Saturday, April 22, 2017

Test is In

The number is still above normal, but better. This time, 59.7, down from 68.5 which was 6 days prior. That is a drop of 8.8 points. 13.7 more to go and I will be normal. I'm not tired anymore, so at this point I'm guessing it's nothing serious and maybe just from my Thyroid medicine being too high. I expect more tests to follow, since the number is still flagged as high.

Not much else going on. I've been talking to a realtor. The Hartford area is definitely a seller's market. Houses are snapped up within days, unless there is something wrong with them, then they sit for months. Home prices in Hartford have risen 11% this year. I have no idea why Hartford is such a hot market. There isn't a lot to do here, no big attractions, except work, oh, and a golf course south of town, where they are holding the U.S. Open this June. People are renting their homes out for that week for prices like $7,000 to $8,000 per week! I say "their homes" because I don't know the details, except they are fully furnished.

Anyway, the realtor said she will watch for something we might like and then call us before it goes on the market and hopefully, if we like it, we can grab it before it's snapped up. I feel like a mouse trying to grab a bite to eat under swooping hawks.

The agent asked me if I thought my hubby might want to transfer to the Lomira plant, because property is extremely affordable up there, think Mayville (which we visited twice). Mayville is still 20 minutes from either Quad location. Moving up there might disconnect hubby from all his Albanian friends here in Hartford, and my daughter probably wouldn't go that far, either. 20 minutes might not seem a lot of travel time, but my daughter drives to work at 3 AM and hubby works 12 hour shifts, from 7 AM to 7 PM or vice versa. However, my older daughter regularly drive 25 minutes each way every day....so I don't know. It's up to them.

In other news, hubby has a vacation starting in the beginning of May. We are still making plans. They need to be reasonably priced, because I don't want to touch our savings.

We are getting more spring weather. After Monday night I don't see any freezing nighttime temps in the immediate future. The leaves are popping out and the grass is super green!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

We Didn't Go

We called off the showing. Deal breakers:

  • Tiny bedrooms....9 feet by 9 feet is only 3 feet bigger than our bed. 9 feet by 14 feet is crazy. I would say 12x12 would be the very minimum for us, and the guest room needs to be a similar size.
  • Tiny kitchen. The floor space was bigger than the apartment here but the counter top area was smaller. I need more, not less. No, I can't just put stuff "away", these are things I need out because I use them a lot....coffee maker, microwave, bread machine, place to drain dishes. Currently the place to drain dishes is the only room I have for cooking, which means I am either cooking and piling dishes in the sink, or doing dishes and having no room to cook.
  • Old farm-house basement. I really didn't know anything about this until I looked it up, but basements were used as a root cellar and a storm shelter. Nobody did clothes down there. They were built with outer doors placed at an angle, which were opened so a delivery of coal could be dumped in. Updated old farmhouses usually have a laundry room on the main floor.
  • No Internet. As I mentioned before, we figured out a second-rate work-around. Or shall I say, 3rd rate. We would be moving from 60 mbps to maybe 10 or 20. If that were the ONLY issue, it probably wouldn't have mattered.
  • The abandoned factory and the railroad track. These weren't deal breakers, but they added to the list of issues. I've lived near trains before, but this is really close. Twice a day the train swings by through Hartford, past Walmart, through Rubicon, and then through Woodland, before heading up to Horicon.
To make matters more complicated, I was dealing with a health scare. For the last couple months I've been feeling tired, then I noticed I was having flushing, like hot flashes. Hot flashes? I had a hysterectomy 22 years ago. 20 years ago I had cancer, and chemotherapy. I had to sign a consent form stating that I understood a huge laundry list of possible complications. One of them was possible leukemia in 20 years. My dad died from some rare type of lymphoma at age 64. My first hubby died from colorectal cancer. My SIL died from liver cancer. 

I expressed my concerns to my doc. She ordered tests. "This one will check for leukemia and this one will check for lymphoma." she explained.

One test came back flagged as high. It shouldn't be high. It was high. True to my nature (no, I can never leave things alone), I started looking stuff up. Everything was telling me I could have something disrupting my pituitary gland, and they would be looking for a tumor.

>>>Freak out time<<<

I messaged my concerns to my doc. She called me. Yeah, she's a doctor's helper, who works under the guidance of a doc, she's great, and always takes time to address my concerns, and I call her my doctor.

So...I have a UTI (urinary tract infection) and my thyroid medicine is too strong, both of which could contribute to how I've been feeling. She put me on antibiotics, lowered my thyroid medication, and ordered a repeat of the hormone test. Apparently that hormone can go up and down significantly, so it takes several tests to confirm it is actually high.

If it still shows high, there are some more tests she can order. I have been referred to an endocrinologist (hormone doctor). Unfortunately I can't get in until the end of September. My doc assured me if I start having issues then she will get me in quicker with a phone call.

The good news is, hubby and I walked the Lion's Den trail, even took the stairs down the 900 foot cliff to the shore of Lake Michigan and back up again and I had no issues! I felt better. I wasn't tired or weak. I'm not getting the flushing as often, in fact, it seems to be disappearing. Being out with nature is good for me. Hubby and I love to walk together but the trails have been muddy. They are just now getting better.

*************************
What are we looking for in a house? We aren't sure. We toyed with the idea of a condo or duplex, but are put off by the close proximity of neighbors and the fact that anything outdoors belongs to the association and is subject to rules. However, a larger home that has been turned into a duplex (2 story), is attractive to us because my daughter would rent from us. Of course, it must be updated. Old houses are notorious for having dangerous electrical wiring and faulty plumbing. Back to condos...we found out that getting a loan on one is more difficult. Not only must the condo itself be approved, but the entire condo association must be approved. Anything one owner does or doesn't do affects the whole community. Peeling paint is enough to get any loan denied, and one person's negligence could prevent another person's purchase or sale. 

Back to house hunting...

Waiting and Wondering

I've got maybe good and maybe bad news today. Where shall I start? I guess with the maybe bad.

My ACTH test came in. My adrenocorticotropic hormone is high. That is not good news. That is serious sh!t, because now they need to do a bajillion tests to figure out why. In simple terms, something is causing too much hormone to be made, and it could be a tumor.

Why does this have to come up now?

Monday we have an appointment to see a home. My hubby, myself, and my younger daughter are all mutually interested in it, and it looks to be in good shape. It's a duplex in the country, and the plan is that hubby and I will live downstairs and daughter will live upstairs. It has the windows I love, a balcony in front (second floor) and a nice deck in the back. It has a back yard and a view of the woods with a stream at the bottom of a ravine. This is something I have always wanted.

Back yard. Yes, that one!

Front balcony

Rear deck

An inside picture from an old listing (2011)

There are some possible issues. It might be too small, it might not have enough storage, and the outside-only entrance to get down into the basement might just be too awkward. Need to go see...

Cellar doors, inside the white circle

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Condos, Townhomes and Duplexs, Oh My

Well, hubby is really pushing for the no-maintenance condo option. I'm Ok with it if there are enough windows and a view of nature. It means not having a yard, or chickens,and he has to give up thinking about getting a German Shepherd.

Hubby looking for something to buy:

  • Modern appliances...check
  • Elegant design...check
  • A large deck...check
  • Underground or garage parking...check
  • No maintenance...check
  • Nice clubhouse and pool...check
Me looking for something to buy:
  • Is it in good condition...check
  • Does it have a view of nature...check
Is something backwards here? 

There is a condo in West Bend that has wooded walking paths next to it. Bummer that it's 55 and older. Well, I can live there but hubby can't lol lol

There isn't much for sale right now, too "wintery" yet.

I had my lab tests this morning. My doc will call me with the results when they come in.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Tests

Tomorrow I get a battery of blood tests. One has to be taken between 8 AM and 10:30 AM, so hubby will get a ride to work and leave me the car. It's an ACT or ACTH test to check my Adrenocorticotropic Hormone. I'm also getting a CBC & Auto Differential, Lactate Dehydrogrenase Total, Thyroid Stimulating Hormone Reflex, and Uninalysis. So...checking hormones, thyroid, checking for lymphoma and leukemia, mainly because my dad died of lymphoma and leukemia is a possible side effect of chemo that could show up in 20 years post treatment. Pending later are ultra sounds of heart and abdomen and maybe a stress test.

Thank God for good medical care and awesome insurance.

It's a beautiful sunny day, so me and hubby are going out for a bit. Later I will cook tacos and invite daughter over.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Tired

I don't know why I've been so tired. I mentioned it to my nurse when I went to see my doc. We thought the warm weekend might perk me up.

Nope.

I thought a really good night's sleep with no interruptions (hubby is off work...no getting up at 5 am) would help.

Nope.

I went to bed at 9:30 last night, woke up at 6:30, took my thyroid medicine and checked my blood sugar. 124 is decent for me. I should be feeling great, yet I felt heavy, like my blood sugar was 300. I went back to bed and slept till 9 am.

I called my doc's office, talked to a nurse. She asked some questions, I think to make sure I wasn't having a heart attack or something. She made an appointment for me for Wednesday and asked me to write down everything that goes on, so we don't miss anything.

Hubby woke up (he went to bed later than me), so we both got up. I ate some breakfast. I kind of noticed my chest might be a bit tight, so I took a shot of asthma spray. I'm wondering if that's it. I wonder if I'm not breathing right at night. I'm taking notes on everything.

Another issue is #2, you know, potty. I have been having issues for a long time. I have increased fiber, but I have an issue with supplements causing gas. I brought that up at my doc appointment. I was wondering if it's because I use splenda. She didn't think so, but suggested I try MiraLAX and make sure to drink lots of water. OMG that stuff smells and tastes like plastic. I'm only getting mediocre results. And yes, I push water all the time. I eat yogurt, drink probiotic yogurt, eat cereal with fiber. I've been toying with the idea of trying Metamucil but I'm concerned I will have too much gas.

Well, I will take all my notes tomorrow. The doc will order some more tests, and I will check in here when I find out what's going on.

From Menard's...hubby bought me a step stool to sit on when I'm needing to do stuff in the frig, and a little solar snail. I'm hoping the entrance light doesn't keep it turned off.




Saturday, April 8, 2017

Sunny Saturday

We have a warm spell, so I have my windows cracked open and plants lined up on the window sill. Eventually I will be able to open the outer window and set the plants against the screen. Then I can close the inner window as needed, leaving the plants almost outside for the summer. I can only do this with the ones that are small enough to fit between the two windows.


This apartment has old-style "storm windows....an inner window and an outer window with a space in between, that is supposed to be a "dead air space", but it's not, it's really drafty, so I'm glad we don't need to pay for heat here. In nice weather I slide the outer window open and place my plants next to the screen. This works great for my smaller plants because I can close the inner window without removing them.


I'm in trouble this year, though, because I've increased my collection. Last year half my plants fit in the window and the other half stayed on the plastic shelf. This year I will need to squeeze them together and maybe even put some outside. They can't stay in the lower shelf because when I use the air conditioner it will blow cold air on them.

Yesterday my daughter was off work so we went shopping together. Steins Garden Center did not have the awesome succulent collection they had when we went there the first time. My daughter bought me the succulent in the picture above from Walmart. I bought her a couple from Steins. I was looking for a bright green Lithop and didn't find any, but we had fun.


My Lithops (above)....alive and doing pretty well. They seem to be the one difficult plant that I don't kill, at least not often. Three are splitting (dividing). They must NEVER be watered when they are doing this. See those fat leaves? They are full of water. The new leaves must draw the water out of the old leaves. A pair of Lithop leaves makes a "body". A Lithop can divide into many bodies but each body cannot have more than two leaves, unless it is splitting, in which case the outer two leaves will die.

The longest I ever kept a Lithop alive was one I never watered. Yes, you heard that right. I misted it, just once in awhile, to keep it from shriveling. Over the years it divided into 4 bodies. Then I heard they can be watered, so I watered it. Poof. Since the Lithop on the left, in the picture above, is in a very tiny pot and isn't dividing, I have watered it lightly, about once a month. I bought the one on the right the same time I bought the one on the left, last August, I think. Since it is diving, it gets no water. The two in the middle are new, and seem to have survived Walmart's haphazard care.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Random Stuff

The sun is shining today! Yay! It's been cloudy a LOT. We are supposed to have beautiful temps this weekend. Hubby has to work both days. At least I can open the windows and get some fresh air in the apartment.

I don't know what I did, but my neck muscles are very sore. It's still an effort to bend over and peer into the frig or any lower cabinets. I can't just bend forward and look up. It's a range of motion issue. When I try, my neck hurts. So I need to squat. Sometimes I hit my head when I stand back up. Sometimes I lean sideways and reach in awkwardly. That's no better. The kitchen in this apartment was designed for hobbits. The frig is minuscule. The range hood is too low (I hit my head on that, too). Sometimes I cry in frustration. We are going to try to find a stool that I can sit on.

The loan officer from Quicken Loans calls me once in a while to keep the account active. I asked a lot of questions. It's good to know that stuff, even if you don't plan to buy right away.

  • What if my husband changed jobs?
    "Changing jobs isn't an issue if it's full time and the same line of work. Often a letter of employment is all that is needed."
  • Why would we need an escrow account to pay the taxes and mortgage insurance?
    "Because you need at least 10% down to be in charge of those yourself."
  • Yes, the closing costs seem high, that is another reason we want to wait. We don't want to empty our savings because of closing costs.
    "The buyer should pay the closing costs. That can be worked into the deal. If they don't want to pay the closing costs then they aren't the seller for you."
  • There isn't much for sale in our price range, but it's crazy because there are $300,000 and $400,000 homes in foreclosure.
    "That's good for buyers, because homes in foreclosure bring down prices in the area."
He couldn't tell me if Wisconsin has a homestead credit to give a discount on taxes, like Indiana does. Hubby and I are pretty sure we would want to go with a local company who is familiar with "everything Wisconsin".

My daughter is working overtime...at Walmart. Yay!

My daughter in Indiana and her hubby are nearly done with her house. They hope to have it on the market in May. After it's sold, they can start building their home on the property they bought. That is good news!

My mammogram is clear. I'm a 20 year survivor. Yay me.

We went to Cermak Fresh Market yesterday, bought some nice veggies and some European food my hubby likes. I miss having a garden. I miss having outside anything. Even a patio would be nice.

Yes, I do know why my neck hurts. It happens when hubby and I watch movies. We sit on the love seat, and there is nothing to rest my head on, so I slouch down, which puts pressure on my neck. If I sit up, there is nothing behind my head, and my neck and shoulders get so freakin tired. I can't put a pillow behind my head because there is no wall behind the love seat to support it. Why? Because we have to pull it away from the wall and face it toward the kitchen table, which is where my hubby's computer is.

No. There is no other way. If we put the love seat against the wall then we are staring down the hallway. We can't put the computer in the hallway. No. There is no place in the living room. My computer is there. It's a bit too far to sit on the couch and look across the room at my computer. We live in a 600 sq. foot apartment. What can I say?

"At least we have each other." Romantic words from my hubby. We hug each other. I choke back tears.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Today's Disappointment

The house has a (mostly) flat roof and it probably floods, but look at that to-die-for view.  Only $99,900. I cried over this one.






The middle part has a completely flat roof....nightmare maintenance. The property is also very low and most certainly floods. I was really sad about that because it would be 17 minutes drive to the plant in Lomira, which my hubby could transfer to.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

House Hunting....Sigh...grrrrr....whatever

We are continuing to look. It's just hard not to....what if that awesome place comes up for sale and we miss it because we are thinking to buy later? House prices are only going up.

So, in addition to visiting different areas, we've been looking a lot online. Found a duplex in Iron Ridge....yes....duplex, 2 bedrooms & bath downstairs, same upstairs. My daughter would rent one from us. Looks nice inside.

Sunny front porch!


Look at the back yard!!! OMG I want this!!!! Look at the view! My DREAM

So we decide to check out Google Streetview, to check out the view out front.

*shit*

shit
shit
shit

I am so disappointed. Iron Ridge is not too far. Mayville is sort of far, but it seems everyone in Wisconsin is driving a half-hour to work. 

While we were out driving we went up to Mayville. My daughter was driving, so it was a treat to hubby to sit back and look around. We stopped for coffee and then drove around town a bit. We weren't really impressed. The roads were steep and twisty...could be a nightmare in winter. We also didn't find many areas where one could walk along the river. Anyway, we decided to drive up to Lomira. My hubby's work has a plant there. He could transfer. It was ok, but we didn't connect with it. On to Horicon. We drove past the Horicon Marsh. We will go back in spring or summer.

Horicon Marsh

Horicon was ok but too far, unless hubby got a job up there. For the heck of it we decided to drive to Beaver Dam. We were not impressed. Seemed dumpy. So....I said, why don't we go to Neosho. It's less than 10 minutes from Hartford and they have a lake.

Neosho


It was getting too dark and cloudy for good pictures, but we will certainly go back again. It has a cute coffee shop, with really good coffee and a nice lady running it, who also has the area filled with antiques. Neosho would be nice for us, less than 10 minutes from work, and I wouldn't need to change doctors. It's small, population is under 600, and of course, it's become the go-to place for the Hartford financially privileged to go grab a house on the water. Waterfront property at Pike Lake is in the $400,000 to a million range. In Neosho it's more in the $200,000 to $300,000 range. None of this is affordable for us. That's why people are driving so darn far to work, they have to go that far to find affordable housing, and Hartford is rural! 

Nothing makes you feel more like a piss-poor peon than house hunting. 

As it stands, we qualify for 1% down, as first-time home buyers, because I sold my house 3 years ago. That's some comfort. 

Hubby has a tendency to want more house than I do. He wants 3 bedrooms and at least 1.5 baths. (Think long-term visits from family)

I want sunny windows for my succulents and this view:


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Adventures

Today was hubby's last day off this week so we drove tho Iron Ridge and Mayville. Iron Ridge has several ridges, each higher than the first. You can see for miles to the west, south and north. The last and highest ridge has a wind farm on the other side. New construction, especially condos, is booming in Iron Ridge.



Then we continued to Mayville. We are impressed with Mayville. The population is about 5,000, one third the size of Hartford, but the quaint downtown is 4 times as big. Houses are more affordable, apartments are more affordable. We aren't sure of the job situation. We enjoyed a short walk around town, stopped for coffee, watched an eagle soar over the water, and drove home.



We left Mayville at 4 pm, reached the highway 60 junction at 4:14, and passed my hubby's work at 4:19. Of course, that's in good weather. Honestly I think it would become exhausting in winter if hubby had to drive that far to work. There are jobs up there. I think the best strategy would be for hubby to find a job, then we rent an apartment until we again qualify for a mortgage loan.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Well, yeah, bad mood yesterday

Ok, regrouping. We have a new plan.

  • Continue to pay off credits 
  • Continue saving aggressively
  • Hubby visits parents next winter/spring
  • We look to buy in 2018
Hubby needs to visit Kosovo. His mom is sad, she's old, nuff said.

Now it's in the back of my mind....what if we miss our dream home because I told the realtor we need to wait. If by some miracle we get enough saved up.....we just need to wait and see.


Monday, March 20, 2017

On Hold

We are putting our plan on hold. Yes, we qualified, but it's not enough to buy something here in Hartford. The next county over is cheaper but not much for sale there, unless you go farther away. The trouble is, "farther away" is down county roads that might not get plowed in time for hubby to make it to work or back home. We decided to wait, save more, and completely pay off our credit cards, which by American averages, are way, way below normal.

Another issue is hubby's work is slow. The company is telling people they won't get a lot of overtime this year. They didn't even give any raises. Heck, freakin' Walmart gave raises. My daughter got a raise.

Oh well, it is what it is.

Happy first day of spring. At least the snow melted.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

What's Up

One day when hubby and I were looking at houses online, I clicked on one of those "Get pre-approved" buttons and filled out the form. I instantly got a call from Quicken Loans.

Buying a house requires lots of homework. I am a former homeowner, but that was 3 years ago. Both hubby and I qualify as first time home buyers with 1% down. Our credit rating is above the requirement. Our income to debt ratio is excellent. We don't have 20% in the bank. 3% is more like it. Pre-approval is not the same as actually having a letter in hand. We will need to wait and see what they actually approve us for.

Enter the homework, Aside from the obvious gathering of documents, there is the question of what lender do we trust, who has the best deal, how to find a good realtor.

In the meantime, we do not:

  • Change jobs or quit a job or become self-employed
  • Open a new charge card
  • Take out a loan
  • Buy anything major like a car or furniture
  • Make any late payments
  • Open a new bank account
  • Originate inquiries into our credit
  • Co-sign a loan
  • Spend money set aside for closing


The exciting part is that we are probably much closer to buying a home than we thought.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Thinking Out Loud

The dark mood has passed.

It was more political and social than because of the weather. Things affect you, what thoughtless people say affects you, even when they don't really know you, so they don't think they are talking about you, but they are, and just don't know it. When you watch your country become divided, with sensible people on one side and knee-jerk jerks on the other, it becomes difficult. But many in America rose up, and came together, and my immigrant hubby, legal immigrant hubby, can see that.

We have decided to stay in Hartford, and for that I am infinitely thankful. My hubby has received an offer for job training in a better department, in the very company he is working for now. When completed, his pay should be where he wanted it to be.

Regarding Madison, we decided it should just be an occasional overnight mini vacation. In fact, hubby is there now with his cousin and friends. After hearing about our visit, they wanted to go, too!

As for Wisconsin, everyone in this state complains about the taxes, but we are here, loving our state anyway.

After hubby left for his trip, I joined my daughter for a cleaning marathon. We packed away several boxes in her basement storage. Tomorrow we are going to tackle my storage.

Yesterday evening I took this photo looking out from my daughter's apartment. I would say, she has the better view.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Not in the Mood

I haven't been in the mood to write. Well, actually, I have, but I haven't been in the mood to publish my thoughts, at least not all of them.

I think hubby and I have the late winter blues. We enjoyed the week of spring temperatures. We had a mini vacation in Madison. We want to go back. Downtown Madison has coffee shops everywhere, along with multi-cultural food and plenty of unusual shopping.

Hubby wants to find a better job, one that he is more satisfied with, and with better pay. We don't care where such job may be, as we are willing to relocate.

We both love walking nature trails. The trails are muddy, another thing that bums us out.

We didn't know how high the state income taxes are here in Wisconsin when we moved here. We thought no place was more expensive than California, except New York. That's kind of depressing, along with the low wages. Hubby doesn't want to change states. I don't either, not really. Where would we go?

We ate at an Albanian restaurant when we were in Madison. It was nice. Afterward we shopped an a Turkish market that also carries some Albanian items. When we were leaving we noticed another store with Halal meat. We didn't stop in as we wanted to head home because of the changing weather.

We enjoyed the Olbrich Botanical Gardens, and want to come back when things are green and blooming. They have trails.

I guess I found some stuff to write about after all.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Catching Up

We finally had a sunny day, and some partly sunny ones as well. I also got a new phone, a Samsung Galaxy S7. I wanted a great camera, and my hubby already bought an iPhone 7 Plus. His phone is a little too large and heavy for me.

Here we are flying down country roads (hubby was driving). The road was bumpy and I could not keep the phone still at all. I set it to 16:9 (3.7 MB) 2560x1440 pixels because I figured the camera would be even faster at the lower resolution. I was right. And I am more than impressed by the low-light captures I grabbed on the way home. You can see in the bottom photo there is some blurring on the outer edges. After all, it was getting dark and hubby drives fast. Still, they are far better pictures than I can get with my 12.1 megapixel Canon PowerShot.




My hubby's work has been crazy slow, no overtime at all, which means he works 3 days one week and 4 days the next (12 hour shifts). We have been enjoying the extra time together. Today we went for coffee in Oconomowoc.


We like to sit upstairs. Today was kind of busy up there. We should have sat downstairs, it would have been quieter.

We've been watching more movies together. Last night we binge-watched David Attenborough narrate various African deserts. Today we watched the first episode of The Pyramid Code. It was very enjoyable. I keep an open mind, neither totally accepting nor rejecting all the exciting theories.

I do have sad news. My daughter in Indiana told me her hubby's nephew in Spokane died in an accident. He was driving too fast for the snowy conditions and plowed into a semi. He was only 20.

In other news, not sad, but frustrating, my younger daughter's phone has gone black screen. No amount of fixes have helped so far.

I guess that's about it for today. I'm still doing surveys. We are all waiting for spring.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

How is it Possible

To be happy

When the sun hasn't shone since January 8th.

When immigrants with visas can't come home.

When the threat of war looms in the Balkans, or anywhere, for that matter.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

To Smell or Not to Smell

A long time ago I learned that I must use unscented detergent and unscented fabric softer or I will be coughing and wheezing. My husband wants his clothes to smell nice, so I wash and dry his separately with scented products.

I do OK with most candles, unless they are very strong.

I'm not OK with Glade Plugins. My daughter in Indiana had one plugged in when we came to visit. After an hour my eyes were burning and red and I couldn't stop coughing. I had to ask her to unplug it.

My husband, who is not phased by perfumes, told me he wanted something to make the apartment smell nice. He said one of his co-workers got an oil diffuser.  Red flags waved in front of my eyes when he suggested we get one. I told him I would look into it.

My other daughter bought a wax warmer. She had just turned it off before I came over, and she said we both didn't think it bothered me. I thought, OK, maybe I will try that.

I bought one, which I didn't like the look of when it was plugged in, so I returned it. I bought a second one that looked like it should be gorgeous, but it was ugly when turned on. Back it went. I kept the wax,




Today I decided to warm some wax in my potpourri warmer. It's one of those where the a candle heats up water that has herbs or fruit peels in it. I added a little water, the wax, and lit a candle under it.


I've tried two different scents of wax and I don't like either of them. They just smell fake and stinky. 

Maybe I will just stick with apple peels and cinnamon.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Small Things Bring Joy

Sometimes I have the greatest gratitude just watching the sunlight soften into a sunset. I feel it even more so after a run of gloomy, cloudy days that finally break into sun late in the day. What a gift that is, one I do not want to miss at all.



Another small joy is my hair is growing back. I have odd tufts of hair sticking up all over. They are finally growing long enough to lay down. I was not kidding when I assumed I had lost about half my hair (maybe 40%...?) after the surgery.

August 2016

January 2017


My blood sugar is returning to more normal (for me) levels. I think I will be back in the 6.5 A1C range again soon. That has been my normal for years. The best part is I don't need any new or different medications. I'm not sure to what I can attribute this success.

Multi-vitamins - I threw out the old and bought new, and I began taking them on a regular basis. My food tracking program told me I wasn't getting enough vitamins.

Tracking my food (not just calories but nutrition as well) - My daughter in Indiana recommended My Fitness Pal, now that I have a smartphone. Since I don't need to loose weight I use it to track nutrition. I am learning to eat more protein and less sugar.

Getting rid of stress - I don't know where that curve ball came from, but I am wondering if it was from my thyroid medicine being too high. It was increased after my doctor discovered it was too low. Now I am at the proper dose and am feeling relaxed and normal again. FYI---the only way to tell if the dose it too high or too low is by a blood test, unless one were having oddball symptoms.

I had another surprise. My strength has returned. Maybe I finally built up after carrying bags of clothes up and down the stairs to be washed. I can now carry a gallon of milk AND bags of groceries at the same time, almost like normal people. Woot!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

I-Pass is for Anyone

The worst part about driving between Wisconsin and Indiana is navigating the tolls through Illinois. For some reason I don't remember it being that confusing years ago when we would drive up to the family cottage. But that's when tolls were 35 cents for a car, and everyone went through them.

It's even more confusing when the GPS is saying to stay left but we need to merge right to pay. One time we took an exit because there was a sign to pay. We didn't know it was a darn exit. It is also frustrating when you are in the left lane and must merge across all those lanes just to pay the toll. We discovered were weren't the only ones. My daughter and her hubby had encountered similar frustration. We both independently decided to order I-Pass. Our's will arrive in about 2 weeks.

Since hubby had 3 days off and work was slow, we made another trip down to Indiana. We visited some old favorite stores and discovered they weren't a big deal anymore. We also visited my former neighbor, the gabby one. She behaved herself and didn't gossip. It was a rather nice visit. Before we left I walked across the street to knock on my other neighbor's door. She didn't answer. She might have been in the back of her house or the garage. I knocked again, louder, and then left. She hasn't reached out to me. At least I tried.

We drove on to do a little more shopping, pick up pizzas and drove out to my daughter's. Since it was during the week we all went to bed early. We were up and ready to go by 7:30 am because my daughter needs to lock the door with a key. There were thunder storms and rain all night. It turned to sleet. The roads were Ok, though. We visited a couple antique stores but didn't stay long. The forecast said the weather would get worse throughout the day and the icy slush was supposed to freeze solid. It was just sunny and cold in Wisconsin, with a couple inches of morning snow, so getting north of the bad weather was a priority.

Following the salt truck on country roads in Indiana

On the way home, driving past the enormous Amazon Fulfillment Center in Kenosha Wisconsin

In spite of the weather it was a good trip. As usual, we had fun laughing and sharing stories. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Letting Go

I am not letting this follow me any further into the new year. I need to get this off my chest. I am not the type to give up on people easily, but some people are no longer worth the effort.

I left these two "friends" behind when I left Indiana. I occasionally touched base with them.

One lady, older than me, would often ask my help when we were still neighbors. I helped her with computer things, financial things, all manner of things. I tried to help her set priorities so she could reach her goals. She is a hoarder, to some extent. She dresses like a bag lady, for the most part. I gave her my mom's clothes. She always thanked me for being her friend. I shared my leftovers with her. We took walks together and talked a lot. She has a daughter and friends from church, so I was just a friend, but not a Church Friend.

I was only in her house a very few times. During my last year there she would not let me in her house at all because, she said, it was gutted down to the studs and wallboard was stacked up along the walls as she tried to gather the money to pay a carpenter (fellow Church Member) who wouldn't even give her a break in his fee. Her dream was to get it fixed up so she could quit the telemarketing job and babysit in her home.

Then I moved away, hubby and I, we moved to California. Thinking back, I'm just now recalling how she was sitting on the floor in our (then sold) house as me, hubby, my daughter, her hubby and his kids helped us pack up the last of our stuff and got it all clean and vacated before noon. I was so exhausted, but thinking back, I recall she seemed really sad and said something about me not being there for her.

It was time to go. We hugged and took pictures and I said I would keep in touch, and stop for a visit if we ever got back that way.

I called her from California. She was cross and curt with me. I promised her pictures, I sent pictures. After we moved into the duplex I called her again. That time she seemed to be happy to hear from me. We talked quite awhile.

After we moved to Wisconsin I called her again. I asked if she were still working at the telemarketing company. She said no, she got her house finished and she was now babysitting in her home. I knew that was her dream, so I congratulated her. I sent her more pictures.

Then we drove down to Indiana to visit my daughter and her family. I figured we could stop in on our way home on Monday. Well, heaven forbid that I call her on a Sunday when she was going out the door to church.

"UH!" (say that with your mouth open and force out the air) was the "hello" I got. "I'm on my way to church, she stammered".

Ok, but can we stop in on Monday? We are down in Indiana.

(Flustered answer) "Umm, maybe, no, I won't be home but, no, maybe sometime, but I don't know when. I can't let you into my house because it's a disaster, wallboard stacked up everywhere, but we could meet out in the car."

Mic drop.

The other lady, well, she posts a lot on social media about how much she loves her husband and how she loves being a Christian, but when I would visit, all she would talk about was gossip and how she wanted to leave her husband.

I'm done. Really.

I have two wonderful daughters. We get along great, have fun together, laugh together. Same with my husband. He is my best friend.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

First Post in the New Year

I hope you enjoyed ringing in the new year. Hubby and I celebrated by driving down to Indiana to visit my older daughter, her hubby and his two kids. It was our first time back since we moved away in 2014. We stayed at their apartment in Hebron, Indiana.

View from the kitchen window

We had a great time, and will go again. The kids are fun, smart and engaging. After they went to bed we rang in the New Year with some drinks and Champagne and watched some comedy.

Sunday we went shopping and out to dinner. We drove home Monday morning as hubby didn't need to work until Monday night.