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On Sunday Sept. 10th, we went to Dickeyville, WI to the Dickeyville Grotto. We were already in the area on vacation (see my last post). Greg’s mother had been there 70 years ago when her sister went to school at Sinsinawa with the Dominican Sisters for 3 years. It is really something to see! I hadn’t heard of it until I was researching things to do prior to our trip. It was built by Father Mathius Wernerus, the pastor of Holy Ghost Parish, from 1918 to 1931. It features a bunch of concrete structures covered in shells, stones, tiles, wood, glass, gems and geodes donated by people from around the world. It is not just religious, it is patriotic. Besides the shrines to the Blessed Virgin, Christ The King, The Sacred Heart, The Eucharistic Altar, The Holy Ghost Tree and The Crucifixion Group, there are depictions of Columbus, Washington and Lincoln. It is breathtaking and unbelievable. The work and dedication to finish it is unfathomable. The amount of items used to cover the grotto is mind boggling.

There is a gift shop on the premises. Plus a can collecting donations. I had to put in a few bucks to keep it going. Something almost 100 years old and still in such good shape needs to be maintained. There’s also a cemetery bordering the grotto. We all walked through it reading the tombstones. A lot of them are faded. A lot of them are extremely old like from 100 years ago. So many of them are children, only a few years old. There was one mass grave of 4 children that died on the same day (Jan. 17, 1992). I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I figured it had to be a car accident or a murder. My mother-in-law suggested it was a fire. Turns out she was right. There was also a newer grave that had a laser image on the tombstone of a truck pulling a boat and what looks like a family farm. I took so many pictures. Too many pictures. Years ago when Greg and I went on a swamp tour in Louisiana, we saw our first alligators. There were a ton of them off the sides of the boat. Tourists were feeding them marshmallows. This is 1989, before cellphones, and we’re taking picture after picture of alligators eating marshmallows. When we got them back, it was so much of the same thing and the pictures weren’t that good. The water was green and murky (it’s a swamp!!) and the gators blended in and the marshmallows are so small. Now whenever one of us (usually me) takes a ton of pictures of one thing, we say it’s like “alligator pictures”. Guess you had to be there. 😉
The sun was so bright that some of the pictures turned out too dark. I can’t see outside with my iPhone in bright sunlight so kind of have to guess how they’re turning out. From a religious and spiritual perspective, the grotto is awe inspiring. I had a hard time picking which photos to include in this post. None of them really do justice to the beauty. From an artistic perspective, it is glorious! I’m so glad we got to take it all in at our leisure and didn’t rush through it. It is free and all outside. Because it’s in the middle of nowhere, you have to make a point to go there or you’ll never see it. Now I want to make a pilgrimage to the other grottos in the Midwest. Most notably, the Grotto Of The Redemption in West Bend, Iowa.
Around the turn of the last previous century, when immigrants were coming to America in a steady stream, grottos were a somewhat common thing. The immigrants came from a culture where it was normal to promise to build something big if your prayers were answered. The type of commitment needed to undertake such a significant project seems to be missing nowdays. In any case, whether you are religious or not, I hope you can appreciate the artistic vision and all the hard work.
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Overall, we had a lovely time on our last vacation. We left Thurs. Sept. 7th and got back Friday Sept. 15th. We stayed at the Rustic Barn RV Park in Kieler, WI. Located in the SW corner of the state, it is in the middle of nowhere, yet within minutes of Galena, IL and Dubuque, IA. The RV park was expensive but also one of the nicest we’ve stayed in. It is surrounded on all sides by cornfields and cow pastures. We had a fantastic view of the cows and the dogs enjoyed going down by the cows every day. Elvis was a bit afraid of them due to their size but Amber wanted to get close to them and play. They weren’t afraid of the dogs but kept their distance. There was a sign saying that the fence was electrified so we didn’t push it.RV

We had a fire 4 of the 8 nights and sat around the campfire making smores. I bet it’d been 10 years since we’d done that. Mom used to love it but as she got older, she didn’t want to sit around the campfire and we didn’t do it without her. We had a picnic table on a concrete pad right outside of our campsite. We ate at least one meal a day out there, usually lunch. It was like a picnic. I didn’t bring a tablecloth so spread out a large beach towel. The bugs weren’t bad and the weather was ideal! It was in the 70’s every single day and not a drop of rain. 
Of course, when we got home they hadn’t had any rain here either so our garden was mostly dead. We only got 3 more cucumbers for a total of 40 this year. We got a few peppers and all our tomatoes are green and not turning red. I don’t know what that means. Now we’ve had a heat wave for the past week with temperatures hitting 90-95. The past 5 days we’ve broken heat records. Our grass is starting to look dead. So is everyone else’s. We watered the backyard the past 2 nights since there’s still no rain in the forecast. 
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The first day of vacation, both Amber and Elvis ran away. Into the cow pasture when the cows weren’t there. Greg went to get them and after they had a good run, Elvis came back. Amber was having too much fun so Greg went under the electrified fence and laid down in the field and Amber came over. I was afraid we’d never see her again. The thing is Ivy is the big runner and she didn’t get loose. It is truly nerveracking to have them run away plus embarrassing and disheartening. Having a dog that won’t come to you when you call them hurts. But I guess it’s just “dogs being dogs”. 
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We did a lot of fun things that week. We went to 2 casinos in Dubuque, IA: “The Que” and Diamond Jo’s. The Que was terrible and we didn’t even stay longer than a half hour. Diamond Jo’s was a lot of fun. We ate there twice at the buffet—once for free and once for $7. We enjoyed playing there but didn’t win anything to speak of. Our money lasted longer than at The Que though. 
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We went to downtown Galena and split it between 2 mornings. We brought the wheelchair along but Greg’s mother didn’t use it once! It takes up almost the entire back of the truck so we’re not bringing it next time. My mother-in-law walked some and then sat on the benches that they have along the main street. She doesn’t do stairs at all. Galena is a quaint little town that is basically a tourist trap. There are stores but not really to my taste. Only a few antique stores there and I only bought 2 books. Greg’s mother bought a purse at a shop that was going out of business. The prices were kind of ridiculous and I’m too cheap to pay them. I love the name “Galena” though. I think it would be a beautiful name for a girl and then call her “Gal”. 🙂 
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Sat. Sept. 9th, we took a drive up north and the area is really pretty desolate. We drove through Dodgeville and by chance, there was an estate sale auction going on! It was maybe a few hours into it but lots was left. It was mostly commonplace household items. Nothing that got my blood pumping. Greg bid on 2 boxes of books (for $5) which we sorted through and ended up giving his mother half of them. There was nothing earth shattering in there. Mostly oddball cookbooks and kids’ books. Hubby and I used to go to antique auctions every week. This was about 17 years ago. We haven’t gone to any since. The prices started going too high and it just wasn’t fun anymore. The nice thing about this is there wasn’t any buyer’s premium which is usually between 10-20%. We ended up staying about 2 hours standing the whole time. It was held outside with everything loaded in boxes on flatbed trucks. We stayed until hubby got a chance to bid on some antique wagon wheels. They had 2 half wheels that went for $65 each, then 2 giant wheels that went for $25 each. Greg wanted the large ones but didn’t want to pay over $20 each for them. Then the small wheels came up and he got 3 at $15 each. That was a really good deal. He’s already put them in our backyard.
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We also went to Dickeyville Grotto on Sunday, Sept. 10th. I’m writing a separate blog post on it so I won’t go into it here. There are so many pictures and details I want to share about it. It deserves its own blog post.
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Monday Sept. 11th, we were heading to Elizabeth, IL and got into a car accident. It makes you wonder if nothing good can happen on that day?! We were pulling out of a scenic overlook and a dump truck was coming up the hill with his right turn signal on and didn’t turn. Instead he speeded up and hit the rear driver’s side of our Jeep. It spun us around but we didn’t go off the road or get hurt. Greg’s mother was sitting behind me and kept saying how wonderful Greg drove to keep us from getting broadsided. She was very calm which I appreciated. Thankfully, no one was injured but we were a bit shook up. I didn’t realize we were only 3 miles from Elizabeth and said we should go back to the RV for the day. So that day turned out to be a waste. We did make it Elizabeth 2 days later and I found some more books. The windows weren’t even broken which leads me to believe that our 14 year old Jeep fared much better than a newer one would. The new vehicles tend to crumple up when hit and have less weight to them. Greg took the Jeep in to Gerber Collision in Des Plaines, IL on Tues. for an estimate. They quoted $2500 and we’ve got a $250 deductible. Wed. night after work, we dropped Greg’s Jeep off there to be repaired. Since they already had the parts and only had a small amount of body work to do, we hoped to get it back in a day or two. Now they are telling us 2 weeks! If they couldn’t work on it right away, we never would’ve dropped it off. Poor Greg has had to drive my old Pontiac that has NO A/C during this horrible heatwave! He’s got an hour drive to and from work. It sucks so bad. On Friday we went out treasure hunting in my car and almost died. It was too hot so we ended up hitting a few places and coming home. We stayed in all day Saturday as it was too hot!!
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While on vacation, we tried to find other antique shops to go to and even tried Dubuque. That seemed very run down and a lot of the antique shops listed on Yelp were actually seedy pawn shops. We did find one antique shop that seemed decent. It had mostly furniture. Hubby got a display cabinet for drill bits, a pulley and a brass nozzle for a fire hose. The highlight was my mother-in-law finding a chair she had to have! It was a heavy duty walnut chair that had been refinished by the guy who owned the shop. It was built by the Sikes Co. when they moved to PA. It must be 100 years old. She wanted it for $80 but he gave it to her for $100. He said he’s sold them for $200 and up. I looked them up on eBay and they sell for $400. We had a heckuva time fitting it in the truck with the wheelchair in the back. We ended up putting it upside down in the backseat. I had to sit in the  back with it because it poked over into the other side. I’m used to accommodating whatever I need to and she isn’t. Then she used the chair the rest of the week inside the RV. After I sat in it, I wanted one also. Hubby never lets me get furniture. Mostly because we can’t move it ourselves and he doesn’t want to hire someone. 
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Another fun thing we did that week was go to 2 different supper clubs. We went to a fish fry the day after we got there. Then the night before we left, we tried another supper club. We didn’t eat all our meals out though. We ate most of our lunches in and a few suppers. I had made a batch of stuffed peppers and a huge bowl of bean salad before we left. I like bringing food along but everyone has to be on board to eat it. If people want to eat out all the time, I have to be the bad guy and nag them into eating my food so it doesn’t go bad. 
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I’m glad we finally made it to this area but Greg was fairly disillusioned. I think coming from Chicago, things tend to be not as exciting elsewhere. I liked it but I’m not in a hurry to go back. We’ve only got a few weeks until our next trip. Maybe we’ll have more fall like weather by then.
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I’ve got a bad habit of writing and not publishing. It’s not because I don’t think it’s good enough. It’s probably not. It’s not because I’m going to tweak it, because I won’t. I have so much to say that I get called away by some task and plan to go back and add to it. And then I never do. Then weeks or months go by, what I have to say is old or no longer timely, so I let it go. This one I wrote on Sunday Sept. 3rd and before I sit down to write a ‘catch up’ of all that transpired on vacation, I’ve got to put this one out there. Sorry for the disappointment of not having a “fresh” post to read.
 

Things are going surprisingly well. I don’t want to jinx it but life is good. We’re getting ready to leave on our 2nd rv trip of the year in a few days. This time we’re heading to the SW corner of Wisconsin. About the only area of WI we haven’t covered. It’s always risky to try someplace new but if it turns out to be fun, it’s well worth it. We are bringing my mother-in-law with us again. She had a wedding on Sat. Sept. 2nd so we delayed our vacation a week so she could go along. She’s so excited and we feel good about including her.

 
Wed. Aug. 16th I rode in with Greg to work. The supervisor of the TSA Canines asked the inspectors if any of their family members would be willing to help out with training the dogs (no pay). Greg volunteered me because he knew I’d enjoy it. I was supposed to be utilized from 8 am until 11:30 am. I had to sign something saying I wouldn’t talk about what was done or how so I’ll leave all the details out. Their other volunteer called in sick so they weren’t able to use me in the way I’d hoped. Greg took half a day of sick leave and after I was finished, we went to the nearby Buick dealership. As I’ve mentioned before, we’ve been “sort of” in the market for a new SUV. We looked at both the Buick Enclave (3 rows of seats were too big and no one but children could fit in the back row) and the Buick Envision (hubby is 6’ even and he hit his head on the ceiling in the backseat). We wanted to like the Envision so had to look up how it could be towed behind the RV. You have to remove 2 fuses every time and start it every few hours. It’s a huge hassle after how easy the Jeep makes it for towing. So we are back to getting another Jeep eventually. Hubby just rolled over 100,000 miles but it should last awhile yet. Ideally, he would wait and get a new one when he retires.
 
I never thought we’d be those people who obsess about retirement. It’s at least 7 years away but we talk about it almost daily. Hubby can hardly wait and I can’t blame him. I am really looking forward to being able to travel and take long trips cross country again without worry about running out of vacation time. There is a totally different feel to travel when you don’t have to hurry home. If you’re enjoying some place, you stay longer. If you don’t care for some place, you move on. We’ve also been talking a lot about moving. I love it here but our house is small. We have one less person, you’d think we’d need less room, not more. But you’d be wrong. 😉 The town we live in is great but the state of Illinois is an abomination. Our state government is so corrupt and we have such high taxes. The beginning of August, they instituted a tax of a penny an ounce on “sugary drinks”. This is all types of soda and juice, people. It doesn’t matter if you’re buying diet soda, they still tax you. $2.88 tax on a case, $1.44 tax on a 12 pack and 67 cents on a 2 liter bottle. The city of Chicago (which our town borders), also taxes plastic grocery bags and bottled water. Give me a break!! 7 cents a bag and 5 cents a bottle tax on water. Michael Bloomberg has spent over 6 million dollars advertising to ensure that the soda tax went through. He lives in New York so I don’t know why he’s so invested in Chicago. If he had used that money for charity or some real “good” in the world, it would’ve been better. The government officials who are pro-tax, say the tax is for health reasons. To help people make better choices. Then why are they taxing water?! People are going to other counties and across state lines to purchase soda. This is hurting small business owners and even large stores in the area. It is unbelievably short-sighted. People aren’t just going to these other counties to buy soda, they are taking their entire grocery shopping elsewhere. I feel it is incredibly unfair. If it was truly about “the health of children”, McDonalds food and every other fast food place would have an extra tax on top. People are going to eat bad things. We can’t stop them. Kids who used to stop at the store for a soda after school may buy a giant candy bar instead. How is that better?! 
 
 I apologize for getting off on a tangent. Back to looking for a place to live. There’s no end to apps that allow you to house hunt online. Our problem is we can’t decide where we want to live! It looks like we may end up in WI again. I know what type of house I want though. As old as I can find. The ones with dark woodwork, pocket doors, a huge farmhouse kitchen with a pantry. Most of the old houses that haven’t been torn down have been refurbished into generic inside. If they’ve been kept up, then the price tags are anywhere from half a million to 3 million dollars. I can’t pay that. We could never afford anything close to that and even if we could, it seems wrong. To spend that kind of money on a house. I know being in mansion doesn’t make you happier. So then we come full circle and talk about living here forever. It’s not the worst thing in the world but there’s no room for guests. Or a workshop for hubby or a craft room for me. Or a place to store our rv at our residence. I always say “when you don’t know what to do, do nothing”. 
 
Friday Sept. 1st, after literally close to a decade, I got hubby to clean out his bedroom closet. I could have done it but I wanted him involved. He hates doing it and I knew it would put him in a bad mood but we did it. Now the trunk of my car is full of stuff for Goodwill. We have so much more to go through, like my closet and literally half the bedroom. It’s just like eating an elephant—one bite at a time. I have to keep telling myself, “Every little bit helps”. 
 
We’ve found 2 new tv series on Netflix to watch: Reign and Call The Midwife. They are both excellent. Call The Midwife brings me to tears almost every episode. We’ve just been having the best second half of the summer. I would write more but I’ve got a million things to do. So this is where I ended before we left on vacation. I had high hopes of coming back to it but was busy making stuffed peppers and bean salad to bring along on our trip. I need to catch you up on our vacation but it will be in another post. I’ve got to get this out there before it gets lost somewhere in my emails of unpublished posts.

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Today I turn 55. Birthdays are usually a let down but not this year. Maybe it’s because of what I’ve been through this past year, that I had no expectations. Instead of dwelling on only getting a few cards, I am happy to be alive. To be able to move my body around freely of my own volition and let my mind wander wherever it desires. To spend the day alone while hubby is at work would’ve at one time made me sad. Except that is my new reality. I’m home alone while he’s at work 5 days a week. But it’s not a bad thing. I have 3 wonderful dogs as my constant companions. I get to take them on a walk every day and get fresh air and be among nature.

I have no idea where the metamorphosis came from. I have been weaning off of the antidepressant Lexapro (generic) and only have 3 nights left of taking half a pill (5 mg.) and then I’m done. I feel so good about it. It served its purpose but I want to experience life fully without being numbed out. After all these years of disliking myself, I am finally starting to accept myself. I always wanted to be perfect which is impossible to achieve. Now I’ve accepted that I’m not perfect and am ok as I am. Even if I’m not everybody’s cup of tea, I’m fine with it. I’m starting to like myself which I never thought would happen.

Today is 9 months since Mom passed away. When I mentioned this to Greg, he said, “Then she died on the (anniversary of the) day you were conceived.” I told him no, since I was 2 weeks late. Even before I was born, I didn’t want to leave my mother. If I could have one wish today, it would be to have her with me. I’m not sad though because I still remember her being here and all we shared. Even though Greg saw us together for almost 31 1/2 years, I don’t think even he knows the extent of the bond I had with my mother. We had so many “inside jokes” and sayings only we said to each other. I think I’ve mentioned it before. We used to both say, “You’ve got so many nice things” and the other person would answer, “I’ve got you!” It always put a smile on our faces and made us feel loved. I’ve told Greg about this and he’s heard us say it. Yet sometimes I say that to him and he just says, “Yes, I do.” For the life of him, he won’t answer as she used to. Mom also used to call me Kitty which I miss terribly. She hadn’t called me that for a few years when she died but she’d called me that most of my life. Greg used to call me that occasionally when he’d hear Mom call me that. Now he won’t call me that at all. I’m not complaining, just missing the connection Mom and I had that no one on earth can replicate.

I had mentioned wanting to go to a Hawaiian themed restaurant since I’ve never been. It does look pretty corny though. Hubby would rather go to the casino buffet so that is where we’re going tonight to celebrate. Mondays are 25% off too. I’m sure I’ll find something good to eat. I’ve been working hard on losing weight, even starting using the exercise bike on the days he’s at work. I started at 10 minutes and I’m up to 21 minutes a day. Hubby brought home a strawberry coffee cake from the bakery at work plus some brownies for me. The thought was nice but I have to watch it and only have 1 piece a day and not go hog wild. I don’t want to undo all my good work. I had wanted to do some baking which I sorely miss. But now that he’s bought the baked goods, I have no need. I don’t think he realizes how much joy I get out of baking.

Gardening was one of my mom’s passions. That and sewing. She could grow any type of plant and spent a ton of time weeding for me. Up until she was 88 years old, she worked in the yard every day. I think it’s what kept her young. She babied me and spoiled me and I never had to weed while she was around because she kept everything neat as a pin. Now I’m taking to weeding with a new relish. I think of her every time I do it and it brings me joy. Instead of thinking of it as work, I think of it as something that makes me feel close to her.

I’ve mentioned before we don’t do cards or presents. Especially since we get presents anytime we want when out treasure hunting at estate sales. Friday Aug. 4th we had our whole day mapped out. Sometimes we start near us and go farther out as the day goes on. This time, we started far out in Hoffman Estates, IL. We went tot he first sale and got there a little early. While waiting, a closer parking spot came up and Greg went to start the Jeep and nothing. The same electrical problem that’s been plaguing it on and off for a few years was back. This time it wouldn’t start at all and the gages were flying around. The back window went down on its own and the doors wouldn’t lock. We went into the sale, bought a few things, came out and tried starting it again. No luck. So we called AAA and had it towed to a dealership a mile away in Schaumburg, IL. We’d never been to Ziegler Chryster Dodge Jeep before. They said they didn’t think they could fix it for a few days. They wouldn’t give us a ride home since it was more than 5 miles away. I offered to give them $20 to take us home. They wouldn’t give us a loaner, it would be $35 a day. Then the guy writing up our order said, “Why don’t you call an Uber?” I told him that to me that’s like hitchhiking. I just never wanted to do it. It’s like meeting someone on Craiglist. I don’t want to be murdered, robbed or raped. We told him we wanted to see a salesman while there to see about a new car. He set us up with a guy that was a terrible salesman. Greg test drove a 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland. I call it The Overlord because it just suits it better. It has literally everything you could want and don’t need in a vehicle. It’s so fancy and pretty and expensive. He told us list price was $48,000 and after incentives it would be $46,000. Online they list incentives bringing it down to $40,000 and lower with trade in. I know we’d never buy from that dealership in any case.

Since we had to get home somehow, I downloaded the app and signed up for Uber. I expected a young kid to pick us up but it was an older retired guy. It was $25+ and went fine. The worst part was we had to take everything we’d boughten out of our Jeep since they couldn’t lock the vehicle. It was also raining and we got them to put a piece of plastic over the half open window in the backseat. We got home and were both anxious and upset and we ended up arguing over stupid stuff. The day was basically ruined. We heard back from the dealership that is was fixed at 5 pm but they wanted to let it sit for an hour and a half to check it again and make sure it worked. It cost $381 which is worth it if it truly is fixed. We went at 7 pm to pick it up, I drove Greg over in my car and then followed him home again. We had to wait while they gave it a free car wash which they could’ve done before we got there.

Sat. we surpassed our record and hit 10 estate sales in a single day. It sounds better than it is. It wasn’t that much fun because the sales weren’t good ones. The first 6, we spent a total of $1.50! 50 cents for a washcloth at one and $1 for a masonic bible at another. It was discouraging. Then we hit one that had silverware for Greg to use making jewelry and wind chimes. Plus I found a few books and ephemera. It’s actually more fun going to only 2 or 3 awesome sales that are “digs” than it is to go to a bunch of mediocre ones that don’t have much. For my birthday, I want to go to the flea market in Elkhorn, WI next Sunday. It’s only held 4 times a year, I think. We’ve never gone because it is a distance and Greg works on Sundays. I just want to go once to see what it’s like.

2 weeks ago, my car got a nail in the passenger side rear tire. Greg drives it to work on Sundays and he must’ve picked it up then. We took it to our local mechanic and he kept it overnight and then we picked it up the next day. It was $20 cash and I was happy to pay it and have it over with.

I will try to catch you up on everything in my next post. Thank you for being there and following me through the years. God bless!

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

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

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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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