Tuesday, December 6, 2016

An exciting month!

It's December! That means DS graduates from college next week! As we were once told he wouldn't live long enough to graduate high school, this is a BIG deal. A really big deal. I sent out announcements and invitations to family and close friends and invited family to join us for the ceremony and for an early dinner at a local restaurant. The festivities begin at 1:30 next Friday, so I only expected our closest family who live nearby to attend.

Wrong. Cousins and children of cousins are taking off work and making the trip. I'm currently at 21 coming for dinner and still have several I haven't heard from yet. So it's going to be a budget-buster. But you know what? This is one of those times that I just don't care. We want to celebrate this incredible young man and we're not going to rain on his parade by worrying about a few hundred dollars.

The only downer is that DH's boss is saying he can't have the day off. Seriously? A couple of co-workers are banding together and vowing to get the work done for him. I know this is crunch time for the business, but sometimes there are circumstances that trump business. This is one of them. DH will be at graduation. Just hoping he will still have a job afterward.

An equally exciting event on the horizon is the birth of our first granddaughter!! DD is due anytime and is SO ready for the pregnancy to be over. With any luck, the little peanut won't arrive in the middle of her uncle's graduation ...

And it's almost Christmas! All my presents are wrapped and under the tree. I did the vast majority of my shopping online and got some pretty good deals. I do love this time of year and knowing I don't have to fight the crowds at the mall takes the stress off and allows me to enjoy the season.

Oh, and it FINALLY turned cold here! Well, probably not by many of your definitions, but I have to wear a jacket now. Sure beats the 70-degree weather we had up until last week.

Hope everyone is enjoying their December!


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Still here

Not sure where October went. I was mostly spinning wheels ...

Not much happening on the debt pay down. It's all sort of on autopilot and there hasn't been much extra to add. To be honest, I've lost that gazelle feeling and am not terribly focused. As long as it's still going in the right direction, I just don't have the energy to focus on it much.

Some major life changes are on the horizon. DS will graduate college in December and not sure what he will do next. He is trying to piece together a few small jobs and volunteering to fill his time. I worry about him losing a social circle when he's not on campus anymore. It's tough when your chair prevents you from going to friends' houses and they're moving on, anyway.

He found out last week that when he graduates he will lose funding for 30 hours/week of caregiving. Those are his daytime hours. He has a young man who drives him here and there and helps him out with whatever. He is crushed that this will be gone because it means that he will have to totally rely on me, which I think makes him feel guilty. As we already pay out of pocket about $15,000/year for caregivers to get him to bed, get him up, showered, dressed, therapies etc., there's nothing left in the tank to replace his lost daytime hours.

Insurance denied a new wheelchair for him so now I'm in full battle mode. His current chair is falling apart and because  he has gotten so much weaker in the past few years, it is difficult for him to maneuver. He desperately needs a whole new system better suited to his abilities.

We had a hurricane blow through here a few weeks ago. Left us without power for four days. Thankfully, a friend lent us a generator so we could charge the wheelchair. I lost all the food in the fridge/freezer, but it wasn't full, thank goodness. I had skipped going to the store to stock up - which turned out to be a good thing.

Can you tell I'm frustrated?

OK, enough whining. A lot of people have it way worse than we do.

We are less than two months away from meeting our first granddaughter! DD is doing great. We had her baby shower this weekend and, despite all the family drama, it turned out to be a lot of fun. She got so many nice things - people were so very generous. We are ready for a new baby around here!

It's still in the 70s/80s here and the leaves haven't turned so it doesn't much feel like fall. But November is one of my favorite months and I'm ready for a fresh start on the calendar.

Happy Fall, y'all!


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!