Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Finally Fall

I have been waiting for fall since July. I'm still sort of waiting - but the temps have dipped into the 80s in recent days. What I'm really looking forward to is no longer hearing the A/C running!

A week or so ago a problem with a gas pipeline in Alabama caused a bit of panic in my parts. Prices went up, pumps went dry and people went nuts. For years, our local government has been debating the value of installing a light rail system. I'm hoping this will push them to quit talking and start doing.

We pushed the button on a new wheelchair for DS. We've done our part. Met with vendor. Had him evaluated by OT/PT. Got his neurologist to sign off on all the needs. All letters of necessity written. Everything submitted to insurance. And now we wait. I'm told that because it's all done electronically now, the wait time is reduced from the last time we went through this. Hope that's true.

Extended family drama has taken up some of my time. Two members of my family got together with DD's sister-in-law and decided to throw her a baby shower. They divided up duties ... and then the two in my family bailed at the last minute. So DD's mother-in-law and I are stepping in to help by providing the food/cake. DD is upset because she wanted the two of us to be able to sit back and enjoy the shower. I have been reassuring her that we will have a great time and none of this will matter. Gotta love family.

Hope everyone is doing well. I read your posts, even if I don't do a very good job of keeping up with mine!


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Summer's end ...

It's the last day of August and DS is in full swing with his college classes ...

Summer is over.

I love summer. I love the lack of schedules and the chance to have some guilt-free Netflix time. DS and I got into a regular library habit to keep us busy. I've read probably 15 books since June. I made homemade ice cream, got to spend time with my daughter and soon-to-be granddaughter and made sure to be thankful for A/C. Older DS was less visible due to a seemingly serious girlfriend who entered the picture some months back. (He's still my sweet and thoughtful boy, though - called me on the spur of the moment last week and invited me to lunch - his treat.)

We took care of some house projects. Painted the dining room, cleaned out the attic and did a lot of decluttering. The roof and gutters were replaced and we had a ceiling lift installed in DS's bedroom and bathroom. We did thoroughly neglect the yard. I have horrible allergies and DH is apparently allergic to yard work. DS1 used to take care of it for us but then he went and moved out. ...

All in all, it was a good few months. No serious health issues since my surgery in April, which was a nice respite.

Financially, it wasn't the best. The projects cost a lot of money and there were lots of little expenses that needed to be tended to, in addition to DS2's caregiving expenses. This year is definitely not going to be a great one when it comes to debt payoff. But we are staying the course ...

I am hoping that by declaring the end of summer, the end of the insanely hot weather will be disappearing as well .... Hope springs eternal.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

It's that time again

Today, we start shopping for a new wheelchair for DS. His current one is five years old, which we have found to be about the lifespan of these things. But, more importantly, that's about the max time that can be allowed in between customizations as his needs change dramatically over time.

He came home from a quick trip to campus in preparation for school starting this week (his last semester!!) looking rather dejected. Turns out, driving on the bumpy paths at school caused his hand to be knocked off the joystick, leaving him stranded until someone stopped to help. Now he is worried about the logistics of getting around. We have had to hire another caregiver to stay with him part time while he's on campus.

So part of the chair concerns will be what kind of options there are for controlling it. His joystick is clearly a no-go from here on out.

Then there's the bottom line ... his current chair cost $38,000. No doubt this one will blow that total out of the water. Very, VERY thankful for decent insurance. It will come down to which add-ons insurance deems unnecessary but which are absolutely vital. It will be a fight. It always is.

My heart is breaking for my young man. He rarely complains and instead simply adjusts to his limitations with a grace that I doubt I would have. He just wants to keep up and his body continues to betray him. He deserves more.


Friday, August 12, 2016

Attic treasures

Last weekend, I talked DH into cleaning out the attic. This is not a job for the faint of heart, mind you. We have lived in this house for almost 21 years and some of the stuff has been up there just as long. But the worst part? It's a pull-down attic. That means no walking around perusing things and deciding what you want to keep. Stuff is shoved to the end of the space with no way to get to it.

So .... he pulled everything out. Everything. From my wedding dress to current Christmas decorations. And I started sorting.

Some of it was easy - there was a lot of junk up there. The to-the-dump pile got scary high. Then there were the tubs of mementos. Like a paper on ice hockey I wrote when I was in the sixth grade. I kept that just because DH was so happy to find it. I found high school yearbooks that I thought were long gone and a scrapbook I made in middle/high school (which led me to spend an hour trying to figure out what all the things I put in there meant - my memory is not what it used to be).

But the best finds - and what I had been after in the first place - were the baby clothes and toys. Opening up a tub of tiny pink baby dresses in perfect condition nearly brought me to tears. I can't wait to take pictures of my granddaughter in her mommy's dresses! Most of the toys were in great condition, too, which made me happy. I even found the little table and chairs that was mine first and then used by my own kiddos. One chair is wobbly, but the table and the other chair are ready for more use by the next generation.

So now we have a clean attic and lots of goodies for our granddaughter when she arrives. Win win!


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Big-time expenses

July has been an expensive month. First, after a 6-month odyssey with DS's portable lift, we gave up. The company didn't know what was wrong and just kept sending parts, none of which fixed the lift and all of which we were expected to pay for since insurance refuses. We finally said enough and sent them back their parts and told them to forget it. I've never much liked that company anyway. But we still had to have a lift to transfer DS so we bit the bullet and bought a ceiling lift. No way was insurance going to touch that, so I wrote a check for $5,200 and tried not to cry while handing it over. The good news is that we LOVE the lift! It is so easy to use and so much safer for DS. We're going to call it a necessary and worthwhile purchase.

Meanwhile, our roof was replaced as a result of a ferocious spring hail storm. It also took out the gutters and exposed some rotting fascia. Our part of the bill came to $2,700. I wrote that check yesterday. I am very thankful that we were able to pay for the lift and the roof in cash, although our savings is now scary low. We are going to have to focus on building it back up quickly.

I am also dreading the coming power bill. It is so hot here that it's hard to breathe outside. The A/C has been in overdrive (I sure am thankful for it!) and I know we're going to be paying for it.

In better news, we found out this weekend that DD is expecting a little girl - it's been 28 years since we've had one of those around here!


Sunday, July 3, 2016

New service takes the bite out of summer

Here in the Deep South, summer is mostly humidity, watermelon and mosquitoes. Lots of mosquitoes. By July, we usually can't even sit on our patio without getting eaten alive.

Last year, I saw a few signs in yards advertising a business claiming to be able to get rid of the little buggars. I laughed. I mean, seriously? How is that possible? Even if you sprayed your yard, what about the neighbors' mosquitoes?

Fast forward to this year and I happened to meet the owner of that company. After chatting for a bit, he offered to spray our yard for free so we could see how well it works. Since I'm all about free, I told him to bring it on.

His crew showed up the next morning with power sprayers and hit all the bushes on the perimeter of the yard as well as around our house itself. Took about 15 minutes. Twenty minutes later and I kid you not, there was not a mosquito on our property. And we didn't see one for the next three weeks, which is the duration of a spraying and the life cycle of a mosquito. I'm told it creates a barrier around our yard that the mosquitoes won't cross.

Whatever it is, we're sold. We signed up for the remainder of the season (until mid-October). It is costing us $249 to have the yard sprayed every three weeks. Next summer, we'll pay for the entire season.

And it's worth every penny.  Plus, we're saving a fortune in calamine lotion!


Monday, June 6, 2016

For once, it paid to eat out

We have a favorite restaurant. It's expensive - of course. So it ends up being the celebration spot. We end up going once or twice a year for special occasions. A couple of years ago, we were seated in the section of a server who was fabulous. Without hesitation, Sam took care of DS - cutting his meat while talking to him like a person and not making him feel uncomfortable. The next time we went, we requested him and our evening was just as great. Now he's our go-to guy, even though we only see him every six months or so.

Last time we were there, Sam was talking to DS and asking about his accessibility at home. DS mentioned the ramp to our front door and that because the wood had warped, it made for a bumpy ride which is uncomfortable for him. Just making conversation.

On Friday, this wonderful man showed up at our door with two other workers and announced that they would be rebuilding the ramp. Apparently, when he's not working at the restaurant, he's doing construction work. They spent the bulk of the day Friday and a good part of Saturday working until the rain started. The ramp is almost finished and looks amazing. I knew that Sam was paying these other two guys to work on the project and I asked how much we owed him. He handed me the receipt for the wood and said I only owed him what the materials cost. The rest was on him. Having priced out ramps before, I know this was a gift of a couple thousand dollars. 

We are so very blessed. I cannot wait until we are out of debt and we can pay it forward.