb.

DH's boss if cleaning out his freezer because he is going halibut fishing on Tuesday.  We are getting lots of wild Pacific salmon and possibly some cod as well.  DH didn't say how much, just that his boss said a cooler full.  Depends on the size of the cooler, I guess.  So we should get that on Monday.  I will never turn down free wild Pacific salmon.  I'd turn down farmed Atlantic salmon in a heartbeat, though.  I am a salmon snob, but how can you not be living in the coastal Pacific Northwest?

I spent $49.40 on chicken thighs today at Safeway.  They were .99/lb.  I bought 8 packages with 10 thighs each.  That is 80 pieces of chicken.  That portions up to 10 meals for my family or $4.94 per meal or $1.23 and a 1/2 cents per person per meal.  Can't beat that anymore. It was just nice to see a pre-late 2020 price on chicken again.

Speaking of prices from before then, I haven't made it to Fred Meyer to get the $3.97/lb chuck roast for canning yet.  I will probably go on Monday.  We've eaten almost all of the roasts from our beef that we bought last summer.  There's still plenty of beef left, though.  I have a lot of hamburger, quite a few steaks, and some ribs.  I think there is some brisket, too.  Oh, and soup bones.  I still have soup bones.

I called Virginia Mason today and got an appointment for my daughter with ENT doctor who specializes in Rhinology.  Her nosebleeds have gotten so bad that she is waking up every morning with blood running down her throat and causing so much stomach distress.  Because of the high iron content of blood, if you swallow a lot of it, it can cause nausea, vomitting, and troubles with the other end of things as well.  And the clots she's been passing lately have been frightening.  The ENT here just seems to have no clue about anything, so seeing a specialist seems the right course of action.

We were able to make it on the same day she sees the endocrinologist and the day before she sees the internist who specializes in chronic diseases for the first time.  We are staying in Lynnwood, which is pretty close to Seattle instead of at the Inn at Virginia Mason, because no one wants to sleep on those beds again.  Especially me with my deviated discs.

Mom fell yesterday and then again today.  I honestly don't know how this woman has not broken a hip, given herself a concussion, or died.  I keep telling her to slow down and she just won't.  If you looked up the word stubborn in the dictionary, my mother's face would be right next to it.  One of these days it's going to happen when no one is here.  DS is staying home while we go to Seattle because we don't feel she can be left alone for nearly two days.  He doesn't mind.  He's not much of one for car travel.

I am really hoping it doesn't rain tomorrow so we can get more work done on the garden.  It's just been one thing after the other and I feel like we are never going to get it finished.  I so wish I could just get down on the ground and weed.  It is really hard depending on other people for things.  I guess in that way I am like my mother.

The Cost of Orthodontia

April 26th, 2022 at 05:52 am

Today I took DS to his consultation with the orthodontist.  As the people here on the blogs told me, it will be around $6000, the amount I saved.  If we didn't pay up front the cost would be $6180, but since we are we get a 5% discount.  That is $309 off.  So our total is $5871.  Which means I have $129 to figure out what to do with.  He will be doing Invisalign, but the cost of regular braces was only $200 cheaper and I don't think he would tolerate them well, due to having a tender mouth.

Randomly, dinner tonight was delicous.  We had baked chicken that I rubbed with olive oil, salt pepper, and sazon seasoning.  Then we had herbed mashed potatoes, and steamed broccoli.  Simple but full of flavor and one of my favorite meals.

Done with the Deductible

April 18th, 2022 at 08:11 am

Well, I've maxed out the deductible for the family this year with my therapy, both physcial and mental.  We still have the out of pocket max to hit, but we no longer have to pay for the full amount of doctor's appointments or prescriptions, just the co-insurance part.  That takes some strain off the budget.  We also have used all of our FSA debit card for the year.

I had my first pool therapy session early last week.  All of the other appointments were on land to stengthen my core, legs, and back enough to be able to climb down the stairs and into the pool.  It went okay, but I had strained a muscle in my thigh gardening the day before it so I was a little sore.  I walked on the underwater treadmill for 12 minutes, which is really weird because you bounce between steps.  Then he had me walk across the pool sideways, which bugged that muscle in the one direction, but not the other.  Then I had to walk backwards and then do toe raises and then step up on a step and back down.  Then we did some arm exercises with floaty weights, while keeping the core engaged.

It went really well.  The hardest part was getting out fo the water and getting gravity back.  Being in the pool took a lot of pressure off the herniated discs.  Getting back out put it all back on.  It also made me realize that my legs are still weak and I have a lot of work ahead of me.  I see the neurology surgeon on the 24th, I think and we will decide from there what to do about more PT.  I think I need it as I finally started progressing forward.  I have one more session scheduled for now.

Then I had a hypomanic event.  I hate hypomanic events.  This time it went so high I nearly touched the sky.  And more to the point, I spent $300, because my judgment went out the window.  I mean, I had the money in my allowance envelope, but I was saving up for a Smart TV and then a new laptop, because I hate not having a touch screen.  It lasted 2 days and then I went crashing down into a depression well.  That was not a lot of fun.  I seem to have pulled out of it this morning, and being outside working in the garden helped a lot, but I had a miserable night of it, crying for 2 hours straight after everyone else went to bed.

I hate mental illness.  I thought I was finally starting to feel the effects of the new dosage of this medication, but maybe not.  This was the first time this happened since I started it, but at least it wasn't full blown mania.  The last time that happened it lasted 2.5 months and I wrote 400,000 words.

I graduate from the six month mental health program at my doctor's clinic on Tuesday.  I don't want to.  It will be my last day with that therapist.  I have started with another, and she's okay, I guess.  I like her, but her nose ring is distracting.  It's weird seeing a 60 year old lady with a nose ring.  I wish these visits could be in person.  Then I'd have somewhere else to look instead of just at her face on my laptop.  Anyway, now I have to build up trust in a new therapist.  She deals with people with chronic illnesses, so that is good.

I've also been referred to a psychiatrist to see if we can manage this a little bit better with medication.  It would be nice.  Plus, only he can diagnose whether or not I have ADHD, but I know I do.  I haven't heard anything from his office yet, though.  He is my son's psychiatrist and I've sat in on a session with my son and liked him well enough, I guess.

Well, I best be off to bed.  It's already midnight.  I have an appointment at 11:30 online, which means I have to wake up two hours before that to give my muscles enough time to warm up so I can even get out of bed, do my physical therapy exercises, and eat breakfast.  RA is a b-word and I am a night owl, so this won't be fun, but it must be done.  At least I'm not in a fibro flare.  And my mood continues to stablize so I might even get something out of this session.

Blogoversary...And This is How the Money Goes

April 11th, 2022 at 02:15 am

It's my 16 year blogoversary here.  I can't believe I have been here this long.

I splurged a couple of days ago and bought the complete 15 season set of Supernatural.  I had watched it all along up until halfway through season 12 and just finished up watching the rest of it a couple of weeks ago.  I was waiting for a price drop to purchase it and when Honey informed me it had dropped, I snatched it up.  I do like that app, even if it gets in the way sometimes.  I paid $170 for it.  I can't even get X-Files for that price, but it's on my droplist, too.  I used the money I've been saving in my allowance folder.

Anyway, I've started watching Supernatural over again from the beginning.  It started airing a long time ago, and even though I have watched every episode, I don't remember a lot of it.  I'm not letting myself binge watch it, though.  Just one episode a night.  I've got too much to do right now with the garden.

I also bought some protein sticks off of Amazon.  I don't remember what they cost, but some of them are paleo and some of them are keto and all of them are no sugar.  It gives me something to grab in the morning when I first get up so I can take my pills without getting nauseated.  Then after a bit, I can make a proper meal.  I got some beef and some turkey.  I think it was around $40, but I got a lot of them.

I paid around $800 in medical bills today.  All but $658 was on the FSA debit card, which leaves about $5 left on it.  So we've gone through the $3000 we pay throughout the year pretax already.  Lots of medical bills and counseling bills, imaging bills, x-rays, plus physical therapy.  We've met the family deductible, but not the out of pocket max.  But now our medical visits will drop down to around $40 instead of $253 and the counseling will be lower.

As for the $658, that came out of my medical fund that I've been socking money to left and right.  There is enough left in there to pay for DH's upcoming crown and DD's eye exam and a new pair of glasses and of course I will continue to contribute to it.  DH is going to find out how much the COBRA for DD is going to cost so I know how much I need to be saving for it each month.  Plus we need to start saving up for next year's out of pocket max and of course prescriptions until we hit this year's out of pocket max.

I still have hope that the endocrinologist will file a report with the insurance company that she is completely dependent on her meds and that she is fully disabled.  Also the neurologist because of the passing out that leads to dibilitating migraines.  She is so bad off that her doctor recommended she go on disability, but if we can keep her on our insurance that would be so much better.  If she can get both, that would be ideal because then she could contribute to her own medical expenses.

She will be seeing an internal medicine doctor who deals with multiple diseases in May.  There's a possibility there, too.  I'd really like to get her tested for Elhers-Danlos syndrome, which requires genetic testing as soon as possible.  Also, I'm hoping she can recommend a better ENT because her daily nose bleeds are getting so bad and are coming from way up in her sinus cavity, but no tumors have shown up in there on scans.  There has got to be something that can be done.

Yesterday was so bad she had to go to the sink and lean over it because she couldn't keep up with the tissues.  I saw the amount of blood and it looked like a half a cup.  Plus she'd had one earlier that morning.  Maybe if they could cauterize something it would help.  Anyway, I made her drink an electrolyte heavy solution because she got really woozy by the time we got it stopped.  The ENT we saw before was useless.

It's going to be a bumpy ride the next few months.

This and That

March 18th, 2022 at 06:09 am

I got my mouth guard from the dentist yesterday; best $400 I've spent since getting my orthotics.  It was a pain in the jaw using the broken one for two weeks, but it was better than none.  This one fits like a dream and I had a great night's sleep after not having had very many in the last two weeks.

I can restart my cinzia shots now because surprise, surprise, I am finally well.  Just in time for allergy season to go into gear with the blooming of dogwood and forsythia, but you can't have it all, and they are very beautiful.  I can really feel how bad my rheumatoid arthritis has gotten since having to stop the shots and am looking forward to getting some relief again.  You never realize how well meds can work until you are forced to go off them.

I cheated a bit on dinner tonight.  We got two rotisserie chickens and a 2-pack of ready made potatoes from Costco and made some of my home grown and canned green beans.  Total cost $19.95.  It was way, way cheaper than takeout and I have plenty leftover for making other meals over the next couple of days.  I figure a couple of chicken salads (over lettuce for me) and then some chicken salad (sandwich spread for the others), and quesadillas, and then I will pressure cook the bones in water for chicken stock and can it. We could do this once a week if we wanted to and I could make things like taquitos and enchiladas to vary things up a bit.  DH works very close to Costco and now that he is going into the office 3 days a week, it is very doable without having to waste gas making a special trip.

Speaking of gas, it is at $4.35 per gallon at the cheapy cash only gas station and $4.79 to $4.89 everywhere else.  I did make some budget decisions, one of them being gas.  I've doubled our monthly gas budget to $200.  We may not need that much, but I want to run a surplus in the gas envelope, because who knows how bad this is going to get.

I've also raised the grocery budget by $100 per payday.  With the extra money I'm going to start purchasing more long term pantry items.  I did get my wheat berries in the mail this week.  I still have to get them into mylar bags and buy some buckets with lids, but that can get done either tomorrow or on the weekend.  But I would like to buy more.

I have also raised the amount I am putting into the medical fund by $100 a month to $600.  And as long as DH is working overtime, I will throw extra into it, too.  With the very real possibility that DD will get kicked off our insurance on her birthday and we will have to pay Cobra for 18 months and then who knows what after that, we have to save money for that.

So that really means buckling down about the take out.  I'm still trying to get a disabled dependent exemption, but with having to find a new doctor for her to go to, it's making it really difficult.  You'd think with as many diseases as she has she would be a shoo-in.  And it is stressing me out.  I am trying to use the coping methods my therapist taught me, intead of my old stand-by of carbs, carbs, and more carbs, but it isn't easy.

Well, I better go over the ads and make my grocery list.  It'll be so nice to step foot in a store without a mask on my face.  I won't have to worry so much about my asthma, although I will start having to smell people again with their overwhelmingly scented soaps, lotions, shampoos, body washes, and perfumes, sometimes all on one person with a horrible clashing and clanging from all the different fragrances.  I struggle with that so much because of my synesthesia.  That was something that was mostly gone with the mask.  Still, I think maskless and not aggravating my asthma so much wins.

Bits and Bobs

March 10th, 2022 at 12:31 am

I am almost well enough to get my third booster shot now.  Actually I can't tell if I am still sick or if it is just allergies starting, because there has been pollen on my windshield for the past several days.  I still feel really tired, but I'm functional.  I have started taking my more serious antihistimine, though.

The last few days have been beautiful and in the 50's.  There is still a chilly wind, though.  It is nice even if it still isn't outdoors weather.  I'm not sure what is causing all the pollen.  The nearest daffodils are 4 blocks away and the forsythia haven't started yet.  That basically leaves crocus and no one in the neighborhood but us has them and there are only a dozen blooming.  Not enough to count for the pollen dump.

It looks like the guy who is going to do the mold abatement in the guys' bathroom and repaint it will start next week.  He's also going to do the alcove of the back door area and the room Mom watches tv in that also houses my piano.

I've been holding steady on my weight because I haven't been focused on weight loss while sick.  I also haven't been taking my cinzia, because I am not supposed to while ill.  I think I can restart it on the weekend.  I haven't really noticed any increased rheumatoid symptoms getting worse, but that may be because the weather is warming up.

I looked at all the grocery ads today and made up my shopping list.  I haven't been inside a grocery store in a long time.  DH has been doing the shopping, picking up little things here and there.  But I need to do a bigger shop.  Fred Meyer had the best ads this week, so that will be my main shop, but I think I will also go to Winco.  They never have ads, but they always have the best produce and best produce prices.  We've made it through all the potatoes we grew that weren't sprouted and it's the only place I know where I can get 20 lb bags of potatoes.  We're lucky if we can find anything above 5 lbs anymore.  Since potatoes are pretty much a staple of our diet I just want to buy the one big bag at a time.

We'll see how far my grocery dollars will stretch.  I have been debating about raising my grocery budget by $100 every 2 weeks, but first I want to see if it is necessary.  It'll really depend on the cost of chicken.  Which I'll likely get at Winco, because they always have the cheapest chicken prices.  They also have the turkey chorizo we like.  Since chicken doesn't go on sale anymore, that's where I need to go.  I don't need to buy pork except for a small ham.  I don't need to buy beef or lamb.  If I can find dark turkey parts (necks, wings, backs) either place for cheap, I'll buy those.  They make the best broth.  I might even go for chicken feet if I find them, because that is so much collagen for bone broth.

I have found the tomato strainer I want to buy and also the honey strainer.  I won't use the honey strainer for honey, but it will help in the tomato sauce making department as well as in the bone broth making process, since it is fine enough to catch all the spices that I use in making it instead of having to use cheese cloth, which is harder to clean.

I have been debating on buying a 25 pound bag of hard red wheat berries.  I have my own flour mill, and the wheat is from my state and non-gmo.  This is the type of wheat berry that will make whole wheat flour.  I might get a bag of hard white wheat, too, which is for white flour.  Soft white wheat, if anyone cares, is for making pastry flour.  Wheat berries last a lot longer than flour and these ones are sproutable, so if we wanted to grow it (which I don't) we could.

It's a little $2.24 a pound.  1 cup of wheat berries equals to cups of flour, so it would be like $1.12 a pound for flour.  Which you cannot get anymore.  Not to mention, we haven't been able to find whole wheat flour in months.  So 50 lbs of flour per bag without taking up the room of 50 lbs of flour.  I would have to figure out how to store it, though.  I haven't been able to find food grade 5 gallon buckets in about a year.  But I have found 1/2 gallon and gallon jars, so maybe I can store it in those.

I won't order until I know DH will be back to bring it in the house.  DS has tweaked his back getting my mom up off the floor yesterday.  Just what he needed, since he tweaked his back about six weeks ago.  Mom's okay, but this is the second time in a week she has fallen.  I'm trying to get her to go to the doctor, but she's refusing.  I may have to pull out my medical power of attorney documents and force the issue if it keeps happening.  We'll see.

Well, it's time to make dinner, so that wraps this up.

 

Retirement Seems to be Recovering a Bit and Mask Mandate End in Sight

February 28th, 2022 at 11:03 pm

Our IRA is back on the verge of $13K when it had fallen to nearly $12K and our 401k is on the verge of $59K, which it has never reached before.  The new total for retirement is $71,759.98, raising it by $600.21.  It still has lost so much this year that that doesn't make up for it by a long shot, but at least it hasn't eaten the whole of the last deposit made.  That changes net worth to $129,885.47 on the verge of $130,000.  If all goes well for the month of March, maybe things will continue in this fashion and we might actually see a positive rate of return instead of this monkey business.

Washington state is officially lifting the indoor mask mandate on March 12th. The outdoor in large groups mandate lifted on the 18th.  DH went to a restaurant for a work lunch meeting and no one, including the employees were wearing masks.  I don't know if the grocery stores will jump the gun like that, but it is nice to know that I will soon be able to do the grocery shopping again.  Masking messes with my asthma severely.  Hopefully I will be well by March 12th!

Of course, I don't think for one minute that they won't try to pull the rug out from under that, but if it does happen, I will be so happy.

Payday Report for 2/18/2022

February 19th, 2022 at 01:27 am

Well, we can start right off with saying that my no eating out for February has been an absymal failure.  I just cannot seem to stay well.  I'll get a day or two where I think I'm on the upswing and then I'm right back down again, exhausted and back in bed and unable to do anything about cooking meals at all.  DH does a couple a week right now, but he's up to his eyeballs in overtime, so otherwise it's takeout as no one is well except DH and he's dragging.  It's a good thing he can work from home.  so takeout it's been.

I just want to be well so that I can cook my own food again.  So that is why the Citi card is so high again.  It feels out of control, but we still pay it off in full every month.  It kind of makes me sick all on its own, because it is so high.  But some of that was birthday stuff that is being reimbursed by MIL, since it was for what she got me.  Then she gives us $120 a month for takeout because that is how much she spends on DH's sister and husband each month.

I just added that in and then I figured out when exactly the long term care insurance started coming out of the account and it wasn't until the first of the year, even though I'd been deducting it from checking since June when it was supposed to start coming out, so I put that money back as available to use.  Then there was a refund from last year's HSA of $1.43, so those amounts added up to  $662.40.

I added that to the budget, but the tithe will only reflect the amount of the actual paycheck, which I don't think had any overtime on it, but will have to check with DH for sure.  The next one definitely will.  This one would have but he kept having to take time off to run us to doctor's appointments or be sick himself for a couple of days.  Anyway, as a reminder I run a $0 based budget, where every penny is assigned a job.  Here is what I spent.

$301.63 Tithe

_400.00 Grocery Envelope

_500.00 Medical Fund

__75.00 Household Envelope

_100.00 Gas Money Envelope

_1974.06 Citi

__78.82 Life Insurance DH

__60.46 Life Insurance Me

___0.00 Spending Money Envelope DH (he already spent it in January)

__50.00 Spending Money Envelope Me

__60.00 Allowance DS

__30.00 Stipend DD

------------------

3678.68 Total Money Out

 

Retirement Update

February 17th, 2022 at 02:06 am

Our 401K has started to creep back up, but our IRA is all over the place, but mostly not recovering or going down on average in a week.  Still, it's overall, better.  It's up to $71,159.77, which is a rise of $525.77.  That brings net worth up by the same amount to $129,285.26.

I feel uneasy about how much we have lost this year.  Our income on the 401K is -4.42%.  On the IRA it is -5.16%.  Not numbers that make me feel all warm and fuzzy.  But we're holding.  We either wait out this administration or we hope that something changes at the midterms that opens American oil back up.  Closing it down so much is what is causing a ton of this economic turmoil and inflation.  I've seen it before twice in my lifetime.  You may not agree, but that is my experience.

Turning Covid from pandemic to endemic and opening the world back up would also help a lot.  We are going to have to just live with it like we do the flu eventually.  It can't stay this way forever.  Esepcially when politicians and celebrities flout the rules at super spreader events like the superbowl and fundraisers.  Either we all wear masks or no one does.  And since they won't, there is not much point for us to keep it up unless we want to.  Being vaccinated has not stopped me from getting it and spreading it to my family who is also vaccinated.  Twice.  But at least we didn't die.

I've got to get my 3rd booster scheduled though and for the family as well.  Just waiting out the dregs of this head cold so that we are all healthy enough to do this.  Might have to do it separately as one person gets well.  Otherwise, I'm not sure how it will get done.

It's a little scary seeing Canada turn into a facist regime.  Real facist, not "I don't agree with your politics so I will call you a facist" facist.  The livestreams are scary at times.  But that's all I will say about that, because if I start spouting off on what's going on in Ottawa with that sorry excuse of a PM, I'll never stop.

Another New Instrument

February 15th, 2022 at 05:03 am

My MIL gave me a mandolin for my birthday on the 12th (I'm 52 now) and I started practicing yesterday.  I can do a G chord, a C chord, and a D chord.  Yesteday I got the fingering down and today I got the switching between chords down.  I have no calluses on my fingers, because the only instrument I've really been working on before this is the bass and tenor ocarinas, so I need to build up those again.

Tomorrow I will work on my speed, but it sounds good and isn't too hard to tune.  I like it better than the strumstick (mountain dulcimer) which only has four strings and was always falling out of tune.  The mandolin has 8 strings, but they are double strings so the top two are both G, then the next two are D, then A, then E.  It gives it more depth of sound, like two people strumming in unison.  It's strung like a violin note wise, which I have played for years.

It's a good little instrument for a beginner's instrument.  And a gorgeous cherry red with black edges.  If they had made a blue one in the price range I would have gotten that, but that was only in the professional level and that is $1500, not the $139.  Mine does have the stuff for plugging it into an amp, too.  We don't have one, though, and I just want to do acoustically anyway.

I love being able to play music.  It gives me something to do when I'm bored or, like today, when the power goes out for 1.5 hours, because some teenager in an SUV tried to run a red light and got plowed into by a Hummer and got knocked into a power pole, because the intersection is not 90 degree angles, it's off by quite a bit.  You could hear the crash from my house a couple blocks away.  My son went to be a looky-lou.  No one was hurt bad enough to go the the hospital and the Hummer isn't too bad off.  The SUV did not fare so well, but the speed there is only 25 mph.  It could have been worse.

My other gift from MIL was a turquoise 3 cup food processor, for when I don't want to pull out the 8 cup one.  This one is a lot lighter weight and easier for me to move by myself.  I can't lift much weight with this arthritis without dropping things.  It'll be nice for mincing a pound of meat fine.

DH gave me a teal leather ottoman for me to use under my desk.  It is gorgeous and has a storage compartment in it.  I needed something to put my legs up on when they fill with fluid, so this does the trick nicely and it has a good amount of padding on top so is really comfortable.  My mom doesn't give gifts anymore.  The kids are working on something, but didn't have it ready.

Today I finally had physical therapy again.  I haven't gone since November.  Then I got the flu, then we had snow that made it impossible to go anywhere.  Then I got a head cold.  And now I'm back among the living.  We did an assessment.  He said my range of motion has improved a lot since the beginning.  Pays to do your exercises even when you can't go in and are sick all winter.  I also took DD to her doctor's appointment.  We will be billed for these appointments, as the deductible has to be met again.  But we have $3000 on the HSA debit card again, plus a couple hundred that rolled over from last year, so we are using that.

I'll likely be the first one to meet the deductible as I have already had $1400 just for me, $1003 of which was for my arthritis shots, which at least seem to be working for now.  It's completely covered once I max out my personal deductible.  Or we max out the family deductible, but I will max out my own before the family contributes much.

Once DS is over his head cold we can start the process of taking him to the orthodontist and getting braces.  Fun for the whole family.  I have $6000 saved for it and no insurance for it.  So hopefully it won't cost more than that.  The last time I paid for braces it was $3000 for us and $1000 for the insurance and that was when DD was ten.  Has anyone done braces lately?  Especially Invisalign?  It'd be nice to get a little bit of an idea.  I know it varies by location, but ball park is fine.

I have to get a new mouth guard made since mine has cracked after 15 years, but that is only $400 and I've almost saved up for it.  I'd like to get another pair of orthotics made so I can use the old ones in my garden shoes and not have to switch them out.  That won't be until I save up for it after I finish saving for the mouth guard.

Oh, and I had a doctor's appointment with my regular doctor last week and he raised my anti-depressent from 50 to 75 miligrams, raised my gabapentin for nerve pain from 1500 mg to 1800 mg, and doubled my blood pressure medicine to 100/25.  I can feel it making a difference already.  I'm not retaining near as much water and I don't feel dizzy every time I stand up.  So here's hoping that was the problem.

I found two pennies today.  It's the first money I've found of 2022.  I stuck them in my coin jar.  Every penny counts.

The More Things Change, the More Things are Changed

January 25th, 2022 at 07:28 am

I got a notification from Costco's Citi card today saying that the amount I earned this year was $566.68 and that it will be available in February, so expect an email soon.  They also said that this year you can direct deposit the amount into your checking account instead of having to go to Costco in person to cash it out.  This is so much better.  I hate having to go to Costco to do this, mostly because they seem to change the rules everywhere of where you cash it out and asking doesn't help, because no one really knows until you try then they tell you, oh, we can't do that here, you have to go over there, and then they say somewhere different and so on.  This will save worlds' of frustration.

The plan will be using that towards the garden.  We never got around to building our third garden bed last year, and we have the supplies for that, but we will need supplies for a couple more garden beds, plus I want to buy some astroturf that looks like grass, not that artificial bright green stuff, to go down on the rows between the raised beds.  I don't want to deal with weeds in the pathways.  It'll take somewhere between $80 to $90 per row.  Which seems like a lot, but will be many years worth of weed control.

Mom wants help on the property taxes and the home owner's insurance.  She'd like us to pay half.  Since it is senior rate for the property taxes that is only $300.  Half of the home owner's insurance is $400.  That's for the whole year.  DH is making book on overtime right now and will be for a while yet, so it won't ruffle the budget.  We feel it's fair as it does cover our things as well.  And also we don't pay rent to live here.  We take care of Mom, take care of the house, take care of the property, and pay the utilities.  It's still way less than we would be paying out in the real world.

We are looking for an elder law lawyer so that we can set things up for my mother.  I have been her medical power of attorney for several years now, but she also wants to make me her financial power of attorney.  And she wants to figure out how to pass the house to us in the best way possible so neither of my sisters can make a claim on it after she has died.

We have agreed to take in my eldest sister when the time becomes necessary, which is when she decides to stop working, but she plans to keep on as long as possible.  She's 11 years older than I am and her hip is giving her problems so who knows?  We get along with her, even though Mom doesn't, and there will be room once Mom passes.  Mom might leave a little money to her if she has something left.  If we were to ever sell the house, we would give her some of the proceeds.

And my middle sister is already set in a home with plenty of money, with life insurance set up, and Mom doesn't want her to get a dime because she never visits or helps after surgeries, uses Mom for what Mom can do for her, expecting Mom to drive great distances (they moved further away two years ago) for an 82-year-old, instead of her coming here.  It's been so disgusting, the way my middle sister behaves.  Mom made the choice not to go see her anymore or do anything to help her due to her selfish, using behavior.  Which honestly, she's had her whole adult life so I guess it has just taken my mother this long to see it.  It has always infuriated me.  It has just hurt my mother so badly.

I do not get how you can just abandon your elderly mother like that.  She doesn't call, doesn't send cards on her birthday or at Christmas.  Just ignores her.  And Mom has done so much for her, to be dismissed like this is just horrible.  But middle sis is a narcissist.  My mother can be difficult and she can drive me crazy sometimes, but I could never abandon her and not care like that.  I can never understand why she turned out so differently having been raised the exact same way.  Oh, well.  I can't see ever doing such a thing to my mother, or to my eldest sister.

And even though middle sis has chosen not to be in our lives, either, if her husband dies and none of her four boys would take her in, and she ran out of life insurance money, I'd still figure out something, though it wouldn't be living here, because I have seen her true colors for years and don't want to be around her either.  But family takes care of family.  That's just what you do.  Or maybe that's just what I and my husband do.  Maybe we really just are that different.

I've set up my budget for February and started on March and want to get one set up for April.  April will be a three payheck month, and I want a plan going into it.  And because one of the payday's is on the first it will mean that the last paycheck in March won't need to pay some things it would usually be scheduled for, because the stuff comes out of checking on the 1st or the 2nd.  Sometimes as late as the 7nth if someone drops the ball somewhere.

We are thinking about switching life insurance to AAA, because we can get an additional $50K $8 a month more, than with Allstate.  Allstate is also selling our policies to somewhere else.  The reason we had them was we wanted a local office, so I don't like this.  And who knows what they might raise it to.  We also have some life insurance through his work, but that goes away after he quits working.  I also want to look at the life insurance offered through our credit unions.  It's like $2000 for $1 a month, you just have to fill out the paper work.

I also want to look into getting car insurance with AAA and see if it is cheaper.  Our Allstate office is changing hands and I don't really like it.  Especially the selling off of the life insurance policies.  If we have to deal with non-local people, we might as well do that elsewhere.  I hate change.

Well, maybe not all change.  We started DD on edibles a couple of weeks ago and the change has been amazing.  She is much more able to deal with the pain because it takes the edge off and she is also able to focus, so she is able to read and paint again, and her mood has been quite lifted.  The one she is taking derives its THC from the hemp plant and not the marijuana plant.  I even tried it a couple of times when my nerve pain was off the charts and it really helped.  I mean, you definitely couldn't operate heavy machinery, nor should you, for 12 hours, but it has definitely made a difference.  The dose is quite small, but wow on the pain management.  I never would have believed we would ever be doing this a few years ago, but when pain is so vicious and violent, you change your mind on a lot of things.  Plus, you know, back then it wouldn't have been legal.

Woman Within cancelled my winter coat order after mutliple delays.  I guess they can't get what was supposedly in stock when I ordered it.  And that is the problem with having your manufacturing in China instead of the USA.  But that's whole 'nother bucket of worms.

I am so anxious for my freezer to get here.  I know it won't be until February and we still don't know when in February, and something could go wrong with shipping just like it did with the coat, although I think GE is made here.  It used to be, anyway, just not sure if it still is.  I just feel this need to get more meat in the freezer.  I'll feel alot more food secure with a whole hog and about 3/4 of a steer still in the chest freezer.  Then I can work on chicken and then start saving up all over again for a steer.  And in the summer, we will go fishing/shrimping/crabbing for our seafood.  And also in the summer we harvest and can and freeze as much produce as we possibly can.  These food shortages are getting scary and I don't want to deal with sky high prices on the stuff that is left.

I don't have anything on the schedule tomorrow.  Maybe I can get those spot prawn shells made into bone broth in the pressure cooker and get it canned.  That'll clear out some space in the below fridge freezer.  I might even do onion skins with beef bone broth as well.  We have lots of bones and soup bones and onions skins in the freezer for that and I really want beef and onion broth for making French onion chicken and French onion pork chops.

I can always get out the huge All American canner as it can do 3 levels of pints if I decide to make both.  But I'm not sure I want to tie up both my Instant Pots making broth.  It depends on how early I get up in the morning.  Broth does not take that long to can compared to most things.

Well, this has gotten super long, so I'll sign off for tonight.

 

 

Weather, Catching the Flu, and Losing Weight

January 5th, 2022 at 12:02 am

The snow has finally melted, except for chunks here and there from the snow plows.  It's nice to see the green world again, but it's supposed to start sleeting tonight and turn to snow in the wee hours and snow all day tomorrow, then sleet for two days, then one sunny day and then rain for two days.  I don't mind the rain, it's the snow and the extreme cold I don't like.  Hopefully this will mean winter is over until February, where if we are going to get hit hard again, it will be then, based on previous years.

Hopefully we can start taking the Christmas lights down on the sunny day.  I don't mind the lawn ones staying a while longer, but I'd like to get the ones off the house itself before the next big windstorm hits.  And maybe the deck, too.  They clack.  Normally we'd have taken them down on the weekend that just passed, but not with 16 inches of snow on the ground.

I have to feel well enough to or DH will have to do it by himself, since I got slammed by something a few days ago and so did the kids.  DH had the sniffles for a few days and that was it, but not me.  Today is the first day I felt well enough to sit up for more than long enough to eat, I was so dizzy.  I think I've slept more than I have since I had Covid.  The one day I slept for 20 hours, not straight, but still.  I think it is flu, though.  I've had Covid twice and this was not it.  I've had the flu enough to know when it is flu and when it is a cold.  So I guess I caught whichever flu strain was not in the shot.

Speaking of eating, I've mostly been just eating soup.  Mostly plain egg flower soup with no vegetables in it, which is just taking my chicken broth and whipping up some eggs and then slowly pouring the eggs into the soup while stirring quickly to create ribbons.  DH had to do it, though.  I was too weak.  That way I get some protein in it and some calories.  Not having carbs for two days dropped my weight substantially and I have now lost 15 pounds.  Some may come back when I start eating carbs again, which will be today, but it was still nice to see it on the scale even if it goes back up a bit from getting off the too sick to eat diet.  I had to get off and get back on the scale again twice, just to be sure it wasn't the scale being weird.  I will have vegetables and beef in my soup today.  I haven't eaten yet, because I haven't been up long, but I will eat twice today.  I've been pushing the water pretty hard throughout this thing, sick or well.

My brain is craving spring rolls, but I am too tired to make them.  I have all of the ingredients.  I don't know if the eat from the pantry challenge is something I succeed at this year.  DH leaves on Sunday and won't be back until the following Saturday and if I am still sick or weak it's going to be pretty hard for me to pull meals together.  I have four days and then I will either have to cook or figure something else out.  It's easy to do challenges when you are well.  I will try my best, though.

  

Too Much Snow

December 28th, 2021 at 04:23 am

We've been snowed in since early Christmas morning, but today they finally plowed our road, so I will be able to get out tomorrow to take DS to the doctor and go to the store.  I need to buy some stuff for the pantry challenge, mostly fresh produce, but milk, yogurt and sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnips, cabbage, apples, and oranges, which will all last a month.  I will have to buy some dairy and fresh greens during the challenge, but I hope to keep it to that.

I am assuming, of course, that DS's doctor is able to get in.  Then the next day I have an eye exam that I had to wait month's for, so hopefully the eye doc will make it in as well.  Other parts of the county are still unplowed, so if they live outside of town or up on the hills, it may be a problem.  I need the exam yearly to make sure my retinas aren't turning yellow due to the drug I am on for fibromyalgia.  As well as an eye exam for glasses/possibly contacts if my perscription hasn't changed too much.  Insurance will only pay for lenses or contacts, not both.  I will go with glasses if too much has changed.  I'd just like to have contacts for the days I go out and have to wear my mask for a long time.  Glasses fog up no matter how carefully you put your mask on.

My family and I have made a pledge that we are going to try to all eat better in the coming year.  Of course we all hope for weight loss, so there will be a lot more vegetables and a lot less sugar and if we have sugar it will be honey in homemade items, not storebought.  I used to do this so much and would really like to get back to it.  In fact, I need to make a batch of bread tomorrow as we are down to two slices, which DH will have for his breakfast.  I'll have to go to the recipe category on my blog to find my bread recipe as it has been so long since I made any.  I know it is techincally not January, but I'd like to get in the habit now.

I don't remember if I mentioned it, but after two years being gluten free my daughter healed her gut and is allowed to eat wheat again, which makes my life so much easier.  We will still use gluten free pasta, but she is actually able to eat regular bread now, thank goodness.  We just can't overload her system with it by her eating it every day.  I make an awesome gluten free pizza crust, so we may stick with that, but the great thing is that if I run out of gelatine, I could just make a regular one.

Not really much else going on.  I did a little spending and bought two gallons of unscented hand soap and some OTC meds off Amazon that haven't been in the stores for a while.  That is the household envelope and the medical fund respectively, for the money.  Altogether it was $103.49.

Tonight I plan to work on setting up the January budget.  I still don't know when the raise will show up as it wasn't on the last paycheck.  DH might have some overtime, this week which will show up on the paycheck on the 7nth if it does, so I still won't know proper amounts, although we can probably figure it out from the pay stub.

DH has to go to California for a week for work.  It sucks.  I thought his travel days were over.  I hope that we are able to make it.  It is hard for him to go when my daughter and I are both at somewhat disabled.  All I can hope for is that I don't have a flare up of either of my autoimmune diseases and that my son will not have a manic episode while DH is gone.  It is pretty well controlled now with meds, but he still spirals once in a while.

I'm going to miss him so much.  When he was going back and forth to Alaska for years and years, it was all we knew, but now that he has been here for the last few years, I don't have the hardened attitude anymore.  But at least we have video calling now.  At least I will get to see his face while he is away.  I hope I am feeling better by then.  I wish this anti-depressant would start working already.

New Freezer Purchase, Christmas Bonus, Physical Therapy, and Mental Illness

December 19th, 2021 at 07:44 am

We purchased our new freezer today.  We decided on a 21.3 cubic foot capacity GE upright freezer.  I really didn't want to deal with Frigidaire again anytime soon and maybe for the rest of my life.  That was a nightmare experience we don't want to go through again.  I was just relieved that after a five month song and dance we finally got out money back from their lemon of a freezer.

We decided to get a five year parts and labor service contract.  If something goes wrong, they will deal with everything.  We won't have to spend hours and hours on the phone trying to find the right people to fix things.  They simply will.  I will never, ever by an appliance from a big box store again.  Customer service is important and worth the slightly higher price.

Anyway, the total cost of the freezer was $1392.52.  $112.63 of that was sales tax, yeesh.  And the service contract was $179.95 of it.  The freezer itself was $1049.  We only got back just under $900, so I took the rest out of our hog fund and we will just have to  build it back up again, or maybe buy half a hog to start instead of a whole one.

It won't come until sometime in February.  It could have been June, so not so bad.  Hopefully our freezer karma will improve and everything will go according to plan this time around.

DH found out what his bonus will be.  It's $1000, minus bonus taxes, so maybe $600 is what we will end up with and .75% of his eligible hours worked this year will be added to the 401k.  Eligible hours do not include paid vacation days or paid sick leave hours.  It should be aroudn $750 to $850, which is around what we put in every two weeks ourselves, so that will be nice.  The bonus check should arrive in the mail any day now.

DH also found out that they will be raising the matching to 3% next year.  It has been 2% this year.  I'm not sure if we'll ever get back to the pre-Covid 5%, but the fact that the company is doing a lot better this year than last year is a good thing and that 1% more will make a difference.  That and DH's raise, whenever that kicks in.  I am hoping on the next paycheck, but DH didn't think to ask that because he was just so blown away by the amount.

I had a good physical therapy session this week.  I was able to do every excercise he asked of me, a far cry from the week before when everything was hurting.  Everything still hurts, but at a much lower level, and I'm functional.

I also had an okay therapy session.  I kept talking around what I wanted to talk about, which I stated at the beginning of the session, but then kept avoiding it.  And then I'd catch myself avoiding and try to steer myself back, but...it was rough.  I've come to recognize that I have some PTSD from my abusive childhood, so facing some of the stuff that happened to me then is harder than I realized it would be.  Especially since I can't really let my anger out at the people who deserve it.  Hard to do that with a dead person and a person with early stage dementia.  But I need to stop using food to deal with it all.  Easier said then done.  It's been my coping mechanism for most of my life.

I wish the anti-depressant would hurry up and kick in.  I'm tired of feeling this way.  Mental illness is a B.  I could really use a bout of mania right about now.  Or even just a general feeling of okayness.  That'd be great, too.  I know I'm on the path to wellness, but it is taking too long.  I just want to be there already.  I just want to be me again.

What a Busy Week

December 5th, 2021 at 01:07 am

There were appointments every day this week and man was it exhausting.  I had two physical therapy sessions, one regular therapy session, one doctor's appointment for me, and one doctor's appointment for DD, who has bronchitis and a negative Covid test.  I've been put on prednisone for 10 days to try to help with some of the inflammation I've been having due to the rheumatoid arthritis acting up so much in this cold weather swing, so I am feeling semi-decent, even if I do look like a puffer fish.

Last night DH and I to Costco and did a big shop.  I used the ride on cart and we filled that basket, plus the basket of another shopping cart.  I haven't been to Costco in months.  We spent all but $50 of the grocery budget in one go, but I have lots of fruits and vegetables, some carne asada and two types of raviolis.  And 4 cases of PH water, which was nearly $50 of the cost. 

And 2 cases of Charmin.  It's the first time they've had Charmin in a couple of months according the cashier.  They had a limit of 5, though we only got 2.  We might go back for more later.  I like to keep 5 cases in the house during cold and flu season and we were down to one.  Charmin is the only TP we can use that doesn't have some harsh agent in it that causes a rash.  Well, that and MD but we can't find that anywhere for the last few years.  They might not make it anymore.

I was really excited to find some uncured paleo bacon (no sugar) and some uncured paleo Candian bacon.  And also a turkey and a roast beef deli meat pack with no sugar.  I am going to restart my diet on Monday.  I am not doing paleo, I just like to keep my high carb intake down to one meal a day, no more than 60 grams, and the other meals to be no sugar with lots of low carb vegetables.  I got a couple of salad kits, a Ceasar (won't eat the dressing or croutons, but others will) and a chopped Meditarrean salad mix that had a lot of crunchy veggies in it like cabbage, broccoli slaw, carrots, and non-romaine lettuce.  So I will mix those together.  I love salad and I make a simple dressing that has very low carbs, but tastes good.  I also stocked up a little on Kerrygold butter both salted and unsalted.

After that we headed out to storage with the truck to start bringing in our outdoor Christmas decorations.  The elk takes up almost the whole bed of the truck, but we were able to put the flat large ornament under it and tuck some other small things around it.  We had the bottled water back there, so there wasn't a ton of extra room.  Tonight we will be going back out to bring in the lamp post, the icicle lights, all the the other things like the star, the angel, the Cardnial, the Santa face, and the candy canes.  Plus the extension cords.

After we got home with the elk and put the groceries away and rested, we headed out to Lowe's.  We picked up a large room space heater for us and another one for Mom.  It has made a tremendous difference and I am no longer worried about the pipes freezing.  We heard from the furnace people and it might actually be two more weeks.

We picked up some more lights while there and got a new standee yard decoration.  This was a bear dressed in a band uniform sitting on a drum, so we call him a little drummer bear.  I try to buy one standee a year.  And we bought new lights for the bushes, because the solar ones just did not work well last winter.  Too much bad weather and too little sunshine.  We forgot to buy clips for the gutters though so we will go get those tonight when we go back out to storage.  Then hopefully tomorrow we can get the decorations up.  It's supposed to snow on Monday, so I'd like that done first.

At some point this weekend I'd like to go look for a freezer, too, now that the money has been refunded to us.  So thankfully that whole freezer saga is done.  Only took them 5 months.  If we can at least get one ordered that would be nice.

Oh, and we bought an electric blanket for DH since his quit working.  It should be here from Amazon on the 6th.

It has been spendy, but everything was either budgeted for or was saved up for, so it's all good.

I hope DH gets a decent Christmas bonus this year.  It would be cool if we could dump some more money into the EF.  They generally give a cash bonus and a 401K bonus.  Or you can choose to have the cash bonus go into your 401K, too, in which case the government doesn't get their greedy little paws on a huge chunk of the bonus (bonuses are taxed higher).  Last year the take home bonus was around $500, I think, but the year before it was $1500.  They supposedly did a lot better this year than last, so I am hopeful.

They are supposed to give out raises at the end of the year, too.  Not everyone is getting one, but it was strongly implied at DH's performance review that he would be.  I don't think any raise could keep up with runaway inflation right now, but anything would help.  It's not like DH doesn't have a good income, but when you put 15% into retirement and tithe 10%, that only leaves you with 75% to live on and that does make it tight sometimes.  It is like how we were living when we were paying down debt for the most part.

I guess that is the trade off, though.  Sacrifice now, so we don't have to sacrifice when we are in retirement.  I guess it just feels super tight because we had to set aside most of the money MIL gave us for medical expenses instead of just being able to use it.  But DS needs braces and DH needs a crown and I need a new mouth guard because mine is starting to crack.  Mine will only cost $400 though.  The crown will be $1500 and the braces I don't know yet, but I've got $6000 set aside for that.  I hope it won't cost that much, but that is what we paid for DD, although her teeth were way worse.

We need to get DS separated from the grocer's union so he can go get a restaurant job.  Did  you know that if you take a non-union job after joining that union that they can sue you?  That sucks.  He does not want to go back to work at a grocery store.  All the fast food places are hiring and they are non-union.  The McDonalds nearby is over $15.69 an hour for regular shifts and $16.69 for overnight shifts.  He was making $17.79 at the grocery store, so that's not too big a cut.  Plus he won't have to go outside much.  He had to get the carts at the grocery store and was always getting soaked, even with the rain jacket.

If he can get a job there it would be ideal.  Either that or the DQ that is a block away from the McD's.  He needs to start earning money so that he can get a car and then start saving up for school to become an electrician.  But first he has to get his GED.  Now that he is properly medicated for ADHD and BiPolar, he's got a chance of focusing long enough to do that.  Although I think McD's also has a program for getting your high school diplomma so he might be able to do that, too.  I'd prefer that to the GED, but at this point I just want him to finish.

Thanksgiving Prep and Happy Thanksgiving

November 25th, 2021 at 12:11 pm

It's 2:45 a.m. and I am still up doing Thanksgiving prep.  I just turned off the pressure oven (did not use the pressure setting) and left the door ajar, so my gluten free pumpkin cheesecake bars can cool for an hour before they go into the fridge and then I can go to bed.  The gluten free lemon bars were finished right after dinner.  I did up the gluten free stuffing so it can go into the turkey first thing in the morning and the potatoes are getting peeled and will go into water and into the fridge so they can be dumped and rinsed of starch before being cooked tomorrow.  I may do a dressing with gluten bread tomorrow if my hands still work, but maybe not.  We'll see.

I left my husband a detailed set of instructions for what to do when he gets up, so I can sleep in.  I don't do mornings, my joints take too long to warm up and function with the RA, and this is how we did it the last two years and it has worked out fine.  He's been in bed for a while now so he could get decent sleep.

My husband will go out to fetch mother in law about an hour before the turkey is done cooking and then he will call me when he is about to leaveher house so I can start on the gravy while my son prepares the green beans and canned corn.  Based on timing, they should get here as I am finishing up the gravy and then DH can mash the potatoes and cut the turkey and we are good to go.  It goes like clockwork when all goes well.

It's been a busy week and this week has had some medical revelations that did not really surprise me, just confirmed what I had figured for awhile.  One being that I have another as yet undiagnosed autoimmune disease.  It is not Sjogren's.  Further testing is required, but the rheumatologist is not going to do anything about it until my appointment in February.  I really don't think I have an expedient rheumatologist, but it is either this or go to Seattle.

As for the other, I'm not 100% sure yet, I see the doctor on the 30th and the therapist on the 1st.  The therapist was going to consult with the psychiatrist she works with and see about getting me on an anti-depressant right away, because I had one of the highest depression scores she's seen in years.

I heard on Tuesday from the doctor's office that they want to put me on a certain drug, but the doctor wants to meet with me to talk about it first.  I see him on the 30th and the therapist on the 1st.  I have my suspicions based on the drug and these are suspicions that have always been in the back of my head since I was thirteen, but I grew up with parents who don't believe in mental illness, despite sending me to a psychiatrist when I was fourteen.  Mom bullied him into telling her everything I'd said, I promptly quit talking to him, and she refused to have me medciated.  It took a lot for me to even decide to see a therapist now due to that, but the fact that we have HIPAA laws now and who would she tell helped.

We'll see if it turns out I am right.  I don't want to jump the gun.  Sometimes I think it would be great to finally have a diagnosis and other times I just don't want to know.

The furnace quit working.  They had to order a part.  We have space heaters and the gas fireplace so the house is warm, but it is kind of an irriatating thing to have happen right before Thanksgiving.

Oh, well.  The pumpkin bars are cooled now, so time to put them in the fridge and get to bed.  I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving.

 


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