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Posts Tagged ‘#staycation’

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

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

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We left on Thurs. June 26th for a 9 day vacation to Green Bay, WI. I had hoped to escape my day to day life & problems and come back refreshed like you’re supposed to after a vacation. Alas, that was not meant to be. The trip to GB was only a 3 1/2 hr. drive and we were lucky enough to find an open RV spot behind the casino. They charge $15 a night and for that all you get is electricity. It used to be free but they had people living there for over a year and never leaving so I can see why they had to make some changes to the rules. We took things very easy due to Mom’s limitations. We took her with us to gamble once a day for a few hours. When we did other things like go to the cheese factory, meat market and antique mall, she wanted to stay in the RV and rest. So she played games on the ipad and the dogs kept her company. We made sure we were never gone for too long. We cooked all our meals except one in the cabin (what I call the RV). The 3 of us went out for a fish fry at a bar in DePere the day after we got there and it was pretty flavorless. Since we knew we’d be there over a week, we only bought a small amount of cheese and meat that would last us through the weekend. We had plans of going back to the meat market and getting a bunch of meat to take home the next week. We also were counting on hitting the bigger cheese factory for some cheese to take home. Not to mention we had hopes of going strawberry picking while up there. Even a return visit to the antique mall whose prices were so much cheaper than where we live was on my mind.

None of this came to pass. The first 4 days were pretty uneventful. When Monday came we knew the end of the week would be super busy everywhere due to the July 4th holiday. There’s a ton of construction going on in GB now. Trying to save ourselves some grief later in the week, we looked up a place to dump the RV’s waste tanks. We knew we had a couple days before it was full but didn’t want to find out the hard way that they’re full. One trip we had stayed in an RV park in Michigan and they had everything at the site but a dump. That time, we thought we could wait until the day we left to dump (which would have been convenient). Instead the night before, water from the grey line (not the toilet, the sinks) came backing up in the bathtub. From washing dishes too much! Not a lot of water, just enough to let us know we had to empty it immediately. Anyway, this trip, the dump site was not on the property and quite a distance away across town. With the construction, it took us about 20 minutes to get there. It was actually an RV dealer and there was a line. We had to wait about half an hour for the folks ahead of us to use it first. While we were there, we decided to get propane. We had probably 2/3 of a tank already but figured if we ran the refrig. on the way home with a lot of food in it, we didn’t want to take the chance of it running out. So we got that filled. Things went better than we expected since we’d been dreading it. It was great to have it over with and know we wouldn’t have to leave our site from Monday afternoon until Sat. when we left to come home.

Or so we thought. We got back to our site and hubby plugged in the electrical and only a few things worked. The microwave and outlets worked but the slideout (which is the room that expands to make way for a bed in the LR area), the jacks and the refrig. didn’t. This made NO sense. Everything had been in working order when we left earlier that day. We were in the same site with the same plugin and yet: nothing. The refrig. works off of either propane gas or electricity. When we’re driving, we run it on propane, when in a campsite, we run it on electricity. Now it wouldn’t run at all on either one! It boggles the mind. Hubby looked and saw one of the fuses was blown. He tried putting in one from a different area and blew that. Then he went to an auto parts store and bought extra fuses and came back and started blowing those. It’s some electrical problem that can’t be fixed by mere mortals. It has to be something more complicated that someone who went to weeks or months of schooling on RV repairs has to deal with.

Hubby was so mad, I couldn’t even talk to him. We had to regroup and come up with a new strategy. We called the RV dealer we got the propane at first to see if they could take a quick look at it and help us out so we could stay the week. They said they were booked up until July 14th! There was no way we could stay since all our food would spoil if we didn’t go home immediately. Hubby had to go in to the casino and see if he could get a refund for the unused nights we’d paid for. They usually don’t give refunds but said they would take care of it the next day. I’ve had an awful feeling in the pit of my stomach ever since then that nothing will come of it. I’m having hubby call the credit card co. tomorrow to see if they ever did credit us the $75.

It was lunch time so we quick ate some cottage cheese and headed on our way home. We had no bread and our first stop that day was going to be a bake shoppe. We scrapped that idea and left in time to get home about 6:30 pm. Ok, so our vacation was cut short. We won’t even talk about how we wouldn’t have had to go to the RV dealer to dump or get propane if we knew we were leaving. Or that if we’d stayed plugged in all along, it may not have happened at all. Here we were trying to save ourselves grief by taking care of things early and then it backfires. There’s nothing like packing a ton of extra clothes when you think you’re packing for 9 days when it’s really only 4! I kept telling myself that we can adjust and make the rest of it a “staycation”. Just be at home and do some fun things we don’t normally do. We took both weekends off from going to estate sales so we were looking to do something else exciting.

We were lucky that the spot in front of our house was open to park and unload the RV. I wouldn’t want to cart everything from around the block (which we’ve had to do before). It was super hot and muggy and then it started to rain. Rain is no big deal for people who’ve never had their basement flood. When I heard how hard it was raining, I started to panic. I was on edge and checking the basement every 10 minutes for water coming in. Hubby was checking the street and saw it flood all the way across. That’s always disturbing. One of the sewer drains by the curb (not at the intersection but a bit away) is clogged. We’ve tried opening it ourselves with a rake handle but it won’t work. We’ve also both called the city more than once about it and they’ve never done anything. About 10 pm, I was down checking the basement when I literally saw the water coming in by the standpipe, up the drains of the laundry tub and near the foundation. It comes in incredibly fast and I called to Greg to come down and start the sump pump immediately. Meanwhile, I picked up everything I could that was on the floor and carried it upstairs. I know most people think “just don’t put anything on the floor if you know this happens”. Well, that’s just not an option. We just don’t have room. Maybe we have to buy some baker’s racks to put everything on. We were up until almost 2 am waiting for the rain to stop. When the road went down some, we were able to open the standpipe and the water drained out. It was all clean rain water. No garbage or dirt or sewage like we’ve had happen before. Things could have been a lot worse. If I subscribed to “everything happens for a reason”, I’d think that’s why we had to come home early, to be there in time to catch the flood before anything was ruined. But I don’t believe in that at all. If I did, what, pray tell, would be the reason we needed to flood in the first place?! 😦

No one needs that kind of excitement. Especially us on the very same day we came home early from vacation due to an emergency. The next day, hubby took the RV back to the storage place in Elgin since we can’t it in to our dealer for repair unitl the 10th. Then we spent the day sucking the water up with our rug cleaner. We tried to get as much up before we shampooed the carpet. You can imagine it takes forever for a damp basement to dry out. We’ve got a dehumidifier down there and it runs constantly. We used to run a large box fan down there which helped get some air circulating to dry it out but it got wet in one of the past few floods and quit working. Yesterday we were finally able to put everything back downstairs and resume living.

As you can imagine, I was beyond depressed after what transpired. Other bad things kept happening as the days went by too. Including but not limited to: a charming ceramic teapot clock I bought from someone on Instagram came broken beyond repair, our new furnace rebate from Nicor Gas was rejected again (it’s $300), our Postal claim for the lost package was denied with no reason why again.($50), our 2nd half of last year’s property taxes came in the mail due Aug. 1 ($3645) and we’ve been getting a ridiculous amount of spoofing phone calls. I can’t even keep track of all the bad things that have been happening. I have to believe it’s NORMAL to be down after an avalanche of bad things happening. I honestly can’t remember being THAT down for awhile though. Not since the last time our basement flooded June 25th, 2013. Any of the things I mentioned would be enough to go wrong at one time but to be inundated with THAT MANY in such a short time, is a real test of strength and fortitude. I allowed myself 2 or 3 days to sulk and feel sorry for myself and then I started to gather my bearings and start over again at life.

When I say that I’m starting over, I don’t mean with gung ho or gusto. I’m slowly lifting myself back up to my usual positive self. I can’t live life negatively for too long or the outcome would be nothing short of tragic. I’m not the most resilient person in the world but I like to think I can bounce back with a little time and effort. Obviously, things are never as grim as they seem or as I make them out to be. Believe it or not, it was hard to think of anything to be grateful for for a few days there. Now I can be thankful that: no one died, no one is in physical pain, we still have a roof over our heads, something to eat, etc They come easily to me now but maybe that’s the blessing of time and perspective.

Needless to say, our staycation was NOT stress-free. We were drowning in stress. But we lived to face another day FILLED WITH PROBLEMS. Just kidding (I think). Our fun was cut short and none was readily available so we made our own. Yesterday, we worked outside, trimming all the bushes and trees in our front and backyard. We weeded the veggie gardens and the potted herbs. We got busy cleaning up the mess that is our lives and tried to find order where there was none. After we were done, we were exhausted but had a sense of pride and accomplishment that only hard work you do yourself can bring. It may not sound like fun but it was. We had the dogs in back with us while we were working and we got to watch them playing together. We got sunshine and fresh air and exercise that wasn’t scheduled. Hard work clears the mind, strengthens the body and frees the soul. I also realized that when I’m depressed, the best medicine is hugging the dogs. 🙂 My advice for the week is if there’s no fun to be had…go make some!

 

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