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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. 🙂

It’s been 3 months today since my mom passed away. I still miss her as much as you might imagine. However, I’ve found out that’s she’s inside me. Not only in my heart but in basically how I am, act, speak and look. 
When I was in college, a friend was looking at a professional portrait our little family had taken around the time I graduated from high school. It was just my dad, my mom and me. This friend commented that she’d never seen anyone look equally like both parents. Usually people favor one parent over the other in appearance, if not completely looking like a double. At the time, I never saw it. I thought I looked mostly like my dad. Now that she’s gone, I see her when I look in the mirror. Maybe only in the light behind my eyes because she had green eyes and I have brown. I hate looking in the mirror but seeing her makes me hate it a bit less. 


I feel like I’ve aged quite a bit since she died. I felt much younger than her because I was. 41+ years age difference will do that to you. Now all of a sudden, I am understanding how hard I pushed her to do things. I made her get dressed everyday, even putting on her own socks. I helped her as needed but didn’t let her get away with not doing it. I think if I hadn’t made her do those things, she would’ve lost the ability. The old, “If you don’t use it, you lose it”. I sit on the basement floor (carpeted) and sort laundry and pretreat stains, etc. Then getting up off the floor is no joke. I used to be able to do it like nothing but since I hurt my knee a year ago, it’s slow going. My knee is healed but “tricky” and gives me pain or acts up if I don’t watch it. I can now kneel on both knees. I pretty much marvel every day that Mom could get out of the bathtub by herself at 95 1/2. She was working in the garden every day weeding until age 88 or so. The fact that she could adapt to all the advances in technology is mind boggling. She grew up without electricity or running water. Back when there was a party line for the telephone and a horse and buggy to go to town. Yet she learned to drive a car at age 12. She lived through a lot of changes and embraced them all. She loved playing slot games on the computer.


We were very different personality-wise. She and my husband were both born in April and were similar in a lot of ways. I’m more calculated in doing things. Before doing things, I like to research things and do a lot of thinking and planning about them. Both of them would get an idea and just run with it. They’d try anything and always be up for an adventure. I’d have to be coaxed into it. Both my mom and husband dislike greeting cards. They also don’t like exchanging presents. My mom would send a few Christmas cards to her sister, her nieces and 2 coworkers she had met 70 years ago and had still kept in touch with. She liked receiving cards from these people. She disliked writing letters but would force herself to write her sister, brother and those coworkers a few times a year because she knew they’d write back. I grew up with a love of letter writing. I had penpals since I was 12 years old. Then I went into slams which was more writing. I’ve always loved sending cards and receiving them. Mom and Greg never wanted cards from me. They both thought it was stupid. So I obliged and never made them hardly any. It dawned on me one day that I have no cards from my Mom. Others whose mother died might have a shoebox or even bigger box just filled with cards they could look through telling how much their mother loved them. They could look at them over and over again. Instead I have memories of her telling me she loved me (up until the last 5 years or so) often and showing me in countless ways. My mom wasn’t a demonstrative person. She grew up in a time when you didn’t get hugs and were never told you were loved. Ever since I was a baby, she told me many times daily that she loved me and I always got hugs and kisses. She used to call me “Kissy” because I liked kisses so much. My dad never told me he loved me and didn’t give hugs or kisses. So I got all of my affection from Mom. When I was in high school, she’d send me off to school with a kiss on the lips and “Have a good day!”. Nobody really understood how close I was to my mom because I don’t know anyone else who had as close a relationship with their own mother. There was a girl in high school who was older than me by a 2 years. We were in the same grade but she’d been held back. So she was 18 and her mother had left her. Instead of kicking her out when she turned 18, the mother moved but must’ve paid the rent because she had a house to herself. Anyway, we rode the bus together and she came to the door to get me so we could walk several blocks ahead because we were one of the last stops and if we waited to get on, we wouldn’t get a seat on the bus and would have to stand the whole way (5 miles). She really resented my close bond with my mom and was downright jealous. She saw Mom kiss me on the lips and the next day there were rumors swirling all around school that I was a lesbian. It was a vicious thing to do to take something so innocent and loving and turn it into a lie. As with most rumors, there’s nothing you can do about them, people will either believe them or they won’t. But I was really hurt and even though I knew where her intentions came from, it didn’t make it any easier to deal with. I was so upset and didn’t want to tell my mom for fear that it would make her not want to kiss me goodbye every morning. But I did tell her because there wasn’t anything that I didn’t share with her. We got through that and our bond was even stronger. Only death can separate us from one other.


Yesterday I made a bunch of Valentines on the computer. It made me think of all this. I never know if others like getting cards but I try to acknowledge others and send them. I know I like getting them and typically only 2 or 3 send me any for the various holidays. I do cherish them. It makes me wonder how important it is to have tangible items that belonged to a dead person. My mom doesn’t have many possessions. She moved dozens of times throughout her life and didn’t keep things from her childhood or even early adulthood. She would give things away when she moved so she wouldn’t have to pay to transport them. Then in the last 10 years (5 years or so before the Alzheimers was diagnosed), she started throwing things out. She didn’t have a lot to begin with but any old cards or letters, she would read one last time and then put in the garbage. I used to argue with her about this but she felt so strongly about getting rid of the stuff, that I gave in and didn’t question it after that. She was always trying to get me to get rid of some of my stuff. The more she would egg me on, the harder I would hold onto things. She did get me to part with a lot when we moved from my childhood home in Eau Claire to Sussex, WI. 


I feel blessed to have had every single kiss, hug and declaration of love from my mom. I know not everyone is so lucky. I think the secret is to love like there’s no tomorrow. Which is what we always did. We never knew how much time we’d have together but we knew it wouldn’t be enough. Happy Valentine’s Day dear friends!! 🙂 Hold onto your loved ones with all your might!

Today hubby is working a double shift. My first instinct was that I’ll have no excuse not to blog when I’m home alone for that many hours. Unfortunately, my will to write has disappeared. Since Mom died, I feel lost. I can’t find my voice to write. It’s not because I don’t have anything to write. It just doesn’t feel good like it used to. Sadly, nothing feels good like it used to. I have moments of happiness but I haven’t felt genuinely happy since she passed away. Not for a lack of trying. It feels like I’m going through the motions of being happy but inside I’m hollow. I guess that’s what true grieving is. I don’t think I’ve had the honor or privilege before. Not to this degree anyway. I spent my days as a child on the verge of tears all the time. I was an overly sensitive child with copious amounts of empathy for others. I also had a natural hate of injustice. As a child, the world had too much wrong with it for my taste. It was too unfair to myself and others. It was too hard and cruel. It left me feeling bad about myself and perpetually with hurt feelings. Aside from being bullied excessivey, I felt left out and forgotten. Or more accurately, uwanted/cast aside.

As it took me decades to realize, my mother wasn’t perfect. I’m sure she didn’t know how to handle a daughter that cried so often. Hell, even though I’ve been one, I don’t think I’d know how to handle one. She wasn’t always sensitive to me and my touchiness. Yet she made me feel like she was always on my side. That no matter what, I could talk to her and share my feelings. That she’d be with me to the ends of the earth and never leave me. < SOB> I could never stand up for myself which made me feel doubly persecuted. If someone attacked me (physically or verbally), I couldn’t fight back. I hated violence and didn’t want to hurt anyone. I felt weak and like there was something wrong with me. I couldn’t fathom someone beating another person up for no reason. I knew I hadn’t done anything to this bully that beat me up every day after grade school but I couldn’t bring myself to fight back. Maybe even then I didn’t feel worthy. Most likely I didn’t know that it was a thing that people picked on others. I didn’t know anyone else who got picked on and bullied except me.

By the time I was 25 and I started working in a factory environment (large city post office), I learned to stand up for myself and not take crap from anybody. It makes me proud that I learned this as I would hate to be in my 50’s and still not advocate for myself. Now I do it for my husband, too. Anyway, as I’ve gotten older, I cry less. I felt almost like I’d outgrown it. I would cry when watching sappy movies, pet rescue commercials or occasionally out of frustration or a fight with my mate. It could be weeks or months between shedding a tear. Then I become an orphan and the waterworks get turned on again. I don’t cry every day now but all I have to do is think too hard, listen to certain song lyrics or really think of what I’ve lost and the tears flow that wrack my whole body. It’s been 2 1/2 mos. since she died. It’s worse now than it was the first 2 months. I don’t see an end in sight. I don’t see me ever NOT missing her. She was my best friend util Alzheimer’s stole her brain. Just having her presence near me was an underlying calming influence to me. Of course, things she did were upsetting while she had Alzheimers but overall, I loved every minute of having her with me. Mom being gone is a loneliness the likes of which I’ve never known. If I didn’t have my husband, all I could think about was joining her.

At first I was going to clear out all her clothes and belongings and try to get on with life. I couldn’t do it. I decided to wait. I can always do it later. I don’t want to act like she was never here. That she didn’t live here as much as I did and wasn’t a huge part of my life. I don’t want to forget her. Not that I ever could. I have been trying to live my life but feel like I’m not making any headway. I’m going through the motions of living like getting up every day and getting dressed every day. I don’t sleep well at all. I have some nights I don’t sleep at all. I have always got up when Greg gets up to go to work (at 7 am). Since the New Year and the cold, wintry, gloomy weather, I’ve been staying in bed for an hour or two after he leaves. It doesn’t matter if I get up with him or not, almost every day I’m sleepy. So sleepy that if I sit down, I will fall asleep sitting up with my phone in my hand. I have tried planning things for us to do on the weekends but it’s hard to get excited about things and then it feels like a letdown afterwards. I have 2 “plans” for what I want to do with my life in the future but am not going to share them until much further down the line. I have so much else to take care of before any of my dreams become a reality.

I’ll be writing a blog post soon on what’s been happening since last month. Much has happened, yet much is the same. In the meantime, I wanted to share some of my feelings as I navigate this maze of grief. Without a map, I will get lost but I know there’s a way through it, if I can only find it.

Precisely Why

I should’t write today because I’m so beside myself. But that is precisely why I’m doing it. I was going to bake. I found the recipe and most of the ingredients. It calls for semi-sweet chocolate chips. I have every chip known to man except those. I have peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips and milk chocolate chips. But no semi-sweet. If I had a running car, it wouldn’t be a big deal. IF. My life is surrounded by IFs. Due to staying home so much with Mom, I hardly drove my car. On the weekends, I’d go out with hubby to get groceries and whatever other errands we did. Now that Mom’s gone, my battery is dead and won’t stay charged. It’s only a year and a half old, if that. I’ve even had the alternator replaced. It doesn’t help to keep it on the trickle charger either. I’ll have to spring for a new battery but am wondering if this cold spell we’re having will kill it anyway. We’re going away for Christmas so it won’t be run until the New Year. I feel like a prisoner and a child. I can’t even take the dog to the vet alone without a car. On the one hand, I could get rid of my car (it would kill me) but I like being able to run to the store or post office if need be. I would like to take a solo trip to Target which hubby doesn’t enjoy. Nothing is happening. I could buy a new car but why? To just let it sit most of the time? Hubby is racking up miles on his Jeep driving so far to work now that he’ll need a new vehicle soon. There seems to be no simple solution to anything…

So it snowed heavily on Sunday and the Directv satellite went out. So we haven’t had tv in 2 days. We’ll have to call and get them to come out on Friday when Greg is home. We can see the entire face of the satellite is covered in snow and we’re in the deep freeze. It’s too cold to even take the dogs for a walk. I had been doing really well with taking them for a walk daily until the temperature tanked. I guess it makes sense that I would go stir crazy. We’ve been having trouble with our Directv for months. It constantly shows lost satellite signal. It wants us to check the cables and cords for the connection. We do and it keeps happening. We’ve rebooted the system too many times. We both hate calling Directv because they are so unhelpful. That’s how we want to tie up one of 2 off days this week with having a service technician here or waiting for one to come. Oy vey.

Trying to get Mom’s estate cleared up. She had stock which I am trying to transfer to my name and it is turning into a nightmare. Years ago, they had demanded she mail in the stock certificates and they’d keep them online. Well she did and now they are asking for the certificates. When I told them they were mailed in, they act like I’m crazy. Greg remembers her mailing them in also. But they are saying they are lost and I have to pay $182.94 for each stock to replace them. Plus go to the bank and get some type of guarantee seal (insurance for the value of the stock). Greg is too busy to help me and this shit is so far over my head. So I’ll have to hire someone to help me do all that paperwork. I know that will cost a lot but I don’t have a choice. It is worrying me to no end.

I wanted to write a post about how I’m dealing with things since Mom died. That will have to wait. I have other things that I’m alarmed about. Right before we left for Thanksgiving, Greg needed a refill on one of his prescriptions that had no refills. I called the doctor’s office and found out that our doctor was out on medical leave and they didn’t think he’d be coming back. At all. EVER. This floored me. I asked if a different doctor could call in the refill. It was a lot of rigamaroll with them having to call back. Finally the nurse said none of the other doctors there knew him so wouldn’t authorize the refill. We were leaving in 2 days and he’d have to come in to see a different doctor after working a full day. It made no sense to me. We’ve had the same doctor (Dr. J) for over 20 years and he had given us his home phone number (cell) but we’d never used it. We didn’t want to abuse it. I hated to call him when he was out sick but did it anyway. He answered the phone and sounded quieter than usual. I said hi and told him my name. He asked if I’d heard what happened to him. I said no. He told me the end of May (we’d seen him earlier that month) he’d gotten very ill. He ended up having a heart attack. This kind of freaked me out. He’s only 6 years older than me, 5 older than Greg and 60 years old! Then he told me that he had another heart attack in June. Whoa! He said he was later diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. Of course, I didn’t know what exactly that was until I looked it up later. I knew it sounded serious and pretty darn bad. He said he’d had surgery to take one of his lungs out and was going to be having another surgery soon. He said he wouldn’t be back to work ever. I told him what a great doctor he was and how we’ll miss him. He said maybe down the line we could get together. We are more like friends after all these years. After talking a bit he was like, “What can I do for you?” I felt terrible bothering him with the refill but he was glad to take care of it for us. He said he still had access to the files online and I could tell he was sitting at the computer already. He texted me back that it was sent through and I called the pharmacy and it was! Since Mom was his patient too, I mentioned that she had died a week ago. We had always talked about our mothers since they were the same age (95). Then he said his mother had died a week ago! I asked him when and he said Tuesday morning and he asked when mine passed. I said 10:40 pm on Monday night. So they passed within a few hours of each other. He said he’d just gotten back from her funeral in PA (where he grew up) a few days ago. We talked a bit more and he told me of a friend of his who’s a doctor in our area that we can go to for our new doctor. I don’t want a new doctor but will definitely go to the guy he recommended in Jan. or Feb. Ever since I got off the phone with him, I can’t get Dr. J out of my head. That he is so seriously ill at such a young age and he’s a doctor!! It was a real wakeup call for me and Greg to try to keep our health for as long as we can.

Last Thurs. we took 6 hours of our day off to call relatives and tell them that Mom died. You’d think we would’ve done that sooner but you’d be wrong. Greg didn’t want to tell his siblings and mother for fear that they would descend on us. We wanted a month to grieve privately. We were also pretty broken up and didn’t want to have to get into details with people. We kept trying to call Greg’s mother but the calls kept failing. We found out later that she’d been having problems with her phone for a few days. She’d had the receiver off the hook! We started with Greg’s older sister Linda but she was at work. So we talked to her husband Ken and told him. He had Linda call us when she got home and we filled her in. Then we called his brother John, then we got ahold of his mother who promptly started with, “Now that Irene has passed, maybe you can come for Christmas this year.” Hubby told her no, we’re actually going back to Tunica, MS for the holidays. Then we called his brother Dan and talked to him and his wife Kris. Last we called his little sister Colleen. The only sibling we didn’t call was his brother Brian who had the brain injury a few years back. I finally emailed 2 of my half sibling who were Mom’s stepchildren. My brother Gary and sister Dianne. It was good to have that over with.

I’ve been working on Christmas cards this week. We just got some cheapies at Menards. I sent them to Greg’s mother and siblings and some of the friends I got sympathy cards from. I had to watch it since I only had so many stamps (not even Christmas ones) and knew I would’t get to the PO. I haven’t done any Christmas decorating which isn’t unusual. Since we’ll be gone, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. On Saturday we went to Randolph Street Market for the first time. It’s a once a month market in Chicago that carries antiques and handmade goods. Someone on Instagram told me she’d put us on the guest list but they couldn’t find us. (Turns out she thought we were coming on Sunday so hadn’t put us on.) I dropped her name and we got in for free anyway. Admission is like $8-10 each so that was great. It was a ton of jewelry and clothes which isn’t my bag. Not much Christmas items which surprised me. Only one book vendor and I ended up getting 4 old books and paid more than I normally would. Greg also got an old crucifix with the skull and cross bones on it. It took us just under 2 hours to make it though. We went to one estate sale after and it sucked. Lately the estate sales are not even worth going to. The weekend before last we skipped them the entire weekend. We finally got rid of our gigantic couch (took apart in 6 pieces and put it at the curb) and brought in the formica tabletop we found curbside and mounted it to the Singer treadle sewing machine base. We put the table in the LR which look odd. I wanted it to work on projects and write cards at. We’ve got the wrong chairs at it which makes it suck. Nothing is turning out the way I’d hoped. So it’s looking like we’re going to give up estate sales so we can pare down our hoard. After the new year, I’m going to get up and running again with selling things. Might even do eBay again. We’d like to get the house where we could entertain again. I don’t know how long that will take. Possibly years but I doubt we’ve got that much time. By summer, his family will be making excuses to stop by.

On a sad note, I had 3 loyal followers to my blog. THREE. That makes each one incredibly precious to me! I have about 100 subscribers to the blog but only those 3 were regular readers and commenters. One was in Australia, one in Canada and one in the US. The one in Australia has disappeared and I fear illness or worse. I’ve tried contacting her via email many times with no answer. I am quite worried but doubt I will ever find out the true story. The one in Canada had a major life event a few years ago and her blog was wiped out. She hasn’t started up again and for the most part has given up reading blogs. My US friend (Hi Heather!) is still with me which makes me happy. I grew to really care about the people who bother to read my blog. I don’t know if others do this. Maybe if they have a ton of followers, they can’t.

Blogs seem to be obsolete. I still see the value in them. I’m so glad I have this safe place to come and vent my feelings and share what’s going on in my life with those I know have open arms, ears and hearts.

Ashes To Ashes

On Sat. Nov. 5th, we got up at 7 am to go to the local library’s book sale. I was so excited since I’d been looking forward to it since the last one six months ago. I got Mom up and she walked to the bathroom with help from me. She was 95 1/2 years old. She never wanted to use a cane or walker she just held my hands as I walked backwards. I got her on the toilet and she had a nice bowel movement. Then when I tried to get her to stand, she couldn’t. I tried over and over but she wasn’t able to push herself up with her left hand. It just was limp. I finally called Greg who had gone downstairs and eaten breakfast already. He’d made himself eggs and toast. The 2 of us were able to lift her up but she still couldn’t stand. Then Greg was going to try to take her downstairs but she wouldn’t be able to give him any assistance. I told him to bring her back to sit on the toilet and then call 911. He did and put the dogs in the sunroom. When he came back, I got her clothes and we quickly dressed her. Then I went to put some shoes on myself and they were in the sunroom and I did’t want to open the door in case the dogs ran out. So I put a pair of sandals on over my socks and changed my shirt. By this time, the emergency responders had showed up. They not only sent an ambulance, they sent a fire truck and a cop car. There were between 6-8 men eventually in our house tearing it apart. The first guy in would not come upstairs and check on Mom. He said he was going to wait inside the glass door of our entryway so the others would know where to come in!!! I had told him and the next 2 guys that came in, that if they needed anything moved, to let me know and I’d take care of it. They didn’t, instead they just started throwing things. We keep a bunch of globes on the stairs and I didn’t know if they needed to be moved since we can walk up and down them no problem, even carrying a laundry basket or ladder. They just grabbed them and threw them everywhere. Dealing with the paramedics was by far the worst part of the whole ordeal we went through! They had no care or urgency for us, Mom or any of our belongings. If they had thrown things to get to her quicker it would be one thing but it was just that they didn’t give a shit. They didn’t move too fast and roughed her up badly moving her into a chair to move her out of the house. She was black and blue up and down her arms from them handling her. At no point did they take her vitals until they got to the hospital. I kept asking if they wanted the names of the meds she’s on but they didn’t. I put the pill bottles (3) in my purse since I knew my brain would seize up from stress. When Greg phoned 911, he told them that she’d had a stroke. To this day, we still think that’s what it was. The paramedics asked if I wanted to ride in the ambulance and I said yes. I practically ran to the ambulance in front of the house and they all just walked slowly like they were browsing at the mall. When I was at the back of the ambulance, they said I had to ride in the front next to the driver. That I couldn’t ride in back because it gets too crowded with too many people. So I sat in front and Greg ran up with my purse which I’d forgotten. He told me he’d follow and see me at the hospital. It took forever for the guy driving the ambulance to get into the driver’s seat and he didn’t talk at all. I tried talking to him—asking him how long after a stroke could someone be given the anti-stroke drug and he said it was a 3 hour window. We had called 911 about 7:45 am. The ride to the hospital was unfamiliar to me. I’ve been to Resurrection many times and know the shortest and most direct route. The ambulance went a longer way that seemed out of the way. He also drove slower than an average vehicle, not fast like an ambulance should. He would slow down even at green lights. He seemed more worried about not wrecking the vehicle. It didn’t seem like he was in any hurry to get to the hospital. I’ve seen them drive faster on their way to the grocery store. 
They got her into a curtained ER room and left. Then I dealt with young residents and interns that were unlucky enough to have low seniority and have to work on Saturdays. Mom is profoundly deaf and even with hearing aids, she doesn’t always hear. She usually doesn’t respond and often didn’t speak. They couldn’t ask her if she was in pain or how she was feeling. She was able to lift both her legs off the bed but her left arm was still limp. She also had a glazed look in her eyes (which to me seemed like terror) and her left eye wouldn’t open. They got all her information from me regarding insurance and meds. Then they took her for a CAT scan of her head and took a ton of blood tests. From the get go her vitals were awesome. Her blood pressure was good as was her pulse. Her pulse oxygen was between 87-92 which seemed to come from a loose fitting clamp on her finger. After all day, they finally put her on oxygen through her nose and the pulse oxygen went up to 98. They had put IVs in both hands and arms. I told them how worried I was that it was a stroke and that I wanted her treated before the window for reversal was up. They came back after a few hours and said that that all the tests pointed to it NOT being a stroke! That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a stroke though… They also said she wasn’t a candidate for TPA. I don’t know if it was her age or her other symptoms like congestive heart failure that she’s had for 15+ years. They said she had a bad urinary tract infection and were going to treat her with Cipro every 12 hours by IV. Finally they decided to keep her in the hospital since she couldn’t swallow aspirin they wanted to give her. They ended up giving the aspirin rectally in a suppository. About 2:30 pm they were going to see about getting a hospital room for her. That took over an hour. Meanwhile, Greg & I are sitting in the curtained room waiting. Because of the close quarters, you can’t help hearing what is said in the next room and other areas of the ER. Next door was a younger guy who came in because he’d been throwing up blood for 3 weeks! Eeek. He was nauseous, had stomach pain, pain when urinating or a bowel movement. He was there for hours as well and after a ton of tests, they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him. He was throwing up and making gagging noises which was so gross to hear. They gave him anti-nausea meds and painkillers and he finally said he was leaving to go to work!!


About 3:30 pm, they said they had a room for Mom but needed to wait until Transport sent someone down to get her. That took about 45 minutes. She got moved to Room 3127 and we went along and got her settled in. I hadn’t eaten anything since the night before and Greg & I were both exhausted so we decided to go home to eat and then come back that evening. We came back around 8 pm and stayed a few hours. Mom’s eyes were open but she wasn’t seeing. Her eyes weren’t focused and she didn’t seem “there”. She had a tremor in her right hand. We’d always put her on the computer to play video games, specifically slot machines. We set it up so she could just use the space bar to spin the slot machine. I had brought her a small stuffed skunk that I thought might cheer her up but she never regained consciousness. We don’t know if she was sleeping with her eyes open, in a coma or unconscious. But that is how she was from Sat night until Monday night (Nov. 7th) when she passed. She still had a strong grip in her right hand and would hold and squeeze your hand. She’d also pick up the skunk and pet it. 


It was so sad and hard to see her in that condition. She had been very gradually declining for years but it was so slow, that seeing the difference between Friday night and Sat. afternoon was drastic. She had been able to walk up & down the stairs alone using the handrail. Thurs. she had gotten in & out of the bathtub by herself. We were torn between wanting to be with her and feeling as if she didn’t know if we were there anyway.


Sunday Nov. 6th we spent several hours at the hospital in the morning and early afternoon. Mom wasn’t doing well. She was unresponsive and she just slept, sometimes with her eyes open. When we were in the ER, they had brought up signing a DNR (do not resuscitate) but it seemed too soon. It seemed like they were giving up on her. Everything we originally decided, after much talking, we changed our mind about. They had a speech therapist come in to see if she could swallow. She failed so they were talking about putting a feeding tube in her stomach. There’s no way I could let them do that. Hospice was brought up but we really didn’t know what it was. They said we could take her home which sounded like the right thing to do. Who wouldn’t want to die at home if given a choice?! They also said there was a hospice floor in the hospital (the brand new hospice wing opened 2 days after she passed). The neurologist came in and agreed that hospice was the right move. I asked him how long people last without food and water. He said she’d probably last a week at most. I asked several others and were given answers of 9-10 days and one 3 days. We were actually thinking if Mom was in hospice, Greg could go to work a couple of days that week. The doctor who was assigned to her came in for a minute (literally) and said hospice was the way to go and it is covered by Medicare. We kept going back and forth trying to figure out if we could handle her care at home. Care consisted of turning her to different positions to sleep and swabbing her mouth with a wet sponge. We didn’t know this until we saw it later but they said the hospice workers wouldn’t do much but stop by several times a day to check her vitals. Finally what decided it for us was how traumatic the ambulance ride back home would be. We were willing to move all our living room furniture to make room for a hospital bed. I would’ve slept downstairs by her. But why put her through all that when she could stay in the same bed and just be wheeled to a different floor? So I signed the DNR and several other documents in a haze. We went home to eat a late lunch and walk the dogs. We got a phone call that she’d been moved to Room 472.


We came back that evening to check on her. She seemed to be having a more restful sleep. They had taken her off of IV fluids and given her something to calm her and the next day gave her morphine. We had been trying to figure out our next move. Greg decided to just take the week off. We didn’t know how long Mom would last so didn’t know when to contact a place about her being cremated. We decided to do it Monday morning. Greg called around to a few in the area and found out for a simple cremation there’s a $2400 difference in price. He was calling early in the morning and most didn’t answer their phones and had to call him back. We decided to go with one that answered the phone personally. It was the Rago Brothers Funeral Home. We told them we’d call when Mom passes, thinking it could be several days yet. Little did we know that we’d be calling that night!! 


Monday we made 2 trips to the hospital. We spent 5 hours before lunch and then went back at 4 pm until 7 pm. When we came back in the afternoon, Mom was flushed. She was red in the face and breathing a bit harder. Her whole body was hot. I took the blanket off and just kept the sheet on. I didn’t know if this meant she was going to pass soon or not. They had given us a booklet which we both read on how you can tell if they’re going to pass and most of it was inapplicable. It’s for those who have to be in hospice for months. The one thing that rang true was they get hot and then they get clammy. Her hand got very clammy. We still didn’t know and told the nurse to call us if she took a turn for the worse and we’d come back. Before we left, I leaned over and said right in her good ear that we loved her and that she could go to heaven now. We went home and watched Dancing With The Stars which Mom always loved. We were about a half hour away from going to bed when the phone rang at 10:40 pm. The nurse (Dominic) told Greg that she’d passed. We were both in shock. We’d just been there! We were going back in the morning…and now we didn’t have to. So we got dressed and headed back over to the hospital. When we got to her room, she was laying there like a skeleton. Not breathing but still warm! Her mouth was open but eyes shut. Greg & I both kissed her on the forehead. We stayed with her a few minutes and then called the funeral home and told them. They said they would call us the following day around 10 am and we could come in and make arrangements. We went up to the nurses station and signed some paperwork, thanked them for all they did and gave them a flower that a volunteer had put in Mom’s room. We’d been crying pretty much for 3 days straight. We went home and cried some more.


The next day Greg called my cousin Jayner who lives in Michigan to tell her the news. She was going to pass the news on to her sister and our other male cousin that lives in Minnesota. We went to the funeral home and took care of important matters. We had to order original certified death certificates. They are $20 for the first and $10 for each additional. We had no idea how many to order so got 6. I hope it’s enough. Mom didn’t own anything but a bit of stock which I still need to get transferred to my name. 


I don’t know where the rest of the week went. For the next 3 days we cried on and off. After that, we’re pretty much cried out. The Thursday after she died we got the call to pick up her ashes but we were worn out so waited until Friday. Thursday we had gotten out ALL the old photo albums and we looked through them all. It made me feel so much better!! I honestly couldn’t remember how she used to look before she was in her 90’s! I saw that she’d had a great life and had lived it to the fullest. There was no reason to be sad when she really was never sad. I thought Sunday Nov. 13th would be hard because it was the first time I’d eaten lunch (or any meal) alone in over 2 decades! Greg went back to work and I was alone (with the dogs) all day. I thought I would be a basket case but I was fine. I kept myself busy with laundry. I do miss her every day but I’m glad she’s in a better place. She wouldn’t want us moping around. She’d want us to live for her and do things she liked. That’s why we’re leaving this week for our annual Thanksgiving trip to Tunica, MS. This is our 19th year we’ve been there for Thanksgiving and the first without her. We’re going to take her ashes along with us and sprinkle them at the places she loved and where we vacationed at. She loved to travel and was always up for an adventure. She never complained and was such a trooper. I had her for 54 years but it still wasn’t enough. When you love someone so deeply and your soul is tied to them so completely, anything short of eternity together feels like a rip off.

Week In Indy

We got home Friday Oct. 14th from a week spent in the Indianapolis area. We tend to get stuck in a rut while RVing and this was a chance to break out of it. We usually go to either Green Bay or Black River Falls, WI. I noticed there were a lot of antique shops in the Indy area and since it’s about 4 hours from home, it was doable. We ended up staying way in Pendleton which is a farming community north and east of Indianapolis. There really are only a few RV parks to choose from and our first choice along the river was full. The place we ended up at was called Glowood Campground. It used to be a farm and they now have mostly tent camping. There must’ve been about 10 sites for RVs that had full hookups (sewer, water & electric). If we ever go again, I think we’d try staying south of the city.
We had heard that Carmel was a hub for antiques so that was our first stop on Saturday. It is pronounced Car-ml (like the candy) but we still can’t help calling it Car-mel like the one in CA. “Carmel by the sea” is one of the places we went to on our honeymoon and it took many corrections to learn to say it right. The Midwestern Carmel turned out to be a cute town full of shops of all kinds, statues, bike trails, etc. It is basically ideal for hipsters (aka yuppies). Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?), we’re not hipsters so after spending a few hours in the Old Town Antique Mall, we didn’t buy a thing. We almost missed Melissa’s Antiques which was on the 2nd level behind the stairs. She’s someone I’ve been following on Instagram for years but we’re not friends. I wanted to check her booth out and it turns out she had the best stuff in the place! Plus she had it organized like a dream. When we left there, we headed to Westfield to the Main Street Shops Antique Mall. We had higher hopes for that place but also came away without buying a thing. We were only in Indy 24 hours and were starting to second guess our decision to go there.


Sunday we went to Noblesville which is just charming. The Antique Mall there was the best! We got a few things and planned to come back later in the week if we didn’t find anything better. I always take a ton of pictures of things I like when antiquing. I can look back on them and see if I still love it or still want it. Sadly, there were a few things I was iffy on and we were going back on Thurs. but never made it. Mostly because we got caught up in other things but also because the traffic in Indy is WORSE than Chicago! Not even kidding. It takes forever to get anywhere and there’s a lot of construction and bumper to bumper traffic. Ugh!


Monday we went to Pendleton which was 5 miles from us. There were a few antique stores there but they were closed. A lot have a sign on the door, “Open by appointment or chance”. It seems like a crazy way to run a business. We ended up coming home early and taking Mom to the Hoosier Park Casino (& horse track) which was in Anderson about 20 minutes away. We ended up losing but had a bit of fun. On Wed. we went back to the casino with Mom and played for hours on Fortune 88 slot machines. We were just recycling money but at the end we came out $38 ahead and were able to go buy dinner at the buffet. This was my 4th time eating out this year so it was a real treat. The food was “meh” but I enjoyed it anyway. Otherwise we ate all our meals in the RV.

Tues. we went to the Holy Cross area of the city of Indianapolis. There’s an industrial building (formerly a factory) that was been turned into Midland antique mall. It was a blast going from room to room and floor to floor exploring. Hubby found more treasures than I did this trip but that’s ok. We both had a great time and would gladly go back anytime. In fact, we did go back on Thurs. when we were in the area visiting several other places. We came back specifically for a Pullman Step Stool. It’s from the old Pullman train cars out of Chicago and made of all steel. It is heavy duty and rare. I looked online and there is only 2 on ebay and they go for between $289-400. The one we found was in great shape and much cheaper! Greg couldn’t stop thinking about it and so we got it and will be using is as the step coming into our RV. Next we went to Audrey’s which was advertised as “where the dealers shop”. First off, it was in a BAD neighborhood. They have a furniture store and then another larger building with “vintage”. Most of it was new stuff made to look old and the prices were the worst I’d seen. So far beyond retail, it was a joke. Like if a pair of sunglasses is $1 at an estate sale, $2 at a thrift store, $5 at an antique store–Audrey’s would have them marked $59. Needless to say, we didn’t buy anything there. I had such a bad vibe off the place. Greg found a nice newish metal cross and it was marked $125. I would’ve paid $65 and I wouldn’t have felt good about it. Greg asked how much they’d take for it and the guy says $100. He thought it was solid brass and old but it wasn’t. Finally the guy came down to $95. We let them keep it.


On Thurs. we went back to the Holy Cross area to a place called Society Of Salvage. Another store called Rewired Antiques is located in the same building. He specializes mostly in vintage lighting but has other cool stuff too. The most memorable thing we got this trip (besides the step) was a set of 5 chairs from SOS. They were auditorium seats taken out of an old school. We’re talking 1950’s heavy duty (sturdy) steel chairs that fold up. We both liked them the minute we saw them. They’re bright orange and can be hooked together at the bottom. We were originally going to get 3 of them. The guy working there said they were $20 each which seemed fair. We had to go through about 10 of them to find the best ones and had it narrowed down to 5. Since they’re old, they all have something superficially wrong with them. Like missing rubber feet, stains, etc. The guy saw how hard we were trying to find good ones so he said if we bought 3, he’d throw in the 4th for free. We couldn’t decide between the 5 so asked if he’d take $60 for 5 of them. He said yes! We were so thrilled! These suckers are really heavy but feel so good to sit in. Not like a metal folding chair or a plastic chair. As comfortable as a couch (minus the footrest and armrests). Now we have to figure out where to put them!


Greg is getting more and more into primitives and salvage finds. I find them interesting as well. The guy running SOS told us about a new place that opened up 2 months ago a block away so we decided to check them out. It’s called Little Doc’s Architectural Salvage. They have a showroom in front and a warehouse in back filled with some of the nicest, choicest salvage I’ve ever seen. We met the owners, Little Doc & Lindsay Keys (husband and wife), who are the coolest. They are living their dream and doing it in style. Little Doc’s father has run Doc’s Architectural Salvage for decades and now has opened another one in the Nashville area. Little Doc caught the vintage fever and he collects and sells. He showed us around and I saw several things I’d love to have but alas, I have only a 1,379 sq. ft. house that is already crammed full. One of the cooler things he had was a gigantic old porcelain sign for a monument company. Another was a huge 10 ft. tall wooden pulpit from the 1840’s! He’d taken it out of a lady’s house. She had won it at an auction when her church went out of business. I would give my eye teeth for it but as I said, I have nowhere to put it so can’t even entertain the idea. My dream is to buy a historic church that has closed and renovate it into a home and either an antique shop or a homeless shelter. I know that sounds vastly different but I like saving old things and I like helping people. I haven’t gotten Greg on board completely yet. He’s afraid we could lose everything we have by getting in too deep with something like that. In any case, it was fun to look and meet the Keys. I know they’ll be a big success! When we left there we went to check out Little Doc’s dad’s place. It was ginormous and a true junkyard. It was more old barn boards, doors, doorknobs, hardware, etc. Things we’re not as interested in but still like to look.

While we were in Indy, I can’t say I was loving it. However, since I’ve come home I have much fonder feelings for it. We had more fun than I realized at the time. 😊 If that makes any sense. I take so many pictures that I like making Flipagram videos and posting them to Instagram. Unfortunately, IG keeps removing them as soon as I post them. So I got fed up and didn’t post anything last week. Now I’ve tried again and they still removed them. My blog won’t allow videos either so I’m just going to put in a small smattering of pics to sum up the week. Thanks for reading!

I had planned to write about all the cool antique shops we found while up in WI on vacation last month. Instead I just have to gush about the fun we had yesterday (Sat. Oct. 1st). 👍 There was a one day sale at Bookworks on Clark St. in Chicago. It’s in the heart of Wrigleyville where the Cubs baseball stadium is. I’d never heard of this bookstore before but I loved reading the history online before going to the estate sale there. It’s an independent used bookstore that’s been around for 32 years. This area of Chicago used to be non-descript with Japanese markets and restaurants. In the last decade, it has changed drastically. It is now overrun with hipsters. All the buildings have been renovated and upscale bars and restaurants have moved in. This has caused the rents to skyrocket. Greg and I did a little math in the car on the ride down there and it boggles the mind how many books they would have to sell every month just to pay rent, not counting utilities and other expenses. Before even making any profit whatsoever. The man and woman who own it are closing for good but will still be selling books online. This made me wonder if everything had been cherrypicked by them ahead of the sale. It turns out it really didn’t matter. They had 22,000 books plus cds and records (which I didn’t even look at) all for $2 each. I feel so fortunate to be able to attend a once in a lifetime sale. 🎈
The sale started at 11 am but it was raining all night and day. We got up at 8 am and left about 10:20 am. We got down there a minute before 11 am and drove around the block for parking. Supposedly they had free parking in back but not for that amount of people. So we parked around the corner about half a block away for $4. The line of people waiting outside was daunting. I would guess 60 people because it stretched to the end of the block (across from where we parked). It was a few minutes after 11 when we crossed the street and just as we did, they opened the door and the line started moving swiftly inside. I have no doubt some of these people stood outside for an hour or more in the rain to get to be towards the front. I was floored to see they let everyone in at once!! At most estate sales, they limit the number inside to usually 15 (sometimes less) at a time. Then when people leave, they let others in. Well, I felt lucky as could be to get right in just as we walked up. We didn’t get wet or have to wait! 🍀


As you can imagine, letting that many people in at once caused it to be wall to wall people. Your body was touching others’ bodies at all times. 😳 But surprisingly, people were great. Everyone was really polite and patient with each other. I said it was because everyone was in a good mood because they were getting new books. ❤️ Normally, I never ask the people running a sale where something is because someone else will hear and run there ahead of me. For some reason, this time I made an exception. I asked where the oldest books were and she pointed out 2 areas. One was right behind them at the counter and the other was a far corner which was already filled with people. Greg & I decided to go for behind the counter first. We didn’t just grab indiscriminately, we looked things over and put them in bags we’d brought along and then placed them on one of their side counters to be held. Then we made our way to the far corner. That was really hard to reach things and see around people. It took a long time to even get to the books because of the masses. Finally we left that area and wanted to take a browse through the rest of the store. That wasn’t easy. Just to make our way through with throngs of people everywhere was a task. We ended up not finding anything else in the rest of the store. We could’ve gotten a bunch of coffee table books or biographies but I didn’t want things that take up that much space. I forgot entirely to look for cookbooks and never saw any while going through the place. It was just before 11:50 am when we decided to check out. Greg went up to the front to guard our selections and I went to the back of the line. It snaked back and forth through half of the store. It took 45 minutes to get through the line! Most people had between 6-10 books with some several others getting about 30 or so. One couple had over 150 books and they took them ahead of most even though they didn’t wait. They offered Greg the chance to check out ahead of others and he said no! I was in the back of the line and I heard this and texted him, say yes! That’s what makes him so much of a better person than I am. We were able to carry all the books to the car in one trip! Then we took a walk down the block towards the stadium and looked around at the neighborhood. 


That was the only sale we had planned that day. There was a small one in our town that didn’t look too good from the pictures but we stopped at it on the way home. We found an old suitcase which we’re going to store the books in until I read them (before selling them). We also got 2 wire baskets to attach to the deck for plants and a ceiling light for the LR. Our LR is so dark and back in May we found an old swag lamp at a store going out of business. It needed some rewiring so we got it for $20. When we saw the one at the sale yesterday, I thought it would go with that one. It’s a diffent shape but has similar colored glass. This one worked and they said “Make an offer” so I said $20 and they went for it! When we get home from our next vacation we’ll be hanging it in the LR. The picture is one they took for the sale. The double pic is the one we got in May. It was an unforgettable day. I’m still on a high from getting all those books! 😍