Monday, September 25, 2023

Week 39...

Dear Postal Customer,

I realize to some of you, I'm just the one that brings the bills, junk mail, and grocery flyer.  The one you'd wish would skip your house most days, except of course, when I have a package full of goodies for you. Feel free to scroll right past this post, I don't mind. 

But for the others, the ones who know me. Those I've chatted with by the box, that I've gotten ahead of your problems, before you even knew they existed, the ones that wave as I roll on by, this is for you. 

Six years ago, I made the incredibly tough decision to switch routes for health reasons, and I was not disappointed. Over the last six years, I've watched you get married and divorced, celebrate births, first days of school, move off to college, and return home.  I've watched you move out and on to new things and move your parents back home. I have watched you grieve and heal. I have celebrated every new furry friend and felt every loss as they crossed the rainbow bridge. The excited butt wiggles are the best part of the job and the hardest part to accept when they aren't greeting me at the door.

In truth, I never aspired to be killing it out there in my big white truck with flashing lights, like most of us I had other dreams, but rather fell into a twenty-year career that's helped me survive real life. Now with 2/3rds of my working years behind me, I've taken a lot of time to look at what I want the next 30 years to look like and to best do that, I need to take the opportunities as they arise. No, we didn't hit the lottery, and I can't retire early, but an opportunity to switch territory has presented itself and (after months of overthinking) I've decided to take it. Quite simply, it will allow me the ability to better take care of my family and retire when I hope to do so. 

I am not going very far, you will likely see me zipping around town as per usual. It just won't be me bring your medications or cards from your great niece. I won't be the one rerouting Aunt Edna's Christmas Card that never gets correctly addressed, or fixing what FedEx and Amazon misdeliver. I won't be your frontline for problems regarding the giant clusterf*ck that is the new and improved current postal forwarding system. I won't be the one alerting you to check on your neighbors, or making sure your son lets his little brother in the house after school no matter how annoyed he is with him. I can't help you find your lost dogs, well, maybe I can still do that, it depends on how far they wander. And while I cannot guarantee it, I have done certain things to ensure you're left in the best hands, and I will be only a few feet away from them in the office for any questions or issues that will arise. 

 I will miss you all more than you know. And I hope when you see me buzzing by, you wave like always, or even stop to chat. Because while it's no longer going to be me, I would love it to think that, over the last six years, in just those ten seconds a every day, I made a difference to you too.



Monday, September 18, 2023

Week 38...

I'm blaming my absence on technical difficulties, along with my not paying the internet bill on time, and not promptly responding to emails. While I can pull emails up on my phone, the new way in which they appear is causing me to miss many of them and delete the others. I have actually been trying to get my computer functioning since 9am this morning.  It's now quarter to one. And truth be told, with life's distractions, I'm not even sure when or if this will post, but here goes.

The last three-ish weeks have been wet, dreary, and rain soaked. No one better be talking about a water ban this year, because we've had more than our fill.  Thankfully we are not in the hardest hit areas, nor did we get a direct hit from Hurricane Lee, but still, we've had more than our share.  As I sit typing away, we are expected to get another two inches throughout the day, much to my and the dog's dismay. 

The rain's made it a good day to sit on the phone for over an hour on hold with the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.  It seems, that within his little trip to Jersey last month Youngest zipped through several lanes of the NJ turnpike in the cash only lanes. Unfortunately, there's no online option for "I'm too stupid to read the ginormous sign" and he was hit with not one, but FOUR penalty charges for his carelessness. An hour later I was able to get a nice person on the line who waved the charges and enabled him to pay just the fees. Needless to say, he's getting an ezpass for future travels and I'm getting myself a cookie for my hard work and patience.

And while some of you may say, it's not your job to sit on hold or handle anything for him, or he'll never learn if you don't stop doing those things, let me first say that you're right. But here's the thing. Since April of 2020, Youngest has planned eight suicide attempts. I do not know how many he has actually tried, but thus far, he's thankfully been unsuccessful. There have been many things I've stopped helping with, condoning, or facilitating in those three years. Much of his struggle has been his and his alone. And in January, when he came face to face with himself and hated everything he'd become, he knew it was time for a change. The first few months were excessively difficult. And then one day, it wasn't.  He started taking care of himself. Organizing his life. Changing direction.

He turned around and headed right back to where he was headed pre-covid, back to personal health and fitness.  He enrolled in a very expensive, but nationally accredited online course to become a personal trainer. He struggled for months with the curriculum.  He learns better in a classroom, with conversation and discussion.  Independant learning is tough for him. And this subject matter, antimony, physiology, kinesiology, is hard for anyone. Nevertheless, he kept going. I spent countless hours on the phone with the company, mainly for payment issues on their end, and for testing dates.  I did that for him because I could, and often I could resolve it for him faster that way. His first deadline to test for his certification was coming at the end of September, so we scheduled it for last week, knowing full well that 40% of students fail their first go around. Fully aware we didn't have the technical setup to take it online at home, I urged him to take it in person. Agreeing, he headed over to the local college 45 minutes away for his proctored exam, and I waited to hear.

He passed.

And in that moment, I was reminded of all the things he's been up against his whole life that no one ever thought he'd get through and did. His whole life has been a series of hills to climb, which he has done with us both cheering from the sidelines and leaning on us when he got too tired. And when he fell down that mountain it was equally as heartbreaking, and downright devastating for us all. And since picking himself up off the rocky gravel of the valley below, he's climbed small hills, steady inclines. But this was his first real summit to climb since, and he succeeded. 

Now he's setting sights on new mountains, both big and small, with a renewed sense of empowerment and worthiness, with a knowingness of wanting to be here, present in his life.

So yeah, it's not my job to spend hours on hold. But if it levels out the ground so he can stand firmly and reset his mindset, I will gladly do it. 

Now if I can only figure out what I did with the internet bill.

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Week 35...

 Things that made me happy edition.

The malls I spent my time in as a kid look nothing like they did back them.  Brick and mortar stores and malls are vanishing faster than squeaky toys in a dog park, and in one case, one of them has been leveled to the ground.  In its place they are building an open-air shopping experience, which if we were in a warmer area would be great, but when the weather turns cold and dismal, it lacks a lot of appeal for me. Monday the Hubs and I went to check out what's been done so far since the leveling and I have to say, I'm kind of impressed.  No, I won't enjoy schlepping my things through snow and rain (I get enough of that at work), but the layout and mix of retail stores is quite good.  The restaurants range from low to high end, and the whole plaza is easily walkable unlike some of the other openair establishments done over the last few years. 


When I was little it was a huge treat for us to go to a local dairy farm a few towns over and get ice cream.  It was the best around, and with their expansion to our town 30 years ago, it has long become my kids favorite place to meet up with friends and wander downtown, sundaes in hand year round.  On Tuesday, after 60 years of being in business, they went on the auction block. The high bidder paid 1.7M, a bit over market value, but he just couldn't see it go to condo developers. Turns out, the winner is the owner of another long-established dairy farm in the area, where my kids went many times with their grandparents to indulged in chocolate milk and sweet treats in the summer. It's crazy how something so simple can make me so happy.  And if they take over the existing lease downtown as well, we just may take advantage of their delivery service for weekly glass bottles of chocolate milk.  It. Is. that. Good. 


The correct hose & attachment arrived for the toilet yesterday, free of charge.


The heat and rain has subsided at least for a while. The windows in the house can be open all day. The nights are getting crisper.  

Fall is coming.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Week... I Have No Idea...

Me: So, when are you planning on doing that stuff you keep saying you'll do it while I'm on vacation?

Him: At some point.

Me: Because you're running out of days. 

Him: I know.  Best. Vacation. ever. 

In truth, it's been quite the week.  So, while he may not have trimmed the trees and done all the yardwork he planned and promised, he's been focused on other things, apparently making it the best vacation ever. 

Sunday, Oldest graduated with his Batchelor's in Site Civil Engineering. He's all moved home and we've successfully integrated for the third time in a month most of his things into the house. Kitchen stuff has all been washed up and stored in totes, while household products have been stuffed away for household use. There is no toilet paper shortage here folks, I can assure you, at least for the foreseeable future.

Monday, we planned his cookout to celebrate.  We kept it small because in May, if all goes to plan, he will be graduating again with his Masters. So, most of the day was spent cleaning, shopping and cooking.  Thankfully the humidity took a backseat, and we were able to host it outside and thanks to the citronella candles from his High School graduation, the mosquitos didn't bother us too much either. My sister had brought over Bonus Son's old dorm fridge that she had borrowed for my niece her freshman year, so we'd have somewhere to put Oldest's food, as he's training for an amateur body building competition in October and meal preps everything.

Tuesday the plumber came to see what needed to be done downstairs. The Hubs tried his best with him, but since it is my project, he could only relay a few things.  The biggest of issues would be permitting, as the ceilings are far too low down there.  An issue I already knew; I just wasn't sure of the work around. So, while I waited to hear back, I managed to find the mini fridge a home amongst the storage bins, and Oldest was able to clean it, making it ready for his food storage, so that was a win.

Wednesday quite literally nothing got done.  Hubs and Oldest sat in front of the TV and binged watched a series, and when I pulled in the drive from work, I heard "Quick, go unload the dishwasher so she'll think we did something today." We did take the dog to the vet for a follow up on her meds.  Her bloodwork came back perfect and provided there's no new issues, we don't have to bring her back for 6 months.

Thursday nothing got done either. Youngest came home from work to let me know he got a $1 raise at one of his jobs, which is great, and around 5pm I got a phone call that the plumber would be here at 8am to start the work. Wait, what?

So, Friday comes, and I plan to be late for work. By 830 he's still not here so I head off, only to find out we're in mini count, a process that determines our pay for the next 6 months. Great. Hubs leaves around 930, still no plumber, to help my niece with a puzzle she'd been working on all summer.  Her plan was to frame it and hang it in her dorm when she went back, until she got to the end and realized the dog had eaten multiple pieces.  My mother bought a new puzzle, and being the puzzle guru that he is, headed over to see if they could just fill in what was missing. Which was great until they realized it was a completely different cut than the other puzzle. Frustrated, they took the old one apart and started on the new, they got about a third of it done before Hubs returned home. At 1030 Oldest calls to say that the plumber arrived, the faucet won't work with our set up, and that the doorknob to the basement door is broken. Yay. I finally get through the day, get home and find the plumbers are packing up because the water line has a metric fitting on it and I need to get a specialized part as per the instructions, so they can continue. Not reading the instructions, I agree, they pack up and leave.  When I finally dry out enough to function, did I mention it POURED rain all day? I read the instructions myself, where it says if the metric fitting is attached, simply cut it off, and use a 3/8" compression fitting, an item that is stock on any plumbing truck. *sigh* Setting that aside, we head out to meet Bonus Son for dinner to celebrate his 29th birthday. Dinner was good, quiet, and quick. And of course, he drops a bit of a bombshell when he says he's thinking about changing jobs/careers. Which is great that he's thinking of forward movement, but a bit of a shock since he's all about not rocking the boat, maintaining status quo, and flying under the radar.  We'll see, but it would be so incredibly sad if we're sitting at dinner with him next year and he's in the same place, the time for change is now, before he's in his 30's.

Saturday was less rainy and an easier day at work. The Hubs went back to my niece's to help with the puzzle for a few hours, returning about the same time I got out of work. We had planned to go downtown for a food crawl for our anniversary, twelve years! Crazy. Unfortunately, the entire town was also downtown for the waterfront festival, and while it was nice to enjoy that too, we had to park a literal mile away and walk. Three hours and five miles of walking later we get a text from my niece, there's only 20 pieces left! Can you help me flip it tonight? That girl had worked on it nonstop, how can you say no to that? After dropping him at home to take care of the dog's meds and such, I headed back over to flip it. They had only a few pieces left when I got there, and as my sister readied the camera for the final piece, it was missing.


Now the frame that my sister got wasn't going to work, and we headed back to the store, grabbed the right sized frame, parted ways and I went quickly into Walmart to grab a few things we were out of, which of course turned into a crap ton as everyone started texting me requests. I think it was 8pm by the time I took my shoes off.

Which brings me to today, where Hubs and I went grocery shopping again, he fixed the doorknob, and I've taken three naps. 

Tune in next week for far less excitement.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Week 33...

 Me (May 2023) : I will not buy anything big at Brimfield this year.  I'm definitely not buying another bank of PO boxes.  I don't need another project

Also Me: 

And so, the bank of PO boxes came home with me, as mentioned in my previous post in May. (Brimfield for those who don't know, is a massive flea market/antique show held three times a year in central Massachusetts) It sat in the garage for a while, until I scored a bunch of free mahogany off  Buy Nothing. Two weeks ago, I dragged it out from under a pile of stuff in the garage, removed the locks we didn't have keys for, cut the latches off and reinstalled them, then gave it a good coat of spray paint. 

Then I used some scrap plywood and encased the bank in a solid box.  The Hubs busted out the power washer over the weekend and washed all the wood down since it had been stored outside. Once it was dry, I added the planks of mahogany.  They are 1" thick, which I wouldn't normally do, but free is free...
Then the trim...

I remembered to save all the saw dust this time! (Pro tip: If you save the sawdust, mix it with some glue, you can use it like wood filler, plugging all the holes with a perfect match. 

After filling all the holes and sanding it forever, I gave it a good coating of linseed oil to bring out the natural colors and grains of the wood, then two coats of poly. That's when I realized that my original plan of hair pin legs wasn't going to fly.  This sucker weighs about 80 pounds. So, I turned my sights towards cast iron. I checked websites, Esty, Amazon. They all wanted WAY too much money, plus the size was odd, too narrow it becomes a tipping hazard, to wide, it will look weird. After searching I realized that an antique sewing machine base was the exact size I needed. And as it happened, someone was selling this one on Marketplace for cheap money. A quick coat of paint is all it needed...

In case you can't make it out, this is no old Singer base.  It reads, "Jordan Marsh, Boston Mass".  As in the iconic Jordan Marsh Department store that survived downtown for over 100 years.  The same one my Mom shopped for Easter dresses in as a little girl, and that I shopped in in college. The wheel still spins too. Any hoo...  four screws later and here we are....

It's serving as our mail center for now.  Each person has a mailbox, and one overflow box for stuff that needs to be filed. Later it will be a fantastic storage unit for my Cricut vinyl in the craft room, but for now it's found a home. The spare keys are glued into the broken locks and act as a handle for the door.  I don't like the white hang tags, so the hunt is on for some tin embossable ones that I can add our names/box numbers into. 

Perhaps, I will find the perfect key tags at the next Brimfield in September.

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Week 32...

 Youngest took off to Jersey for a few days. I don't ask many questions anymore.  I find when I do, I get shut down. When I don't, I get more details after the fact, which is better for both of us, because at that point I can't worry about it. I knew 6 Flaggs was planned, as well as Atlantic City and longboarding the boardwalks. So, when he returned home, the back window of his car meticulously hand painted with hot pink letting of  Girl's Trip! Buy Us A Drink! Venmo *****, I was curious.

Me: So, did you go with a girl, or did you meet up with some down there?

Him: Nope.  Just the boys.  We had wigs. Mine was purple. We made six bucks!

I haven't laughed that hard in three years. Because despite the fact that they could have made more than $6 had any of them shaved their full beards, this is the youngest I remember.  Always funny, always out of the box, always using the line like a jump rope.

This, in addition to his selling something this week that was a big part of his life for the last two years, at far less than what he wanted, makes me feel like while there is still a long way to go, that part of his learning curve is over. While I waited in the parking lot for the meet up to finalize the sale, this guy was popping around across the street.  

While they are prevalent here, I rarely see foxes, let alone long enough or close enough to get a picture. 


Oldest had his senior showcase at the college this week.  An entire year of research, planning, and execution all on exhibit for two hours. Being Civil/Site engineers, he and his team theoretically built a prep high school dormitory and education building for UMass Amherst. The projects across the board were super interesting.  The Biomedical engineers had wearable sensors that alert parents if a child is at risk of drowning at the beach or pool, wearable sleeves that stop the tremors of Parkinsons, and glasses that collect data for the visually impaired and deliver it to them via speech controls.  It even had facial recognition that could identify a known person coming into the room or approaching them.  Another project was an app that monitored labor contractions to determine if labor was progressing at a normal rate, or if they were at risk for preterm labor, and when/if to seek emergency services. The mechanical engineers had everything from automated trailer hitchers, to self-loading/unloading refrigerated pallets for shipping, to robotic assisting dogs for the elderly.  Seriously interesting stuff. 


After being a minimal summer weekend warrior for the last 17 years, my neighbor has finally moved in full time next door.  To say that we are all concerned is an understatement.  She seems to have good and bad days, the bad days involve multiple car accidents. Currently her bumper's held up with duct tape and she has no side view mirrors. After talking with some of the other neighbors, she's struggling with letting go of things (her house is packed with her parents and grandparents' furniture), as well as struggling with basic tasks. So, her trash isn't going out, and the lawn's not getting mowed.  Thankfully while other neighbors have, we haven't seen an influx of mice, but the wildlife is definitely moving in.  

Chippy here has clearly taken residence under the flower beds (there is a den sized mound on our side of the fence) along the driveway. Since there's no exit hole on our side, I can only deduct that he burrowed in from her jungle of a back yard. He's cute, but he needs to stay away from the car hoods and electrical systems. Then it's game on.


Our favorite garden shop had a sale for tax free weekend. I grabbed some sweet potato vines to spruce up the window boxes. I've already seen hummingbirds hovering for their tiny purple flowers. Fingers crossed they will give some color through October. I hate spending money on annuals because they die off in just a few short months. We found a gorgeous hibiscus for $25, not realizing that it needs to come inside for the winter unlike our others. 

So, while Hubs went golfing, I returned to the store and got a new pot for it, an even larger pot for the rain lilies, a rain chain of tiny umbrellas, and some bulbs that I've secretly planted and will give Hubs the tags for Christmas so he can anticipate the new lilies that will come up next spring. I really shouldn't be left unsupervised when there's a 50% and more off sale.  Just sayin'.

I also bought the $1100 toilet for the basement bathroom. It should be here on Wednesday. And so as not to leave y'all with that sickening feeling that I feel every time I think about spending $1100 on a toilet, I'll leave you with the colors of August from our yard.

Our Hibiscus that does winter over.

Our Rose Of Sharon (which apparently is also a hardy hibiscus variety)

The last of the new lilies

The phlox is still going strong, this one's a late bloomer

Our only Tiger Lily, it's 4 feet high


And one gratuitous picture of the girl's newest hiding space. I guess she though when I went through all the to be filed mail that we keep in that basket, it was for her. 

Friday, August 4, 2023

Weeks 30 & 31...

I'm elbow deep in projects here, literally, as the latest one landed me flat on my butt and bleeding in the hydrangea. 

But enough about that.

A while back I found a trunk for Youngest to restore that would eventually house all his keepsakes from childhood. After a bit of searching, I came across the deals of deals on Marketplace and for $20 came home with this beauty...

It was in remarkable shape.  Unlike the trunks I usually grab, this had the original key with working lock, a copy of the Boston Herald from New Year's Eve 1939 in the bottom, and the last transfer tag from when it was shipped, with a portage cost of a whopping $1.50.
Wanting to be able to save as much as I could, I happened to find that the case for the screen protectors at the dollar store was just the right size.  The trunk sat for quite a while, as I've had quite a bit of things come up, and not enough money honestly. As I picked away at it, Youngest got more and more interested, choosing stain colors, insisting on cedar lining the inside, and deciding to line the lid with the old newspaper. Truthfully it killed me to have to strip off the near perfect paper lining that was already inside the trunk but that is the only way to get rid of the mildew smell, so it had to go. I'll spare you the progress photos, mainly because my computer isn't cooperating and I can't find them at the moment, but here's the gist....
After painstakingly removing the oil cloth, we went with dark honey on the bands and light honey stain on the plywood box. Then I taped off all the metal work and sprayed it all a hammered black texture. Youngest decided it needed something special, so I went back and gold leafed the lock and clasps, as well as the end caps for the new handles.  The secret to replacing the handles by the way, is to use a belt.  This black/brown reversible one was donated from The Hubs collection, and Youngest decided that brown was the way to go. I also got a black chain to secure the key to the trunk as that's just not a thing you can get at the hardware store if it gets lost.
We also did some gold leaf in the deep cracks and crevices because that's where the good memories are. We hung the transfer tag from the handle in it's protective case with some craft twine, and I also found some old trinket dog tags we made at the amusement park when he was little with his name and address, so we hung that too. He insisted that it be lined with cedar, and since the lid gets too heavy when wood lined, we opted to line the top with the 1939 newspaper. Fun Fact: The Boston Herald is still in existence, someone left one in the Post Office today, a daily paper costs $4.50 today. We selected some of the more fun articles to highlight, stocks of course since Youngest has an extensive stock portfolio, the "drug of the year" article, a rental advertisement for Becon Hill Apts. starting at $35 and up (currently $3,200 and up), and an obituary for Abe Lincoln's cousin, she was 84.

Youngest insisted we not cover the staining on the paper, as it's part of the history.  I should mention we also added casters to the bottom for convivence of moving it around.  We went with antique brass in keeping with the theme. The one thing that was missing from the trunk was the tray and as luck would have it, I scored some free mahogany from my Buy Nothing group here in town.

I took the smaller, wider pieces, and after a lot of sanding, some pressure washing, and a bit of stain, I crafted a tray to display all of his awards and metals...
The tray is quite dark, but Youngest doesn't seem to mind. There's still room to add metals as getting back into Spartan Races is something he wants to do.  I added a clear piece of plexi to the tray and filled it to the brim with personalized scrapbooks, Scout stuff, karate belts, wrestling gear, Championship sweatshirts, Trophies, his cap and gown, awards, diploma, stuff from his father, you name it it's in there. Truthfully, there's still more, but I'm hoping to reconfigure some things and get it all in there.

Twenty-One years of life in one portable, albeit insanely heavy, container. 

It sits next to his bed.  

He loves it.

I love that he embraced my crafty craziness, and we made it as unique and amazing as he is. 

Ed Note: As per his request, I sent the seller the finished pictures so he could show his grandmother.  She was thrilled, and said it looked just as she remembered from her childhood, as it was her father's.  We're estimating the trunk is 90-100 years old, and worth every second of my time to give it a new life.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Week 29...

Youngest 7pm:  I'm headed out to longboard.

Me: State Forest?

Y: Nope. Service Road.

Me: Good choice, it's getting dark and the bear sightings are really multiplying. You should be okay down there though, there's only been one sighting down that way.

Twenty minutes later, the local PD puts out an alert via the book of faces:

Bear sighting on service road, PD and department of Natural Resources in route, avoid the area.

I sent Youngest a text, which given that I have android and he has apple, I have no idea he's read. By midnight, when he still has not returned, I send another all good? text, to which I still get no answer. One thirty am he rolls in...

Me: Dude. I thought you were a bear snack. What the hell?

Y: My bad. We didn't see him though, but we did look for him.

*sigh* And still, it's not the most dangerous thing he's done in the last few years. 

Otherwise, this week's been a series of small technological challenges.  

First, Youngest's phone suddenly stopped charging.  We tried different cords, outlets, plugs, and nothing.  Brought it to the phone place and it charges right up. We bought a new block and now it's fine, but all the other things are charging with the old cords/blocks, so I have no idea what happened there other than shelling out $21.

We have an electronic keypad on the back door. Over the years it's been easier than everyone carrying keys. For a few days I heard random beeping like someone was coming in, but no one was home but me.  Youngest was sitting at the table and saw the lock actually turn itself to the locked position, and then unlock again. Freaked him right out.  New batteries seemed to fix it for now, but the other batteries weren't that old to begin with. 

The light on the fridge that's been out for three years is suddenly working again. And the door randomly opens. The brand-new dish washer didn't start when I know I hit the button, but then starts perfectly a hour later. Radio stations changing in the car. There's more, mostly small stuff, weird and annoying. If something's not in retrograde I'm gonna need a ton of sage and patience.

When I'm not dealing with the undead or hunting bears, I've been working on small craft projects. Youngest's steamer trunk is coming along, today I did the gold leaf details on the latches while the cat gold leafed herself, so that was fun. Hubs and I also picked up a bunch of mahogany planks someone was giving away for free, so tomorrow's project is rebuilding the missing tray for it from that. Youngest is thrilled with how it's coming out, and I'm secretly loving that he's involved in the process.

That's all for now, pictures to follow as projects get done.

As long as technology cooperates.

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Week 28...

Sister: "I only watch the news to see where the black bears are"

Me: "I'm not worried.  They are super cool, but you just have to leave them alone."

Sister: "Well I don't want to run into them.  I mean look at me, I'm a bear snack."

*two weeks later*

I'm sitting on an old metal chair at a local farm with the cat on my lap, waiting patiently for our number to be called.  Unable to shell out another $100 for a vet visit, Keeks and I found ourselves at the monthly low cost clinic for her rabies booster. It's beautiful here, quiet, nothing but the occasional nay of a goat or cluck from the chickens. This is one of my favorite parts of town. The farmhouse out front is easily 150 years old as are many of the homes on this street. It has been maintained, but the barns have started to wane and show their age. The family that owns the property loans out the old grooming barn to the Vet as finding places has become increasingly difficult. The Vet is well known as he had an active, 30+ year practice before his wife insisted he retire. About ten years ago he started the low-cost clinics twice a month as a way of getting out of the house, and thus far it seems to be keeping both of them happy.

The humidity has finally given way, if only for half the day, before the torrential rain moves in this afternoon. The breeze thankfully keeps the bugs away. The hay fields are overgrown, no doubt waiting to be bailed in the next weeks, and sold to one of the many active farms in town as feed. The chickens appear to be free range. It's probably good the bears haven't made their way to this side of town yet. Bears, I should mention, are not common here, and when they do emerge, they are usually gone in a few weeks.  These three have been wandering these 40 square miles for about two months now. Amazing creatures, not that I'd want to see one at this moment, cat on my lap, livestock running amuck around me.  We'd be a smorgasbord of flavors for them. 

The ping of my phone breaks through the peaceful moment. A text from my mother.

"Across the street, look on the hill of the neighbor's house"

Me: "So Awesome. You'd better not invite my sister over, apparently she's a bear snack"

Her: "LOL"

Me: "Youngest thinks it might be Yogi.  You should put a picnic basket out."

Her: "Maybe..."

I don't think she actually put a basket out, though given that it was trash day in my neighborhood, there were plenty out for the other two bears who have been seen down by our house (we live about 30 minutes away from each other) My sister, however, lives less than 3 miles from my mother and I have not heard from her. I should check in soon to ensure she's not become a lunch-able. 

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Week 27...


Shhhh... be vewerrry, vewerrry quiet... we're hunting for wabbits....

While out on our walk this past week these two were particularly brazen and just hung out paralyzed in the road for a good 15 minutes while we watched. Thankfully the girl's completely devoid of prey instinct or I'd surely have gone flying. The excitement must have been a bit much for her though as she had another seizure at 3am that morning.  To be honest, after scouring the web, I'm tending to lean more towards CHF than seizures (they look exactly the same) and in the end, it doesn't matter.  Our girl's time is limited, and if she wants to stare at bunnies, leap at crows, or play chicken with a chipmunk, I'm more than happy to let her.

Fourth of July was a washout.  The boys saw friends in the morning, then stacked some commander decks to go play Magic the Gathering at a newly found local tabletop gaming shop. Not going to lie, watching them go off and do something together they haven't done since they were 12 makes my heart all squishy. The Hubs and I hit the grocery store in the morning to replenish a few things. Seventy eight dollars later we left with ONE bag of groceries. *sigh*

I laid the floor in the laundry/bath downstairs while the rain fell.  It looks lovely, and I'm a bit sad that everything's coming to a halt. I've put myself on financial lockdown until some changes can be made to right the ship.  The dog's vet bills are crushing us, so I broke down and took a small loan to cover emergency bills as she has these episodes. I've found some more things to sell on marketplace so hopefully they will sell and I can bank roll that money as well. 

Oldest returned to college on Wednesday night.  Only six more weeks to go until he's home for a while. His federal aid did come through and was enough to cover his master's program, which is great because I didn't have to cosign for him, and the interest rate is 2.5-4%. The push is on now to find enough space for all his stuff to move back home.

I know it seems like I get a lot done around here but most days it's a struggle.  Now that my guts have been put back together, my regular doctor (who I love) started me on Ozempic to get my T2Diabetes in check. (I have two conditions that cause insulin resistance, which in addition to the T2D made me a good candidate) There's been a lot of talk about it on the news as the miracle drug for weight loss, mood, serotonin, etc.  Let me tell you, as with every medication, there's another side to it.  Has it helped my cravings? Absolutely. But, I do still have to regulate self-control on portion sizes. This week is the first week I'm stepping up past the starter dose and I've already lost two pounds a week for the last four weeks. I have another month at .5mg and then another at 1mg, repeat, until I level out at 2.5mg.  It's my understanding that the real impact is seem at 1 mg. I've been really lucky thus far, as they only major side effect I've incurred is the tiredness.

But this is no normal tiredness folks, it's takes me out at the knees from Sunday to Tuesday. It has improved my sleep, and my joint pain is much better, as I've let go of a lot of water retention. But.... it's a struggle to get anything done on my days off.  And then there's the needles.  They are super fine so they don't hurt, but I've stabbed myself disposing of the used one, forgot to take the cap off and wasted a whole dose, and injected straight into a flexed muscle which bled like crazy.  I'm a mess I tell ya. I'm hoping the tiredness levels out as time goes on, and that the nausea doesn't make an appearance as the dose goes up. We shall see. But the thought of this being available without prescription, in pill form, over the counter is scary folks.  I can completely see this getting misused, and people screwing up their whole body in the hope of a magic cure-all. Course, most people have been doing that for years already.

I'll keep ya posted... 

Monday, July 3, 2023

Week 26

When I met my husband he drove a Monte Carlo. He drove that car until one day, he drove it to the top of the hill just shy of our mechanic's shop, and coasted it into the parking lot, where the engine block promptly broke in half. No lie. His next car was a Grand Prix, which he drove until it needed $4K worth of engine work which wasn't worth doing.  Seeing his frustration, I told him I was going to Walmart and drove his car to the dealership instead.  He called two hours later to see where I was, and I told him he should probably get over here as he was buying a new truck. He came and drove off the lot in his new to him Toyota Tundra.

I mention this because he drives his vehicles into the ground.  The Tundra has long been paid for and only has 130K miles on it, so God willing, it has a long way to go still.  Sadly, having come off the Vineyard Island, the bumper had no life left in it.  The rust had eaten two holes in either side and recently it had started to eat it's way through the top. 

It's upside down in this picture, but you get the idea. It was rough.  So, for his birthday, I bought a new one.  On Sunday, we installed it. Or I should say my mechanical guru of a nephew installed it, as he was the one on the ground getting rust all over him, and the Hubs and Oldest just made sure it didn't fall on him. We've never towed anything, so we got rid of the tow hitch as well. Halfway in, my nephew mumbled something about maybe we should have watched a Youtube video beforehand, but nonetheless, I think it turned out as expected.

It took about two hours, and unlike last year's birthday gift of the shed that took 4 months to complete, he had this gift installed in two weeks. There was also talk amongst them about buffing out the paint and headlights, but that's a project for another day.

Speaking of paint, while I was at Restore (the Habitat for Humanity's resale shop) getting the vanity for the half bath, I noticed they had recycled paint. I hate painting, so I've become quite the paint snob, only buying the good stuff so I can do as minimal coats as possible. However, the laundry/bath downstairs is a small room and I didn't want to spend $90 for something no one but us will ever see, so I decided to take a chance. 

The company they get the recycled paint from is a women owned company about 20 minutes away from the store.  They get corporate donations, and create custom colors, reusing paint that would otherwise be disposed of.  They have about 20 stock colors, so if you're not super picky about a shade, you can usually find what you need.  I wanted a soft gray, and I jumped in with both feet over the weekend. 

It's as good as the expensive stuff, has no odor, and only took two coats on unprimed drywall!  All that for the bargain price of $23!!! And that sign I made from stuff I had hanging around the craft room for years, so I guess that was a bargain too.

Let's see what else happened? Walls are up and the layout has been fully established for the toilet/sink placement as you can see. I am slowly working on some board and batten removable panels for pipes we need access to on occasion.  Next thing to purchase is the toilet, which despite my best efforts, I can't find for less than $650, so that's gonna be a bit.  Since we're expecting rain and the paint is done now, I think the floor is the plan for the fourth since not much of anything else will be happening.

Oldest is home for half a week.  He's been getting back into playing Magic and he and his brother are getting along really well. He graduates in 6 weeks and then he's remotely earing his Masters in Structural Engineering from home. Lord help me, I have no idea where we're going to put all his stuff. Youngest is working two jobs now, rarely scoring a day off from both. His plan is to see where he lands for a mortgage in December, and then he/we will start looking for a place of his own. 

Today is the third of July which is a HUGE event here.  The fireworks have been going off nonstop, and the road is packed with cars lately.  Getting through town takes three times as long as it should. And in two days it will all be over.  

The four-legged kids are also getting along lately, so I'll leave you with this one last gratuitous pic....

"Come on... Get up!!!  There's mayhem to make!"

Week 39...

Dear Postal Customer, I realize to some of you, I'm just the one that brings the bills, junk mail, and grocery flyer.  The one you'd...