Saturday, November 30, 2013

DISMANTLING THE HOT TUB PART II

Today I drove to the hot tub store and bought some magic stuff that cleans the hot tub cover. All the mildew and dirt came right off.  The top looks practically brand new. I just have one more spot to clean.

Then I stopped at Lowes and bought a thing to unscrew the four screws I can't reach. The thing I bought didn't work. It was a longer bit to put in the drill but the drill bit didn't fit the drill. So I took it back.  I bought another screw driver type thing BUT that didn't fit in the holes where the screws were. Now I am stymied. My neighbor says he maybe able to help. I may also go to our local hardware store. Sometimes they are more helpful than the big box stores.

I also did some small store shopping. I am trying to buy as much as I can this year from small local stores. Last year I bought Made in America. This year Small Local Stores. 

Then we watched Now You See Me. It was really good. Twist ending. Thursday night we watched Parental Guidance and The Heat. 

Until tomorrow...

Friday, November 29, 2013

DISMANTLING THE HOT TUB

Today was spent taking the lifter and top off the hot tub. It looked so simple. Just unscrew a few screws and off it comes. Not so fast! It is actually pretty complicated. For a number of reasons. 

1. I have no instructions
2. The screws are not normal screws. They are some weird square drive screws.
3. There are screws in weird places I can not reach.
4. I don't know what I doing.

I think you get the picture.  It will get finished tomorrow.

Until tomorrow...

Thursday, November 28, 2013

THANKSGIVING MEAL

I spent the day cooking like most families.  I made all my veg Thanksgiving favorites.

Acorn Squash stuffed with Wild Rice Stuffing

Then I made my famous stuffing.


And cornbread muffins



Green beans with Almonds and Pomegranates 



And lastly, Mushroom Gravy. It never got thick. I can't seem to make graves thick. I don't know the secret. I put the four and water in it and keep it on a slow boil. 


Such a good meal! Happy Thanksgiving!  Now my favorite: LEFTOVERS!

Until tomorrow...




Tuesday, November 26, 2013

DEADLINES

Deadlines are a fact of life. Recently I was in a situation where some folks had a deadline to get some papers turned in. The deadline was announced. A reminder was sent out. The deadline approached and 20% of the papers were turned in. I called, I emailed. By 5pm 80% of the papers were turned in.  A week went by and those 20% finally turned in their papers.  The papers were healthcare enrollment applications and all the applications had to be sent to the carrier as a group so one person being late meant the whole group was late.

I was frustrated. I was brought up that a deadline is a deadline especially for something as important as healthcare paperwork. I don't understand people who are given a deadline and just completely ignore it.  It is one thing if you don't understand the directions or have questions but to completely blow it off, that is unacceptable. 

This discussion makes me think of the impending deadline for the ACA. December 15th is coming quickly and I need to get the forms filled out and make sure my doctors and meds are on the medical plan. 

Until tomorrow...


CHRISTMAS CARDS OR NO CHRISTMAS CARDS?

Every year we have the discussion: Christmas Cards or No Christmas Cards? 

We always end up sending Christmas Cards.  I am such a Christmas fanatic that I want to share the holiday spirit.  I went and bought cards on Sunday.  I bought some interesting and fun cards this year.  I had no time to do anything fun and creative this year.  Some years I make my own cards but not this year.  I am trying to keep myself organized.  I have already gone over the labels and they are ready to be printed.

I know some folks don't want to send cards anymore but I love to open the mail and see the cards from all over.  I buy recycled and cards from sustainable forests.  I am careful that my cards can be recycled.

We are on the side of Christmas Cards this year but each year it will be a discussion.

Until tomorrow...

Sunday, November 24, 2013

PREP FOR THANKSGIVING

Like everyone else I am getting ready for Thanksgiving.  Since it is just Brenda and I there isn't a ton of preparation.  I still have to cook but I don't have to cook for a ton of people.  I also don't have to have the house spotless. 

I am planning on cooking some of the food the day before.  I did this last year and it worked out.  I am going to cook my acorn squash and the corn bread the day before then all we have to do is heat it up.  Then on Thanksgiving we only have to cook is the Cornish hen (Brenda eats these since a turkey would last her a month!), green beans, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy. 

Today I did the food shopping.  I went really early and the store wasn't too crowded.  It was also well stocked at 9 am.  The only thing I couldn't find was wild rice.  I am sure you are wondering why I need wild rice.  I am putting wild rice in my acorn squash. 

Then after food shopping I did a little Christmas shopping.  I found a great present for my dad and got Brenda a gift I get her every year.  I had this sales person who was the most cheerful person I have met in a long time.  She was over the top cheerful!  I was only going to buy 3 of the item and when I got to the check out, I had 6 of them!  She was so good I had not realized she talked me into getting 6.  On the bright side, it was a buy 3, get three free deal.  I was going for the buy 1 get 2 free deal. 

Thanksgiving weekend will be a working weekend: Christmas prep, party prep, work and taking care of that darn hot tub!  Oh, yeah and some relaxation!

Until tomorrow...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

FRIENDSHIP AND SHOPPING

Today I went shopping with my friend A. We met up at a mall halfway between our houses and spent the day walking around a mall. I was supposed to do more Christmas shopping but I didn't get much. I got something for my friend B. We always get gag gifts so I found this funny book.  I got some candy for another relative.  I was going to get a puzzle for another relative but wasn't so sure that person had already done that puzzle.  I got a book for a little person who's birthday is coming up.

Then I found a treasured book from my childhood to give at a future date because the little people are still too little. I don't want to spoil the surprise. I had to buy it because in the past I have found something I really like and I didn't buy it and instead I waited. Then six months later I can't find it, can't remember where I found it, it no longer exists, or it is out of stock. So now when I see something that is rare, I buy it and store it away in a drawer with a sticky note on it.  I do the same with cards. I find great greeting cards throughout the year and I buy them and put post-it's on them with people's names. That way I know who they go to.

After all the gift buying, I bought myself a new bag to carry my IPad. The bag I bought last year doesn't work with this new IPad cover.  This new bag I like better anyway.

After shopping, A and went to PF Changs and had a late lunch. The new winter menu has a quinoa fried rice that is really tasty. We stayed for hours talking and looking at photos.

The only thing that was stressful besides my Crohn's issues kicking up; was that toward the end my hips hurt so badly I could hardly walk. But I made it!!

Until tomorrow...

PROGRESSIVES OR READING GLASSES?

Okay, a sign that you are getting old is that your hair turns gray. Your middle gets a little thick. Your feet get a bit flat. And you can't see the menu in a dimly lit restaurant.

Yup, I am talking about reading glasses.  I have been having a harder time seeing for about a year. First it was seeing the playbill in the theatre. It is so dark I could not follow along.  Then it was reading small print with my glasses. I can read the print perfectly fine without my glasses. I just have to take them off to read.  Then this week I was doing payroll for a client and I was having a hard time seeing some of the time sheets. Now in my defense, some of the time sheets are in 6 or 8 font size. I doubt a 20 year old could read it easily! 

I have come to the realization that my life would be easier if I would just give in and get reading glasses of some kind. Brenda thinks I should get the progressives. She thinks changing glasses is a pain in the butt. Brenda has progressives and she has gotten used to them. Although we always joke about how she moves her head up and down to see. 

I dye my hair. I have arch supports in my shoes. And now I will have reading glasses. It is all down hill from here. What's next? Depends?

Until tomorrow...

Thursday, November 21, 2013

THE PARTY IS ON

Today I planned out the party. I sent out the evite. Okay, I don't really like elites either but I had to get the invitation sent out quickly and an evite is the best way. 

I have the food planned. A list of the things to do. Now I just have to start checking them off the list. 

Holiday Party!

Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

MORE WORK

Just when I thought most of my work would be winding down for the holidays, one of my clients comes to me in a meeting with this "I gotta have it now" project.

Can you do it?

Of course I can but you have to approve more hours.

Whatever you need to get it done. 

Give me the deadlines and I will have it done.

Oh, and I also need you to do this other thing at the same time. Can you do that too?

If everyone gets me their work on deadline and I have free reign to work the hours I need to get both projects PLUS my regular work done, I can do it.  (In my head I think, there goes my Thanksgiving weekend!)

The life of an independent contractor.  Sometimes it ain't so glamorous.

Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

PARTY

We are planning a holiday party for our neighbors and a few friends. When we first moved into the house we used to have parties. Fourth of July, Labor Day, Memorial Day barbecues, holiday party, and all the holidays we had folks over for a meal.  Then we had the total tear down of the house and all partying ceased for three years. Then came the after construction phase where parties didn't occur either. The house was not completed, things were still in boxes, etc.

Finally we started having small groups over for movie night or a person or two over now and then. But no big parties. Probably the biggest gathering we had was my birthday almost three years ago right before we got Lucky.  I had about 10 people over.

I am excited to have some friends over to celebrate the season.  We are planning what food to make and what to buy.  It is fun. I will have to decorate the house early. We decided to wait on a tree until after the party because our house is not big enough for people and a tree!

I will keep you updated on the preparations.

Until tomorrow...

Monday, November 18, 2013

GAS

Yes, I am going to talk about passing gas. I was taught to say "passing gas". So much better than "farting".  It is a natural thing but not something one does loudly and in crowds.  And if it smells bad you blame it on the dog.  My neighbor growing up called it "dropping roses".  

I never thought that much about passing gas until I got Crohn's Disease.  Now I have wild bouts of gas that lasts weeks. I have yet to figure what to do about it other than watch what I eat. No brussel sprouts or cauliflower for me.  Stick to potatoes and oatmeal. 

Have you seen those PSAs on TV for Crohn's disease? The actor (I can't remember who he is) talks about how Crohn's effects many people and the sufferers don't talk about it because the symptoms are so unpleasant.  That always makes me laugh.  If I really wrote about my Crohn's symptoms I would lose my blog followers!

For now I hope the gas will pass and leave me alone.  I can only cover up having gas for so long. 

Until tomorrow...

Friday, November 15, 2013

BATKID

SF chronicle

If you were anywhere in America today you heard about Batkid in San Francisco.  I was working at home today so I heard about it on Good Morning America and each newscast throughout the day.  5 year old Miles took over San Francisco "Gotham City" dressed in a Bat Kid costume. Miles is in remission from leukemia. He rescued a damsel in distress, caught the Riddler, and saved Lou Seal. A flash mob of 20,000 people showed up at City Hall. Someone donated a Lamborgini with a Batman logo on it. President Obama sent a video.

It was such a cute story and really seemed to bring the city together.  It was so funny that some of the police vehicles had "kapow" on then in the same font with the same bubble around them.
SF chronicle
So far.i have only heard one nay-sayer. What a jerk! This was such a great thing to do for this little boy and what a FUN activity for ALL of San Francisco! 

You go little Batkid!

Until tomorrow...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

HEALTHCARE

How many of you have been sent cancellation notices from your insurance company? How many of you have been told your plan is ending on 12/31?  Are any of you worried your current doctors will not be on your 2014 plan?

Well, let me tell you, I have had an eye opening experience. Every time I think I have it all figured out, I get another curve ball. 

First, I think I can stay on my current plan. Uh, uh, not so fast! My plan is changing on 12/31. 

Then I think when they say "household" they mean household. Nope! Brenda and I have to be on separate plans and only one of us can get a subsidy. 

Then I find out I won't know about coverage for my Enbrel for another few weeks because the formulary has not been published. Hmmmm...

Finally, I asked my physician if he is going to continue to be my insurance plan. His practice has not signed the contract yet. What are they waiting for?? 

So I wait.  That 12/15 deadline is looming and now the government is mucking about today saying I can keep my current plan. Did anyone talk to my insurance company?   They don't want to let me keep that plan.

What have been your experiences?

Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

INSOMNIA

This insomnia is killing me. Yes, I am catching up on my TV shows but I need some sleep! Only two more days on this medicine. I can't wait! I will probably sleep all weekend.

Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

SLEEP, OH MARVELOUS SLEEP

My little dog Lucky got sick last night.  Yup, the new food is making her sick.  At 3:30 am, 4:20 am, 5:40 am and 6:35 am she wanted to go outside.  To eat grass.  In the dark. There I am in my pajamas with a flashlight. So, now I am sleep deprived. 

Then I read my blog friend Wren's blog post and she made me laugh.  She wrote about pajamas.  Pajamas!  All I wanted to do was get back into my pajamas.  Some days I don't get out of my pajamas because I work from home.  I get up and eat breakfast and start working and around 1 pm I realize I am still in my pajamas.  At that point is it really worth it to get into real clothes?   Wren's post is about the absurdity of the media writing about Kate Middleton's favorite clothes when the Philippines have just had the most devastating disaster in it's history.

The devastation in the Philippines is so overwhelming.  Every time I hear that 50 children may have been swept into the sea, my heart breaks.

Until tomorrow...

Monday, November 11, 2013

FAILED COOKING EXPERIMENT AND SHOPPING TRIP

Tonight I tried to make a chickpea pot pie. It was all going well until I put it in the oven.  Unfortunately the puff pastry top sunk into the inside of the pot pie and didn't cook.  It makes for a very uninviting photo but a fairly tasty dish (minus the portions of the top that are not cooked,)  next time I will have to make the rue better to thicken up the pot pie inside. Then the top will not sink in and will get brownish and crispy. 




I went shopping and bought myself a new biking backpack. I was going to wait for Christmas but it seems to be discontinued and the newer version is bigger. I didn't want a bigger backpack. I liked this one. So I went and bought the last one.  It is a great biking pack. It has a place to put a water system if I ever get good enough to go on a long ride. It also has a cover for rain. I can hang a light on it and it has pockets for sunglasses, ID, money, keys, etc. it is also light and has a great back so I don't sweat from wearing it.


Until tomorrow...

VETERANS DAY

Tomorrow is Veterans Day. It is also the anniversary of Brenda's fathers passing. Her father was a veteran of two wars; Vietnam and Korean. May he rest in peace.

It is also my nieces second birthday. Happy Birthday!

Until tomorrow...

Saturday, November 9, 2013

ALL THE THINGS FROM TODAY

Today I rode my bike down the hill to get my hair cut. It was great going down the hill. Not so great coming back up. I had to walk my bike. I don't have the strength yet to ride up our steep hill. It feels good to have my hair cut. It was so long. 

The new food seems to be working out for the dogs. They both love it and no one has gotten ill yet. 

Brenda and I swept up the leaves in the backyard. Raking leaves in the fall is such a thankless endeavor. You rake up the leaves and one hour later the backyard is covered again.

I think I have made the decision about the hot tub. We are going to remove the new cover and lifter and try to sell them. The hot tub has to go. It is in such bad shape, our electric bill is sky high, I think the rats have taken up permanent residence in it, and it is too much to take care of. The plan is to get rid of it. Hopefully sell the cover and lifter. Then in 6 months or more buy a smaller and easier hot tub. Our neighbors have a smaller one that seems more manageable.  We need to wait until the critters have moved on to somewhere else. 

Oh, we watched Monsters University. It was so cute!  A lot of Mike Woskowski (if you know your Monsters characters.) He is the green ball-type guy with one eye. He was Sully's coach in Monsters Inc.

Until tomorrow...

Friday, November 8, 2013

GOT SOME OF MY TEST RESULTS

Today I got back my blood test results. Shocking I am really low in calcium and really, really low in vitamin D.  Considering I have been on antibiotics for weeks and had "stomach issues" for weeks, it is no wonder I am low on my blood work. I am surprised I am not low on more things.  Still waiting to hear about the C diff results.

On another note, I took both dogs to get different dog food and to get their nails done. They would not do Lucky's nails because she growled at them, I am going to bring her back with a muzzle and without me in the room and see how she does. All the other places say she is a dream. I was shocked. 

Until tomorrow...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

NEW ANTIBIOTICS

The new antibiotics are slightly easier on my tummy.  I had some interesting side effect last night.  I am not sure what is in this antibiotic but I had to pee 10 times last night.  I felt like I had taken a diuretic.  Every hour I got up to pee.  I was exhausted!

I have not gotten the test results yet.  I assume tomorrow I will hear something.  Yes C. diff, No C. diff.  I just want to know.  Today my stomach was making these weird noises but it wasn't hunger; just these weird noises.  It was loud and embarrassing! 

Only eight more days of pills.

Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

CHANGED MY ANTIBIOTICS

Today I went to see my Crohn's doc.  I told her that I have been sick again and she was noticeably concerned.  She checked out my throat and said it didn't look good.  I was coughing.  My lungs were clear and there seemed to be no sign of pneumonia. But I told her I had a lot of tummy pain.  She immediately changed my antibiotics to another type that will not upset my stomach as much.  Now I am on another 10 days of the new antibiotic. 

Then she tried to check out my gut.  Well, she barely got to touch me and I jumped off the table.  She got concerned when she heard my symptoms (trust me you don't want to hear them!) and decided to have me tested for C. diff "Clostridium difficile".  C. diff is a spore-forming bacterium that is best known for causing antibiotic-associated diarrhea.  Because I have been on antibiotics twice now in three or four weeks, I may have contracted C. diff.  How do we test for this?  It is diagnosed by stool specimens tested for the toxins.  I get to bring the lab a stool specimen.

It is funny (not ha ha funny, weird funny) that this sickness season is sort of like it was about four years ago the year that Brenda's father passed away.  It was an awful fall/winter.  I got the flu (this was before I was getting the flu shot because we weren't sure I could get them while on Enbrel) and it turned into bronchitis.  Or maybe it was the other way around.  During this time Brenda's dad got very ill and was put in the hospital.  We didn't know when we would have to fly back East.  Right when I got the sickest, her dad passed and we had to jump on a plane.  I hated being around her family while I was so sick and tried to pull myself together and be useful.  Popping antibiotics every couple of hours, taking cough medicine and sucking on cough drops.  As soon as we got back I went to the doctors and was diagnosed with walking pneumonia and that carried on for a month, through the end of the year.  I was sick from October until the end of the year.  Horrible!

Until tomorrow...

Monday, November 4, 2013

ACHING TUMMY

These antibiotics are killing my tummy.  At first I thought my tummy was upset the other day because I had some spicy soup that got my Crohn's going.  But now four days later I see that it is the antibiotics that are tearing my stomach up.  Every morning I take the pill with food but about an hour later I am on the couch curled up in a ball.  The pills don't bother me quite as much in the evening.

Today I spent hours curled up on the couch instead of working.  I have five more days of these horrible pills.  I am not sure I am going to make it.  Tomorrow I see my gut doc so I will ask her about it.

Until tomorrow...

Sunday, November 3, 2013

SKYPING WITH FAMILY

Today I got to Skype with my niece and nephew. They have grown so much.  They are so cute!  I enjoyed seeing them play and interact together.  It is so fun to Skype since kids this little can't really talk on the phone and don't really have the attention span for phones.  My niece kept staring at her own picture on the Ipad instead of my picture.  My nephew liked when  I pointed my finger at him and it got bigger in the camera.

It is also interesting listening to my nephew now that he can tell me things.  He told me all about the book I sent them (with a little elaboration).  Then he told me about his costumes for Halloween.

We are going to try to Skype next week too.

Until tomorrow...

Saturday, November 2, 2013

INSURANCE CHANGES

So I call The-Insurance-Company-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named to check on my insurance plan. I got some shocking news. The news was shocking not because I am different than other people but because I am getting the information so late. I was told that my insurance plan was being discontinued on 12/31/13. I immediately got panicky. I thought that since I had not heard anything, I was going to be okay.  I am not.

I tried to get the rep to help me but he was just confusing me more. Then I called all my insurance friends and begged them to help me. One called and walked me through.  Seems that since I work for myself and I make so little, I am below the line so I get a subsidy. Crazy! I might get a better plan for less money! 

I have my dad helping me with this because it is so confusing. Do I pay more per month or have a higher maximum out of pocket expense?  Such decisions.

I hope you all are having an easier time.

Still sick and taking it easy. Watched Kung Fu Panda 1 & 2 and Gangster Squad today. 

Until tomorrow...

Friday, November 1, 2013

GOT REAMED OUT

Yesterday I made a mistake. It was a reasonably big mistake but no one died. Nothing burned down. No babies went without eating. No planes fell out of the sky.

By the reaction of one of the people involved you would have thought one of those things had happened. 

Here's what occurred: I set up an appointment for someone to meet with four other people at a location. I spoke with a fifth person who was supposed to book a meeting room. The fifth person forgot to book the meeting room. I got sick with strep and forgot to follow up. The person showed up for the meeting with the four people and they were not ready because the meeting room was not confirmed. Only three of the four ended up meeting with the person. So the whole thing was a fiasco. 

Today I found out what occurred. I start calling everyone to apologize. First person says "we end up meeting but I didn't ever get the email that we were even meeting at all." Interesting. Everyone got it.  Second person lays into me. I mean goes on a rant. "How unprofessional, you made us look like idiots,   He was affiliated with us..."  I have to honestly say, I almost was in tears when I hung up.  I never cried but I was close.  The third person was SO sweet. He said it wasn't my fault. I should not take to heart what others say (I guess he heard what person number two said to me) and since I was sick, I should take the rest of the day off and rest.  See, sweet.  Person number four just said thank you no need to apologize. 

Why do people have to be like people number two? Gosh, does he not make mistakes. Like I said no one got hurt. It is nothing that a simple apology can't fix.  I am embarrassed I made a mistake but things happen. People can't do better if they don't make mistakes.

Until tomorrow...