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.

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 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 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


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


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.


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


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 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 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.