Friday, December 30, 2016

Happy Dance, Happy Dance!!!

What a delight to wake up this morning, open the blinds & be surprised with an unexpected Kentuckysnowfall!!!  I put on my shoes, grabbed my camera & stood on the front porch to take this photo   : )
I then went into the yard to take a snap of the fairy lights on the snow covered bushes.  No Prozac needed today ... lol!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Wishing You A Very Merry Christmas!!!

Health issues & other issues are eating away at me, but I wanted to drop by to wish you all a very Merry Christmas & a happy & healthy new year!  I keep hoping my blogging mojo will return.  Perhaps in the new year.

 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Brief Update ... I Hope

October 9, 2016

It's been "one of those days" for more than a few days, & Blogger has been acting up on my end.  Still, amidst all the frustration I did get a few projects finished!  First of all I finished my Blue Christmas socks for the Hisser Sisters Christmas Socks KAL.  I'm very happy with how they turned out   : )   Claire is still working on her socks but hasn't far to go.  She should be finished with them sometime this week.

I also finished two unfinished objects that had been languishing on my needles since the summer of 2015!  Both are Yowza Weight It Shawls designed by Susan B. Anderson, & both are made using Miss Babs Yowza Whatta Skein yarn.  I haven't blocked either of them yet, but here they are.
Yowza Weight It Shawl 3
Colorway:  Berlin
Yowza Weight It Shawl
Colorway:  Nori 

I am currently working on finishing another UFO, a pair of socks I started back in March.  Hopefully you will get to see a photo of those next week   : )

I'm sorry to say that's it for this post.  I want to get this post saved & published before Blogger cuts me off again.  

Three More Months Until Christmas, Hisser Sisters Christmas Socks KAL, and A Finish

September 25, 2016

I will begin by telling you about the second installment of the Hisser Sisters Christmas Socks KAL. As I noted last month, Claire & I decided that we would cast on a pair of Christmas socks on the 24th of each month before Christmas.  This month I am pairing my yarn choice with a fun project bag made by Kathy Norman who has an Etsy shop called QuiltKnitCraft.  Kathy is an accomplished seamstress with an eye for color & fabric choice.  She is also one of the nicest sellers in the Etsy community.  This New York City at Christmastime project bag caught my eye right away.  John & I enjoyed our visit to NYC a couple years ago & have talked about one day returning during the holidays.  The fabric print of this bag can take me there all year   : )

I took this photo yesterday after having wound my yarn choice into a ball & knitting the cuff.  My yarn choice is by Brew City Yarns, a knitting shop located in ... where else? ... Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  The name of this colorway is Blue Christmas.  There's a bit of stellina blended in the yarn to make it sparkle.  You can see a few sparkles in the first photo below.
Thus far I am pleased with the feel of this yarn & the way it is knitting up   : )

Claire's yarn choice is the Christmas Special offered by West Yorkshire Spinners, a UK yarn company  The photo below is taken from their website.  The colorway on the left is Holly Berry, & the one on the right is Cherry Drop.
A photo of Claire's first HSCS KAL socks was featured in last week's post.  Here is a photo of my finished pair.
You may remember that in last week's post I indicated that I had knit the heel flap of the second sock eleven times.  My OCD paid off ... lol!  You can be sure that I will never start a striped pair of socks willy-nilly again   : )   The yarn is Opal, a German yarn that knits beautifully & wears like iron.  This colorway is from their Klangwelten series & is called Popmusik.  They didn't design it to be a Christmas yarn, but it is definitely Christmasy   : )

This past week brought us a very happy event ... the arrival of Fall!  I look forward to the cooler temperatures, the crispness in the air, the beautiful colors painted on the leaves, & that certain scent that only Fall can bring.  Fall is my next-to-favorite season   : )

I will leave you today with a song sung by country legend Ernest Tubb.  It not only ties in with my Christmas yarn choice, but this particular recording of it holds fond memories for me of Christmases when I was growing up.  I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do   : )

Hisser Sisters CAL / KAL - End of ... What Week Is This Now??? And Other Stuff

September 18, 2016

The first official Hisser Sisters CAL ended on schedule!  Claire & I put down our crochet hooks on September 7th.  Here is my finished blanket, as yet unblocked ...

& here is Claire's!
We both enjoyed our first CAL immensely & look forward to starting the second one!  That will be next month, so stay tuned   : )

As for our first official Hisser Sisters Christmas Socks KAL, Claire, aka "Speedy," finished her socks in a couple of hours I think!  She is an extremely fast knitter!  These socks are a surprise Christmas gift for her daughter.  Aren't they pretty?
As for my socks, I've had some problems.  Much as I tried to convince myself otherwise, I really disliked how my first choice of yarn was forming big blobs of white on just one side of the sock.
I finally frogged it & started another pair using a different yarn.  However, in my eagerness to get them started, I unfortunately began knitting the first sock without planning ahead for the second.  As I had chosen self-striping yarn, this was a serious mistake.  Some people don't mind socks where the striping sequence doesn't match.  I envy them.  Being the poster child for OCD, mine must match.  I started the second sock three times before finally feeling it would knit the same as the first, but I discovered that something was drastically wrong when I got to the heel.  I had to break the yarn & wind off some of the skein in order to try to make things match.  To make a long story short, I ended up knitting the heel eleven times before I finally got it pretty well right.  Fingers crossed the rest of the sock will at least give the appearance of matching the first!  The deadline to finish these socks is Friday, September 23rd.  I think I will meet the deadline.  I have to!!!  The second official Hisser Sisters Christmas Socks KAL begins on September 24th!!!

While dealing with the aftermath of my not well planned out Christmas socks start, I decided to finish a pair of plain vanilla socks that had been languishing on my needles since early April!  They are made with Opal yarn in the Apple Bobbing colorway.  I'm not sure why they chose that name for a pair of green & purple socks, but here they are.  The sunshine is making the colors look faded out I'm afraid, but they are a lovely bright colored pair of socks   : )
This past week I spent a lot of time inventorying my yarn stash.  You don't even want to know!!!  Let's just say I'll be destashing quite a bit in the near future ... lol!!!

Fall is kinda-sorta starting to make an appearance here in northern Kentucky.  You can see a wee bit of color on a few of the trees, & the temperatures are hovering in the high 70s/low 80s now.  I am, as always, looking forward to when it starts to snow   : )  

Hisser Sisters CAL . . . End of Week Four

August 28,, 2016

Our blankets are getting near the end!  Here is mine ...

... & here is Claire's.
As written in a previous blog post, we are not intending to make them as long as the designer has instructed because we are not wanting bed size blankets, just throws to keep us warm while we sit in a comfy chair watching a movie (a 30s or 40s movie for me, a James Bond movie for Claire), sipping a nice hot drink (tea for me, coffee for Claire), or knitting/crocheting a new project.  I'm thinking we maybe have no more than a week of adding rows, then we can start adding the borders & sewing in the ends.

Hisser Sisters Christmas Socks KAL

August 25, 2016

So it was Tuesday, late afternoon, when I glanced at the calendar hanging on the wall & noticed the date ... August 23rd.  "Hmmm," I said to myself, "tomorrow is the 24th."  My next thought was "Hmmm, tomorrow it will be just four months until Christmas!"  And then I thought, "Hmmm!  I wonder if Claire would be up to casting on a pair of socks for a Hisser Sisters Christmas Sock KAL?"  I immediately sent her a message & she eagerly agreed   : )   Our first Hisser Sisters Christmas Sock KAL, running simultaneously with our first blanket CAL!

We didn't have much time to get ready.  I sorted my available Christmas sock yarns.

Yes, there are a few if them as I've been stocking up since before last Christmas   : )   I narrowed my choices it down to two skeins, & the winner was the fourth from the left, bottom row.
It's beautiful, isn't it?  Baerenwolle yarn is produced by an indie dyer in Germany.  This particular skein is a blend of 80% extra fine merino wool & 20% polyamide.  The colorway name is Klingelingeling which means Dingalingaling in English. I can hear those sleigh bells now   : )  

I chose to keep my KAL in this Christmas drawstring project bag.
I wound my skein of yarn into a ball & cast on my socks last night.  Here's my progress thus far.  
Here is Claire's yarn selection for the KAL ... Cascade Heritage Prints & Solids.  
John helped me kick off the "four months until Christmas Eve" celebration yesterday by playing a Christmas CD in the morning, & then we watched a Christmas movie in the afternoon.  A very nice day indeed   : )

Hisser Sisters CAL ... End of Week Three

August 21, 2016

Once again Claire & I are on target with our first Hisser Sisters CAL ... the Cottage Ripple Blanket.  I took a series of photos & picked out my favorite, but somehow I ended up permanently deleting all but this one!  Do forgive me for the very poor quality.

Claire's photo is, of course, much better!
We are currently at the half way point with our blankets, just having finished stripe #42.  There are a total of 84 stripes.  We will not, however, be crocheting all 84 stripes as neither of us wants a bed-size blanket, just a throw to snuggle up with while watching TV or working on another CAL or KAL   : )   We are ramping things up a bit this coming week with the plan to crochet three stripes per day rather than two!  

I am going to spend a bit of time now talking about the yarn we are using.  It's the yarn that the designer, Lucy of Attic24, suggests ... Stylecraft Special DK.  This is also the yarn that comes in the blanket packs that Claire & I both purchased for this CAL.  It is 100% acrylic.  I have never been a fan of acrylic.  Give me man-made fibers any day.  However, a couple years ago I started to make a blanket from 100% superwash worsted wool.  I got about a quarter of the way done with it & it was already extremely heavy.  It was to be a gift for my husband, & I pictured him napping underneath it & being unable to move ... like being trapped by a blanket of chain mail!  I did so want to gift him with a blanket though, & last year I thought I would give one of Lucy's blanket packs a try.  Here is that blanket (the Coast Ripple) which, incidentally, my husband loves   : )
So I was talking about acrylic yarn.  Stylecraft Special DK is a British produced yarn.  It is extremely soft & the colors (74 of them!) are lovely!  The yarn is a pleasure to work with.  It glides effortlessly through your fingers without you feeling as if you're crocheting with plastic, it isn't splitty, & I honestly can't say enough good things about it.  All my future blankets will be made with this yarn.

I have been hearing the cicadas every evening which has always, for me, been the sound that precedes the end of summer.  I remember hearing them when I was a little girl in the weeks before it was time for the new school year to begin.  I think it is a lovely calming sound.  For me, anything that indicates the ending of summer is a lovely thing!

Hisser Sisters CAL ... End of Week Two

August 14, 2016

Claire & I are both on target with our CAL.  At the end of Week Two we now have 28 stripes (two rows equal one stripe) & our blankets are beginning to look quite lovely, if I do say so myself, with all the beautiful colors.  Lucy of Attic24 does have an eye for color!  I am grateful for this because I do not.

Here is my blanket progress ...

... & here is Claire's.
Claire's photos always look so nice!  She is having a lovely sunny day in England so she can enjoy being outside in her garden.  Here it is dark & rainy & flood warnings have been issued for lower lying areas.  

Today begins Week Three of our CAL.  Believe it or not, we are already planning another CAL after this one & then another one after that!  Such is the life of the Hisser Sisters   : )   

Hisser Sisters CAL ... End of Week One

August 7, 2016

Both Claire & I reached our first week's CAL goal ... 14 stripes in our cottage ripple blankets!  The pattern really is a delight.  It's very simple & flows smoothly.  Very comforting to work   : )

My blanket ...

 
Claire's blanket ...
Our goal for Week Two is the same ... two stripes per day for another total of 14 by week's end. 

A Hisser Sisters CAL

July 31, 2016

Today marks the start of the first Hisser Sisters CAL!  How we came to be called the Hisser Sisters is a story for another time, but we are both enthusiastic knitters/crocheters.  Claire is from the UK, I am from the US.  We met via the We Love Lucy group on Ravelry last August.  Claire was the first to welcome me there & we became fast friends   : )   Today is Claire's birthday, & to commemorate the event we are starting our very first CAL!  Our project is the Cottage Ripple blanket designed by Lucy of Attic24.  Isn't it lovely?

I'm ready ...
Claire is ready ...
The fun begins   : ) 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Just Popping By

Just a popping by post to say that we are continuing to settle into what will be our home for the next, let's see, 21-1/2 months now   : )   There are still lots of boxes to unpack &/or organize, & lots of things have been set aside for donations or yard sales or eBay or my Etsy shop.  I am, as I have probably said before, we have been dragging some boxes around with us for years, from move to move, without really knowing what's inside.  In addition to these boxes, we'll be going through all the Christmas boxes to downsize their contents.  I have decided that I'm tired of having "dust catchers" sitting around the house, so I'm guessing at least 80% of my primitives are going to be sold.  I'm also going to go through all my craft things ... cross stitch supplies, quilting fabrics, paints & woodworking things, you name it ... & downsize those as well.  Kitchen things are likewise going to be downsized.  The plan is to move to our next home taking only the things with us that we really, really like & that we will really, really use.  I'm looking forward to that.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Catching Up

My last post was May 29th!  This is hard for me to believe in one way, but not so hard in another.  We've moved of course, & oh the stories I could tell ... but this is going to be a short post, so I'll just say that what appears to be a squeaky clean house at first glance may very well not be.  Far from it in fact.  We spent the month of June renting U-Hauls (yes, I meant that to be plural) & making trips in the SUV to cart most of our things here ourselves.  I had wanted a specific moving company to move our furniture & some unwieldy boxes but the owner never got back to me in time, which is sad because they took the utmost care with our furniture when they delivered it from the store.  I had a backup company I found on Angie's List that had nearly 200 glowing reviews.  I had to end up hiring them instead, but I felt confident from the reviews that all would be well.  It wasn't.  I asked for three moving men; two showed up.  Young dudes with questionable training or experience.  I did not walk out to the truck with them & watch them load.  I should have.  I don't believe they padded anything.  There was so much damage to almost all the furniture.  Chips & scrapes & scratches & a literal gash down the side of my hutch.  They brought in the washer & dryer sideways, then sat the on the carpeting & force-pushed them into the laundry closet leaving a bunch of black grease on the carpeting which the homeowner had cleaned themselves & I followed up with professional cleaning the week before.  The young dudes had no idea where the grease came from but said not to worry about it, the company would take care of it.  They brought in an end table & placed it on the living room carpeting.  I asked them to place it a tad to the left.  When they did, there were grease marks left by the table legs.  Once again they were puzzled but said not to worry, the company would take care of it.  Despite the fact that I paid for additional insurance to cover each piece of furniture separately, the company took care of nothing.  I submitted detailed pictures & descriptions of all the damage.  The owner called to advise me that the insurance did not cover damage to flooring.  When I told him of my concern regarding our two power recliners & John's fancy-schmancy 65" nano crystal UHDTV, he stated that the insurance did not cover damage to anything mechanical or to any electronics because "who's to say if those things were working before they were moved?"  He said he would pass my photos along to his repair technician who would contact me in four to six weeks to come to my home to assess the damage & make any repairs.  I could not & did not want to wait that long.  In addition, the owner was so cavalier about everything (he didn't even say that he spoke with the young dudes regarding the damage!) that I really didn't trust that his repair technician would be any different.  It was a blessing from above when, quite by accident, a person was recommended to me as "the best furniture repair person in the state."  He is indeed!  An interesting & chatty man, we enjoyed visiting while he skillfully repaired all the damaged furniture & readjusted the recliners.  Thankfully the TV is okay.  I rehired the professional carpet cleaners to come back to get the grease out of the carpeting.  They were successful.  I've been scrubbing with various cleaners (none of which worked) & have now taken to sanding & resealing the bottoms of the wood furniture legs on several pieces of furniture in order to remove the grease.   

And speaking of cleaning, we've been here five weeks & I've been cleaning pretty much every day.  The cleaning was obviously not done by professional cleaners as I had been led to believe, but rather in a slapdash manner by the prior tenants.  I still need to clean most of the light fixtures & plate covers, two ceiling fans, two sets of blinds, & all the windows.  I'll get the house power washed as well.

Our landlady is a real interesting character.  She's an "it happened the way I say it happened" & "your way is wrong, my way is right" type of person.  I've had to bite my tongue several times when she was going through here telling me the leaking faucets really weren't leaking & the chip in the ceiling must have been made by our movers (it wasn't) & so many other things.  I haven't mentioned anything to her about all the cleaning I've had to do, but if, when we leave, she says that she wants us to leave things as they were when we moved in, I will say "no you don't" & proceed to tell her all I've had to do.  I probably should have taken pictures as I'm sure she won't believe me.

The bedroom furniture issue has been extremely stressful.  I sent it back three times to be repaired or replaced per the manufacturer's lifetime guarantee.  The last time I sent it back, trying to get them to fix the silver metal bits underneath the drawers that are quite visible when the drawers are shut, I was told this is the way this furniture is made & there is nothing wrong with it.  However, I could pay them $450 & they could add lips to the bottom of the drawers to hide the metal bits, or they could color the metal bits with a black marker so they wouldn't be as visible.  A friend (you know who you are!) called this the saga of Schrodinger's Defects: Simultaneously not existing while still being fixable.  The manufacturer would not budge.  I called a multitude of attorneys who all said there was nothing I could do (I still don't understand this).  I finally told them to just send it back.  I'll use it for the two years we're here, turning a blind eye to the metal bits, & sell it for whatever I can get for it before we move again.

My RA has unfortunately been very bad.  My doctor had prescribed a drug which was not working in pill form so she suggested injections.  This was two weeks before we moved.  During those two weeks I had a lot more pain & stiffness & swelling & just chalked it up to the rigors of moving.  However, things kept getting worse.  I was so very tired all the time & developed bone pain.  John said I could no longer blame these things on the move.  I saw my vascular surgeon ... no problems there.  Two weeks ago I saw my hematologist who discovered that I'm anemic.  He said that all the problems I was having were most likely from the medication injections.  He ordered a few more blood tests to be safe & told me to call my rheumatologist as soon as I got home to tell her my symptoms.  Sadly I was only able to speak with the nurse as the rheumatologist was on vacation until August 8th.  She suggested stopping the injections & she would talk with the doctor upon her return & let me know what she wanted me to do.  She said I also should call with an update or two prior to the doctor's return.  In the meantime the extra blood tests that the hematologist ordered came back negative so he feels the anemia & other problems are definitely being caused by the injections.  I've been off them for a week now & I'm doing a little better.  Don't know what they'll give me for my RA now as this makes three medications that have resulted in bad side effects.

I did get things straightened out with my insurance company ... again ... so I "only" had to do without my other medication for two weeks.

John is doing well.  Not really any change in his vision though.  He is seeing his eye doctor today & hopefully some sort of relief will be provided.

You may remember my Aunt Vera.  I wrote about her last year asking for prayers.  She was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 90.  Unfortunately she waited too long to seek medical attention & the cancer spread to various areas of her body.  She seemed to be doing better for a while, but then the chemo stopped working.  She passed away on August 28th ... the day of our move.  The funeral mass & burial were scheduled for July 5th.  I drove to Pittsburgh to attend.  She is at peace now but I will miss her so much.  She was like a mother to me.  I always wanted to run away & live with her.    She was always fun, always joking around.  She loved to cook & go to yard sales & flea markets.  She loved jewelry & Christmas.  When she was in her 80s, someone suggested to her that they had various events that she might enjoy at the local senior center.  Her response was "What do I want to go there for?  I'm not old!"

My good friend Mary passed away on May 4th, now Aunt Vera just two months later.  The world just won't be the same without them.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Moving ... Cincinnati Bell ... Prayers

Hello!  When I last posted, John & I were once again embarking on a search for a rental home. Good news here ... we found one!!!  Whereas we had initially thought that the last one was good, God has blessed us with one that is even better! It is exceptionally clean & well cared for.  When we went to view it, I opened every cabinet, every drawer, every cupboard, checked out every appliance, examined every window & door, etc. The carpets were cleaned, the walls repainted (even in the garage!), & the bushes & trees had been trimmed.  It definitely passed the Shirlee test : )   It's in a nice little residential area.  The deck in back has a view of a bunch of trees, & I believe that beyond them lies a farm.  The street is a cul de sac, & at the end of it is a big hill where lots of cows graze   : )   While we were waiting to meet our agent to view the home, a young man from across the street came over to introduce himself & ask if we were moving there.  We told him we were thinking of renting this house.  He then went on to tell us what a nice place it is to live & how nice the neighbors are.  Told us a bit about himself & his wife, then said that if we needed help with anything we shouldn't hesitate to ask him.  I was quite impressed   : )   Oh!  I almost forgot to mention that this house is cheaper than the other one as well!  Cheaper, cleaner, nicer, quieter, bigger, has a deck & a fireplace, & the landlord is nicer as well!  We had to sign a two year lease, then it will switch over to a month-to-month lease. This suits us very well   : )   We have until the end of June to move out of our current rental, so we need to get busy!  This house is about an hour north of here.  We will be moving most things ourselves but will need to get movers to take the furniture & washer/dryer.  One month from today we should be busy settling into our new abode. We will both miss the area where we currently live, but I think we will come to enjoy the new area as well   : )

I now have a question for any of my readers who might have telephone & internet service with Cincinnati Bell.  How do you like it?  Would you recommend it to others?  It seems to have a lot of negative reviews online, but then our current provider & the one we had at our previous home also had negative reviews & they aren't/weren't too bad.  If you could email me with your thoughts, I'd really appreciate it   : )

Amidst all the drama of house hunting, three other serious issues have occurred.  The first was the death of one of my very best & closest friends, Mary. Although she had been quite ill for quite a long time, her death was very sudden & it hit me very hard.  I will do a blog post about her once we are settled.

The second was having to take John to the ER recently.  He was having a strange visual disturbance & his doctor told him to go immediately to the ER because he might be experiencing a retinal detachment.  This of course occurred late on a Friday afternoon when it was pouring rain, & we had to drive to his hospital in Louisville, which is an hour away, during rush hour. Not fun.  We arrived at the ER a little after 5 o'clock & didn't get home until after midnight.  They did a CT scan as they wanted to rule out a stroke or other brain issue.  Thankfully that was normal.  Then we sat in the waiting room for three hours until the young doctor dude arrived at the hospital.  He gave John a very thorough exam & said it was difficult for him to see the retina because cataracts were blocking it.  This was a surprise to John ... he had never been told that he had cataracts.  His last eye exam was just a year ago!  The young doctor dude told him that he would refer him to the retina specialist.  John saw the specialist this past Tuesday.  He doesn't think there is anything serious going on, nor does he think the cataracts are causing this sudden visual disturbance, but he told John what to watch out for (the warning signs of something serious happening) & then told him to return for a followup visit in a month.  The visual disturbance is still there.  The odd thing about this is that you would naturally think that maybe the cataracts were causing the visual disturbance.  In fact, a Ravelry friend of mine had this same kind of visual disturbance recently & her doctor blamed her cataracts, but both the young doctor dude & the specialist told John that the cataracts had nothing to do with his problem.  

Lastly, I was diagnosed with a rare pituitary condition about eight years ago.  My doctor at that time, based on the symptoms I described, only suspected that I had have some deficiencies. My blood tests showed that I did.  She did not say why I had these deficiencies but did say they weren't good.  She said I needed to take daily injections for the rest of my life in order to keep from, well, to have a decent quality of life.  The injections come in pens which are very expensive. When I began taking this medication, the pens were $425 each & I used one pen each month.  She told me insurance would not cover the cost of the medication, so I had to pay this money out of pocket which was, as I'm sure you can imagine, rather difficult.  As time went on, the dosage needed to be increased.  After being told that I was going to need to pay for three pens each month, I began looking for another doctor. This is a long story but one doctor was of no help at all. The next one said there must be a reason for these deficiencies & she ordered some brain scans.  This was when the rare pituitary condition was discovered.  She would not, however, help me get the medication I needed!  I went to another doctor who was unable to help me, but she referred me to someone who could.  He has been a God-send.  When I first saw him, he shared an office with another doctor & he was connected with a very good hospital.  He told me not to worry, my testing results proved I needed the medication & he would work with my insurance company to have them cover it ... & he did!  And they did!  When I saw him for my second appointment, he had moved to another office & was connected with another hospital.  He is still a very compassionate doctor, but this new office seems to place great importance on the number of patients you should see in a day ... so instead of spending a lot of time with me like he did at my first appointment, my appointments at this new place have been rather rushed.  This really isn't too bad as I only see him for maintenance purposes.  However, his nurse is not very smart ... or maybe she's just lazy ... or maybe it's both. When it comes time to renew my prescription, she always makes a mess of things ... sends it to the wrong pharmacy, leaves out important details like the dosage amount, etc.  It's always been a struggle for me to get my refills when it's time to renew them.  Three months ago I received a letter from my insurance company telling me they were no longer going to pay for this brand of medication, but my doctor could prescribe a different brand & they gave me the name of it.  I immediately made an appointment with my doctor who said not to worry, it was the same medication, just another manufacturer.  I received that medication & it seems to be causing me some side effects.  I was going to talk about them with my doctor at my next appointment which is in August.  In the meantime, I've been thinking that I should be getting a phone call any day now from the pharmacy telling me it's time for my next refill. However, what I received instead ... when I have two weeks of medication left ... is a letter from the insurance company telling me they are no longer going to pay for this medication!  They said I am welcome to pay for it myself.  The cost of this medication has risen & now costs over $10,000 for a three month supply.  You read that right ... $10,000.  My co-pay is $425.  I can't be without this medication or I will began to relapse & it won't be good   : (   I immediately called my doctor's office & asked for an emergency appointment.  I was told "no can do" ... that the doctor & both of his PAs were booked through September!  I was beside myself & explained my situation to the receptionist.  She sympathized with me & sent an electronic message back to the nurse to have her call me.  She wrote the message while I was still on the phone with her & read it to me as she was writing it.  I thanked her profusely. The nurse has never called.  Trying to talk with this nurse is like trying to talk with a sack of potatoes.  The doctor seems oblivious to this.  I contacted my secondary insurance company who told me they could provide the medication to me for free, but I would have to drop my primary coverage.  This sounded good to me.  I called the primary coverage but they told me that I had to drop all the coverage, not just the pharmacy coverage as it was all in one.  This still sounded good to me. However, because of all my medical problems, John is worried that the secondary won't pay for all the hospital or doctor coverage.  We need to ask about that.  There is also a possible problem in that we might not be able to drop me from the coverage now ... we might have to wait for "open season" which is in mid-November & won't go into effect until January.  This means I would be without the medication for six months.  We will pursue things further this coming week.  

If you would please pray for Mary's family, for John's eye, & for this medication situation, I would very much appreciate it.  

Oh!  Remember the furniture problems I was having?  They are still ongoing.  

And another Oh!  I most likely had two heart attacks back in April.  I described the symptoms to my doctor who was more than annoyed with me.  She said that if this happens again I need to go immediately to the hospital.  Even if the pain stops by the time I get there, there are some kind of tests that can be done to confirm if I had a heart attack or not.  From what I described to her, however, she is relatively sure they were heart attacks.  

I'm sorry that this post turned out to be so lengthy.  If you've made it this far, thank you for reading.  And thank you in advance for your prayers.    

Friday, May 13, 2016

In the Words of Rosanne Rosannadanna, It's Always Somethin'

In my post last week ... just last week ... I told you how on May 1st we signed the lease to rent a little house 20 minutes north of here.  Within a few days we rented a van, emptied our two storage units which were crammed & piled to the hilt, & took all that stuff up to the house along with about 90% of what was in my craft room & maybe 20% of other things.  No furniture yet though ... the movers would be moving that.  On Monday of this week I decided that I had better clean the kitchen so I could start moving my kitchen things up there. John planned to take up one load of things in the car, drop them off along with me, then head back & forth another time or two while I stayed behind to work in the kitchen.


As I stated in my last posting, the outside of the house was power washed, the walls were all repainted, Stanley Steamer cleaned the carpets, the homeowner took down all the light fixtures & cleaned them along with the ceiling fans, & cleaners came to give the kitchen & bathrooms "a good cleaning."  When we did the last walk though the house before signing the lease, everything appeared to be lovely.  I only opened one or two of the bottom kitchen cabinets & saw that the cleaners hadn't removed the random contact paper as I had requested.  The homeowner simply told me I could go ahead & remove it myself.    

So on Monday I gathered together a few rolls of paper towels, some Lysol disinfectant cleaner, & some Dawn antibacterial dish liquid.  Even though the kitchen had been cleaned, I still wanted to give the cabinets & drawers a wipe with disinfectant after I pulled off the random contact paper.  As I moved from cabinet to cabinet, I couldn't believe it.  When I finished wiping just one cabinet with the Lysol spray & a handful of paper towels, this is what the paper towels looked like.  Every cabinet & drawer I wiped out resulted in the paper towels looking like this.
In one of the cabinets, at the top front corner, there was a large cocoon or spider egg nest or some such thing which I had to remove.
The tops of the cabinet doors were greasy.  There were crumbs inside several of the cabinets & drawers.  When I got up on the counter to check the tops of the cabinets, they were full of grease, dust & debris.  

I spent four hours cleaning those cabinets & drawers ... just the insides & the doors ... with Lysol spray & paper towels.  I knew I would have to go over them one more time with soapy water to get them totally clean.  I had not expected to have to do all that work.  I was crying.  John was upset.  

That night I contacted the homeowner to let her know that the cleaners had not cleaned the cabinets & drawers.  I began my email very nicely, telling her how much John & I appreciated all the work she, her husband, & others had done to prepare the home for our arrival.  I then told her that I was, however, quite dismayed with the condition of the kitchen cabinets & drawers.  I described the condition & included half a dozen photos, telling her that I had spent four hours cleaning them & would need to spend a couple more hours to finish.  I told her that I hadn't looked inside the bathroom cabinets & drawers but I was guessing that if the cleaners hadn't cleaned the kitchen cabinets & drawers, they probably hadn't cleaned the bathroom ones either.  

Honestly ... if you hired cleaners to clean for you & they totally ignored the cabinets & drawers in the kitchen ... most likely in the bathrooms as well ... wouldn't you want to be made aware of it so that you could bring this to their attention?  I would!  And if I were renting a home to someone & they told me that they had found the kitchen cabinets & drawers looking this way ... & even sent me photographs as proof ... I would be so embarrassed!  I would apologize profusely to that person ... even offering them some money off their next month's rent as a way to make it up to them for having to spend all that time cleaning!  And I would thank them for letting me know this so that I could take it up with the cleaners!  But that is not how the homeowners responded to my email. Here is the email I received ... word for word.
_____________________

Shirlee and John,

Howard and I have discussed your lengthy, in depth e-mail regarding the sub-standard condition of our rental home.  We realize that what we have done in the past nor what we will do in the future will satisfy your strict standards.  It is obvious this tenant/landlord relationship will not work out, so please send your Lexington mailing address and we will return your deposit, first month's rent along with a voided lease agreement.

Please move your items out as soon as possible and leave the keys and garage door opener on the counter.
_____________________

To say that I was in shock is an understatement! Talk about overreacting!  Talk about exaggeration! I reread the email I had sent to her, which, by the way, was far from lengthy.  I had not been nasty or accusatory or anything of the sort.  John agreed.  He suggested I respond to say that we were merely letting her know that the cleaners had not done the job she paid them to do so that she would be aware of this before hiring them again, to tell her again how much we appreciated all the work that had been done, & to ask if they were sure they wanted to void the lease.  Her response was a description of the "couple thousand dollars" they had spent getting the house cleaned & in good repair, listing everything the money was spent on including "cabinets cleaned!"  I was told that what they consider to be "rental ready," we consider "not good enough" ... therefore, they were voiding the lease & wanted our things out of the home as soon as possible.

Hello???  Did they not look at the photos I sent??? They might have paid for the cabinets to be cleaned, but they weren't cleaned. 

So this coming Sunday, John & I will be renting another truck & killing ourselves making three or four trips back & forth in one day to bring 3 rooms full of boxes & an entire garage packed full of things back here to pile in our garage, dining area, & living room since we no longer have the storage units.  I have spent today & will spend tomorrow shuffling things about to make room for this mass of stuff.  

I have also once again started searching the online rental sites looking for rental homes. Pickings are slim at this late date.  I have no idea where we will end up living or what we will end up living in. 

Stay tuned for the next installment of
"Shirlee's Life!" 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Yes, Really ... A Blog Post from Me!

My life, as I'm sure you know if you've read any of my recent blog posts, has been very difficult for the past couple of months.  Mentally, physically, emotionally, situationally ... I have sometimes felt as if I am wearing a sign that reads "Hurt me, stress me, try to drive me crazy!"  But that's life sometimes, isn't it?  Times of bad, times of good.  I am weathering the storm.

One of my stressors has been trying to find another place to live.  I found the following image while looking for moving images & thought it kind of applied to me & John   : )

I sat down & figured it out one day.  This is our 40th year together.  In these 40 years we have moved 21 times.  This move will be our 22nd.  On average that's one move a little less than every two years.  And we've lived in 11 different states.  I sometimes tell John that I envy people who purchased a home when they got married & have stayed there all their lives.  John;s response is always "Yes, but look at all the adventures we have had!!!"  I'm getting kind of tired of adventures ... lol!

So back to finding a place to live.  I think that if I wrote a book, people would read it & not believe what I was telling them.  For those of you who are one of those "bought a home when they got married & stayed there" people ... & for those of you who have had an easy time finding another home when you need one ... you can't imagine that this would be a difficult process, but believe me, it is!  

I started contacting realtors & monitoring the online rental sites in late February.  John & I had no idea where we wanted to move, but I knew I didn't want to be too far from the doctors who have been caring for me.  We concentrated our search for a new home here in Kentucky, in Tennessee, & in Wisconsin.  Early on I found an absolutely gorgeous lake home in our price range in Tennessee.  It was clean, in perfect condition, & very roomy with a state of the art kitchen.  It had two decks ... one on the lower level, & another on the main level which actually wrapped around one side & most of the back of the home.  The entire back of the home consisted almost totally of windows which looked out onto wooded areas & the lake.  There was a little stream that flowed along the side of the property, making its way down to the lake.  There were geese & ducks & loons & various small birds.  It was gorgeous.  We told the realtor we wanted to rent it.  She contacted the owners who said "two year lease." We said a two year lease was fine with us.  Then a week went by, then two weeks, & to make a long story short, the owners decided to sell the house instead.  John & I were devastated.  Our search continued.  

Nothing we found compared to that lake house. Nothing could!  But all we really wanted was a clean home in good repair in a safe neighborhood. Not too much to ask, is it?

You will find this hard to believe ... I experienced it & I have trouble believing it ... but I responded to so many ads for rental homes, dozens of them, & the majority of people advertising the homes never responded!  Even when I contacted them a second, & in some cases a third time ... no response.  Yet their homes continued to be listed for rent!

When I would make contact with someone renting a home, I would explain to them that John & I were looking to rent an exceptionally clean, well cared for home in a safe, quiet neighborhood. They would then tell me how their home was immaculate & I would make an appointment for us to view it.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder I guess.  Most of these homes were in terrible shape!  One had been rented by a family with an adult son who had anger problems.  He had punched holes in doors, thrown things at walls ... the damage was unbelievable.  The owner of the home told us that they were going to have the home professionally cleaned & replace three of the doors.  He needed to do a lot more than that to get that home back in decent shape!

Another home we viewed was not far from here. I was assured that it was in beautiful condition.  It definitely looked like the definition of perfection when you looked at the photos in the rental ad.  It wasn't.  The yard was overgrown, mold was growing on the side of the house, paint was peeling ... & inside the kitchen was a mess.  I opened the cabinet underneath the sink & it had no bottom!  There was just bare floor!  I pointed this out to the property manager who acted like that was normal!  The walls were filthy, & all the carpeting was stained.  In one room upstairs it looked like someone had dumped a pot of spaghetti sauce on the rug, then took a wooden spoon & slung it around on the walls.  When we showed this to him, he said the carpeting would be cleaned & the walls would be touched up with paint.  The carpeting needed replaced & the entire house needed repainted!

I reached out to some people, asking them to watch for rentals in their area.  That went nowhere.  I started looking at homes in other states.  That went nowhere as well.  

About three weeks ago I found a home about 20 minutes north of where we live now.  It looked like a nice home.  Small, but nice.  I contacted the owner who responded almost immediately, giving me her phone number.  We talked.  She said that John & I sounded like the type of renters she & her husband were looking for.  She said the home was being repainted (repainted!!!) but if I didn't mind the painter being there she would be happy to show us the home that afternoon.  The home is in a nice little residential area.  Everyone seems to take good care of their homes & property.  We walked into the house & sure enough, there was the painter busy at his work.  She explained to us that the carpeting was going to be cleaned, people would be coming to give the kitchen & bathrooms "a good cleaning," & the outside of the house would be power washed.  There appeared to be room for all our stuff.  No more renting storage units ... hooray!  There was no damage anywhere ... not on the walls, not on the woodwork, not in the bathrooms, not in the kitchen ... nothing!  We told her we were definitely interested in renting the home.  She had us fill out a rental application while we were there, then said she'd be doing a credit check but she wouldn't get the results of that until the following Monday.  She said she'd be in touch after that.

After we got home, I thought uh-oh, will the bedroom furniture ... another continuing source of stress which I hope will be gone in the near future ... fit in the master bedroom?  And the bonus room ... was there a door on that?  I contacted her to ask if she could possibly meet us at the house again so I could take some measurements.  She said she would be happy to meet us there on Sunday.  On Sunday I once again marveled at how good the home looked.  She said the painter would be finished painting by Friday, the cleaners would come to do their "good cleaning" that day, & the carpet cleaner would come on Saturday.  When I walked into the kitchen, I couldn't believe it!  All the switch plates & socket plates had been removed from the walls & were piled in the sink, waiting to be washed!  After all the horrors we had been seeing in all but one of the other homes we viewed, ... that one home being the lake house in Tennessee ... seeing all those switch/socket plates in that sink waiting to be washed, I just can't explain the feeling!  The owner asked us if we were seriously interested in renting the home.  We said yes.  She then said that as far as she was concerned, the home was ours.  She said she was going to stop showing the home & taking applications.  She said her word is good.  We shook hands & went back home.  

On Tuesday she contacted me to say our credit check was excellent (naturally) & we made an appointment to walk through the home & sign the lease the following Sunday.  

Although the home was in exceptional condition & the owner was almost as OCD as I am regarding things being as perfect as they can be, I continued to search for other rental homes.  I found a couple of interest, but either the people renting them didn't respond to my inquiries or there was some kind of glitch that made it impossible for us to rent them.  I thought to myself "God must really be trying to tell me that He wants us to rent this small home!"  

This past Sunday we walked through the house once again.  The owner brought her husband along ... also very nice ... & we all got along very well.  The house looked amazing!  The kitchen & bathrooms nearly gleamed.  The walls had all been painted, & the switch/socket plates were replaced.  She pointed out that they had replaced all the screws for the plates!  The carpeting was spotless.  She took me into one of the bathrooms & told me how sorry she was ... that the cleaners told her they had scrubbed & scrubbed & scrubbed but they couldn't get the stain off the side of the toilet.  I honestly almost had my face in the bowl & I couldn't see these stain she was talking about!  She then told me how they had taken down every light fixture in the house ... every light fixture ... & cleaned them!  And they had either washed or replaced all the blinds!  Even the garage was clean!

We signed a year's lease which will automatically turn into a month-to-month lease after that.  How perfect is that!  We are hoping to stay in this home for at least two years, but you never know what the future may bring. When we decide to move again, we will just have to give 30 days notice.  And did I mention that the monthly rent for this home is less than what we had thought we'd be paying for another rental?  Much less!

It will, in effect, be an easy move.  We will just be 20 miles up the road.  I won't have to painstakingly wrap & pad all my dishes & kitchen items or anything else really!  Still, packing is packing, & we have a lot of stuff, & this is how I'm feeling right now ...
We are actually double renting right now so we can take our time moving.  Last year we were so rushed!  We don't ever want to go through that again!  We will hire movers to move the small bit of furniture we have.  It is just too heavy for John & I to move it ourselves. 

So ... one stressor is gone, that of finding a new rental home.  Hopefully the others will follow. Thank you for your continued prayers   : ) 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Update

I'm still here ... still need prayer.  Thank you.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Thank You ... and Please Keep Praying

I want to thank everyone who commented on my last post & sent me emails indicating you are praying for me regarding the newest dark evil that is haunting me.  Some of you even sent Scripture references & I am clinging to them tightly.  I am writing this post to ask you to please keep praying ... especially tomorrow, tomorrow night, & most especially Thursday morning when I am going to be under extreme attack.  I know that I will make it through this horror if I'm covered by a blanket of prayer.  Thank you again.   

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Prayers ... Please

I really don't know how much more I can take. Another dark evil has now entered my life which is haunting me day & night & tying my stomach up in knots.  It will not go away quietly.  I need prayer.  Lots of it.  Please.  

Thank you.    

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Big Fat Fluffy Flakes of Prozac Have Fallen from the Sky

 




Sunday, January 17, 2016

I Am Here

First off all, I want to thank those of you who have posted comments & sent emails asking if everything is okay.  I deeply appreciate your thoughtfulness & concern.  I apologize if I haven't responded to you.  Life has been difficult in oh so many ways.  Sometimes I feel as if I am at the end of my rope.

John is doing well.  We are still without our car. Thankfully we have the SUV.

Christmas came & went so quickly.  The days & weeks leading up to it were extremely stressful, but the day itself was totally the opposite.  Very peaceful & calm.  Both John & I agreed that it was one of the best Christmases we've ever had.

I didn't do much in the way of decorating this year.  Things were very simple.  

This was one of the few times since I was in high school, if not the only time, that I didn't send Christmas cards.  I thank those of you who sent cards to me, & gifts as well.  If I failed to thank you personally, please accept my thanks here.  

The new year has dawned & we are already planning our next move.  Of course we have no idea where we are going.  I am slowly packing things in preparation.  I have been focusing on downsizing.  It's a big job.  We will be starting to look for another rental home in April.  We don't want the nightmare we had trying to find somewhere to live after our house sold, nor do we want the stress of moving at the last minute, so we may end up double renting for a month or two to make things a bit easier on ourselves.  We may end up staying in this area.  Tennessee is another possibility.  We are pretty much open to anything.

I am going to try to get into blogging again.  I have various plans for this year, but I will be taking things one step at a time.  I believe this is going to be a year of changes.  I'm counting on them being good changes.