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Through the Storm

September 8th, 2019 at 04:37 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rough Couple of Weeks

August 24th, 2019 at 08:41 pm

It's been a rough couple of weeks. I hurt myself pretty badly in a fall when the ancient garden chair I was sitting in gave up the ghost and collapsed. I landed on my butt, but I grabbed the garden bed as I started falling, so I wrenched my shoulders, elbows, and wrists, and then because I was so close to the bed, my knees hit it and twisted to the side, wrenching both my knees and ankles and making me fall the rest of the way onto my left hip.

I am finally comfortable sitting in my desk chair again, at least for a few hours, but it has been pretty miserable with the aches and pains. It caused full on inflammation as my autoimmune disease was triggered from the impact. The body swelling is finally going down. In the midst of all that I had a nasty aural migraine that blurred my vision so bad I couldn't read even with my new glasses. It lasted three days.

I am not back to my old self again yet, but at least my hands feel good enough to type. My physical therapist worked around the pain and I have been able to do my exercises for all but three days throughout. We modified any exercises that hurt and I am back to being able to do all of them fully again.

I am so careful when I walk so as not to fall. This was just a freak accident. That chair was old, but it was solid. I definitely did not expect it to just give out like that. Now I have to find a new chair at the end of the season, which is going to be frustrating. I am not sure they even have them anymore. Maybe I will have DH build me a square stool. It will be a lot more solid than anything we can find in the store. We have some good wood in the garage from some heavy duty pallets with 2 x 4's, so it won't cost us anything to build it.

The green beans are in full swing now. I canned 7 quarts. The corn is starting to come in. Most of the onions are in the garage drying, and the tomatoes are finally starting to turn red and yellow, respectively. I am still getting cucumbers and zucchini and the one volunteer lettuce plant is finally big enough to harvest off of. The kale is still trucking along and I have harvested all of the broccoli except one. The celery is big enough to start cutting it, too. So I guess it is a good thing that I am able to sit again because I have a lot of preserving to do.

Emergency Fund Update

August 2nd, 2019 at 03:03 pm

I don't take money out of the Emergency Fund often, and I certainly don't like to, but sometimes life hands you some serious Murphy and that is what the EF is for. It's been a rough week, but everyone is still alive, so I'll leave it at that.

$4625.77 Balance Forward
-_746.80 Amount Withdrawn
---------
$3878.97 New Balance

The Garden is Picking Up Steam

July 16th, 2019 at 12:59 am

Well, I got 4 gold rush zucchini, 3 cucumbers, 3 giant kohlrabi, a bunch of basil and a bunch of parsley from the garden today. I've got 3 trays of basil and 4 trays of parsley in the dehydrator. That makes 5 cucumbers now, so I think I may make a small jar of half sour pickles tomorrow.

I need to call a local sporting goods store that has a big canning and fermenting section and see if they have any fermenting stones first. If not, then I will just eat the cukes and order the stones from Amazon and wait for a few more cukes to grow. I already have the fermenting lids. I've never made half sours before, but I love them. Those are the kind you get in delis, but in delis they often add yellow #5, which I am allergic to. It takes 1 to 2 weeks of fermenting time to make them. I have the dill in the garden, but will have to pick up some garlic. I didn't grow any this year. I wasn't expecting any cucumbers to be ready yet, so didn't think to buy garlic on my shopping day.

Tomorrow I need to cut some cilantro, thyme, peppermint, and spearmint to dehydrate. The peppermint and spearmint can be hung to dehydrate, but I have to label them because both can look like oregano when dried. (Because of our humidity the other herbs don't dry as well in the air). Well, the spearmint is purple so it is easier to identify, but the mint and oregano look very similar. They don't smell the same, but I don't want to be second guessing myself later, either. I might even be able to harvest a few sage leaves, too.

I think I will also harvest the purple basil tomorrow and make a pesto with it. I like how purple basil tastes in pesto. I may marinate the chicken in that this week. We will see. It depends on how busy my dehydrator is.

I can't believe how much the beans and corn have jumped this week. And the butternut and sweet meat squash plants really have taken off. I did do an update video on my channel if anyone wants to see just how the garden is doing.

Text is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYIjd0itLug and Link is
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYIjd0itLug

I also need to clean the kitchen tomorrow. All the counters, the sinks, and the floor. DS will have to help with the floor. I can sweep it, but he needs to mop it. The long hallway could use a good vacuuming as well. Hopefully I will feel up to doing that after the kitchen. If not, well, at least the bathroom got cleaned. That was my major priority for today.

Oh, on the sad side of things, Persephone died. She was our last New Zealand white rabbit. She was the oldest, although Ruby (who became DS's pet) is only a couple of weeks younger. Persephone was a particular favorite of mine. She was descended from the first three rabbits we ever owned.

I am debating selling all but Ruby and one other rabbit. I am not sure which other one I would keep though. Rabbits are social so I don't want to leave Ruby without a friend in the cage next door. It would make the most sense to keep Zara and not the boys, but Zara is a bit of a snot, so maybe we will keep Cyrus or Vincent. Vincent is the prettiest as a broken red, but Cyrus, a broken black is the sweetest, most friendly rabbit aside from Ruby and he is Persephone's son and Starbuck's grandson. But Vincent is Ruby's grandson. Well, maybe I will keep 3.

Celebrating Independence Day

July 4th, 2019 at 11:23 pm

Well, we just made the long trek home from the end of our driveway, where we have the perfect view of the bay for the city's fireworks display. I love not having to fight traffic or crowds and just being able to set up chairs at the last minute to watch the show. The display didn't seem to last as long this year, but it had some impressive new fireworks I've never seen before.

We broke out the new charcoal grill for dinner tonight and I was happy it wasn't hard to use at all. I think we will be using it a lot while the weather is good. We made ribeye steaks, bell pepper kababs, zucchini kebabs, little onion kebabs, and also grilled green onions and corn on the cob. I think it was the best meal I've ever eaten. It was definitely the best steak.

The yellow zucchini, little onions, and green onions were from the garden. This was the first zucchini from the garden for the season and there were actually two ready. We made so many veggies that we have them for tomorrow's dinner, too, which will be hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill. I can see how people get so obsessed with grilling. It really hasn't been something we've done much of outside of hamburgers or hot dogs at a park or something.

I'd love to do the Shawarma spices on chicken on the grill and of course Honey BBQ chicken, too. This thing is going to get a work out. It was well worth the $99 plus tax we spent on it and the cost of the charcoal, lighter fluid, and grill tools. We will get tons of use out of it.

As for the homemade ice cream, it did indeed get hard. It is very rich, though. You know that silly serving size on an ice cream carton that says 1/2 cup? Yeah, that's about how much you can eat due to the richness, but that's great. An ice cream that actually enforces serving sizes.

We had a very good day as a family. It was nice to relax all together and enjoy the time.

If We Weren't in Debt Maybe We Could Help

June 22nd, 2019 at 09:29 pm

I think my sister and BIL are in trouble. First they wanted mom to take out a mortgage on her house and loan them money so they could buy a new house before they sell their current house. Mom said no. Now it seems like they have racked up some credit card debt and want to move in. Mom said no because there is no space for them. I also suspect because my sister has done nothing to help her over the last decade or she might clear out the attic. Not that BIL can climb stairs. They have a house, but it is in good standing as far as we know.

I think she's just overwhelmed right now. Also, the reason they racked up credit card debt was that my sister was watching her grandson while her DIL was going through chemo treatment and her premature granddaughter was in the NICU. So they used that to get by. BIL is too disabled to work due to disc issues in his back, but he is on disability. Even when the medical issues are not your own, they can lead to debt for people in ways like this.

My mother is very afraid of losing the one asset she has, which is a paid for house. I can't even imagine asking my mom to take that kind of risk when she is about to turn 80 years old. That's why I feel they are in trouble. I don't think she would ask that if they weren't. But maybe they are just treading water. That can be overwhelming, too. I know. We lived that way for years.

I understand how hard it is when you get into credit card debt, so I feel bad for them and wish that we could help, but we are in no position to do so. They are better off than we are. I'd give them FPU if we could afford it, but we have our own debt (the one to my mom) that we are paying off. At the same time, having them come would turn everyone's lives upside down. And there are not enough bathrooms to comfortably add two more people to this house or enough room in the driveway for two more cars.

I guess they will have to dig out on their own. I think that they can if they don't let the overwhelmed feeling take them over.

I feel a little guilty because if we weren't living here and taking care of Mom while getting out of debt, then she could move in and get some help. Yet, at the same time, if she did move in, I'm not sure she'd be taking care of mom as she would have to find work here and she still would have to take care of her husband.

BIL does have an extended family, so I am hoping one of them can help. It's a mess, but I feel a little better just getting it out of my system a little by venting here.

MIL is Giving Us Money Tonight

June 6th, 2019 at 09:14 pm

MIL has decided to distribute more money to DH and to DH's sister. They will each get $6000. Even with gifts I think it is important to make a budget of sorts, so I plan to put $2000 in the Medical Fund and pay the Citi card off from our overcharging in May. I've got about $400 in medical bills to pay as well. Oh, but that $1059 bill from the hospital did get audited by the insurance company and they ponied up $798 of it to the hospital, so we only have the remainder of that to pay. That's part of the $400.

I think we will also put $1000 in the Emergency Fund. I would like to beef it up a little bit. I would feel a little more comfortable then. I'd really like a full month's wages, but this will make it quite a bit closer to that.

After that I am not sure. Maybe I could save $1000 for the half a beef we want to buy. I could also put $500 in the Christmas Fund, which is what we use each year. I haven't put anything in there yet this year. After that I am not sure. DH and I will have to discuss it.

I know he wants to get a fishing/crabbing license so he can go out on his boss's boat with his boss. He got enough crab last year to pay for his crabbing last year, so I imagine we'd get enough fish and crab this year to make it worthwhile as well.

I know there are a couple of things I would like to get that are small items like an electric griddle and an electric tortilla press, but those are wants not needs. Anything left after that I'll have to think about.

I made chicken fettuccine Alfredo for dinner tonight. I made enough to put one container in the freezer and for DS to have for lunch for the next two days. I am still feeling under the weather, though I did finally get sleep. About 12 hours. It helped, but still not up for the big burrito making session yet. I'll get there.