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She Lives

August 8th, 2023 at 07:10 pm

I have tried to write about my experience in the hospital numerous times and one thing or another has led to my draft getting erased, usually be the computer restarting itself.  My computer is falling apart.  It has lost some screws so the hinge isn't working properly which sometimes knocks out the cord and I'm not getting a low battery warning.

Anyway, the angiogram was a horrible experience.  My arm and wrist are not back to normal 4 weeks later.  Driving hurts, writing with a pen hurts, using a stylus hurts, pulling out a drawer, using my phone, resting my head on my hand, carrying more than 2 pounds, typing (though not as bad as it was and okay if I use the brace), brushing and flossing my teeth, stirring food, and even flushing the toilet.  For the first two and a half weeks, bathroom hygiene was agony for my wrist and it shot up to my elbow and sometimes my shoulder.  And when they realized they couldn't get the catheter to my heart they took it out and burned me from wrist to 3 inches below the arm pit.  I guess they were cauterizing or something.

The problem was that my arteries (and my veins), even the main one in my arm, are too little for the catheter wire to reach my heart.  Or as the doctor put it, too delicate and small.  What was really bad, is that my arm never went numb with the local anesthetic they used the entire time the did the precedure.  I cried the whole time.  I told them I was in pain the whole time.  They kept giving me pain killer and muscle relaxants, which worked great for the rest of my body, but my arm never went numb during the procedure.

I almost screamed that my arm hurt.  That's when the doctor said give her more lidocaine and valium.  At that point they were still shoving the wire up my arm and I knew what was going on, but the valium had made it impossible for me to communicate coherently, other than to say ow.  But I knew what was going on.  Or thought I did.  Lidocaine is closely related to novacaine.  Novacaine takes 3 times longer than it should to work on me.  It takes 3 times as many shots.  And it wears off a lot faster than it should so requires more shots mid-procedure.  We've also tried meviticaine and same thing.  Lidocaine was acting exactly the same.  And it didn't start working until I was in recovery when they were dosing me heavily with pain killers and my arm went numb.

After they pulled the wire out, they went in through the groin artery and made it into my heart, but even that artery was smaller than it should be.  I didn't have any blockages, though.  What my problem was, is that with the small arteries and veins, my heart was having to work harder than it should have causing the pressure to be very high.  The enlargement was due to both the Covid virus, which any virus can effect the heart if it is bad enough and you have it for long enough like viral pnuemonia or influenza, and my heart working so hard.

I was fine up until the first time I had Covid in 2020 because I was still getting exercise by swimming and doing water aerobics, but after Covid 2020, it took me almost a year to recover.  I was short of breath all the time, they shut down the pool, so when I did feel good enough to exercise there was nowhere to go, and my back was getting worse due to not exercising.  Then they didn't want us going to the parks or anywhere to walk, but it was getting harder to walk anyway.  I didn't feel good, so I didn't cook.  We ordered takeout, so we ate more sodium, which made the blood pressure get higher.  It was a vicious cycle as I caught cold after cold with no resistance after Covid 2020.  I caught two mild cases of Covid, due to having the vacine make it milder. Which they say made the next mutation even worse.  If I hadn't caught those two, the last one wouldn't have knocked me down so hard.  But at the same time, my BIL nearly died from one of the times I had a mild case.  But he was unvaccinated, so who knows?

When I got a bad version of Covid again Thanksgiving of last year, everything got way worse.  No one could cook.  Every meal was from a can or a frozen meal or delivery.  The sodium was off the chart.  Which made my heart work harder and helped cause the enlargement.

The thing is, all along I knew there was something wrong with my heart.  I insisted on getting a heart monitor test a few months before I got Thanksgiving Covid, but it never seemed to pick up what I was feeling.  So they were like, la la la, nothing to do here.  And I knew.  I knew my body.  I knew.

The other thing that is wrong with me is that I have too much water in my blood, so I've been water restricted, or rather liquid restricted, to 2 liters a day.  And that is really hard for me because I was drinking 3 liters of water a day on a normal day and more on a hot day.  And that was just water.  So now I always feel thirsty and my throat is croaky after a couple minutes of talking and then painfully dries out.  I do better if I suck on ice.

I have had to reduce my sodium intake to 2000 mg.  That isn't just the amount of sodium I add to food while cooking, it includes the amount naturally occuring in food.  So that was pretty hard in the beginning.  Especially since the stuff that sets off my insulin is the stuff with almost no sodium and the stuff that doesn't is higher in sodium.

There are a couple restaurants I can still get food from, but I am holding off on that for a while.  Right now it is better to eat at home and since I have reduced my sodium, I feel like cooking.  Left-handed stirring is something I am getting used to even if it is still awkward.

Today I had an ultrasound done on my arm to see if there is anything going on due to the the catheter.  There's not.  But there is still a large raised bump in my wrist so I am sure some kind of tendon or ligament got damaged or something got dislocated.  Plus my thumb and index finger still have spots without full feeling in them.  Probably nerve damage according to the ultrasound tech.

I just want to know if I go to a bone doctor or a regular doctor or physical therapy or maybe a massage therapist if it is muscular.  It's been 4 weeks and I don't have a follow up with cardio for a week yet.  And that is not with the doctor, but with the PA.  But if I finally have someone who gets eyes on this thing, I might finally get some action.

I do feel better since reducing the fluids, reducing the sodium, and having my diuretic raised yet again, plus getting a much higher prescription strength calcium pill compared to my little on the shelf mineral supplement.  I still don't feel normal, but I have started taking little walks with my walker.  I can't do much yet.  I also am going out to the garden more regularly.  Everyone has been keeping it up for me since I can't really pick anything or pull any weeds.

I'm sorry for any typos.  It took me over a couple days to type this one, saving it in drafts this time.  I need to get ice on my wrist and will read through it later and fix them.  I just wanted to get something up to let you know I'm not dead yet.


It's Not my Lungs, it's my Heart

June 8th, 2023 at 04:28 am

So you may or may not have noticed that I haven't posted for a month and there is a reason for that.  I've had a series of tests on my lungs by pulmonary, and the breathing test showed that I couldn't blow out as hard the second blow as the first blow and then we waited and the same thing happened.  There were other test with the breathing and they weren't that great, but the damage wasn't really to the lungs, despite the shortness of breath that had been a near constant and the cough I can't ever seem to get rid of or my oxygen saturation being only 1% above COPD since 2020.

They had previously done two tests on my heart a couple of weeks before the breathing tests.  So I got the results of those as well as of the breathing tests on the day of the breathing tests.

An electrocardiogram (ECG, but sometimes referred to as an EKG) was first.  It was where they put some leads on you and monitor the electrical signals that make the heart beat.  That one was simple and painless and wasn't stressful at all.  

The second was an echocardiogram (you will hear it referred to as an echo on medical dramas) where they stick a transducer wand into your rib cage and press up hard under and into your breast and you really want to smack the technician because it hurts and you think he's going to break something.  I ended up with bruises.  It transmits and recieves sound waves that bounce off the heart and created an image and a sound on the screen.  He was having trouble with it making an image, so they ended up having to inject me with some chemical (gave me hives an hour later, had to take 6 Benadryl) to make it more visible or something.  Then he wasn't digging so hard into me.  It probably isn't so hard with men or flat-chested women.

Anyway, the news wasn't good.  I have an enlarged right chamber of the heart and my left chamber has a flow rate of 45% and it is supposed to be 55%.  She said I may have a blockage and maybe it can be removed or maybe they will have to put in a stent.  First they would have to do a stress test and since I can't do a treadmill test because of the hip and discs in my back, they will have to use chemicals to induce the same thing in me.  Oh, joy, more chemicals.

So they referred me to cardiology and I figured great, that'll be 3 months before I hear from them, because that's how long it took when I had to get the heart monitor and then an additional couple of weeks before I actually got an appointment to get it fitted and it turned out to be a big ball of nothing, even though I was absolutely sure something was going on with my heart.  Because there was, just not something that could be picked up on a monitor, hence me going to pulmonary.

But no, cardiology called me that night with an appointment on the 14th, which kind of freaked me out, because they moved that fast, which made me think it was even more serious than I was thinking, based on how long it took before.  But we were still under Covid restrictions before, so maybe it doesn't mean anything that I got an appointment in two weeks.

Anyway, the pulmonologist thinks the damage was either caused by Covid itself or possibly by a rare side effect of the vaccine I took, which was supposed to be the safest one, since I had these tests done back when I was fainting and my heart was fine then.  That was chocked up to be the aural migraines.  But those two debilitating bouts of Covid and maybe the two minor ones are the more likely causes of the heart thing in my mind. The vaccine could have thrown in its 2 cents worth as well, something about people with autoimmune diseases being more prone to that.  I think.  And I was kind of shocked, you know?

Most of the time when a viral infection damages the heart it does heal with time, but they know so little about Covid still, this version of it that was deliberately made worse and worse so they could study it, but seem to know nothing about the long term effects of it. What little they do know isn't good, she said.  I don't want to jump the gun, but it is hard not to think about it.  I've read some of the reports, because I'd rather go into this with my eyes open.

And it might not be Covid at all.  It could be my rheumatoid arthritis drugs damaging my heart.  Because they can.  So I might have to go off those and just live with constant pain.  Of course, I do anyway, but if I have to go off them, I'll have to live on pain pills and my doctor is super stingy with them.

The only really bright spot lately is that I found a prescribing nurse psychiatrist for my son and he's put him on a higher dose of his meds and they are extended release and he is doing so much better.  Once all this heart stuff is figured out, I will go and see him, too, because my meds are not right, either.

It's a lot.  It's really a lot.  It seems like there are only four or five people left on the blogs anymore.  But if those of you that are left could keep me in your prayers and thoughts, I'd appreciate it.  

April was Never so Welcome

April 2nd, 2023 at 12:57 pm

I am going into April with a positive mindset, because nothing can be as annoying as March was.  Everything broke in March except me.  The microwave quit working.  2 of the jars of potatoes I canned after I came out of my episode detailed below had the bottoms fall off and make a mess all over both canners.  They were 1976 jars so were old, but they've held up for a long time.  I think I will have to buy new jars this year.  My daughter fractured a bone in her foot, sprained both ankles, and hurt her knee and her hip in a fall when she lost her balance trying to kill a spider.

My son had a depressive spiral because the Adderall shortage means he goes 4 or 5 days every month without his medication, so withdrawal.  You can only renew those meds 2 days before they run out because they are a controlled substance, but it takes a week to fill orders because the pharmacy can only get one shipment a week and it goes to whoever has it backordered first.  It is screwing with a lot of people who have ADHD.  So that triggered his BP disease and he went down dark for a couple weeks.   And the government isn't allowing more of the medication to be made right now, because they suck and want to interfere with everything all the time.

Back to things that are broken.   One of the electrical outlets quit working.  And a giant tree branch from the neighbor's cedar tree broke off and fell on our swinging bench and broke the back of it.  It was old and I was thinking about getting a new one or replacing the slats on the old one with something stronger, although the bathroom rebuild derailed that for this year, but still.  Oh, and the plastic over the bathroom ceiling filled up with water and had a dead mouse in it, so we had to have someone come set poison out in the rafters because none of us can do it.

And we called the roofer to check for a leak and there was a loose shingle near a vent pipe, so he fixed it and put some sealing stuff around the pipe.  20 year warranties are so worth it.  So just one thing after another.  Hopefully the stuff put up there to keep mold from forming again works, because I hate to think the work that was done was undone by this stupid leak. 

I had my first full blown manic episode in years.  It lasted 3 weeks.  I've had a day or two of mania here and there, but not the full on psychosis with hallucinations and delusions.  I've never had it like that.  I mean I've hallucinated with migraines, but that was only visual and it was just colors and auras.  I've never heard voices or seen scary things.  Usually I just have a ton of energy and creativity.  The doctor upped my med by 100mg and I am fine now.  My husband had a field day dealing with two BP people at opposite ends of the disease at the same time, poor guy.

There is one positive from March in that I hit the losing 20 pounds mark.  No, actually there is two.  My last glucose blood test was 100.  99 is normal, so just one point away.  My doctor is really pleased with me, since I started at 139 and it has gone down so much with this diet.  That really helps me say I am just going to will positivity into April.

DH and I spent a lot of time yesterday planning out the fencing for Garden 2 along with where the gate placement will go.  It will have two gates, one on either side of the house.  That will be the first priority, because it will have the foods most likely to be eaten by dear.  The second priority will be fencing half of Garden 1 and putting in two gates there.  While I would like to fence all of Garden 1, that will be a longer term project and we have cages that go over the beds there.

So we will have a big expense with buying the 2 x 4's and 4x4's needed for the fencing and a big roll of chicken wire (150 feet), which is cheaper than fencing wire.  Wood prices have come down, but not as much as I would like, especially for treated lumber.  Then we will need 2 gate framing kits and the 2x2's for the gate, plus wood for the frame, plus a cattle panel to cut in half to make archway's to put the frames and gate in.  Plus I will need 8 more cattle panels so we can have a total of three rows of arched treillises.  We have 4 already.

I've been saving a lot of money for the garden projects.  I have $875 saved and once I go to Costco to get my rewards from my Costco Citi credit card, I will have an additional $898.  The 34¢ will just go in the coin jar.  So a total of $1773.  My MIL has a check for me for $30, not sure why, but she is giving us all $30 checks, and of course every payday I add my spending money of $50 to the garden fund so it grows.  I don't spend my spending money on anything.  The garden is where I get most of my enjoyment in life.  It's my hobby during spring, summer, and fall, so it is where my personal money goes.

If we need to we will spend the tax refund money on it, too.  DH still hasn't done our taxes so I am not sure what our refund will be, just that we are getting one.  We won't be able to deduct medical for 2022 as we didn't exceed the percentage needed to do so.  We probably will for 2023, though.  We did tithe 10% and contribute 15% to retirement, which helped lower our taxes quite a bit.  This year we are doing 16% and once we are dong saving up for the bathroom repair, I'd like to up it a little more.  Eventually, I want to get it to the point where we are maxing out the 401K and then using any extra money to put into Roth IRA's.

Or at least buy some solid dividend stocks.  I'd like to buy more Louisiana Pacific, because the quarterly dividend has gone up consistenly in the last 2 years despite the stock market being erratic and before that it was nice and level at least.  I'd like to get some other reliable dividend stocks like Coca Cola and other blue chips.  I also wouldn't mind saving up a year's income in the Emergency Fund and for a vacation to Hawaii.

Of course I'm already saving up for a vacation to Hawaii.  That envelope has a whopping $35 in it.  My electric vehicle fund also has $35 in it.  I know those are far future goals, but I am trying to put small amounts in there.  When they get a big enough amount of money in them I will create sub accounts at the bank and transfer them in.  I don't like keeping a lot of money in the house, except some emergency money in the ammunition safe I inherited from my dad, which has enough room for my budget binders, too, so none of my envelopes sit out. 

We are going to have to buy or make a lot of tomato cages, though, since I plan on planting 30 tomato plants this year.  Maybe more if I have the space.  I need to can a lot of tomato sauce and I'd rather grow than buy tomatoes for it, since organic tomatoes are expensive.  Since they are a dirty dozen food, I'd really rather have organic.

I have 4 aluminum raised bed kits that will be shipping mid-April.  So far the shipping labels have been printed for 3 of them.  I really hope they aren't waiting on the fourth one befor they ship.  I really wanted to get another 2, but I am not sure I will have the money for it this year with all the fencing needed.  It may have to wait a year.

The deer have been a real problem already.  I had two really big, pregnant does standing in one of my raised beds a couple days ago.  My raised beds are two feet tall.  I don't know what the heck they thought they were doing.  These are probably the same ones who were bedding down in my onions last year.  It was the same bed.  And they are leaving scat all over the back yard.  I've almost stepped in it about 5 times.

I need to put the cages back on the beds, but the stakes that held them in place have wandered off so I need to find them.  I'm sure DH took them for some other project and forgot to put them back.  He is really bad at putting things back where he found them or where they belong.  Tape measures are his biggest issue.  We have 5 tape measures and they each have a designated spot.  2 in the house and 3 in the garage.  Are they ever in their spots?  Nope.  I had to buy my own screwdriver set and keep it in my room, because he lost most of the house set.  I don't let him borrow it.

I hope to get the fencing up before the deer decide to have their babies in my yard.  I don't want to freak out mother or scare them away from their fawns.  It's not overgrown back there this year, though, so it is far less likely.  No places to hide.  And we will be taking down the apple tree, so there will be no late fall source of food, either, to attract them back.  Without anything to eat, hopefully they will find another yard to bother.

We will work on more fencing throughout the summer and fall and try to get the entire area that is currently in gardens and the area that will be turning into gardens in the next year or two completely fenced off.  I don't think I will be able to contribute too much more money to the project this year.  I am saving up for the steer still.  I have $1470 and I want to have $2500 just to be on the safe side.  It will probably be closer to $2200.  I need it by July.  Whatever I don't need will be rolled over into the bathroom rebuild fund, which currently has $450.

I may borrow from the Emergency Fund just so we can get the walls and ceiling put up, painted, the lighting and electric turned on, the ceiling fixture picked out, the flooring put in, and the sink cabinet and sink and toilet put in.  And a new door, but that can probably wait a while.  We double checked with the mold guy and he said he didn't detect any mold on the door.  But it is very warped so eventually it will get changed.

Doing the shower can definitely wait.  I'll buy all the tile at once, though, so that if they discontinue it, I'll still have it for the shower.  We changed our minds on the tile design we want, though.  We found something we liked better and it was cheaper, too.  I am still looking to see if I find anything I like better, since we sitll have time.  DH is building the sink cabinet and we want a new sink, not to put the ugly old one that my mother picked out back on.  But that is not too expensive, I've priced the one I want.  I'm still trying to find a faucet that I like, though.  I might just go with a kitchen faucet instead of a bathroom one, because they have a nicer selection and it will be taller for a basin sink.

Well, that about wraps it up.  After not posting for a month, I wrote a book.



The Last of the Black Mold is Out and Son's Sinus Surgery Results

February 21st, 2023 at 09:08 am

The last of the black mold has been removed from the attic and the area was all treated, so I just need to transfer $782 from the emergency fund to pay the credit card and that part of the black mold disaster is over and we can decide whether or not it is worth it to submit a claim to the insurance or not.  The new policy starts April 1st and the rates went up $200, so it will not cost $1000 a year instead of $800.  The year before that they were $600.  Way to go Washington state insurance commissioner, looking out for the people, as always.

There has never been a claim submitted on this homeowner's insurance in all the decades my mom has had it, but we just know they will jack the premiums to kingdom come if we put in a claim.  So we need to figure out if it will be worth it.  So far, the costs have been close to $6000, but the insurance may not pay the $850 for the dumpster rental, so maybe $4550.

Then there will be the cost of replacing the bathroom that was torn out and they will pay the minimum they can get away with, so it will probably be the cheapest sink, cabinet, shower/tub, walls, paint, flooring, toilet, light fixture, door, water resistant drywall, etc. on the market they will reimburse, not what we will actually spend on it.  We can't actually put a shower/tub combo in, because the house was built around the original one and you can't fit one through the doorway, even with the door and frame off.

So we will have to do a tile shower that runs the area the old combo was in, because the way the space is set up, you can't put in a corner shower and get into it without blocking the toilet the one way or climbing over the toilet to get into the shower the other way.  It is a small bathroom.  And if we put it in straight, we'd have to build a wall, making the shower area two narrow for a fiberglass one and also being right up against the toilet, which violates building codes.  A tile shower will be better in keeping mold at bay anyway.  I don't know if they will pay for any tile, and definitely they won't pay for the price of the tile we want, but anything towards it would be good.

Then they will want to know why we can't use the old toilet and the old sink.  Which we could use the old sink, but the cabinet that held it was infected with mold, so we'd have to get a custom made cabinet which would cost more than a new sink and regular cabinet.  And the toilet needed to be replaced, so we might be out on that one.  But they had to cut up the shower/tub to get it out.

I'd say if they will pay $8,000 or so then it is worth it for the claim, but otherwise, probably not.  There is $1000 deductible, so we are out that regardless.  I am hoping to cash flow some of this.  I don't want to run the emergency fund into the ground.  I'd be happy to get the bathroom finished enough to have the the flooring, sink, and toilet in, and the walls painted, and then we can use it while we wait on the shower until we have the money to start working on that.

This was really not the way I wanted to start out the new year.  It's not all bad, though.  My son had his sinus surgery and it went way better than the doctor expected.  The doctor had thought that at the most he would have a 40% tops improvement in his breathing, but he wouldn't know until he got in there.

Well, when he got in there, though, there was a lot more cartilege to work with than he thought and he was able to repair the collapse with that and barely had to use any artifical cartilege at all.  They didn't even have to pack it.  The doctor is confident that he should see somewhere from 90 to 100% improvement.

Tomorrow will be one week out and even though his nose is still swollen, he is breathing so much better.  He can take the tape off tomorrow.  We won't know if it has changed the shape of his nose or not until all the swelling goes down, but the doctor seemed to think it would just make him symmetrical again.  We go back in another 3 weeks for a follow up,  and since it will be his birthday we will stop at the Red Lobster on the way home for his birthday dinner.  It'll be the first time I've set foot in a restuarant in...well, I can't even remember when.  I need to remember to put that in the next budget.

Black Mold Bathroom Demolition

February 7th, 2023 at 10:12 am

It's been a long several days, but we got to come back to our house on Saturday and it was so nice sleeping in our own beds again.  Next time we will definitely spring for the nicer hotel with hopefully better beds, but we did not know how long we were going to have to stay away for and there isn't really any family we can stay for that is set up for more than one person and still be near DH's work, and of course the kids had doctor appointments.  Thankfully, it was not too many days.

I was just grateful the city was able to put us in touch with someone so quickly.  One day it was just some weird orange mildew on the ceiling and the next week there were black splotches creeping down the walls.  We had to have the floors and walls completely gutted.  We had been planning on replacing the toilet anyway and the shower/tub combo had to come out because we had to see if there was mold behind it.  The sink, cupboard the held the sink, and the cabinet the held the mirror all had to come off, because the wood was probably infected with mold spores.  We will also have to be replacing the door and frame and all the trim.

Fortunately the floor tested negative for mold spores.  The floor was a little squishy around where the toilet had been from the leak we were going to replace the cracked toilet for (we had caulked it), so we will have to replace about 1 foot of floor, but so much better than it could have been.  All of the studs in the walls are free of mold.  They put the stuff that is supposed to keep mold from growing on it onto it.  Mold remediation alone is $1500 and tear out was on top of that.  We had to go half and half with Mom on it and our share is $1925, but some of that was dumpster rental, which I think was $850, but we have it for the month, so we can finish filling it up and there are a lot of things around here that can go.

Anyway, the costs are a big Ouch.  That'll be quite a hit to our emergency fund, but I don't know what bigger emergency there is than getting black mold out of the house.  Bad news is there is still more, but it is up in the crawl space.  It is closed off from the rest of the house and it is where the roof leak was that my mom refused to believe was a roof leak for two weeks and blamed on my son's showers being too long just causing the vent to drip water, at least until the storm that caused a five gallon bucket to half fill with water in six hours.  So that has quietly been growing for a couple years

That will have to get fixed next.  The guy said it wasn't too bad, but since it had to be a separate job, it would be at least another $1500, plus taxes, but it can be completely taken care of by mold remediation, nothing will have to come out.  It's just a flat fee of $1500 per job.  Sucks, but it's not a DIY thing and we did do a quick shop around and most places were higher and the city did not recommend those and honestly, neither did a lot of the congregator websites.  Most reviews and the city said the others did shoddy work and these people guarantee their work for 10 years barring further roof leaks.  So for us, that will be $750 more.

It's rough when we were just starting to put money back into the Emergency Fund, but we have to do what we have to do.  I am not going to use my spending money that I have been saving for a year and last year's and this year's birthday money and my Christmas present money on this.  Everyone else got to spend theirs through the whole year and I have given up my stuff for other people too many times when I am saving for a goal and I am not going to give it up for this.  So I am making other plans to try to cash flow some of this without taking too much from the EF.  I can stop contributing to it, but I want to not pull too much.  So for Feburary I will at least have that $500.

I have already made plans to purchase a beef in July so I am locked into that, so I can't change that.  I have to keep putting money away for that.  He is charging the same amount per pound this year as last.  He put away plenty of his own hay last year so he did not have to buy any feed, so his prices have remained stable.  Kill fee, cut and wrap have gone up, but I know how by how much, so I can budget that and it allows me to figure out where else in the budget I can pull from.  This is from things that are primarily wants that we were finally going to get to this year.

In March I was going to save $650 towards a propane grill and put $500 for the Emergency Fund.  That $1150 will go towards the bathroom.  April is a three paycheck month.  The plan there was $500 to go to the Emergency Fund and $2000 to go for the first family vacation since 2013 (I think).  What's one more year on the vacation? *sighs*  So that's $2500 more for the bathroom.  So far we are $3650.  In May the plan was to spend $850 on outdoor summer furniture and $500 to the Emergency Fund or $1350.  Now our total is $5000.  In June I would have put $500 towards the family vacation, $500 towards the Emergency Fund, and $638 towards a Snowblower.  That brings us to $6638.

I think we can manage on that, but I know these things always run high.  If worst comes to worst, we will get the walls and ceiling built and mudded and paid for.  That will keep the house solid again.  DH can do the light switch and the light and we can take off the door and frame.  Then the people who screwed up the paint last time and caused part of the problem with the orange mildew and doing mold remediation incorrectly (or possibly not at all as the new people said they saw no evidence of it being done) will be coming back to repaint it for free, which will seal the room.  We can pick out a light fixture and be done with that.

Our next priority will be to get the plumbing, floor tiling, toilet, sink, shower pan, and shower floor tiling done.  I'm not quite sure in what order that has to go with the floor tiling and the toilet and sink plumbing, but I know the shower pan has to be installed by a plumber.  We have the tile picked out for the shower walls and the tile picked out for the bathroom floor and shower floor which match and I have picked out the sink vessel I want and am narrowing down the faucet.  A vessel sits on top of a cabinet instead of down inside it like a traditional sink.

DH is going to build the cabinet for the vessel to sit on, so we can have something solid instead of the easily breakable cardboard and not really wood stuff they make these things out of today.  And it will have a sturdy roll out step stool in the bottom, because my son and husband use that bathroom the most and would like a taller sink to wash up in.  They have some beautiful non-wood-colored stains these days if I can't find a natural wood finish I like.  One of the bathrooms and the main kitchen have solid wood pine cabinets with a pine varnish already, but I'm not sure if that is the look I am going for.  I don't want to do white, but I need something that will go really well with the blues and greens of the sink.

It's going to take a lot of time, but as long as we get it to where we can use the toilet and the sink, the rest can take time.  There are still three other bathrooms in this house.


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 household 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.


All Over the Place

September 13th, 2022 at 11:12 pm

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 03:25 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 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.

A lot of This, Some of That

March 2nd, 2022 at 01:10 am

I woke up feeling better today.  I slept in until 11:30 instead of 3:00 p.m. and was far less stuffy.  My voice still is scratchy when I talk, but my throat doesn't hurt.  Let's hope it's not a false spring situation where everything is starting to bud and then boom snow, like last week.  That's how this illness has been.  I know it is technically still winter, but you get my point.  But I got up, drank my water, and did my physical therapy exercises, plus some arm exercises I do to strengthen my shoulders.  It only takes 15 minutes, but when I am well I do them twice a day, so I get 30 minutes of exercise a day.  As I improve, I can start doing them 3 times per day.

After that I made lunch.  And not just soup.  I made stir-fry, which involves chopping things.  I don't remember the last time I made real food not out of a can and I didn't even do much of that the last 6 weeks.  DH did a little cooking, usually spaghetti, but mostly it was take out.  And I could really feel how detrimental that was to my body.  Not to mention how detrimental this has been to our bank account.  I mean, if it wasn't for the overtime we wouldn't be breaking even.  When I think where that money could have gone...well, I try not to, because that dog has already bitten someone.

After this recent bout of illness I am determined to change my health through proper nutrition and whatever exercise I can do.  I can't continue on this way with my weight.  I am literally killing my body.  My nutritionist has said to cut out a lot of carbs, but fat from dairy, tallow, lard, schmaltz, duck fat, goose fat, or healthy oils is fine. So when we do get our pig, I will get and render the leaf lard.  I'm going to make some ghee to make the butter shelf stable.  My nutritionist says that the government did the USA a world of hurt with it's old dietary recommendations for diabetics, people with heart disease, and extreme obesity.  That's why so few people actually got better on those diets and why so much more medical intervention was required.  Maybe 10% improved with a low fat diet.  I've believed that for a long time.

So I am cutting out sugar except on birthdays or holidays and replacing it with fruit, but only one serving of fruit a day.  And lots of vegetables and good quality protein.  If I have a starch it'll be a potato, sweet potato, winter squash, nuts, rice, or brown rice pasta.  I'm not the biggest fan of rice, but the family does like it.  Brown rice pasta is good, though and we have a lot of it to get through before I buy regular pasta again, if I can even find any.  The store shelves have been pretty bare of spaghetti or anything other than a few boxes of elbow macaroni, according to DH.  Pasta's not an end all for my family, though, and I can make noodles from scratch if I feel up to it.

I think I will try to avoid flour for a couple of weeks until the ball is firmly rolling and may then have it once a week in place of a starch, mostly so I can still have a slice of pizza here and there.  Depends on how good I feel.  I make a good gluten free pizza, though.  Either way, I pile on the vegetables and meat and cheese on my pizza anyway, and roll it quite thin, so it is pretty balanced, and add a salad.  In the summer I might allow corn, but it is extremely sweet and a grain so I'd have to be careful.  I will allow corn tortillas, but limited to once a week or less.

I would also like to eat more seafood.  We still have quite a bit of salmon and bags of spot prawns in the freezer that I need to get through before those seasons start up again and we'll have new stuff to put away.  DH has talked about maybe going for mussels, clams, and oysters this year and and also get the add on for gathering seaweed.  Seaweed is great in the garden when you are building new beds or for your compost heaps and is easy to harvest after a high tide as there is lots of dead stuff.  It doesn't have to be alive like for eating, it can just be what washes ashore.  He'll need to lose some weight, though, to be agile enough to do much of that. 

One day it would be fun to go for geoducks, (prounounced gooey ducks for non-coastal Washington and Oregon people), which I believe is the biggest of the clams in the world.  We'd have to buy a clam gun, though.  Which isn't an actual gun, but you can look that up if you are interested in knowing what it is.  It would be useful for other clams, too, but I'd have to look up the regulations on that.  It might be allowed only for geoducks.  My son would have to do the actual getting down in the sound and sticking your arm down the hole the clam gun leaves, but he says it sounds like fun.

I've been reading and thinking about growing my own peppercorns.  The same plant produces white, black, pink, green, and red peppers.  It depends on the level of maturity of the peppercorns.  It can be grown indoors, so I am thinking of trying it in a pot this summer that can be brought in when fall starts.  That may have to wait until next year.  The next time DH goes out fishing or prawning, I will have him bring back a couple of gallons of salt water as I want to try making salt, too.  As many spices and herbs as I can grow or forage, is what I think.  Has the salt shortage hit your grocery stores yet?  I have a good amount in my preps, but I want to know I can make it.  My food storage may be great, but I can't think how miserable it would be without herbs and spices to season it with. 

I have decided the family is going to eat like me or fend for themselves.  We all need to lose weight and this is how it is going to be.  I'm sick of their bad food habits dragging me down every time I try to get my diet under control.  I won't buy junk.  My son is on board.  The others are paying it lip service.  We will see.  I don't want to fail this time.  I can't afford to anymore.

Today was a beautiful day and 55 degrees F.  I did take a short walk out to the garage and back.  It doesn't sound like much, but it's a start.  Maybe tomorrow I can do to the end of the driveway and back, weather permitting.  That's even longer.  I know that sounds sad, but for someone with two deviated discs in her lower spine, it's a lot of progress.  And I'm back to no cane.  So yay, me.

Also, I noticed the garlic was up about 3 inches and last week's snow didn't seem to do it much harm.  It was only here a day, though.  It looks like every single bulb I planted came up, so kudos to Fedco (for the Music garlic) and the grocery store (for the elephant garlic).  There are only a couple of weeds in the raised beds, which I will pull next time I go outside.  I didn't want to get my hands dirty and my garden gloves and shovel were on the porch.

I need to think up a meal plan with this new diet.  Good, healthy, tasty food that doesn't make us feel like we are giving anything up.  Tonight's dinner, at least, I know.  Rib steak, yellow potatoes, and green beans.


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, 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.


November 17th, 2021 at 02:48 am

Today was bright and sunny as the flood waters from the last several days of storming began to recede.  Yesterday the water in the basement covered the bottom step and was about halfway up the first step.  I've never, ever seen that happen and I've lived in this house off and on since I was 4 years old.  Two of the sump pumps stopped working, but the other one did.  We have them set up to go directly into the sewer line, but with two of them completely submerged they must have shorted out.  It's going down, but it might take a few days.  That's a lot of water to move.

We don't keep anything down there, except the tankless hot water heater, which is well above it and some old shelves that are mostly empty except the canners which are on chest-heigh shelves.  And an ancient, unworking chest freezer.  And that's because of the flooding always having been an issue.  We've tried to fix it, but I think it is going to require a lot of dirt and concrete.  The problem is their is an old set of stairs under the house, which was originally an outdoor opening to the basement.  But Mom and Dad never had it filled in, they just built the addition over the top of it, thus creating a low spot where water can run down into the basement.

So I think the solution there is to fill it in with dirt so the water has no place to get into the basement, which will mean removing the outside stairs and taking buckets or bags of fill dirt down the inside stairs to fill that in, or maybe sand bags, and then building a form and filling the old doorway in with concrete or using cinder blocks and filling them in with concrete and then mortaring them into place.  If we don't fill it in with dirt, water would just collect behind the wall and if enough water did that, it would put a lot of pressure on the new wall.  I'd love to just fill it all in with concrete, which is what they should have done before they built a house over it, but I don't think there is any way that is possible, other than one bag at a time and that is so expensive.  Fill dirt we can get for free.

My parents have cut so many corners with this house, with the additions, with the wiring, to save money.  Now it is stuff we will have to deal with fixing for who knows how many more years.  I would really like a flood free, useable basement one day.  I'd like to use it as a root cellar, but can't if this issue isn't solved.

I had my second physical therapy session today and my first one since I fainted and fell on the floor last Thursday.  I did okay.  I'm still stiff and sore, especially in the hips, but also the knees, elbows, and wrists, which took the brunt of the impact.  I still feel bruised on one side.  Although I hit my head I'd slowed down my fall so much that it didn't leave a bump or bruise and definitely no concussion.  I am thinking quite clearly.

My referral has finally gone through so I can see the neurologist to see if we can get to the bottom of these fainting spells.  I need to remember to call and make an appointment.  I am starting to wonder if it isn't late onset epilepsy.  It could just be migraine onset, but I didn't have a migraine with this last one.  I had a lot of the symptoms, but no headache.  Maybe my body was too busy being in pain everywhere else.  I have been very careful about eating, but I don't think it is a blood sugar issue.  I guess we'll find out.

Tomorrow I start mental health therapy for the first time since I was fourteen.  It will be interesting to see how that goes.  I don't trust therapists due to what happened to me as a kid, but my daughter had this one and really liked her so that helps a lot to ease some of my fears.  Still, I need to get on some sort of medication for depression, so it has to be done.  It's an eight week program and I don't have to do the full program to be medicated.  I really hope it goes well.  My stress levels are at an all time high and I can't really let it out at home.

Then on Friday I see the doctor for my yearly wellness exam and he fills out the paper to send into my insurance for the discount for having a yearly wellness exam.  DH has his in a couple of weeks.  The kids don't have to do it for the insurance, but they still get them.

I'll also take my turkey out to thaw on Friday.  We want it thawed a little early so we can do a 24 hour brine.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, but I am going to need a lot of help this year to pull it off.

I Think Next Time I'll Just Wait

January 29th, 2021 at 02:30 am

With all of DH's messing around trying to figure out our taxes and freaking me out about owing taxes, once he actually got his forms from work with all the real numbers, we don't owe.  I couldn't figure out how we would have based on our withholdings, but at least we have the answer now.  He was just wrong.  Next time I'm just going to wait and not let him jump the gun and get me all worried for nothing.

We will be getting back around $800 and I'd like to ear mark some of that for the garden.  Not all of it, though.  Mom is getting all weird about the house and talking about splitting it three ways again instead of giving us the house and each sister getting $100K from a mortgage we would take out on it, so we've decided to precede as if we aren't getting the house after all.  I should have known she'd break her word.

It's hers to do what she wants with, even though my sisters have done nothing for her all these years.  She doesn't care about the fairness of that all being on me anymore, but suddenly she's worried about fairness in estate planning.  So I'm not going to build the cinderblock garden I had planned on if I don't get to use it for the rest of my life.  We'll use free pallet wood instead, paint it with linseed oil to protect it from the elements, and line it with black plastic to protect the inside wood from the dirt.  Each wall panel will be easily replaceable in the future as the dirt will hold it's shape if the wood is removed from one side.

I am trying to pray and be pragmatic, but I am getting awfully tired of Mom taking us for granted.

Hopefully we can get the 6 month EF fully funded by the end of the year and start working on a down payment for a house.  I know it'll take a long, long time, but hopefully we will have enough time before my mom dies that we can go into a house purchase and move before that happens without having to rent.

Stolen Account

January 18th, 2021 at 03:29 am

I had my Hulu account stolen on the 16th, but didn't notice until today when my daughter tried to log in and couldn't.  It turned out someone had hacked my account, changed the email address and the password.  I wish these companies would get it together with their data breaches.  Anyway, I called Hulu and got it straightened out and made a ridiculously strong new password I will never remember, but I have a passwords file so in it went.

After banging my head against the wall for awhile waiting for a reset password link to be sent that was never sent, I decided to search my email and for some reason the last message they sent me was in the spam folder.  Hulu should never go to spam as it is on my white list.  That's how I found out.  It made me wonder if somehow they had gotten into my email as well, so I changed the password on that, too, again with a ridiculous password.

Whoever did it signed us up for Disney Plus and the Espn package, so I got those taken off and we'll get a refund for the $5.01 that had been charged so far.  I don't watch Hulu much, so if it hadn't been for someone else in the family wanting to watch it today, it could have been a long time before I figured it out.

These companies really need to get on top of their cyber security.  As annoying as it is, I think I am going to start changing all passwords quarterly and no more easy to remember ones at all.  Numbers and letters mixed are not enough anymore.  Lots of symbols going in.

I'm glad there was no issue in refunding us.

Change of Plans

January 10th, 2021 at 02:38 am

What is that old expression about making plans and then God laughing at them?  Well, my plans for 2021 just got thrown for a loop.  Not completely, and it is something we can cash flow through March for, but it means only putting $195 a month into the Emergency Fund.  For the first time ever we will be owing taxes.

It isn't an exact amount just yet, and won't be until DH gets his W-2, but with the numbers we do have, he estimated we will need to pay $2304 in taxes.  It might vary.  That means saving $768 a month for the next three months.  The only place to take that money from was what we planned to put into the Emergency Fund.

If I want to hit our goal of six month's expenses by the end of the year, that means I will need to save $1018.55 a month from April through December.  What I had budgeted for was $950 a month before all this.  So that is a shortfall of $68.55 a month or $616.95 total.  We might be able to make up for that on 3 paycheck months where medical would not be taken out so the checks are bigger.  There is one in April and one in October this year.  I would know how much it would be by April to know if it was enough in October to make up that difference.  If not, I'll just have to find the money somewhere.

I'm not sure what our tax situation will be for 2021.  We will be almost maxing out our 401K which one would think would lower our taxes by quite a lot.  We only did 5% in 2020 and are doing 15% this year, which is $17,160.  The max is $17,500 for 2021, although since we are over 50 we could do the catch up rate of $19,500.  But we're not, at least not this year.  Once we have our six month's expenses saved, the plan for 2022 is to max out to the catch up rate if we can.

I don't know if they will eliminate that tax cut Trump put in or not, but if they do that will affect everything, too, so until we see what they will do in Congress, it is kind of tilting at windmills to even try to think about taxes for 2021.  Of course, that drives my planner's mind crazy.  I am going forward assuming it will be eliminated, though.

I guess if we do have to pay taxes in 2021, we will probably be fine just doing what we are doing this time, altering the budget to cashflow the taxes.

You know what?  I am so grateful we have no debt.  So, so grateful.  This would have made me so upset a year ago, but now we can just absorb it.  Yes, it makes me annoyed, I don't like change, but not "Oh, my gosh, what are we going to do?" freaked out.  I knew exactly what we could do and how to manage it without even blinking.  That peace of mind, after so many years under the burden of debt, is priceless.

I don't know if I mentioned here about my little grand niece, but she was in the ICU at Children's for a couple of days, then one day out of the ICU and today she got to go home, but she's still not great, just not life-threatening anymore.  There is something wrong with her blood sugar, like she's not absorbing enough sugar or something and it just got so bad because she stopped drinking for a day and got dehydrated.  They had genetic testing done, but won't get that back for a week or so.  Meanwhile they gave my nephew and his wife some sugar paste that absorbs directly into her gums if she won't drink enough juice to keep it up.  They haven't mentioned diabetes at all, so I don't think that is the issue.  Hopefully they will get it figured out soon.

Are We Working Yet?

October 22nd, 2020 at 07:51 pm


Getting Ready for My Sister to Move in

October 9th, 2020 at 11:28 pm

My plan for the weekend is to get the rest of the potatoes dug, so I can get them curing for 3 weeks so we can bag them up and store them in the basement. We also need to move the piano from the great room to the living room. My sister will be moving into the great room soon. She's not going to have an easy time of living here. There won't be any privacy for her and Mom is already making things difficult, not wanting to give up an inch more of space than she has to. She's always been kind of stingy with space, like that. It took us years to actually have full use of the cabinets in our own kitchen.

Mom is a bit of a pack rat. She holds onto things well past when she should. She still has a lot of my dad's clothes and he's been dead for years. She's also been hanging onto my Dad's dresser. Not because she needs it, it is empty, but because it was his. It takes up a lot of space, though. I get that it holds sentimental value, I suppose, but its been like 10 years. She won't let anyone refurbish it and use it, either. It's a nice, solid wood dresser, but it is very dark. We would have liked to have stripped it and done a nice pine colored varnish or a pretty paint or something and actually used it, but she's a little irrational about that idea. Bringing it into this century would make it useful.

She also needs to get rid of some books that were Dad's, but won't. He read a lot of westerns. Mom doesn't read westerns and no one else does either. Mom doesn't really read much at all. She still has all of her books from college, which she went to in the 60's. I don't even have all my books from college. I kept the history book. She says she'll never read any of them again, but she doesn't want to give them away.

She also has a bunch of dresses from the 80's she doesn't want to part with. Like ten of them. She'd have to lose 100 pounds to wear them again, which is never going to happen, the woman lives on carbs and won't touch most vegetables, but she is keeping them because she might lose the weight. At 81, I don't see that as happening. And yet she goes on to complain that she doesn't have enough space in her closet. She has two closets, plus one in the upstairs full of useless clothes.

She's said over and over she doesn't want to leave a bunch of stuff in the house for us to have to deal with when she dies, but then she holds onto it with a vice grip. It's weird and maybe a mental issue. I figure there will just be a lot we have to deal with when the time comes.

There has not been much going on in the financial realm for me this week. It's been 7 days since the last time I spent any money. I've been working on the pantry, or rather, on filling it. There was a great sale last Friday on chuck roast, so I canned 10 quarts of chuck roast and 2 pints of chuck roast. And I helped Mom with 9 pints of chuck roast for herself. Meat takes a long time, so there is a lot of baby-sitting the canner involved. It's about half an hour waiting for it to vent, 10 minutes venting time, 5 to pressurize, 90 cooking time, and then a half hour to come down from pressure, and 10 minutes with the lid cracked to equalize to room temperature before taking them out. A regular canner will hold 7 quarts or 8 wide mouth pints or 9 narrow mouth pints. So it was a lot of work and wait time. And that doesn't even include the amount of time to cut all the meat up.

There is a new sale on chuck roast at a different store this week, so I will break my no spend streak and pick up some more roasts. Depending on the limit, I'd like to get at least 4 for a canner load, or 8 if they will let me for a double canner load. Fred Meyer didn't have any limits, but Safeway usually does. Right now I have sixteen jars on the shelf, but I would like to double that before winter hits. I also want to do at least another 14 jars of chicken.

Today, however, I have to do tomatoes. I cut them up last night, so all I need to do today is heat them, fill the jars, and get on with it. Tomatoes are quick in the pressure canner, just 25 minutes for pints (plus all the wait time at the beginning), so they are not a several hour process.

I also think I have enough green beans for 4 pints, so will hopefully get that done tomorrow. There might be enough still in the garden to pick more. We have gotten nowhere near a frost yet and they will keep producing right up until. If we are lucky we will have a late frost. Generally it is on Halloween, but there have been years we didn't get one until Thanksgiving. The tomatoes have slowed way down, though, because the nights have been in the 50's and they don't like that. I am tempted to just go strip them and let them ripen in the house, so I can be done with that part of the garden.

It has definitely turned into sweater weather here. Long pants and socks, too. So far we have not turned on the heater or the heated blankets, but I have added a second blanket to the bed. It is also getting to the point where I have to wear my hair down and not up or the back of my neck and shoulders is goosebumpy. The leaves are turning and we have some really pretty yellow ones going on right now. The red and orange ones usually take longer to show. The roses are still blooming, though. It is very pretty. Stew weather is here. I think that's what I'll make for dinner tonight.

Why I Lost my Cool

September 18th, 2020 at 01:21 am

Okay, I've had a few days to think about it, and some encouragement from you guys, and if I let these people drive me off my blog, they win. I want to say right out that this was not caused by any regular bloggers or regular comment leavers. Even if I don't agree with the regulars sometimes, I can deal with their comments.

This was caused by a few people who are not regular recognized comment leavers who took it upon themselves over the last two years to go through and leave comments on nearly every blog entry I have made. I only know comments are left if it is an entry I have responded to and then SA sends me a notification. If it is an entry I never responded in the comments to, I don't know they've left it.

I have been working on going through every entry to remove these comments for the last two months. That's 3299 entries and a lot of time spent. A little more because I outright deleted a few of the posts. Then I found out some of them had started all over again. I just got so frustrated because I have been working so hard to clean this up.

A lot of these comments have been political, far left political, even though for the most part I keep my moderate political views off my blog. Once in a while I will say something and it just seems to trigger a new round. That happened after the post I wrote about the fires and ended up deleting. I wish we could moderate our comments here like you can on nearly every blogging site out there. Then I'd at least know which entries to look at and could keep up with it.

Thank you for being supportive. Now that I've had a chance to cool down, I've decided that I need this group too much for financial accountability and I don't want to give up something I enjoy, the community we've built here, for trolls. Maybe I'll just have to let go of trying to clean it up on old entries. Easier said than done, because I don't want it there, but sometimes you just have to let go for sanity's sake.

I have a very, very long fuse and seldom blow, but this time I did. I am sure not being able to go outside because of the smoke is contributing. We still aren't fully open because of COVID and the only thing getting me through was being able to be out in the garden. I need to get my zen back, and then I can cope with these stupid spammers again. Meanwhile, I am back. Sorry for my crazy.

Grain Mill, Skillets, Future Purchases Planned, and Sister Update

September 10th, 2020 at 06:20 am

I have had a grain mill in my shopping cart save for later section for months and it was finally back in stock today. It has an attachment for fine grains like millet (sorghum) and one for big beans. So I will be able to grind my own chickpea flour, sorghum flour, and rice flour, finally. We will save so much money making our own. I had more than enough money in my allowance envelope so I bit the bullet and bought it.

Also, I bought a Michaelangelo blue granite non-stick induction 12 inch skillet a while back. It has a ceramic stone type of coating. It is made in Italy, not China. Well, we have been loving it. It cooks so well. It hasn't scratched at all, it has remained non-stick, and it beats those tacky copper skillets that end up burning and not being cleanable after about 2 months. Clean up is a dream with a sponge. Even if they food seems like it is sticking and forming a crust you can wipe it away with the cooking utensil.

Well, when I bought it, they only had the 12 inch skillet in blue and they had a 10 inch skillet in what they call red, but it looks like purple. And they had grey. I didn't want to mix and match. Today I saw that they had an 11 inch with a 9.5 inch set, and an 8 inch skillet in blue. I also had enough money in my allowance folder to get those, so I did. I can retire my cast iron for all but baking gluten free cornbread and gluten free biscuits and corn tortillas. They are so heavy and that is painful on my wrists which can't take much due to the RA. These are also lighter than stainless steel, but not by much.

I ended up spending $425.97 with tax and I still have $177 in my allowance folder. I am so excited to finally be replacing cookware and things for the kitchen that I have made do on for a decade or longer while we were getting out of debt.

I have put some things on my save for later list, namely a 4 quart, a 6 quart, and an 8 quart 360 brand stainless steel cooking pots. They are made in America and they are expensive, but I think they will be worth the investment long term. I will have to save up and buy them one at a time. The most urgent need is the 4 quart as I don't have one and have been making do with my huge stockpot for a long while. I'd like something I can make stew in on my induction burner that is smaller.

The 4 quart pot is $229, so with sales tax will cost $246.86. So it will take two paydays for me to have that in my allowance folder. Then I got start saving for the other ones. I think it is worth the investment because I do spend so much time cooking from scratch. I could never justify it before, but this is what the allowance is for. I may actually save up for the electric citrus juicer before the 6 quart and 8 quart pots. It's $99. I was thinking how handy it would have come in today when I was making pico de gallo and had to squeeze the limes.

My eldest sister is going to be moving back in with us, for good this time. She has had to miss so much work with the time she took off for her cancer surgery that she just can't make rent anymore. She'll have to live in one of the living rooms and won't have privacy, but she's willing to make do and we are happy to have her here.

She has until the end of the month. Her landlord is working with her. Her kids don't want to take her. Most kids don't want to deal with aging parents. I am the only one of my siblings who was willing to take on Mom. Even if Mom was gone, I'd take on my sister. That's how I am with the full support of my husband. You take care of your own for as long as you can.

Garden Produce is Coming out my Ears

August 19th, 2020 at 02:14 am

It's been a rough week because I twisted something in my knee, the knee formerly known as the good knee, and it swelled up with a ton of fluid which made it hard to walk. I've been icing it and finally took some water pills to help with the excess fluid and the pain has eased up a little. I hope I didn't tear anything. If it is still bugging me next week I will go to the doctor. My doctor isn't in this week. It's finally easier to walk today and I was able to get out to the garden.

The weeds are ridiculous, but I was able to get some of them pulled and I got my first green bean harvest. It filled up a dishwashing basin that is 3 gallons. I think that is enough for a canner load and there is enough out there for another one in probably two days, maybe one.

I've also harvested 60 odd cucumbers so I need to get to pickling. I picked up some dill and garlic so I can do that tonight. I think I will get at least one canner load of pickles and do some refrigerator pickles as well. I'll can the green beans tomorrow. If I have the energy, though, I will snap them tonight. That will make tomorrow go much easier.

These cucumbers are amazing. They are so sweet they taste almost like melon. Which makes sense since botanically they are pretty closely related. It is nice to be noshing down on a cucumber every day. I love this time of year.

I also have some red tomatoes. Just two, but one is not far behind it. I can wait to pick them and eat them. I'll probably make a nice pico de gallo with them. I like that better than salsa. I just need to pick up some cilantro since mine has flowered and will soon go to seed.

The strawberries look like they need another picking and I've got to harvest herbs and tea flowers and dry them. I can't believe how much the garden exploded in just a week.

It looks like the potatoes I planted first are starting to die back. Maybe in another week or two I will be able to start digging up potatoes. I hope we get a lot out of it. I plan on canning most of them since I don't know if any of them are keeping potatoes. I waited too long to get seed potatoes and had to buy and sprout organic ones from Trader Joe's. I have no way of knowing if they are determinate or indeterminate, either. Next year I will be better prepared. I hope.

I am thinking about getting an electric weed eater, the kind that plugs in. We have battery operated ones, but the battery pack makes it too heavy for me to operate with my arthritis. This is also my problem with gas powered ones. Plus those ones are too long for me. I want to get a shorter one with a cord. I always hated dealing with a cord when we had one in the past, but it was so lightweight and it was short so fit my arm length better. That one is long gone, but they don't cost too much and since my husband and son don't get around to it when I need it done, it might be the best option. I have enough in my allowance envelope, even after buying a new laptop. I had been saving for almost a year.

Oh, yeah, I got a new computer! It was $600 plus tax. It has a DVD player in it, which is pretty hard to find anymore. It is not touch screen, which takes some getting used to, but I really like it. My old one is still going, but the DVD player has been broken for almost two years and the speakers don't work well, so I had to use regular speakers.

I figure I will continue to use that one for writing and for video editing because it has the software and I will use this one for everything else, which is basically watching videos and movies, and doing research. I couldn't justify a big expensive computer like my last one was if that was all I was going to use it for even if I had enough money to buy one.

We are still eating out too much. It is hard to cook when I am in pain. I need to try to push through and do it, but I just have no motivation.

New Diet Goals, Motivations, and End of Life Planning

August 11th, 2020 at 11:26 pm

DH and I decided to sign up for a dietbet. We've gotten so far off track and I am now at a higher weight than I have ever been in my life. I don't know if he is or not, but it looks like he is. I am ruining my knees at this weight and am in constant pain. So the dietbet we joined was $35, so that is $70 out. It starts on the 13th and is a 4 week kickstarter. The goal is to lose 4% of your body weight in that amount of time. So that is my goal. I know sometimes people on here do one, so if you want to join the same one as me the invite is here:

Now that my focus does not have to be on paying down debt anymore, I do think this is an area where I need to target my focus. I need to get my motivation going again and I think that if I start being successful at weight loss again I will also want to work towards being more successful at working towards saving goals.

Right now I need something strong to focus on. Mom isn't doing too well healthwise right now. It's to do with her arteries and her heart. She does not want me to tell my sisters. She had a talk with us last night about what we want to be passed on to us. My answer is simple, keep living 20 more years. Then after that the knives and the canning equipment, and some of the paintings I gave her. She has already given me the Christmas ornaments (most of which I gave her over the years) and told me to take them to storage so my middle sister doesn't try to steal them. She already said she wanted them and my mom said no, they were mine since I gave them to her, but that sister can be persistent. She has long since given me Grandma's bowls and china.

Mom is going to get her will done up. She's kind of annoyed with my sisters, though. She is insisting on there being no funeral and the cremation is already set up and paid for. Her figuring on the funeral is that no one came and saw her while she was alive, they don't need to see her when she is dead. My figuring is that I have been here while she is alive, so if those are her wishes, so be it. I know my sisters might be mad at me, but if they wanted input they could have been here helping all along. And if they want a funeral than they can put it together and pay for it. Mom wants me to dispose of her ashes.

I think we need to revisit what is going to go on with the house, though. I need to make sure we can continue to live here as long as we want after she dies. She has always said we could and that my sisters won't be allowed to force a sale, but I need to make sure that gets in the will. Although the way my sisters have been acting all these years, I'll be surprised if they even end up in the will at all. It is sad when they only see her when they want something from her. It is also frustrating because they never come give me a break despite knowing I have these autoimmune diseases.

Yesterday was DD's 24th birthday. We made a gluten free chocolate cake. It was from Bob's Red Mill and it was very good. It tasted just like regular cake, maybe better. It doesn't rise as high, but it is not dense at all. I made homemade vanilla buttercream icing. It was way past the level of bakery icing in my opinion. The trick is to whip the heck out of it at every level.

We also did a barbecue with steelhead trout, corn on the cob, and zucchini and ate dinner outside. It was good birthday dinner for her and she picked everything that she wanted.

I need to get on top of the garden again. I need to go harvest a bunch of cucumbers and berries. It has finally cooled off enough, but it has been hard since my knees are both swollen and DS has been sick. He's feeling better today, though.

Quiet Week and No Motivation

August 6th, 2020 at 12:01 am

There really is not that much going on this week financially. I am pretty much in a holding pattern waiting for payday, which is Friday, to come. Then the bills get paid, the funds get funded, the groceries get bought, and I settle down to wait for the next payday. Lather, rinse, repeat. I guess that is life for all of us these days. I really just want to go do something and there is nothing we can go do because none of the fun stuff is open. I miss our former world so much these days.

Heck, I'd be happy with the library being all the way open so I can go browse books. Using the online catalog is not the same. In real life browsing, you discover some of the best books by accident. You really can't do that on their system. And I can't use the library recommendation page, because all the books there are political and suck. It is weird because the book store is open to the public, but not the library. How is it different? Maybe volume.

Since becoming debt free on June 12th I seem to have lost my motivation. I know we need to be saving for things, but the more life unravels, the more I think we may never move away from here while Mom is alive. She can't be left alone anymore. I mean, she can for a few hours, but someone needs to be here on a daily basis. I don't know if we should be worrying about saving for a house. Maybe instead we should just be socking it to retirement and the EF. It's a tough decision, but we will always have this house to live in, even after Mom dies. We will only own 1/3 of it, but the will stipulates we don't have to move out until we want to, but make interest free payments to my sisters on their portions until it is paid or we sell the house and they get their remainders.

We did some looking at freezers and while we can order them, they won't be available until November or December. I don't figure we will have the money by then and when we do have the money, it will be several months further out at that point. So definitely no buying a beef this year.

Knowing we can't buy another freezer as soon as we have the money is going to change how I store food, though. We will can a lot more chicken and beef so I don't have to worry so much about the space I do have and may be able to get a lamb and a half a hog. And of course as much fish and shellfish as we can catch and freeze.

Sorry, I'm rambling all over the place. I have no focus. I really need to decide what I am going to do, so I can retarget my goals and find the oomph to follow them.

To Beef or not to Beef

July 10th, 2020 at 07:54 am

DS and I inventoried the big chest freezer a couple of days ago, which was a lot of work and we also got the sides defrosted. It doesn't frost up too much, but enough that we had to use a butter knife to break it lose. It take about six months or so to build up about an inch and it only does it on the back side. Anyway, we have a lot of food in there and now I know what it is exactly, so I will better be able to meal plan.

I made up an Excel spread sheet to track it as we use it. We still have to inventory the smaller freezers, but I am working on eating down the two shelves we have in Mom's freezer so she can have use of all of it, because she wants to buy some beef come the end of summer. Like a quarter.

I guess my eldest sister wants to buy a quarter as well and Mom is trying to push me into buying a half. First of all, I don't have room for it, and once I do have room, I want to get half a hog, not necessarily half a beef. If I were to get beef at some point, I would want a whole one, not a half or at least not a half I was splitting with her.

I know my mother. She would want to pick and choose her cuts out of the entire beef, not just the quarter she would be entitled to. My mom would take all the best cuts for herself and more than the amount she was entitled to and we'd be left with all the tougher cuts. No, thank you. I saw the way she divided up the chickens we raised together and I don't want that happening again.

Another issue is that I don't have the money for it right now. She's pushing saying that it is a couple months from now. Sorry, no. I have other priorities. DH's driving lessons, a handicapped ramp for the back porch (our entrance), and an upright freezer are what is next on my agenda. Then building the Emergency Fund. I might be able to get a whole lamb, though, but that is neither here nor there.

Right now I feel like I can just get loss leaders for beef. I have been doing fine with that this year. I want to keep at least two month's worth of meat in the freezer during the upcoming virus season, but I can't do more at the moment. Maybe if MIL gives us more money, but I have no idea if that is even going to happen. She hasn't given us any money this year at all and since it hasn't been a great stock market year, she may not.

Oh, well. I made a fantastic Japanese Chicken Curry for dinner last night. I've never made a curry before and I did it completely from scratch, even the curry roux, which can be bought in stores but has MSG and other nasties in it. It wasn't hard, not much different from making stew really. I used gluten free flour to make it gluten free. It's fantastic with rice, which we have a ton of, and gives it a good flavor.

It uses warming spices as opposed to the hot spices. It is aimed at the Japanese flavor palate as opposed to the Indian flavor palate. Now I would like a mild Indian curry myself, but my daughter would never be able to eat it, so it is easier to find stuff she does like. This was a hit. It is here

Text is and Link is if anyone is interested.

WE'RE 100% DEBT FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

June 12th, 2020 at 07:52 pm

The title is my debt free scream since I doubt I will ever make it on the Dave Ramsey show to do one. I made the last payment to Mom on the Monster Mom Loan and we no longer have even a bitty bit of debt to our names! I am excited. This feels like such a huge accomplishment after all these years. I feel like I can sit up with straighter shoulders, because nothing is pushing them down anymore. And I don't have the boulder that is my mother hanging over my head anymore, she can't hold it over us anymore. It was so great filling in the last payment on our spreadsheet. It's like I was only breathing at half capacity and now I can fill my lungs with sweet, cool air. It is wonderful!

$1000.00 Balance Forward
-1000.00 Final Loan Payment
$0000.00 Debt Paid in Full

Now I have to make up a chart for my EF and one for the House Down Payment Fund. And fill in the last section on my debt chart. And update my sidebar. And make up a new budget template without this payment in it. I am geeking out now. It is the degree in accounting. It gets me every time! It feels like life has suddenly opened up before me again and the world is my oyster! We did it, we did it, we did it, yeah, we did it! (Yes, okay, I am singing the song from Dora the Explorer, but it fits, okay?).

WE'RE DEBT FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mostly a Rant

May 27th, 2020 at 01:59 am

I took DD to her primary doctor today as a follow up for her ER visit. He did prescribe her more valium, but only another 10 days worth. I wish he could have seen what a difference it has made to her day to day living, but all he's worried about is it being an addictive substance. Not so much about helping with pain and making those tight muscles relax. My mother has been on valium since I was a child and takes 3 times as much. We understand that it can be abused. But when the doctor is in charge of prescribing it, I don't see the issue. It's not like we're going to go out on a street corner for it. Just use it until things ease up and then wean off.

She has no reflex action in her left leg. Didn't matter where he tapped the thing on her knee or ankle, it didn't kick. He also poked her and there was no reaction. Her leg has been numb for a few weeks. So something serious is going on, but we won't know much more until the MRI on June 2nd. She restarts physical therapy on Saturday. I hope it helps and doesn't make things worse.

Then even if things are serious, her weight may be a detriment to getting surgery if she needs it. They say lose weight like that is an easy thing when you have to take prednisone every day to live and it makes you gain weight. I know what she eats. We don't have junk food in the house and she doesn't go anywhere to buy food or have an income to do it. I'm lucky if I can get 1200 calories into her in a day because she is so nauseated all the time and she isn't even able to cook her own food because of all the pain. She is not overeating. If anything she doesn't eat enough. It would help if her pituitary worked properly. And her digestive system. Her inflammation level in her blood work is off the chart, not to mention her neutraphils are crazy high.

I just want a healthy kid. Is that so much to ask? Why does she have to have five diseases, something wrong with her back, hip, and leg, and a liver tumor? How much can one body take? But sure, doctor, let's worry about addiction instead of quality of life, okay? Because that's more important than being able to function on even a basic level.


Really Worn Out

May 9th, 2020 at 04:36 am

This has been a rough week for me. I think the fibro flare is finally leaving, but I am still going through caffeine withdrawal. I think I have about two more days of it. It just makes me really draggy and unwilling to tackle much of anything. I have so much to do and no inclination to do it. But I will go out and work in the garden tonight. I always feel better for being outside. We need to finish filling the new bed and some garbage cans with soil as I bought my peppers and tomatoes yesterday.

I am also bummed because I lost my camera download cable. One of the things that doesn't work on my laptop is the memory card reader. I did order a new cable plus an external reader as well, just so I have backup. I think the old one might have fallen into my garbage can because I can't find it anywhere and I always keep it in the same place. So I can't work on videos, because I can't get them off my camera. No one else has one or a reader on their computers. One of them is supposed to be arriving tomorrow, so I will be in for a night of editing to get my garden video up on time, but that is okay. Oh, and CB, I forgot to answer your question, but yes, I am making garden videos again. The link is in my sidebar.

Despite my blahs, we did get the raspberries transplanted into a nice, orderly row. They were taking over their area and it was impossible to get in to pick them. We ended up tossing some of the smaller ones. In a different time, I'd have potted them up and sold them, but I don't want people coming to the house. I don't have anywhere else to plant them, either.

As this lock down drags on I feel it more and more mentally. I will be glad to get away to the cottage with DH. I think I really need it for my health. Now that my nephew has moved in, I feel less worried about leaving mom with just my kids, too. I know they are both legally adults, but one is disabled and the other is still young even though he takes care of DD when we are away.

I am glad this vacation is already paid for. I don't think I've ever needed something more, but if it wasn't already paid for I wouldn't be buying it now and we wouldn't be going. Too much uncertainty in the world.

Reality Intrudes

May 4th, 2020 at 06:42 am

So I changed my blog title, because my sister found my youtube channel and I don't want her finding my blog. I may end up changing my user name to just Robin or Robin's Luck, but we'll see. I was thinking of changing it to Debt Free Robin once I am debt free, anyway.

Thinky Thoughts

April 9th, 2020 at 05:08 am

I know I already posted today, but I am having thoughts. They keep making a big deal about people not being able to make rent next month. And what I am wondering is if there is going to be any kind of financial changes in people's lives on the other side of this. There are so many people who have been irresponsible with money for their entire lives. They have lived with debt because there was always money coming in to pay it and now they are experiencing what life is like without that.

Do you think this will change spending habits when jobs and incomes come back? Do you think people will fight to get out of debt and save up enough money in an emergency fund to get through a couple months if something like this happens again? Or do you think they will put their heads back in the sand and go back to how life was before. How many people will learn from this and will it alter the financial rules of society away from being credit based?

I read an article today or yesterday about some small grocers and restaurants that are still open for take out going cash only because their margins are so thin now they can't afford to pay the credit card fees. I wonder if that will ripple out to larger stores and restaurants or if they will continue to be able to handle it. Or if they will pass it on to the consumer?

I don't know, money is so dirty and changes so many hands, and may or may not carry the virus, so maybe we'll see an end to cash and only have debit and credit cards in the future. I guess it could go either way. But if they do eliminate money they should eliminate all debit card fees. Not that society ever does what it should do.

I keep reading about people going out and partying or insisting they are going to hold Easter services and people letting their kids run all over their neighborhoods with all the other kids and I wonder, in my more cynical of moments, if we will have enough people left to run the world after all the dumb ones die off.

I wonder if the big cities will see a mass exodus as people continue to work from home? They have been the most dangerous place to be during this outbreak. I wonder how many people will plow up their lawns and plant a garden for the first time this year? I wonder how many will stick to it if things appear to be getting better?

It's strange to not be having cars going by on our street all the time. It is a secondary route to the hospital and also is the only outlet street for the elementary school so it could be pretty busy at certain hours and now it is just dead all the time. It's been nice, since a lot of those drivers would blare their music. I can't remember that last time I've heard the bass so pumped up it was loud enough to hear in the house. That part has been a happy change.

The other thing is the medivac helicopter has not been buzzing the house lately. I guess there are far less traumas because people aren't driving and getting into accidents. Or the hospital is too full. We have 222 cases in my county and have had 12 deaths.

They were going up the street yesterday and today replacing gas lines because there were several leaks. They had to take out the long flowerbed that runs along the driveway because the line is under it. We've been wanting to take that out for a while and now we don't have to. We are going to plant it in grass. We can't plant a crop there in case they have to dig it up again.

Okay, guess my second brain dump of the day is over.

Some Big Changes

April 8th, 2020 at 10:04 pm

DH was just told that they will only be working 32 hours a week for the next two weeks. Its because they are waiting on another section of the project to be finished before they can proceed forward with theirs. They also have decided to stop matching in the 401K, but hope to be able to catch that up at the end of the year if things are better. The 32 hours will not affect qualifications for medical benefits.

I did an emergency budget template up, but don't have the exact numbers. DH will run them for me tonight after he is done with work and I can tweak it, but I think we can manage it. I will stop contributions to the Clothing Fund, the Christmas/Gift Fund, the Laptop Fund, and the Car Maintenance Fund. We will cut out the allowances for the kids and the spending money for us. I think that will do it, but if necessary we can cut out the grocery budget for that two week period entirely. We have enough food although we'll be relying strictly on canned fruit and frozen or canned veggies during that time period.

It will break down at least to having a paycheck with 40 hours for the first week and 32 hours for the second and then for the second paycheck 32 hours for the first week and 40 hours for the second. Which is better than two weeks at 32 on a paycheck.

That is assuming things go back up again like they say they will, but I am prepared to stay at 32 and will keep that belt tight.

School has been closed until September. They are graduating the seniors who were doing well enough to pass when the schools closed down and those that weren't will have to repeat. They are housing the homeless people in the high school right now. Apparently they are not behaving well. They are smoking in the gym and have smuggled in drugs and alcohol. I have a feeling the school may be destroyed due to this.

They say it is because they can't have homeless people on the streets right now. I think their hearts are in the right place, but their heads are up their butts. Because when they are outside they are automatically social distancing, but when they are all housed together in one big area they no longer are and they have already been caught sharing needles. I think we will see an outbreak from gathering them up like this.

I am all for helping the homeless. We donate our tithe money (10% of our income) to the Mission, which is a Christian homeless shelter since we don't go to a physical church. But I question whether or not this is going to actually to help them at all. Housing them in a hotel where the had individual rooms would have been far better. The hotels are empty. But the city didn't want to have to pay for that. I have a feeling they will be paying in other ways for a long time to come.

I was thinking about making a $100 donation to the food bank until I heard about DH's hours being cut. Maybe after things go back to 40 hours a week.

Dinner Blahs

April 8th, 2020 at 05:23 am

I've been getting so bored with my food. It's mostly because I don't feel like putting the effort in. We've been eating a rotation of about 4 different meals and I really need to snap out of this and get some variety back into our diets. I have the food, just not the usual inventiveness or energy to look through all my recipes. I'm wondering if this is just a sort of quarantine depression? I mean it's not full blown, but it is slightly worse than seasonal. I usually delight in cooking.

But maybe it is also that I am so tired of the limitations on my daughter's food. I don't want to be making two different meals so I've kind of been avoiding that type of food that she can't or won't eat. Tonight for dinner we had pancakes and ham, but her pancakes had to be gluten free, so while it wasn't making two different meals, we did have to make the gluten free ones first so we could use the griddle without a wash in between.

I think I will just have to buck up and do it or make her a bunch of freezer meals and us some of the foods she can't eat, like fajitas and tacos and jerk chicken.

I really shouldn't be complaining right now because we have food and we have an income and it's not like in the old days when women had to cook 3 meals a day. I do have some help from my son and sometimes my husband and I only need to make dinner, not lunches or breakfasts. I miss takeout and I miss the store's deli department more than I should. We are all losing weight though without those things.

DS had a telemedicine appointment today about a new medication. I sat in on it with him at his request. It was so nice to see a new face! He is the doctor for the whole family and he asked after all of our health at the end of the appointment and whether we were taking our vitamins A, C, D, and E, which we are. He also asked me about how often I was using the nebulizer even though it wasn't my appointment.

Tomorrow I am going to try to get out in the garden, weather permitting. I haven't been outside since Thursday and that is probably contributing to my closed in feelings.

I am debating on whether or not to cancel our rescheduled vacation that is mid-May. We are trying to cancel our gym membership, but their voicemail is full and so far no response to email. They charged us for April even though they won't be open at all during April. I know it is an autopay, but they should have stopped those when they know darn well they won't be open the whole month. We are not on a contract. I might end up disputing it if we can't get through to them.

It's Not the End of the World, but You can See it From Here

April 3rd, 2020 at 04:16 am

I cracked my daughter up today when I started singing "This is the dawning of the age of Apocalypse." I've been listening to so many parody songs about Corona virus that I am quite surprised no one has done this one.

Yesterday I sold that rabbit in the grocery store parking lot and then we went in and did a shop. I was able to find chicken so I bought 8 family size packages, 4 of legs and 4 of wings, about 3 pounds per package (bone in). We eat chicken twice a week usually so I was very happy to have that. There were no thighs though, which is my favorite, but I guess you take what you can get these days. And we found elbow macaroni, both regular and gluten free. I took 4 of the regular and one gluten free. There were about 15 boxes of regular and 2 of gluten free, but lots of spaghetti, egg noodles, and a dozen boxes of penné. I haven't been able to find any macaroni in weeks, so that made me happy, too.

I was thrilled to find a tomato sauce that was not Hunts. I've never been able to stand Hunts tomato sauce or ketchup. It's so sweet and cloying. This was the store brand but the organic version. They had 8 cans and I took them all. We use 2 cans in our macaroni so that is four meals worth. They did not have non-organic sauce that was not Hunts. They also did not have tomato paste except the most expensive kind that comes in the tubes. But I have paste. There were several cans of diced tomatoes. Nowhere near full, but way more than sauce. I still have tomatoes I canned last summer, so we don't need them. They did have several types of ketchup, too. We got 3 bottles of our preferred brand which is enough to get through the month. DH and DS use a lot of ketchup, but they may need to start cutting back.

We got enough milk for the month. I was able to get organic non-fat but DH had to go standard for his 2%. Their use by dates are May 5th. They did have the bottled milk, but they aren't accepting bottle returns until the Apocalypse is over.

They had the Laredo Stagg chili. We got all 11 cans. There was a ton of chili in the other flavors and brands. They must have just gotten a shipment in because chili has been one of the foods that have been consistently low last month, it was one of the first things to go after toilet paper, tissues, rice, and beans. DS eats a can for lunch each day when we can find it. He doesn't like any other kind of chili but homemade which I make when we can't find the can.

There is still no toilet paper, but we don't need it. I was just checking for others. I did manage to find a small box of Puffs. They had about 20 but with a limit of one or I would have gotten 2. 2 small boxes equals one big one. Still, with my skin as sensitive as it is during allergy season, I was happy to even find one. We still have 3 boxes at home, but with 3 of us with severe allergies we go through it fast and who knows when I will see it again.

I got 3 cans of chicken and stars. They had 2 flats, but I am the only one who eats it and only when I have a queasy stomach, so just wanted a couple on hand. They didn't have chicken noodle, cream of mushroom, and cream of celery, but did have one flat of tomato soup. Didn't get any of that though as I have tomato soup that I canned last summer. Just heat up and add milk. And we still have cream of mushroom for DH.

I did get some fresh fruit. I got strawberries that were in plastic containers, grapes that were pre-bagged, and some green bananas. They did have yellow ones but we still had 4 ripe ones from the last time I bought green bananas. I also got a lettuce for week one and then a cabbage for week 2 for greens and some bagged celery and bagged green onions. Normally I hate buying so much plastic, but it is a little safer now than open bins of fruit. I am using gloves, but still.

DH will likely have to go back after 2 weeks for fresh fruit and greens, but that's a quick in and out. We have enough other foods for the rest of the month, like potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and radishes, which last a long time. I am really hoping to stay out of the store myself until May. I am so incredibly grateful for that sale on sirloin steaks and chuck roasts in early February right before I got sick. I stocked up big time at $3.49/lb for the steaks and $3.99/lb for the roasts and we didn't eat any of it, because I was too sick to cook in February and early March and we kept getting takeout. Ah, takeout, remember that? Seems like a hundred years ago.

We have some pork, bacon, sausage, a little lamb, 2 20 pound turkeys (one is for Easter) and a 14 pound ham. I will cook that ham eventually then bag it up into portions to use in pinto bean soup. There are also two salmon that DH caught last year. So other than chicken we just didn't need to buy meat. I am a bulk buyer by nature, as I buy a lot at really good sales and then we eat off that for three months or so. I obviously can't do that now, there are limits and rightfully so, but I am so grateful I could do it then.

I have this habit of bulk purchasing because my father went on strike twice when I was a kid and because my mother had done this, we had food while my dad couldn't work at the mill. He took a job at a gas station, but that was an enormous pay cut. I have always remembered this and it came in very handy to have this habit when we lived in the mountains and going to a store was a one hour expedition just to get there. Then when DH lost his job a couple years back and couldn't find a new one for 10 months, we had plenty of food to get through it. And now this disease comes. If we go into a full lockdown until the end of April we are good. Right now we can still go to the store and the doctor and the pharmacy, but that may change if things get worse. I hope they don't, but practically, I think they will.

The garden is coming along slowly but surely. Of course we can't plant yet, but when we can I want it to be ready to go, go, go. Hopefully we can get some work done on it this weekend.

Tomorrow is payday. We still have a payday. DH still has a job. I feel so awful for those who don't, but so much gratitude that DH does. And it looks like DH is going to be getting that promotion. They have started having him sit in (on the phone) on the meetings so he can be up to speed when the other guy retires. We had thought that was going to fall through and go to someone else, but apparently that was never the case. The old guy who has the job now will be retiring in a few months and is more or less just working a little and taking his sick leave and then vacation days after that while the virus is so bad so DH is already taking over some of that work, too.

I hope all is well with everyone out there in SA land. I know not everyone is in a good situation. I wish all of you were close enough to help if it gets bad enough. All I can do is pray for you and pray for the rest of the world. Except for Adam Schiff. He can f right off.

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