In My Home This Week: Radio Silence



In my home...

This week, I shall be going quiet.  I've worked hard all this year and I am determined now autumn has finally arrived to enjoy it a bit.  No worries.  There is work to be done.  I am tired.  There are multiple worries I must face, and little griefs I must experience due to current life situations with family.  I hadn't quite realized all that I have been holding in a reserved corner of my mind until it began to filter out on Friday and again on Saturday.  There is nothing for it but to experience my personal grief and wait yet again for a bad situation to come to a head.

It does seem of late that the hard things are harder than they have ever been.  It is all part and parcel of a season of life I'd as soon would pass me by but alas it is one of those things I must just go through.  This afternoon as I stood at the kitchen window thinking over one of these hard things, I felt helpless and asked "God, what do I need to do?!"  "You could try prayer..."  That's twice in a few days time now that the answer has been to pray.  Not a coincidence.  I'll lay odds I hear it a third time this week, a sure sign that indeed it is God I hear.

I will not be idle this week of silence.  There will be zone work but no project work.  My project work for the moment is stalled due to time/energy constraints.  I plan this week to be in balance.  Some work, some leisure.  I plan  to find a good book and lose myself.  I just feel in need of that luxurious sort of respite.

Work:  


This week  bed and baths will be my work zone.  The guest room requires a small amount of work.  I have a few things out of place there.  Our bedroom mostly requires dusting and cleaning of windows.  With the current cool nights I need to consider bringing out the winter spread which is heavier and larger and air it on the line so that it can be ready for those nights when we really do want more cover than we have at the moment.  I noted that the doorways to the bedrooms are looking pretty dirty and tattered.  I don't know if just cleaning will help enough but it's all that I shall attempt this time around.  Next month perhaps I'll see about a fresh coat of paint...another project to go on the projects page.

I have some errands to run outside the home in the week ahead and they will require time and a little effort and some clear thinking as I try to cram them all into one single morning.  I have some mending that must be attended to as well.

And there are plants outdoors that really should be coming indoors.  Orchids and ivy and Marantha should already be spending the nights indoors, not to mention the tiny coleus I've rooted and started hoping to get an early start on next summer's planters.  I need to make a place for them to rest through the winter and the kitchen is the only room that is sunny enough to suit them but the orchids and the violets  loathe the blast of cold air that hits them when the back door is opened.  The violets stayed there this summer because they don't mind blasts of warm air at all, but it's not summer all year round, even here in Georgia.   The master bath is the next brightest room in the house and the coldest as winter comes on, so that is out. Figuring out how where my plants shall go has me scratching my head...but it must be done.  And then I must determine what surface will best work.

With routine work and meals and errands and mending to do this week, that will be all the 'extra' I plan to do.

Meals:  

All my plans are just that: Plans!  Truth is that I need to sort out my fridge and discover what hasn't been used in the last two weeks and what might be salvaged and what won't be.  Meals crossed out are the ones we've had since the weekend began...


Beefy Pasta, (leftover) Italian Green Beans, Crusty Bread

Braised Pot Roast, Mashed Potatoes, Salad, Apple Cake (thawed from freezer)

on my own

Oven Baked Chicken Breasts, Wild Rice, Broccoli

Picnic

Steak, Baked potato, Salad

Fried Chicken, Sliced Tomatoes, Macaroni Salad

breakfasts:
Scrambled eggs with sausage (leftover) and cheese, Toast 
Croissants and Yogurt for me, Cereal for John
Pancakes and Sausage
Oatmeal
Cold Cereals for us both, I'll have granola as mine
Western Omelets, Toast
Bagels and Cream Cheese

suppers:  Chicken noodle soup (leftovers)
Fried Chicken, (leftovers)
Toasted Cheese Sandwiches
Philly Cheesesteaks (using leftover roast beef)
Chicken Salad (baking an extra breast the day we have baked chicken)
Tomato Soup, PBJ
Hamburgers, Fries

Books and leisure:  


I have the Eleanor Roosevelt, Autobiography that I continue to read but I am going to search over my bookcases and add a ficitional work and switch the two back and forth.  I just need that fiction work to have quiet hideaway time.  I may take a mix of fiction.   I've been reading Emilie Loring books in sequential publishing date order and I've many Grace Livingston Hill books that I mean to read through and determine which to cull out.   But those books generally go quickly as reading material.  I feel the need for something a little deeper and more absorbing than a 24 hour read...so maybe some D.E. Stevenson or Elizabeth Goudge.

Looked over the bookcases and these are my chosen companions for the week ahead: 
Emilie Loring Hilltops Clear unless it proves I've read it then whatever book is next in publication order.
Grace Livingston Hill, The Man of the Desert
Elizabeth Goudge, City of Bells

I'll also be journaling throughout this week.  I've a desire to really consider what I want to see change in my life, at least those portions over which I have the ability to render change.  Like buying more bulbs to plant in the yard for spring blooms and figuring out how I can incorporate some more annuals and perennials in my life.

I can be as stringent as I like with my budget but my soul requires beauty and creative work and I need to explore where savings can manifest and where I need to invest in future lovelies that I can afford now.

The there's a plethora of lists to be made: purchases to be made in the coming months, for instance and wardrobe needs, skills I want to add to my skillset or old ones I want to refresh, etc.  I typically do this sort of thing in November each year but I am ready to assess my Roman Calendar new year now...and what better time to do so than when I'm choosing to take leisure time anyway?

At least that's my plan.  I've had many and many a plan altered from my thinking but we shall see how it goes.  What's on your calendar for the week ahead?

In My Home This Week: In Which We Adjust the Pattern to Fit



Sunday:  We had a date yesterday.  John insisted he must take me out.  It's something he's been very consistent about this past year.  My husband is courting me and it's a lovely thing, truly it is.  I don't say it to brag.  I say it because I know how remarkable it is that 27 years into our relationship/lives together, he wants to treat me as though I am still the woman he courted years ago.  It fills me with awe, truly it does.

I won't tell you we go fancy places.  Yesterday we visited a favorite pizzeria and ordered a calzone.  The proprietor looked at us after we ordered and said "Have you ever eaten our calzone before?"  When we said "No" she told us she wanted to amend our order.  We'd ordered one for each of us.  She said they were huge and we'd likely only want one.  She was quite right.  It was absolutely delicious and absolutely huge.

We headed home after our lunch out and that was quite all right by me because I knew we'd be back in the very same area for church today.

We went into a different grocery today than we usually visit after church and discovered something interesting: the Sunday paper there is $1 less than it is at the store we usually stop at.  $1!  While in Kroger, I viewed my  rewards card on my smart phone and picked up my free items.  I also bought bread which we were out of at home, and asked John to walk with me down the syrup aisle.  He said "Do we need syrup?"  "Well...no.  But I've a number of coupons good here for the store brand real maple syrup and we've commented on how high it is at Aldi.  I just though I'd check to see how the price compares using the coupons."  It turns out that 12 ounce bottles were nearly $2.50 less than at Aldi, using the sale combined with the coupon.  I only bought one bottle because I knew we had some in the pantry at home but I have stopped thinking Aldi has the very best price always on all things.  Kroger sales and coupons are really very competitive.

John  wanted to buy me a coffee at Starbucks.  I do love a good cinnamon dolce this time of year, my preference over Pumpkin Pie Spice Lattes.  I thanked my husband nicely but reminded him I had well over half the balance left on the gift card his brother gave us at Christmas.  I used that to purchase my coffee.

While we were traveling I discussed the house insurance with John.  I have enough money to pay the bill in full but it costs just $16 a year more to pay for it quarterly.   We both like the idea of having it in our account as part of our daily balance and it

We came home to eat dinner, Roasted Chicken with microwaved baked potatoes and a big salad.  I'd left the chicken heating in the crockpot and this time I did it properly.  I started the reheating process on high when I first went into the kitchen this morning.  Then I turned it to keep warm as we left home.  The chicken was perfectly heated through but not dried out when we came in.

After dinner I really wanted to just sit and not fuss with housework.  I hadn't slept well the night before.   The time constraints of the week ahead nagged at me.  Tired vs. zone cleaning, zone vs. project work...I finally decided that lying down for twenty minutes would do me no harm.  I went right off to sleep and woke feeling refreshed.  Katie was here when I got up and we chatted a little and then she left to go home.  I tackled the start of the kitchen work, cleaning the cabinets well.  I got every one of those doors done within a thirty minute attack and was so happy to have that job behind me.  It looks so much nicer and I have done at least one larger job in my zone area for the week.

I stripped chicken from the carcass and started the bones cooking with a splash of vinegar to make bone broth.  I found a bag with two more chickens in it and tossed that in to cook too.  It smelled so good!  Later, I drained the bones and poured the broth into quart jars.  I'll pick over the bones tomorrow and will put the broth in the fridge once it's cooled enough.

After I'd cleared up the kitchen mess from our meal, I settled into my chair and John and I watched several episodes of a program we find funny.  It was so pleasant to sit and laugh over that silly show without feeling the slightest twinge of guilt.  I felt I'd earned that bit of luxury.

Monday:  I stripped the bed this morning after feeding the pets and then John and I took off after having a single cup of coffee.  We went over to Mama's old house and started ripping out overgrown shrubbery.  The miniature plants the lawn service had planted turned out to be not so miniature after five years and they completely masked the front of the house.  John cut and I hauled to the curb.  We worked steadily for an hour and half I think.

Home, we showered and started our home routine.  John did a load of clothes, then I washed a load of sheets and towels.  I took out the chicken leftovers and set half aside for Chicken Noodle soup and a portion for Chicken Salad.  I put on an egg to boil and settled in a chair to pick over the bones and separate out the meat and skin from the boney bits.  I feed the skin to the pets.

I started a load of dishes and then Katie called and asked if I'd go with her to the repair shop and pick up a rental car.  The drive is one hour from home.  It was almost lunch time and I still hadn't had breakfast.  John said to stop for something to eat and we really did mean to, but with delays at both places and ending up at a branch of the car rental place we weren't meant to be at, we missed all the fast food places and just drove home as quickly as we could.  I had a prior engagement to have the boys come visit.   I was 30 minutes behind when we got home but Bess had kept the boys outdoors playing all morning long and they were still napping when I got back home.  I had enough time to fold the laundry we'd hung on the line, unload the dishwasher and eat a chicken salad sandwich.

I heard Josh when he came running across the porch and had gone to greet him.  He came indoors and shouted "It's me!"  Bess fussed at him for not knocking but I was tickled at him.  I don't think you can't feel much more at home anywhere than to simply walk in and shout "It's me!"

We had a grand time with the boys.  John had promised Josh we'd have pancakes.  That child ate and ate.  He ate four pancakes, two servings of egg and four slices of bacon!   He can be rather picky about eating at times but I must have hit the mark on every single thing on the table tonight.   Isaac doesn't care for our 'chicken bacon' as Josh calls it.  It's a little too tough for him but he liked the eggs and the pancake just fine.

We took the boys home and stood around outdoors talking with Sam.  Josh and I walked a 'secret trail that his daddy had mowed through the weeds of a field and came out at the house again.  We admired the sunset and the yard together and he showed me how fast he can run.

It had turned into a very long day.  No zone work, and no project work either but I was done by the time we returned home.

Tuesday:  Listened to weather reports and determined that we will likely have some wind and possibly rain but not the flooding and destruction they are predicting further south of us.  I made out a short grocery list and a second list of things to attend to when I was home again this evening.

Katie and I went to visit Mama.  We ate out today.  It was my turn to treat for lunch.  We all enjoyed our meals and Mama enjoyed talking with the hostess who was seated at a table across from us.  She is studying to be a nurse.  Mama retired from nursing about 20 years ago.  She and the young woman talked throughout the meal.   At one point we were privy to her conversation with another of the waitstaff and that young woman explained just why she was studying hard to become a nurse.  Her reasoning was sound and Katie leaned over to whisper "She makes good sense!" as she explained her reasons for her personal ambitions to the other girl.
 
We stopped at the grocery.  I had a short list and I stuck to it: eggs, bread, fresh fruit and cheese.  Katie did shopping for herself and Mama.

After we settled Mama at home once again, we headed back to our town.  I dropped Katie off.  She kindly gave me a 50pound bag of dog food that had been delivered to that house back in the spring in a shipping mix up.  I am very appreciative of that 'gift'.  It's not Maddie's usual brand of food but hopefully she'll eat it as it's good quality stuff.

When I got home, I listened to the weather to see if any predictions had changed.  I decided it was worthwhile to take a few precautions though we're not meant to see any weather until the wee hours of Wednesday morning  and should be clear and sunny come Thursday.  I went outdoors and secured a few things I expected might be a problem.  I made a makeshift shelter each for Rufus and the cat.  I settled my potted plants on the porch floor rather than on the old ironing board.  I'll draw water in the tub tomorrow night and that should hold us until we are all clear of any incoming weather.

Wednesday:  We are as storm ready as we can be.  As a precaution we have turned over the patio table and chairs and nearer evening I will bring in the pets food bins.  I've made shelters for each of the pets.  We have been watching footage on Fox News which is live with the weather at present.  It appears to be going over us at this time.  Thankfully it is weakening.  Again, impact for us will be far less than what others shall experience.

When John came in from work this morning, I met him at the back door.  We went into town to drop off the bills.  I'd planned to mail them off yesterday but wasn't aware that he'd actually managed to get to the bank.  John and I were thinking alike this morning.  I'd made biscuits and had them ready to go into the oven.  He'd stopped on his way home and bought chicken biscuits for our breakfast.

When we returned from town, I baked the biscuits and did housework.  I am tired today and don't really feel up to doing more than I've done.  I am hesitant to defrost the freezer.  I would prefer to know that the electricity will be on for the next 24 hours before I unplug it.

The day has been pleasant enough.  I made my first Tarte Tatin and did it all wrong but it is still delicious if overly sweet.  I shall try again and reduce the sugar next time.

I made the Kielbasa casserole for our lunch.  Even though the air outdoors is heavy and humid it appears to be fall-like so that little casserole was a happy medium between a summer meal and a cold weather meal.

Every time I make this casserole I think of Brenda who shared the recipe one morning at work.  Brenda worked from 7-3pm in the hospital billing department.  She went home at three every day so that she could be home with her two children who were both involved in school sports.  This casserole was something she put in the crockpot after she got home one afternoon and let cook while they were at her son's ball game.  I am ashamed that it was some 15 years later before I even gave it a try because it is so good.  Now it sees a regular rotation on our menu through the fall and winter months.  Sometimes I use the crock pot and sometimes I bake it in the oven.  Since I was making the Tarte Tatin today, I used the oven to bake them both at the same time.  One thing that makes a pie (or in this case a Tarte) an easy dessert is that pies like a moist oven, so they can bake alongside a casserole dish, while a cake wants the whole of the oven space to  itself..

Amie called after lunch and John was in an unusually talkative mood today so he asked for the phone right away.  He had a nice long chat with her, congratulating her on her recent passing of her cosmetology exams.  She'd called to say she had an impromptu job interview today and was going back to do a styling interview on Friday.  She was excited at the possibility that she might be working as early as Saturday morning.  Amie worked long and hard to earn her degree, taking longer than any other student due to her partner's health issues and her children's needs, but she stuck with it.  We're incredibly proud of her and John wanted to tell her so in person.  We also got to speak to four year old Rosalyn.  She and Josh are just two weeks apart in age.

John has walked about the house and prayed over it and Sam has made sure that all gates are open and fences down between us and the power lines for easy access.  Now I think I shall go hide in genealogy and run down rabbit trails.  It's just the sort of absorbing sort of puzzle I need.

Thursday:  We had no damage here for which we are mighty grateful, nor did we lose power.  The storm bands hit us early and increased steadily but the peak at 2-3am found all calm and quiet and the skies clearing.  I think I went soundly to sleep about midnight and went right back to sleep in that wee hours time period when I woke, listened to the quiet.

We were more than a little surprised not to lose power.  It flickered on and off and on again several times.   I suppose after the same line broke twice this year due to storms that they fixed it up with a heavier duty line and made sure all the possible limbs were well away from it.   We turned off the air conditioner and didn't need it because temperatures had cooled down.   One more thing to be grateful for.

Katie lost power last night and at present there is no estimation of when it will return.  The entire little town is shut down and I feel terribly sorry for the small town merchants who are losing money left and right.  Gas can't be pumped, debit machines are down, cash registers won't work, food can't be cooked without electricity.  And these seem minor concerns in the face of a second disastrous hurricane devastating vast numbers of homes and businesses in less than a month's time.  Many of you I know live in these areas that have been hit and I just can't wrap my mind about the pictures I've seen these last few weeks, this whole past year.

Breakfast here was a simple meal of toasted leftover biscuits.  I told John I almost like leftover biscuits better than I like the freshly made ones, kind of the way Sam always wanted beef hash instead of the roast beef meal that came first.  I split and buttered some and put cheese to toast on others.  I like how they crisp up a little when they are toasted.

I made the pasta casserole for dinner and put half of that in the freezer.  It will be most welcome as an entrĂ©e when we return from our vacation.

I got the freezer defrosted but did not do too much rearranging of items.  I did manage enough space for Katie to bring in her things to keep them from thawing and spoiling, including her tub of ice cream.

Friday:  I am finding more and more that tiredness and amped up anxiety goes hand in hand for me.  Late yesterday afternoon I was tired and quickly got  overwhelmed with the multiple needs piled into my lap and felt the tensions within me twisting the rubber band of my nerves more and more tightly. 

Journaling helped, as did drawing a visual aid of a head shot (think target range sort of head) and the things I felt were coming at me and hitting me super hard.  Later I was able to calmly list each thing and what could be done or not done about it and still later I was able to take those things I could do something about and created a list so I could start to work on those tasks and those for which I could do nothing I visualized myself  tossing  aside. 

I took my anti-anxiety medication about an hour earlier than usual and took myself off to bed promptly at 10pm rather than wait upon John to stay up until his 'grown-up' hour.  I am so over 'grown-up' bedtimes and ready to just start going to bed when I'm naturally worn out.  I think that is the most adult thing I could possibly do!  I read a full chapter of my book and that helped to quiet my mind, too, though I confess I got little from my non-fiction reading last night.  I think I need to lose myself in something that is not in the least 'real'...There's a bit too much reality going on in my life at present.

I did not get quite enough sleep last night despite going to bed early but I was relaxed enough to drop off to sleep a bit after 11pm.  I slept hard enough I never heard John rise early this morning, long before the alarm went off.  Even when I did wake and realize he was up, I went right back to sleep until the alarm rang.  I won't say I had enough sleep even then.  It was chilly and I dressed before going to the kitchen, not my usual habit but a jacket and proper clothes felt good this morning.  After John was seen off to work and the pets given their work morning treats, I climbed back in the bed, pulled up all the covers and went right back to sleep.

John woke me calling to say that he'd arrived at work where there was no power and no cell phone coverage.  He was in another town entirely when he called.  He texted later from a nearby hospital where they'd carried a patient.  No one is expected to have power back on until Sunday.  I am so very very glad that we are not among that number though I daresay we'd manage fine today now that it's but 65f outdoors.

I've had a productive day despite my slow start.  I managed to get all the windows washed in the kitchen sitting and kitchen this morning.  There's a load of clean dishes in the dishwasher, a pile on the drain mat beside the sink, a load of clothes on the line dancing in the brisk breeze.  I've chatted with Bess for an hour and talked with Katie.  I've attended to phone calls that needed to be made and agreed to keep the little boys this afternoon since Daddy is in South Georgia helping with auto claims and Mama must go to work shortly after Josh comes off the school bus this afternoon.  I shall have them Sunday afternoon as well for the same reasons. 

I've got every window in the house open at present and my feet are cold despite the jacket I'm wearing.  Half my mind is tangling with what the boys will eat for supper and the other is trying to figure out just what time might be best for Gramma to have a brief nap before they arrive and just what must be attended to before I do so.  And somewhere under all that is the very sincere hope that vacation doesn't get put off once more because I feel very deeply in need of it!

So at present, I must plan meals for tonight, tomorrow, Sunday.  I need to unload and put away the dishes, fold and put away laundry and do whatever meal prep I can between now and evening.  I have an apple cake in the freezer that will do just fine for sweet finishes this weekend.  I must once more alter the pattern of my week to fit my circumstance.

I am not upset about what wasn't accomplished this week.  I cleaned the kitchen cabinets, defrosted the freezer, have given the house two good routine clenaings and got the kitchen windows washed.  I might not have gone as far in my kitchen zone work as I'd hoped, nor had I planned to be sitting the boys three times this week, but I've managed, so there is that much.

Now I shall go tend to the dishes and laundry and look over the foodstuffs to determine what we shall do.  Katie is eating here at present since she's without power until at least Sunday so I must plan for 'extras' at the table.  Leftovers simply won't cut it I'm afraid.  They'll keep until Monday I guess.  Then I shall seriously consider lying down to rest a bit before the boys come in. 

Have a great weekend all!

Safe and Sound







Just letting you all know we're safe and sound.  This storm, for all it's bigness ended being less damaging than Irma was last September for us.  We lost a few leaves and a few dead limbs and had no damage or loss of electricity in our rural area.  Katie lost power in town last night but reported no damage except a small leak that came in through the chimney and considering wind it isn't a wonder.  Mama has reported no damage except her trash can blew away.  I'm hopeful one of the neighbors will return it to her.  I checked in with Matt this morning and he and Taylor had no damage in their neighborhood nor town.  Here's hoping the rest of you remain as safe as we were!

Iced Tea Chat: I Win!




Come on in!  I'm longing to chat but keep putting it off for many reasons.  Things keep running through my mind and when I come to chat, those thoughts skitter away again.  Some are things I have been mulling but they aren't sorted properly yet.  Some of it is simply that in my 'hustle' I am tired at end of day when I allow myself to settle before the computer.  Nevertheless, we shall chatter and see what comes of it.

Yep it's still iced tea weather here.  Despite all the predictions of cooler weather we have had none of it, just days that remain stubbornly hot in the 90-95f range, which is ridiculous really, but it happens every few years or so.  I've seen Halloween's so miserably hot the children refused to wear their costumes.  Sure hope this year isn't one of those.

Speaking of chattering, there are squirrels all over the place this year.  I say little about them because they irritate John no end.  Yes, they can be terribly destructive but my goodness they are fun to watch!  I sat in my chair here in the living room the other day and watched as two played tagged in the pecan tree.  They flew about  from one side of the tree to the other, up and down the branches.  It was a joy to watch them as they played.   That day there were blue jays that visited the bird bath regularly and a mocking bird who played territorial with them..

I've noticed that these days when we come home there is usually a squirrel in the clearing just beyond the tree line in direct view of the pecan tree and garage.    Inevitably when this squirrel sees the car he begins to chatter and Maddie immediately goes after him, barking fiercely.

I spied a black fox squirrel this afternoon when we came home from church in the bottom.  All the squirrels are looking quite plump and healthy.  Is this some sort of sign of the winter to come?  I shall have to look that up.  My aunt spoke often of going squirrel hunting to make stew.  I think squirrels are cute, until you get up close and then they aren't.  I don't believe I want one fried, stewed or any other way!

Sam stopped in on Friday to get Oatmeal cookies.  I told him I hadn't seen the deer in a few weeks.  "They're down in the bottom at Uncle Tony's, eating acorns as they fall," he told me.  "The doe with the twin fawns is bedding down under the trampoline."  Well it's good to know.  It is my sincerest hopes that he can fill his freezer with deer meat this year.  I know the acorns are indeed falling because they sound like gun fire as they hit the tin roofs of the carports down there.  It makes quite a scary sounding 'pop' until you know what it is.   Still it's had to tell the acorn shots from real ones around here!  There's been plenty of dove hunts and quite a few who are sighting guns and target shooting getting ready for deer season at month's end.

Last week I returned to the ideal routine for me, of working on both a project area and doing cleaning by 'zones'.  As one of you noted, this is a Flylady trick.  When I first got computer service here along about 1999, I started my own newsletter, joined a homemaking group and found the Flylady's email group.  Her emails kept me on track and reminded me that doing a little in a moment or two could accomplish a bigger end goal.  I have long since given up getting those emails but I have never completely stopped following some of her methods.  It is because of her that I stopped being overwhelmed by the long view and got atop my home and the clutter within it.  Needless to say, I am deeply appreciative of what I learned and still see the value of it!  I read many and many books on housekeeping in general but I gained the most value from Flylady who broke housekeeping down into manageable zones and tasks.

I still see the value of the many frugal tricks I learned via Tracey McBride and Amy Dacyczyn.   While I often felt Amy's methods were stringent and helped me hone our budget, Tracey's filled my end need for beauty and luxury on a budget.  There were other budgeteers whom I followed and learned various tricks from, but these two have had the lasting value in my life.

As things have transpired this year, I have employed as much as I could of all these aforementioned mentors.   How we have managed with family needs, our own needs, increased costs of services, etc. is all because of the tithing and learning that has gone before.  I said two or three times this year  that it feels in many ways John and I have come full circle in our lives and it's true.  Here we are looking at retirement in the next year or two with  decreased income, as many needs as ever, and at times we look at each other and take a deep breath and say, "With God's help, we'll do this."   We just won't let our faith do more than stumble for a half second.  A stumble is not a fall.  It's a check on where we are in our head and heart.  I look at how well we managed this year and know without a doubt we shall manage in years to come.  Yes, lowered income is a little scary but we have always managed on less than many deem necessary.   God will help us determine just where we can trim and when.

One case in point has been our internet service.  We have an unlimited service plan and we pay a goodly sum each month for it, but less than we paid for limited satellite service.    There is actually a very real savings in our internet service compared to what we had previously.  Katie came in the other day and said "Just fyi...DON'T let go of your internet service.  You guys are grandfathered in, but they don't offer this plan anymore.  The company has discontinued it.  They said too many people took advantage of it!"    Well I am glad that we have it.  And while we're saving money with it, I hope it leads to a further savings.

 Now we are really actively discussing giving up our satellite service.  What's done it for John?  The realization that this year he was unable to view his favored college team's games without paying an extra $14 a month on top of what we already pay for service.  He's discovered that there are other options than satellite tv.  When our TV was struck by lightning in August we replaced it with a smart TV.  We often watch programming that is free with our Amazon prime membership, which we have because we save loads in free shipping.  Having Prime video is just a bonus to that

John's realized more and more that we watch about five channels out of the hundreds available to us.   I told  him most of those five are also available online...for FREE.  We can access them on our computer.  When I pointed out that cutting out satellite TV, which seems to increase every four or six months, would cover the cost of our annual car insurance fee, he really started paying attention to my talk.

Another change we've determined to carry out is to make quarterly payments for our house insurance.  When I determined to make our payments annually, I was getting quite a substantial savings.  Now, by paying quarterly, we pay $1.25 per month more than we're paying now.  Yes, its $16 a year we might save, but we can also tuck that annual amount into the bank that actually pays a better rate of savings and earn that and a little more back.  We're definitely not going to get rich from it, but it will mean we have a more stable balance overall and we are making our money work for us.  

I was rather tickled this week when John mentioned we might just save the property tax and what else we can from the tax refund this year.  I told him we could indeed, but I'd been using the overtime and smaller refunds we receive to frontload those accounts for the past three years.  He looked a little surprised.  When he retires we shall use windfalls and refunds to feed those annual accounts so that we do not have to pull it from our savings, because there will be no overtime available to us.

I've been hearing trickles of information about the oncoming tropical storm for about two weeks now.  I have paid attention but not really taken time to absorb all the information coming out.  This morning, after Lana's comment of yesterday, I decided I'd best get informed of what lies ahead.  It appears, from all the information I can gather that we might expect wind and a bit of rain here but the brunt of the worst of this storm will hit about two counties below us. Our local weather service which is remarkably good at forecasts, assures us that we shall be asleep for the worst of the storm and that for us, it will be a Tropical Storm and not a hurricane when it reaches us.   Nevertheless I am heeding the warnings and will be sure to draw up some water.  We've plenty of candles, matches and propane gas. I think we are pretty well stocked for groceries, but I  picked up some eggs and bread and fruit while out.  Maddie will reign in her dog house. Rufus and Misu now have a place to shelter. Beyond those things there is not a whole lot to be done really except pray for everyone in the path of this storm.

We had Josh and Isaac for one afternoon and early evening.   I realized something that is very dear to me about Josh.  He looks at me and sees me as capable as he is in movement.  I discovered this when we were playing at rolling a ball to each other and he copied movements I made in throwing and rolling the ball and later when we were walking a new path his dad has made up to Granny's fence and he suggested, "Let's race!"  I told him I couldn't run, but I'd go just as fast as I could.  Well, I won by default.  He came around the house to look for me on the front porch and ran back to the back yard again calling "Where are you?"  I called back, "I'm on the front porch...I've won!" which delighted him no end.  I had taken a short cut and really had beat him to the front porch!  He laughed and laughed over my beating him.  What a good sport he is!

He recited the pledge of allegiance and sang "Every letter makes a sound..." and we talked of spelling and what letter everyone's name began with and made the sound of that first letter.  Oddly, he said "John" when speaking of Grampa but when I said my name started with a 'T' because I was Terri, he said , "No you're not!  You're Gramma!"   I can only assume it's because Sam refers to John as John about half the time and Dad the other half.

Isaac is not quite as much in need of attention as Josh always has been.  He prefers to toddle about and pull things out of the plastics drawer or out of the toy box or any drawer or cupboard he can when none is watching him closely enough.  He never fusses when Josh takes away a toy but simply picks up another and goes off to play.  He loves to play with two wooden boxes that John's dad used to hold his tools.  He took my hand and held onto me as he stepped neatly into the box and sat down.  Now mind you the box is nowhere big enough to hold himself, but he is sure he can fit in either of the two of them and tries to shut the lid on himself to no avail.  I'm just happy he can't climb in the toy box!

John had promised Josh a pancake supper and  that little boy did it justice.  He ate four slices of bacon, four pancakes and two servings of eggs.   Isaac ate just one of the eggs and pancakes and then he was ready to get down.  Once he'd eaten he went to fetch his shoes and handed me one.  He sat down, held up his foot and said "Dadoo", which is what he calls his daddy.  Apparently supper indicated it was time to head home!  I told him he was staying just a little longer, but I noted that as he played about he kept yawning.  He was content to sit next to his dad on the swing as we talked with Sam, while Josh was out running around and around the yard.  I don't doubt but what both boys slept as well as I did last night.

I was mighty tired yesterday after we took the boys home.  No, the walking about the 'secret trail' as Josh called it did not do me in.  It was a pleasant walk and the ground not too uneven, but you see, we began yesterday by skipping breakfast and heading over to Katie's to cut out the vastly overgrown shrubbery.  We placed it curbside and I told John I've no idea where we can put the rest that needs to be trimmed because we piled it high.  I picked up and hauled to roadside while he cut.  That was about an hour and a half of work.  Back home, I showered, ate a piece of peanut butter toast while we did two loads of laundry and I started our dinner.  I started a load of dishes and sat down to finish picking over the chicken bones I'd cooked in the crockpot on Sunday night and had a text from Katie asking if I'd go with her to drop off her car and pick up the rental car.

I looked at the clock and it was almost 12N by then and I'd been going since daylight, but I told her 'Yes, but I needed to be back home by 2:30."  Well driving hard didn't get us back by then because we had to wait around here and wait around there and so we were 3pm getting in.  Our plan had included stopping at a drive thru but the roadway we ended up on, took us beyond any fast food places or even convenience stores.  We drove home and ate a sandwich when we got here.  I unloaded the dishwasher, John had brought clothes in off the line and folded most of them.  I folded the sheets and put those away and then the little boys were up from their naps and eager to walk to Gramma's to visit and there began that whirlwind four hours.   I was pooped last night.  

I had the oddest dream the other night.  I was on a property with a lot of houses and only a few were in use.  I thought immediately of an older house I knew to be on the property and was thinking of visiting to borrow furnishings from it to use in the other houses.  Immediately a man told me "That house is in disrepair.  Don't go there."  Each time that thought of going to sort through the furnishings occurred, the man would come to me and say, "No.  The house is in ill repair.  It's dangerous.  It needs to be torn down."  I won't tell you he changed my mind, but I remained too busy throughout the dream to ever go to that particular place.

When I woke however, I realized that the man had warned me three times to let the house go and as I thought over the dream, I realized that I've spent the majority of my adult life being very self-analytical, trying to determine why I do and think as I do.  This often involves revisiting my past and has led to a lot of prayer and seeking forgiveness for my own actions and asking that I forgive others their actions.  Sometimes I've had to do this repeatedly.  In the past 10 years I'd say I've devoted a great deal of time to this task.  I can't help but feel that this dream was a message that I'd done enough in that area of my life.  That it was literally time to let go of the constant digging about and unearthing of past hurts and testing to see how far I'd come in forgiving.  It's time to focus on the present days.   I sat down that morning with my journal and did a visual aid of drawing a simple tombstone and dating it 1960-October 3, 2018.   The first the year date of my earliest memory and the last this month's date.  All around that large tombstone, I drew smaller ones and beside each I listed something that I knew I'd revisited many times over and was ready to put to rest.

I'd love to say that the exercise was so cathartic I felt an immediate release from all anxiety.  The truth is I spent the next three days feeling as tightly wound as an overworked spring and as much anxiety as I've felt all summer long...but I did not give in to the desire to take more medication, nor did I resort to giving in to the anxiety and falling to pieces.  And when that storm of anxiety was over, I felt refreshed.  Lighter.  Not free of fear perhaps but free of a burden of things I've been hauling about behind me.  I've become very conscious of what I'm speaking about certain situations or people and about my tone and overall feeling when I speak.  Sometimes I quickly self-correct and say "But I'm done with that," and I move on to something that isn't an emotional trigger.  Sometimes, I think before I speak and I see that R.I.P. and I can easily move on.

I don't doubt that I'll find moments worthy of anguish or hurt or fear at times.  That too is as much a part of life as any other emotion we might feel but squandering my time in thinking far back over the past to other incidents or similar episodes is done.  I'll travel lighter through the rest of this journey I think and with perhaps a good bit less grief than I have in the days behind me.

Today was another long day.  Up early with John, trying to write a bit before I left, taking Katie with me to Mama's.  We had dinner out and then ran into the grocery for ourselves and Mama.  I filled Mama's car with gasoline and we carted out her trash to the curb for pick up tomorrow.  And then the drive home.  I looked at the clock and told Katie, "I have about 30 minutes and then I'll be hitting the wall..." and she told me when she came out of the store at the station, "I can see it on your face...You've tired.  Let's go home."  I wish I had been done when I got home, but there were business calls to make, the checkbook to tot up, a bit of securing things in the yard and considering possible needs and finally time to sit down and watch the weather as I ate my supper.  It's been a long week already and we're only three days in.

I am enjoying these days with Katie before she begins her new job next week.  I shall missing seeing her.  I quite like my girl and enjoy her company.

Now it is time for me to close this out.  I started my chatter early this morning.  I've run well into the evening with it.  Bed seems quite a good idea at the moment, though it is early yet.

In My Home This Week: Planned Suppers and Breakfasts and Altered Dinners



Somehow or other when planning meals last night, I forgot all about the chicken I baked on Friday.  There's just loads of it left even after dinner today.  That alters my dinner menus this week.  So amended dinner menu:

Roast Chicken, Baked Potatoes, Salad

Kielbasa with Potatoes au Gratin and Peas, Creamed Cabbage

Black Beans and Rice, Pico de Gallo Salad, Corn Bread

Beefy Pasta Bake, Green Salad, Garlic Bread

Chef Salad, Twice Baked Potatoes

John at work Xs2

I currently have pulled all the chicken off the bone and while I planned to use that meat for supper, I think I'll have more than I need.  The bones are in the crockpot being made into bone broth at present along with another chicken carcass.  I expect to have some meat to pick off those bones as well.  We shall see how it works out, but I expect to make up a casserole of some sort to put in the freezer.

Also forgot to mention in my postings that the Beefy Pasta Bake, even when I halve the recipe, always makes up enough for two casseroles for us.  One of those will also go into the freezer.

Breakfasts: 
Cereal, Peanut Butter Toast
Poached Egg over Hash Browns.  Yes, we'll be eating a lot of potatoes this week.  I bought 10 pounds and I've offered half to Sam and Bess but so far they haven't wanted them.  So I am using all I can to keep from having them go to waste.  Glad I like potatoes, lol.
Apple Muffins, Cheese Cubes
Butterscotch Oatmeal x2
Bagels with Cream Cheese
Sausage Biscuits

Suppers:
Turkey, Lettuce and Tomato on Rye
Pancakes, Bacon (for the boys) Sausage (me and John)
Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Chicken Noodle Soup
Toasted Cheese Sandwiches
Santa Fe Black Beans Soup (using leftovers of our beans and rice dinner and chicken broth)
Nachoes or 7 Layer Dip with Tortilla Chips

This Week In My Home: A New Pattern




I'm happy to report that last week was a success.  I had a bit of struggle and I realized that the very nature of our lives at present is just a constant interruption.  Like Sarah, I shall just have to do what I can, even if it means doing tasks in 10-15 minute jots.

I have two options.  I can get up earlier on the 'off' work days rather than lie abed until the late hour of 7am or I can really settle myself to actively planning meals, all three of them, and prep ahead what I might or simply accept that breakfast will not be on the table before 9am any morning.  I dislike having to jump right into eating each morning and that's the truth.  I like that one leisurely cup of coffee and I sorely missed it when the boys were here and they had to eat when they awoke because they were 'literally starving' as Josh told John one morning.

I am happy to report that we stuck to the menu plan five of the seven days planned.  I did not have leftovers to eat on the last work day.  I forgot to check my menu plan for Friday and had thawed a chicken on Thursday to roast whole for Saturday.  Then John insisted we'd have a date on Saturday (and we have had a lovely date) and so I baked the chicken for Friday and Sunday meals.   Not planning supper though has caught me out nearly every single day this past week.  I must remedy that!

I did a nice deep cleaning on the living/dining rooms and front entry this past week.  Windows were washed, blinds were dusted and edges of carpet were vacuumed.  I dusted furnishings and repaired a picture that had slipped in the frame.  I did not tackle the toy box, but I'll try to get to that next month when I am again in this zone.

For project work I managed to clear up the empty pots in the flower beds and get things placed more neatly on the back porch.  It's still  crowded with outcast furniture but it looks neater than it did and that was my goal.  I also scrounged up enough pieces of concrete to go around the forsythia that John keeps skimming with mower.  I poured sweat that day, just doing that one little task.  It's ridiculous how hot it's been and it October!  No kidding it's hot and has been hot and will be hot for at least 7 more days.

Now that I've been accountable for last week, what shall I do in the week ahead?

Menu Plan:
 

I haven't done it yet, but I will sit down this week and plan for seven breakfasts and seven suppers and see what I can do towards prepping ahead.  If left up to John we'd eat eggs every single day...and he's as likely to add a bagel and cream cheese and hash browns which is all a bit much really both calorie wise and financially speaking.    One supper is planned but only tentatively.  Josh and Isaac will spend time with us on Monday afternoon and John promised Josh we'd eat pancakes for supper next time he came.  I'll see if he's still interested in that plan.  It's not so good for Gramma as the higher carbs are more easily handled earlier in the day, but I'll eat light that day to balance it out.

Kielbasa with Potatoes au Gratin and peas, Green Salad 
This is the only planned meal I didn't make last week.  Moving it forward won't hurt a thing.

Cranberry Chicken, Creamed Cabbage, Baked Potatoes

Beefy Pasta Bake, Green Salad, Garlic Bread

Black Beans and Yellow Rice, Pico de Gallo Salad and Cornbread

Twice Baked Potatoes, Chef's Salads

John works X2  Not that I won't eat these two days but I'll be out with Mama on one of those days and I sincerely hope to have leftovers for the other.

Zone work:

I will be in the kitchen this week...Not just cooking and planning meals but cleaning.  I noted that the cabinets have been wiped down repeatedly but there's ground in dirt about the door handles.  As an experiment last week, I put a little liquid dishwasher detergent on an old cloth and wiped it over one door.  That grime came right up.  It did such a good job that I had to stop myself working on that task instead of the planned area this past week, lol.

I will not be focusing on the laundry but solely on the kitchen and back entry.  Definitely will be cleaning windows and dusting shades this week as well as cleaning cabinet fronts.  Oh and I shall get the freezer defrosted.  It's past time to do that task.

Project work:

I'm a little hesitant in choosing a big heavy task this week because (a) it's hot and (b) I expect the kitchen work to take up plenty of the time I have to spare.  I do, however, have several smaller projects on my list that I might work on.  While it's hot I'd like to try to finish washing the rafters and railings of the back porch.  I must buy bleach to finish up that part of the back porch project, then we can contemplate painting at last.


I won't plan further though I'm tempted to do so.  I know full well that my week will be disjointed.  It's Harvest week so there will be bills to pay and groceries to be bought.  John has volunteered for a biggish short of job in taking down shrubbery at Katie's and she will be gone that day.  I'm pretty sure I'm volunteered to do the clean up in her absence.  We are getting the boys that afternoon.  I have a day out with Mama planned, too, so it will be a short sort of week for all that I have my plans.

That's my week planned...what do you have on your schedule this week?

This Week in My Home: In Which I Meant to Hustle



Monday:   John and I seem to have fallen out of the habit of a routine where grocery shopping is concerned.  I didn't need but a few items at the grocery yesterday, but without John along I'm afraid I took his place and there was no one restraining my impulse spending though my impulses are different than his.  I tend to stock up on things I know we'll need and since I don't know exactly when I might have a chance to shop again, it's just as well isn't it?  Well not really as it must all count towards a pay period and I don't especially want to lump it in with last pay period nor wait to use certain items until next pay period.  I've settled it in my mind that I shall just count it as next pay period's grocery and keep in mind that this last pay period was heavy enough without adding extra.

I discovered something today.  Maybe it's something I should have noticed before, but the days when John comes in from work, things get off to an awfully late start even if I am up early.  John often comes in later than I plan for because its the nature of his job and he does like to stay and talk to people he usually only sees in passing, so I've found it pays to hold off with starting breakfast until he does get in.  Cooking, eating, clearing up and it's 9:30 or 10-ish before that task is done.  Often enough I find that somehow or other I haven't quite finished my Bible study or housekeeping when he comes in either, so there's that to be finished up and it's moving on towards lunch.  I'll rush around and try to do something.  Today that something was to get just anything at all  done on the back porch that might improve it's appearance.

Well I made a difference.  There's still furniture stacked on the porch, but it's stacked far more neatly against the wall rather than next to the railing. Visually it opened up the porch once more.   I moved off items that didn't belong and neatened up the appearance overall.  Now I can finish cleaning the railings and the rafters and get started with that painting job.   I went around the house and picked up all the empty pots from the flower beds and when I was ready to take  them to the shed, I stepped indoors and grabbed up the things I had set aside to go out there and let one trip do it all.

I worked hard and I worked fast.  I told you I meant to hustle this week.  I was sweating like a horse when I was done.  And then it was time to start dinner.  Whew boy.

Dinner today was sponsored by the 'I will too use it all up and let nothing go to waste' mode of thinking.  Zucchini, fortunately smaller ones, three to be exact and they were just beginning to acquire that look of not being prime.  I chopped the zucchini, three quarters of a sizeable onion, and two tomatoes and placed them on a roasting pan.  Katie stepped in at that point and seasoned the vegetables with oregano, garlic, salt and pepper.  I lay three chicken breasts on top and she seasoned those with the same seasonings as well as a bit of lemon pepper and Parmesan cheese.  This was all baked until the vegetables were tender and the chicken done.  It was delicious!  My regret was genuine at not having more zucchini as roasting does cause it to shrink down so much but it surely was good and it was a nice meal with a salad and garlic bread.

Little things got done after dinner.  I washed dishes, made granola, chatted with Bess for a bit, straightened this, cleaned that, unloaded the dishwasher, etc.  I got tired, really tired and here I admitted to another fail.  I had no supper plan.  I was too tired to care that I had no supper plan nor anything easily made.  So we ate granola.  John had his over cereal and I have mine over yogurt.  Then we sliced up a chilled Navel Orange and that was supper.

Tuesday:

 John went to get his eyes checked and ordered his new glasses today.  It feels as though we've done nothing of late but spend and spend and then spend some more.  I am not complaining.  He has been as long as I without an exam or new glasses and it's time.

While in the vision store, I asked about prescription sunglasses.  Wowza.  Talk about spending money!  $199 for the lenses, $80 for polarized lenses and then the cost of frames.  I looked at the frames and saw nothing under $119.  They did offer me 20% off should I want to order but even so, I figure I'd be out about $300 to get prescription sunglasses.  John and I both agreed that even if I had planned to pay for my own, that's expensive for something I'll wear far less than glasses.

I did think to ask if our insurance might pay for them after the first of the year.  The lady had my insurance information right in front of her and said, nope, it reads one pair of glasses every 12 months.  Even had it been possible I'd have paid about the same I paid for my current pair of glasses.  So no real savings to me at all.

Having done all this thinking while I waited on him to get his exam and make his choice in frames, I decided to ask for a copy of my prescription and see if I could find a cheaper source online.  Not really, not for the progressive bifocals and certainly not for polarized lenses.

Fine.  I can take a hint, lol.  STOP spending.

In between the pondering over glasses, I've been thinking long and hard about our budget, about the drying up of every rivulet of income stream I have used in the past.  My Coke Rewards became relatively useless with the change they made about a year ago.  Swagbucks takes forever and two years more to earn anything for myself.  Even with unlimited data I cannot afford to use my home devices to stream videos.  It eats my data right up and then we're in a sloooowww run zone.  I could continue to use it for rewards when shopping online and that I will do.  Jamberry is done.  Pinecone dropped me sometime ago as I do not qualify for any of their surveys.  I've been  wondering just what and how I shall manage to earn a bit elsewhere  So far my mind remains blank.  So I work hard in my home and yard and wait for the next opportunity to occur while I look hard at my recent spendings and my budget and determine just where to nip and tuck to increase the flow.  This is not a permanent state of affairs  Over the years I've had opportunity to use many rewards programs for a time and they were all helpful.  I don't doubt something else will come along in good time.

Wednesday:

Frustrated with my printer.  My computer is compatible only if hooked to the device these days and even so the scanner will not work with my computer.  I needed the scanner to work today, most especially today, because I needed to send an affidavit back to the county superior court.  I ended sending an email with a photo from my phone linked in.  I mailed a hard copy of requested papers this afternoon.

I was called for jury duty right in the midst of our planned vacation.  Despite my civic pride, I didn't want to have to cancel my vacation again!  I offered to go in the next month it's held which made the clerk laugh when I called the office.  She told me all I had to do was fill out the paperwork and send it back.  And right there on the form it plainly says, "I've planned to go on vacation."  Apparently it's a customary statement.  You do have to send a copy of the reservation confirmation to them to prove you actually are going on vacation.

So rather than leave home super early, I was struggling with the printer trying to get it to cooperate.  I finally left home around 9:30, about the time I typically get out of the house.  It did make me wonder why I even bother to try and leave early if that's the time I'm going to leave anyway.

Off to get oil changed.  That money was already set aside.  In fact we've enough to get oil changed in the other car and shall have funds leftover.  Here's the advantage to having been at home so very much over the past 8 months.

I waited around an hour and a half and was glad I brought along my current book, The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt.  I am now up to the point where Franklin D. has been placed as Secretary of the Navy and they are living in Washington, D.C.  She is very reticent about Franklin overall.  She says 'We got engaged,' in the last of her girlhood chapters and that's it!  Nothing about writing or visiting and most certainly nothing about courtship.   She is, thus far, equally reticent about married life and personal relationship.  Not that I wanted the lowdown and dirty details but I really don't have a sense of getting to know her from the point of her engagement through her early married years.   Nor of her being particularly passionate about any subject at all!   Not quite the Eleanor Roosevelt I'd thought I'd meet in her autobiography.  We shall see how the book goes on from here.

From the oil change I went to Walmart because yesterday evening I found this website's handy guide for how to measure your prescription frames for clip on sunglasses.  I could order them from the website but I really wanted relief from the sun's glare NOW.  So I went into Walmart vision center and the clerk helped me find the pair meant for my size glasses and most especially for plastic frames to insure they would fit.  I paid $16 with tax for polarized lenses and told John in a text "and I'll just keep that extra $284 in my account, lol."  I am so pleased with them that I may indulge in a second set as a back up pair, and I'll be using my newfound knowledge to measure John's new frames when they come in and buy him a couple of pair.

I contemplated doing other things while in Walmart but ultimately decided to steer away from the store and simply go on home.  Only I didn't go on home.  I stopped and bought myself real Mexican food because Mama nor John is ever interested in eating Mexican and I was longing for some.  I knew exactly what I had left of my allowance so I stayed on a tight budget and managed meal and tip from my pocket money.   And there is no more cash until next payday which thankfully arrives next week.

Came home and though I was weary and tired from my early arising when I sent John off to work early this morning, I tackled routine housework and contemplated the need to get that living room deep cleaned.   By 3pm I'd hit the wall of tiredness

I typically hit on a work day and so no work on the living room yet this week.

Katie came out a bit after 5pm and taking one look at me asked "And you haven't had any supper?"  Well, no, I haven't.  So she made supper for the two of us.  Much nicer than the cheese and crackers I'd thought I might have, lol.

Thursday:


Up early enough, prepping breakfast before I began my Bible study.  John called around 8 to say he was on his way home.  I hurried along to make the bed, dress and finished my reading before he came in.  We sat down to eat about 8:45 and what with chatting it was closer to 9:30 before I could clear away the dishes.

I thought about these late breakfasts of ours and I don't suppose there's a thing to do about it.  I could prep ahead at night but I'm saving myself no time really come mornings.  I'll still be waiting upon John and clean up can't commence until breakfast has been cooked and I won't cook until he's home, so  I guess I'll just accept that this is our day after work pattern and let it be.  I never know just what his intent is when he comes in the back door.  Is he ready to eat?  Must he jump right in the shower or will he wait?  It all depends on how the work day/night went.

This morning, following clearing up and feeding the pets, I decided I would absolutely get the main living area cleaned today if I did have to hustle like mad to do it.  Well, I had to hustle like mad all right but I got it done just in time to start a later lunch.  Although John is a 'by the clock' person when it comes to snacks and meals I feel we can wait an extra hour for our lunch on these after work days when we eat a later breakfast.  That shall be my compromise for later mornings.

Another symptom of these 24 hour shifts, is that one or both of us is often confused about what day it is.  Today as John tried to work out a time to do a job at Katie's place, he kept saying he was going to take me out to eat on Friday.  After he'd said it two or three times I reminded him that tomorrow is Friday.   Just as I thought, he had no clue.  When he asked if I was sure today was Thursday, I had to go look at the calendar!  I'm no better than he is in keeping up. For me it's always the day after work or the day before work.  I rarely have a clue what the actual day is though I can generally give you the date.

I finished the dining room side save washing the windows.  John, bless him, having realized that he'd lost a day today, backed out of the date lunch tomorrow and said he really did want to cut grass...as if I hadn't known that already.  I told him I'd pass on the date and catch him next time around, to go on and mow his grass.  I have windows to clean and weekend meals to prep anyway, so it's perfectly fine with me.  I'll have time to bake a sweet as well.  I'm thinking it's time for oatmeal cookies. This shall likely be the last mowing of the year though it continues to be very warm and all color of autumn has long since blown away.  We are left with green everywhere you look and golden rod is the only indicator we currently have of the present season.  

Friday:

Even though John assured me we'd not be going on a date today, he was very up in the air about his plans overall.  He suggested "we" would just run over to Katie's this morning and tend to the yardwork there and he'd come home and mow, as our lawns would be dry by the time we were done.  I did not know that "we" had volunteered but this is typical of John.  Anytime he says yes to something it generally means that it is he and I for whom he has planned.  It is not that he expects me to work as much as he expects me to just be there.

We were up late again last night, staying up until 11pm because I wanted to see both of the new episodes of Mountain Men.  I just love watching how these homesteaders work and live and make do and I am especially fond of Tom Orr and his wife Nancy who are the oldest of those shown on the program as well as the two who appear to be just as deeply in love as they were at the beginning.
When we went to bed, John and I talked and talked and I didn't turn off the light until 12midnight.  Some of our talk was sweetly romantic, spurred no doubt by Tom and Nancy Orr's sweet affection for one another in the last program.

We slept in until after 8am this morning, too, so no blaming John for any late breakfast we might have had.  It was almost 9:30 before we ate this morning because I was still under the impression we were going to Katie's to see to the work there and John delayed leaving.  He finally went out to the shed and came back with both batteries in his hand, both requiring a charge before that work might be done.  He did manage to weed eat around the flower beds and patio as I'd requested he do.  After breakfast he sat and watched TV and I gathered that plans were all delayed and I might as well hustle through my own work.

I got the dining room windows cleaned and then I managed to take the glass out of the storm door and clean it up both in and out.  A bug had gotten on the screen at some point and been smooshed and made quite a mess.  It wasn't even until today, as I looked long and hard at the glass that I realized it was removable....Yes, indeed and the door has only been on the house for 22 full years and I just noticing this fact!

I put a chicken in to roast when John went out to mow and proceeded to mix up Oatmeal cookies and bake them.  October is always Oatmeal cookie month in my home, and not a drop of spice, not even cinnamon goes into mine.  Just vanilla and dates and raisins.  I set aside a panful for Katie, a bit more for Sam's household and filled our biggest cookie jar over half full for us.

While cookies were baking, I blew off the porches and patio, and routine housework was done, all except sweeping floors which waited until after baking and lunch was done.  We eat lightly on these hot days while John is mowing, so it was an apple and sandwich lunch for us today.

While I was blowing off the patio John came up on the mower and I came indoors to get a couple of cookies and a glass of cool water.   I couldn't stay out long, as I had a pan of cookies in the oven at the time.  He came in later and asked me to come move the cars so he could rinse all the dust off that the mower blew over them.  We sat on the porch and chatted a bit and Maddie relaxed and allowed me to clip the matted hair from her fur.  I wish Rufus would be so patient.  He too is a longer haird doggie and I promise myself each time I pet those two that my next dog shall be a short haired one who hasn't the problems these too have with matted fur.  But then I never chose either of these two.

I'd been trying to write this last bit of post off and on today, thinking over the  work to be done next week, meal plans for the weekend and week ahead, and now and then thinking of our finances.  When John came up to the  patio earlier, he was just back from mowing around the mailboxes and brought in the mail.  I'd placed it on my desk and not until after lunch was cleared away and the floors swept, did I sit down to sort it out.  What I thought was a bill from my insurance company was instead a sort of warning notice.  My insurance premiums next year will double, as will the portion the government pays.  I sat there stunned for a moment, trying to catch my breath.

The way the government healthcare program works is that you choose a plan from the one company that is insuring government healthcare recipients each year.  And yes, I do mean the ONE company.  Based upon your income, you pay '$xxx' out of pocket for a policy and if your income is lower then the federal government pays "$XXX" to supplement your costs.  This is not a charitable program!  Each year when you send in your tax return, this amount of money is counted as income and you pay an increased tax upon it.  Last year, we owed the federal government money though our annual income has not altered in nearly ten years time and we have always received some return.  I did not have to repay all the government subsidized but it isn't by any means 'free' insurance as so many politicians would have you believe!

The new amount I shall have to pay is twice what I am currently paying and the federal government's subsidized portion is also twice as much.  And as usual, the plan I have is being 'discontinued' and I am more or less being forced into the new plan, although I mean to go look and see what is available that might better suit our income.   I am, at present, trying to hold back a very real concern that I shall once again be insured but I assure you all I cannot afford the new plan's increase.  I am fearful of what we shall end owing the federal government even if I find the extra income to cover the initial costs to me.

Initially, when we started looking at our retirement we'd lose about 1 week's pay each month, enough to be of concern without the supplemental insurance for which John must pay which amps up our loss each month to something closer to 1/3 of our income.  With the increase in my insurance we're nearer losing half our income in about a year's time.  Gracious!  What a worrisome note to end the week upon and yet I determined not to carry this concern into the weekend, no nor even into the rest of this month.  I cannot even begin to compare plans until November 1 and so that shall be my date to begin the worry.

I have a feeling we'll not be doing more yardwork today, that John shall be well and truly done when he comes in since he'll have officially been mowing for about 6 hours.  Sam stopped to visit and Bess called while he was here and said John seems determined to add another acre to the yard, lol, he's mowing part of the field that Sam has been trying to clear.  I expect John to stop and get a cool drink and a chat with Sam and the boys before he comes back home.  

My house is all clean about me.  I have a sort of meal plan for the weekend ahead.  John says we shall go out to lunch tomorrow but I'll just check the football game schedule before I count upon that, lol.  I have more or less determined next week's project and work zone.  I'm determined to have a coffee chat with you all this next week, though it may well end being an Iced tea chat instead because autumn temperatures are simply not showing up at all at present.   Have a lovely weekend dears. 





In My Home This Week: Radio Silence

In my home... This week, I shall be going quiet.  I've worked hard all this year and I am determined now autumn has finally arrive...