Sunday, July 23, 2017

Gaining on a Slippery Slope

I fell a few times, emotionally, into the deep pit of despair. I contacted a friend. She talked me through it, let me cry on her virtual shoulder, because, well, she is in another state. Hubby had gone to work, and I was alone. But for the most part, I've been OK, even in the evening when I'm alone.

Shopping where my daughter worked is tough. I have a dark cloud over my head when I'm there, a strange sense of foreboding, even when I'm trying not to remember. Today a song came on the radio at the store and I panicked. I hurried to the garden center and told myself to breathe. And then I looked at flowers. And then all I could do is imagine her talking about them.

I went back in the store. The song was over. I hurried to finish so I could go home.

Hubby and I have been doing things on his days off. We visited a zoo just north of West Bend. They have golf carts for rent. We had been wanting to drive one again ever since my daughter in Indiana got married. The reception was at a golf course club house, and we got to drive the golf carts to a location on the course for photos. It was a heap of fun. When we arrived at the zoo and noticed they have carts we wanted to rent one. It was a very enjoyable 2 hours.

I am so thankful for my hubby and my older daughter, and yes, my Internet friends.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Breathing Again

I think I made it through the valley of the shadow of death, because that's what it felt like. I crawled out the other side broken, with pain down my back and in my chest every time I took a deep breath. I guess that can happen with the depth of my grief and the fact that I pretty much cried every day for 36 days. My hubby kept trying to tell me to stop grieving because I was making myself sick. More than once he wanted to take me to the ER. If I thought I had heart attack symptoms I surly would have gone. At first I thought, "Who cares, at least if I died I could see her again." And then I realized that was too permanent and not a good solution, so then I worried that I actually would die of a broken heart, like Debbie Reynolds when Carrie Fisher died.

Reading some comprehensive articles about grief helped me come to terms with it. Understanding that my scary thoughts were pretty normal helped. Knowing that I wasn't actually going to physically do something dangerous helped me to realize that I was just going through a horrible process. It also helped me to understand that my grief is a process that is dynamic and changing, and as long as it was changing then I am doing OK, because eventually the change will be to the better, and if not, if I get stuck, then I know to get help.

I see my doctor tomorrow. My chest is still a bit congested. I want her to check me out.

Going back to Harrington Beach was a turning point. It was the last nature walk with my daughter, on May 5, 2017, 26 days before she died. Hubby and I decided to go last Saturday. It was sunny and pleasant. Hubby was about halfway there when he noticed tears rolling down my face. He almost turned around to go home. I told him "No, let me work through this, I will be OK by the time we get there." He had doubts, but I was OK and we enjoyed our walk.

Yesterday I was able to look at my daughter's former apartment and I was OK. I was able to talk about her without tears.

The new friends I found at the showing didn't pan out. We are friends on Facebook, and we say "Hi" at Walmart, but that's about it. I understand. I'm not my daughter. I couldn't replace her in their lives. They can't replace her in mine, nor did I expect them to. It would have been nice to have some friends, but right now grief is in the way. People just want to get on with their lives, they don't want reminders. I have Facebook friends. I have my husband. I have my daughter in Indiana and her hubby and his two kids. They are most precious to me, and I am making a concerted effort to look forward.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Today Is A Better Day

Yesterday when my hubby came home from work in the morning I looked and felt terrible. I asked him to take me to buy vitamins. I took one. Hubby went to bed, and I pulled out some papers my doctor gave me at my last visit. I looked over the list of therapists and I looked over my Medicare benefits. Medicare would pay once treatment started, providing a diagnosis needing treatment was made by a physician. In other words, just as with the Chiropractor, I would be dinged for the full price of the initial visit, or consultation. I read the specialties of each doctor. A few dealt with grief, and of those, only one made it their goal to use non-medication means of treatment. Great. I already have a bottle of "happy" pills I'm not taking.

The vitamins have helped. I don't know why, but in the past, if I became particularly moody, a good multivitamin helped me turn the corner. So I will take one every day. I'm supposed to anyway, but I ran out.

Yesterday, about the time hubby woke up in the afternoon, the hot, humid air dropped away, leaving a beautiful fresh breeze. I turned off the air conditioning and opened the windows. We spent some precious time together outside before he had to leave for work. I contacted a friend on chat, and she and I talked while I sat outside on the porch and watched the sun set. After it set the mosquitoes came out, so I went inside. We talked some more, and then said good night. Once it is dark outside, my mood is better. I can turn to watching something on the internet. Last night I chose Masterpiece Theater. It was a good choice. It occupied me until bedtime.

So, let me explain that statement, "Once it is dark outside, my mood is better." It's something that has always happened to me. I cannot miss the sunset, I don't want to look at a TV or a computer, I just want to see it. I feel moody when I see it, a combination of wonder, artistic inspiration, intent on photographing it, desire to experience it, and some degree of sadness. Once the sunset is done and it's dark out, I'm fine. I can look at a computer or TV or the dishes or the stove or the food I'm cooking, whatever. It's interesting that years ago, when my mom was living with me and my first hubby, she told me the same thing, "Sunsets make me sad."

So I Googled it, just now. Apparently I'm not alone, but there appears to be no answer. SAD was mentioned. Yes, I have that, but that's a seasonal thing, not a sunset thing. Some people mentioned anxiety at sunset brought on by some childhood trauma. Nope, doesn't apply. Another person mentioned the brain releasing Dopamine at sunset. I have no idea. In any case, I have a whole history of emotions tied to they sky, sun and what I see out the window. Too much to write here, I will save it for the next post.

So, today continues to be a better day. It is cloudy, cool, dry, and the breeze is fresh. Hubby is sleeping, and I'm ok. I might have actually turned the corner onto the path of recovery. My heart is not feeling like a lead weight being compressed in a vice grip, I can breathe, and I'm not crying.

Reminding myself that I survived the loss of my mother helps. I called her and wrote to her for years through my married life, from 1969 until she moved to Indiana in 1992 (I think it was). After that, I would call her and buy her gifts, take her places, you name it. Loosing my Mom was a big loss in my life. I regretted having to put her in a nursing home, but my husband could not deal with her dementia nor her incontinence. He would not allow me to call in outside help.

Loosing my husband was different. His cancer was advanced. The treatment was aggressive. The side effects were horrible. I insisted on caring for him myself even though the doctors recommended a nursing home. My husband refused in-home care, and I refused to go through the guilt of putting him in a nursing home as I had my mom. When at last he passed I was at peace about it because I gave 110%. Then I found another husband.

I could not, nor did I expect to find another mother. Missing her is a part of my life. At least after a great deal of time I was able to talk about her without crying. I miss her when I have news I normally would have called her up or wrote her about. I think that may be a normal and lifelong reaction.

Loosing my daughter was the worst thing that ever happened in my life. Finding her was horribly traumatic. Trying to accept she was gone and not coming back was the hardest realization I ever had to face. She and I were always close. She wasn't much of a rebellious teen. When she started working and was still living at home she would take me shopping and buy me things. When she moved out she would pick me up and we would go places, or I would spend the weekend with her. She was my best friend. When she moved to Australia it was a tremendous heartbreak for me, but I didn't let her know, because she needed to have her own life. Having her move to Wisconsin and living so close was such a joy. My best friend was back! We shopped together. She took me places. I knew her budget was tight, so I bought things for her. We took nature walks together. We took pictures of the same clouds, the same lakes, the same flowers.

When she died I spiraled down into a horrible guilt trip of "If only." We all did. There were so many unanswered questions. Why didn't she ask for help. Why didn't she get medical help in Australia when she had such excellent insurance and care options. From early adulthood she assumed she had PCOS, which may have been the start of the giant ovarian cyst they found at autopsy. When she lived in Australia she told me her (then) husband and she had talked about her going to the doctor because of that. It's obvious she never went, something he confirmed after she passed. Her second husband also had insurance, as she did. He had surgery and the remaining bill (after insurance) was excused because of limited income. Surely she could have taken that as an example of what could be available to her. However, by that time her PCOS symptoms were going away. Another issue was her thyroid. I told her many times how important tests and treatment are because everyone on my mom's side of the family is on thyroid medicine. I talked to her about my own thyroid medicine and how it helped me feel better and loose weight.

Finances were another issue. In the past she bought a car that was too expensive. Car dealerships are real scumbags. They help you find a car you like and get approved for a loan for the price of the car. Then when they write up the deal they tack on all kinds of crap, plus taxes, that raise the cost of the loan. It happened 17 years ago and it happened again last year. I pleaded with my daughter to take action, to have the extra things she was paying extra for taken off. I told her I would go with her. Nothing worked. She insisted she could handle it. After she passed I discovered she was behind in everything except her car payments and rent.

I had pretty much guessed that things were hard for her. She expressed concerns over the fact that in August her rent and internet were going up. Hubby and I had been planning to buy a house, so we decided to include her in the plan. She could pay a much smaller amount and we could share many costs. It was a win-win proposition. We had trouble finding a suitable house. We needed three bedrooms and an extra bathroom, and in decent shape. We had roadblocks at every turn. We finally found one in another town. We had an appointment to see it on Saturday. She died on Thursday.

Sometime after the funeral, after we came home, one of my daughter's former coworkers came over. She told me my daughter didn't show any alarming signs. She did say she was tired, more than normal, and she didn't know why. Her friend suggested she see a doctor, to which my daughter responded, "It's too expensive."

I think she didn't know how serious she was. She told me there was a flower show and sale here in Hartford on June 3rd and she wanted to go. The night before she died she was making plans to visit a dear friend in Illinois after the 4th of July. She, my hubby and I were all pretty sure we would find a house this summer and we told her we would help her when her rent and internet went up in August. I'm sure she must have know that if she needed to take time off from work for any reason we would be there to help her.

As for the PCOS, my older daughter had symptoms as well. Neither of my daughters were ever able to get pregnant. But my older daughter has been seen by doctors. She has had tests and been checked out. Her health is excellent. She does need a light dose of thyroid medicine, but other than that, her heart and vitals are fine. Knowing that, and seeing my younger daughter look good, loosing weight and seeming fine when she moved here just lulled us all into complacency I guess.

I have pretty much worked through the pain of every picture I see of her, every place we went, everything we did together. I had to forgive myself for not taking her up on the offer to go out to eat together on May 29th. It still bothers me. Darn "if onlies". I still cry, but not as much, and for a lot shorter period of time. I loved her, do love her, so very, very much. I miss her so very, very much. She left a void in my life that cannot be filled, just dusted over, maybe a carpet thrown over. It is a hole I'm sure I will continue to fall in for the rest of my life, but over time the bruising and pain will lessen, as I pick myself up, dust myself off, and go on without my Angel.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Time Stands Still, Yet I Function

That sinking feeling...every time I drive by her apartment, every time I see her car still parked there. My heart hurts again. Sometimes my chest tightens up and I need to remind myself to breathe. Sometimes tears flood down, just for a bit, until I can get out a tissue and take a deep breath.

My mind is stuck in the time when she was alive. In my mind I "see" her meeting me at her back door. I hand her something or she hands something to me. I can remember it like it was yesterday. Her back door faced the corner, where the deer come out to feed and the fireflies dance. She could lock the screen door and keep her inside door open, during the day. Sometimes we would walk back and forth between our two apartments because she was moving stuff over from when she lived here with us.

Or when I go downstairs to the basement I can "see" her when she tripped and fell on her knee. Thankfully it was only the last 3 steps and she wasn't hurt bad. When I shop at Walmart I feel the loss every moment I'm there. So many times I would see her there when I shopped, or hubby and I shopped. We would buy her something to drink and invite her to come over after work. She and I would always end up laughing about something. My mind can "see" her driving past our apartment on her way home, or walking over to visit. I "see" her meeting me out at her car because we are going somewhere together. Every place we went together brings me pain.

I am forgetful. I worry myself when I drive, because my mind keeps wandering off and I find myself staring at the road mindlessly. I better restrict my driving for awhile. I keep eating chocolate but it doesn't kill the pain.

Shopping for flowers. We did that a lot, together, at Walmart, at ACE Hardware, at Stein's Garden Center, at Home Depot. I went to ACE again yesterday, and I could "hear" her in my mind again, like I did before, commenting on the flowers.

I have figured out that my heart is not ready to move forward. I am still dwelling in the past. I'm pretty good around people. They cheer me up. I can talk and even laugh. If it wasn't for the awful summer heat and humidity I would talk to hubby about moving back to Indiana to be closer to my older daughter.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

This and That

My friend couldn't come. Her grandmother was going into Hospice. My hubby was off work yesterday. We got coffee from Perc Place. I wasn't feeling well, so we didn't do a lot. I am better today, pretty much. Hubby took me shopping. He was happy he got me to laugh. I'm afraid he's going to go broke trying to "fix" me. He bought me some Capri pants and two blouses, all on sale at JC Penny.

I've been eating too much. I gained weight. My blood sugar has been high. I'm trying to pretend to care, but in reality, I do care because it looks like I'm going to survive this and go on living. I do care about my husband and my older daughter, and I want to be ok for them.

It's been 38 days. I'm exhausted. I've cried pretty much every single one of them.

I joined a couple Facebook groups for grief support, one for the loss of a child and one for sudden loss. I shared my story and shared pictures. The response was compassionate and from many, many people. But the groups quickly became overwhelming as so many people shared their own grief. I had to unfollow and step back.

We are still waiting for the autopsy report.

That's about all I feel like writing for today.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Advice

I have been searching for some support. I found this, written by someone who is going through it.

Peyton's Heart
Dear Parents: Advice For Living After The Loss of Your Child

The Dells

We originally headed out to a shooting range with the intent of doing some target practice. It is the only range that doesn't demand a pricey club membership, that we know of. It took about 45 minutes to get there, and we never would have found it without the GPS. Anyway, being the 4th, and the fact that people were off work (I'm guessing) meant the much smaller than we imagined range was busy.

We decided to drive on to the Dells, since we were halfway there. It was nice, not too crowded. It was warm but not humid. My daughter in Indiana had sent me a gift certificate for my birthday, so I used it to buy myself a ring. We walked around a bit, looked in the souvenir shops, and ate lunch at the High Rock Cafe. My younger daughter, the one who passed, and I ate there last October, when she and I drove to the Dells and to visit the old family cottage. Hubby and I also ate there when he saw the Dells for the first time, sometime after I told him about my daughter and I going there. It used to be called "The Upper Crust", and there was a gift shop downstairs.

I managed to get through most of the day without crying, at least not when hubby could see me. My soul refuses to be happy. I guess you can say I am dwelling in the past. My heart cannot just move forward, not yet. I am wallowing in self-pity, I guess. I still slip into disbelief..."Did I really find her that way? How could that be? She was only 41. It's not possible." But yet I know it happened, and a deep sadness crushes me.

My daughter in Indiana suggested I find some diversions, something to do. I tried the library but I was swamped with painful memories. Everywhere here are memories. The Walmart where she worked, Pike Lake trails, the library, her apartment on the corner. Everything rears up and glares in my face and says, "She was here and now she is dead."

I imagine someday when I am very old I will get dementia and I will see a young woman who looks like my daughter and I will think it is her, and since she would be working in a nursing home it would be her duty to go along with an old woman's delusion and let herself be my daughter for awhile. Right now common sense and a clear mind won't let me play those games. I guess eventually I will learn how to live again, without her.

Tomorrow a former co-worker of my daughter's is picking me up and we will go eat lunch somewhere. I do better when I am with people.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Horicon Marsh

Hubby and I walked one of the shorter trails at Horicon Marsh, our first time there. It was a chance to form new memories in a place that didn't have any old memories. It's been very hard for me to enjoy nature in places where my daughter and I walked together. I was surprised that I got good pictures in the middle of the day, because everyone who dabbles in photography knows the golden light is at sunrise and sunset. We want to go again.



Today is my birthday. I really don't "get into" birthdays anymore, but I appreciate the fact that people wish me well and let me know I'm in their thoughts. I got a fat envelope from my daughter in Indiana. It is addressed to "Mom", which I thought was adorable, and it's really pretty.



Hubby took me shopping. I looked at succulents at Home Depot. They had some nice ones but they were big, too big for my tiny growing area. There weren't any small ones that I wanted. We went to Target. I looked halfheartedly at clothes. I wasn't in the mood. I bought coffee.

Then we went to eat. We had wanted to eat at the Grasshopper, a small French restaurant in West Bend, but they were closed, so we drove to Grafton and stopped at the Milwaukee Ale House. We had been there twice before, but we found out the hard way that Sunday is NOT the day to go there. It was loud and apparently the menu on Sunday is drinks, drinks, drinks and a meager assortment of food. Oh well. We stuck it out, then left. My mood has been iffy today. 

Friday, June 30, 2017

Flowers

There is an ACE Hardware just south of town. They have an extensive garden and flower supply in the spring and early summer. They have 3 unheated greenhouses that they fill to the brim with baskets and trays and pots of flowers, They also carry herbs, greenery and a limited number of vegetables. My daughter and I visited a couple times last year and once this early spring.

I decided to drive there....take a deep breath and go alone. I did it. I got through it. I ended up talking to a sweet lady who works there. She remembers my daughter. I showed her pictures. Yes, yes, she remembers her. I choked up a bit but I hung in there. I told her I can almost hear my daughter's voice there: "Look, mom" or "Aww they are so tiny!" or "Curry! I knew I smelled it, I grew it in Australia" or "Look at these double petunias" or "Mom, come here, look at this!"

I bought another Curry, to replace the one she had, and some Violas, to replace the ones she was too tired to plant before she died.

My doctor increased my thyroid medicine. I'm figuring that will be the boost I need. I'm not going to take the evil medicine, the mood altering one. Too many side effects. Nope, nope, nope.

This afternoon I am planning to help the caretaker and his wife do some planting outside around the apartment.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Trading Tears for Hope

I'm sorry to trouble you, but this is my story. I am hurting beyond repair and my burden is too heavy.

It has happened several times. I have shared my tragedy and found my burden lightened slightly each time, as if handing off portions of my tale of tears enlists many hearts and hands to help carry it.

I saw my doctor today. She and her nurse already knew what happened, because I ended up in the ER the night of the fateful afternoon I found my Angel had slipped away into Heaven. Reason for being in the ER: "Grief". The nurse called me the next day.

So there I was, relating the story in a heap of tears. I apologized and my doc said it was ok, she was just trying to hold back her own tears. She talked to me and listened to me, and asked if I needed help. I told her I was pretty good when I was around family and friends, but those long 12 hour days when my husband worked were not getting any easier.

I am not one for wanting medications, but she offered a mild one just to "take the edge off". After reading all the possible side effects, I'm not sure I want to take it. Still deciding...

Some day I will be able to stop crying. I will always, always miss my daughter, but maybe, just maybe the burden won't be too heavy and I can begin to live again.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I Wanted to Write A Letter

I wanted to tell my mom that my daughter died. I wanted her to hold me and let me cry on her shoulder and tell me everything will be ok. I wanted her to know her granddaughter was gone to Heaven. I wanted to write my mom a letter, but I can't.

My mom is not here.

My mom is in Heaven.

I wanted to tell my daughter's father that she had died and she is buried next to him. I wanted to call him, but I can't.

My daughter's father is not here.

He is in Heaven.

I texted my daughter but she didn't answer.

I looked for her at Walmart, but she wasn't there.

I watched for her to walk over from her apartment, but she didn't come.

I drove by her apartment but it is empty.

She was not at work, not home, nor at the park.

I wept and prayed and cried, but no one answered.

My daughter is not here.

She is in Heaven.

I prayed that she is happy and surrounded by love and laughter. I prayed that she can see and visit her loved ones who passed before her. My family's Bible and my husband's family's Quran tells me the same thing, that she is in Heaven and I will see her again one day.

I need to take care of myself because it is not yet my time, nor do I feel my life is over, and people here on Earth love me and need me here with them. My older daughter and my husband told me so. My mother-in-law told me so, with tears in her eyes, she spoke to me in Albanian and hubby translated.

Sometimes I feel myself slipping into the past, to happier times, when the same sun that shines on sadness today was then shining on happy family times together. But I don't have Alzheimer's, so reality snaps me back to the present and I cry again.

In time I will learn to heal and live again, to live life without her and even be happy. But for now my heart is broken and my soul is sad and my eyes crying. I think I might be doing better and then I crumple into a pool of tears. One of my friends told me to take deep breaths and take each day one step at a time. That's the best one can do.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Horror Movie

The horror movie playing in my head of finding my daughter stone cold dead on her couch is starting to fade. I am thankful for that because that's not how I want to remember her.

Yes, I freaked out. After calling 911 and giving them info in-between out-of-breath sobs, I started to scream. I just screamed and screamed and begged them to send someone to help. I have no idea how long it took for the cops to show up, but they did, and the dispatcher said I could hang up. Shortly after the cops arrived, an ambulance drove up....for me.

The cops led me outside and the EMTs took me inside the ambulance. The Washington County Medical Examiner was called. They all told me my daughter died peacefully, with no sign of distress or struggle, but no one could understand why. "Why, why did she die? How did this happen? Why?" I sobbed repeatedly. They asked permission to do an autopsy.

They wouldn't let me call my husband or my daughter in Indiana. Finally they sent three policemen to my husband's work and called him into HR. He freaked out not knowing what happened. They told him and he cried and HR cried. HR drove him home. After hubby and I were calmed down enough to talk they let us call others. Hubby called my older daughter's husband, thinking he might be able to tell her in person. That didn't work out. moments later my daughter in Indiana was calling me. I didn't know how to tell her. Finally I blurted out, "Your sister is dead!" I heard her shriek. Thankfully her long-time co-worker and friend rushed to her side. It was about 1:45 pm when I found her. I talked to my older daughter at 4:02 pm, and other people after that.

Later that evening, about 9 pm, my hubby took me to the ER, because I couldn't stop sobbing. After crying for over 7 hours I had a massive headache. They got me calmed down with a shot so at least I could sleep.

Let The Guilt Begin

It hit all of us. Guilt. My younger daughter was a grown woman of 41, yet we all beat ourselves up imagining different outcomes had we stepped in to take care of her.

Take care of her? How could we know?

Years ago, many years ago, when she was a young woman, she told me she thought she has PCOS.
She had no insurance at the time but I insisted to take her to the clinic and insisted I would pay. A doctor ordered a blood test, which came back normal. Some time after that she married and moved to Australia. She had health insurance there, and talked about getting checked out. I would remind her that she might have cysts on her ovaries. She never went.

Back in the USA 6 years later, she divorced and married again. Again I encouraged her to see a doctor, at least for a baseline mammogram and wellness check. I also reminded her that low thyroid runs in my side of the family, and to get that checked as well. Nope, never went.

My older daughter had some milder issues along similar lines. She also could not get pregnant. However, as she aged, her symptoms started to go away. She did get regular health checkups and she was and is healthy to this day. So when my younger daughter started loosing weight and telling me she felt great (and she looked 28), I didn't worry. That's how she was when she left her second husband and moved to Wisconsin to take care of me after my surgery in May 2016.

It was sometime around the beginning of this year that I noticed she was looking thin in the face. However, she told me she was fine, and was loosing weight by eating Oriental style. Occasionally we would shop together, or visit one another, since she lived in the adjacent apartment building. She was tired, but she was working full time and even some overtime. She was making new friends.

We took a walk at Harrington Beach State Park, her, me and hubby. She and I took tons of pictures. She seemed normal, but she ate slowly. I thought she wasn't eating enough. She said she was fine, but her tummy had been upset.

On May 29th we got together to eat here at me and hubby's apartment. She wanted to go out to eat, but our account was low and I wouldn't let hubby touch the savings, as we were trying to buy a house.

The discussion mostly revolved around what house we were going to look at and about the down payment. I had leftovers for her but forgot to send them.

May 31st was a bright, sunny day, breezy, with that fresh Wisconsin air. The blue sky was dotted with those puffy Wisconsin clouds. I texted her that I had leftovers for her and that I would bring them over. She said she would meet me. She took pictures of the sky. She took videos of the wind in the trees and the birds singing. She talked to the property manager for awhile. She came over, we all chatted awhile, looked at houses online, made plans. That evening we texted about plans to look at a house, the Lake House. The tenants were refusing a showing. It seemed Saturday would be the only option. It was a one hour showing....crazy. She didn't think she would be able to do that on her lunch break. My hubby made arrangements to switch days with someone so he and I could go together. Our realtor would be there because if it looked good, we would put in an offer.

The last text I got from my daughter was at 9:06 pm. It was not unusual for her to fall asleep mid conversation. She had done it for years. Her friend told me that was about the same time their conversation dropped off. Still not alarming. They had been making plans for my daughter to come down for a visit in July.

I went back to bed after my husband left for work at 6:30 am on June 1st. I was tired. I woke up about 9 am. I noticed my daughter had not texted "Good morning", usually about 8:30 am, on her lunch break. Maybe she hadn't taken it yet, I thought. She didn't always text me in the morning.

I had exciting news to share about a home loan and the down payment. I started texting her the good news.

No answer.

Should I be concerned? Not really, it happened before, she forgot her phone in her car, or the battery ran down, or maybe she dropped it, or she was really busy at work.

Later that day I noticed it was past the time she should be home. I felt concerned. I grabbed my phone and her extra keys and decided to walk over to her building. Her car was parked. Suddenly I was scared, because how could she be home but not answer?

I knocked on her door. No answer. I went downstairs. She wasn't doing laundry. I ran back up and pounded on her door. No answer.

At 1:58 pm I texted, "It's mom here at your door. Are you ok?"

I unlocked the door.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Sad

The skies should not be so blue
Nor the clouds so puffy

The sunsets should not glow
And birds should not sing

When my daughter is not here
To enjoy them

All the beauty of nature
Is breaking my heart

Because we both loved
The same things

She is not here to text me
Nor to take pictures
Or walks in the park
Or laugh about work
Or go shopping for plants
Or tell me stories
Or listen to mine

I miss her bright smile
I miss her brown eyes
I miss her "Good morning"
I only have "Good bye"



3 pictures from the daughter's camera, the last she ever took

Saturday, June 3, 2017

My heart is Broken

We were going to buy a house. Instead we are going to bury my daughter.

I don't feel like writing much now, but she died June 1st. She was 41.

I'll write more later.


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Running...

Running things past the loan officer, running things through my head, running things past my hubby, my daughter, our real estate agent. My head is doing a marathon.

I have gone through the "Lake" house photos a dozen times. I'm waiting to hear from hubby, if he got Saturday off. I talked to the loan guy. He said, "Take videos."

I'm calling it the Lake house from now on, because it sounds better than "the house by the Rock River" or "the house in Hustisford". Lake Sinissippi is right around the corner, so Lake house it is. Not that I'm expecting Keanu Reeves to show up. hahahahaha

My hubby just called. He's pretty sure it can be worked out so he has Saturday off.

I would really like to have the Lake house. It looks like a fun place to live. We could have a bunny again (we had to leave Tuki behind in California. He died this year.) We could go boating and fishing, from our own property. My daughter could have her own kitchen, guests could have their own cottage. The porch is sunny. I can plant flower pots and set them there.

Stay disconnected

Stay disconnected

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

"No"

The tenants said no to a showing for today. They said no to Friday. They can't say no to the scheduled Open House on Saturday. If we can't see the property we can't put in an offer. My daughter has to work, my husband has to work. He might be able to trade a day with someone so he can have Saturday off. If not, he can get a ride to work and I can go alone.

But I don't feel comfortable putting in an offer without hubby seeing it.

That's just stupid crazy.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Or....Just Gone in 5 Days

The Duplex has an accepted offer. Oh well.

The "Lake" house...nothing yet, but there is an open house on Saturday....so, since we can't afford to get into bidding wars, it might go, too.

Many houses are staying on the market for a whopping 5 hours.

If it stays longer than a month its because nobody wants it or it's so bad it's a cash sale only.

Our loan officer says he's never seen anything like it. He said 2 years ago sellers were reducing prices because they couldn't sell easily.

Our agent is keeping an eye out for something we might like before it gets listed. Hard to do when people know they will get a dozen offers in 5 hours if they list.

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Plan for Wednesday is....

Two showings:

An official showing of the duplex, the gorgeous property right here in Hartford. The yard is a bit small but it has a large upper deck with a view all around (except north). It has a 2.5 car garage with 2 separate garage doors with openers. It has a rather long driveway, so it would mean using a snowblower. My daughter gets up at 3 am. It is still on our wish list. My daughter has a 401k, and she is gifting us what she can. We will still be about $2000 short for cash to close. Drive time to work...2 minutes in good weather.

Next, a showing at the house on the river in Hustisford. We know it needs the wood replaced around the porch and deck. Other than that, we have no idea. It isn't a duplex (taxes list it as a single family home) but it has an upstairs bathroom and mini kitchen. It also has a guest house, which I mentioned before. We don't know what we will find. Mold? Junk? Doable? Price reduction? It would have more room for guests than the duplex. It could be a fun place to live....think....fishing, a small boat for exploring the lake....water front property! Many possibilities, yet many possible road-blocks. It has no garage, but the driveway is short and the parking area is just off the street. Drive time to work...12 to 15 minutes in good weather.

It will be an interesting day!

P.S. I just noticed they have an open house scheduled for Saturday, June 3rd. We are seeing it on Wednesday. I imagine they will hold off accepting any offer until after the showing. Who knows what will happen.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Disconnected Decisions

We learned the hard way, do not become emotionally attached to any property because there are several things that can prevent a sale.

  • Not enough money for closing
  • The sellers could reject the offer
  • It might not pass inspection
  • The bank won't finance what the sellers are asking
*** Remain Emotionally Detached *** until the papers are signed and the keys in hand.

Today my daughter and I drove out to Hustisford to look at a property that is listed sort of at the top of our comfortable price range but still below what we have been approved for. Here are 6 pictures. I didn't want to intrude because the people were home.

120 feet of Rock River waterfront. It's been raining a lot, so you can see there is no flooding.

A small guest house (white and green building) It has its own mini kitchen, bath, sitting room and bedroom.

We walked to the middle of the bridge over the Rock River

The land across the river. This would be the view from the house.

Looking down the street, toward Lake Sinissippi. Yeah, you read that right.

Looking south across the street. There is a narrow park. Some people were fishing. We saw several large fish jump.

My daughter and I were laughing...would we live on a street named Tweedy next to a lake called Sinissippi in a town named Hustisford :D

Drive time, 12 to 15 minutes. I requested a showing for Wednesday. We shall see...

Friday, May 26, 2017

Research, Research, Research

The condition of a home isn't the only thing one needs to look at. Some pre-screening can be done by using Google Street View and Google Maps in Satellite mode.

This listing has been up awhile but I looked anyway.

Hmmmm....farm fields next door?

Let's look in Google...what is across the street?
Ugh!! Really?!?! Can you say "stink and flies"?

We found this gorgeous Hustisford listing, right in our price range!

But...sadly...farm fields all around.
Fartilizer, oops, FERTILIZER drift (Freudian slip?), pesticide drift, herbicide drift, dust from plowing, planting and harvesting....nope, I can't deal with any of that. The farms are all around and the tree line is not wide enough to provide a buffer.

Then there is the overpriced dumpy house in Hartford with the leaking foundation we looked at.

And the view across the street
Lovely

The difficult search continues. Unfortunately for most home-buyers today, inventory is at an all-time low and the number of buyers is at an all-time high. Many houses end up in bidding wars with potential buyers putting in offers above list price. The seller happily gets to choose between maybe a dozen offers.

Duplexes tend to sit on the market for some time. They come with a different list of issues. Since they are not single-family, none of the home buyer credits are available. Also, they require 5% down.

Homes that need some repair but are not considered a "fixer-upper" by the bank can be considered, and they tend to sit longer. There are not many in that category. More likely they will be full-blown fixer-uppers requiring a cash sale.

Odd-ball houses tend to sit longer. For instance, we were thinking about looking at this one in Hustisford, until we figured out there is no way to use the upper bedrooms. There is no bathroom upstairs, and the only way up is by the outside stairs. 

Beautiful property, nice house

A screened-in porch!

Oops! What where they thinking?

So....what do you tell your guests? "The guest rooms are upstairs. There is no bathroom, so you will need to come downstairs, outdoors, in the pouring rain or dark of night, and come into the house to go to the bathroom."

Or...."Here's a bucket."

It would be hugely costly or maybe structurally impossible to put a bathroom upstairs. 

Hartford has lots of older, 2 story homes built in the 1900's. To be updated for modern times, they need new windows, re-wired electric, insulation, new siding, new roof, first-floor laundry (or indoor access to the basement. Often times the bedrooms are too small, such as the common 9x9, and often there is no bathroom upstairs. 

Nice, but the bedrooms are way too tiny

Bigger, but all-wood siding needs scraping and painting, and there is a lot of it.


The search goes on.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Racing to a Dead End

Yesterday evening we met our real estate agent at her office so we could sign the Buyers Agent papers. Before driving to her office we passed a newly listed Ranch in Hartford for $145,000. I grabbed the address and texted our agent. She had details of the property for us when we arrived and she set up a showing for this morning at 10 am.

Immediately we noticed the house didn't look as nice in person as it did in the pictures, and it was smaller than what the listing implied, because they included the "finished" basement in the square feet.....which had water trickling in behind the paneling along the back wall.



Our agent's husband showed us the house (they are a team), so we spent some time talking about what we are looking for, and what we noticed about the house we were looking at. We discovered that it is possible to buy a house that needs some fixing, but which is not actually a "fixer-upper". However, we didn't like this one at all, and it was agreed that it is worth much less than the listing price. Plus...that foundation wall....need I say more?

We no more than got back home and my daughter was texting me that a duplex for $160,000 just listed 15 minutes ago and there were no pictures. She gave us the address, so we drove over to look. A man was walking around to the front and we asked if we might take a picture. He said of course. It turned out that he was the owner, and he invited us to view the property. 

We were astounded. It is immaculate, fully updated, sturdy, well built, strong, clean, gorgeous woodwork. Every inch of that house said "Welcome Home", from the downstairs enclosed porch to the upstairs kitchen and balcony. Already we were living there in our hearts. We were mentally siting on the balcony watching sunrises or sunsets. I was nearly in tears.

We wanted it, right then and there. I called our agent. She needed to see it, and since she was driving from Menomonee Falls, it was only a short detour. She called us as soon as she was heading to West Bend, and we took off to meet her there. 

She looked at the loan approval we had. Something was confusing, so I called our loan officer. He talked to me, then the agent, then me. The numbers were different because it's a duplex. First time homebuyer credits only work for single family homes. We were $4400 short for closing costs. Our loan guy crunched numbers, he went through every program they have. There was nothing he could do.

Our loan guy felt bad. Our agent tried to console us by telling us something else will come up. She said she sees a lot of disappointed potential buyers who miss out simply because 6 offers might come in on a property all at once. So we thanked everyone for trying so hard to help us and we vowed not to give up hope.

Here are a few pictures I took of the duplex.

Balcony

Flowers everywhere

 Clean, dry basement

Dual electric

Super thick, sturdy basement walls, European style...hubby loves it

Adorable dining area downstairs

Enclosed 3 season porch

Lovely woodwork everywhere. Large room upstairs

Upstairs pantry

Upstairs kitchen

Dual central air

Sunday, May 21, 2017

This and That

I got the petunias planted. It's chilly out, and it looks like it might rain again. I'm leaving the succulents out on the window sill. Because of the roof overhang and the east location, they don't get much, if any, rain, and it's not freezing, so they should be fine.

Tuesday evening hubby and I are meeting the real estate agent in West Bend. We are thinking this is a good time to sign the Buyer Agency agreement. Although in signing it we agree to work with this agent, she is a team with her husband, who had many years experience in construction.

Wisconsin law explained:
"In the traditional buying process, a real estate agent working without a Buyer Agency contract is, by law, working as an agent of the seller. An agent working without a Buyer Agency contract must still be fair in his/her dealings, but is prohibited by law from giving the buyer critical advise such as a professional opinion of a price or in suggesting negotiation strategies."

The contract includes professional opinions, advice and critiques of the seller's property beyond disclosing defects, plus negotiations, writing documents and assisting in transactions.

I'm still reading the fine print, but basically, if we don't sign it, the the agent only works in the seller's best interest. Since it's a seller's market out there, we figure we need someone on our side.

We need all the help we can get. The market is hot for move-in ready houses. Typically they stay on the market for about 5 days. The houses that stay on the market for a long time need repairs. Banks won't give a loan on a house needing repair, so those types of homes can only be purchased by an investor with a cash sale, unless the homeowner decides to fix them.

A short sale or foreclosed home is not out of the question, again, professional help is needed here.

The median home price in Hartford is $217,000. We have been approved for up to $200,000. We would rather stay under $150,000. It's going to be an uphill battle.

We have decided, for several reasons, that Hartford is the best location to focus on. Hubby's and my daughter's work is only 2 minutes away. Hubby's family and friends are only 2 minutes away. He visits often, almost daily. Internet is fast. Home prices, though high, are still better than some areas not far away, except Neosho. Home prices in Neosho compare to Hartford, or are slightly less. However it's a tiny community, so not many come up for sale. Neosho is 5 minutes from my hubby's work.

With a sigh, I give up on the duplex with problems in Woodland. I fell in love with the view. It was not to be. The place is too tiny. There are other issues. There is no Internet. We rely on Internet to keep in touch with family.

View, I love you. You broke my heart.


More on Buyer Agent, from First Weber

We are considered Milwaukee Metro, here are some blog entries about the market here.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Well... crud

My ACTH test came back, even higher...80.8

My previous numbers were 68.5 and 59.7

So....I'm sure I will be hearing from the Endo Doc. Since my cortisol seems to be in a normal range, I have no idea what this means. Usually it's a combo...high ACTH/low cortisol or low/high or something, but not high/normal.

I am thankful I have really good insurance. Zero deductible, zero co-pay. Medicare is $109 per month and Blue Cross Blue Shield of California is $181 per month. I kept it because Wisconsin does not have plan F.

Speaking of health insurance reminded me of a recent conversation when we were visiting family in Indiana. My SIL's health insurance deductible before the ACA = $500. After (with) the ACA = $15,000. My daughter said her deductible went up by $10,000. Before the ACA her lab tests were covered. Now they are not. She cannot afford to get the tests she needs, so she went off a medication. She won't be eligible for Medicare for 20 more years. Basically Obamacare is catastrophic insurance, because it doesn't pay much of anything else, at least in Indiana.

This is part of the insurance train wreck that put the ass hole in office.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Found It!

That petunia I was looking for.....found it at Hahn's ACE Hardware! My daughter and I froze our butts looking.

Here it is. It does have a yellow eye, it's just hard to see in the lighting

 This is the brand

 I also bought these. I think the middle one is white

There are so many fancy petunias out now, deep, dark, nearly black, blue with white dots, white edges, green edges, pinwheels, on and on! I'm out of room!

Back to Work

Hubby's vacation is over. It was great to have all the time together, and the week we spent helping my daughter and her hubby in Indiana was particularly rewarding. We all had a lot of fun in between the hard work.

Wednesday was hot and muggy with thunderstorms. Thursday turned chilly and breezy. I had some plants outside. but brought the small ones in, simply because it was going to be in the upper 30's and I wasn't sure if it was a good idea to leave them out. I brought the ones on this side of the screen inside. It's not supposed to freeze, so the others should be ok.



My daughter in Indiana has the prettiest petunias. I can't seem to find them anywhere, probably because the stores all carry plants from the same grower. When I get the change I will check out the local hardware store. Anyway, the petunia I'm looking for is pink with a white center and a yellow throat. The ones I'm seeing are missing the white center.


The cortisol test came back normal (chewing on the cotton swab). The blood test that went with it is also normal. That's good news. I'm still waiting for the other blood test for the ACTH (the test I had before that flagged high).

Our real estate agent set up a sharing portal for us, where she can upload listings and we can view and comment on them, or request info. We are concentrating on Hartford, even though it's more expensive. We have discussed options quite a bit, and staying here is the better option because friends and family are here. It's taken my hubby quite some time to "find himself" here in America, and I would have to say that Hartford is working out very well.

Hubby only worked half a day yesterday because he is training and translating for a new hire who only speaks Albanian. After he came home, he and I went shopping. Hubby bought me a new purse. He wanted to buy me two different ones, but I didn't think the other one was practical, so I talked him into just the one. He wanted to buy me shoes, too, but they didn't have my size in the ones I liked, and I didn't feel like hunting them down in other stores.


That's about all for now.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Catching Up

We drove down to Indiana on Saturday, May 6th, to help my daughter get her house fixed to sell. My hubby is on vacation, and my daughter and her hubby both asked for a week off, which worked out great. We got a lot done, or I should say, they did. I did manage to tape and cut in the bedroom so my daughter could roll it, and I helped her wash the windows. I had to stop after sanding in the hallway because my bum arm and shoulders started to ache. By "bum arm", I mean the one with 7 lymph nodes removed, which causes my arm to ache if I do too much. It's a lifelong thing. My neck was also getting pretty darn sore, and the dust was giving me asthma problems, even with a dust mask, so I quit.

Hubby and daughter's hubby were busy with the floors. My hubby laid the ceramic tile. They all cleared out a lot of stuff, so to the dump, some to storage. They said the help put them ahead by a few months. It's pretty hard for them to get anything done because they have his kids every other weekend and they have softball games. They also have games on Monday and Tuesday afternoons after school. That leaves them 3 days a week and every other weekend.

My daughter needs to sell her house so she and her hubby can start building their home. Currently they are squished into a 2 bedroom apartment.

We had a good time, went out to eat every night....not something I usually do.

My daughter bought me some succulents for Mother's Day :)


We also spent some time petting my daughter's kitty, because he was a bit upset with all the commotion going on. They will try to squeeze him into their apartment until we get a house. We offered to take him, but we can't yet because our apartment is "no pets".


And my younger daughter had this in our apartment waiting for me to come home :)


We came home Sunday, May 14. Monday hubby and I had a meeting with a realtor. It was a good meeting. She will call us if something comes up in our price range.

Monday, May 8, 2017

May 5th

May 5th was the one year anniversary of my neck surgery. I am doing well in that respect, I will always have a range of motion (ROM) limit and my neck can still hurt a bit if I try to push that ROM too far. Sometimes my shoulder get achy. Oh well.

Also, on May 5th I had an appointment with the Endocrinologist (hormone doc) in Menomonee Falls. He asked lots of questions. He listened carefully to my answers. He understood why I was concerned (lost 3 family members because they chose to ignore their bodies). He said my numbers can be off because of stress, but....he will test me for something rare. I have 2 swabs that at exactly 11 pm I chew one for 2 minutes and place it in the vial. The next night I chew the second one. The following morning I get my blood drawn at the lab (here in Hartford) at 8 am, The results will be sent to the Endo doc in Menomonee Falls.

Not a lot of news for you now, and I won't be checking in for a few days.


Thursday, April 27, 2017

A New Favorite Place

We walked someplace different this time, Harrington Beach State Park, which is about an hour northeast of Hartford, near Belgium, a bit south of Sheboygan. Unlike the Lion's Den, where a narrow, rocky beach skirts 900 foot high cliffs, the beach at Harrington is only 6 or 10 feet below the rest of the park, making access much easier. It is also wide and sandy. Don't get me wrong, I love the rocks at the Lion's Den, but walking on a soft, sandy beach is wonderful. With easterly winds kicking up waves on Lake Michigan, the area had a definite ocean feel.

Ahead is a small point of land with a path leading up

Atop the point, the view reminds me of one of my favorite places in Crescent City. It was an incredibly happy day for me.


We also discovered the park has a a lake that used to be a limestone quarry. We followed the path around the lake. It is very picturesque.




We plan to go back often. The lake is stocked, so we are planning to do some fishing as well.


Map and map detail


Red "X" shows where we parked. Blue line is the first half of our walk, green line is the second half


***********

In other news, next month I have an appointment with the endocrinologist doc, and then hubby will have a vacation.