The Eyes Have It

You know how I was always saying “No matter what, I will never give up blogging”? I came so close to it, I feel like a liar. Like most people dealing with the pandemic, I feel like the ground has shifted under my feet. Absolutely nothing in my life feels under my control. I’m sure that’s just me being overly dramatic and there must be something I have a handle on. I just can’t think of a thing right now. Most of it has to do with an exceptional amount of stress I seem unable to relinquish. Something as simple as the amount and type of food I put in my body sounds like something I should be able to control. I used to be able to. At least to a point. I have always overeaten, mostly because food tastes delicious. But I was able to stop. Now the more out of control things feel in my life, the more I soothe myself with food. I guess the fact that I recognize I’ve been doing this is a good thing. However, I’ve gained enough weight that my XL t-shirts are skin tight and have just become a casing for my multiple fat rolls. 😣 This isn’t a post on weight (which someday I’ll have to delve into) but a confirmation of my state of mind. I am disgusted with myself and pretty much every aspect of my life. I came up with a project for the New Year that I was excited about but have been hitting all kinds of dead ends. I will get into that in a future blog post. I am going to try to use a couple of lunch times a week to write and see if I can find any solutions. Right now, I am just trying to not give up. On my new endeavor and literally everything else. If you follow me on social media, you know I have pretty much given that up. I still follow people but rarely post. Like less than once a month. I worry and overthink everything. I feel like I’m just going through the motions of life and not interacting the way I want to.

When I woke up on Monday December 6th, I had a long floater over my right eye. I didn’t think much of it. It stayed with me all day and I woke up with it again the next day. Then I started noticing a darkness in that eye as well. As the day wore on, I was getting a bit panicked. I had just moved a bunch of books I have on Etsy to the cupboards in the basement. I had sold a book and went down to look for it. It was so dark I couldn’t see very well even with the flashlight on my phone (best invention ever!). I ended up going through the books like 4 times and couldn’t find the book and ended up having to give a refund. Tuesday night I was starting to think I better get my butt to an eye doctor in case it was serious. For decades I’ve been going to Lens Crafters for an exam and glasses.  The Lens Crafters at our mall had closed up but even so, I thought I should see a REAL doctor. I looked on Yelp and there were several local eye doctors with good ratings. I decided on the one that Greg knew the location of. He had gone to that building twice for root canals. So Wednesday morning Dec. 8th, I called Park Ridge Vision to see if they could get me in. Surprisingly, they said to come right away!

Dr. Dan Press is a younger guy (30’s) and very nice. His office is big and he has many assistants who did the photos and testing of my eyes. He explained things and told me I had a tear in my retina and some of the vitreous fluid had leaked out which was the darkness. People who are excessively nearsighted are most apt to get this. He said if it wasn’t repaired, it would get worse and my retina would detach and could lead to blindness. A scary prospect, indeed! He said he would refer me to a retina surgeon who could do laser surgery. He went in another room and called him and then came in and said they would get me in today. I had to wait for their call and if they didn’t call in an hour’s time to call him and he’d call them again. So as we drove home, Illinois Retina called and said to come right in. So we drove to Skokie and had to fill out paperwork and wait around for a few hours. I had my eyes dilated (3 times total that day and they stayed dilated until the next day!) and Dr. Zac Savage came in. Doesn’t that sound like a SuperHero name?! He’s a SuperHero to me! His waiting room was jam packed and he said the surgery wouldn’t take more than a few minutes but he couldn’t do it until the end of the day. Maybe 5:30 pm or so. I couldn’t understand why if we were already there, he didn’t just do it. Then I realized that insurance had to approve it first. I bet it was thousands of dollars. Later I found out the office people spent an hour and a half on the phone with Blue Cross/Blue Shield to get it approved. So we went home for 3 1/2 hours and I was about to crawl out of my skin. I had no idea what the surgery would be like. We got a call from their office at 5 pm saying they were running behind and not to come until 6 pm. So we got there and still had to wait about 15 minutes and then the surgery was short and sweet. They put numbing drops in so you feel nothing. I imagined the laser was the size of a pen but it was like a huge, thick camera lens. I expected my eye to be held open with a metal device out of Clockwork Orange but the doctor just used his gloved thumb and forefinger to hold my eye open. He told me which direction to look (up and to the right mostly) and you would look into this greenish yellow light. It was such a relief to have it over. He said it would take “awhile” for the floater and darkness to go away. I had no clue if “awhile” was hours, days, weeks, months?!

I went home and the next day I got a call from Dr. Press asking how I was and how the surgery went. He is just the nicest! I plan to go get a true examination and new glasses from him after my followup with the Retina Surgeon on Thurs. Jan. 6th.

It took 10 days before I even noticed a little improvement. The past 2 days it’s better but the floater isn’t completely gone. I feel optimistic that it will be healed by the time I go back. In any case, I’m happy that I didn’t need the more involved retina reattachment surgery. I have since looked it up and it is not a walk in the park. I never realized how many people have eye problems. I have run into quite a few since then in person and online.

What else is coming up? Tomorrow we are giving blood. Next week another trip to the vet with our sick dog (this is a whole blog post in itself) and then dental cleanings the same day as the checkup on my eye. I hope to be back with a blog post before the end of the year. Hang in there! 👍

A Year Of Lockdown

I can’t believe it’s been a year since I posted to my blog. I knew it had been months but had no idea to what extent I’d lost track of time. The last year has been surreal in so many ways. I didn’t realize how deep my depression was until 11 days ago when I was able to secure an appointment to get a Covid vaccination. As soon as I made the appt. a weight lifted from me. I received my first Pfizer shot Wed. April 7th and have felt nothing but hope and freedom ever since! I go back on Wed. April 28th for the 2nd one. I am so lucky I’ve had NO side effects at all. The 2nd shot is supposed to be harder on the body but I’m hopeful that I’ll have no reaction to that as well. I was able to get in at the next town over (Des Plaines) and it was run like a well oiled machine. The national guard was in charge and I was in and out within a half hour (including the 15 min. wait afterwards). My hubby and I went to lunch to celebrate right after. We tried “Rand’s Red Hots” for the first time. It’s a hot dog place similar to Gene & Jude’s (our favorite) in River Forest. We brought our own sodas and ate in the car. I am just dying (poor choice of words) to eat inside a restaurant but I’m still not willing to take any chances. It’s not worth dying to eat in a restaurant. As the saying goes: “I didn’t come this far just to come this far”. 

My husband is a federal employee and they set up their vaccinations through work. He went to the huge convention center (McCormick Place) to get the Moderna shot back in Jan. & Feb. He had mild side effects from his second one. I know many people have been working from home the entire time. Greg had a few months of work from home but then they instituted one day a week of coming into the office. Then at the end of last year it was 2 days a week for him to go in. The end of March they sent out a notice that everyone had to come in 3 days a week. Before that happened, they cancelled it because the Covid rates are starting to go up again! They are trying to limit the number of people in the office at any given time. So he’s been going in on Mondays and Fridays. He also has to wear a mask the entire time at work. I guess you do what you have to but for me, that would be very hard to get used to.

In some ways it’s hard for me to grasp that the past year has been hard for EVERYONE. But it has. Life is like nothing we’ve ever known before. It really makes me wonder if this is just a single event or if there is more viruses coming that we’ll have to deal with. Some people have handled things much better than others. They really don’t miss a beat. I withdrew from social media more than I’ve ever done. I wasn’t taking many pictures and wasn’t posting. I didn’t feel like there was anything good in my life. Obviously that wasn’t true but that’s how it felt. While others were using the last year to purge their closets, reorganize their drawers and do crafting, I was just existing. Kind of paralyzed in mind and body. Just since my vaccination and knowing quarantining isn’t forever, I’ve been looking forward to every day and seeing how much I can get done around here.

What were we up to the past year? We gave blood a few days before the lockdown and then went again Dec. 17th, 2020 and March 17th (this year) to donate blood. They offered “free covid screening” via the blood so after donating in Dec. we could look up and see if we’d had Covid. We didn’t think we had and it showed we hadn’t. Vitalant usually gives a tshirt for donating but they quit that. We knew ahead of time but gave anyway. It still feels good to give especially with all the craziness going on in the world.

We went to the doctor last Oct. and then the end of March (this year). Doctor Z is 67 and should retire but his wife is younger so he won’t. When we went in March, we found out our doctor had had Covid right before Christmas! He had lost 30 lbs. and looks gaunt. He told us about our gastroenterologist Dr. Ohri. He had gotten Covid and didn’t listen to his doctors. They told him to stay home and rest for a month. He was super fit and always doing bicycle marathons. After only a week of rest, he went for a 21 mile bike ride. He got so sick afterwards, he was admitted to the hospital and intubated. He was transferred to Northwestern Hospital (downtown Chicago) where his son is a surgeon. He ended up dying in January. He was only 66 years old. The disease is just insidious.

We had to have a plumber come twice. Last August there was suddenly no hot water in the bathtub. We had hot water everywhere else. I found someone online and called and gave him the brand and model of our shower knob. He showed up with a part and fixed it. He came in with a mask on and Greg wore a mask. I took the dogs into the back yard and waited. Then last month it happened again! We had the same guy come again and this time he said it was “sediment in the hot water line”. He had to go from upstairs (where the bathroom is) to the basement (2 floors below) a few times to turn the water on and off and pound on some pipes. This time I had the dogs in the bedroom while Greg dealt with him. The dogs are wonderful around people and we could’ve had them loose but I just wanted it over with. It cost like $280 the first time and $230 the last time.

Greg turned 60 on April 1st. He wanted a propane fire pit so I told him to order it. He found it on Amazon and it’s lovely. We plan to spend a lot of time on our deck and in our backyard this summer. For his birthday, he got phone calls from his mother and 4 of his siblings (he’d just talked to the 5th a few weeks before). His mother turned 86 and actually sounds more “with it” than the last few times we’d talked to her. The last time we’d talked to her was on Christmas and we had called. She had only been on the line a moment or two and she got another phone call. She didn’t say who it was but was like “I’ve got another phone call, we’ll talk again”. It was highly insulting. His brother who lives across the street from their mom is moving this month. They are trying to talk her into going into assisted living but she wants no part of it. The brother that’s across the street’s son has been living with her since last summer. Another of Greg’s brother’s is dealing with his wife’s breast cancer. She was diagnosed right before Covid and has been doing treatment for a year. They got it all but now she has to have her thyroid removed because it spread to there. 

The dogs are all healthy and doing great. We took them to the vet for their annual checkup on April 8th. Amber will be 13 years old in June and Ivy is 12 1/2. Elvis is 9 years old and still acts like a puppy. They were a godsend the past year. So many people were adopting animals while home in quarantine. I hope they keep them and don’t decide to get rid of them when they want to be able to go on vacation. 

The one thing I’ve noticed more than ever the past year is how angry a lot of people are. I don’t know if it’s the pent up frustration from the lockdown situation or what. The whole politics situation got uglier than ever. Social media turned nasty. The “Next Door” app is a nightmare. All it seems to be is people fighting with each other. It doesn’t matter how innocent a comment is, someone will take it in the worst possible way and attack them. It takes away my faith in humanity. Then seeing all the violence going on. The shootings and protests and looting. I don’t know if there is a solution for all these problems but there needs to be. I think it starts with respecting others.

When we went to the doctor, my husband weighed the same. Much to my dismay, I gained about 13 lbs. Even when I try hard, I notice no results. I may just have to ignore it and just DO THINGS instead of worrying. A few months ago I got my vertigo back. I had it almost 8 years ago and it hadn’t come back since. Out of the blue it came on and I had a day of nausea and dizziness. I couldn’t even eat lunch. Now it’s off and on dizziness. Usually it’s getting up from sitting or laying down. Or sometimes it’s turning over in bed. I don’t know if it’s my sinuses, my eyes, my heart or what. I mentioned it to the doctor and he said I have terrible seasonal allergies. I knew that but don’t know if that’s what’s causing the vertigo. He gave me a shot of a steriod called Solumedrol. It is supposed to work for sinuses. It can last from 8 days to 3 months. He said it would probably last a month and I’d have to come back and get another. Some people it doesn’t work at all on. The next day when I got up my sinuses were better. It lasted about 10 days. I often have a headache when I get up in the morning but it goes away after being up without taking anything.

I was also suffering with my left knee most of the year. The “nurse practitioner” told me to use a cream with pain reliever in it. I don’t know why I never thought to do that before. I’ve only used it a few times but it helps. We’ve been going to the dentist every 6 months for our cleanings like always. I got the crack in my tooth fixed last year and Greg got a root canal this year. I went in to get my driver’s license renewed in Oct. They extended it a few months after your birthday but then said they wouldn’t extend it anymore. There was a huge line (outside) but everyone kept their distance. We appealed our property taxes for the first time. I found a company online and we did it last Aug. It took them until March to finish it. We won’t get any benefit until Aug. or later. We had to pay them 1/3 of the savings already. It should save us a few thousand dollars.

I am going to post more often so will save the rest of what I want to say for another time. Thanks for coming back to see what I’ve been up to. I hope you’ve been healthy the past year and that you’re looking forward to some semblance of normalcy. Take care and God bless!

Quarantine Babblings

Today has been an interesting day already. While out walking the dogs, we saw a guy pushing a baby in a stroller and his young son was riding a bicycle behind him on the sidewalk. For some reason, a square of the sidewalk near the corner was filled with wet asphalt like the road would be patched with. The father should have maneuvered everyone around that but instead went through. The son on the bike got stuck. He left the stroller a short distance ahead with the dog’s leash tied to it. He went back and pushed his son onto the regular sidewalk and looked back. We were walking up from the side and saw the whole thing. The dog was starting to pull towards the kid on the bike and the stroller had completely flipped in mid-air with the baby hovering a foot from the ground (face first). The guy had amazing reflexes and grabbed the stroller and righted it before any harm came to the strapped in baby! I kind of gasped but kept walking. Most people walking would’ve stopped and just stared. I didn’t want to make things worse so we kept going.

Then about half a block later, 2 giant black labs charged us on the sidewalk. I know black labs come in smaller sizes too but these were like Great Dane size. They just kept circling us and barking. Ivy was so scared she was ready to lunge and take a bite out of them. My husband didn’t handle it too well and started yelling at me. Which in turn made me yell at him to yell at the people who let their dogs loose, not me. He wanted me to take the dogs down the street and he was going to round up the dogs. I told him take them down the street because I knew I had to have words with the owner. He left with the dogs and I saw the door of the house we were in front of open and a kid let one of the dogs in. The other was running around yet and finally went to the door and was let in. I told the kid, “I need to talk to your mom or dad.” I wasn’t mean because it’s not the kid’s fault. I waited a few minutes and then the mom came out. It was just as well because I calmed down and was able to talk without being upset. I told her why I was unhappy because of the past attacks and how it’s ruined my dogs. She was nice enough to listen and she apologized. She said with the kids home, they weren’t used to shutting the gate. I told her I knew it was a terrible time now and she had her hands full with all her kids home and I wasn’t trying to make her life harder but I  had to say something. She actually made me feel better instead of worse. I told her, “Don’t let it ruin your day. I’m over it, you be over it, too.”  I’m starting to think if it happens a few more times, I won’t even blink an eye, I will be so used to it.
We are coming up on 6 weeks since I’ve been home and hubby is finishing up his 5th week of working from home. He wore me down and last Sat. we ordered breakfast food from the Sunrise Grill just down the street. They give you a vat of scrambled eggs, 6 strips of bacon, 6 sausages, 6 French toast, 4 waffles, 6 pancakes and hash browns or $20. We gave them a $5 tip. It was a good deal but the food was mediocre at best. Maybe we’ll order out again in another 5 weeks. 
I’ve been cooking up a storm. Since I last posted I made homemade mushroom soup and spinach soup. Both were delicious. My next soups to try making are carrot and asparagus (separately). We went out to the grocery store on Sunday and stocked up again. We’d been out of bread and milk for a week. Tonight I’ll make a hot dish with ground veal and pasta and some vegetables. I’ve made banana bread once. Everyone online seems to be making sourdough bread. I’ve always wanted to make a starter from scratch and try it. We’ll see if I’m brave enough to give it a go.
We’re up to the end of Season 6 in the Walking Dead. I’m enjoying it more all the time. I have a ton of other things I want to watch on Netflix too. I don’t know how people get so much watched. Maybe they’re watching all day, too. We only watch in the evenings. We try to get some book reading in every afternoon.
2 days ago I was due to run out of my blood pressure medicine. I usually go to the doctor every April for a checkup and to get the prescription. We had just gone on Oct. 30th so I called on Monday April 13th to the doctor’s office. I had had the pharmacy try to get it refilled and the doctor’s office had declined. I told them I just needed a medication refill, I had nothing “wrong” with me that warranted a doctor’s visit. The nurse talked to the doctor and said, “He wants to see you!” I said, “I REALLY, REALLY don’t want to come in while there’s a pandemic going on!!” His office is in hospital for goodness sake. That didn’t matter, I had to come in. Greg needed to go to since he’d need a refill on one of his in the next few weeks. I was almost in tears. I didn’t think I was being unreasonable AT ALL!! We have had nothing but trouble with this doctor and he’s cause us so much grief. I don’t want to change doctors but will. I looked all over the internet and did a bunch of reading on doctor’s ratings, etc and found one we like in Lincolnwood. It’s not that close but it may be worth it. Unfortunately, no doctor in his right mind is taking on new patients right now. Most aren’t seeing the patients they already have unless it’s urgent. I was even toying with the idea of going off blood pressure meds for awhile but then worried I’d have a stroke or heart attack!! 
So we caved and went in last Tues. April 14th. When you go in the hospital, they take your temperature and give you a mask to wear. We were already wearing gloves. The doctor wouldn’t give me a paper prescription which is what I wanted. He said he’d send it in electronically to the pharmacy. Instead when we went to pick it up, he’d sent in the wrong one. He had our blood drawn and then the nurse called on Thurs. with results. My thyroid has gotten worse since taking the medication. I was on 25 micrograms Tirosint Solution and now he’s got me going up to 50. My thyroid is interactive and a year ago when diagnosed, it was 4.94 or something and now it’s 5.95. It makes no sense that the higher the number, the more inactive. It is supposed to be under 4. So then he only calls in one month and I needed 3 because of insurance cost. Finally got it picked up yesterday. No refills on either that or the blood pressure meds!! What an a-hole! He wants to see us in 3 months. (Vomit emoji)
Yesterday our city announced that everyone needs to wear a face mask in public. I only have the one from the hospital and need to get a fabric one. I was looking online and it’s so hard to choose without being able to touch or try them on. My first instinct is to go funny. But the selections are limited so maybe I’ll have to go floral. It really looks like face masks are going to be the norm for months after the country opens up. Cook County where we live is one of the hot spots in the country yet with the town next to ours, Des Plaines, having the most cases. 6 weeks ago when they said masks were optional, I took them at their word. I dislike having anything over my face. Hubby is used to his c-pap so it doesn’t bother him. My sinuses are such a hot mess, I can never breathe well. I had sinus surgery in 1996 to remove a polyp and enlarge my sinuses. It did no good. Decides ago I gave up taking any sinus meds, over the counter or prescription.
Today is my mom’s birthday. If she were alive, she’d be 99. I miss her terribly but feel like she is slipping away. Memories of her are harder to access. She’s still the only person I feel is 100% always on my side. Not having that in my life anymore is very noticeable. I rarely get DMs (direct messages) on Instagram. Lately I’ve gotten 2 different people on my original (almost abandoned) account (@ynotkissme) trying to talk to me. 2 guys who I had to block. I usually just block random creeps without saying anything. This time I tried to see if they just wanted conversation. I’m pretty sure it’s never conversation… One asked my name and when I told him, he said “that’s my grandmother’s name”. First off, no one else in the world has the name Chrisor. It just filled me with a great deal of sadness to know that someone has to lie like that. 
I got the phone number of a couple who we used to see at estate sales. The one running the sales is friends with them and us. I haven’t seen Pete and Ruth since about Oct. 2018! They are in their 80’s, I would say she’s 85 and he’s 87. I can pretty much talk to anybody but some people I just feel like we get along like a house on fire. Ruth started talking to me a few years before my mom died. She would ask how my mom was and what was new with us. A lot of the people who go to estate sales are standoffish but Ruth was friendly as am I. Ruth’s mother is 113 years old! It’s amazing to me. Anyway, we would go way early to a certain sale just to hang out with this old couple. They’d come early and we’d visit for like an hour. Then they fell into ill health and stopped coming. I would ask the one running the sale and she’d tell me how they were. Finally she gave me their number and I called on Monday. We didn’t talk long but it was so nice to hear her voice again. They’ve both had surgery and are recovering and stuck home like the rest of us. I hope to someday see them again. 
Hope everyone is hanging in there and staying healthy and safe!

Shelter In Place

I had hoped to get back on here with regular updates of our quarantine status but got waylaid by life. Hubby has been home since March 20th. He’s on his 3rd week of working from home. It is going fairly well. Previous to home confinement, he would get up at 5:20 am to go to work (45-60 min. drive) and I would roll out of bed when I felt like it which was usually 7-8 am. Now I’ve been going to bed when he does (11:30 pm) and getting up with him. I am a zombie and fall asleep a couple of times during the daytime and sometimes in the evening. I end up taking at least a one hour nap most days. I never believed in naps but now it’s out of my control. My body just gives out and I pass out. So the days seem longer but no more productive. Hubby seems to love working from home. He is tired but less so because he gets to cut out all the driving both ways. 

I’ve been cooking all our meals for almost 4 weeks. They are pushing curbside delivery and takeout but I don’t see how it’s safe to rely on someone else preparing your food during this time. As much as I could use the break from cooking, I’m willing to wait until the Coronavirus is in the rearview mirror to eat out. We took the 3 dogs to the vet yesterday for their yearly checkup/ heart worm blood draw. Ivy also got her rabies shot. I know I could’ve put it off but I don’t want to be worrying about the health of our elderly dogs now. Amber has been acting odd. Over the winter she was a bit constipated and then I’d find she’d sneaked downstairs to the basement and crapped on the floor. Now we keep access blocked and it hasn’t been a problem. About a month or so ago she started eating dirt. I read up on this online and it’s pika like people get. She seems to have stopped that after a few weeks. Now her eyes have started to weep and she is getting stains under her eyes. I’ve always hated to see that on dogs. I try to clean it but she won’t let me. She doesn’t like for me to brush her or pet her and she screams and gets aggressive. Next month will be 2 years since they got attacked and she was pinned down by the Newfoundland. The vet seems to think that it’s not physical or dementia but “phantom pains” from the traumatic experience. I don’t see it getting any better but she’s got a good few years left yet. She’ll be 12 years old in June. Greg has been walking the dogs with me daily which has been nice.
March 23rd our internet/ wi-fi went out at 10 am. It had been working that morning and then when we got back from walking the dogs, it was not. Greg called AT&T and spent 2 1/2 hours on hold. All he kept getting was a recording to reset the modem. We had tried that countless times before calling. He called again on Tues. and was on hold for 1 1/2 hours. This time he got someone to schedule a technician to come out the next day. Between 8 am and noon is always noon. He didn’t even have to come in the house. There was a break in the line on the telephone pole above our neighbor’s yard. It was great to have internet back after 50 hours without it. Mostly because we’ve been watching Netflix and couldn’t for 2 nights. We started The Walking Dead which Greg was a huge fan of. He and my mom had watched it together. I tried at least twice before to watch the first episode and couldn’t get into it. Greg had watched up to Season 6 Episode 10 but we started from the beginning. We are already up the middle of the 4th season. He says there’s a lot he doesn’t remember. It just seem appropriate with what is going on in the world. Yesterday walking the dogs, we saw 2 older people with masks on walking. I swear they looked like “walkers”. Somehow I refrained from “taking them out”. 😉
Greg’s birthday was April 1st. Anyone having a birthday during quarantine knows that it won’t be your typical day. We didn’t really celebrate at all. I didn’t make a cake or any dessert but did make what I now call, “Birthday Beans”: canned beans doctored up with brown sugar, molasses, ketchup with chopped onion and ground lamb. So good! Last week I was able to get boneless, skinless chicken breast for 99 cents a pound. I bought about 8 lbs. and cooked it in the crockpot with onions and peppers. You can make a multitude of things with it. Today I’m making homemade broccoli soup. 
Last Sunday I had a terrible backache. I’d had it most of last week but Sunday was so bad, I almost went through the roof. I felt like I’d been in a car accident without knowing it! My upper back/ ribs on both sides felt injured. I finally broke down and took 2 Tylenol which helped. The next day it was gone! I’ve been in shock all week that I don’t have the awful pain anymore. I tend to believe the body will heal itself but not in all cases. This Coronavirus seems to be a different animal. One of my local online friends just said her dad is in ICU with pneumonia from Covid19 now. 
I had all kinds of plans to write snail mail letters to keep in touch (I owe everyone). So far I’ve only managed one. There’s always tomorrow! How is everyone else coping so far? I was so thrilled to find toilet paper yesterday. I never thought something so mundane would actually bring joy! Now if I could only find liquid hand soap. If we can’t, we’ll end up busting out 25 year old bar soap from hotels/ motels. Hang in there and glove up! 🙂

The Coronavirus that has been around for a couple of months here in the US seems to be escalating by the minute. A week ago it was around but not affecting our lives every single second. I would say that changed late last Friday night. Friday the 13th has always been my lucky day. I won’t be looking at it the same way anymore. Since then, everything and everyone has been in a full blown panic. This is understandable since no one currently alive has lived through anything like this. Everything is being shuttered in our part of the country: schools, casinos, restaurants, bars, movie theaters, theme parks, museums, courts, etc. I’m not going to do a lot of writing about it because I’m not an expert. I’m only going to be writing about how it affects me, my household and what I see online. The social distancing thing makes a lot of sense but I don’t see that many strictly adhering to it. I think the President is doing a decent job handling the crisis even though it’s as foreign to him as the rest of us. I watched the press conference from the Governor of New York (Bill de Blasio) this morning and it was like watching Al Pacino. The whole health crisis seems surreal and like a horror movie. I don’t think God had anything to do with putting the virus on earth (which I’ve seen some online say) but I do think he’s cheering our chance to band together for a common goal. I know the politicization of Covid-19 has been petty and mean spirited. That has to stop. There needs to be no criticism at this time, only helpful suggestions. If some politicians think they can do better, they need to offer their support and whatever else they have to contribute. 

Like with any hardship, it brings out the best AND the worst in people. Many are being kind and concerned about others. Then there’s the greedy ones who have been hoarding and stockpiling. That is so unnecessary but you know how some people won’t listen to reason. Like going to the pub-crawls for St. Patty’s Day on Sunday despite warnings not to gather in groups. That’s what prompted the bar and restaurant closings. We are all going through this for the first time! We are all together in this and it is temporary. We’ll get through this and it will be an event of epic and historical proportions that we can say we lived through. 
Thurs. we went up to the funeral in WI. They are a different breed of people. I can say that because I grew up there. They think they are tougher/ heartier than anyone else. Usually they are but they are also stubborn and won’t listen. Social distancing was already suggested at this point but very little of it went on. I managed to not get kissed but still got a bunch of hugs that I didn’t feel right getting. I probably should have been super rude and said no. I wanted to but it’s a weird situation. We went there early and the time dragged on. We talked to a ton of people and then the service took place. They were all going to a restaurant to drink and celebrate. We passed and headed home. We stopped at Kopp’s Custard and got a burger, fries and a malt. We used to get custard there years ago. The food was terrible and so expensive. $30 for a fast food meal. They charged 25 cents for each glass of water. At that point we decided to just eat at home from now on. This past weekend we stocked up on food. I had a raincheck from a one day sale at Jewel the end of Feb. Salmon is usually $12.99/lb. here and Sun. it was $8.99/lb. My raincheck was for $4.99/lb.!! So we got almost 10 lbs. worth, sweet potatoes and red peppers. Greg cooked it all up on Sun. and we’ve eaten it twice. We’ve got at least 7 meals left of it. We love it and it’s healthy for us, too. I had gotten a head of cabbage at 18 cents a lb. and then picked up a corner beef brisket so that’s in the crockpot now. It doesn’t feel anything like St. Patty’s Day. 
Greg is still going to work even though it’s been recommended to tele-commute if you can. Yesterday was the funeral for his coworker Stephanie. It was on the south side suburbs of Chicago which is closer to work than home. He went to work and everyone was riding together to the funeral. I thought they would let everyone do it during work hours. And they did but you had to take leave! So Greg took 4 hours of his vacation to go. They went to the funeral home, then the church and then the cemetery. It sounds like there were a ton of people there which worries me because Hello! Coronavirus. I’m wondering how things will change tomorrow and by next week, etc.
I won’t have any trouble amusing myself being quarantined at home. I pretty much did that while hubby was gone last year at the border. Yesterday I did laundry. Today I’m getting organized for another book sale. I made the mistake of looking at our bank accounts and retirement funds. Yikes! We’re not the type to overreact and take money out or move it around but wow. I know it will eventually come back but that takes retiring anytime soon off the table.
Last night we started watching The Walking Dead. It is one of hubby’s favorite tv shows. He had watched up to Season 6, Episode 10. I never cared for it. He used to watch it with my mom and she loved it. I tried watching the first episode two times before and just couldn’t get into it. This time I was committed and we watched 4 episodes in a row. It took until the very end of the 3rd episode for me to get into it. I see a lot of similarities between TWD and what’s going on in the world now. I’m trying to find humor while still taking it seriously. There are many who don’t believe in joking about it. It’s not a joke but you can find humor in it to ease some of the tension. There is a lot of tension. How is everyone else coping with the new normal?

Aunt Anne passed away on Sat. Morning at 7:30 am. We got word yesterday from family that the funeral is this Thurs. up in Harland, WI. The Rosary is at 4:00 pm, visitation is from 4:30-6:45 pm with the mass at 7:00 pm. Then Greg got a call from his mother saying to call Sara (Anne’s youngest child) right away. So he did and she asked him to be a pallbearer. Greg is taking Thurs. and Friday off but using hours he got from an award and not sick leave. It’s about 2 hours from here so we’ll have to leave mid-afternoon to get there and skip dinner until afterwards. That’s not a big deal but something to consider. When we saw the funeral would be at St. Charles Catholic Church in Harland, we wondered why. Aunt Anne was devoted and passionate about her faith. She was a Catholic and she got Uncle Dean to convert to Catholicism before he married her. She was selfless and loving with everyone. She and Uncle Dean lived their faith and were really the only examples I’ve known of true Catholics. They even ministered to prisoners. Besides going to church religiously and tithing, they were the first to help anyone. Aunt Anne belonged to St. Mary’s in Pewaukee her entire life. The church was sold and the congregation began going to Queen Of Apostles in 1999. I never liked that church. It has such a modern look inside, it feels soulless. St. Mary’s reminds me of the church I grew up going to that was not much bigger than a house. Anyway, for all that Aunt Anne has done for the church and the congregation over the years, they won’t let her funeral be there. The day they are having the funeral is CHOIR PRACTICE. That is laughable. They could sing at her funeral. They could cancel and just wing it on Sunday. You’d think church-going people would understand. Instead they put out this nice family in their time of need. This is everything that is wrong with religion. 

There is still no word on Stephanie’s funeral. The coroner hasn’t even released the body yet since they are waiting for a dental expert because it was vehicular homicide. 

Today being March 10th gives me all the feels. It was my parents’ wedding day (in 1961). It was the birthday of my best friend in jr. and sr. high school. March 10th is also the day my last best friend died 10 years ago. I don’t think I’ve ever written about it because it was so weird. I don’t like writing mushy stuff. Maybe when I was a teen or in my 20’s, I might. I don’t even talk about this best friend. We met in slams (the question booklets sent through the mail) in about 1997. We had known of each other for another 10 years before that. Her name was Joni Souers. She was 11 years older than me. So she was a year older than I am now when she died. Joni and I were opposites in a lot of ways. She was only 4’10” tall and I’m 5’ 6 1/2”. She was Southern through and through and I’m as Northern as they come. She was brassy and loud and I tend to be quieter. We were both generous with people and had a tendency to be taken advantage of. She had led a hard life and been estranged from her few relatives. Her brother died and her nephew was like a son to her. She doted on Mike, his wife Cherie and their 3 daughters. I helped her through Cherie’s murder by her oldest teen daughter’s boyfriend. We wrote long letters to each other and then emailed every single day. That didn’t work for me. I balked at it and said it was too much for me. She let me know it was too important for me not to do it for her. So I did it anyway. It was the one “fight” we had. We talked on the phone sometimes and when we did, it could be hours. She was a truck driver (long haul) for decades but had quit to become a police officer for a short time. She loved trucking and her husband had been a trucker. He turned out to be a no-good liar who was a bigamist. She got rid of him but she didn’t hate him the way I thought she should. She was a forgiving sort of person who would give the shirt off her back to anyone. She had no living children and had lost a few babies to miscarriage. She fell in love with another trucker (John) and they worked together going cross country trading off driving but never married. She couldn’t have loved him more. Her home base was Texas but in the last few years she had settled in Colorado (outside Denver). She had 2 teacup chihuahuas (Tiny & Muffin) that she took everywhere with her. She and John had gotten a home in CO and she’d been staying home more and more often. She had fixed it up and did a lot of home cooking. She smoked like a fiend which I hate. She enjoyed it so much that nothing could make her stop. She had some health problems towards the end. She would get stomach and back aches. I encouraged her to go to the doctor. That didn’t really help until she doubled over and passed out. They took her to the hospital and found she had a huge mass in her stomach. They operated and removed it and it wasn’t cancer. I called her in the hospital and told her to rest and get well. I told her I loved her which I’ll always be happy about. I had no reason to believe she wouldn’t recover. Then I found out a day or two later that she was being taken for some other tests and she had an aneurysm burst and she was brain dead. Just. Like. That. Her nephew Mike told them to pull the plug because he knew she wouldn’t want to lay there as a shell any longer. I went into shock, as you do when given unexpected news. I can’t think of a worse time for it to happen. Not that there’s ever a good time.
Greg was scheduled to leave 3-4 days after I got the news. He was going to be gone for 10 weeks to canine training. It ended up being only 6 weeks. Anyway, I had all kinds of plans to chat on the phone with Joni and just make the most of not having a husband to monopolize my time. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want him to leave but I wanted him to be happy. I knew if I had Joni to talk to, the time would go faster. Well, that didn’t pan out. I was in shock. Greg wasn’t able to comfort me because he was so wound up with leaving. While he was gone, he didn’t know how hard it was for me to be missing him AND my friend. He was only thinking about his own stuff and then his sister had called him while he was there to tell him she had leukemia. If I hadn’t had my mom with me, I don’t know what I would’ve done. She knew Joni from me telling her all about her. Joni sent her a couple gifts which was so sweet. She thought the world of my mom which endeared her to me. Joni had lost a lot of weight and she a bunch of Walmart/Sam’s Club type clothes she had boughten and most were never even worn. They were the size Mom and I wore. She offered to send them to us. I balked at first but she was so happy that I was willing to take them and wear them, I said ok. She sent a huge box of mostly shorts, t-shirts, sweatshirts, etc. Mom and I divided up the clothes in half. We both wore them and I still wear them. It makes me feel good every time I do because I think of her. I also wear my mom’s clothes which may be creepy to some people but it makes me feel closer to her as well.
I’ve pretty much always had barriers up where friendship is concerned. Especially ever since high school. Then after losing Joni, I think I keep people even more at arm’s length. Sometimes I regret not being more open but other times it just feels like the right way to be.
All this talk and thinking of death just makes you realize that you can make plans but that doesn’t mean you’ll be here to live them out. I worry about hubby’s retirement. He’s about 4 years away. At times he wants to retire even earlier, then other times wants to wait until exactly then. Still other times he thinks he may want to work longer. It is such a hard call. If you’ve got enough money to last, is it better to retire or is it better to stay active? I hear too many stories of people dying right after they retire. I’m having a hard time deciding what I want to do in our later years. We talk about getting a larger home to fix up and then move to down the line. In your 30’s you have unlimited ideas and energy, in your 50’s not so much. You may feel like doing some renovation but tying yourself down to a long term project is not as appealing. Maybe I should just live day by day as that is all we are promised. Who knows what the future holds with the Coronavirus out there.


Things have taken a turn for the worse. It’s been one thing after another. Last Thursday night, one of my husband’s coworkers was driving home from work on I-57 at 2 am. She was hit by a drunk driver who was going 85 in a 55 mph zone. He was out celebrating his 25th birthday and his blood alcohol level was .123. He struck Stephanie’s 1999 Jeep and it went over a concrete barrier, flying off a bridge, landing on railroad tracks below. We were originally told the car burst into flames then but later found out it burst into flames when it was hit before it went over the side. She was so burned up that they had to use DNA to verify the body. When Greg was at work on Friday, he was told that they weren’t sure if it was her. They knew it was her car and that she hadn’t picked up her child or gone home the night before. Everyone in his office is pretty shaken up. Stephanie was only 39, married with one boy about 5 or 6 years old. My husband worked with her the last 10 years or so at both O’hare airport and Midway. We are waiting to hear when her funeral will be. A GoFundMe has been set up in her name (Stephanie Anselmo) for her family. I don’t usually believe in donating to those but in this case it seemed the right thing to do. I met her a few years ago when I volunteered to help with the canine training at Greg’s office. We donated $100 and it’s now over $10,000.

About 2 1/2 weeks ago, Greg got a phone call from his oldest brother John. He was crying and saying that his wife Jane had just been diagnosed with breast cancer in both breasts. She is about 64 years old. Greg called John back this past weekend to find out how things are going. Jane was having an MRI on Monday and then meeting with her chemotherapy doctor. It sounds like there is one tumor in each breast and they are different kinds of cancer. She is having chemo first to shrink the cancer, then a lumpectomy and radiation. She caught it early and it doesn’t sound like it has spread to her lymph nodes. I have no doubt Jane will beat this as she is tough and she has a really great team of doctors up at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee.
The most recent bad news is that my husband’s favorite aunt was put into hospice on Monday evening. She had a fall last Wed. and had been going downhill ever since. She has quit eating and drinking which means it won’t be long now. Aunt Ann is 84 and I have loved her deeply since I first met her almost 35 years ago. Above everyone else, she made me feel welcome and accepted. I always said if I didn’t have my mother, I would want her as a mother. She is a saint and I hate that she has to leave this world already. So now we are expecting a call any day about her. 
The situation my husband has been dealing with which I’m not at liberty to discuss is still hanging over our heads. There is a glimmer of hope in that he has a few people helping him now but there is still no end in sight. We are both excessively nervous/worried and having trouble sleeping. It is taking a toll on us but I am pretty confident we will make it through.
There’s not a lot to look forward to. We got new iPhones on Valentine’s Day as a gift to each other. We both got the new iphone11. I got the pro max and he got the regular 11. Neither one of us have figured out how to use all the features. I thought it would make me want to take more pictures and post more on Instagram but that hasn’t changed. I will touch base when I know more about what’s going on.

Living A Nightmare

I can’t believe it’s been almost 7 months since I blogged. I lay in bed thinking about it every night. It’s hard to get back into it but I need to have an outlet. Even if it’s for my own personal reading at a later date, it needs to happen. Since July, things have been “ok”, “not so good”, “awful” and most recently TERRIBLE. I know I have a flair for the dramatic and that while things are happening they seem to be exponentially worse. But the last 2 months have brought life to a new low. 

I don’t know where to begin so I’ll briefly sum up the last half of 2019. In August we went to Green Bay, WI for a week’s vacation. It was great! We did everything we always do and had a great time. So much so that we went back for a week in October. That was also a good time. Our annual trip to Tunica, MS was a bust. We were there for over 3 weeks. It sucked. One of the casinos next to the RV park we stay in had closed for good before we got there. When we first started going there back in 1998, there were 13 casinos within a few miles. Now they are down to 6. The whole area is dying and depressed. Being there was a drag. The people who 2 decades ago were “southern friendly” are now indifferent. The casinos used to give away so many free gifts, free slot play, free buffets, free hotel rooms/rv sites, etc. They now give away nothing. It used to be a nice break from reality to be able to gamble on slot machines and only lose a small amount of money. Now no matter how much you bring, it’s never enough. You can’t make your money last, let alone win. Hubby did win a drawing for $500 free slot play at Sam’s Town but that didn’t last long. We did a lot of soul searching and we’re not even sure we want to go back to Tunica again. It’s sad because it’s been our tradition. While we were there the weather was excessively cold. It used to be in the 70’s when we got there and have daytime temps in the 60’s. Many days were in the 30’s while we were there. Then our heat quit working. We had to go out and buy a portable heater. That helped but then the heat started working again. We’ve been having more problems than usual with our RV and had been looking to get a new one. A newer USED one since the prices are ridiculous. We looked at several dealerships and they all had very little inventory. The prices were high and the layouts were not what we wanted. Now we’re trying to decide if we even want to continue RVing. Everything has turned into a huge hassle… We had planned to go to Tunica over Christmas like we’ve done the past few years. We were so turned off, we cancelled it and then were thinking of going somewhere else. The weather wasn’t cooperating but for the most part, we were dealing with too much else in December.
As I’ve mentioned before, our family doctor died a few years ago and we started going to a new doctor. In August I had been a full year without a period. Then when we went on vacation, I had a period. It was a full period that lasted about a week. I hadn’t had any bleeding since.  I had been overdue for a Pap smear but Dr. Z just didn’t seem like the type to do it. As I’ve also said before, he doesn’t care about women’s health. I called to make an appt. for myself and my hubs. I was trying to get a Thurs. before we left on vacation in Oct. I called a few weeks in advance but they were trying to get us in while we’d be gone. I told “Jen” who answered the phone, we needed to come on a certain week. I had first asked “Does Dr. Z do Pap smears?” and she said yes. So she squeezed us in for 3:15 pm on the Thurs. I wanted. I thanked her by name for squeezing us in and then said “I’ll see you on XXX X at 3:15 pm”. I am very squeamish about having pelvic exams. I had some bad experiences with doctors when I was in my early 20’s. I’m also fat and don’t like taking my clothes off. I knew I could get through this since at least I’ve seen this doctor in person more than a few times. I took a bath the night before and then we ran some errands the morning of the appt. and I took another bath right before leaving to go get examined. I’m self-conscious and want to be clean enough. Then we get there and the waiting room is packed, standing room only. I go up to the glass partition to tell them we’re here and they say, “no, your appt. is for 2 weeks from today”. I told them I had talked to Jen on such and such a date and that she squeezed us in. I asked to speak to Jen. “She’s with a patient”. So we can’t get in that day. Both hubby and I were hopping mad. We told them to cancel the fictitious appt. that they had us down for and we made another appt. for after the first the of the year. Then right before we were going to leave for our Thanksgiving trip, we were trying to get our prescriptions filled. Hubby needed one of his blood pressure meds and I needed my thyroid meds. After dealing with the pharmacy, we called the doctor’s office to find out why they won’t refill the prescriptions. They said not until he sees us. Our old doctor would refill as long as he had seen you in the last YEAR. This guy can’t go 6 months without seeing us in person. So we had to make an appt. and hubby had to go without meds and I had to go without my thyroid meds for 10 DAYS! This isn’t like they didn’t know we were out of meds. Some doctor’s offices, if you have an appt. made, they will give you a month’s worth to tide you over. Not this jerk! So this appt. was supposed to be for a Pap smear and then meds refills.
I told the doctor what had been going on with the one time bleeding and he said he couldn’t do the Pap smear. That anytime you bleed after menopause was serious and I needed to go to a specialist. He gave me the name of a doctor  (Dr. B) that his wife goes to in the same hospital. Then the nurse came in to take our blood. I had her take it out of my hand (visible veins) with a baby needle and she still missed the vein!! I should have asked if she was “Jen”. So that was twice I had been mentally prepared (& physically) to get a Pap smear and it didn’t happen. So I called to get an appt. with Dr. B which was Thurs. Dec. 5th. The exam went ok but I found the doctor VERY AGGESSIVE. I had hubby in the room with me. The doctor said he thought the one period was just “the last hurrah” of an old egg. I believed that, too. Then he said “to be sure, you need to have an ultrasound to check the thickness of your uterine lining”. If it is more than 4 mm, there was a 5-8% chance it was cancer. I thought those were good odds. I told him I felt more comfortable waiting to see if I bleed again and then coming in. I told him “I don’t believe in having UNNECESSARY TESTS”. He turned into a bulldog at that and said that to him, it wasn’t unnecessary. I said I should be the one to make that decision and he said no! He’s the one who decides. I was appalled. He could tell I was not happy. It reminds me of all the testing for cancer hubby had in June/July 2018 that turned out to be nothing. Hubby agreed with the doctor which I didn’t appreciate. Then Dr. B went on to say that the ultrasound was no big deal and they did it right here in the office. So I reluctantly agreed. I assumed I would come in after the first of the year for it. I went up to the window in his office to make the appt. and NO, it had to be done within a week! It also couldn’t be done in his office (he was overbooked) so I had to go to the hospital imaging area for it. I went home and called the number on the sheet and got an appt. for Friday the 13th. I’ve never had a baby so I’ve never had an ultrasound. It turned out to be 2 different ultrasounds. One of the pelvis (outside the body) and one inside the uterus. Good God, both were incredibly painful. I don’t think they are supposed to be but the woman from India who did it was pressing down so hard, it felt like a piece of metal pushed onto me. I think she was afraid it wouldn’t register through my fat. She did the outside one first and that was painful but I didn’t let on. Then for the inside one, she took what looked like a toilet brush and put a clear plastic bag over it and a pound of lube and pushed it all over my insides. That was more uncomfortable than painful but I wouldn’t want to go through it again. Dr. B had me schedule an appt. with him for the 17th to go through my ultrasound results. At that time he said my uterine lining showed it to be 6 mm. He went into a speal about how “extra body fat often leads to uterine cancers”. I was so mad because I felt like he was treating me like the only fat person on earth and if you haven’t looked around, most people are fat. I didn’t say anything but was pissed. He told me he wanted to do an endometrial biopsy in 2 days. I had heard that they are VERY painful and asked him if this was so. He said, “they can be”. He said they have to open the cervix and then fish in a “pipette” which looks like a long white pipe cleaner that has a drill on the bottom that is twisted into the lining. I asked him if it isn’t harder to open the cervix if you haven’t had a baby. He said “very much so”. I had spent most of the month reading scary shit online which I don’t recommend. He gave me a prescription for 2 pills. One to be taken at bedtime and one in the morning. They were Misoprostol 200 mcg. From what I read this is what you are given to abort a baby. My appt. was for 1 pm on Thurs. Dec. 19th. Believe it or not, I slept the best I’ve slept in months the night before the procedure. I woke up in a good mood and not worried. I knew I would survive it and it wouldn’t last long. He came in and gave me a shot to numb the cervix. Hubby later told me “good thing you didn’t look because the needle was this long (gesturing with his hands apart 6-8” aka HUGE)”. The doctor had also had me take 3 Advil before the procedure. I could feel what was happening but I just kept myself relaxed and knew it would be over soon and it was. It was still an unpleasant experience. The doctor said it went well and inside my cervix was mucus type liquid that may have been what made the lining look thick on the ultrasound. He said it may be up to a week to have results but he may have them Monday and would call right away. This was before Christmas and all I could think of was how nice it would be to get an all-clear as a Christmas present. Well, we waited and finally got the call the following Friday Dec. 27th. I missed the call and he left a voice mail that everything came back normal. I don’t have to come back unless I have bleeding. This should have been good news but instead it was ant-climatic. I felt like I’d gone through all of that for nothing. Just as I suspected would be the case. Not that I want to be proved wrong by getting cancer but the guy was just too aggressive for my tastes. One incident should not be that alarming with no family history of gynecological disorders.
The main reason it was so anti-climatic was that something awful happened on Dec. 3rd to my husband. I’m not allowed to talk about it. Believe me, I HATE when people say that!! I believe don’t bring something up if you can’t get into the details!!!!!!! But this is such a major, life-altering thing that I can’t pretend it doesn’t exist. All I can say is it was one of those right place, wrong time things. It was bad enough on its own but then the situation escalated several times. Hubby had a bunch of use-or-lose vacation and he took it from Dec. 17th (the day of my ultrasound results appt.) until Jan. 6th.  We stayed home because the hookup for the turn signal and brake lights from the Jeep to the RV quit working and we didn’t have time to get it in to the dealership for repair between our Nov. trip and leaving so soon in Dec. But we were in no mood to travel anyway. We stayed home and dealt with my health issue until we got the all clear and the rest of the time dwelled on the horribleness that is our lives now. Basically worrying ourselves sick because everything is out of our control now. Hubby is a little more than 4 years from retirement and he is ready to walk away any minute. But it would do no good until this weight is off us. It was an agonizing vacation. Since hubby went back to work, things are no better. I hate to be so cryptic but all I can say is it’s demoralizing. You live your life right, keep to yourself, work hard, don’t bother anyone and then one day you encounter evil in the form of a person. Twelve years ago this summer we were living a similar but different nightmare. I’m sorry that I’m unable to go into this with you. It would bug me if someone else wrote this and didn’t say what it was. As soon as I’m able, I promise to tell you all about it! In the meantime, I am hoping to blog more since I need somewhere to vent.



Things are officially back to business as usual around here. Hubby got home from deployment on the afternoon of Sat. June 15th. He went back to work the next day and worked 2 days and had to take a sick day. He had been nursing a cold for a few weeks. The environment he was in was like a petrie dish and everyone there was sick on and off. He spent that Tuesday in bed and slept 17 hours. He went back to work on Wed. and then had off Thurs., Fri. and Sat. He wasn’t feeling well most of the weekend and I had caught the cold on Thurs. My illness lasted about a week and his lingered even longer. We are both finally well. It helped that after hubby worked another week, he was informed that he had earned “3 admin days off” for being gone so long. He was told to use them as soon as he could after coming home. Too bad they didn’t tell him 2 weeks earlier. He put in for the 3 days of the July 4th week and with the holiday that gave him a full 10 days off. He didn’t even mention going away. He wanted to just relax and get used to being home again.

We had a wonderful Staycation. We’re not staycation people. When time off allows, we like to get away. We’ve stayed home a few times in the past and it always felt like a waste of vacation. Being home makes you feel like you weren’t on vacation. However, when the time off is “extra”, it’s a whole different ballgame. We had wanted to go to a Chicago Dogs (minor league baseball) game in Rosemont, IL like we did last year. We didn’t go because it was too hot for our taste. The entire time until 4 pm yesterday, the temperatures were in the 90’s with high humidity!! I couldn’t believe it. We had weather you’d see in mid-August. I finally shut the a/c off after running it for 2 weeks straight. We prefer to do without a/c and have the windows open but when it’s that hot, you’re just sitting in a puddle of sweat. We had all kinds of plans to do yard work and didn’t do any until July 4th. I cut the grass and Greg did some trimming. 
We did some treasure hunting, went to the casino a few times, ate out a few times, read books, etc. We had gone to an estate sale of Ken Nordine who had died at age 98 in Feb. He was the creator of a style of “audio storytelling” he called “word jazz”. The house had no a/c and the book room was literally a sauna. We both tore into it and found about 30 books that are so odd and eclectic, I can’t wait to read them! He was into a lot of science fiction. I found a 1961 copy of “The Man In The High Castle” (also a tv series) that Greg is currently reading. I’m reading a sf novel “The Two Clocks” now which is interesting. I would say that science fiction was always one of my least favorite reads. One of my closest male friends in jr. high and h.s. was a huge sf fan. He gave me a copy of science fiction and the family short stories (not exact title). It was drew me in but I still wasn’t a big fan. Now after finding these books, I think I just may become one! It actually gives me ideas about writing my own science fiction story.
The casino we went to is in Rosemont so it’s 5 minutes away. “Rivers Casino” opened about 8 years ago so my mom was just starting to lose her marbles when it came to be. We went a few times but it was a very tight casino. We always had better luck at any other place. It had been years since we’d gone and they sent us a few free meals and now we’re going again. We play mostly video poker but sometimes get drawn to the other one armed bandits. It was a nice cool place to be and we managed to stay even with our money the first 3 times we went there. Then we lost the next 2 times. Now I suppose we won’t go back for awhile.
We went to an estate sale on Friday in downtown Chicago. We don’t go down there often but had the most glorious drive along the lake. I took a ton of photos with my old iPhone 6+ and they turned out great. We had gone to the AT&T store last Monday. We found they can’t do anything there anymore. We needed to call the phone number to get the credit for the Mexico calls and to get the $10 a month for the iPad taken off the bill. Hubby did this and they said they’d take care of it but I’ll believe it when I see it. The person we dealt with at the AT&T store basically told us to wait until the newest iPhone comes out in Sept. before getting the iPhone10. I’ve got to say I was disappointed. My phone will be 5 years old in Nov. I feel like the redheaded stepchild having to be behind everyone else in technology. But I’ll wait….
May 31st I had gone for a mammogram after almost 4 years. Our doctor had died and our current doctor does not care about women’s health. I had all my previous mammograms done at Gottlieb hospital and knew all the techs and the setup and was comfortable with it. My current doctor insisted on me going to Resurrection where his office is. They were trying to get my records from Gottlieb but sent me a letter saying they had no luck?! They said they think things look ok… Then I got a phone call from Lauren who wants me to go over my risk factors for breast cancer with her. Because my mother’s sister had it, I am “borderline” at risk. I know as much as I feel I need to about selfceare and risk factors. She wants to justify her existence. I basically told her she could help me get my records and then I’d see if I could make time for her.
That’s it for today. We are going to grill out hamburgers tonight since they were on sale and the weather is finally conducive to it. I hope everyone had a nice holiday week! 

So hubby’s been gone 5 weeks today. I haven’t felt like checking in with the blog but figure I should anyway. Only a week and a half to go! The time has gone surprisingly fast. I knew it would because as my dad used to say, “Time waits for no man”. At first I had all kinds of ideas of things I wanted to get done while he was gone. That pretty much went out the window right away. I gave myself permission to just get through it, day by day. At first I was really fearful to be alone and not happy about it. After about 2 weeks, I relaxed into it and by 4 weeks, I no longer minded being alone! It’s funny because at the 4 week mark when I was getting comfortable with hubby being gone, he started getting homesick. Each day it gets harder for him and easier for me! It’s weird to have us on different pages at the same time.

The first few weeks, it was like I was missing a limb. I’ve learned I’m stronger than I think and if I had to, I could manage alone indefinitely. I’ve only had minor problems so far like with Netflix having to be reset (which sounds like NBD but it is with the way we have it set up) and the pond filter getting shut off from a storm which caused it to fill with mud and then pump out half the water in the pond. I had to take the filter apart and clean it twice and then fill the pond and it’s been working ever since. Our neighbor from kitty corner across the street (we’re 3 houses from the corner) jumped me one day while I was walking the dogs to get some of our koi fish. We have two GIANT koi that had tons of babies (all sizes) and hubby had offered Brian some (free) in the spring. Brian has a pond but zero fish. He wanted to wait then and so this was about at the 2 week mark. I had just cleaned the filter and the water was all stirred up and muddy. He brought 2 nets and a bucket and came over and we tried to catch the fish. It was like a 3 stooges or Laurel & Hardy routine with the 2 of us working at it. Finally he left and left his supplies and said he’d be back in a week or so. The other day he just rapped at the door (we have no doorbell because the place for it is too narrow and the wire too short and the last one we had got burned out from someone pushing it and it stuck) and scared me and the dogs half to death. I had given him my cellphone number and we had texted previously so I don’t know why he didn’t text first. Anyway, he came in the backyard and tried again. I fed the fish (but I had done it earlier that day so they weren’t as hungry as if it was the first time). Brian was able to catch ONE fish. He left and said he may try again. I told him he could always wait until my husband came home. 
I did have a spell between week 2 and week 4 of being down in the dumps. The worst was Memorial Day weekend. It probably had a lot had to do with the weather. We had nothing but RAIN the entire month of May. In fact, it broke a record for the wettest May EVER! So far I’ve cut the grass 5 times since he’s been gone and will probably get in 2 more times before he gets back. The last week or two I’ve been getting in a lot of reading so I can get another book sale going soon. I also cut some rhubarb and made rhubarb cake once. I haven’t gone to many estate sales. I went to one last weekend and bought nothing. I skipped going the 2nd weekend entirely. Other weekends I went to one or two. My only finds besides books were a flemish pyrographed box from 1909 and an antique tennis racket made into a mirror. I don’t have any plans to go to any sales this weekend since nothing looks good. Besides, it’s just not fun going alone. It’s like going to the movies alone. I did that once in college to see Xanadu since none of my friends wanted to go and I wanted to see it badly. The movie wasn’t good and I was paranoid about being seen out by myself like a leper. 
Last Friday I went to the ATM to get cash and went to the drive-up one instead of the one inside. Wouldn’t you know that it didn’t give me any money or a receipt but I got a notice on my phone that it took the money out?! I was pulled in too close to get out of the vehicle and there were several cars behind me. I didn’t know what to do so called the branch and told them. I got a nice guy named Joe who came out and told me he’d call it in for me. I asked him if this had ever happened before and he said “Yes, machines make mistakes, too”. Today I was trying to pay my hubby’s government credit card that had his flight and one week of hotel stay on it and it would’t go through. I was doing this online through the Chase app. It kept coming up with an error saying it couldn’t be done from that account, pick another one. I tried several times and then called the bank. I kept getting a message from the bank that “all bank representatives are busy, please call back later”.  I tried at least 4 times and then tried the 1-800 number for online banking. You have to enter your account number, last 4 digits of your social and push a bunch of buttons for options. I was getting connected to a live person and then click, I was disconnected! That did it. I decided to drive over to the bank and see if I could get help in person. There were a lot of cars there but several reps were idle. 2 of them took me into a cubicle and helped me. I had to log in on their desktop and finally got it straightened out. Right now I am fed up with Chase bank AND AT&T.
So hubby has been right at the border dealing with the detainees or as he calls it, “Doing the Lord’s work”. He came down with either the flu or food poisoning after a few weeks. He was able to get over it on his day off and slowly recover. Now it sounds like everyone he works with has a cold there. He says it’s allergies but I wonder. He can’t take any pictures inside the facility he is working at but was able to take some at the top of the hill next to his building. We have our cellphone bill automatically paid which I was always against but they were supposed to give us a deal and they just hosed up everything.  Last month his iPhone 7 was finally paid off (2 years at $30+ a month). This month our bill was supposed to go down $30+ but instead it went up $30+. Looking at the bill that came in the mail (the bill comes AFTER it is paid), there is a charge for data transfers on May 6th for $61.19! We have unlimited talk and text and 6 GB data which we almost never use. Looking closer at the bill, it shows that it is roaming charges FROM MEXICO. Oh please! He hasn’t gone to Mexico at all and didn’t even bring his passport. Now trying to get this money back from AT&T will be like pulling teeth. We are ready to go to a different cellphone company. We’ve always been loyal to AT&T but at some point, enough is enough. What co. are you with? Have you had good luck? What companies have you heard good things about? Besides customer service being atrocious, cellphone service is terrible with AT&T. When we travel we often don’t get service and the calls aren’t clear. We’ll have to take a day when hubby comes home and go to the AT&T store and get it cleared up. 
I went to the doctor on Friday May 25th. The doctor gave me a prescription for a liquid thyroid medicine that you put under your tongue once a day in the morning. He had me wait to find out test results the following Tues. My levels are now in the normal range so then I went to get the scrip filled. It was a huge hassle with CVS. They had to order it and I had to go get it the next day. First I had to call and make sure it had come in. The doctor was telling me that the generic pill I was taking doesn’t work as well as the name brand liquid. That the liquid gives you the same amount every day and the pills fluctuate. I’d never heard that about generics. I’ve felt slightly better since I started taking it 6 days ago. 
As for life, I’m handling it like a boss…