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


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


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


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

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You know how I’ve said that we’re the type of people who don’t sue over anything?! Well, it’s more true than even I realized. I could wring my husband’s neck when he finally told me this. I was so scared and angry, I couldn’t even see straight. Remember on our last vacation we were to leave on a Thursday and it was delayed until the following Tuesday due to RV problems? The night before we were to leave (Wed.), something happened that could have turned out VERY differently.
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I’ll tell the story the way I found out…That Thurs. afternoon after we found out we were staying home, hubby and I were walking our 3 dogs. I have Amber on a leash and Ivy & Elvis are on a leash with Greg. The sidewalk isn’t quite large enough to accomodate the 2 of us and the 3 dogs to walk side by side for very long. So I usually (but not always) go first with Greg following close enough behind so we can talk. We were almost through with our walk (maybe 4 blocks from home) and Greg was lagging behind. He’d been lagging a bit all day and I couldn’t figure out if he was just tired or down from the disappointment of not going on vacation. So I asked him, “How come you’re having trouble keeping up with me today?” and he yells at the top of his lungs in a very defensive tone, “BECAUSE I GOT  HIT BY A CAR YESTERDAY!” I stopped in my tracks. “WHAT?!” I didn’t know if he was joking or serious. “WHEN? WHERE?” “HOW?” I asked. He started to explain and I couldn’t stop thinking about why he didn’t tell me. He said he knew it would upset me and didn’t want to ruin my vacation!!  OMG. My vacation was already “ruined” from not being able to go…
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When I got the details, I could see why he didn’t tell me because I would have torn him a new asshole. Greg works in a huge building complex with lots of tall office buildings. There’s a 6 story parking ramp he has to park in that has a street you cross to get there from his building. The street is not a regular street, it is inside the complex, only people going to or from those buildings use it and they are used to pedestrians crossing all the time and there is a very low speed  limit and stop signs, etc. Greg was leaving work that night on the “high” that only comes from knowing you don’t have to be back to work for 10 days! He stepped into the street and saw a car coming at him and instead of slowing down, the car speeded up! He said it happened so fast, he couldn’t get out of the way. My hubby’s feet weren’t planted firmly on the ground because if they were, the car would’ve broken his legs when it hit him. He was lifting them as he was walking so when the car hit him, he flew onto the hood rolled across and landed on the ground on his back/ side. He was sore and bruised but no head injury or broken bones. The guy was a 20-something that was texting as he was driving!!! The guy asked if he was ok and he said he was and the guy said he didn’t see Greg. It wasn’t dark out yet and Greg weighs 300 lbs. so he’s hard to miss. But if you’ve got your nose in your phone… Greg said he left dents in the hood of the guy’s car he was hit so hard.
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So at this point of hearing the story, I’m angry and shouting and when you hear the next part, you’ll wonder how the entire world didn’t hear me carrying on. I asked him if he called the cops and he said NO. “What?!” Greg didn’t want to take the time since he knew he’d have to wait for them to arrive, make a statement, do paperwork, etc. He just wanted to get home so he could pack and get ready for vacation. Besides, he wasn’t hurt so he didn’t bother. I was livid. The fact that this punk kid GETS AWAY WITH HITTING SOMEONE WITH HIS CAR AND NOTHING HAPPENS TO HIM FOR IT. Why that idiot deserves a free pass is beyond me! It should go on his record!! He’s going to do this again and really injure somebody, maybe kill them! I am a super cautious driver and have always been afraid of even bumping someone and getting sued. I’ve known people who weren’t really hurt but said they were just to get a settlement. I wouldn’t want Greg to lie and say he was hurt if he wasn’t but not all injuries show up right away. It takes a few days sometimes. I said, “At least you got the guy’s name and phone number, right?!” No, he didn’t.
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So this is why he didn’t tell me. Because he knew I wouldn’t like it. After my initial anger wore off, I started thinking how our whole lives could have changed in an instant. If Greg had gotten knocked onto his noggin, he could be like his brother Brian who had the head injury earlier this year slipping on his kitchen floor. Then he’d never be the same person again, couldn’t work or hold any job, couldn’t function in any real way, etc. Or worse still, he could’ve been killed by that idiot and here I’d sit being a widow. Just thinking of that has me paralyzed with fear. I don’t think of him dying at all because we’ve been together over 30 years now and I wouldn’t know what to do next if he wasn’t here. I mean I could live a few weeks with him gone like when he travels but not indefinitely without him or his presence. It’s not even everything he does for me which is a lot. It’s that here I’d be with Mom and 3 dogs which is more than I can handle alone.
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So I’ve tried to feel grateful that we dodged a bullet (or a car). But Greg knows the real lucky one is that guy driving. If I had been with him and saw this, I’d have dragged (drug?) him from the car and beaten him and I’d probably be in jail. I’m not a fan of violence but when that level of stupidity is employed, I believe something is needed to get through to someone like that. At least it gave us a new answer to the question, “How are you feeling this morning?” “Like I was hit by a car.” ;-} I made him promise if this ever happens again, to call the police NO MATTER WHAT. God forbid it happens again!!

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Once again I’m having problems with spacing between paragraphs. I’ve been fooling with this long enough. I’m publishing it anyway. Apologies if it’s hard to read.

Sunday June 21st is our anniversary. That day will be 30 years since we met and 23 years since we became husband and wife. I’m not a bit surprised that we’re still together. We both made up our minds long ago that “’til death do us part” was the only way for us. I do think it’s that simple to stay together. Just making up your mind, not quitting or giving up when things get hard. And they will get hard.

Things that used to bother me about Greg no longer do. Or else I’ve just mellowed or learned to accept them. Other things will always bother me about him. I’m sure he could say the same thing about me. Overall, Greg has been a wonderful husband. There are things that have happened that no doubt would have made others throw in the towel and leave. The people who say they would “never put up with” things from a spouse are single for a reason. The people I know who aren’t married will often say they are happy to be alone. I can see how that could be true. However, most of them are desperately lonely. To the point of being willing to date a married man or just lamenting how they’ll end up alone in a house full of cats. The reason people never marry is because they don’t want to have to compromise or give in to someone else. They don’t want to have to put someone else’s needs ahead of their own on a regular basis. I don’t blame them but they have to realize that is what marriage is. The only way you can do everything you want all the time and be married is if you have one of those marriages where you both do your own thing. You don’t eat meals together, the guy goes out with the boys and you spend evenings with the girls. You take separate vacations, shop apart and never talk face to face. That to me is not a marriage.

My hubby and I do as much together as possible. We always have. We enjoy each other’s company to the fullest and are best friends. We like most of the same things with only occasional differences. We still have conflicts. Some have been the same ones from 30 years ago that never get resolved. We both have different ways of doing things and must look the other way when one of us does things the other wouldn’t do. We each have different priorities but respect what’s important to the other person.
I know we’ve both made sacrifices for our marriage. My biggest was giving up my postal job and moving here almost 20 years ago. Right before we moved, I was probably the happiest I’ve ever been. My job was high paying and it gave me whatever self esteem I’ve had in my life. I felt like I could hold my head high. My hubby picked out this house and  we bought it without me ever seeing it. That’s how much trust and faith I placed in him. I could be bitter about all the faults this house has and how he said “you can pick out the next one” when I have a feeling this will be the last place I ever live. Instead, I am thankful that we found a nice house in a wonderful neighborhood. That I have grown to love this house (not counting the basement that floods) and have made it my own by decorating in a quirky fashion. Even if it’s small, it’s big enough to hold the love we have for our little family.
One of the nicest things my hubby has done is buy me tampons at Walgreens. When I got my period unexpectedly after a month without (hoping for menopause), he volunteered to get them. That’s huge for a man but I guess after buying adult diapers and incontinence pads for my mom, it’s not that much of a stretch.
I’m always proud to be with him. I love watching him talk to others. Sometimes when we are walking the dogs and meet someone, he is talking and I forget to join in. Mostly because I’m in awe at his way with people. I can talk to just about anyone too but he does it differently. He has patience with strangers that he doesn’t have with me.
One of the most wonderful things he’s done for me was making a screensaver many years ago. I would say around 1998 or so we had a computer that came with a program to make a screensaver. You could put a bunch of pictures together and put music to it and it would play when ever someone wasn’t on the computer. He made one with my favorite actors from Sunset Beach (a now defunct soap opera) and put it to my fave song at the time, “Walking On The Sun” by Smash Mouth. To this day, every time I hear that song, I smile and it makes me so happy to remember what he did. I wish I still had it but the computer died within a year or so and I lost it forever.
A lot of people would write a blog post TO their spouse in the form of a letter. I will never do that. Mine doesn’t like cards and I know he wouldn’t want a blog post. I know he won’t read this. In some ways I wonder why he doesn’t want to read my blog posts but on the other hand, I’m fine with it. He shuns social media. I love social media but have almost completely withdrawn from it. My reasons are more out of insecurity. I have that nagging voice always telling me awful things. I’ve told Greg this and he acts like I told him “I hear voices”. Oy. Just the doubting one that follows me everywhere and beats me down whenever possible. Such as: Who would want to read about that? You better not tweet, people find you boring. If you post your pictures, it will look like you’re bragging. Logically, I know none of what the voice says makes sense but it still seems to have more weight than my own original voice.
Well, this is sad. I wanted to write a post about marriage and us as a couple and it’s now been taken over by my insecurites. We won’t celebrate in the traditional sense. No going out to dinner for us or buying cards or gifts for one another. We celebrate our love every single day. It may sound corny but it’s not the milestones that matter, it is the every day. The daily grind and routine that you resent and yet cling to. We’ll have a couple highballs tonight to start the weekend off. Then eat some good home cooked food and watch some Netflix. Right now we’re watching the tv series “Glee” from the very beginning. We didn’t start watching until at least the 3rd season. We’ll talk about our vacation which is coming up in a week and we haven’t made the final decision where to go. We’ll hug and kiss and hold and pet the dogs. We are blessed even if I can’t put it into words.

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When we went to the Packers football game in Green Bay, WI earlier this month, all those who attended the game were given commemorative “crying towels”. That’s what we call them anyway. To sob into when/if your team loses. They’re tiny hand towel sized cloths that fans wave during the game. We had put ours away and didn’t look at them until we got home. Attached to each towel was a coupon for Kohl’s department store. $10 off a $30 purchase. I like Kohl’s well enough, I just don’t go there unless I have coupon of some type. About once or twice a year, they send a $10 coupon in the mail that can be used for any purchase. When I get those, I usually buy a couple 3-packs of pretty socks and use the $10 off and only owe a few bucks (if anything). Kohl’s usually has something on sale when we go (or everything) and I always wonder how they can stay in business with cheaper prices than anywhere else. Since hubby and I both had a $10 coupon, we figured we’d go together on his day off.

On the morning of Thurs. Jan. 16th we went to the Kohl’s in Niles, IL. Hubby had asked me ahead of time what I needed. Well, I need bras, underpants and socks ALWAYS. I decided to focus on bras first. Since that is the most unpleasant thing to shop for. Talking back and forth in the car on the way there, we were trying to figure out when I bought bras last. Could it really be 25 years ago?! I don’t know. That seems hard to believe but if you know me, I’m still wearing clothes that old so it could be…. If it was after we moved here, it would be closer to 18 years ago. I know I haven’t boughten any for sure in over a dozen years. It sounds crazy but not implausible. There are some things I HATE shopping for and one is bras, the other is shoes. In the distant past when bra shopping, my mom always came with me. We always enjoyed shopping together and were the best of friends. About 12 years ago, she lost all interest in shopping, getting anything new and even going to the mall to people watch. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t like doing things alone. It’s not that I can’t. I’ve driven myself to the mall alone before and walked around. Browsed in stores, etc but I don’t enjoy it. Half the fun comes from pointing things out to the other person. Showing each other what you like and what’s new. I always enjoyed shopping but now I’m more into the estate sale shopping where you never pay anything even close to retail!

My husband is a trooper for being willing to go along with me. He’s the greatest about it that anybody could be. He doesn’t pout and stand to the side making me feel like he’s waiting for me to finish. He actively helps me find my size! He is as interested in finding things for me as I am. Maybe more so! This didn’t come about overnight. We’ve been together almost 29 years. We’re a solidified team now, looking out for the other’s best interests. He is emulating what I’ve done for him for years. When he worked a job that required him to wear a suit every single day, I helped him pick out many suits. I gave input on having them altered, etc. When he needed other work clothes, jeans or anything else, I’ve searched through big & tall sizes. He hates shopping for himself and humors me by trying things on and I run back and get a size larger or smaller as needed. Everyone should have a shopping buddy since salesclerks are in poor supply nowdays.

Back in the day, when you shopped for bras, you could NOT keep the salesclerks out of your business. I really hate to be bothered unless I really need help. I know how to find my size and try things on. I can tell if they fit, etc. Well, in the distant past, the sales clerks would count how many garments you took in with you and then they would stand outside the door and keep trying to come in the fitting room. They’d want to see how it fit. Then they would offer advice which coming from a stranger holds no weight with me. I used to be shy and not want a salesclerk to see me in only a bra. Now I don’t have to worry about it because there are NO salesclerks. Not kidding! That’s how Kohl’s is able to offer such cheap prices. They only hire people to ring up your purchase. No one is available to help you on the sales floor ever. It has been this way the last several times I’ve been there. So if you were alone and needed a bigger size, you’d have to put your clothes back on and schlep over and get another yourself. Unless you have a shopping buddy! 🙂
White bras

White bras

A few years ago when we had gotten a coupon in the mail for Kohl’s, we had tried to find bras for me then. Both hubby and I remember it well because I left without any. There are racks and racks as far as the eye can see of different bra brands, sizes and colors. They are all hanging on hangers. I’ve never worn any of those. I’ve been a Playtex girl since I started wearing them at age 11. My mom has always worn Playtex so I guess that’s how that came about. I’ve always been really happy with them. Heck, they last like 25 years so how can anyone complain?! I’ve only owned white bras with the exception of a black bra which I bought to wear to funerals. Take my word for it, there’s not nearly enough funerals to warrant a bra just for that. Playtex are the only bras I’ve seen that come in a package (they used to be boxes, now they’re clear plastic with paper inserts). There’s a special 2 sided wooden rack with drawers that pull out that house all the Playtex brand bras. All the sizes are mixed up and totally random. You’d think they’d be put in by size but no, every size is jumbled in with all the others. So I would say there are maybe 1,000 bras on both sides of this rack. Hubby and I stood side by side and went through one side of the rack pulling out all the 42Bs. That time we left without any was because we had searched this entire rack and there were NO 42bs! At that time, I remember they didn’t have anything larger than a 40! I remember grumbling how I’m not the only big person so why don’t they make bras for big people. So then I ended up wearing those bras another few years to the point that they were disintegrating on my body. The inner cup lining disappeared from thousands of wearings and washings in hot water. The elastic on my old bras were so worn that it’s like wearing nothing. I didn’t notice until I tried on new ones how bad the old ones fit/felt. They were giving me the support of a string of dental floss and the straps were a perpetual source of aggravation.
Colored bras FTW!

Colored bras FTW!

So hubby and I searched through all the sizes and were shocked to find so many 42bs.  (I could swear I wore a 42b back 20+ years ago but it could have been a 38b. The tags no longer have printing on them from countless launderings.) I had many to choose from and took one of each style to the fitting room. Hubby stood in the doorway of the fitting room (no one else was around) and I went in and tried them on. Then I would walk out and show him. I went by feel more than looks. The first one I tried on, I loved right away. Then the 2nd one didn’t even come close to hooking. I read the size and knew why. It was a 36b inside of a 42b package. Grrr! There were several styles that I had gotten without looking at them to see if I’d like it. Taking them out of the plastic, I could tell right away they weren’t for me. They had 4 hook and eye closures instead of 3 and were made of that starchy lacey fabric that I don’t like. They were what my mom wears. The kind of support you need if you’re trying to lift a heavy load and don’t have a crane. 😉 One step away from steel reinforced. So I had 1 white one and 3 different colors I liked. I didn’t really know how many I would get ahead of time but planned on getting at least 2 or 3 white ones. So we went back to the other side of the rack and scoured that. I found a few more and tried those. Then I had it narrowed down to 6. At this point, you’re probably marveling that my husband’s a saint! 3 white and 3 colored (beige/tan, blue gray and chocolate brown). Kohl’s had a promotion going on where if you spend $50, you get $10 in “Kohl’s cash” to use in the future. Hubby talked me into all 6 and we rang up separately. The bras were $32 each (which I wouldn’t have paid!) but were on sale (35% off) for $19.99 each. That’s still more than I wanted to pay but having the $10 off helped too. So I got 6 bras for $100 and $20 to spend next weekend on underpants. We were joking on the way home that now I don’t have to shop for bras for another 25 years. I’ll be in my mid-70’s before I have to do this again! Yay. 😉
Going wild with color!

Going wild with color!

At least I left feeling good about the experience. There’s nothing I hate more than going out shopping for a specific thing and coming home empty handed. My husband was a champ and when he’s so good to me like that, it validates my feelings of love and contentment in our marriage. When people say that you can’t have your spouse be your best friend, they’re just jealous. I’ve had it and it’s absolutely wonderful! 🙂

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2014 came in like a polar bear bringing massive snowstorms and sub zero temperatures. I grew up in NW Wisconsin where weather like this was no big deal. It was expected and dealt with with a minimum of whining. Since moving to IL 18 yrs. ago, it’s been many years since we’ve had a severe winter. Some years we get next to no snow and we’ve grown accustomed to bellyaching when the temperature gets below 20 degrees. Sunday morning we woke up to a foot of snow. Later that night the temps dropped like a stone and we woke up Monday Jan. 6th to -17 degrees below zero. (If I knew how to make the degrees sign on here, I wouldn’t have to put the minus AND write below zero. Oh well.) Actually, we woke up at 8:15 am to the electricity going off. Most people would sleep right through a power outage but my husband sleeps with a bi-pap for sleep apnea and when the electricity goes out, it shuts off suddenly and leaves him gasping for breath. There is no way to ignore it. So we kind of panicked. Obviously, we don’t like being without electricity anytime but when it’s dangerously cold (the windchills were -45 degrees below zero), it’s a whole different ball game. The furnace stopped and almost immediately the house began getting cool. We hadn’t even turned the heat down the night before because we knew it would be too hard to get back up to a decent temp. Hubby reported the outage to ComEd and the recording said 2 hours to restore. After an hour, he called again and signed up for their text message updates. He also turned on the gas fireplace in the living room so we’d have some heat. The next update said it was a downed wire and it would be 2 pm. Luckily, it came back before then but we still put up with it for a few hours.

Arctic Temps

Arctic Temps

We’ve gotten so spoiled now that ever being uncomfortable is not acceptable. When my 92 1/2 yr. old mom was growing up on a farm in MN, they didn’t even have electricity until she was in high school. No heat except a woodstove so it was almost like sleeping outside. You’d go to bed early under a thick quilt just to keep warm. It’s amazing anyone finished school back then. Who would want to do homework if they had to do it by candleight or oil lamp and were freezing?! Anyway, I’d be more tolerant of the power outage if we lived in the country, far from civilization. We live in a highly populated area and pay a fortune for utilities and everything else. When it came back on, I was half expecting it to go out again. We’ve had problems in the summer where we’ve lost electricity for 24 hours once and 3 whole days a few years ago. It’s another thing we’ve survived and lived to tell about.
Decorative ceramic molds from Italy

Decorative ceramic molds from Italy

I had such high hopes for getting things done while on “staycation”. Instead we did too much huddling under blankets looking at the Christmas lights and watching Netflix. I made a 20 lb. turkey with all the fixings on New Year’s Day. It was too cold to walk the dogs except for about 2 times. One day we played with them in the backyard and I took pictures. Hubby built me a shelf that runs the length of the wall in the kitchen above the sliding glass doors to outside. I needed somewhere to put stuff. It wasn’t like he built it and we filled it up over the span of a week. He built it and we filled it completely in about 5 minutes. I love it and need more storage solutions since the house is so tiny and my collections are getting so big. There were very few estate sales during that time but one we went to had a bunch of decorative ceramic molds from Italy. I had a few that I’d gotten like 6 months ago and was thrilled when I found these. We hung them in my vintage kitchen.
Tails wagging the dogs

Tails wagging the dogs

After the Packers won their Dec. 29th game and made it into the playoffs, hubby joked that he wondered if he could get tickets. Tickets went on sale at 3 pm the next day and about 5 minutes after that, he headed to his computer to the Ticketmaster site to see if he could get them. He yelled to me that he got in and should he get them? It was on a timer of a few minutes so I just said something like, “Sure, if you want.” I never know for sure what hubby will do. He’s much more spontaneous than I am. I plan as much of my life out as I can, weighing the pros and cons of everything. A thought just pops in his head and he acts on it. I guess that’s what makes us a good pair. We even each other out. 🙂 So he ended up getting 4 seats in the endzone. Section 104, row 46, seats 15-18. Ten years ago, we had taken his older sister Linda and her husband Ken to the playoff game at Lambeau Field. They had such a good time (as did we) that they still talk about it to this day. So we figured we’d ask them again. Linda had cancer (hairy cell leukemia) a little over 3 years ago. She did some heavy duty chemo and knocked it out. She’d been in remission until last fall. She did a different course of chemo and seemed to be better. Hubby called her right away to see if she could go. Due to the cold weather they were expecting at the game, she didn’t think her health could take it. She is going to the doctor’s this week to find out if she’s all clear so she probably wanted to wait until she got the go ahead to do things like that. We were disappointed but understood. Next hubby called his brother Brian and asked him if he and his son Mitchell wanted to go. They live in Green Bay and know all the shortcuts to the stadium and where to park, etc.
Our view of Lambeau Field

Our view of Lambeau Field

I really had no business going to the game. I hadn’t had time to think it through. As soon as I knew we were going, I started worrying non-stop. It’s a 3 hour drive from where we live to Green Bay so that’s 6 hours in the car. Then 4 hours for the game and back and forth to the stadium and dressing in layered clothing. The weather reports were forecasting a foot of snow before we left (which did happen) and made me think 3 hours wouldn’t be enough time to get up there with the snowy roads. They also said that it could be as cold up there as the Ice Bowl in 1967 when the Packers played in -13 below temps. Luckily that didn’t turn out to be the case. It was 5 degrees at kickoff with -10 below windchill. All week I was a bundle of nerves and I didn’t sleep the night before at all. Eek!
Me all bundled up

Me all bundled up

I could write 100 pages just on the fearful thoughts that went through my head. I hoped Mom would be fine if I was there to get her up in the morning and put her to bed at night. We got up at 8 am and did our usual routine. I made Mom 2 sandwiches and put each on a separate plate covered in saran wrap with a note on top: “This is your lunch. Sausage & cheese sandwich and cut up pickle. Eat after 1 pm. Yogurt also.” The 2nd plate: “This is your dinner. Peanut butter & jelly sandwich. Eat after 7 pm or when hungry.” I would’ve preferred to leave her a hot meal like soup or turkey leftovers but didn’t want her using the microwave. About 10 days before this happened, she stopped microwaving her coffee in the morning. She’s been drinking it cold! I asked her why. She said, “It’s too much trouble.” I don’t think she remembers how to use it anymore. It turns out she only ate her lunch. I asked her why, “I didn’t know it was mine. It could have been Greg’s.” I also wrote her a note I left on the kitchen counter about us being gone and when we’d be home. I said we’d try to be back by midnight but if we weren’t to stay up. Not go to bed. To sleep in her recliner in the LR with blankets on top. I also wrote her a note telling how to fix the computer if it gets fouled up when she’s playing her slot machine games. All week I’d been teaching her how to turn the tv on with the remote control. We weren’t going to have her do any channels, just turn it on and off. I wrote how to do that and taped it to the underside of the remote. It turns out she never watched it. She doesn’t remember things I tell her 30 seconds ago, why did I think what I told her before we left would sink in? 😦
Funky Packers Pants

Funky Packers Pants

I wrote on the kitchen note to let the dogs out as needed. I worried all week that she wouldn’t let them out at all and they’d crap all over the house and she’d step in it. Then I worried that she’d let them out and forget there are 3 of them and leave one out in the super cold weather and they’d freeze. We locked the front door when we left so she couldn’t open that by mistake and let the dogs in the street. I was worried the snow would delay us until like 6 in the morning. I was afraid the electricity would go out and she’d freeze home alone. I was afraid that we’d get in a car accident and get killed and no one would find her for who knows how long. Everything at home went fine and we made it home by 12:20 am. Mom was standing in the LR when we got home. I asked her what she was doing. She said she was getting ready to go up to bed. So we made it just in time! I ran over to her and hugged her and told her I missed her. As far as I know, she didn’t have any trouble with the computer while we were gone and the time passed just fine. The dogs were great, she had just let them out when we got back. They kept her company. I was so relieved that it went well but I don’t know if I’d leave her for that amount of time again. 14 hours was too much.
Insanity wears no clothes

Insanity wears no clothes

As for the game itself, we had an amazing time! The Sat. before the game, Greg & I went through our closets and found everything we’d need to bundle up for a cold game. I wore long underwear, a pair of colored jeans, a pair of sweatpants over that and some nylon rain pants. On top I wore my mom’s long sleeved turtleneck sweater and wool sweater vest. Plus my white coat, sheepskin hat, Mom’s scarf and 2 pairs of gloves. I fine the whole first quarter and then slowly more and more of me were getting cold. We’d brought something to sit on and blankets to put over us in the stands which helped. I had on 2 pairs of socks and my snowboots. My toes were the first on me to get cold, followed by the rest of my feet and my cheeks. By the last 5 minutes on the timeclock, even my legs were feeling the cold. I was worried about losing toes. Not because I thought I would but because there was a joke going around on Twitter, “I can’t believe I got Packers playoff tickets! And I only lost 6 toes!” I made sure I kept moving my toes inside the boots. Plus we were standing up and shouting a lot which gets the blood pumping. If there’s a once in a lifetime experience to be had, it’s going to a Packers game at Lambeau Field. I’ve done it 3 times now (1986, 2004, 2014) and it’s like nothing else on earth.
Sea of fans

Sea of fans

Even though San Francisco beat the Packers 23-20, it was a close game. We had great seats and could see everything well. Half the fun was people watching. The Green Bay fans are so hardcore and intense. They dress like idiots. All kinds of team apparel was worn plus there’s always one fool in the crowd that has his shirt off no matter the weather. My favorite part was watching this guy ahead of us, to our right. After first quarter, he took his shirt off and only wore a hat. Then he would put mittens on briefly and take them off. He made it until halftime topless and then put his shirt on. For about 10 seconds and took it off again! We were joking that his pants would come off next. He lasted through halftime and then disappeared. We figure he either passed out from drugs (it HAD to be drugs, I don’t think you can be THAT drunk!) or was in the ER. Back in 2001, Vince McMahon tried to start up another football league in the USA called the XFL (extreme football league). Hubby and I were so excited. One of the teams was the Chicago Enforcers and hubby got season tickets the first year. We were thrilled to get in on the ground floor of something. The games were Jan.-Apr. and the Jan. & Feb. games were very cold. There was a guy at every game ALONE who always was shirtless. No matter the temperature. Anyway, the turnout for the XFL was poor and it only lasted one season. The NFL was against it the whole time which didn’t help. Some people say they’re football fans but we really are!
Love & Football

Love & Football

Now that we’ve had almost 35″ of snow this season and 22″ since New Year’s, the news is forecasting flooding this weekend. Starting Friday there’s going to be several days of mid to upper 30’s in a row including lots of rain. Gah! Our basement floods when you look at it sideways so I don’t need to be worrying about this for the next week. We’ve been having such insufferable cold that just getting to 30 degrees would feel warm. It’d be great and it wouldn’t melt all the snow in one batch. But no, we need to go from one extreme to another. Looks like Mother Nature has her period again!

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I’ve been disconnected from social media for the past 2 weeks. So much has been going on that I’ve been almost speechless. There was just too much to tell and no time to tell it. A week ago yesterday we ventured up to Madison, WI for a housewarming party. We took a bottle of Twin Fin wine and a cool bud vase with 2 peonies from our garden. One was in bloom and the other hadn’t opened yet. People host parties differently than I ever did. Not that I’m an expert but we always gave people a tour of the house. To the point where hubby would show them our spare bedroom we use for storage and I’d rather he skipped it. We didn’t get a tour or really any acknowledgement for what we brought. I have to believe they were just overwhelmed by the party itself. From what we saw of the house (looking for the bathroom), it was really nice. They’re at the stage of being young and excited and willing to knock themselves out to have things perfect. I remember it well even though it is so far behind me. Every room had a fresh coat of paint, the kitchen had been redone and all the curtains were sewed by Greg’s sister Linda. It was her daughter and son-in-law who had the party. Linda has lost quite a bit of weight by being on the HCG diet which I know very little about. She has to give herself shots daily and eat a very limited diet (about 500 calories a day). The change in her size and shape is remarkable. It seems like everyone I know has been losing weight lately. Making me The Last Fat Woman Standing. Don’t think I haven’t been entertaining the idea. I just don’t know where to start. Small changes I’ve made have made no difference and I hate doing anything drastic. The pondering on it will continue due to our new reality regarding hubby’s recent health diagnosis.
 
While at last week’s party, we talked with my mother-in-law and one of Greg’s brothers, Dan. They had both lost their Golden Retriever dogs within the past 6 months. They both expressed an interest in getting a new puppy (same breed). That’s one thing Greg & I know how to do is find a dog. We suggested a rescue dog since we had such good luck with Elvis. They both wanted a younger dog. This got both Greg & I thinking and when we got home, we started searching online. My M-I-L doesn’t really use the Internet and Dan is too busy. We found a woman in Schaumburg, IL (not far from us) who had a some 8 & 10 week old Goldens. Their pictures looked beautiful. She has another litter due this week so had discounted the price on the puppies from $1000 to $700. I thought it would be neat if Dan & his mom could get sisters since they live across the street from each other and the pups could grow up together. Greg emailed Dan and never heard back. Greg called and talked to the woman and found out she would set up an appt. for Friday or Sun to show the dogs. Then he called Dan and they were getting ready to host this graduation party for their daughter this weekend. So we could tell nothing would ever come of it. Greg also called his mother and offered to drive up to WI (90 miles), pick her up, take her to see the puppies and drive her home. She said she’d let him know. I thought that was really a generous offer but I swear people just like to TALK about doing things (like getting another dog) and not really do it. 😦 There is no way we’d ever get a puppy and just give it to someone since we’d be afraid they’d say no. Anyway, Greg and I really gave it our all and it fell flat. It was kind of discouraging.
 
Thursday I was having my mammogram and MRI for my back. At 4 pm on Wed. I got a phone call from the hospital, saying I’d have to reschedule the MRI since they hadn’t gotten pre-approval from the insurance co. We have Blue Cross through the federal govt which is usually great.  After phone calls back and forth with the doctor’s office, we find out that even though the appt. was made 3 weeks before, they had just called the insurance co. THAT DAY to get approval. The people who work in Dr. Feelgood’s office are TERRIBLE. It’s enough to make us switch doctors but who knows what else we’d end up with at the next one. So I could only get in at 9:15 am on Wed. June 19th for the MRI. I’m half expecting a call Tues. telling me they don’t have approval yet.
 
To add insult to injury, hubby had gone in on June 5th for a blood pressure check and to get his A1C glucose test. He called 2 days later for the results and they said they didn’t have them yet. They said they would call as soon as they had them. On Wed. after dealing with the screwup of my MRI, I told him to ask about his test results from a week before. They had them but had never called! If he hadn’t asked, who knows if he’d ever have found out. So just like that, over the phone, he finds out he has diabetes. They told him they were sending a prescription for Metformin to our local pharmacy right away and he could stop in the next day for a lesson on how to use a blood glucose meter. This worked out ok since I was getting the mammogram the next day. He came with me and waited and then we went upstairs to the doctor’s office. One of the assistants took us in a room and gave him a meter (One Touch Ultra Mini) and a few test strips and lancets and a written prescription for the strips and lancets. She gave us some other info and told  him to adjust his diet. She gave him a pamphlet about what to order at fast food restaurants. He told her we never eat fast food or fried food. She was so shocked. I know it’s a large part of most Americans’ diets but we have never cared for the feeling of bloat afterwards. We used to eat at McDonalds like once a year and we even got away from that. We’re already eating brown rice and whole grain bread. The major change I see forthcoming is hubby eats a lot of fruit. A banana, an orange, a couple of small apples a day. Now he has to spread them out throughout the day instead of eating all at once. So he has to take his blood glucose readings 3 times a day (before breakfast, 2 hours after any meal and then before bedtime). She also told him to call the insurance co. and see which place they want you to buy from. The ins. co. wasn’t very helpful, except for giving him the name of a diabetic supply place in Elk Grove Village, IL. They also told him the insurance pays 70% of the ALLOWED cost and he has to pay the rest. I told him to call around to places like Osco, Sam’s Club and Walgreens to get quotes.
 

One Touch UltraMini Blood Glucose Monitor

One Touch UltraMini Blood Glucose Monitor

Hubby’s been feeling sorry for himself since his diagnosis. I guess that happens with some people. I haven’t even begun to feel sorry for myself with my back! In fact, I’ve been extra active and been going on a dead run lately. It hasn’t made me feel any worse and in fact, my foot has been feeling better. I don’t see any end in sight for the doctor’s appts. though. Greg was told to come back July 10th to have his glucose readings evaluated and get his blood pressure checked. Maybe by then I’ll be able to get my mammogram and MRI results.
 
 

The New Normal

The New Normal

We went to estate sales on Friday and there were a few in our town on Sat. but we just had to skip them. Too much else to deal with before leaving for the graduation party in Pewaukee, WI. We had been debating what to give for a gift and finally decided on a ladies’ size German beer stein. It was beautifully handpainted with a pewter lid, etc. I had it all bubbled wrapped and in the box before I remembered to take a picture of it so I didn’t get one. I took a picture of her opening it and it’s just a blur. My phone (or ME) is taking shitty pictures lately. I’m morally opposed to giftwrapping but wrapped the present anyway. We were one of the only people who didn’t give money. When she opened it, she didn’t even know what it was. Since she’s going to college in Madison (a party town), it just seemed appropriate. Yes, we’ve turned into the goofy, old aunt and uncle who give quirky gifts. 😉 This was my first time being in their house, even though they’ve lived there close to 20 years. No tour of that either and I saw less than the previous week’s house. I made a point of thanking my brother-in-law and his wife for the invite and letting them know it was my first time seeing it. Due to the weird family dynamic and strained relationships over decades, they haven’t been to our house either.
 
I always make cards on the computer since I’m against buying ready made cards.  Someday I’ll go into detail on here about why I’m opposed to both that and giftwrap. Hubby was trying to print something out the day before the party and found out we were out of gray ink. Our printer takes 2 different blacks, a gray, red, yellow and blue cartridges. It prints like a professional printer. I’m in love with it. Since we got the thing, the only store that sells the gray ink for it is ABT. So I told hubby to call first and see if they had it. He refused. I should have offered to call but I had things to do! Instead we are on the verge of a fight since he insists on going over there the morning of the party!! I told  him to go buy a cheap graduation card at the grocery store. Instead he goes and comes home with a new printer!! Wow, was I mad! It’s another Canon printer but a cheap one that only has 2 ink cartridges (one black and one for colors). He said they no longer carry the gray ink and this was on sale for $58. I know they’re cheap now but I don’t print that much stuff but what I do print, I want to have quality. I was mad that he couldn’t call me and tell me or ask me or consult me in any way. It’s not the price of the purchase, it’s so much more than that. So then we got into a fight and ended up fighting in the car on the way up to WI which is always fun. NOT. He stacked the new printer on top of the old one (which I still want to keep and use, it’s not broken!) and was able to print out a card. The quality looked TERRIBLE and I was so disappointed. I made him address and sign the whole card, which I usually do for us.
 
To keep this from reaching book length, I’m going to end here. I have more to share but will save it for my next few blog posts. In the meantime, we’re just adjusting to The New Normal. It’s only been a few days so at this point, we’re just trying to get used to the idea of hubby having The Sugar Diabetes. Yes, to lighten the mood, that’s what we’re calling it. That’s what it was called when we were kids. To start off on the right track, hubby didn’t have any cake at the grad party yesterday. About 6 people asked me if I wanted a piece. I said, “No, I wouldn’t feel right eating it when Greg can’t.” Then I look over and see my M-I-L shoveling cake into her pie hole. She has diabetes too and I felt like I’d just put both feet in my mouth. Oh well. The older I get, the more I’m used to saying things, consequences be damned.

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Every week there’s something that throws us off our game. As some would say, “God has a sense of humor.” I need to write a post on religion and God since I’ve got kind of a weird take on the whole thing. In the mean time, I’ll just say I like to believe that God has better things to do than mess with our lives and sit back and laugh.

 2 months ago we went through the ordeal of switching our insurance–the whole she-bang of house, 2 cars and RV. I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to change things because I just KNOW I’m going to have problems. Like if I move a chair to a different location, the leg will fall off. Better to leave it where it is. Better to pay more for insurance than risk being toyed with by a nationally known company. Basically, this is living in fear and accepting that what you know is less scary than what you don’t know. So we’d had the same insurance for years (I detailed this all in my post 2 months ago “One part snow, 99 parts chaos”) and it was hubby’s idea to switch. We managed to choose AAA and feel “fairly good” about the decision and the savings. We were hoping not to even think about it again for many years (with the exception of paying when the premium comes due).
 
Since I obviously don’t know how to make a long story short, last Monday (April 22nd) we got a notice (actually 2) from AAA in the mail. Hubby brought it in when he got home from work. So we didn’t even get to greet each other and he handed me the mail. I saw the first notice, opened it and then yelped, “they’re raising the insurance on the 2 cars and RV by $35!” All it said for a reason was “Rating Factor Adjustment”. You could see the wheels turning in both our minds, we haven’t had any accidents or tickets and the vehicles are getting older. We were both worked up about that and he immediately got on the phone with AAA but the underwriters were gone for the day already. Meanwhile, I opened the 2nd notice and about fainted! AAA was cancelling our house insurance as of May 24th! 😦 How on earth could this be?! Reading further, all it said was because of a dog. When we first signed up, they told us someone would drive by to look at the house. They wouldn’t need to come in, just look around outside. I was looking for them steady for the 2 weeks after we signed up and no sign. We both forgot about it until we got this notice. Hubby talked to one of the guys on the phone and he said the car rates going up had nothing to do with the house insurance being cancelled but he couldn’t give us a reason WHY they had gone up. As for WHY we had gotten cancelled, the records showed the underwriter had come to the house and “heard” an aggressive dog. He didn’t SEE one. Ok, we have 3 dogs, 2 weigh 21 lbs., the other weighs 23 lbs. None of them are aggressive. One barks but only at first, one can’t bark and one is deaf. None are the breeds that are on the banned list like pitbulls. They are all good dogs that are fine around people and most other dogs. We’ve had dogs for the entire time we’ve lived here and in 17+ years, none have ever bitten anyone. A few weeks ago, we had the Directv guy in our house for 2 hours and the dogs were fine! Today, the meter reader for the gas co. came inside and I took him into the basement and the dogs were inside and loose and just fine. So we can’t figure out where the AAA guy got the idea that any of our dogs were aggressive. The oddest thing is he never knocked on the door or called either our home phone or cell phone. He could have met the dogs and seen for himself if he was worried. To think that a company just cancels a policy without even a phone call letting you know what the problem was and seeing if it could be rectified. How unprofessional.
 
On top of all this, hubby and I were worried that we would have to appeal this which involves a lot of paperwork and who knows what else. If we let it stand, I can’t imagine how hard it would be to get house insurance elsewhere after you tell them you got cancelled! Plus the rates would be astronomical. Hubby was told to email the company and tell them that none of the dogs had ever bitten anyone or had any special training to attack people. He did it and in the meantime, we got another notice saying that we were going to be cancelled and get X amount of money back. Finally on Friday, the guy from AAA hubby was working with called to say it was taken care of and we won’t be dropped. Now of course we’re wondering if after May 24 a refund check will show up in the mail and we’ll have to deal with this over again. I feel like we can never relax and breathe easy and think that things are taken care of because time after time, we find out nothing is ever over!
 
Today we got a notice saying our car and RV insurance rate is going back down…Oy vey. Now we’re wondering if we want to stay long term with a company like this or if we’re going to have to switch again in Sept. In either case, I don’t want to think about it anymore. The worst thing about this whole ordeal was how we ended up fighting because hubby got so mad and stressed out. I was stressed out too but he lashes out at me which takes awhile for me to get over. You’d think after almost 28 years together we’d have figured out how to get along under the worst of circumstances. For the most part, we get along great. It’s when problems arise that it puts wear and tear on our relationship. We no longer fight when the basement floods so there’s that. 😉

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