Monday, January 30, 2012

Pick Your Own Price

The phone rang as we were having dinner. I know some people simply ignore the phone and let it go to voice mail when they are otherwise engaged. I can't do that. When you have a business, you can't afford to. I will simply hang up on a telemarketer ..... but that is another story ...........

I answered the call as I always do, identifying the name of the business. The caller wanted to know if we had an available site for a 50 amp pull-through, full hook-up. I assured him that we did. He then told me where he was and asked which exit to take. I gave him directions and he seemed a savvy traveler, as he knew what I meant when I said that I was on the north side of the interstate. He would be a late arrival and I indicated that he should stop at the office where there is a night registration. I gave him a site number and told him the price was $30.

I finished my dinner and mentioned to my mate that it was refreshing to talk to a man who could take directions.

This morning, he who doesn't mind sticking his hand into the night drop box, announced that there was no envelope with payment inside and that the occupant was still on site. So, I am assuming they will pay when they are leaving.

He, who hunts wrecks, leaves to go to the base camp where he can smoke and gossip with his little buddies to his heart's content. I have enough trouble breathing in a house heated by a wood stove, we will not be adding vile cigarette smoke. He instructs me to watch for that 5th wheel.

I suppose he pictures me with binoculars spying on the campers, alert for signs of leaving. I suggest that it would be easier to knock on their door and ask to see their registration. Then they could carry out the paying for the site ritual right then and there. But, he disagrees, afraid he might wake them.

He will write down the license plate number of those who have parked without paying. What we will do with this information is unclear to me. Will the state patrol run these non-payers down with siren and flashing lights to demand they return and pay? Maybe. At the very least it would be humiliating to have an officer of the law chastise you for skipping out, but would that compel you to actually make payment?

I ponder things, you know. But, when I looked up to see the 5th wheel, in clear violation of my speed limit, headed out the exit, I wondered what he expected me to do. Was I to grab my keys and give chase in my car? If they did stop for the crazed, caffeine deprived woman in the VW bug, what then? Do I drag him from the drivers seat and proceed to berate him for not paying to stay?

I decide to go check the drop box, since I am still clad in my jammies, coffee cup in hand. I tend to move slower in the morning, as my joints protest the chill in the air. They have indeed dropped an envelope with cash inside. But the amount left has left me puzzled.

Inside I find a twenty and four ones. The cost of a 50 amp full hook-up site is $30. A 30 amp full hook-up is $28. Without sewer it would be $28 and $25. My point being that I have nothing for $24. So, do I assume that this is all the cash they have on them? Or ...... did they simply decide that the stay was worth $24?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


 My long awaited trip to see my kids finally arrived!  We awoke at 5 am and were ready to go by 5:30. We left the dogs at home and got into the car we loaded the night before.

The trip started out great and we were zipping along the interstate making good time. I was happily calculating our time of arrival in Des Moines, thinking how surprised they would be when we arrived so early. You know what they say about the best laid plans ........

We encountered some seriously icy roads when we hit highway 63. I saw some cars in the ditches and then we started to swerve. I told he who does not have night blindness that he was not cute and to cut it out ........ It wasn't him, but the ice. We had to slow down to 40 and it was treacherous until we finally saw the salt trucks out.

As soon as I could hear the ice hitting the back bumper, I did what I do best when on a trip. I slept. I did offer to drive, but he turned me down. What else was I supposed to do? The sun finally came up. I don't know when ...... I was sleeping.

The voice of that woman on the Garmin woke me. I knew the hotel was right off I-80 and I figured I could just watch the road signs and when I saw the Ramada we would exit. But, no we had to listen to that insane voice telling us to turn this way and that. We ended up on I-235 and pulled into a Walgreen's parking lot where I called my son-in-law.
Turns out I was right about the signs on the road.

 This is one of the sweet faces I was happy to kiss! He is getting so tall. Seems like just yesterday I was holding him in my arms.

 This is my granddaughter. At 11 she is almost as tall as me! With long,long legs and so graceful. I could not stop looking at her.

Too many sweets left her with a tummy ache and she couldn't eat lunch. She looks so sad here.

We met our newest granddaughter on this trip. She is so sweet and easy to be around. She is helping Gavin color here. I was restrained and did not smother her with a big hug the minute I saw her ....... I waited until we said our goodbyes. She had been warned that we are demonstrative with affection. Her name is Kyra and she is 14. None of my children bothered to name a child after me, but Kyra starts with "K" .......

We only got to spend a few hours with them. They headed north to Minnesota and we headed south to Missouri. Des Moines was a good compromise. Still, 10 hours on the road was tiring.

I was happy to see my bed when I got home, don't know why, since I slept on the trip home, too. I miss them all over again and can't wait to see them!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Paying It Forward

Some days are just better than others, don't you think. This one should be great, but, it is not.

The failed flooring attempt has managed to squelch my joy of a working toilet at my disposal ..... The disarray of my house is staring to wear on my nerves; and let's face it, my nerves are not my strong point. I want to be able to put this bathroom together, but without the floor, there will be no moving forward.

My elation over a toilet and a working tub was short lived. He who rescues stranded travelers was called out last night. I decided to take a nice bath. I knew I would need to clean the tub, so I gathered the necessary supplies and went to give it a good scrubbing.

You will recall in my previous post that after the failed flooring attempt I indicated that he who doesn't listen to his wife pulled up said floor. And tossed it to the side. I now see that he brought in some heavy stepping stones from outside to weigh his floor squares down. I had to move all that and stack it neatly in an attempt to soothe my frazzled nerves. While doing this I noticed that my shoes were sticking to the floor.

This prompted me to read the instruction on the product he was using. Had he bothered to do this he would have known that he was supposed to apply the product, then let it dry for 90 minutes, before putting the squares down. Instead, he who always tells me that he knows what he is doing, put the product on the floor and then smeared it all over the back of the wood square. It caused the edges to curl up. There really can be too much of a good thing.

So in my highly annoyed state I scrubbed the tub and readied it for a nice hot soothing bath. But, I seem to be unable to get the plug to work. I call him  and ask if he has installed some special secret plug doings. "Oh, remember how I was having trouble getting the tub in? Well, the plug won't work, you will have to use a thing." A thing? I simply hung up. It was really windy and cold and I thought It would be better if I did not share all my feelings while he towed.

Not being in possession of a thing, I used a washcloth to stop the water from leaking out too quickly ( hindsight has taught me that I should not have been overly concerned about that). It took me a few minutes to gather everything ( I remembered the towel!) and then I eased my weary bones (well padded weary bones) into the delicious hot water. I bathed and luxuriated in the hot water. I really miss my hot tub, because I love hot water. But, this water was beginning to cool, so I released my "plug" and attempted to get out. I had forgotten the non-slip tub mat and this porcelain finish is really slick. I could not get my feet under me to get out. If my feet didn't want to slip, my hands did. So, I had to sit there and wait for the water to drain, so that I could dry the bottom of the tub to be able to stand. I finally had to get on my hands and knees and sort of crawl out of the tub. I was as cold as the night I forgot my towel in the outdoor shower.

To further enhance my foul mood, the canine contingent was barking at everything and nothing. They only do this when I am here alone. I toweled my cold self and threw my nightshirt on and went to bed to await the arrival of him.

By the time he came home I was watching a program and all warm and toasty under the covers. I said nary a word about his lack of reading instruction skills and drifted off to sleep. But, this is a new day and there is absolutely nothing wrong with my memory!

I had planned to venture out to a building supply store to procure some peel and stick tiles. I have used these before. There is a certain technique involved in the laying of them, but the bathroom is small and I figured I could knock it out in one afternoon. Well, if I had any money. That budget I was talking about in my previous post has reared it's ugly head. I have some money owed and if it came in I would be okay. We had a nice camper living here through the summer. He paid his rent every month without any problem. Then came December. He skipped out owing $425. He promised he would be back the week after Christmas to pay us. He was laid off and has children. I am sorry for his situation, but I had to pay a hefty power bill that he contributed to. I was just grumbling about him to myself this morning.

I went to the library and on to the local Alco store, where I found some flooring at a reasonable price. Feeling smug, I came home to find a stranded motor home in the parking area in front of the building. This is an old model, with duct tape holding the front fender in place. Smoke is boiling out from under the hood and the man proceeds to tell me that he is trying to get home to Tennessee. He wants to know if he can plug in for a few hours to let his engine cool down.
He has a problem, though. He has no money. He is right up front with me about that. He will have money in his account tomorrow, but right now he doesn't have two nickels to rub together.

Of course we let him plug in and he who can't read instructions looked under the hood and determined that he had the wrong sized belt on something and has gone to purchase it for him. If he is still here at supper time, I suppose we will feed him, too. I hope he is fond of pork and beans.

Do you suppose that if we just keep paying it forward something good will happen? You just never know ........

I am feeling so much better than when I started this post, counting my blessings, yes, I am.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


The tub is in and the walls are ready to receive tile. The window is gone and has been insulated and walled up both inside and out. It has been a week.

Remember, this was only going to take two days. I don't want to tell him that I am not going to have enough wall tiles, since he eliminated the window that was going to be replaced with a glass block affair. He likes to change design plans and I just go along because I realize it is easier.

The floor is another problem. He does not want a tile floor. It would be cold. Any floor will be cold since the house is built on a cement slab. I suggest a heated floor, but he looks at me like a bird is nesting in my hair. Now, should you be thinking about resale value and such. It really doesn't apply here. The value is in the business, not the living quarters, such as they are. Not only that, we have a very small budget to work with and no wiggle room unless we give up eating this winter. I am of the opinion that I could last 6 months or so without feeding, but I happen to like to eat.

I watch a lot of HGTV and tend to record episodes that I find worth sharing. One particular episode showed a sheet of plywood cut into 12" X 12" squares, sanding and staining each one and then laying a rather unique looking floor. This particular episode aired about 10 years ago and appealed to he who has many tools. He went straight-away and procured a sheet of quality plywood and cut it into squares. He sanded and lovingly applied coat after coat of a polyurethane stain. How was I to know he still had those squares, tucked away in his beloved barn. I am still curious how he could locate them and actually put his hands on them, but that is another story all by itself. I will need to include the testimonials of those brave campers who have actually entered the barn.

He presents the wood squares to me and asks what I think about using them to floor the bathroom. This is also when he thinks he will use sawdust and glue as grout. You will recall that I vetoed that idea and we used the sawdust to make fire starters. Since my role in this venture is the designer/voice of reason, I went and measured the area to be floored. We needed exactly 30 squares and a threshold. We did not have enough of the original batch. He thinks he may have purchased only half a sheet of plywood, but I think the other squares could be hiding in the barn.

So, he went and purchased another sheet of plywood, thin plywood and some stain. He spent hours in the barn, cutting and sanding, then brought the squares up to the store and started applying stain. The stain was very dark and the original squares were very light. Instead of sanding and re- staining the original squares, we just went with all new ones. I stained them with 4 coats each. Last night, he applied three squares using liquid nails, then we weighted them and left them overnight.

They were firmly in place this morning and he shooed me out to my sewing room so he could work in the bathroom. On one of my trips in to check on progress, I found a very disappointed plumber/carpenter. He had applied more of the squares, this time using a different product and they warped. No doubt from the liquid content in the tile glue he smeared all over them. Kept that thought to myself. He is done with this flooring project and has ripped up the warped squares. Tomorrow I will go to Home Depot and get some peel and stick tiles, along with the recommended concrete primer and do the floor myself. I will take along one of the tiles I had planned to re-use and find something that will compliment it to use along with it.

After making a trip to the bathroom that I am now referring to as the outhouse, I launched a search through the leftovers for our dinner. As I was heating up some kind of a pasta dish I created, I heard a noise from the bathroom that I had not heard for over a week. I heard the toilet flush! It is not my new high rise deluxe toilet, but the old model. I do not care, so sweet was the sound of that flushing toilet. The music of civilization! Never will I take the privilege of a warm seat for granted again!

As a reward for this task I ran into the store and grabbed a bag of stale marshmallows and made Rice Krispie treats. Not just any old Rice Krispie treats either. I added peanut butter and topped them off with a chocolate coating. No effort is too much for he who provides me with a flushing toilet!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Cold Shower

The weather continues to lend itself to car problems, keeping he who plumbs too busy to work on the bathroom. In other words ......... still no toilet or sink or shower or running water in the room that should be the one to bathe in. I can't complain, we need the money. Property taxes and electric bills wait for no toilet to be installed.

Just so you know, I am not languishing in front of the TV watching soaps and eating bon bons. I put the last coat of paint on the ceiling and finished priming the walls. I kept the home fire burning (literally) and it is a toasty 73 degrees in here. Normally, I would complain that it is too hot .....

After preparing a delicious dinner of roasted chicken, mixed vegetables and various leftovers from Chinese meals past. I decided that I would venture out to the shower and luxuriate in nice hot water pounding on my back (I can boast good water pressure here in the kampground). I had already washed my hair this morning and just wanted to feel the hot water on my person.

I gathered my toiletries and a sweat suit, along with a couple of rugs to keep my tootsies warm. I fought the door open against the frigid wind and hurried along to the bathroom door. It is only about 20 feet, not too bad. I turned the electric heater on and locked myself in. I carefully place my sweat suit on hooks and got all my necessary items into the shower after adorning the floor with my thick cotton rugs. Then I shucked my clothes and shoes. It was like stepping on ice! I turned the water on and it hit me full in the face. Ice water. I adjusted the nozzle and finally got some nice hot water coming out and stepped into the spray.

I am standing there, starting to relax, when it dawns on me. I forgot the towel. It is 25 degrees out there, who knows what the gusting wind is making that feel like and I have no way to dry off. Did I take a phone with me? No. I tried tapping on the inner wall. The bathrooms share a wall with my pump room and there is no insulation. I know that if anyone is in the kitchen they can hear me. I have overheard some interesting conversations myself while cooking. I am in hopes that I will alert the dogs and they will bark and he who is playing with the wood stove will follow them into the pump room and I can ask him to bring a towel.

It was a good plan. Just didn't work. My silly dogs will bark at a leaf blowing in the wind when I am here alone. But, Daddy is home and all is well with their world. My world, on the other hand .......

I can't stay there under the water forever, so I turn it off and try to shake like a dog. I do not recommend this. I dried my feet with the clothes I wore into the bathroom and put my socks and shoes on. Then I pulled the sweatsuit on my wet body. I hurried into the house that is a cozy 73 degrees, stripped off the now damp sweatsuit, dried and put my pajamas on. Tomorrow will be better ...... won't it?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

It Snowed

No progress on the bathroom today. It snowed last night. Schools closed and the news coverage is phenomenal, considering it was a whopping two inches of the white stuff.

It is currently 10 degrees out there. This matters to me. The bathrooms are not heated. All I can say is that the seat is mighty cold! Like an outhouse. Very, very cold.

Speaking of news, another big story in national news was about the Marines who urinated on the the bodies of the enemy. I don't know which is more disturbing; that they did it, or that they made a video and decided to share it. I overheard someone who thought their actions were okay ...... like it is patriotic to defile the body of a terrorist.

That attitude is also disturbing to me. I am quite certain that a video of another countries' soldiers defiling the bodies of USA soldiers would be met with outrage. This is not an honorable act on either side. The news story did not make light of it; but did point out that the Marines involved were young. I suppose that says a lot the values instilled in these young men.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Progress is Slow

 The temperature today felt like Spring. Mother Nature is just toying with us, though. I just heard on the news that we are under a winter weather advisory for the next 22 hours.

What is that about red skies? Red sky in morning .... sailor take warning. Red sky at night .... sailor's delight. Wonder how that factors in the weather advisory as the sun is setting here with a nice pink sky?

 Bathroom progress is painfully slow. He has encountered lots of plumbing issues. The new insulation is in and we are ready to put the tub in.

 Work is interfering as he has to take calls. Just for fun I am going to suggest that I want the toilet moved to where he has it sitting. You can see the hole in the floor where it has to go. Still, it will be fun to freak him out.

Is this the weirdest drainage set-up you have ever seen? My whole house smells like that purple stuff on the pipes.

You may be wondering why we chose to do this in the dead of winter. It is the only time we have to get it done. As I sit here writing I hear him trying to get the tub into its space. I tried to offer assistance, but I was told to just stay out of his way. Happy to oblige.

He put the drainage pipe on the tub first, thus making the tub longer. Already a tight fit, I could see that it was not going to simply slide into the space. The 2 X 4 the tub is supposed to attach to is also jutting out. My suggestion to remove it temporarily was not well received, so I left the room to check in a camper. Do you suppose the nice lady camper knew that bucket sitting by the door into my home is my chamber pot?

I ventured in to check on him to see that he had decided to take my suggestion and remove the obstructive 2 X 4. I hear the saw and I smell the pipe goop stuff that stinks. Ahhh, the sweet smell of progress. Tomorrow the floor, then the toilet will follow.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bathrooms and Bobbins

 I still have no toilet ....... or running water. Wonder what I have been doing?  Well, without benefit of running water, my options are limited. I have been hanging out in my sewing room. No water required for sewing and my little lair happens to be closer to the bathrooms on the side of the building. I am limiting my fluid intake.

I pulled out some scraps and made a few little things for my great granddaughter, Jailynn. She will be three this spring. I made some leggings and a top out of the green and lavender stripe to go with a little lavender skirt for Christmas. I found this scrap of green lightweight corduroy after I had sent it. It was a little short, so I added a ruffle, then decided to make a little applique of a purse. I couldn't find any buttons I liked, so I just used the extra cording form the purse applique and made some little ties to pull through the button hole.

 Then I saw another small piece of fabric. Is this just the happiest fabric? Reminds me of blowing bubbles.

 I liked the idea of a circle in a circle, so I stacked the buttons that I found in my button box. I was looking for orange, but they were four hole and didn't work with the big button.

 Another scrap. I call this the happy insect dress.

 Happy buttons. I had some ladybug buttons in mind, but I made the straps too wide and they didn't work.

 She will be able to whirl and twirl.

I fell in love with this fabric. This is for my 6 year old granddaughter. This is a combination of two patterns. I liked the rose, but there was only one ruffle on that one. My Jada is a multiple ruffle kind of girl. My main obstacle was that one of the patterns was for little girls and the other was sized for big girls. This was my trial run and I wasn't entirely happy with it. Then when I started looking for a top to match, I found an exact match impossible to find.

 Not to be defeated, I made some more. I decided to stick with solids and do a contrast thread color that I know the girls have in tops and tights. The two-tiered skirts are for the youngest. At age 3, Zara is tall for her age, but three tiers would still be too long.

 I really had to work to get all the pieces in this scrap of fabric. I altered the pattern completely and the tiers have no seams. At this point I decided to just make my own pattern. This fabric is shiny, but I don't know how it will fair in the laundry. I am afraid it may need to be ironed.

 This is a lightweight corduroy and launders nicely. And ..... I paid a little over $1 a yard! I did two rows of a satin stitch on one, just because I wanted to see how it would look.

 Two rows of different colors. This is a bottom weight twill. It wants to ravel. I am hoping the first laundering will eliminate the stringy look.

 Another twill. A jumper for Zara. I liked the idea of a zipper on the outside. I had a lime green, but it was too long. The white works and she can pair it with lots of colors. It should go into Spring and Summer, too.

 This pattern looked so cute. I was disappointed. I made this for Maya. Maya looks really good in vibrant colors. I only hope this looks better on.

Then I found some mending. I made this last year and it somehow got a hole in it. Good thing Gramma saves everything. I added another applique to cover it.

I made two more skirts today. Just trying to stay out of the way of he who fancies himself to be a plumber.

Monday, January 9, 2012

I Am No Squatter

 Almost eight years ago when we moved here, I told he who fancies himself to be a carpenter, that I would require a much bigger kitchen and that the bathroom was not acceptable. No, it did not look like this. There was a fiberglass tub and surround that covered the window. I kid you not. It was ugly and impossible to clean. I mean, I know it was clean, because I cleaned it. But, it never looked clean.

The kitchen had to be dealt with first ..... I couldn't unpack. There was no cupboard space to speak of. The kitchen continues to evolve. I did get a new stove right away. The one that was here had only two working elements and they had to be jiggled periodically. I arrived with two refrigerators and a freezer. Just nowhere to put them.

The laundry room for the residence was as big as the kitchen was small. It measured 11 X 11. The "kitchen" took up a mere 3 X 8 feet against the wall ...... and that included the stove. There was a window above the sink, so you can see that cupboards were minimal.

But, the bathroom has been a thorn in my side. Last summer my shy granddaughter whispered to her Daddy that she did not want to take a shower in Gramma's bathroom, because it was dirty. It really was that bad. I had spent most of a day scrubbing the offensive tub before they arrived. I am not a miracle worker!

I have been known to make up lyrics to songs. For a month I have been singing "All I want for Christmas is a handi-capped comode...." Really, ever throw your back out, or been really, really sore from some chore like weeding? Well a higher seat on the toilet would be very welcome. Of course he, who has indicated that I am not a great singer, realized that I also wanted a new tub and vanity to go with it.

I have been about the business of gathering all the necessary components for the re-do. I found a bath tub on Craig's list. I have had it for almost 3 years. Last year we bought the vanity and sink. The faucets are here and I looked at tile and have decided to re-use the tile I removed from the wall for the shower area. I already have some bead board from another project for the walls that had been tiled.

Just waiting for strong man to be as ready as I am. He awoke this past Saturday and announced that he was going to do the entire bathroom in just two days. He had a plan. I reminded him that we needed to be ready to put all the components into the space in a certain order. After removing everything, the tub should be put in place, then the floor, followed by the most important component of the bathroom. The toilet. I can brush my teeth in the kitchen, I can even give myself a sponge bath in the kitchen.

We have the campground facilities we can use. I can go out the door and into the cold air and enter the facilities to shower, if I choose.But ......... I refuse to trek out side in the middle of the night to pee! So, for this reason, I cautioned the man to be sure he was ready to move quickly after taking up the toilet. You may note that it is Monday. I never thought it would be done by bed time Sunday. We have made use of the showers in the public facilities.

 I have wondered for all these years what we would find under all that fiberglass. Hickory nuts. No, there is not a tree in the bathroom. This means some critter has been dining under the tub. I choose to believe that these are very, very old!

 I find it interesting that there was ceramic tile in the shower area at one point. It looks like it was applied directly on the Sheetrock. We found no mold or mildew. That was a surprise!

 The old medicine cabinet will have to stay until I find one I like. The frame can be painted. I can live with it. What am I saying ....... I do live with it!

 New switch and outlets. The old one wouldn't hold the plugs. Easy to fix, but we kept putting it off until the big re-do. The hole there will be storage. The 2 X 4's are true and this will afford 4" of valuable space.

 See those 2 X 4's on the floor? The tub was on those. I knew I was standing on something, just never knew what. I had pictured a drain in the concrete floor, but, the tub was draining into that white pipe on the right.

 Yes, the lights will be changed! I bought the new fixture over a year ago. As lovely as this one is ......

 So, since the space is small, I have been staying out of the way. I knew we would run into unexpected surprises along the way with the plumbing. But, why did he remove the toilet this late in the afternoon? He could have removed the old vanity and I would have cared little. The sun is setting!

What will happen in the middle of the night when I head for the toilet and it is not there? Squat? Remember I want a tall toilet. I am too old and stiff for such shenanigans, I tell you!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

I Am A Person Of Walmart .......

Every month I have to get refills of one or another drug. There are two that we only get a 30 day supply of at a time, due to the high cost. They are both generic, but still costly. Mine is the one that has cost the most. Last year we spent  almost $1500 on that one drug. It was supposed to keep me sane and it failed .......

Of course, looking on the bright side, it will be a big plus come tax time. My doctor had toyed with the idea of doubling my dosage, but, having no insurance, that would have doubled my cost. I vetoed that idea, not caring how good that would be for taxes. We added another generic drug that is on WalMart's list of 90 days for $10.

So, I had the necessary funds in hand for my monthly trek to WalMart. I am feeling so much better that I actually drove myself there and back with nary a twinge of panic. Even got a haircut. But, back to the title. I drove in and waited patiently at the crosswalk where pedestrians have the right of way. I always stop and let people cross .... always. You would think that a car stopped and people on foot crossing would alert the driver of the vehicle traveling in the opposite direction to at least slow down. Not really. Right after the other car flew by me, a young woman crossed. She was nicely dressed (and not just by WalMart standards). She was in business attire, heels and all. I was thinking she might be a vendor looking to acquire shelf space or a member of management from a much higher level than this little store is used to hosting.

My mind is always on, you know, just meandering along, wondering this and that and thinking how very lady-like her attire was ........... that is when when spit quite a large wad out the side of her mouth right before the doors whooshed open. Lady-like? I made a mental note of the spit landing, so as not to step in it when I entered, then parked the car.

I went to the window and handed the RX #'s to the one perched upon a stool. I had the numbers written very legibly, along with corresponding birth dates and the number of pills I required. I ALWAYS do this ...... always, and without fail, they have yet to get it right. It is always the same person perched on that stool with a look of extreme boredom plastered upon her face ....... always. Now, when I worked in the pharmacy in WalMart I remembered my customers and their particulars, especially those I saw monthly ......... and I did not perch upon a stool, but stood.

I left for my hair cutting appointment, figuring that would give them sufficient time to get my bag of drugs ready for pick-up. When I returned to pick-up window to find my two orders ready and she read out the total I was amazed. I made her open the bag so I could look at the bottle to make sure they had the right drug in it. It had dropped almost $100!! There was a long line of those waiting behind me, stony faced individuals totally unimpressed by the little happy dance I performed. I would have hugged someone, but I did not see anyone who looked approachable.

I am just wondering if there was a camera that caught me. Will I appear on The People Of Walmart? I wasn't even upset to see that they had filled only 30 of the one I had requested 90 of. Nothing can lift my mood like saving money!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Health Insurance .... or Lack of Health Insurance

As I was catching up in the land of blog this morning, I clicked on a new blog and read about the dilemma of scheduling medical procedures. I commented about life being simpler without health insurance ..........

Made me remember an incident about 10 years ago when I had health insurance through an HMO. With this plan you were required to choose a primary care group of physicians who would then "manage" your care.

On a Sunday while cleaning debris left from a building project in our back yard (it was one of those wooden play sets with a fort and I thought we should enclose the underside of the fort as a dog house for our Saint Bernard, Louise. She never, ever entered it. She would stare at me as I sat inside on a blanket with a hot dog in my hand trying to entice her into what would be a luxurious dog abode ..... but, that's another story).

Back to my story. I somehow managed to get stuck in the hand with a jagged piece of a 2 X 4. The board was about 3 feet long and was hanging from my person, firmly attached to that well padded part of my palm near my thumb. I stood there for a minute, just looking at it. It hurt, but I knew it had to come out and I debated with myself about asking he who had left the mess there to pull it out or just do it myself. I decided that he would hurt me, so I attempted to do it myself and a piece about the size of a kitchen match broke off and remained firmly embedded in my hand.

My hand was throbbing and I could not move my thumb without enhancing the pain. He who loves me offered to take me to an emergency room (happy that we had to stop the clean-up). Having worked as a nurse in emergency rooms and being annoyed at all the people using it as a clinic, I decided my hand with a stick in it was not an emergency and we drove to an urgent care facility that was approved by my HMO.

There had closed about 30 minutes before I needed them, so I went home and toughed it out until morning. I called my HMO approved primary care facility and they invited me to come right in and they would see me in between appointments. The chart indicated that I needed a splinter removed. One of the newer doctors strolled in and took one look at my hand and told me I needed a hand surgeon. Then asked me why I had not gone to the emergency room the previous evening. Really, it was not an emergency.

The hand surgeon she was sending me to was not in his office that day, but at the day surgery clinic downtown in ST. Paul. Great. It was my right hand and I was not going to try to navigate one-way downtown streets while trying to find this place. I picked up he who drives me around and off we went. We finally located the facility and then a parking garage and trekked in to see this surgeon of hands. X-rays were taken and the surgeon determined that I should go right to surgery where an axillary block would be administered and the "splinter" would be removed. I was all prepped, given a tetanus shot and an RX for antibiotics .......

And then told that my HMO would not approve the procedure. Seems I was sitting in a facility not associated with my HMO. So, I was told to meet the surgeon at the emergency room near my house after office hours. My hand had been manipulated and radiated and was throbbing by then. There aren't an over abundance of hand surgeons, by the way.

So, 24 hours after jabbing my hand, I went to the same emergency room I would have gone to the previous evening and was told that axillary blocks were not allowed in the emergency room, only a shot of xylocaine. By then, the tissue was inflamed and infection was beginning to set in. I felt every tug as he finally removed what felt like a full term baby from my hand.

So, you see, this would have been much easier had I not had insurance. Because had I not had insurance, I would have dosed myself with a pint of Jack Daniels, made an opening in my hand with an exacto knife and handed the needle nose pliers to my tool man and been done with it. Neosporin and a band aid.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Spring Flowers and Firelogs

 A package came in the weeks before Christmas with my name on it. Inside was a basket surrounded with packing peanuts and Christmas wishes from my sweet friend, Debbie.

 It did not look like this! But, a little water and sunshine .....

 A heady fragrance was in the air this morning. These popped out overnight! They smell so good.

 Red tulips are struggling forth and will soon be rising up.

I love flowers. I am not a fan of cut flowers, though. I have not decided which garden these will end up in yet. They will be in a garden outside, though. Debbie knows me well!

Everyone who knows me, knows I love to recycle. I compost everything I can and end up with good soil to add to my gardens every spring. I always have some project going that results in saw dust. I suppose I could add it to the compost bin, but some of the boards are treated and I don't want it in my vegetables. 

One year, some helpful campers decided to clean out the barn and tossed a barrel of saved sawdust on a bonfire. I must confess that I was unsure of what exactly I was going to do with it, but I mourned the loss of my sawdust (I complained about it). In the back of my mind I was sure that this sawdust must have a good use.

I watch HGTV. I saw one episode that spoke of a man mixing sawdust with glue and using it between rustic timbers much like grout. Intrigued, I thought about this in the wee hours of the morning during a bout of insomnia. Now, it sounds like a good idea, but I am supposing you would have to have some sort of device to "pipe" it between the boards. Otherwise you would end up with a sticky mess that would be hard to remove should you get it on the face of the boards. I vetoed this use of my treasured sawdust. He who loves to try new things was all ready to give it a shot on a floor installation. He who likes to learn by experience is more adventurous than I am.

In addition to sawdust, I have lots of candles with no wick left. So, I put the jars holding the leftover wax in a pot of simmering water. When the wax melted, I poured it in an old dutch oven with a broken handle (I knew that old pot would come in handy one day). While the wax was still liquid, I poured sawdust in until it was too thick to stir. I let it cool a little, then tried to use my hands to shape some fire starter logs.

Don't do this. The wax will stick to your hands and you will waste a lot of it. I took several sandwich size zipper bags and spooned the mixture in, then shaped it into a log and put them in the freezer. We took the first batch out of the freezer before we tried to use them. They crumble apart when they thaw and really don't do much to help get the fire going.

Next batch was left in the freezer. This helps them burn slower. But, it distressed me to burn the plastic bag. I pondered thoughts of saving bags from food packages, but, that had a grossness factor .......... So, we carefully removed the frozen sawdust log and saved the bag to reuse.

But, today on the third batch of fire log making I hit upon perfection! Newspaper. I spooned the mixture onto a half sheet of print and rolled it into a log about the size of a pecan roll, then flipped the ends around it and rolled it again on the remaining half sheet and twisted the ends.

They are in the freezer now. No need for crumpled paper now, it is all in one tidy package. Just light one of the ends!