Wednesday, March 30, 2011

" The Weekend "

" The Shower "

Saturday morning started out much more hectic than usual. My lovely Daughter-In-law had a baby shower planned for her younger sister, Laura and Laura's beautiful new baby girl "Willow".

We had the shower at my church because of the size of the hall. So I had to be there all day to oversee things and of coarse enjoy all of the good company and good food. I wanted to take more photos but for some reason my camera wasn't cooperating. But I did manage to get a photo of the two girls of honor. Laura, Amy's sister, and beautiful baby Willow....

Every other photo I took came out dark and it didn't matter what setting I tried. Anyway the shower went well and my husband got home as we were wrapping up in the late afternoon. Katie went to go pick him up from his truck and brought him to the church. After that we took Katie and her friend Natasha to spend the night at Natasha's house. Then my husband and I went out to eat at our favorite Mexican restaurant. Some much needed alone time. Sunday was to be the day that we would hook up the new washer and dryer.

"The Washing Machine Debacle" 

After we picked the girls up and brought them back here on Sunday to get ready for church, Jake and I were all prepared to go work in the basement to hook up the new washer and dryer! 

I ultimately decided against the new HE washer and dryer. I opted for a pair of standard Maytag's as I have had in the past. They were good machines that lasted me over twenty years. I researched this issue very thoroughly and decided that the basic machines would be a better fit for us.

We first hooked up the gas dryer and leveled it. Tested it and all seemed well. Alright now onto the washer. We hooked it up, leveled it and put the drain hose into the standing drain floor pipe.

Lets test it, shall we? Small load first. Everything seems fine. Then it starts to drain. Water goes splashing over and out the drain pipe everywhere!!! We did read in the installation book that this new washer, even though it's not a high efficiency model, spews out ninety thousand gallons a minute, I am exaggerating here folks, but it certainly seemed like it at the time.

We had water everywhere! What to do what to do. Well my husband decides to try it again and again. Our sixty plus year old plumbing just won't handle it. I am in tears saying that we should just take it back and I will use the old one. My husband reminds me that eventually we'd have to get a new one and they aren't going to make them any slower as the years go by!

We have a main drain hole in our basement floor. The basement floor slants slightly towards it. All of a sudden I had a thought. What about a washtub? We always had washtubs when I was growing up. The washer would drain into the washtub directly. So off we went once again to Lowes to purchase a washtub and several feet of PVC pipe and an elbow. It didn't take my husband long to hook all of this up and he was sure that it would work. 

Hallelujah! It worked!!!!!! Two heads are better than one so they say.
So about six hours after we started, we were finally doing laundry once again in our own basement. Both machines worked so well and we couldn't believe how much cleaner our clothes turned out.

Having my own dryer again was just wonderful. Last night after catching up on several loads of laundry that day, Katie yelled "MOM!!". I ran into her room thinking that something was wrong only to find her laying on her sheet on her bed saying " Come feel my sheets, they are so soft!".

Jake and I didn't expect to spend so much of our day together in the basement working but I guess it was very much worth it. I spent all day Tuesday catching up on laundry.

"Monday, Jake's last day off."

Since we were so busy most of the weekend, we had to spend Monday catching up on other errands. Jake had to do his grocery shopping, we had to pick up some medications for him and Katie as she has been sick and I had to stop and pay some bills. After which our son stopped by with his pick-up so that he and Jake could go to Lowes to pick up some fencing we bought. 

We will finally be able to close our back yard in once again. Several years ago straight line winds blew our fence over. I don't like having our yard exposed to the alley. So now we can close it in once again. Although with as little as my husband gets home anymore, it could take all summer long! 

Monday evening I cooked my husbands favorite dinner. Fried chicken. He was so happy and took all of the leftovers with him when he left Tuesday morning. This is a real treat for him as I can't stand very long anymore. Cooking is something that gets to be very painful for me. But I know how much he loves my fried chicken and I wanted to do something special for him since he had to work almost the entire time that he was home.

" The Elephant in the Room "

My husband is still unsure of what to do about his job. I think that he is getting closer to leaving but I know that he is struggling with this after being there for so long.

We did talk about it. I won't push him. I do believe that he is really leaning towards leaving. But I am as unsure as he is. He received a call from another company that wants him to come and work for them. It doesn't really matter what company he chooses as he would still be taking a pay cut and losing three weeks paid vacation every year. Although some of them do pay more on the insurance. One even pays all of the insurance. But again the decision is ultimately his.

I really want to thank all of you, my friends, for your sincere concern and prayers. It means a lot to me and when I read your comments to my husband he was very moved.

For now I will keep praying for the right answer to come along. I know that God is listening and will ultimately guide us to the right decision. Please accept our sincere "Thank You".

" Wrapping it Up "

As you can imagine I have been having much fun doing laundry in my own home again. And since we have been busy the last few days, I haven't been able to visit all of you as I should. But I promise that I will catch up within the next couple of days.

In the meantime, bless you all for your kindness. You are all the reason that I keep on blogging!

Friday, March 25, 2011

"Yet Another Sleepless Night "

This makes two in a row. I've awoke at 2:30 a.m. freezing and unable to fall back to sleep. Because of the warm weather on Wednesday I took my feather blanket off of my bed and exchanged it for a light weight quilt. I think that was part of the problem as I am usually too warm when I sleep, never freezing.
Than again I have developed a cough and was feeling a bit nauseous last night before bed so it is possible I suppose, that I may be coming down with something. Although for the most part except for lots of arthritic pain from this ailment and the changes in the weather, I've been feeling pretty good.
Now I will be very honest here. It is 3:51 a.m. and I have nothing better to do anyway! This is actually one of the reasons that I haven't been visiting blogs very much lately or even blogging myself, worry.
As I've stated before my husband has been having lots of problems at work. He has been there for almost nine years and this company has changed drastically in the past year or more. 
My husband, and I say this with absolutely no prejudice is an excellent employee with a perfect on time record. He has driven well over one million miles accident, incident and ticket free.
All that he wants is what is due him and that is 48 hours off for every 14 days out over the road. This doesn't seem at all unreasonable to us.
I will add that not even four days a month is enough time to be together to work on our marriage, visit grandchildren and children, fix things around the house and have time to relax. It just isn't.
But it is part of this truck driving world, one that we have grown to accept. Not perfect but we make due. 
Now as of late, the company isn't getting him home. He drives regionally which means under normal circumstances when it comes close to his time off week, they will keep him close to the house so that they can get him home for this weekend of the month.
Now all of a sudden after nine years they are saying that they have no freight that comes close to our house. We know this not to be true. He has been there long enough to know all of the companies that they haul for not to mention there are several large truck stops in our town in which I see his company trucks parked about eight out of the ten times I go to town every week. As a matter of fact, just two days ago I saw one of his company trucks bob-tailing (driving with no trailer) right down main street past our house! This only happens if you drop your trailer at a truck stop and are heading home.
My husband was told yesterday that if he wanted to get home from now on, he would have to park in East St. Louis and that I would have to drive there to pick him up and again to take him back to his truck.
This would put a major wear and tear on our car not to mention the cost of gas every other week.
We are both at our wits end to say the least. This has taken a huge toll on my husbands health and emotional well being. And of coarse the stress all trickles down to me as well. When he is miserable it is impossible for me to be happy and vice versa. 

Finding a new job isn't a problem. There are so many companies that need drivers and his record speaks for itself. He does prefer working for smaller companies and already has a few in mind. This isn't his problem.
The problem lies within. If you have given a company your all for nine years and they just don't care anymore, I imagine that is difficult to understand and deal with. He is feeling a great deal of frustration and anger as am I because of what I see that it's doing to him. I don't like it at all. And I feel as though there is nothing that I can do to help him. It has to ultimately be his decision weather or not to quit and I do believe that it's getting very close to that.
 I have always in the past with any of his endeavors,  assured him that I stand behind him no matter what his decision. Although the truth is that I feel like more of a burden on him now. He worries that if he leaves, no insurance will cover my knees and almost probable surgeries.

I told him that I didn't care, I just can't stand seeing him so miserable anymore. I have felt down many times from this debilitating pain and often times cannot walk. But I have thought about this often. I have wondered why I was stricken with this arthritis which I have in my hands, back, hips, knees and feet. I have but only one answer. I never let it get me down for long. Physically or emotionally and I believe that for whatever reason, God knows that I can handle this. I don't know if it's a test. I don't know what will eventually be in store for me, but I do know that my faith and trust in him allow me to deal with this constant pain.
What I do have trouble understanding and dealing with is what this "JOB" has done to my husband. He is a good man, a good provider, caring and loving. He also has lots of faith but it has been tested like never before for him.
I just want him to be happy, like he used to be. I would forgo surgery for that. Today he is going to try to speak to the company owner, if he is there while my husband is. I don't know what is going to happen but if it helps my husband feel better, I'll be waiting to get the call to come and get him.
I have prayed and prayed for something good to happen or even change for the better. So we shall see. It would be a little scary because of the unknown but change can also be good.
If I have learned anything at all in this life it is the fact that the only constant in life is change. So I am praying and ready.
Wish us well will you please? We could both use a few good nights sleep.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Spring Has Sprung"

It has been such a beautiful week so far. For a few reasons. It is Spring Break here in Southern Illinois and the weather has been gorgeous however it is supposed to change tonight and turn cool and rainy again.

But that's alright it's been fun having the girls around all week and I've even had a couple of nights to myself. I have recently started riding my stationary bike again. Everyday. I am up to five miles in about 33 minutes. Not too bad considering I haven't had any exercise other than cleaning house all winter!

Riding a bike is the only exercise that I can do that doesn't hurt my knees. I am already feeling more toned.
I also didn't have to clean house or babysit this week. Both were canceled and it was nice having the freedom to do what I wanted to around my own house.

I went to church and got some work done in the office on Monday. Saturday we are having a baby shower for my Daughter-in-laws sister and I will finish up my work while they are decorating. 

So with the bit of free time that I've had I did a bit of cleaning up in my yard.

I'm telling you I was amazed by all of the plants that are greening and blooming. Even some unwanted plants!! Look what I found.....

Yes indeedy my friends, even the weeds are popping up all over!!
The Lambs Ear that was given to me by my mom the summer before she passed away is looking good.

Please excuse my weeds in these photos. I'm just not ready for them yet so I am ignoring them. At least until April!!
The next two photos show two of the Hostas that are poking through. 
You may have to look closely to see them.

The Clematis are starting to show their leaves, my Rose bush is completely green. The Dianthus leaves are showing as are the Stonecrop. Also my Hollyhocks ....


And the Azaleas....

The Easter Lilies are poking through the ground and the Hyacinths are blooming....

There are even more than I've posted that are trying to bloom. It truly amazes me how fast things change in the springtime here.
Today it was 75 and sunny, tomorrow it's supposed to be 46 and rainy! Change. There's a lot of that in the springtime.

I'm feeling very good about the progress that I've made in the back and front yard. I don't think I'll be doing much more raking for a little while because of the cool temps and rain but I am satisfied for now!

I have a couple of little painting projects lined up just for the days I can't be outside. My husband and I have so much work yet to do. We're planning on putting up a new fence sometime soon. This should prove very interesting as he's only been getting about three days home a month!
He doesn't have any vacation time coming until August that is if he doesn't decide to quit first! Only time will tell and time flies so I'm sure we'll know soon enough.

Life seems to be full of surprises so I'm just going with the flow don't ya know!!

I hope that you are enjoying your spring wherever you are.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

" A Bit of This and a Little of That"

I have an imaginary hot tub. Yes I do. It sits atop the imaginary deck that encircles my maple tree. The doors that lead to the imaginary deck are those nice sliding glass doors that are in the wall that leads to my imaginary addition to my kitchen.

The room that is this imaginary addition to my kitchen is really Katie's room. My sixteen year old. Oh did I mention that this imaginary hot tub has an imaginary television that pops up from somewhere in it's depths so that I may watch any movie that I wish as I am having my imaginary glass of wine and relieving the pain of my very real arthritis!

Ah yes this is a fun fantasy that my husband and I often have while together. Today though, I am having it alone. While plants are blooming everywhere, the spring weather has been a killer on my joints. I finally made an appointment to have shots of cortisone and Synvisc in both knees on April 6th. So I should be good for awhile!

Last weekend we celebrated my husbands 49th birthday. The kids and grandkids came over for dinner and cake. We all had a good time and I think this really helped my husband who has been under lots of job related stress lately. He's still having a tough time with work but has been in a much better mood lately.

The next day we burned leaves and grilled some Brats. I was able to get about 95% of the yard leaves burned which just tickled me to no end! I really didn't think that I'd get it all done before the end of April.
My husband makes the most delicious Brats. He simmers them in beer until nearly cooked through and then grills them. Oh my gosh they are so good!

I've watched over my grandson Jack twice the week before last and it was decided that once a week was all that this grandma can handle, at least until I get those shots and they kick in. Jack and Grandpa had a great time playing so I was able to spend some extra time with my granddaughter Sarah. We cuddled in my chair together, it was sweet!

I'm finally getting a new washer and dryer next week. No more laundromat trips for me God willing. Just one this coming Monday and then the new ones should be hooked up by the following weekend.

O.K. so my intuition has been kicking in really strong lately. I consider this to be a gift from God most times. Then there are the other times. The ones when I feel bad about something. I guess it's alright for me to come out with it now as the bad feeling that I had been having the past two weeks has happened.

I kept feeling that Katie was going to have an accident while driving. I was hoping that I was just being a nervous mom but I was dreading the past two weeks every time she wanted to use the car and thanked God each time she made it home safe. 

Kate uses the car every weekend. She goes to church twice, picks up her friend or drops her off, goes to the convenience store for snacks, maybe a trip to the mall. These are all very short trips.

Today she went to Big Lots, a retail store just a few blocks from our house. I have her text me each time she arrives at her destination and text me again when she is on her way home. Today she called me. She was very upset and near tears. She said that she had just hit a car and didn't know what to do. She and her friend were alright so I continued to ask her what happen, how bad the damage was and such.

She was backing out of a parking spot in which a car had parked very close to her after she was already in the store. She cut the wheels a bit too soon and put a nice size dent in the Toyota Avalon that was parked next to her. Amazingly, my car just had a couple of scratches on the front bumper. In the mean time she is asking me in a very freaked out tone what to do. I am explaining to her that she needs to write down the other cars license plate number, go into the store and have the owner paged, exchange insurance info and have a police report made.

After my explanation, Katie says "Mommy I don't know what to do!". Geez.... I can't go up there, we only have one car. So I ask, just out of curiosity, "Didn't they teach you this crap in drivers ed?". She answers "No" and so tell her that she has to man up and go inside to find the owner. Well just as I am telling her this, the owner, who turned out to be a very nice woman with a teen of her own, came out to her car. Katie hung up with me and took care of everything. And get this, she even thought to take photos of both cars, which by the way my insurance company was very impressed with.

The woman was very nice to Katie and just said that these things happen. The info was exchanged and report made. When she came home I went directly to check out my baby. My car. Oh don't think I'm a bad mom, I could see that Kate was fine!!! I was amazed at how little damage was done to that rubber bumper. I called our insurance company to report the claim. They said that if I felt comfortable with it that I could call the woman and give her the claim number and phone number to assure her that they were on it already. If not they would do it for me.

So I gave her a call and the first thing I did was Thank her for being so understanding, explaining how upset my Katie was. She said that Katie was very sweet and polite and that she too had a teen so she understood. She asked if I knew where they would do the body work at and I said no as we've never had a claim. She seemed shocked at that! 

After some good talkin' to's from both mom and dad I let her use the car again today. My husband said to me "It's your car, you decide." My thought was, get back on the horse and ride!

I am hoping that this little incident will make Katie more aware and careful while driving. Her dad thought it best that I take the privilege away for awhile but I didn't. I did however warn her that if she had another accident that was her fault, she wouldn't be driving my car for quite sometime. Did I do the right thing? I hope so. It felt right. And it seems that going with my feelings lately has been spot on.

So with work and parties, accidents and arthritis, you will excuse me won't you while I slip away into my imaginary hot tub? I think it's a good night for it!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"Still Around But Not For Long !"

Hi everyone ! I just wanted to let everyone know that I am still here but have been extremely busy this past week.

I've been trying my best to keep up with your posts but when I haven't been running around I've been napping from exhaustion.

I have also noticed that since I have started following a few new blogs, it seems to be taking forever for them to show up on my Google reader. So if I haven't visited some of you as often as you've posted, I apologize. I don't understand why it takes so long for them to show up.

I'll be working today but I am hoping to be able to post something soon. It's just been one of those crazy weeks. 

I hope all is well in your world and I will do my best to keep caught up just bear with me please and have a wonderful day.

Monday, March 7, 2011

" A Day of Bonding "

My granddaughter, Sarah is eight years old. I have watched over her since almost day one of her life. By watch over I mean babysit. But I always thought of it as watching over her.

We have bonded as a granddaughter and her grandmother should, 
years ago. She has slept over many, many nights over the years.

Since my grandson Jack was born two and a half years ago, things have been a bit different between us. I'll try to explain without going on too much. Many of you know that I have arthritis all over but my knees are the worst. I need two knee replacement surgeries.

So it was decided by all that since my grandson Jack is such a handful, it would be difficult to say the least for me to watch over him. 
I can't walk very far anymore and some days hardly at all. I can't run at all. When I get shots in my knees I am good for awhile but not very long anymore. Surgery at this point in our lives is not financially possible even with insurance. I am hoping that within the next two years that will change.


Lately my daughter-in-law and I have been talking. I explained that I really have an ache in my heart to bond with Jack the way that I was able to with Sarah. She said that we should just give it a try and if things didn't go well, she or my son could come and get him.

One point to keep in mind is that my son and daughter-in-law keep telling me all of the things that Jack gets into and how fast he does it. So I was feeling a bit intimidated about my physical ability to watch over him.

Now with all of that said, today was the day. Our trial day.
My daughter-in-law dropped jack off at 8:30 this morning.

I was prepared. 
I had made the house safe for him and me! I had brought out all of my husband Jake's old Tonka trucks and other miscellaneous toys.

In the six hours that I watched over Jack, I must say that it went extremely well and without incident. It was almost as though his mom and dad were talking about some other child. Not my grandson to be sure.

I served us both Linguine for lunch and the boy knows how to swirl his pasta.

He was very well behaved and I only had to remind him to say "Thank You", once or twice !
I was so surprised that he let me take pictures of him as he usually runs when I take my camera out. I told him that I really wanted to take a picture of his beautiful blue eyes.

This one we had to practice on a bit. He kept squinting. So I told him to open his eyes wide so that grandma could see his big beautiful blue eyes.
This is what he did....

My bonding moment came quite surprisingly.

The whole time that Jack was with me I kept stealing kisses. Most of them on the top of his head. There was a few minutes that he cuddled with me on the couch and I kissed him on the top of his head.

He looked and smelled so much like his daddy did when he was just a little boy that I was, if only for a moment, transported in my own mind to when my son was this age.
It was a surreal moment. For a split second I felt as if my grandson Jack was my own little boy, Frank.

That was a short moment in time that I don't think I will ever forget. Not only did I get to go back in time for a short few seconds, but I think Jack felt it too. I do believe that was our bonding moment.

My daughter-in-law came to get Jack around 3:00 p.m.
I received goodbye hugs and smiles.
He even ran around picking up all of the toys.

It was an awesome day.
We bonded.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

" I Just Couldn't Help Myself ! "

Yesterday was a pleasant winter day. 
Doesn't that sound strange? "Winter".

After all I think that I can confidently say that most us are thinking 

 In my neck of the woods it's been warming up. The average daytime temperature has been around 50 degrees. Rainy, cloudy, sunny, windy. All of the different degrees of early spring.

But alas, it's still winter. Yesterday however I just couldn't help myself any longer. I just had to go outside into my yard and clean a few of my garden beds.

Please don't tell my husband! He would have been aggravated with me. You see I sort of hurt something in my back last week and all I ever hear is "You just need to sit for a day!".

So I didn't say anything about doing any gardening! I only spent about 30 minutes out there and I was sitting on my little "Lawn Buddy" cart so I really didn't stress my back at all. 

Today my back is fine again and a few of my beds are cleaned out. 
There is so much cleaning yet to do and I am getting very antsy!!!

My Maple tree has buds on it.

I love this tree and not because it's the only tree we have. I just like to wonder at it's constant changes. I find sitting and staring up at it very relaxing spiritually.

We also have buds on the Lilac bush.

It won't be long before her heady fragrance will greet me in the mornings.
The Daffodils are popping through the mulch.

Soon enough we will see the vibrant yellow atop her green stems!

I also went looking for something else that I had suspected may be poking through.
If you were here about this same time last year you may remember my asking for help in identifying this odd looking plant that my husband discovered in the yard.

He asked me what it was and I thought it familiar but at the time I was a bit befuddled.

It was with the help of some of my blogger buddies that I remembered planting a pink Hyacinth by the Lilac bush the previous year.

It had been a gift from my granddaughter Sarah to me for my birthday. It produced the most glorious smelling flower!

I was quite excited to see that it had made it back again this year. I guess it likes that spot so I may consider planting several more of them in the future to keep the pink one company!


It's just beginning to poke through. When my husband first discovered it last year, it already had the bud on it which looked very strange. In the back of my mind I knew that it was familiar but just couldn't place it's name. 

So now I know and it's even more special because Sarah gave it to her grandma! As a matter of fact I think I shall name this Hyacinth, Sarah, after my granddaughter. I will also write it's location and history in my "Garden Journal" which I started writing in again.

Which reminds me. I have to find a new one as my old one is almost full. I need one with good quality pages as I also put photos and gardening articles in it.
Today I hung towels out on the clothesline to dry. They smell so good!

So while it may still be "Winter", technically and literally, I can't help but feel the "Spring" in the air today.
I think we are all looking forward to it after this long winter.

Have you been looking? Found anything yet?