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Another crazy busy couple of weeks have passed. We’ve been trying to have some fun to make up for the weekends that sucked. We’ve also been trying to get the garden ready for planting and start planning a vacation. 

 
In my quest to lose weight, I’ve started skipping lunch about 4 days a week. I’m into my 4th week of it and have lost about 1 lb. a week. It started out early this month that I had a bad cold and was too sick to eat. When I didn’t keel over from not eating, I figured it was a way to eliminate calories without noticing much. It’s easier for me to not eat than only eat a tiny bit. I’m trying to shrink my stomach from the inside so I don’t need to eat so much to feel full. I was never one for skipping meals. Lunch was the highlight of my day sometimes. I don’t know if I can keep it up longterm, esp. in winter. For now, it’s a temporary solution.
 
Greg’s still seeing the doctor every 2 weeks and he has to call on the weeks he doesn’t see him and report his blood sugar readings. He’s now at 60 ml of insulin daily. His numbers are getting close to what they should be. We’re guessing he’ll end up with about a 75 ml dose. After 2 weeks on 10 mg of Lexapro, I had to tell him how I was doing. I still feel sadness but don’t cry anymore. It has totally leveled me out so that I don’t get happy either. He upped the dose to 15 mg. On a scale of 0 to 10 with 0 where I started and 10 being where I want to be, after 10 mg I was at a 3, then after 15 mg I was at a 4 or 5. He had me switch to 20 mg and i really don’t notice any difference. Some days I wonder if even a fistful would work. I no longer think this is the right thing for me. I am going to give it a try longer but it isn’t doing what I’d hoped. I kind of feel dead inside.
 
Thurs. May 18th, after his doctor’s appt., Greg went to pick up the RV from the shop. Afterwards, he took it to where we store it in Elgin and was going to vacuum it. The generator wouldn’t start. He called them right away and they tried to walk him through different things to get it to start and it wouldn’t. So they had him bring it back over and sure enough, they had cut a wire! They had changed the oil in the generator and somehow cut a wire. It never would’ve started at that rate. For $1700, you’d think they’d do better work. Greg doesn’t get mad about things like that but I would’ve been livid. Luckily, he didn’t bring me along. He got it vacuumed but we need to do some surface cleaning of countertops, nightstands, sinks, toilet, etc. which can’t be done until we have it here in front of the house.
 
Thurs. May 11th, we went up to Wisconsin to bring his mom her Ancestry DNA results. We also took her to lunch at the Machine Shed restaurant which is like a Cracker Barrel. We did this as a Mother’s Day gift. We didn’t know if she’d like her DNA results since she thought she was German, Irish and Native American. It turns out she’s 37% Great Britain and the rest is Eastern European and Scandinavian. She was absolutely thrilled! I jokingly told her she was related to the Queen of England and she believed me. I had to tell her no, but I’d be calling her that anyway. We also broached the subject of having her come along on our first RV trip this year. We’re going to Green Bay, WI and that’s where one of her other sons lives. I didn’t know if she’d want to just ride up there and back with us and stay with Brian and his wife. Or if she’d want to stay in the RV. There’s plenty of room but she’s just not used to it. 
 
On Sat. night, we finally decided when we’d be taking our trip. Leaving next week Thurs. I basically let Greg decide. I wanted to go away for our 25th wedding anniversary but he has an important work thing he’s in charge of on June 26th and he wants to be at work for the 2 weeks ahead of time to get things ready. He’s got a doctor’s appt. on Thurs. June 1st and it’s not until 11:15 am which means we’d get a late start. If he’s not worried about it, why should I be?! He called his mom that night and asked if she was free to go that week. She said yes and would call Brian and see if she could stay there. She got back to Greg on Monday and said it would work out. 
 
Both hubby and I are nervous about having her along. Maybe for different reasons. I think it’ll be nice to have company in there but don’t know how she’ll react to it. I’ll probably be making some food to take along but we’ll also do some cooking inside like usual. We’ll have to drive up to Pewaukee, WI in the RV on Thurs. aft. and pick his mom up and then go to Green Bay. There’s not really anywhere to park the RV so she’ll have to be ready when we get there. We’ve got a ton of things planned to do when we get up there—whether or not she comes along. I wish I could say I’m excited but I’m not. I don’t look forward to anything anymore. I don’t know how it can be so hard to be happy.

Recently, I had the best experience using social media and I wanted to document it on here. On Monday April 24th, I posted to Instagram how my day had started out putting the 2 filters back on my Dyson vacuum and it broke. I wash them every 3 months as recommended. Kind of a “vent my frustration” kind of post, not expecting a reply. I did tag Dyson and later that day got a comment that they were sorry to see the damage and if I wanted to email them, they’d see what they could do. I was shocked but skeptical. This was during the 3 days that we didn’t have Internet. I commented back to them that I’d email later in the week when I was able. I could’ve done it one finger at a time on my phone but decided to just wait. 
I emailed them on Friday April 28th and heard back from them on Saturday. In my email I had explained how I had the DC41 model (aka Animal) which I purchased 5 years and 3 mos. before. I was happy with the suction but the button on the plastic dust bin had broke off over a year before. I’d been using a screwdriver to take it on and off the machine. Then that week when I had reattached the cyclone portion, one of the red fingers that holds it to the machine broke off. Now it wouldn’t stay attached to the machine at all. If I hadn’t had to empty it, I would’ve just taped it in place. I’m kind of a “make do” type person that doesn’t like to bother people. I paid $600 on an installment plan for a year through Best Buy. I was hoping to get 10 years out of it, that would make it worth it. Anyway, when they wrote back, they couldn’t be nicer. They said they were sorry for my troubles and they would be sending me a new cyclone and clear bin. I was beyond thrilled. I emailed them back to thank them and they said they are committed to absolute customer satisfaction and developing products that work better. 


Wed. May 3rd, the package arrived from Dyson. I was able to try it out right away and it’s like a brand new vacuum. I am beyond thrilled. We’ve been having such a rough time with everything lately, it was a real treat to have something go our way. In this day and age when so many companies don’t care, it was refreshing to find out that Dyson stands behind their brand. The goodwill and kindness they showed me will not be forgotten. I look forward to being loyal to the Dyson brand for the foreseeable future. I’m still in disbelief that the result is a happy ending. I’ve heard of those but have little experience with them myself. Maybe my luck is changing? <Holding breath…>

So much has happened in just a few weeks. Hubby had been so sick, suffering with a sinus infection last time I posted. That would have been bad enough but after taking an entire week’s worth of pills, we find out he’s allergic to penicillin. Just in time to ruin another weekend, they came on as he was driving home on Thurs. April 27th. By the time he’d had dinner, he was fully broke out from head to toe with hives. We tried a Benadryl and a Zyrtec which did nothing. Luckily, we both had a doctor’s appt. the following morning. The first thing the doctor said when he came into the room and saw Greg was, “Somebody got some sun!” His entire head was bright red. The doctor seemed unfazed by the severity and prescribed low dose steroids (starting out with 6 pills a day, decreasing each day until day 6 is 1 pill), 2 Benadryl every 6 hours round the clock and Calamine lotion. Greg was miserable for the entire week. we were both worried that his throats might close up! As long as it took to get into his system is how long it took to pass the penicillin out of his system. He works alone on Sunday and by Monday it was finally starting to abate a little bit. This was my first time seeing the doctor as a patient and he prescribed me Lexapro without even listening to my heart or lungs or looking in my ears or throat. I thought that was weird. I told him how I’ve felt down for months and didn’t know if it’s because my mom died, if it’s due to starting menopause or if I’m depressed. He said try 10 mg of Lexapro for 2 weeks and then he’d up the dose if needed.
The first day I took it, it made me nauseous for a few hours and then passed. After a few days I felt better but that Sat. April 29th when I started it, I came down with a cold. So it’s hard to tell how I really feel. It’s still lingering on. He had a bunch of blood tests done on me since it’s been over 4 years since I had blood drawn. He has this Patient Fusion thing where you can look online to see your results. My cholesterol is 229 which is a bit high but to me, nothing to worry about. Normal is under 200 but he wants it under 180. When we went back to the doctor Thurs. May 4th, he told me to get some Red Yeast Rice Extract Pills at Sam’s Club and take a 600 mg. pill twice a day and it will naturally lower it. We stopped in to Sam’s Club and they were out! So I got it at CVS when we picked up one of hubby’s prescriptions. I started taking it Sun. May 7th and it made a mess of my stomach. He said it would do that but it goes away over time. Today is already better. 


So many people are on antidepressants and I never wanted to be one of them. I’m against taking a lot of pills. I like to think the body heals itself. However, after all these years, I’ve decided to try and see if I can feel better mentally and physically. This is my first time taking any and I didn’t want to have the stigma of it rub off on me. Yet I’d rather be honest and share that I’m trying it than hide it. I can tell already I sleep a lot better at night. I’m still sleepy during the day but I’m hoping to get some energy eventually. So far there isn’t a significant change.


The doctor has been increasing hubby’s dose of insulin by 10 ml a week. He’s now up to 40 ml a day. His numbers are coming down but the whole week he was on steroids, they were high. The doctor said that would happen. This week we are getting a reprieve from going in to his office and only have to call the doctor on Thurs. and report his blood sugar readings and I have to say if I need my dose upped. We might use the day Thurs. after calling to take the Ancestry DNA results up to his mother in WI. We got them a few weeks ago when he was so sick and there was no way we could go anywhere, let alone to another state. 


Last weekend, we had our first semi-normal weekend in over a month. We got to go to 2 estate sales on Friday and then popped in to Oakton St. Antique Mall nearby to check out their sale. We parked next to a car that was just filled with garbage! The passenger side and entire backseat was stuffed to the ceiling with trash! I couldn’t believe it was that bad. I’ve seen cars used as dumpsters before but usually there’s room to see through the back window. It’s so unsafe not to be able to use your rearview mirror at all! I took a bunch of pictures and will use them for this post. I told hubby when we went inside to try to guess whose car it was. It was really impossible to tell! I assumed it was a man’s car but it could’ve been a woman’s. Little things like that amuse me. It’s sad and gross and curious all rolled into one. I guess it makes me feel like my life is less of a mess. For the record, the inside of my car is very clean. 🙂


On Sat. May 6th, we went to the Library Book Sale in our town. I was pretty excited. They only have it twice a year. We missed it last time because that was the day that Mom had a stroke and went into the hospital. (Yesterday was 6 months since she died.) We got there a minute or two before opening and there were like 35 people ahead of us. They had the vintage books in a back room and going in there, it was all picked over. I only found 2 older books and after looking through everything in the place, I left with only 9 books. I was kind of bummed but we hit a few estate sales and found some really great books at those. We also ate good food and walked the dogs together every day even though we were worn out.


Skipping back a bit, on April 24th we went to the AT&T store near the mall in Niles, IL. I knew for months we had to go switch our cellphone and U-verse account from Mom’s name to Greg’s. Mom had worked for the phone company for over 35 years and got a discount. Since she lived with us, we put the phone in her name. When she died, they said to wait at least 3 months but less than 6 to switch them over. I had mentioned it to Greg often but you know how there’s never a good time for things like that. Our AT&T store usually has a couple hour wait to be helped, standing room only, wall to wall. But because we went at 6 pm on a Monday night, it was the emptiest I’d ever seen it! We were helped immediately by a nice girl named Oliwia but it still took 2 1/2 hours! First we decided to cancel our landline. No one ever calls us but telemarketers. So that took awhile. Then we had to cancel our cellphone from her name to ours. They no longer have “minutes” or charge for texts. We were able to bring our cellphone bill down about $50. Then we had to cancel our U-verse and go without Internet for 3 days! That made no sense to me. But they couldn’t just do a name switch on the computer. They had to send out a technician on Thurs. April 27th. Then we had to bundle our Directv with our U-verse. For some reason the bill was no cheaper for bundling. We’ll have to call Directv and find out why. Directv offers new customers great deals but if you’re loyal and stick with them, they keep raising your rates. Go figure.


Greg was at work when the AT&T tech came. The guy was very “ meticulous” and “precise”. Everything had to be “just so” and “by the rules”. When he called to say he was on the way, I told him we have 3 dogs and they are great with people. He didn’t say anything. Then when he came to the door, I opened it and he just stood there. Amber was barking and all 3 were trying to get close to him. I told him to come in but he just stood there. He said I had to “put them away”. The room we put them away in is the Sunroom which is the room the computer is in and he needed to work in. It’s the only room downstairs that has a door on it. I finally ended up putting all 3 on leashes and then taking them up to our bedroom and closing them in. They hated it and carried on the whole time. For 1 1/2 hours!! If they were allowed to be out and about, they would go up to him, see him and then ignore him. They would go about their business and not give him a second thought. Standing at the threshold to the house is the worst thing someone can do. Once you get past the doorway, they’re fine. We’ve had so many repairmen coming in, meter readers, etc. Just this year, 2 Directv guys, last fall several Nicor Gas guys, etc. Plus we’ve had the hot water heater installed, etc. and never had to put the dogs away. I literally screamed at the guy, “I’ll put them away SINCE YOU’RE AFRAID OF DOGS!” It pissed me off that this is their house and they can’t be out. Even the vet says they’re “people dogs”. Anyway, the tech replaced the modem and I just got back from mailing the old one in. They told me to take it to the UPS store and they’d box it up, make the label and it would all be free of charge. They’re unable to give us any faster internet due to how far we are from the main switching box in Uptown. The first new modem he brought in wouldn’t work and he had to go get another out of his truck. I’m happy to say our internet is working better than it had for years.


The RV is in the repair shop now getting new stairs, new batteries and fixing the hot water heater. We’ve been too busy to even have time to think about our first vacation of the year. The weather hasn’t been very cooperative either. It’s supposed to be almost 70 degrees this time of year but instead it’s been getting into the 30’s at night and low 50’s during the day. This year is one for the record books in every way. Not good but it has to get better as it goes along… right?!

Today would’ve been my mom’s 96th birthday. I was going to write a nice tribute to her but I’m not in the mood. I’ve had a weird backache since yesterday. It’s in my left hip and the pain is not constant. It is sudden and severe and makes me yell out and takes my breath away at the same time. As far as I know, I didn’t injure myself. I had a weird hip thing about 10 years ago that was totally different. It was severe but I had it 24/7 for months until I got a low dose of steroids. Then it was  supposedly arthritis but this must be a pulled muscle. Anyway, I’m still doing things like laundry and walking the dogs, just dosing myself with Tylenol.

I’ve never written a blog post about losing weight. I always said I would but never got around to it. This isn’t going to be it either. I’m at the highest weight I’ve ever been. I’ve gained in the last 4 years even after being told specifically to lose weight for my spinal stenosis. As a young girl, I always wanted to be thin and tried everything to lose weight. Sometime over the last 2 decades, I lost the desire to lose weight. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t “enjoy” being fat. I’m used to it. It is what I’ve always been and if I was thin, it wouldn’t be “me”. I was going to say it’s part of my identity but that makes it sound like I’m one of the fatties that are proud to be large and in charge. I’m not proud, I’m ashamed of my size but I’m through apologizing. I like to eat. Taking away one of the things I enjoy most in life is a big sacrifice. That being said, I want to be healthy. I want to be able to walk and move and not have pain. I don’t want to lose any organs or get a disease I will have to treat the rest of my life. I don’t want to take copious amounts of prescription medicines or have surgery. I have no one to be healthy for anymore but myself. I never feel worth the trouble or bother.

 

Taking all that into consideration, I am making the effort to cut out some carbs. Hubby has been going to our new doctor since Jan. Since his diagnosis of diabetes in June 2013, he got it under control almost immediately. Over time he was losing a handle on it and then after my mom died 5 1/2 months ago, it completely got out of control. He’s been having symptoms that he never had before,  high blood sugar readings, etc. The doctor first tried putting him on Janumet for a month along with the Metformin but it didn’t help. Now he’s on an insulin pen once a day. He started out with 10 ml which isn’t enough. He got very sick this past week from his body “crashing”. He has to see the doctor every single week until things have leveled off. Friday, his dose was upped to 20 ml and found out he had a sinus infection, too. So he’s on antibiotics, a nasal spray, etc. He’s been sick since Tues. but managed to go to work. On Sat. I had planned for us to go somewhere but he was too ill so we stayed home and he went to bed for 4 hours in the middle of the day. I’ve been going to the doctor with him every time. This doctor says things like, “If you lose 100 lbs., you can get off the meds altogether!” Uh…in the 3 decades I’ve known my husband, he never weighed 100 lbs. less. It’s never going to happen. He can lose 30 lbs. over time, maybe even 50 if ambitious but not 100.

 

So our weekends have been taken up with less than fun things lately. A week ago yesterday, we spent the entire day working in the yard. First we went to Ace Hardware and got 6 bags of top soil for 99 cents each. Plus 6 bags of cypress mulch to put around the trees. We cut the grass and put down fertilizer and Grubex. There is just so much to do and either no time or no energy to do it. We get done what we can but life feels very mundane right now….

 

We’ve been doing a lot of food shopping. The doctor wants Greg to cut out all carbs. I don’t think that’s realistic but we’re definitely putting in the work to cut them a lot. We love bread and sandwiches so much but that seems to be one of the biggest culprits. Hubby used to take 2 sandwiches for lunch and we lowered it to one but he might have to go without completely. I’ve been making hard boiled eggs every week and giving him 2 in his lunch. I also make the chicken drumsticks in the Big Boss airless cooker and give him 2 of those every day for lunch. Last night I also cooked an entire turkey breast in there which took 3 hours. It’s almost as much work as cooking a whole turkey. We’re trying to stay away from processed lunchmeat so this or tuna is all I can think of. Today I made a Turkey Salad with celery, red onion, apple and a delicious curry dressing. I didn’t have walnuts or grapes so subbed yellow pepper. I put it on lettuce with some grape tomatoes all around. It was really good! Like something you’d have a corporate luncheon. We also bought some of the Adkins snack bars since Greg has such a sweet tooth. A coworker of his has bowls of candy out and is always offering it. He has a terrible time keeping away from it. I can’t police him, especially if I’m not with him. I miss dessert too but baking most of all. I started looking up low carb bars but most have weird seed type ingredients.

 

This is just a quick post about what we’ve been dealing with lately. I hope to someday have my will to write back. I’m still plugging along. Not really getting anywhere but still taking up space. My heart isn’t in dieting or writing or anything these days. My best guess is that my heart is with my mom and always will be.

It’s another in a series of dark, rainy days. Gloom begets gloom. All my life, I thought I was a good writer. Not contest winning good but captivating. Someone able to hold the attention of my readers. A few months back, I read some of my earlier blog entries and my life story that I wrote at 21. It seems so mediocre to me. Not very good at all. Now I’ve lost my will to write. I don’t want to write emails, blog posts, Instagram posts, Etsy listings, grocery or to-do lists, etc. It could be because I’m grieving still for the loss of my mother. Or it could be that I’ve lost confidence in the only thing I was ever good at. The only thing I ever had confidence in to begin with. I’m not about to start day drinking although the though has crossed my mind. It gives me perspective. I always wondered at what point does someone actually start doing heroin?! A fully rational adult knows better but if life has no substance for them anymore, will they do anything to get their motivation back?! Before you start worrying that I’m on the verge of shooting up, I won’t. I can promise you that. Not just because I don’t care for needles or putting foreign substances in my body. Mostly because I already know it’s not the answer.

When Mom was alive and I was so busy taking care of her, I used her as an excuse. I couldn’t write more because I never had a block of time to sit down and write without being interrupted. I figured when she eventually passed, I would spend part of every day writing. I would either be writing a book or at least do regular blog entires. Instead I feel even less like writing. The truth is she never kept me from writing or anything else. I’m doing that all by myself.

My days are all a blur now. I no longer get up with my husband in the morning (7 am) like I always did until the first of the year. I usually get up by 8 or 8:30 am. I still walk the dogs every day except today because it is raining hard all day long with no break. I still cook meals and bake desserts. I stay caught up with the laundry. I keep my housework and hygiene routine. I pay bills on time. I still watch “Stories” on Instagram every morning and throughout the day. Snippets of other people’s full and vibrant lives. I feel almost paralyzed about sharing on social media. I’ve felt this way on and off since I first got on the internet 21 years ago. In the past month I’ve only posted a handful of pictures (mostly food). I’ve taken lots more and should be excited about sharing but feel almost afraid to share. I don’t know why but the more I need people, the more I pull away. I watch tv but only half-heartedly. TV was always such a joy to me. It was something I’d look forward to at night. Now I still watch the same shows (and some new ones) but most of the time I’m not giving it my full attention. I wouldn’t be able to tell anyone what happened in a particular episode.

I’m very short-sighted and impatient when it comes to getting over things. I like to forge ahead and get on with things. When I had the chicken pox at age 30, I was so afraid that the red marks left on my face (scars) would be there forever. I asked a coworker who had them in his 20’s if he remembered them on his face and he said yes. He said they go away over time. Of course, he was right. Everything goes away over time… A decade ago I had a medical condition I’ve never written about. Someday I will. It was so painful and kept coming back. I finally had surgery and it cured me forever. Sadly, for a few years I was petrified that it would come back. I mean, it was a daily worry that I’d have to deal with it again and forever. That was during the time I almost went on drugs for depression. I was making myself sick with fear. I couldn’t see long term. I never took the drugs and over time my anxiety about reoccurrence went away.

Now I’m back to that place again. The grief over my mom’s death has only intensified. I feel empty and alone. I feel sorry for myself. The worst thing is I’m worrying that this feeling will never end. Just through living all these years, I ought to know logically that I won’t always feel like this. However, I don’t know how long it will last. It could be weeks, months, years?! When I had Mom with me, I pushed myself to get things done every day. Extra things like listing things to sell online or just reorganizing things. Now I don’t push myself. I don’t know why. The only thing I can come up with is that “nothing matters”. It doesn’t make a difference if I do it or not. She’s still dead and I’m still here. I don’t even like posting about my grief on Instagram. People are so kind and wonderful leaving cheerful comments. But what it comes down to is there’s nothing anyone can do to help. It’s going to take time. I feel embarrassed that I’m not handling this better. I don’t like feeling vulnerable. I want to be strong and be able to just go on without being phased by the loss. April 7th will be 5 months since Mom passed away. It seems like it should be long enough to live like this. I’ve always hated “wasting time”. I know how precious life is and grieving this long feels like a waste of time. Maybe it’s one of those things that just sneaks up on you. One day, without realizing it, I’ll notice that I no longer feel this way. That I’m able to find joy again in life. Only God knows how long I need to grieve and when he thinks I’m done. In the meantime, I’m soldiering on.

Since I last wrote, Greg and I went to the dentist on Feb. 9th for cleanings. The dentist is always very prompt but this time he’d had an emergency and ran about 40 minutes late. The dentist apologized for keeping us waiting and I said, “I don’t mind. I’d rather wait than have what that guy had done.” Not kidding. Not even a little bit. 😉 He got a got good laugh about that. It was an old guy (looked like in his 80’s) and it sounds like he had a couple extractions. The dentist had his receptionist drive the guy home. I’ve never heard of that but it was very nice. Now we’re done with the dentist for 6 months. Greg had to get another blood draw that morning before his insurance would cover a new medication. He has about the best insurance around but they are balking at everything and refusing to cover certain drugs, etc. Anyway, Greg finally got on the new meds on Sat. Feb. 25th. He has to go back to the doctor on the 16th.
Saturday Feb. 25th was one of the worst days I’ve had, maybe ever. I didn’t feel good physically (nothing specific) but emotionally and mentally I was a wreck. I’m wondering if I’m all of a sudden in menopause and my hormones are out of whack. I felt like I couldn’t control my emotions. I was excessively sad, even though I didn’t want to be. I cried more that day than ever before. I need to get a sign that says, “It’s a bad day, not a bad life” because that day it felt like a terrible life. Believe it or not, I’m a pretty upbeat and positive person but couldn’t snap out of it. Luckily, it was only that one day. I hope I don’t have anymore days like that because that is no way to live.


Friday Feb. 17th, we met with the banker to finalize the transfer of stock. One of the 2 guys we deal with had a birthday and I asked how old he was. He said 34. When we got in the car later, Greg said to me, “They think we’re old.” or ‘To them, we’re old.” He’s probably right but we don’t really feel in our 50’s. We feel the same as our 30’s. It made me think how age is relative. I don’t think Mom ever felt 95 1/2 either! I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t feel more relieved after finalizing the stock but now I know why. The other day another thing came in the mail. This time it’s a Comcast stock that some place other than Computershare was administering. So it looks like I’ll have to replace the stock certificates and then transfer them. Which means I’ll have to get some more death certificates from my mom’s passing. Now I’m wondering if there’s even more out there than this. I’m not good at dealing with this type of stuff at all. On Sat. Feb. 25th we started our taxes. I had gathered up everything from us and Mom for taxes a few weeks ago. I put them aside and then I could’t find them! I finally found them yesterday in one of the first places I’d looked. Must’ve overlooked them the first time. Now I’m not sure everything is in there so will have to go through it to be sure and probably hunt a few things down.


The DNA test we ordered for Greg’s mother from Ancestry.com came in the mail on Tues. Feb. 14th. We called her that night to wish her a Happy Valentine’s Day and tell her it had come. We asked if she was free that Friday and she was. So after the banker, we went up to WI to see her. We got there at noon and left at 4:30 pm. First we got the saliva sample and added the stabilizing solution, then packed it up in the pre-paid mailing box. She wanted it sent in right away so we drove to the Sussex PO. (Mom and I lived in Sussex for 11 years.) We told her we’d take her to lunch for Valentine’s Day gift. We let her pick the place and she chose Maxim’s in Brookfield, WI. We’d never been there but it’s a greek place with a huge menu. It seems to be an old folks hangout. They had senior citizens being picked up by a private bus when we were getting there. Another was telling someone at the table next to us that they had had a big funeral lunch that day for everyone who’d attended their mother’s funeral. We all got the fish fry and it was ok. I wouldn’t get it again but it wasn’t the worst I’ve had either. We drove around a bit and saw how Pewaukee and the whole area has changed. I can barely recognize anything, it’s so built up now. We came back to her house and visited awhile. We were getting ready to go when we started talking about her cell phone. She’s got an iPhone 6+. She’s had it a few months and Greg’s brother Brian (the brain injured one) talked her into getting it. She said it cost like $600 when everything was added on. The sad thing is he didn’t teach her anything about how to use it!!!! So we stayed an extra hour just helping her with her phone. She had the volume off and down so she was missing all her calls. She didn’t know how to send or receive texts. Or look at pictures or go into any apps. She wasn’t even on Wi-fi even though she was paying for it. She has Directv for her tv but U-verse for her wifi. She doesn’t even have a computer but has wifi. Yet she didn’t have her phone set up to hook into her wifi. Greg worked on that while I showed her how to add other cities to the weather so she could see the weather where the other family lives. We were both very patient and enjoyed helping her. I don’t just do things for her, I make her do them or she won’t learn it. She needs about 20 more hours of teaching (minimum) but we had to leave. Next time we go up there, we’ll give her another lesson. The sad thing is her life would be so much more enriched if she actually used the phone instead of using it as a glorified paperweight! Also sad is that she has 5 other children (one across the street) who have never helped her with this…. 😦 When we got home, we both remarked how good we felt about going up there. It was the most pleasant time we’ve ever had up there. It might be because it was just one on one with her instead of a huge group of people that make us feel uncomfortable. Greg got an email from Ancestry.com saying that they’d received the sample and it would take 6-8 weeks to process it. Now we have to decide if we’re going up there for his sister’s St. Pat’s Day party, his mother’s birthday or sometime in between.


Saturday Feb. 18th, we went back up to WI to see Bad Boy. We had a nice time but it’s not really our scene anymore. The Milwaukee band was playing at The Route 20 Outhouse in Sturtevant, right outside of Racine. We had reservations and I was so nervous. I was really close to chickening out but curiosity won out. It was so warm that day that we didn’t even wear a coat. The whole weekend (like 5 days straight) it was in the upper 60’s to mid 70’s which is unheard of for Feb. We ate dinner up there at the club and I had chicken wrap and Greg had a pulled pork sandwich. I just didn’t want to eat anything that would make me spend the night in the bathroom. The restroom only has 2 stalls! We decided to take it real easy when drinking and had 3 beers total. We had quit drinking by 10 pm and that’s when Bad Boy started. First up was a band called Jasper Rude. They played all their own music and weren’t bad. The lead singer reminded me of Steve Perry from Journey. The club never got packed. A few hundred people only. They had a private party upstairs also. We were at one of the high tables on the sides. They get rid of the low tables to make a dance floor. Right in front of us, they had put a low table especially for the whores. There have always been groupies (I was one) and whores at rock shows. The times haven’t changed that. Only now since the band is older, so are the groupies and whores. I didn’t see one person under 40 in the place and Greg said it was more like no one under 50. These whores were older too (probably mid 40’s) but dressed much younger. It probably makes me sound bitter and jealous to call them that but i find it most descriptive. I came back to rewrite this so as not to offend anyone but changed it back. They were very entertaining to watch, as much so as the band. Bad Boy did 2 sets after Jasper Rude did one set. One of the sets was like an hour and a half long. In the old days, bands used to get free drinks. I don’t know if they still get that but the whores were buying the guys drinks. Also a male groupie bought them all shots. He and his girlfriend (who had never seen them before) came late (but before the band started) and had no seats. They were standing next to me and i told them they could sit with us. They said no, they wanted to stand. Fine. We only ended up dancing to one song, “Cheat On Me” but I had fun. In the past, I would’ve been out not he dance floor for the majority of songs. Now I’m too selfconsious (or hadn’t drank enough). When we came back and sat down, the girl next to me tried talking to me. The music was so loud, I couldn’t hear anything. Not a single word. I forgot how my ears were buzzing and almost hurt from how loud the music was. I told Greg I could’t hear her and he tried to find out what she wanted. She asked him, “Have you been together long?” He replied, “31 years” (slight exaggeration—it will be 31 since we met this June). Then she says, “You two are so cute out there dancing together.” Ew. It sounds so nice but her tone made me shudder. Like if you saw a grandma and grandpa out dancing in their 90’s. It just seemed so patronizing. Once again…they think we’re old… WE’RE NOT OLD!! Are we?! The older couple sitting across the room from us where the woman fell asleep sitting up in a chair at 8 pm and slept through the loud music might qualify as old…

So much has happened since I last updated. I really can’t cover it all in one blog post. I will start with yesterday and go backwards. The rest will have to wait until another time.


We’ve been working on getting Mom’s stocks transferred into my name. I tried doing it on my own but it turned out to be far more complicated than I could have imagined. So I contacted someone at our bank for help. Greg & I met with him (George) once in mid-December for 2 hours. We laid out things and explained what we were trying to accomplish. He made some phone calls (in front of us) to Computershare. I had tried dealing with them via phone prior to seeing him and it was so frustrating. The people working there are less than helpful and don’t know things. They can be rude and dismissive. They are also vague and leave you un-reassured about what they’ve told you. I was glad to have George handling things for me. I never felt fully convinced things would work out. We met with him again in mid-January for 3 hours. In addition to switching the stock to my name, we had to get some stock certificates replaced which cost me some money. Years ago (like ’80’s or ’90’s), Computershare had demanded Mom send in all her stock certificates and they would hold them for her. It was mandatory and we remember helping her with this. Now they were saying they didn’t have all of them. That she would have them. I’ve looked everywhere and can’t imagine she threw them out. Even though she was going through that phase. More likely they didn’t mark them down correctly. We went back to see George a few weeks ago and we spent almost 2 hours filling out more paperwork. I had to get several things notarized and a guarantee of security plus a small estate affidavit. There was as much paperwork as taking out a loan for a house. Not kidding!! The oddest thing happened. I had to sign my name dozens of times but the last time, I was listening to a conversation between Dave (another banker) and Greg and started signing my name Chrisor B. B Then I inwardly freaked out and wrote C over the B and wrote Culbert. This was my maiden name that I haven’t signed in almost 25 years!! I didn’t even catch it. George is like “Can you sign below and initial by that that you made a mistake?” I’m like, “Why? I can read the C over the B, can’t you?” He comes back with, “yes, but the name has to match or they won’t open the account”. I’m like, “What’s wrong with it?” Duh. I wonder if I had a stroke. Either that or it’s definitely early onset dementia. Geez. When he told me the last name was wrong, I was so embarrassed. I’m still embarrassed. Who does that?! Then when I initialed, I’m still wondering if I put the wrong initials?! CBC instead of CBB. I got a call from George yesterday saying all the stock was transferred to my name. I can’t believe it!! Now when I get confirmation in the mail to that effect, I have to call and make another appt. with him. I’m going to move the stock to a brokerage account at Chase bank. I’m so happy that it all went through without having to go to Probate court. That would’ve stressed me out to no end.

 
As far as getting the rest of her estate settled. We’re still waiting for her medical insurance and Medicare to pay. They have paid some but it is a hot mess. The ambulance bill is down to $78 but you’d think between the 2, it would be covered. Greg & I talk about getting wills made out for ourselves now that we’ve learned this lesson from Mom not having one. The hard part is figuring out a beneficiary. That will come with time.


Yesterday we called Greg’s mother and asked her if she’d ever had her ancestry traced by dna. She said no but she’d wanted to. So Greg & I told her that we’d order her a kit for her birthday, come up to WI and get her saliva and mail it in for her. Then bring her results to her. She was so excited but was watching something on tv so got off the phone quickly. Greg’s been thinking of getting his done and I said it would make more sense to have his mother’s done first. So he ordered a dna kit from Ancestry.com for $99. We got free shipping with a code off Retail Me Not. It should be very interesting indeed.


Hubby is working a double shift today so he can have tomorrow off. Tomorrow we’ve got a busy day. We’ve got back to back dental appointments for cleanings at 10 & 10:30 am. Before that he has to run to our new doctor’s office for a repeat blood test for the insurance co. The past 2 Thursdays Greg’s had an appt. with our new doctor. This is the one Dr. J recommended. We call him Dr. Z. He’s ok but only spends 15 min. with you which is such a switch. I guess that’s what most doctors do. Dr. J would always run late because he spent so much time with people. It would be a 1-3 hour wait to see him but then he’d spend up to an hour with us. That always made it seem worth it. This guy runs a half hour late and then we get 15 min. Anyway, I’ll be going the beginning of May for blood work and then later for my pap. The Metformin alone isn’t working for Greg’s diabetes so he got put on a combo drug. We have to watch what we eat more too. I keep bugging him to go to Weight Watchers with me but he thinks we can do it ourselves. I’m not convinced. Last week the doc gave him a prescription but the pharmacy wouldn’t fill it without the insurance co. getting pre-authorization. This all changed just since the first of the year. In a way it feels good to be in the know about his health versus in denial. 


The last few weekends there haven’t been any estate sales that looked good. So we’ve been skipping them entirely and checking out some of the antique malls a little ways from home. Last Thursday Feb. 2, we went to Gurnee Antique Mall and it took us 2 1/2 hours to go through it! It was a fun place but all I found was books. I say that like it’s a bad thing. It was great! Hubby found a piece of Haegar pottery that he wanted so I told him that was his Valentine’s Day present. If you saw it, you’d know why. Before we went in there we went to lunch at Olive Garden. We got the soup and salad and breadsticks instead of pasta. I was so surprised Greg wanted to go there. He hates Olive Garden. We used to eat there 25 years ago and Mom and I loved it. He said it’s not Italian food and not any good. Well, after eating lunch there, he’s right! It was not good. Everything was so bland. All I could think of was how much better my homemade soups and salads are than that. At least we tried. Then we walked it off at the mall.


Last Friday Feb. 3rd, we went up to Kenosha to the Rustic Dairyland Antique Mall. The place is crap. Pardon my french. Mostly reproductions and new items stuck in between older things. The prices were out of sight. I ended up getting one book. The floor in there is painted white and then someone dunked a crumpled up piece of paper in black paint and pressed it down every few inches to form a pattern. It looked terrible. Maybe the idea was alright but how it turned out was gross. After that we went up to Sturtevant, WI to the School Days Antique Mall. We’d never been there or even to Sturtevant before. I didn’t expect much because it’s just a tiny town. Little did I know they could have one of the best malls I’ve ever been to!! We found more stuff than anywhere and it was all fairly priced. Of course, they had a winter sale on or we wouldn’t have been able to get all we did. I got a picture that looks like a painting, hubby got a sign that flips to say different things. I found 3 paper mache lipstick holders that look like girls. I’ve only seen them online previously. We got some brothel tokens which are probably reproductions but they’re still neat. I got a calendar, a thermomenter, a metal holy water font, etc. It was a really fun day. 

Afterwards, we went for an early fish fry (we’d skipped lunch) at Route 20 Outhouse. It was good and we found out Bad Boy will be playing there on Sat, Feb, 18th. We are thinking of going! Like a date night but we never really have those so this would be a big deal. We saw Bad Boy up in Milwaukee 6 years ago and I had so much fun. The first time I saw them was when I was 17 in 1979! 38 years ago. I’m almost embarrassed to go at my age but the band is even older so…. I’ll let you know if we go.


Sat. Feb. 4th, we went to our regular mall nearest our house. Golf-Mil mall in Niles, IL. We haven’t been there in years but I needed a new pillow. I bet I haven’t gotten a new one in 20 years! Gross, huh? I’ve washed it in the machine but there’s not much left of it after years of use. So we went to Sears and then remembered why we don’t go to the mall anymore. Especially on a Saturday. Ugh. First we had to get tennis shoes for Greg & me. We always bought them at the Reebok outlet down in Tunica, MS while on vacation. In 2015 we didn’t go to the mall and then when we finally went at Christmas, that store (and most of the others) were out of business. For years, we had a tradition of getting tennis shoes and fragrance down there. We could get 6 pairs of tennis shoes (3 for each of us) for $100! The fragrance store was a good deal if you used a mall coupon too. Now the only store left is Kitchen Collection which is where we bought our Big Boss Air Fryer. We use that almost every weekend to make fried chicken without any batter. We make a whole value pack of chicken legs and I divide them up into baggies for Greg to take one a day to work as a snack. Anyway, the last 2 pairs of tennis shoes I wore/ bought were Keds that I got at an estate sale for $1 each! I’ve been looking for more ever since. One pair were unused, the other was almost like new. At Sears we had to help ourselves. Nothing jumped out at either one of us. We both ended up getting plain white tennis shoes. Greg’s are hi-tops. I don’t know if those are in style or out. They must be in style if they sell them?! They were $10 off each pair which brought them down to $50 each. That hurts to pay that much for shoes you aren’t in love with. They are just “ok”. After going through that and then looking at the pillows and socks, I was done for. I grabbed 4 pillows and went to a display bed and laid down and tried them one at a time. It was easy to pick which one that way. Once I get my car running again, I will have to go back to the mall on a weekday morning and see what else is up.


I titled this Taking Care Of Business but I was thinking more of the Bachman Turner Overdrive version than the Elvis version. I’m going to bake some banana bread tonight and listen to music. Thanks for stopping by and hearing about my life. 🙂