Friday, December 28, 2018

Winding down the year

December has been the usual craziness around here. DH and DS1 are UPS drivers. Enough said. This year's volume was noticeably higher - maybe the demise of Toys R Us forced toy shoppers online? They worked 60-hour, 6-day weeks from Thanksgiving until Christmas.

Somewhere amid flinging packages, DS1 managed to propose to his girlfriend, so we have a wedding coming up in 2019 ... I think I will relish being the mom of the groom this go around :)

I took my granddaughter to see Santa at the mall. She is not a fan.

DS2 kept up his tradition of holiday kidney stones. Always a good time.

We celebrated our Christmas on the 23rd so the kids could be with in-laws on Christmas Day. It was great fun and included serious belly laughs during the Saran Wrap ball game - which all have proclaimed a new tradition. I got some gift cards that will come in handy in the new year and a set of stemless wine glasses, which will also come in handy. DH collected a pile of gift cards as tips from customers, so he's good for awhile.

Our sweet granddaughter turned 2 on Christmas Eve. The big family party is tomorrow. She will be overwhelmed, but DD insists.

Christmas Day we had my parents over for a mid-afternoon lunch. It was a peaceful, stress-free day.

I am enjoying my 2-week break from keeping my granddaughter (and hoping the potty training is complete by the time she returns). I've read books, watched some Netflix series and done some cleaning and organizing. Maybe I will be ready for 2019 ...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all. Thanks for sticking with me.


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Happy, happy Turkey Day!

I do not have my granddaughter this morning, so I have oodles of free time to get ready for tomorrow. I have sweet potatoes (which were free from a friend's garden!) in the oven. I will turn them into a casserole. I have several other dishes to put together which shouldn't take too much time.

I am not hosting dinner this year, so I am not in charge of the big bird. HOWEVER, I was at Food Lion this week picking up a few things and saw that if you spend $35 you can buy a frozen turkey for 27 cents a pound. I also had a $1 coupon for turkey in my bag. I walked out with a 14-pound turkey for $2.78. SCORE!!! I tossed it in the freezer for future use.

This is turning out to be the best, low-stress Thanksgiving I've had in forever. I usually end up having a huge crowd here. And while everyone brings dishes, the house has to be cleaned, table set and all that jazz. It's such a nice reprieve to just do my baking and show up somewhere else. All my children will be there, which doesn't always happen, so I'm a happy mama.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Friday, October 12, 2018

Here we go again ...

I am officially tired of hurricane season. We prepared and prepared for Florence and then our area was mercifully spared. We didn't even pay attention to Michael and he came through yesterday with a vengeance. Thankfully, once again my family was spared.

Trees are down everywhere and power is out all over town. Last night, my neighbor who lives about 100 yards from my house, but on a different street, called. "You have power!" she said. Um, yes? Hers was out, as was every house on her street. This is strange because for the 23 years we have lived here, the power on both our streets has gone on and off together. We've always presumed we were on the same grid.

While mulling this over, my next-door neighbor, a sweet elderly woman, stopped to chat. She happened to mention that a woman down the street, whose husband is basically on life support at home, had called the power company this summer and asked that their house be put on the grid with the nearby rescue squad so her husband's machines would still run. Now I'm thinking that it was just easier for the company to put our street of a dozen houses on that grid rather than just hers.

The idea of power being restored almost immediately every time has me practically giddy. But I'm also fighting feelings of guilt because my house is lit up like a Christmas tree while my nearby neighbors are likely to be in the dark for the next week. But, I admit, giddy is trumping guilty at the moment :)

Things are really not good down here in the South. The victims of Florence are still digging out and now Michael victims are being added. Those towns hit hardest sure do need our prayers.


Friday, September 28, 2018

Counting our blessings

The hurricane that was headed straight for us took a detour. It literally circled around us, for the most part leaving us alone. Our state as a whole was not so lucky. It will be a long, long time before it recovers from this storm. We have friends and family who lost everything.

One of my best friends evacuated from her home with only what she could fit in her car. She packed it with her scrapbooks and important papers, leaving the rest behind.

It got me to thinking what I would pack if I had to leave in a hurry. DS's medical equipment would be first and that would fill the bulk of the space. I would want pictures and scrapbooks, too. Would I have time to grab them? The genealogy files I have amassed over the years. Truly, it made my head hurt to think about it too much.

The only thing we lost in the storm was the money we spent on two nights in a hotel before we were sure Florence wasn't going to make a direct hit on us. It was money well spent.


Monday, September 10, 2018

Preparing for the storm

We are smack dab in the middle of the path of Hurricane Florence - and we don't even live on the coast.

I was up at dawn this morning getting gas in the van and picking up a few needed items at the grocery store. After listening to the forecast for much of the day, I decided it was time to really get ready. In 1996, Hurricane Fran unexpectedly hit us. We were without power for nearly two weeks.

This storm is expected to be worse.

We have already had a lot of rain in the past month, so the ground is soggy. We are being told to expect 10-20 inches of rain by the weekend. That kind of rain will bring downed trees and power lines - at the least.

About 4:00, I decided to book a hotel room beginning Friday. DS cannot be without power for an extended time. He relies on nighttime ventilation, a chair that has to be charged and several other pieces of equipment. So I went online to see what the options were. I was almost too late. Nearly every hotel in the area is already booked solid, likely by my neighbors doing the same thing I am. I finally managed to snag a room for a week - not knowing how long I will or will not need it. I realize now that I should have booked Thursday night, but by the time I figured that out, there were no availabilities.

I'm taking a risk. Cancellation has to be done two days in advance, which is too early to know whether we'll really need it. All in all, it will be an enormous hit to the budget, but one that can't be helped.

I'm also supposed to host my niece's bridesmaid brunch on Saturday. Those plans are up in the air for now.

I'm just praying the forecast is wrong and Flo decides to simply head out to sea.


Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Still here - really :)

Thanks to those who have checked in on me during the past few months. No real reason I haven't posted except that life has been crazy busy as always and I never think I have much worth sharing. I have been keeping my numbers updated, though, and I read all of y'all's posts. So that counts, right?

So what's been happening around here? About the only excitement was a trip we made last minute to Dallas TX for a medical conference for DS. We hadn't planned to go as that's a loooong drive, but DS decided he really needed to be there for his job. On the upside, he brought his caregiver with us, so they had a room and we had a room and truly, we didn't have to do much except enjoy a few days doing whatever we wanted. We did some sightseeing around Dallas, went to a ballgame and, at my request, spent one day wandering around Waco seeing what was up after all the Fixer Upper and Chip and Joanna hoopla. That turned out to be my favorite day. We had breakfast in their restaurant and while I'm not much of a breakfast person, oh my word, that was one of the best I've ever had. Clearly nothing frozen or pre-packaged. Fresh from the farm. Anyway, we went to the Silos and window-shopped at their store. It was a fun day. And I've never seen DS so happy as he was during the conference. He made a ton of friends his age, they spent evenings at the bar (imagine 26 wheelchairs around a table!). It was a good trip. 

I spent a good many of the lazy days of summer going through every drawer and every closet and getting rid of, well, crap. I'm not a hoarder by any means, so this shouldn't have been that big of a deal, but it's just astonishing how much stuff we accumulate in a short period of time. 

The other days I spent in physical therapy. I have arthritic knees and I was getting desperate. When I saw my orthopedist in May for cortisone shots, he suggested I try PT and see if that helped. Hey, I'm game for anything to hold off the inevitable surgery that's in my future. So twice a week, I spent an hour doing things I haven't been able to do for years. I learned how to tape my knee and found out what I was capable of physically. No one is more shocked than I am at how much it all helped. Every step isn't painful anymore and I have a ton more flexibility. Of course, it's not a permanent fix, but I'll take it. Now that I've finished PT, I've been trying my best to keep up with home exercises. That's hard - really hard for me. But I'm trying.

I also caught up on all my routine doctor appointments - physical, vision, dental. I'm good to go now. 

My daughter started back teaching this week, so I have my granddaughter again. She's 20 months old this week and, gracious, is she busy - and fast! Keeps me on my toes. 

On the money front, we took a loss in pay of about $800 a month, so have had to adjust the budget accordingly. It means that even though our debts are still decreasing, we still don't have anything left over at the end of the week. 

I was reading a story about the Colorado man who confessed to killing his wife and young daughters. It said the couple was in dire financial shape. They earned $90,000 a year and had $70,000 in debt. The story implied that the debt was so horrible that it may have pushed him over the edge. Wow. Our debt was more than twice that at its worst and our income wasn't that high. It was awful, but I have never thought of giving up. Neither has DH. It's just money, for heaven's sake. 

So if you're still reading, that was a long rambling to get through. Thanks! 


Thursday, April 19, 2018

What's cooking ... or not

My oven died. Right in the middle of a batch of brownies, of all things.

So I'm keeping an eye out for a good deal and just relying on the crock pot and microwave for now. I'm not in a big hurry to get a new one, so I hope a great sale pops up.

This happened on the heels of our spring break trip to New York, which was insanely expensive and physically exhausting - wheelchairs and NYC do NOT go together. But DS had a grand time, so there is that.

Spring might have finally arrived. At least my nose knows the pollen has. I'm actually hoping it stays cool just a few days longer as the A/C is out on our van. Parts have been ordered and will likely arrive in time to be installed next week. It should all be under warranty. When I took it in, I also found out there's a recall on the van seat, so that will be fixed, too.

Adulting is hard work.

Happy Thursday all,


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Spring Break

You know, I never mean to let a month lapse between blog posts ...

I keep my 15-month-old granddaughter during the week while my daughter teaches school. Plus, DS is home - he's working most of the day, but still needs help with physical tasks ... and likes to send me out for his lunch (he always offers to buy mine, too, but I don't want take out every day).


I really don't understand it, except for the fact that I'm 54 (which I don't think is THAT old). I had three children 5 and under and I still was able to get a lot done during the day. That is NOT what happens these days with only one. I've already told DD that I don't think I can keep two at one time so keep that in mind when family planning :)

I do love having her around, though. I'm just feeling sorry for myself this week. DH is in California on what he says is a mission trip with church, but all I'm hearing is "shorts, 80 degrees and Krispy Kreme donuts."

Tomorrow I am continuing a tradition started by my Mom and taking my little charge to buy her Easter shoes. After that, it's Spring Break and I am ready.

I wish I could say I was going to spend next week sleeping late and catching up on my reading, but alas, DS has other plans. He has planned a trip to NYC and, of course, needs us to take him. Our contribution is that we gave him tickets to Hamilton on Broadway for Christmas. I suppose it will be fun. I think it will be cold. And the city is not very wheelchair friendly. Just sounds like more work to me. Bah humbug.

All is cruising along on the debt front. DH changed routes at work as of January. This was a crucial move for his well-being - both mentally and physically - if he wanted to last until retirement (about 7 years away). It means fewer hours, which means fewer dollars, so our income has dropped. I plotted out our remaining debts and I think the majority will be gone within 3 years. We've also increased our retirement saving plan with that looming ever closer. I actually feel at peace with everything. That's a first.

Even though I don't post often, I do check in on y'all daily. Happy Spring!


Thursday, February 22, 2018

The taxes are done

It is pretty much a wash this year. We will get a little over $100 from federal and a few dollars from the state. I was actually surprised - last year we got a huge refund and I didn't think we had done much differently this year. I compared returns and we did earn a little more, though not much. The biggie, though, was the medical deductions. Last year, we had north of $40,000 in medical. This year, it was only about $20,000. (I can't believe I can put an "only" before $20,000!)

I have already noticed a change in the paycheck with the new tax reform. It makes me nervous as I don't want to have an unpleasant surprise this time next year. There are too many unknowns. My tax guy (my Dad!) advises that I continue to keep meticulous records for deductions even though it's possible that the changed standard deduction means we won't have to itemize next go-round. We've been itemizing for all of the 32 years we've been married, so that's a change I'm going to have to get used to. 

The upside of doing the taxes early is that the refund hit our account in 6 days. Too bad it wasn't more!


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

We're home

DS was released from the hospital last night. He is far from well, but is stable and we have all the equipment here that they do at the hospital. Well, except for one. A suction machine is to be delivered sometime today - until now we have successfully avoided using that particular piece.

The diagnosis was bacterial pneumonia and atelectasis. Pretty standard stuff for him that can quickly wreak havoc on his compromised system. He was in isolation at the hospital because of all the flu and viruses in that place. I don't know who is happier to be home - him or me.

I've spent this morning trying to catch up in between his treatments. I did run out and buy some groceries. I am craving real food after a few days of hospital fast food. Yuck.

Now if I could only remember what day it is - it feels like Monday. Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised when Friday arrives sooner than I expect!


PS My Dad has recovered and is doing great! Thank you for all the concern for both of my guys!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

My disinfectant failed me ...

DS is in the hospital. He acted better yesterday but this morning his oxygen levels fell too low and he said his chest hurt to breathe. By the time we got to the hospital, his fever was well over 104 and his 02 levels scary low. Quick flu test was negative, but they gave him Tamiflu anyway and have sent off the full test. Lots of bloodwork and chest x-rays. I'm so thankful they were proactive today and started antibiotics before any test results were back. Tonight he is looking much better. I'm hoping we can go home tomorrow as I don't like all the germs swirling around this place. Our sweet older son and his girlfriend dropped off dinner for us, which was wonderful.

Not the way we wanted to kick off the year, but we are so very grateful for excellent health care.


Friday, February 2, 2018

And here we go ...

We finally cracked the $50k mark on our debt load!! This feels like a big mental win. I sure hope it holds. And it's what I needed today. DS is sick - doesn't look like the flu, but with his special needs could quickly morph into pneumonia so I'm in hyper Mom mode. Plus, I just got a call from my Mom saying that my Dad became very sick during the night. She's taking him in this morning to get a flu test. At his age and with a pre-existing heart condition, it's a scary prospect. My knees are already worn out from praying for health for our family's two most vulnerable members.

Off to Lysol something. And maybe do a happy debt dance while I'm at it!


Monday, January 1, 2018

And on to 2018!

2017 was filled with ups and downs, but mostly it was a good year. We spent time together as a family, we enjoyed seeing the world through the eyes of our first grandbaby, we loved watching our children forge ahead in their adult lives and mostly we appreciated our many blessings. Life is hard, but it is also wonderful.

On the financial side, I didn't quite make my goal of seeing our debt fall below $50k. I came close, though, and it will happen soon. We wrapped up the year having knocked $15,030.41 off our debt. If you ever wondered what the tortoise looks like in the tortoise and the hare story, just look at us!

Here's to another good year and here's to coming closer to the end of the debt road.

Happy New Year!