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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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Greg returned home from his 2 weeks of work training on Sat. July 23rd. I picked him up at the airport around 2 pm. They’ve closed (actually demolished) the Kiss-n-Fly lot that we always used for drop off and pick up. We still meet in that area just outside of where it is fenced off for construction purposes. It cuts through a lot of the hassle of picking him up at the main part of the airport. He brought me a very cute wallet that says “Federal Agent’s Wife” which looks just like the one he has that holds his badge.
Greg had applied and interviewed for 2 jobs in June. One was running the training dept. in Milwaukee WI. The other was the same job he does now (cargo inspector) but at Midway Airport instead of O’Hare. He has been trying to get tje promotion he was promised 11 years ago. The head of O’Hare had taken him from being a TSA screener and had promoted him to head up the training dept. 22 years ago. This guy told him repeatedly that he would be elevated to the next pay grade in 1 year. He was always praising him for the fine work. Then the guy left before the year was up and when Greg confronted him about it, he said, “I never said that!” This has been such a sore spot and cause of heartbreak for him. Then he had a female supervisor who picked on him for about 5 years. He just got switched to another one 2 months ago! He had applied for several promotions over the years and he never could figure out why he didn’t get them. Several guys who started after him and weren’t as good as he was at the work were given it instead of him. Due to recent events, we’ve figured out that this previous supervisor was the one holding him back.

Greg got a phone call about the Milwaukee job while in Georgia and was told they went with someone internally. This means someone who’s already working in the dept. He wasn’t sure he wanted to commute up to WI anyway. I’d been trying not to freak out wondering if we’d end up moving back up there then. When he got back from GA, he had a message that the person in charge at Midway had been trying to get ahold of him. He called them on Monday and found out that they were offering him the job. He wanted to meet in person and talk over their expectations and his and see what exactly the offer consists of. So Thurs. on his day off he drove down there and they talked. He told them he needed something in writing since he’d been burned before by the TSA. Ever since Thurs. he’s been waiting to receive the offer and finally it came through yesterday and he accepted it! He starts his new job on Monday Aug. 22nd. 🙂

Greg is so happy that all the drawbacks to the position don’t seem as important as they originally did. He is going from being a small fish in a big pond to being a big fish in a small pond. He is definitely giving up A LOT of perks. He now has a 4 day work week (10 hour days) with Thurs., Fri. and Sat. off. He has to go to a 5 day work week (8 hour days). He can still work Sundays which is a big deal to me so he’ll have Friday and Sat. off still. Right now he has a 3 mile commute that takes between 8-11 minutes. To Midway he’ll have a 30 mile commute in heavy Chicago traffic. It takes 40 minutes PLUS depending on time of day. He’ll also have a ton of tolls unless he can find some backroads that won’t add excess time to the trip. By my calculations, even with the raise he’s getting, not counting the wear and tear on his Jeep, he’ll be losing $500 a year by taking the job. Plus losing a day off every week, etc. But his ego needs this and they want him BADLY. it’s worth a lot to me to have him happy.

Maybe the hardest thing for me is if I run into some kind of trouble, he could get home to help me in like 10 minutes. Now I’ll just have to wait until the end of the day no matter what. At first I couldn’t understand why he wanted to leave that bad that he’d give up his days off and the short commute but I realized it’s not about me. He likes a challenge and his current position no longer challenges him. They don’t seem to value him or his contribution like they should. So this is a bit of excitement happening around here with watching hubby stretching his wings to fly.

Last week I heard from my sister-in-law Sandy that my half-brother Gary has been having some health problems. He was up at the cottage alone in northern WI and had some type of attack. He had to be taken to the hospital in Barron, WI and then transferred to one in Eau Claire. They had run tests on him and it looked like a mass in his kidneys. He went home on a plane to Seattle and was seeing specialists and fearing kidney cancer. Looks like the first step is kidney removal but I don’t know any of the details yet. I spoke to him on the phone and he sounded terrible and was on his way to the urologist so we didn’t talk more than a minute or two. He’s 18 years older than me so 72. That’s been on my mind a lot this week too.


It’s that time again for me to donate my hair to Locks Of Love. I get sick of it long, I get sick of it short and I get sick of it inbetween. I’ve got an appt. on Thurs. with Madeline again to get it cut super short. She’s the one who did it the other 2 times I donated it. After I get the haircut, I’m going to get my eyes examined and get new glasses. It’s been 4 years and even though I always use a soft cloth to clean them, my glasses are extremely scratched up. I hope I find some I like! I figure my birthday week is as good a time as any to make all these changes.

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I’m not having any trouble passing the time while hubby is gone. I never run out of things to do. I always have big plans but when it comes down to it, just surviving keeps me busy. I mean maintaining. I’ve noticed I have a way of being melodramatic when I write. Not to be outdone by my in person melodrama. 😀

 I pretty much run a 1 person nursing home in our house. Hopefully, with more care and dignity than a real nursing home at a fraction of the price. In addition to the usual care, I’ve been doing my fair share of “doctoring” or “nursing” the past few weeks. We got home from our last vacation Friday June 24th. 2 days later, Mom got her first bedsore. Keep in mind she’s not bedridden. She doesn’t lay in bed and she can walk (slowly) but sits a lot. I get her up to go to the bathroom at intervals but she doesn’t move enough to get good circulation on her hind quarters. These are often called pressure sores from having pressure against the skin and it weakens over time. Well, hers was precipated by a bout of diarrhea where I may have cleaned her too vigorously. The skin of our butt cheeks is probably thinner than the cheeks on our faces. So it started out about the size of a thumbnail. I knew I had to nip it in the bud right away before it got worse or she got more of them. So I googled bedsores and was scared half to death. This happens to me every time I look something up on the Internet. There is so much bad information out there and worse case scenarios. Yet, I never learn to not look. Maybe it’s because I feel I have no one else to ask. 


Things that have changed since I last wrote about Mom’s Alzheimers:

 Since our last vacation, I no longer make her coffee. This is a woman who loved her coffee more than the average person. She had to have a cup every morning no matter what. She used to have some throughout the day and then dwindled it down to a just an additional half cup in the afternoon. Recently, she’d been drinking less and less of what I gave her. Then she started not drinking it at all. It would sit there with only one sip out of it. No matter how much I reminded her to drink or yelled at her to drink it, she wouldn’t. I would end up throwing it away every day. I would ask her why she didn’t like it anymore. She wouldn’t answer. It’s left up to my imagination why she won’t drink it. All I know is it’s not even an option for her anymore. She doesn’t ask for it, I don’t provide it. Wondering how I’ll use up the half full can of Maxwell House since neither hubby or I drink coffee….

 
I quit giving Mom a multi-vitamin every day. She wouldn’t swallow it and I’d have to yell at her to swallow the pill and she still wouldn’t. She’d just roll it around in her mouth and I’d have to have her spit it out and I’d throw it away. I took the last few that were left in the bottle and now I’m not taking a multi-vitamin either. I’m trying to tell if I feel any worse for not taking it. It’s really hard to tell.

 
I am doing more for her every day. Since I’ve never had kids, I picture what it’s like to have a toddler who can’t do things for themselves and you take over without thinking. Then each day, the toddler learns more and is able to do something today that they couldn’t do yesterday. They are feeling a bit more independence and the parent is feeling pride at the child’s achievement. In our case, I know each day Mom can do a little bit less.

 
Mom can no longer dry her hands. Or should I say, she does such a poor job, I end up having to dry them after she does it. So it’s easier for me to just dry them. Especially since she can’t turn towards the towel rack from the sink. I have to grab the towel off there and take each hand in the towel and dry it. It’s not the worst thing to have to do but it shows how she can do less every day.

 
I now pull her pants up and down as needed. When she tries to pull them up herself, they only go halfway and she’d just leave them that way. Same with taking them down. I’m still putting her in underpants with a pad, followed by a diaper (or adult underwear) and then her regular pair of pants.

 
There was lots of scare information about bed sores left untreated and turning into life threatening infections. There was talk of moving the person so they don’t sit in the same position all the time. I can see how that’s necessary (and easier) when they’re only laying in bed. But to sit, there’s really no other option but to sit on your butt. I made a point to put her up on pillows where she wasn’t sore. Luckily, she sleeps on her side (not the side that had the sore) so that gave it some rest. Right off the bat, I had started using Neosporin and a large bandaid. That didn’t do anything, in fact it was getting worse. From the size of one thumbnail, it had become 3 thumbnails in size. In such a short amount of time, it was panicing me. Reading some of the remedies online, one said to put honey on it. That it did wonders. All I could think of was the ants that would gravitate to it. Another internet source said to sprinkle Tumeric on it. I didn’t want to do any of these hair brained schemes until I’d talked to someone.

 On Friday July 1st (the Friday of the long holiday weekend), I called our family doctor. Wouldn’t you know, he was out on medical leave indefinitely?! He’d been out for “some time” already and they had no idea when he’d be back. Knowing our doctor as I do, I had a sneaking suspicion that he wanted the summer off. I don’t fault him for it. Unfortunately, he had no one filling in for him. He now works in an urgent care type place associated with a hospital and people were filling in for him only as needed. They told me to leave a message and they would send it to him and call me back. I didn’t hear back so called about 4:15 pm and was told that he hadn’t even opened his messages. I ended up talking to a nurse. Can I say, I HATE NURSES. She asked a bunch of questions, I was basically asking if I should continue doing what I’d been doing for the bed sore or if there was some prescription medicine that would make it heal quicker. She said that my mom needed to be seen!! I needed to take her to the emergency room in the next day or two. That a bed sore can get serious very quickly. If you’ve ever been to the Emergency room of a hospital, it is MANY hours of waiting, no matter how much pain you’re in. It’s very frustrating. Knowing that Greg would be leaving in a little over a week just fueled my stress. If I had to take her in somewhere, it would be much easier to do it with his help. But taking her somewhere like that unnecessarily could be the worst thing. I was upset most of the holiday weekend.

 
I went back to the Internet and saw reviews for this cream called Emuaid. I’d never heard of it before but it cures all kinds of hard to heal wounds. It’s super expensive like $48 for 2 oz. But the jar will probably last a few (or several) years. Plus you can’t put a price on being healthy and peace of mind. When this first turned up, I had gone to Jewel Osco (our local grocery/pharmacy) and asked them what they recommend. They had NO CLUE. They couldn’t even steer me to the correct bandage. When I saw this Emuaid, it said that they now carried it at CVS pharmacy. Sat. July 2nd, Greg & I went over there and I asked the pharmacist. They don’t carry it, nor had they heard of it. They also were no help. Luckily. I have a big mouth. I will ask ANYONE and EVERYONE literally ANYTHING. I had seen online that another place nearby supposedly carried it. So while in the CVS parking lot, I called “The Way of Life Health Food Store” in Niles, IL. I asked if they carried that cream and they said yes and then I asked for directions.

 Apparently, this place has been around for decades and I used to shop at JoAnn Fabrics (which is now out of business) right next door and didn’t notice the place. This time when we pulled up, there was a guy on his knees on the sidewalk, scraping gum off. That impressed me from the get-go. I told him he must be a new owner because he still cared. Turns out he’s not the owner at all but he’s pretty knowledgeable. 


We left the store awhile later and $117 poorer. We got the Emuaid, as well as some mult-vitamins in LIQUID form. I never knew they came that way. So I’ve been mixing in a shot glass worth in Mom’s apple juice every morning. It smells bad the way vitamins do so I know I’d gag if I tried to drink it. Mom takes it and drinks it right down. I got some Himalayan Pink sea salt and some natural fiber comparable to Benefiber which I take twice daily. To a make a long story short (that ain’t ever going to happen!), the Emuaid did the trick! I started it Sunday morning July 3rd and put it on once a day. Sometimes more if the bandage came off and I had to replace it.

 Then on Tues. July 5th, I got a phone call back from that nurse. She said she heard back from Dr. James and he wanted her to be taken in to either an emergency room or an urgent care place right away. She needed to have it scraped and a culture done and check for MRSA. In case you don’t know, that’s some hard to treat (sometimes fatal) bacterial staph infection. I can’t even tell you how this shook me up. I felt like we were on the road to recovery but didn’t want to take chances with her health. The nurse has no idea HOW HARD it would be to maneuver Mom over there and then get her up on a table and put her through all that. I texted Greg at work and he called me and we talked about it. All I know is that you can catch a ton of things FROM a hospital setting. Things you didn’t go in with. I would never forgive myself if I took her somewhere and she picked up something like MRSA and died from it!!!

 So I used my own judgement and monitored it constantly. I made sure I kept it clean and dry which is nearly impossible with her incontinence. I noticed it getting better very slowly and as of a few days ago, it was COMPLETELY healed. Amen and Hallelujah! It just goes to show that listening to a doctor or nurse like it’s the gospel isn’t always right. They are covering their ass, trying to make sure they don’t get sued. I’m afraid there are a ton ofelderly or bedridden people out there dealing with this and getting back advice. 
Mom doesn’t like to hold up a glass to drink. She wants me to do it. Today she fell asleep with a glass in her hand and dropped it and it broke on the carpet. I guess it’s my fault for not taking it away from her promptly. 
I’m getting sick of writing about Alzheimers. I have to live it, I don’t want to think about it in my diown time. I have other things I want to write about in the coming week. We’ll see if I can manage it.

 
My dad’s Aunt Emma (he only had one aunt and she was ancient when I was born) used to always use the saying, “This Too Shall Pass”. No matter what happened. It takes many years of living to appreciate those old sayings. It never meant much to me until now. My interpretation of it is that no matter whether something is good or bad (but usually referring to bad), it will eventually come to an end. You can be content in knowing that pain and suffering will pass, loneliness and despair, grief and sorrow. They are not everlasting. Although even disappointment can feel deep and overwhelming at times. We tend to often forget that emotions are temporary and if we can remember that it will pass, it will see us through the hard times and keep hope running through our veins.

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Sitting outside on the deck under the umbrella with my laptop is a new joy. The only thing missing is a sassy umbrella drink to sip. Taking a break to try to compose my next blog post. I need to order more bed pads from Amazon since it looks like we’ve become major investors. I’ve started putting Mom in diapers during the day. On top of underpants & the thickest incontinence pad made. It’s still not enough. It’s really the only option at this point unless I wanted to mess with a catheter. In case you’re wondering, I don’t. 

Hubby left for 2 weeks of work training in GA this morning. I drove him to the airport at 5:30 am & didn’t go back to bed or take a nap. Hopefully, tomorrow I’ll be more clear headed. 

I was dreading him leaving so much. I’m used to being home without him in the daytime but the nights are intolerable. He helps so much with taking the dogs out at night while I take Mom up to bed. He also takes them out in the morning while I get her up. Without him around, things are a lot rougher for me. I guess I shouldn’t dwell on it and like most things, it will pass quickly and be over and done with before I know it.

I haven’t been on my laptop since I wrote my last blog post & am having so much trouble. Instead of cutting & pasting from an email into WordPress, it says to use Ctrl+V/Cmd+V keyboard shortcuts. I know what the control button is but not the rest. I also have not figured out how to save photos from email & find them again. I used to do it all the time on my old laptop but this is so foreign. I have some things written up but without the pictures to go along with, it doesn’t make much sense.

Right now I’m doing what I swore I would never do–typing this up one finger at a time on my iPhone. I’m going to publish it on my iPhone & hope for the best. I will try to do a few updates this week so you hear the latest gory details of my nursing skills. At least you know I’m still around. Sorry for the lame post.

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It’s amazing how I always start everything with the best of intentions and then it fizzles out. I’m gung-ho and don’t really think it through when I make a commitment like my last post. I was going to post a selfie every day for a month. Sadly, that lasted 4 days. I was already sick of it. I couldn’t think of any way to be more original or interesting when taking the photos. I figured if I was that sick of doing it, others would be even more sick of seeing them. I don’t know if that’s true or not. I didin’t just skip a day with the plan to start back up the next day. On the 5th day, I didn’t post and then said, “I’ve ruined my streak. I give up.” My selfie plan went the way of every diet I’ve ever started. I can do it for a few days and then it turns into too much work. Or too much of a bother. Or I don’t see results.

I was doing the selfie thing to try to get myself over my selfie phobia and self hatred. 4 days isn’t going to cut it. It just shows how lost I am with coming up with my own solutions. Now I’m even more embarrassed that I didn’t follow through. I should’ve known better. I have a history of terrible follow through. If I promise something to an individual, I move heaven and earth to keep my word. Of couse, I’ve pretty much quit making promises because I don’t like the pressure. But a promise I make to myself, I don’t feel the need to honor. It goes back to me thinking I’m not worthy of it. It’s a Catch-22. This seems to be a common problem. I see others swear an oath to a new start of “eating clean”, a “90 day cleanse” or working out daily. They post their meals and workout outfits like they were entering a contest. A week or so later, they’ve put it on the back burner and soon it disappears entirely. Then a month later, they are pledging allegiance to the same thing again. I can’t do that. I’ve failed at the selfie thing even though I had some wonderful support from people on Twitter, Instagram and the blog. Now I’ll just try to post a pic when I can force myself. But I know there’ll be days where I won’t want to. I’m not going to make myself. This brings my expectations of success in the final outcome way down. To the point of impossible.

My knee has been all hosed up. A few weeks ago I was squatting in front of the kitchen sink. It sounds like I was going to take a dump there but alas, no. (Blame my train of thought on hearing about people in Walmart and other stores dropping trou in public and doing their business. I can’t even imagine, nor do I want to.) I was trying to reach way in the back underneath the sink. Like doing the deepest knee bend ever. I’ve always squatted as need be, sometimes it’s easier than bending over because I can see things head on instead of upside down or sideways. At the time, I felt excruciating pain. Almost like a burning and tearing. I had to pull myself up. Both knees were sore for awhile but I didn’t think much about it. Then a few days later, my left knee was painful as heck. On the side and behind the knee. Going down into the calf. I have too much to do to just rest, so I walked the dogs, carried laundry up and down the stairs, etc. Just business as usual. Now it’s worse than it was a week ago. I don’t want to have to go to the doctor or have surgery. That’s not an option when I have to care for Mom. It just feels like another thing to add to my list of Reasons To Be Depressed. I’ve never been one to have knee problems. I guess that makes me lucky. It gives me new appreciation for my MIL & SIL who have had knee replacements. I don’t want a new knee. I just want mine to work again! I think I must be the most impatient person in the world when it comes to healing or being sick. Heaven help the world if I ever end up in a wheelchair because I’d have to do some heavy plotting to keep myself on deck.

Hubby went to a Super Bowl part after work on Sunday. I was invited too but had to decline because Mom can’t be home alone at night anymore. I didn’t pout but was hurt that there was a time when hubby wouldn’t have gone anywhere without me. I guess I shouldn’t take it personally? Maybe he’s sick of missing things too.

This blog post serves no purpose except to acknowledge my failure. I’m not going to beat myself up about it. If I had follow through, I’d be a millionaire, thin and have several published books. Instead, I’m just a regular schmuck who lets herself down. Maybe there are worse things to be…

 

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It’s been an interesting couple of weeks. I woke up with a bad cold on Monday Oct. 5th, just 3 days before we were to leave on vacation. My first instinct was to cancel and reschedule because my colds always last a week minimum, usually longer. Then I saw how disappointed my hubby was at the thought of not going. So I decided that if the roles were reversed,  he would go so I agreed to make the best of it. I pretty much got everything packed and Mom bathed on Tues. Oct. 6th. I was doing last minute things like getting food packed up on Thurs. morning while Greg went to fetch the RV and bring it to the house.

Halloween decorations above our garage

Halloween decorations above our garage

Wouldn’t you know he called to tell me it was acting up and he had to take it to the shop?! A bunch of things wouldn’t work on it and it turned out to be the serpentine belt, idler arms and a bearing that needed to be replaced. Since he got it in fairly early on that Thurs., he thought we might have it back the next day. So we puttered around the house and when the mechanic called later that afternoon, he told us what the problem was. He said he had to order parts but made it sound like we might have it Friday. So we hung around the house and put up Halloween decorations above the garage. On Friday, Greg called the repair shop at noon to find out the status. Well, they wouldn’t have the parts until Monday so we were staying home for the weekend. It was a weekend in limbo of not knowing if we’d end up being home all week or if we’d eventually get on the road afterall.

Wolff's Flea Market in Rosemont, IL

Wolff’s Flea Market in Rosemont, IL

Hubby works every Sunday and since he had a free one, we wanted to check out Wolff’s Flea Market near Rosemont, IL. It’s only 3 miles from our house but we’ve only gone ONCE–about 20 years ago! We knew that the hardcore folks get up and go while it’s still dark out. We stayed in bed and strolled over at our leisure. We took 2 hours during the height of the day and walked 6 miles. We got a few things which I haven’t photographed yet: a chalkware of Jesus, Mary & Joseph, a casket plaque from 1878 and some longhorn steer horns. It’s a good thing we didn’t get anything else since you have to carry it as you walk around. The regulars bring carts, wagons and rolling suitcases to lug their purchases around. It was fun and I think we’ll do it again in another 20 years. 😉

Elvis riding dirty

Elvis riding dirty

Monday came and we found out that Tues. was the earliest we would get the RV back. We still didn’t call the trip off, leaving everything sitting around packed up (not the food but the pills and clothing, etc.). Tues. Oct. 13th, we heard it was ready and Greg went to get the RV. I made us sandwiches for lunch to bring on the road and we left just before 3 pm and got to Green Bay around 6 pm. We returned home on Sat. Oct. 17th.

Ivy takes possession of the dog bed in the RV

Ivy takes possession of the dog bed in the RV

So we had a short trip of 3 days and 4 nights which we never do. We squeezed a lot into such a short time. We got Mom out every day and took her gambling with us. We gambled more on this short trip than we’ve done in years. We ate all our meals in the RV and only went to one antique shop in Green Bay. We did make it to Maplewood meats and got a few goodies to bring home. We didn’t get to do much reading and no watching movies or anything like that. Greg and I went apple picking one morning before a cold snap hit. The last 2 days there the temps dropped from 50’s & 60’s to 20’s. It was bitter cold everywhere in the Midwest and now the temps are in the 70’s again. Go figure!

My beautiful girl, Amber Sunset, in the RV

My beautiful girl, Amber Sunset, in the RV

With life throwing us curve balls on a random basis, we’ve learned all we can do is just roll with it. Try to take what happens in stride and  have low expectations. The few extra days at home gave me a chance to get over the worst part of my cold. I’ve still got a small cough and congestion 2 weeks later. Luckily, the RV was still under the extended warranty we got when we bought it. It expires Nov. 7th so fingers crossed nothing else goes wrong for awhile with it. We’ve got at least one big trip coming up and possibly two that we need it in good working order for.

I wanted this birdcage but hubby veto'd it. No where to put it!

I wanted this birdcage but hubby veto’d it. No where to put it!

I’ll be doing posts about other parts of my life soon but wanted to get this published before anymore time passes.

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This is where I come to rant. I need to get this out of my system and don’t want to burden my husband with it any further. I’ve mentioned before that I sell vintage on Etsy. It’s been slow going since I’m not able to devote much time to listing items or promotion. For the most part, I’ve enjoyed Etsy and the people I’ve dealt with. My fave customers are the ones who see an item, buy it, I ship it out and never hear from them again! 😉 It’s always nice to hear from someone who loves something you’ve sold them. But from past experiences, I almost cringe when there’s a lot of “conversation” prior to or after selling. My hubby and I started selling on eBay back in March 1997! Hubby gets us started on these things and then I have to tow the line. We have sold tens of thousands of new collectible items on ebay up until 3 years ago when we closed our ebay store. The fees and how they treat their sellers gave us no other choice. During all those sales, we’ve run into some “doozies” where customers are concerned. I’m not going to go into those in this post but if people do want to hear it, I will sit down and write about them in the future.

To separate paragraphs, I'm putting pictures of things I'm selling on Etsy. Vintage Head Vase

To separate paragraphs, I’m putting pictures of things I have for sale on Etsy. This is a gorgeous vintage head vase.

I don’t like dwelling on unpleasant things but sometimes it’s good to get them off your chest. On Etsy, we have our selling preferences set to sell ONLY to the USA. This is due to some awful experiences we’ve had in the past. Where we under calculated postage and ended up losing money. One time someone from Canada used a fraudulent Paypal account and we had no recourse. Also the post office is even rougher going to other countries and no matter how well wrapped things were when they left us, they either were lost or didn’t make it in one piece. Ok, so you are up to speed on our reasons. We’ve still been getting all kinds of people asking if we will make an exception to ship to them in another country. Some are rude about it, some are nice. All are disappointed when I refuse to budge. A few days ago, someone sent a message through Etsy asking if we would let them buy a big eyed girl bank (from the 1960’s) and ship to Canada. They were especially polite and almost desperate. She tells me she is a famous artist who sells her work in galleries all over the world. She wants to use this bank as a muse and do a painting of it. I do what I always do when I feel torn–nothing. I was thinking it over and trying to decide how to let her down easy. Then she writes again and pleads her case some more. She’s almost begging and I’m not completely heartless so my resolve slips a little. We haven’t shipped anything to Canada for over 10 years. I don’t even know how to do it.

Flower power ice bucket.

Flower power ice bucket.

So I messaged her back and said if she gave me her mailing address, I could look it up and see if I can do the shipping from our Stamps.com account. Also I would give her a quote for shipping. So she sends it to me and I have to box up the item and can’t use a Priority Box. I go through 2 separate boxes since the first is not big enough to suit me. Others I know would mail it with it touching the sides but I won’t. I always triple bubblewrap everything fragile because I’d worry myself sick if I didn’t. The bank weighs over a lb. and it is $11.88 first class and $28.88 Priority.  So I quote her $12.50 first class and $29.50 Priority. This isn’t even adding fees in or anything. She says she’ll take first class.

Bowl of fake eggs from Italy.

Bowl of fake eggs from Italy.

This is where I come to rant. I need to get this out of my system and don’t want to burden my husband with it any further. I’ve mentioned before that I sell vintage on Etsy. It’s been slow going since I’m not able to devote much time to listing items or promotion. For the most part, I’ve enjoyed Etsy and the people I’ve dealt with. My fave customers are the ones who see an item, buy it, I ship it out and never hear from them again! 😉 It’s always nice to hear from someone who loves something you’ve sold them. But from past experiences, I almost cringe when there’s a lot of “conversation” prior to or after selling. My hubby and I started selling on eBay back in March 1997! Hubby gets us started on these things and then I have to tow the line. We have sold tens of thousands of new collectible items on ebay up until 3 years ago when we closed our ebay store. The fees and how they treat their sellers gave us no other choice. During all those sales, we’ve run into some “doozies” where customers are concerned. I’m not going to go into those in this post but if people do want to hear it, I will sit down and write about them in the future.

Child's 3 piece dish set: bowl, cup and plate.

Child’s 3 piece dish set: bowl, cup and plate.

I don’t like dwelling on unpleasant things but sometimes it’s good to get them off your chest. On Etsy, we have our selling preferences set to sell ONLY to the USA. This is due to some awful experiences we’ve had in the past. Where we under calculated postage and ended up losing money. One time someone from Canada used a fraudulent Paypal account and we had no recourse. Also the post office is even rougher going to other countries and no matter how well wrapped things were when they left us, they either were lost or didn’t make it in one piece. Ok, so you are up to speed on our reasons. We’ve still been getting all kinds of people asking if we will make an exception to ship to them in another country. Some are rude about it, some are nice. All are disappointed when I refuse to budge. A few days ago, someone sent a message through Etsy asking if we would let them buy a big eyed girl bank (from the 1960’s) and ship to Canada. They were especially polite and almost desperate. She tells me she is a famous artist who sells her work in galleries all over the world. She wants to use this bank as a muse and do a painting of it. I have a soft spot for artists and it sounds cool.  I do what I always do when I feel torn–nothing. I was thinking it over and trying to decide how to let her down easy. Then she writes again and pleads her case some more. She’s almost begging and I’m not completely heartless so my resolve slips. We haven’t shipped anything to Canada for over 10 years. I don’t even know how to do it.

The item in question. Big eyed bank.

The item in question. Big eyed bank.

So I messaged her back and said if she gave me her mailing address, I could look it up and see if I can do the shipping from our Stamps.com account. Also I would give her a quote for shipping. So she sends it to me and I have to box up the item and can’t use a Priority Box. I go through 2 separate boxes since the first is not big enough to suit me. Others I know would mail it with it touching the sides but I won’t. I always triple bubblewrap everything fragile because I’d worry myself sick if I didn’t. The bank weighs over a lb. and it is $11.88 first class and $28.88 Priority.  So I quote her $12.50 first class and $29.50 Priority. This isn’t even adding fees in or anything. She says she’ll take first class.

Nautical barware utensils.

Nautical barware utensils.

I go into the Etsy site and add to the title “Reseved For Her Name” and changed the shipping to Canada with the amount. I wanted to just add Canada to the existing USA option but it just kept loading and wouldn’t work. After spending way too much time on this, I message her back and tell her it should be available for her to purchase. Then she comes back and says she was checking out and sees we don’t take Paypal. Well, we’ve NEVER had our Etsy linked to our Paypal. Etsy uses Direct Checkout and collects the money, takes their fee and deposits our sales into our bank account once a week. You couldn’t ask for anything better. Etsy accepts any type of credit card there is so you’d think this woman could just do that. Instead she is bugging me to use Paypal.

Bongos from the Bahamas.

Bongos from the Bahamas.

I spent my entire Saturday night going back and forth from my iphone to laptop (in the other room) trying to fascilitate this transaction. I was on the verge of a meltdown that night and felt so stupid for not being able to figure it out. Greg did a lot of manual labor that day. He went to get the lumber to start building the pergola and was so exhausted, he was in no shape for me to bother him with this. He knew I was working on it but was just too drained to care. When I get beyond frustrated, I start crying and I was on the brink of it that night. Finally, I had to message this person and tell her I couldn’t figure it out. Yesterday I went back in and was able to find the area on Etsy to accept Paypal payments. Of course, then I told her and she still couldn’t do it because the actual Paypal (in Greg’s name) has foreign buyers blocked. I managed to go into Paypal and figure out how to change it but then I saw that the fees are even higher for foreign transactions than USA. Plus there’s no Seller Protection from Etsy if you take Paypal. I don’t know if Paypal would back us up either. I don’t forsee a problem with this buyer but I also can’t see turning our lives upside down for one tiny sale. I messaged this woman back again and told her that she had 2 choices if she wanted the item: she could pay with a credit card on Etsy or have a friend in the USA buy it, we’d ship it to them and they could forward it to her. The sad thing is I’m bending over backwards and yet she still wants it HER WAY. I’d say that’s the American way but she’s Canadian…whoops.

Buick Wildcat air filter cover.

Buick Wildcat air filter cover.

Which brings me to the core of this rant.  I am the type of person who never wants to bother anyone. I don’t put anyone out ever if I can help it. I don’t ask for substitutions in a restaurant. I don’t ask for anything but extra water. I never send my food back. I was brought up to “make do” and accept my lot in life and be grateful for what I do have. Not to expect anyone to cater to me or treat me differently or better than others. I was never taught that I deserved special treatment. On the contrary, to not be a bother or pest. To never ask for extra or more. To be polite and thankful for being treated decently, not even good. It’s kind of hard to explain but it’s a mindset that I think is from generations past. I hate lumping youngsters into this category but so many feel entitled to everything. I’ve written about this before but it bears repeating.

Fortune telling Cup Of Knowledge.

Fortune telling Cup Of Knowledge.

To put it into perspective, the item I’m selling is $19.99 plus shipping. I’m not going to MAKE $20 on this since I didn’t get the item for free. I make nothing on shipping and Etsy fees have to come out of there too. I set his price myself, I’m not being ripped off but I priced it for an “easy transaction”. Not one that I’d have to spend HOURS going back and forth conversing about how to help this woman out. Plus looking online at Etsy trying to switch preferences. It is much the same reason we don’t ship EXPRESS mail. It costs like $30 for a small package but it’s so people can get something overnight. They can’t wait until the post office delivers in their usual sometimes slow fashion. At first we would go along with this for people but WE gain nothing. We don’t charge extra. All the postage goes to the post office. It is more work for us that the person didn’t think ahead of time of what they’d want or when they’d need it. I would never ship something that way for myself. It’s annoying that people think they should take priority over others’ lives.

Milk glass hands.

Milk glass hands.

You’re probably thinking, what is she complaining about if she gets a sale out of it? Well, $20 isn’t going to change my life or matter one way or the other in the scheme of things. I know this item will sell when it gets closer to Christmas. She’s not doing me a favor by buying it.

Fat Is Beautiful sign. I have a similar one hanging in my bathroom!

Fat Is Beautiful sign. I have a similar one hanging in my bathroom!

So a day has passed and I hadn’t heard back until t his morning. Now the woman is going to try to use a credit card and asked me to leave it set to sell to Canada for a few more hours to give her time to figure it out. I graciously told her I’d give her 2 more days. I just want it to be done with, one way or the other.. The one thing I did learn is to stick to my guns. No matter how much pressure others put on me, I need to do what is right FOR ME. They may get mean and nasty if I don’t give in to their wishes but it’s either them or me unhappy and I’d rather it was them. Inject emoticon of a smiley face with a halo above. That’s where the saying “No good deed goes unpunished comes from”…

High fashion cat figurine.

High fashion cat figurine.

If you see anything you like in my pictures and live in the USA (wink,wink), check out my etsy shop under Dejavujunkie. 

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There’s been a #20beautifulwomen challenge going around on Instagram for some time now. You’re supposed to post a picture of yourself when you feel most beautiful and then tag 20 other women to participate. Literally these selfies are all up in my feed. I’m not a huge fan of selfies–either for myself or others. I don’t mind  people posting pictures of themselves but it’s hard for me to understand several times a day like there’s nothing else out there as important. I haven’t been tagged which either means that people know I don’t go for that nonsense or they don’t think I’m beautiful. I’ve been dreading possibly getting tagged and having to explain my aversion to having my picture taken. Surprisingly, maybe a third that are doing it say they dislike having their picture taken. That is hard for me to believe. They are some of the prettiest out there.

I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about this topic but the conclusions I came to surprised me. Some of the people who did the #20beautifulwomen challenge said things like “everyone is beautiful” or “all women are beautiful” or “we’re all beautiful”. I disagree wholeheartedly. NOT everyone is beautiful physically. There are a lot of unattractive or downright ugly people. Maybe not so much on Instagram but out in real life. You’ll see people that will make your skin crawl. A lot of the physically beautiful people are shallow or ugly inside which negates their beauty, at least in my eyes. Then there’s the people who you don’t consider beautiful at first but as you get to know them, you’re kind of struck by their beauty in every day things. Like their generosity or kindness makes them beautiful. Or how they care for their children with such love or how they handle customers or coworkers with so much humor and grace. Some people are beautiful on the outside, some are beautiful on the inside and some are beautiful inside and out.

I’ve tried to examine why I personally hate having my picture taken. It’s not just how I look physically. I don’t really think I’m ugly even though I’m overweight and have any number or imperfections. A large majority of pictures I have my eyes shut in which makes me look like a dork. That’s beside the point. I don’t like having that kind of attention where I know I’ll be judged. All this time I thought it was self-loathing. I don’t really like myself. I searched on WordPress under self-loathing and it has people who REALLY hate themselves and are into self-mutilation and self harm. That is so far from me. I don’t want to hurt myself in any way, shape or form. I appreciate the body I have and that I’m able to walk, talk and function as a normal person. I don’t take those things for granted. I do have constant feelings of self doubt. What it boils down to is  I don’t believe in myself.

Beauty is nothing more than confidence. If you are a confident person, you will come across as beautiful. You will project the image that you believe you are beautiful. You are in charge and know what you’re doing. Most of the time I feel like I’m posing as an adult. An imposter who is just winging it as I go through life.

I have a whole other post I need to write about being overweight and what that does to a person’s psyche. Especially a lifetime of being fat and all that goes with it. To shorten the story some, I’ll just say that I was fat since birth. As kids will, I was constantly teased and called Fatso. It made me cry. I cried a lot. I felt powerless over my weight and powerless over how others saw me. I was bullied by 3 different kids in our neighborhood, one included daily beatings. Society was different back then and it was just accepted. An older 6th grade girl got up in my face one day (about 2 inches away) on the school playground at recess. I wasn’t older than 3rd grade but may have been even younger. I didn’t know this girl from Adam and she felt the need to say, “You are so ugly.” Wow. It was unprovoked and I had no response. I just started to cry. Looking back, this girl was super homely herself but I would never go out of my way to hurt someone like that, even if it was true.

Obviously, I have gotten over the above incident and the majority of the other teasing and name calling. However, it did change me in a profound way. I became even shyer. I was a shy kid already and this just made me go into my shell more. I had friends but for the most part, I tried to blend into the woodwork. If someone felt the need to tell me I was ugly, I needed to not be seen. To stay out of the way and not make people have to look at me. When I got to Jr. High School (7th-9th grade), it was a new start and I rose above all this. I even became somewhat popular and loved school. This lasted until I went to High School.

Anyway, feeling that kind of judgement makes me self conscious about everything I do in public. To this day, I’m horribly self-conscious. I don’t know how to fix it. Even making someone wait behind me while I count out change in the checkout lane makes me nervous. I feel like I’m not worthy of holding them up. Or any number of things I might do in front of someone, I feel like even if they don’t say anything they are thinking bad things of me. I don’t talk about this but it is always there.

I don’t feel worthy as a human being a lot of the time. I avoid mirrors. I was raised without a lot of compliments. My dad never gave compliments and my mom was raised without getting them so for her, the best thing she could say was that I looked, “Clean from home.” My dad never told me he loved me which is par for his generation but it still made me insecure. My mom told me and I believed her. I always felt like parents are supposed to love you and when one of them can’t, it has to be my fault. Well, after my dad died, I figured out it had nothing to do with me. However, it still had been ingrained in me for my entire childhood. I would hear my dad talking about my acne or how I needed to lose weight. Even my mom wanted me to lose weight the worst way. I have never wanted to be loved for physical beauty. The Amish side of me wants to be loved because I’m a good person. My husband has told me I’m beautiful (once in a blue moon) but I have a hard time believing it. He also likes to tell me, “You’re such a good person.” I believe him but wonder why no one else notices.

After reaching adulthood, no one dared say outright how fat I was or call me Fatso. But I would catch people talking about me behind my back. Like in a bathroom stall at work. I almost had a panic attack when I heard 2 women I hardly knew talking about me and just picking me apart. They didn’t know I was in there and I stayed in there until they left so they never knew. These 2 women were about the same size as me, maybe a bit bigger. They dolled themselves up though with makeup and hairspray. I just didn’t measure up to their standards.

I don’t know how to love myself. Or even like myself. There’s parts of me that I like but not my looks. It wouldn’t matter if I lost weight, I would still feel the same way about myself. I know this because when I was younger, I did lose weight and I still had no confidence or self esteem.

I admit I am a bit jealous of those with high self esteem. Those that can look at themselves in a mirror and think they look fabulous. I’ve often wondered how everyone else gets such a high opinion of themselves. Do they give themselves pep talks daily? Tell themselves how wonderful they are if no one else will? There’s a woman about 650 lbs. on Instagram who people are constantly telling her “you’re so beautiful”. I don’t get it. I’m not saying she couldn’t be beautiful at that weight. I don’t know if they really mean it since to me, she’s not. But she acts like she believes it and agrees with them. I wouldn’t want people telling that to me unless they truly felt that way and even then it would make me uncomfortable.

There’s a book I heard about called “Unworthy: How To Stop Hating Yourself” by Anneli Rufus. If anyone’s read this and think it would help, let me know. Otherwise if you’ve gone through anything similar or know what steps to take to make me like myself, do tell. I’m all ears! In the meantime, I’ll be looking at all the selfies for the #20beautifulwomenchallenge and feeling left out and out of place. I should be used to it by now, I’ve had enough practice.

 

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