My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Sunday, July 31, 2011

some mental pictures...

I can't find my camera cord so you're going to just have to use your imagination to picture the things I've seen in the past few days...

Like the big black bear that we saw wandering through Helen at about 7am yesterday morning. We wanted to go to Hofer's for breakfast because they have corned beef hash, which Austin loves, but they don't open until 8am. This bear.... he was huge... biggest bear I've ever seen in the wild... if you can call the parking lot behind Hofer's "wild". Oddly, even though I squeal at the sight of spiders or lizards or any creepy crawly thing and I imagine I would lose my mind at the sight of a snake but... this bear was just minding his business looking like he was a tourist checking out the sights. He went on his way and we went on ours... and I wasn't the least bit scared of him. I was more amazed at him than anything.

I wish you could see the view from my nest. I finally got enough boxes moved that I could open the blinds on both windows and when it's daylight I have a gorgeous view of a lush, green forest and nothing else. I can't wait until fall... it's gonna be incredible. I've decided to go very simple with the window treatments... I'm going to just buy some lightweight fabric in the colors that match my bedding and drape it loosely around the curtain rod... and then buy a complimentary color to drape over my mirror on my dressing table since they're both on the same wall.

I wish you could have seen what a fool I made of myself yesterday while pumping gas. I was wearing these capris that I bought the day after the fire when I had nothing to wear that didn't reek of smoke... and I didn't pay close attention to the size... they're a little loose... and I kept feeling something sort of slipping but figured it was my ill-fitting underwear (because I had two weeks worth of underwear in the washer at Jim and Angie's at the time and was down to the ones that don't fit right) and then I glanced down at my feet and noticed that my capris were longer than I thought and then... I realized that my pants had slipped down and my ill-fitting underwear was showing... right there at the gas station in front of Ingles with half of Clarkesville watching me. Good thing I can laugh at myself. And I'm sure I wasn't alone.

I wish I could show you a picture of my new washing machine sitting on my front porch... how southern and country is that? I bought it from a classified ad on The guy had told me it was about 1 year old and I was paying him $200 for it, which I thought was reasonable. I was apprehensive about the transaction... being a girl and not knowing anything about washers and how they should look... and having a strange man in my house and all that. Sometimes I really feel vulnerable. SO I prayed that God would help me to make a wise decision about the washer and NOT buy it if it was a lemon. Fortunately, our handy man and upstairs neighbor, Morrie, was here to help me haggle. Or rather, to haggle for me. He took a look at the washer and said, "did you tell her it was a year old?" and the guy said, "I think it's actually about 3 years old..." and Morrie said, "then I think you should give it to her for a hundred and a half" and the guy said, "well, we delivered it too..." and Morrie paused... and looked it over really well and said, "I don't know. I know she needs it but it sounds like you misled her..." and the guy said, "$175... " and Morrie looked at me and said, "what do you think?" and I said, "I think that's fair" and so they moved it to my porch. It's in my lease that Morrie has to hook up the washer because they've had a lot of trouble with washers being hooked up incorrectly and causing water damage. Which is fine with me... because I couldn't do it myself. After the guy left Morrie said, "you got a good deal... it's a good washer"...

That part was funny and Morrie was a Haggling Rock Star... and I was once again convinced that there is a God and He does hear my prayers and He does show favor to me. You can think it was a coincidence but... not for me. I feel like God heard my cry for help and sent it. But the part I would love for you all to see was the group of people that gathered to watch the delivery of my washer... James and Maribel next door and their kids, Morrie and his wife Ellen... Joe and his son... it's like the whole neighborhood gathered to see what I was getting. It was hilarious to me... I love this neighborhood.

And our youth Pastor, Jamie, has a dryer that is fairly certain he can bring to me on Monday that his in laws have sitting out not being used. He came by yesterday to haul another load of empty boxes away for us. What a blessing... we have so many people in our community and church family who look after us. It gives me courage and comfort to know that we are not alone because that's my greatest fear, you know, being alone and not being able to do the things I need to do... because physically, I'm not getting better.

I believe that the pain in my hands and feet is related to the osteoarthritis that is in my spine. I'll see the pain doctor in August and get him to check things out. Every joint in my hands and feet hurts but there are joints that hurt worse and it's making it hard for me to grasp things (which is how I broke the coffee pot)... very painful to walk... and it's making the pain in my back seem less significant in comparison. And it hurts to type... which is the worst part of it. It's worrisome because the pain in my back has never gotten better over these long six months since the pain started... and has really, if anything, gotten worse, I just talk about it less, I think, because I know people are sick to death of hearing about it. To think that I have this new pain that is making the most basic things difficult... opening a bottle of water... pouring a cup of coffee... holding a cup of coffee... even petting the kitties hurts... I pray that this is just a temporary thing and not a permanent "learn to live with it" ailment like the back. My elbows hurt too... but not my knees, so that it good. There's no mental picture to go along with that... just pray with me and for me that this is not my future.

I wish I had a picture to show you of the water filling my light fixture over my dining room table. There's a leak from somewhere. It would be tragic if we hadn't just gone through the tragedy of the fire. At this point, having boldly determined and declared that God has a plan for me... and seeing everything through the optimistic eyes of faith... we told Morrie, he has had the same thing happen in other downstairs units and knows how to fix it and in the meantime offered us a goldfish to go in the light fixture. Totally cracked me up! It's really low on my worry list at the moment.

So my plan for today is to get the rest of the stuff out of the living room, we're so close to getting it looking like normal. Then I want to relocate the rubbermaid containers in the dining room to somewhere out of the way so that Morrie can work without impediment. I would dearly love to finish sorting through the clothes in my closet but I'm not going to be overly optimistic. We're getting there.

I have to rest up for the week ahead too because we're losing Holly this week... she has a teaching job, finally. It took her a year after graduation, bless her heart... and she's finally able to be what she wanted to be when she grew up. I'm so happy for her but so sad to lose her. She's so good at what she does and so fun to hang out with. I'm really going to miss her... and that's going to leave us with just four people in the office... D and the three of us... which means that I'm going to have to hang tougher and not let the pain keep me out of work.

Austin is up and he's asked if we can try Hofer's again this morning... and pick up some food that he likes at the grocery store. I said, "of course"... so we'll be heading out at first light. I'm not keen on going out in the dark here... which is funny... in the trailer I was afraid to go out after dark because of the crime... here I'm afraid to go out in the dark because of bears.

I've been watching Mamma Mia this morning. I love that movie/show. I didn't know how much I loved ABBA's music until I saw the show while I was in Vegas. The movie came out a year later and the music just makes me happy. Dancing Queen always makes me think of Purple Michael.

So that's the picture i would take to close this entry out... me... in my big pink recliner with a kitty cat perched on the back of the chair... half awake/half asleep... looking out toward my view of the world to see when it's safe to head out.

Hope you have a beautiful Sunday. If you're around here, my brother is preaching today and it's sure to be a great message because it's something God impressed strongly on his heart. I may try to go but I'm not making any promises. Love and hugs, y'all...

Friday, July 29, 2011

things that make me go, "hmmmm?"

I just can't get past Nancy Pelosi's statement yesterday that "What we're trying to do is save the world from the Republican budget. We're trying to save life on this planet as we know it today."

Hmmm? How is that? How about trying to save the United States from financial ruin? How about repealing Obamacare which has stopped all potential of job growth WHICH could/would turn around the economy? I mean, if I'm an employer and I'm facing having to spend money on employee healthcare that my business might possibly not be able to afford... and the uncertainty of "we have to vote on the bill and then we can read it"... which is not an exact quote, it's paraphrased... but she said it.

And at least there is one common goal: the non-democrats, be they Republican, Independent, Tea Party or Martian... are trying to save life on this planet as we know it today too.

And... while I'm on it... I'm thinking I don't like life on this planet as we know it today. I think everyone in political office needs to take the weekend off and read the constitution and then come back and do the job they were elected to do.

By the way... I haven't seen Obama's budget plan. Isn't the President supposed to have some skin in this game?

DId you know (I didn't- because I don't REALLY follow politics) that when the debt ceiling has been raised in the past (and it has UH-LOT) it has been for an average of seven months? Yet... this is why all the non-Republicans - including the President and Senate are insisting they will not accept a "short term proposal" such as Boehner's Bill. Or is it that they want to make sure they don't have to do this again until after the 2012 election? Hmmm?

I'm just sick to death of the whole mess. I'm sick of the bickering, the divisiveness, I'm sick of having the anointed one, who was supposed to be a uniter, consistently attacking and deriding people who don't have the same political beliefs as himself.

In other news... my new (to me) washing machine is scheduled to be delivered TODAY! I found a used machine that was (supposedly) only about a year and a half old (although they don't have receipts to prove it, I asked) for $200 and they will deliver. Delivery is huge because if I had paid full price for a brand new machine, because of the rather remote area in which I reside, I would be paying mucho dinero for delivery.

The dryer is still not exactly procured but our Youth Pastor at church thinks his dad has one that he's looking to get rid of. I've got a good lead on it, anyways. I may have to buy one of those drying racks for a week or so... I'm getting a supplemental claim check next week that will help purchase a dryer. Wish me luck, y'all.

The last of our textiles were delivered yesterday. Austin helped me out quite a bit by sorting through the things that could be easily dealt with and breaking down those boxes. Of course... that means that one day after getting all the empty boxes out of the living room - there's a whole new load of them waiting. I'm going to make a run to the dump tomorrow with as much as my little car can hold.

I spent my lunch dealing with the textile delivery and subsequently was one big ball of pain by the time I got home yesterday. I was asleep ridiculously early and slept about ten hours last night. It's crazy, I know. I just have so much pain... my left foot has been bothering me for about a month and a half and at times I can barely put any weight on it. The pain doctor said it was plantar fascitis, which I've been diagnosed with before but this feels different... the pain from my foot shoots up into my back... and ditto for the pain in my left hand/elbow/shoulder.

But today is Friday and we're slowly but surely getting back to normal.
Hope you have a great Friday and an awesome weekend!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

plan b = plan blessing

I hijacked this picture from my sister in law's facebook. How precious are these girls?

Today is going to be an "out of sorts" day for me... going to work for a few hours then heading home for an early lunch/meeting the textile restoration people and then back to work. Any time I have a busy lunch instead of being able to decompress for a little while, it makes for a long day. BUT... I'm excited about getting the last of our items returned so I can really know for certain what is gone forever.

Ultimately, its just stuff. I mean, there were some treasured items that I hung onto because of their sentimental value but its not like i was ever going to wear my 9th grade cheerleading uniforms again. There are things that I wouldnt have intentionally parted with but there is nothing lost that I cant live without.

I mentioned earlier in the week, I think, that there is a lady from our church family who is missing. Just... gone. Not a sign of her anywhere. Its been a week now. She's in her early seventies, diabetic... and its been hot as blazes around here. She didnt take her cellphone with her so they cant locate her that way. There hasnt been any activity on her bank cards. No sign of her car. What I suspect is that she ran off the road on one of these mountain roads and the car cant be seen because of the dense vegetation. Shes just... gone.

My past two moves have been sudden... to the extent that I had no idea when I got out of bed that morning that I wouldnt sleep in that bedroom again, ever. Its sort of like ripping off a bandaid - bam! Your life is forever changed. Both of those times have been, mercifully, for my good. I keep thinking, though, of all the times when people, things, animals - whatever - disappear from our lives in that split second, bandaid ripping off style. All of a sudden, life has changed.

Ive adjusted to my losses over the years by loosening my grasp and dependence on things and people. Im not disappointed when things dont happen like I hoped or planned because Ive learned that "plan B" always brings unexpected blessings. I guess I should start calling "plan B" - "plan blessing".

I gave up a lot when I married Michael. I gave up more when I left Michael. And... here again... there are even MORE things that are gone.

Here's the surprising thing: the more material possessions I lose, the less I need. Sure, I was really bummed when it looked as if the scrapbook that I had put together for my kids was lost in between Jacksonville and Helen... yet, it turned up when we moved again! Even if it had never been found, I would still have the memories of those times that were special enough to photograph.

When the rings that Michael gave me on our wedding day turned out to be fake, I grieved for a moment the loss of the one thing of real value that I thought he had given me... but today... I'm no worse for having lost my fake bling. In fact, I'm better because of it because I know that regardless of what I did or didn't do in my marriage, I know that he entered in under false pretenses, taking advantage of my lack of experience with expensive jewelry to deceive me into believing he had given a greater gift than he really had. Even if I had been perfect, the marriage couldn't have survived.

Here over the past year I've learned that the less I can depend on my physical strength, the more I gain in spiritual strength. It's one thing to depend on God for help with your finances (and I still do) but it's something entirely different in knowing that you need His help to be able to get from one room to another... to be able to make it through a work day... your very life is in His hands. The truth is, even when you're completely healthy, it can change in the blink of an eye, in a split second your health can fail you. He holds life and death and QUALITY of life in His hands. I depended on Him before but now I realize it!

The toxic relationships that I let go of, the more room I have in my life for true kinship with people. I believe in extending grace, mercy and forgiveness in all relationships. I also believe that we have to be careful not to give someone more power over our emotional well-being than they deserve. If someone makes you feel bad every time you're around them, you need to evaluate whether you're strong enough to influence them for good... bring them back from the darkside... or if they're going to always keep chains around your ankles, keeping you from living your best life.

Probably the best decision I've made in a long time was the decision to live single without apology. I don't have to be part of a couple to have value in this world. I don't have to be yoked to someone who is going to take more than they can give, who is going to make me someone other than who God intended me to be and steal my joy just for the sake of not being "alone". I don't need a relationship with anyone else to validate who I am. Only God can validate me.

For everything - every person - that has been precious to me at some point in my life - there is an imprint on me even when it's gone - whether in memory or in changed perspective. I think the verse that tells us that "we don't grieve as if we don't have hope" isn't only speaking to grieving someone's death.... it's about grieving our separation from that person. Yet... even when someone leaves my life, my physical presence, it doesn't mean that person's impact on my life has ended.

People may only come into our lives for a season but they always come into our lives for a reason. You have the opportunity to impact the life of everyone you come in contact with, often with something as simple as a smile or a kind word. Approach every encounter as a "divine appointment". You may never know what your kindness has meant to someone.

It's time for me to gather my wits about me and get ready for the day. I've felt good this week... almost no dizziness at all, other than briefly last night. I have had three days in a row free from dizziness and nausea and I am trying to make the most of it! I've worked harder at work over the past few days than I have in weeks, maybe months, just because I feel stronger. Hoping to make it four in a row!

Hope you have a great day and whatever disappointment or loss you face... keep your eye out for that "plan B"! Love and hugs!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

stop hating on the rich people!

Obama, would you stop picking on the rich people? There are a few rich people I really care about and I don't think it's fair for you to take their money to give to lazy saps who think the government should support them.

I believe in a hand up, not a hand out. I believe people have lost the concept of personal responsibility. My parents lived within their means and saved what they could. Mama stayed at home but she worked hard taking care of a house full of other people's kids. They never missed a day of work It was very rare for us to go out to eat. We hung our clothes on a line to dry until I was sixteen.

I watch the MTV show "Teen Mom". One of the girls, Farrah, lost her baby daddy in a car accident before her baby was born. Her big goal this season was to get Social Security to start paying for this girl. Now... Farrah lives in a house much nicer than I'll ever live in. She drives a nice car. She gets paychecks from MTV, she works in a restaurant and her parents appear to be quite comfortable. So far, Social Security has been declined because they can't prove paternity... but I'm sure there are a lot more teen moms out there who are getting SS or other assistance just because they chose to bring a child into the world that they couldn't support.

I got pregnant at 17. I got myself a job with health insurance and I paid the way for my baby. My baby daddy married me and got a job himself. I didn't go running for handouts. I wasn't raised that way. Heck, I probably didn't know they existed because that was not the culture I was raised in. I took care of what was mine.

My kids' dad moved out when they were 13, 9 and 5. I went back to work. I lived with my parents and then they helped me buy the trailer. I probably qualified for a lot of stuff, I probably could have gotten government housing and food stamps and everything else but I wasn't looking for a handout. I took my responsibility seriously. I still do.

When I left Jacksonville with a shattered heart, I got myself out, found a place to live, found a job and got my baby back in my nest as quickly as possible. I could have made a case for social security disability based on my mental state at that time but I didn't. I slept on an air mattress for a month because we didn't have beds. The grace of God and the generosity of friends and family helped sustain us.

I have granulomas - scar tissue in my lungs that make me highly susceptible to respiratory diseases. My official diagnosis is COPD. I have degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis in my spine and now, I haven't mentioned, I have it in my hands and feet as well. I have spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis - spinal instability which cause back pain to the extent that I can barely walk at times. I could make a good case for disability... it might take a year or two to get it approved but I could. Instead, I get up every day and go to work to earn my own living and I will as long as I can.

When fire forced us out of our nest, I had two weeks available to spend in a luxurious cabin of my choice courtesy of my renters insurance. We stayed 3 days and moved into our new nest even though it meant that Austin had to sleep on the floor for a week. Red Cross could have been called for us. Instead our church family, cyber family and earthly family helped us. I could have taken that opportunity to give up and just go home to mama and daddy and end the daily painful struggle. Instead I found a place, moved in and have little by little feathered my nest.

Three kids... I raised with child support and visitation as unreliable as my old car was at the time. We lived without a lot of things. I worked hard and did what I could to give my kids the best life I can. I still do. As the insurance money has come in I have replaced Austin's things first. I could have taken the money to buy other things but his loss hurts me deeper than my loss.

I'm not saying this to brag on myself. I don't consider any of these superhuman amazing feats, I consider these things the LEAST I can do. I was raised that I am responsible to take care of my own. I've had help, don't get me wrong, but I've had help from family, friends, church family - in other words - community. A community of love that saw my needs and gave me a hand UP, not a hand out.

Our problem as a nation is very simple: we have lost our sense of community. We have raised a generation that holds less value to a human life due to legislation that was passed telling them so. We have raised a generation that doesn't take care of their own. We have raised a generation of people dependent on government assistance who make babies who make other babies before they are financially able to support them. We have forgotten to live within our means as individuals and buy more than we can afford. We give money away to countries who hate us. We have so much financial waste that it is shameful. We have a congress that is full of men (and women) who don't have the courage to stop the waste and stop the handouts and insist that our country live within it's means because they know that they will not be re-elected if they do this. We are a Robin Hood society - take from the rich and give to the poor.

Rich people are our friends. They work hard for their money. Every time I hear something about a tax increase I think about my brother who during the lean years in college decided he didn't want to struggle again... so he studied hard, went to law school, studied hard again, got a great job and works his rear off every day to earn a good living, rich by Obama's standards. He puts in a lot of 12 hour days and 7 day weeks to earn what he has. My brother deserves to keep his money. He's not greedy, he's frugal. He irons his own shirts. He lives responsibly. He made a choice that any of us could make to change the course of our lives. Yes, there are exceptions but trust me... what he has didn't come from a trust fund or handouts. Nor should what he makes go to handouts.

The truth is that I will, unless God heals me, end up physically unable to work at some point, likely before a normal retirement age. Until that day, I will do the best I can to earn what I can and take care of my own and contribute to society. And when it happens, I will choose the most comfortable nest from among my family members and become a burden on them. (I'm kidding, I hope)

I thank God for being raised in a culture of giving, not taking. My life has not been easy. We've done without a lot of things that others take for granted. BUT I also know that what others have that I don't have... they have because they worked hard and earned it. I don't have a right to what they have. To take what you haven't earned, isn't that stealing?

End of political soapbox for the day. It's whiny Wednesday so that's my rant. God is good. I am blessed. I've got a good lead on an affordable washer and dryer... I had prayed that I would have it by the weekend and I feel like that's not going to be the case. I'm going to do a load or two at Jim and Angie's to get us by and just keep praying for God to show me what we need to do. God has a plan... whether it's finding a nest or feathering my nest...

I felt a little greedy and spoiled when I prayed for a washer and dryer because there are so many people in this world who are living without food or clean water or a pillow for their head. But I know that God placed me in a society that requires proper hygiene... and I know that He knows the limits of my ability to carry laundry away from our house to wash. I believe that He is intimately involved in every detail of my life and I also know that I have worked hard and earned these luxuries... and they are, you know.

Have a great Wednesday and ... hug a rich person today.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

newsday tuesday ... brought to you by the word, "ugh"

My back is killing me. I slept for 8 hours but I woke up at least a dozen times trying to get comfortable. I had been so encouraged yesterday because my pain was better, I wasn't feeling sick or nauseous, I had more energy... this morning I dragged my weary body to the kitchen and thought, "ugh." That's what I said. "ugh". I collapsed on the love seat and laid there for a few minutes and the cats gathered round to do a viability check.

I'm so aggravated with Obama. If I hear one more time about the problems he inherited I ... well, I'll turn the channel. MAN UP! That's all I'm saying. I heard Treasury Secretary Tim Geitner on one of the Sunday morning shows saying that they inherited a mess and they've had "bad weather" to deal with this year and the catastrophe in Japan. What did the earthquake in Japan have to do with the US other than possibly giving us the opening to manufacture some of the goods normally made there. And - bad weather? Heard of a little storm called Katrina?

Waste always makes me cringe. Government waste is so irresponsible. The stimulus plan was a bad idea. Spending more than you can possibly collect and repay is theft. 80 MILLION people receive a monthly check from the government? That's the biggest problem. I want to be charitable but I can only do so much for others without letting my own obligations be ignored.

Anyways... it just aggravates me. Time for happy stuff...

I love looking at my friends photos on facebook, especially vacation photos. I have one friend who is my "where in the world is Carmen Sandiego" friend... she's a globe trotter... this year she's been to India, Spain, Russia (i think) and who knows where else. I have another friend who is always on cool domestic vacations with her husband and two gorgeous kids. I looked at my cousin Rik's family vacation pictures this morning and loved his wife's vacation outfits... she's really stunning. It's cool to be able to see what my friends and family are doing.

I finally got my consumables claim list turned in yesterday... I had to assign values to five pages worth of discarded food items in my kitchen. It was my own little version of The Price Is Right. It was about $375 worth... that will be a fun grocery trip to restock all my spices and condiments. I was just so relieved to get it finished. We have a textile list of non restorable items to turn in still and it will be another big one because it includes all my pillows... I had SOOOO many pillows on my bed! I found out that the textile people didn't inventory items at the house that they were not going to attempt to restore so I have to figure out what we used to have but don't. Pillows, shower curtain... who knows what all... I'm trying to be as accurate as possible but it's hard.

I've gotten a few snarky comments lately about my inability to remember stuff... to which I say, "walk a mile in my shoes"... carry the burdens I've been carrying between trying to work, raise a teenager and handle all the household details I've had due to the fire...while living with chronic pain and frequent dizziness. I consider it a triumph of wills that I'm still getting up every morning and trying to live a productive life.

Yesterday I had a real moment of emotion while driving home and listening to Christian music on the radio, really listening to the lyrics and realizing how much I've had to sort of set the emotion of things aside in order to have the strength to get things done. Even when you have faith, you still can have fear and frustration during times of trouble. I find myself with a supernatural peace at these times and then tend to have the emotional breakdown afterwards. I suspect when we are all settled in - trash taken away, washer and dryer in place, boxes unpacked - I'm going to have to really sort things through. It's been three weeks... and it blows my mind how far we've come in that amount of time.

My still to do list is: get the boxes hauled away, turn in the textile loss list, find a washer and dryer and figure out how to get them here... and finish unpacking. Ugh.

But now it's Tuesday... time to start getting ready for work. Love and hugs, y'all.

Monday, July 25, 2011

reasons to love Monday

I think it's time for me to return to my usual Monday format. I need to remind myself of all the awesome things that can/do happen on Mondays. You can help me out by adding your own... if you can't add it here, add it to facebook. Here goes:

1. No staff meeting this morning as the Big D is on vacation this week.
2. D is on vacation this week... "just take those old records off the shelf"..
3. Austin made coffee for me today! He's trying to get back on a human schedule instead of sleeping all day like a vampire.
4 We haven't found a washer and dryer yet but I'm determined to get them this week.
5. Our trash pick up starts this week and the herbie curbie should be here today.
6. Still have to sort through the multitude of clothes... put away books... find storage places for items that stay boxed up... but we're getting closer to looking like a real nest.
7. We were able to get Austin's bed over the weekend and he worked hard on organizing his room.
8. It's going to be cooler today. We needed a break.
9. I'm packing a lunch today... finally have enough "ingredients" to put together a reasonable lunch. For the past three weeks I've been eating out almost every day.
10. Austin is cooking a roast in the crockpot for dinner.
11. I've hired a housekeeper. Well. Not really a housekeeper... but I did hire someone to come and do the floors (which I can't do and Austin does poorly) and my bathroom because I can't lean over to scrub the tub. It helps me to not have to do the stuff that makes my back worse and it helps her because she's a college student and needs the money.
12. I still need someone to haul away the empty boxes as they are taking over half of my living room. Austin was working on lining that up.
13. In less than twelve hours, Lord willing, I'll be back in the nest!

I went to our community cookout last night although I really didn't feel like it and y'all know how I hate those kind of things. But I thought about my friend Lyn from Brit's Blog and knew that she would give me grief about being a hermit so I sucked it up and went. It was actually a really awesome experience for me getting to know the neighbors. When I signed the lease Sue said, "I think you'll be a great fit for our community" and I didn't really get it... I thought it was maybe a racial thing or something but when I was able to talk to the rest of the neighbors, I realized that I had something in common with almost all of them.

I've talked about our handy man, Maury... his wife is Ellen and they're "late in life" parents. They have a gorgeous daughter, Jane, who I was afraid wouldn't bond with Austin because Austin doesn't like her boyfriend (although he had never met Jane). Jane, bless her sweet heart, led me around and introduced me to EVERYONE at the cookout. She was worried about why Austin wasn't there (he had a bad headache but he was also avoiding Jane's bf). She walked down to our apartment to personally invite him and encourage him to come. He came to the door in his boxers which cracked her up. She knows a lot of the same people Austin does and I think she'll be a good friend for him. She and I talked a lot about Logan and Hillary and their baby on the way and all the drama that surrounded that.

Next door we have James, Maribel and their kids. I never could quite get a handle on how many kids they have. I thought I saw two but Austin says four but... either way... they are young kids to older parents ... Maribel is from Columbia. She was an opera singer - a soprano or mezzo soprano - and she loves opera. She has even worked in production so we had a good time talking about what's involved in putting on a good show. Her accent is as strong as columbian coffee but she's very sweet, tiny and beautiful. She has emphysema so she is no longer able to sing.

There used to be this guy who directed traffic outside Sarabeth and Jamie's school (which is on my way to work) and I would pray for that guy every single morning on my "prayer journey"... I'd pray for his safety and I'd pray for my mama who is also a crossing guard. They got a new traffic guy last fall and I had missed my little traffic guy. Well... he just moved in to our apartments this weekend. His name is Joe and he's a marshall in Habersham County (where I work). He was about 8 beers in when I got there but he said they were ultras so they weren't affecting him. He has a little boy who is my former stepson made OVER. We chatted a bit.

The guy who runs the Magic Shop in Helen lives here. Austin is fascinated with magic tricks so that was exciting.

There's a lady who is a policeman in Helen.

The "heir to the kingdom" as Sue put it, was there. (Sue's son) He was nice and his girlfriend was also really nice... which was kinda funny because when I was introduced I was told that Mark is real nice but the girl introducing us didn't know the girlfriend so she said, "I think she's nice... by association"... as if, he wouldn't date a girl who wasn't. That was a good laugh.

The lady who runs the animal shelter here in White County was here. We talked FOREVER because she loves cats and I love cats and she had some fun stories about things that happen at the shelter. She's from Pennsylvania so we bonded over that since Ryan lives there. She lived in Decatur when she first moved here so we bonded over different places of interest there. She invited us to come by the shelter and check it out which is something Austin has wanted to do since we moved here.

I stayed for a little over an hour but the dizziness and pain was getting to me. Since Austin didn't go I couldn't carry my comfy chair (it's too heavy) so I was sitting most of the time on a picnic table bench which definitely was not helping my already aching back. at that point we had not started eating but... I was dying... so I went to Sue to thank her and make my goodbyes and she insisted on fixing me a plate... and made sure I tried everything and got plenty. She wanted me to fix Austin a plate but I told her I'd have trouble balancing two plates on the walk back to the apartment. (the cookout was held in front of the building beside ours because those two apartments on the front are both empty but it was still a good hundred yard or more walk for me). Sue and Ellen both fussed over me, making sure i had plenty... Ellen stapled another plate over my plate to keep the flies off... I mean, they really have a gift for hospitality!

At any rate... it was good to meet everyone. Later in the evening Austin felt better and he went up there and hung out with everyone. I was sacked out by 9pm and they were still going strong. Lots of these folks don't work or don't work 9 to 5 jobs so they don't have to be up and at 'em as early as I do.

Time for me to wrap things up and start getting ready for work... I am having new joint pain, specifically in my fingers and knees... but I'm gonna make it through the day. I can do this! Have a great day y'all! Love and hugs!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Lots of stuff on my mind this early Sunday morning...

A teenager kills his parents and then has a party with their corpses in the other room. Is it possible that raising a generation with no regard for human life has contributed to this? I think so.

I think Casey Anthony is guilty but I don't understand the venomous public sentiment toward her. If she had done the same thing 3 1/2 years earlier it would have been considered her "choice".

I'm grieving for Amy Winehouse. Not because I was a fan. Not because I found her behavior anything other than disgusting. I'm grieving the fact that someone with so much could still feel so empty as to need to fill it with drugs and alcohol.

I felt the same way about Anna Nicole Smith. She was so broken and misguided and had nothing to turn to.

The killings in Norway. NORWAY... how in the world could a terrorist - supposedly a right wing Christian conservative - kill so many people.

I believe that I have eternal life. I don't see "the end" so much as the end of me but the beginning of who I was destined to be for eternity. I know a lot of you think that's crazy but I'm ok with that. If I get to the end and it really is "the end" ... I'll be dead so I won't know.

One of my friends from school posted a verse yesterday that gave me chills...

13 Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”

“Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”

It gave me chills because her husband passed away from cancer several years ago when their daughter was a toddler. I think if you really love someone... and lose them... to have the belief that there is a great reward, an afterlife... it's an amazing comfort.

I've told you before about another friend from high school whose 19 year old daughter was found murdered at the exact time that my friend was undergoing heart surgery. Her faith is so strong! I've watched her (via facebook) time and time again go to others who are hurting to comfort and encourage them. Even me... after the fire...

What you believe dictates how you treat others. I believe that there are no accidents or coincidental meetings. I believe we have divine appointments to keep... and there are people who come into our life for a season... but always for a reason.

Last week I was so humbled at the kindness of the two ladies who brought meals for us. I want to be able to do those kind of things. I want to write checks for people in need. I want to fix dinner for people who are struggling or sick or whatever. I want to sit at the bedside of those who are dying and hug those who are grieving. I want to encourage the discouraged. I want to visit prisons and give them hope for a better future. I want to make sure that everyone who crosses my path feels valued. I want to be so much more than my circumstances allow me to be right now.

There is a dirty, scruffy, often smelly little man who comes into my office once a month to pay for his insurance. He doesn't have much in this world. He doesn't make a lot of sense and you can tell that "the elevator doesn't reach the top floor". I haven't always rushed to be first in line to greet him or help him... he's the kind of person that you would turn away from if you passed him on the street. Then I met his niece who absolutely adores him. He has been a consistent part of her life and has loved her as if she was his own child. She said, "I know he looks weird and smells bad sometimes... but he's my uncle and I love him". To see the love in her eyes when she talked about him made me care more about him as a human. She thanked me for being kind to him but I knew I could have been kinder. I have been since then.

A friend from church has an aunt who disappeared a few days ago. The family - and our church family - is frantically searching for her. It made me think about the people in our community who don't have someone watching out for them... who are lonely... and isolated... people who could disappear without anyone noticing they are missing.

None of us can make a difference to everyone but all of us can make a difference to someone. Everyone has value, even if you can't see it. Maybe their value is simply in helping you learn to do a better job of loving others.

We have a community picnic this afternoon and I am dreading it... it's going to be hot and miserable outside and I am battling dizziness and nausea in addition to my other usual aches and discomforts. It took me two hours to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich yesterday. I can only stand a bite here and there. It's important that we go to meet our neighbors so I'm praying that God will give me the strength to do this. I never met the lady next door to me in the duplex until we were both standing there with the fire chief asking if we needed the Red Cross to come out to assist us. I didn't, by the grace of God. She did. I wish I had known her better and could have offered her more.

People are valuable. Don't miss your opportunity to make a difference.

That's all.
Love and hugs.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

happy saturday!

Lish found his perch....
Cool moth we found outside out apartment....
Our living room full of boxes... it's getting better but still... ugh... so much to unpack or repack into smaller containers. The textile restoration people gave us these huge boxes that have about 8 pairs of shoes in each. I'm could fit 80 pairs of shoes in them. (but I won't).
You can sort of tell how big my master bedroom is by the fact that I have two windows... LOL!... and the fact that there is so much room at the end of my bed. I have a nice tv stand now instead of the two stools I was using so we're going to be able to have 3 stools around the table instead of one.

I'm so glad I whine in my blog from time to time because it helps me go back and see the problem, remember the intensity of my emotions at the time and then bask in the glory of the resolution. I was looking back over some of the lists I made over the past few weeks of things that needed to be done and I almost want to jump up and down in pure joy at the realization that I DID IT! My broken down, pain riddled, discouraged self did what I didn't think I could do and that makes me feel ten feet tall and bullet proof.

I don't like change. I very much liked where we lived, other than the burden it placed on my budget. I signed the lease before I even had a job or knew how much money I was going to make. It was a struggle - always a struggle. Most of the time that I lived there I was behind on the rent and my landlords were patient with us when we could have very easily been out on the street. At the time of the fire they didn't have any other units available and although it would have been easier for me to be in the same floor plan, same neighborhood, dealing with the same people etc, etc, I don't believe that's what God intended for us.

Austin loves this little neighborhood. Every afternoon when I pull up from work, I find him hanging out with the handy man and our next door neighbor... just one of the guys, hanging out... I love so many things about this place... it's got less storage space and it didn't come with a washer and dryer, those are the biggest downfalls... so I'm having to be creative about putting things away but... it will come together. The washer and dryer are next on my MUST GET list and I've been pouring over craigslist looking for a used set but honestly... I'm so fearful of craigslist and don't want to buy something to have to turn around in two months and buy something else.

There are times I still kind of catch my breath and think, "did I do the right thing? should I have looked longer for something even cheaper or something with more space, etc, etc" I think that's one of those big pitfalls of being single, that you don't have someone else to bounce things off of and to help make these kind of big decisions. You don't have anyone but yourself to blame if things go wrong. But we're here... we're getting settled and slowly getting unpacked... I got the first insurance check yesterday and we're hoping to finally be able to get Austin's bed today. We're going to be able to buy some groceries and stock the pantry a little bit so we're not trying to figure out meal by meal what we're going to eat.... which is a huge pain in the tukas when you're ten miles out of town in every direction. (give or take a few miles)

I had a really rough day yesterday. Still having the dizziness... sick to my stomach... and yesterday I was feverish and exhausted all day at work. I had a nasty sore throat, lost my voice by lunch time and spent the rest of the afternoon having to repeat myself because no one could understand me. I'm coughing up junk so we're most likely back in bronchitis land which usually saps my strength and lasts for months. I limped through the day and then a client came in at 5:30 as we were trying to lock up and I'm thinking, "really???" but it was handled quickly and I was out the door by 5:34 and almost cried on the way home... so relieved to have made it through another day.

The heat is a big problem for me. I thank God that I live in an air-conditioned space... I haven't always... and I thank God for my air-conditioned car... I haven't always had a car with a/c. And there were times that I didn't have a/c in my car OR my house and it was pure misery. Every time I pass someone outside working in this heat I say a quick prayer for them. It's not fit for man nor beast. But even though I'm in the cool comfort MOST of the time... there are those walks from the car to the office or the car to the store that make me absolutely swoon. Winter can't get here quickly enough to suit me. And since we're living at a higher elevation now, we have a higher chance for SNOW! They say that one of the storms last Winter trapped everyone in this neighborhood for three days because of the steep hill leading out.

Lish the cuddle bug is sitting beside me in the chair purring like a motor boat. He loves to curl up beside me and whimpers if I move away from him. He is exactly the kind of the kitty I needed. Stubby loves to get affection but he hates to give it. Lish literally puts one paw on either side of my neck to give me a hug. It's the sweetest thing!

We have a busy day planned and I hope to accomplish as much of it before noon as possible so that we can avoid the hottest heat of the day.

Friday, July 22, 2011

apparently i'm still observing whiny wednesday

Yesterday I got to work and started throwing up. Well... to be honest... I needed to throw up but it was too humiliating in our office where the hard wood floors amplify sound throughout the building. I was on the phone with a client and ... ugh... it took all my strength not to hit the trashcan. I got out of there as fast as I could... got home... got sick... and went to sleep for three hours. I woke up still really horribly nauseated and dizzy but at least I was no longer spewing.

About midday when I woke up ... I realized that we were out of toilet paper. Austin was asking for various things to eat (since we still haven't been to the store) and I knew I had to just bite the bullet and run to the Dollar General. I kept the air on full blast and sent Austin in for me. He did alright... except for not buying bread because he didn't think we really needed it. And then... I realized I had less than a quarter tank of gas. Gas stations are further apart here and the last thing i need is to run out of gas in the scorching heat... so we drove toward Helen. And then I remembered I had prescriptions at the pharmacy so we switched directions, drove to Cleveland, got gas, got prescriptions and then headed home.

While I was out and about handling those errands I felt so guilty. I was afraid that someone would see me and judge me for being well enough to go on those errands but not well enough to work... and it made me start to cry. It seems like for the past two years ... since the first onset of bronchitis that wouldn't go away... and then through the Weight Watchers months... and then since the back pain months... I've been living under a shadow of guilt.

Either I'm sick and pushing through it to do the things that have to be done to keep our household running.
Or I'm sick and at work exposing my co-workers to the various and assundry things I catch or not being able to carry my fair share there.
Or I'm in pain and doing what doctors have told me to do in the way of resting and nothing is getting done in the way of cleaning or grocery shopping and it's always, "mom... we're out of "...
Or I'm in pain and working and giving it everything I have and yet, it's still less than I was once able to do.
Or I push through to do the things that I have to do and I rest over the weekend and I'm a bad guy for not going to church and sitting through Sunday School and church and small group in the evening.
I take the medicines I'm supposed to take and they cause weight gain... and then I feel guilty for not being able to maintain my weight loss.
I take the medicines that are supposed to help manage the pain so that I can be functional but I'm afraid to drive.
I miss events that I want to be at... I miss work when I desperately need to be there... I am unable to hang out with friends or go visit my grandma or ... well, much of anything.
And the stress of it all pushes my blood pressure higher which makes them raise my blood pressure medicine which makes me dizzy and the cycle continues.

I have written and deleted and written and deleted all the way through this entry. I don't want to seem *ungrateful* for all that God has brought us through. We have been blessed and I know that people pray for us faithfully. I know that people see me as a person of strong faith and I do believe that God has a plan. I really do. I'm just weary.

I went back home after running errands yesterday and found the strength to unpack a box or two... and then felt guilty about it... knowing it would make me hurt. And then a sweet lady from church brought over bbq chicken, corn on the cob, green beans, rolls, waldorf salad... and I ate more than I should... got sick all over again... and went to bed really early.

I've got a case of my usual summer bronchitis brewing. Ugh. And... I actually feel guilty about coughing deeply because it hurts my back, irritates my reflux, makes me feel like I have to throw up again...

Gotta see if I can pull myself together enough to work today. 12 more hours until I can rest in the new nest...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

thankful thursday

If I can allow myself a big ole whiny Wednesday pity party... I need to get over myself enough to have a Thankful Thursday. And sadly... sometimes it's in observing the pain of others that we realize how blessed we really are. I don't WANT there to be anyone who has it worse than me. I don't seek to find others who are suffering but I thank God for how blessed we really are and sometimes it takes getting over yourself long enough to look around... and see the suffering in this world to realize it's not that bad after all.

We are here. We are not quite settled but we are here. And unlike our last move, there is money coming that will help us get the things we need - and help us replace some of the things we just enjoyed. That first claims check will be here very soon... I'm thinking Monday although I'd be tickled pink if it came before the weekend. But it is coming. Help is on the way.

A sweet Christian friend brought this amazing lasagna for us on Tuesday. It fed Austin for four meals, me for one. This is significant because I haven't had the resources (money/time/energy) to do a grocery run. Our new neighbor gave Austin bologna, cheese, fritos, mayo and mustard for lunch. Another lovely Christian lady is bringing dinner tonight. It makes all the difference in the world for us.

I'm just running on fumes at this point... I'm so sick and tired I can barely make myself eat. Austin, bless his sweet heart, brought me a bologna sandwich at ten pm last night because I was finally over the nausea and dizziness that had haunted me all day. I can't think straight. I just feel absolutely drained. I needed to stay at work but it took every ounce of strength I had.

I missed two calls from the doctors office and one call from the cardiologist yesterday. When I was finally able to talk to the nurse that I don't like, she said that my echocardiogram was normal and was about to hang up when I said, "why I am so dizzy?" The nurse suggested I make an appointment and come in to discuss it with the doctor. I hung up and almost cried. I have an appointment with the pain doctor in August. I'll see if he can figure it out. In the meantime... who do I have to see to get my quality of life back?

Our handy man, Maury, and his wife Ellen came down yesterday afternoon and fixed our hot water heater. The breaker had gone bad. We had a good time chatting with them... they were late in life parents - they are my parents' age but have a 16 year old daughter. Ellen is organizing the community picnic on Sunday. Y'all KNOW HOW MUCH I HATE those kind of overwhelming social things... but... my job is to talk to the community about renters insurance... so no matter how hot it is, no matter how bad my back hurts, we gotta tough it out and go. I'm taking fruit.

I have a friend who has to move because of a divorce. Upteen years of marriage... the guy moves out and the wife, who is not in great physical condition... gets stuck with packing up the whole house. I have been there. Robert left me to deal with everything. Our friend Scott had stuff at the house too and I was stuck with packing and moving his stuff. Essentially, I ended up just leaving a lot of their stuff. I look around at the boxes - aka kitty castles - in every room and it's easy to get frustrated BUT... when you get right down to it, we really have only books and clothes to put away. There are a lot of boxes already emptied that Austin has promised he'll break down for me today so that we can find someone to haul them to the dump for us.

I have a high school friend who lost her 17 year old daughter yesterday. That snapped me into a place of perspective. I mean... I'm replacing pillows and shower curtains and some 29 year old cheerleading uniforms... a room full of furniture, none of it precious... but I still get to come home from work every day to my goofy 17 year old nestling. When I pulled up yesterday afternoon he was hanging out with the neighbors... all standing around chatting... it made me smile.

Work is painful... difficult with the dizziness... exhausting because of the fatigue I can't conquer... but it is a job. I have a job. How many people are out of work, unable to come up with the energy and enthusiasm to apply for a job and risk rejection again? God keeps giving me the strength to do that which I cannot possibly imagine doing.

The weird thing about the dizziness... if I take a big deep breath, the dizziness eases up. Any medical professionals out there have a diagnosis for that? Is it maybe because of the COPD? My lungs are kinda junky - I don't have a massive cough but I have a little irritating trickle and I have been running fevers off and on.

I'll try to post some pictures of the nest later. I was kinda waiting for it to get all dolled up and decorated first... curtains and pictures hung... it's home... boxes and boxes of home!

So maybe this ended up being a little bit of whiny Wednesday leftovers mixed in with my Thankful Thursday... at any rate... I hope, no matter what you're facing today that you'll find a few things to be thankful for... and I hope that you'll pray for those who have less to be thankful for than you do... love and hugs, y'all.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

gloom, despair and agony on me...

I'm sitting here in the new nest with internet and a working computer. I'm grateful... and shocked, I guess. On July 5th I would have never dreamed that we would be back in our home in two weeks. It was an exhausting two weeks... and there are still details to wrap up:

still have to get a trash service
the hot water here doesn't work, Handy Man Maury is working on this today
Lots and lots and lots and lots of boxes to unpack and
lots and lots of clothes hung in the closet that belong in a rubber maid container or a thrift store.
I have one more claim form to fill out to get reimbursed for our "consumables"
Lots of grocery shopping to do to restock our pantry
pictures to be hung
Austin is still without a bed. I found what we want but ran out of cash. Have to wait on the claim check.
We are still without a washer and dryer. I priced some but think I'm going to have to go through craigslist.

And i am running out of steam. I have a headache and a fever and a sore throat that I am convinced is strep. My dizziness is so bad that I've been skipping any medicine except the blood pressure meds to make sure I'm eliminating anything that could be causing dizziness. It's like - I've learned to live with the pain so I can deal with that - I can't deal with dizziness. I'm having a hard time driving - it scares me to death - because I don't feel like my vision is clear enough to judge distance. It feels like driving drunk - not that I've ever actually done that, but it feels like what I imagine driving drunk would feel like.

Austin keeps coming up with things we need... trash bags... paper towels... a broom toilet paper... and I just don't feel well enough to walk thru the store. Makes me cry. I hate not being able to do the things I need to do. I've long since accepted my limitations as far as not being able to do the things I WANT to do... but there are so many things that only I can do. And I can't work and then go shopping.

It is Wednesday, isn't it? Wanted to make sure I got all my whining in. I'm having these moments of delayed emotion on this whole process. Now that we're settled in our own private space, I can actually have a good cry... or a bunch of them... about the process we've been through and what it's cost me physically.

Of course... in the big scheme of things this is a much better nest for us and we're so fortunate to have been moved without having to do it ourselves and have all of our clothes and belongings cleaned - you should see how clean they got the baby shoes! Austin has really matured and been very hands on in this process. He's gotten chummy with the guy next door - had lunch with him and his kids yesterday. He knows the handy man and his wife and is frequently in long discussions with them. He likes it here. I worried... pulling him out of town and putting him in a really rural space... and he's loving it. He's even waking up earlier.

I had my echocardiogram yesterday and she said they'd call with the findings on Thursday. I don't THINK there is anything wrong. I think they pretty much felt like they had to rule out certain things and I'll get a call that says, "it's not your heart". Although... they did list on my diagnosis list in my chart at the drs office "congestive heart failure". I guess they list things they suspect until that diagnosis is proved wrong?

Every day I just keep getting up - doing what I have to do - coming home and going to bed as soon as I can. It's not a "quality" of life situation but I'm meeting most of my obligations. The view from here - not just the nest but also this stage of life - the view from here is beautiful. It's a place of lush green forest... and a place of needs met... to see the amazing providence of God, whether it's making sure I have enough to pay rent and deposits... or making sure I have the strength to work... or making sure I stay safe while driving.

And then there's Lish. That's the new baby. His tag says "Lex" and maybe that was who people thought he was going to be. But he's ten times the curious cat that Bitty was. He's ten times the cuddle bug. He's fascinated with the fact that my eyeballs go away when I'm sleeping so he takes his paws and tries to pry my eyes open. He is fascinated with the laptop and tries to help me type. He wants to inspect everything I eat... follow Stubby everywhere he does... he wants to be inside of every box that's being emptied. He is right in the middle of everything we do. Austin calls him Little S*** but since I don't talk that way, I call him Lish. It's short for "delicious" - and - what Austin calls him. Right now he's laying belly up on my laptop treating the screen like a tanning bed.

Last night the sweet lady who helped set up my kitchen brought lasagna for me and Austin for dinner. Salad, lasagna and bread sticks. It beat the peanut butter and jelly I had the night before for dinner!

Ok... that's all I have for now... enough whining... pray that the dizziness goes away today so that I can do the things I have to do... love and hugs, y'all!

OOOh... and I'll post pictures soon... I know you want to see the new nest.

Monday, July 18, 2011

be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.

I came back from lunch early today to blog and we were too busy so I'm using that last bit of lunch to update. When I leave work today, I'm going HOME for the first time since July 1st. (after work, that is). Be it ever so messy... there's no place like home.

We're getting there. That's what I keep telling myself. Our "textiles" were delivered today and I am skeered of what awaits me at home. I resisted the urge to be home when they were delivered because I know the mess would have gotten me in it's grip and there's no way I would have made it back to work.

Guess if there was ever a day when I didn't need to be bothered by internet, it's today. I'll do what I can, take a cool bath and go to bed. Stasha's coming over with a microwave around 8pm - I told her she might not see my eyeballs. She's ok with that. It wouldn't be the first time.

The internet should be working tomorrow. Laptop battery charger charging away. The fur babies and the teen are adapting to our new digs. I think Austin is bonding quite nicely with the handy man. I knew he would. Austin already knows more of the animals in the neighborhood than I do. He's got plans to build a firepit. He's identified a new indigenous moth...

I'm wiped out. Coughing. Got a little of the reflux happening and it burns like a hot poker in my throat. Guess this explains the fever I started running on Saturday.

Have an appointment in the morning for the echocardiogram - 8am, a good 1/2 hour, 45 minute drive away. I really want to go to sleep and sleep for a week. I'm dizzy. I can't take any cough /cold type medicine because of my ever volatile blood pressure.

I still haven't lined up our trash service... I spent most of my "spare" time today redoing a lot of things I did on Friday. The satellite for Austin's tv is the same wavelength as someone else in our neck of the woods. Had to spend time on the phone with some woman named "Cecil". Apparently in "customer service in a foreign land 101" they teach you to take an american name but aren't real clear on male/female names.

Groceries? Not yet.

I did manage to deposit my paycheck.

I also managed to talk to my claims adjuster and he's working on my inital claims check.

Of course... Mr. Postman who was going to drop the key for our box off at the apartment on Saturday didnt... and he is off today... but the helpful lady at the post office said it would take ten days for them to start forwarding my mail. It would have been MORE helpful if she had told me that when I was taking the hold off my mail - because I would have left the hold on rather than risking claims checks being sent to a mailbox at a burned out location.

I got an awesome letter complete with pictures in the mail from Patti in California. Her happily ever after... so sweet!

Sarabeth, my gorgeous niece, got her glasses today. I can't wait to see them.

I can't remember if someone is bringing dinner tonight. I'm gonna chance it and have pb&j if not.

I can't wait to get home... to my new nest...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

maybe the last post for awhile...

34 minutes left on my laptop battery. No internet in the nest yet. I've decided to go ahead and spend the night at the nest instead of the cabin. If nothing else proves I'm a homebody, that should! LOL! Ready to leave the lap of luxury because nothing is as cozy as my nest.

Austin's working hard to get things in order. I asked what he wanted me to buy first for him as the insurance money trickles in (no time to explain it now... it's a process... I think I've explained that before... ) anyways... he asked for a tv first... so that's what I did. His child support came in last night so I took him to walmart today and bought him a nice 26" hd tv. It was only $228 so we felt like it was a good deal. He's over the moon about it!

Otherwise... today has been sort of a disappointment. My older boys were coming to see me but they've been tripping along enjoying each other's company and won't be here until after 5. Then they want to go to Helen... which is great except I can't walk... hurts too bad.... so if they go to Helen, it will be without me. They also wanted to go tubing. Apparently, they weren't really coming to see me, they're coming to be tourists. That's ok. It's like I've always told them... I don't want anyone to ever do anything for me out of a sense of obligation. I've never asked them to call me with any certain frequency (and they don't). I don't make demands on their time during the holidays ... a son is a son until he takes a wife but a daughter's a daughter the rest of her life. so there you have it...

I'm doing a load of wash here at the cabin (something else we can't do at the nest - yet) and I'm watching an old movie and just kind of resting. I was really sick and dizzy this morning... Austin found me on the bathroom floor unable to stand up because of the dizziness. They adjusted my bp medicine thinking that was causing the dizziness because it was too strong for me and now my bp is up again and I'm still dizzy.

Oh well. If I don't blog for a few days it's because my laptop is dead, not because I don't have anything to say... I'll miss y'all! My facebook wall feeds to my phone so if you post me there, I'll see it. Love and hugs, y'all.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Pollyanna on crack cracks up

Is it time for a pity party yet?

I'm just so exhausted and in so much pain and there is so. much. to. do. There is so much to do that only I can do and it makes me want to just curl up in bed and sleep for another ten hours.... despite having just slept ten.

Part of me justifies my frustration and fatigue and thinks, "well, I've been really strong through this process and have been Pollyanna on crack refusing to believe that it was going to be anything other than perfectly ok... it's time" for a good cry and a tantrum or two.

And part of me thinks that the devil is fighting to bring me down because Pollyanna on Crack made other people think that maybe there really is a God and maybe He really does like me and He might even like you too. (he definitely does)

I left my clean clothes and my vaseline in the car and I am afraid to go out and get it in the dark because I'm afraid of the creatures that wander the dark. Bears, namely.

My lips are absolutely raw and chapped because I haven't kept vaseline on them like I usually do and they hurt.

I want to get another hot bath in the huge soaking tub here at the cabin but not if I have to put dirty clothes back on. Defeats the purpose. And... as good as the tub feels... it is so hard to get out of it. I think I need one of those old people tubs that the mama from Little House on the Prairie sells.

And while I'm at it... can I get a hover round?

I'd love to use the hot tub here but with my dizzy spells it's not a good idea.

I would settle for a hot shower but we're out of shampoo here at the cabin and I can't remember/don't know yet if that is in one of the boxes back at the apartment. Otherwise, that goes on the list of things to do today - buy shampoo.

The ServPro people who delivered my stuff were amazing... I've never had a less physically demanding move. (was it only four years ago that I was schlepping things up three flights of stairs in the late summer heat in Jacksonville?) (and, God rest his soul, it was only four years ago that Tim Darby was driving the moving van with my car on a trailer to get the rest of our stuff here... and now Tim's gone.)

The only problem with ServPro was that there were four (five?) of them and they worked so fast and efficiently that it was impossible for me to just sit... I was walking back and forth from room to room giving directions.

And while it may have seemed like a great idea to have ServPro and the satellite guy come at the same time. Oy vey. That was a whole lot that needed my attention at the same time.

We ended up having to upgrade our satellite service because we weren't able to put the old kind of satellite back up where we are... because we're kind of in a valley... so we had to get the HD service (lol... that's one of the reasons I haven't changed my name.. I love that my initials are HD!) and honestly... since Austin's CONSOLE TV (yes, it was that old) has to be replaced, it's likely that we'll get him a HD because that's about all that's out there. Anyways... the unexpected benefit is my old tv that I LOOOOVE... has a much better picture with the upgraded satellite.

Of course... being in a valley... my cellphone doesn't pick up there either... and the internet that would have been free doesn't work down in my little cozy place and I've now got to get our old internet service back and that means... who knows how long it will be before that's set up. They probably want more money too. The satellite people did. "Can you pay your one time upgrade fee of $50 today?" "No." They did it anyway but i had to give them my credit card to guarantee a future payment.

And instead of this process taking a couple of hours... it took a couple more hours... and i didn't get to go back to the office and couldn't even get a cell signal to call... or an internet connection to email...

A very sweet lady from my church came and brought three teens with her to organize my kitchen and it looks awesome and is ready for me to just get in there and start cooking. Everybody knows you have to have your kitchen unpacked first... mine is and it looks great.

We even found the old scrapbook that I made back when my babies were babies that we thought was lost forever in the moves to Jacksonville and back. That scrapbook is precious, especially with the photos that we lost due to the fire.

Now I just need about three (or ten) more crews like that to come and unpack and move the rest of the boxes. And hang pictures. Austin started unpacking and Austin is anything BUT methodical and organized so I was having to go behind Austin and while *thanking him* for his desire to get things in order... gently remind him that we had to do it in an organized manner. Actually, I think my words were, "OMG AUSTIN STOP"... but... I later explained my frustration. He is anxious to get his nest in order too.

We both just so very much want our life to get back to normal, whatever our new normal is.

We really enjoyed being back together. My Auggie Doodle is my buddy. We picked up something to grill for dinner since the cabin has a gas grill (and we don't). I just realized that the leftover burgers never made it into the refrigerator last night. Ugh. Today we plan to grill again.. and then tomorrow when Ryan and Sara come up we're going to grill bbq chicken and corn. Can't wait to see my's been almost a year.

I think I've decided that today Austin and I are going to go to the apartment this morning, check on the fur babies, come up with a plan for getting things in order and... go get a Starbucks. Then we can hit the furniture store to see what kind of deal we can work out with a short term credit plan.

I'm going to limit my expectations on myself. It's ok if there are boxes. It will come together.

Ultimately... it doesn't matter how cute and neat our apartment is, if I'm not physically able to work, we won't be able to pay for it. I've got to rest this weekend and I really need to take advantage of this awesome cabin.

I don't think I've ever felt the weight of responsibility as a single mom as strong as I have these past two weeks... and the weight of that responsibility on top of my decreasing ability to do pretty much anything... it's scary, y'all.

My power cord for my computer shouldn't be working... it's all bent and fried... but God is doing a miracle like the oil lasting for eight days. If I hold it just right... it charges... and since I have a brand new battery, it holds a charge well. Mama and Daddy were going to pick one up for me while they were up here yesterday but they didn't realize you can't buy things like that HERE. You have to go back into civilization... so they're going to order one online and send it to me. Maybe the new power cord will coincide with the internet working at the new nest and I'll be wasting hours playing farmville again very soon.

Our neighbors are great. The handy man guy is a hoot... long grey ponytail... his wife is equally funny and friendly. Yesterday the owner of the complex and handy man's wife (I'm still weak on names here) were making butter (yes, butter...) and you could hear them bickering back and forth in a friendly way. Handy Man said they were two old hens pecking at each other.

The owner (her name is Sue) came down to welcome me...and asked me to talk to the neighbors at our community picnic next Sunday about Renters Insurance. She hugged me and told me how happy they are to have us there.

Handy Man is very involved in looking after the property. He said to holler if we needed anything and I said, "I probably should get your number" he said, "no, literally, just holler... " That made me laugh. He also pointed to the little splash pool that the neighbors kids have and said that was the community pool but to remember there is no lifeguard on duty. Ha.

I just remembered that I need to go back to the Cleveland Post Office today to pick up the mail they were holding for me. And pick up the prescription that wasn't ready the other day when I went to the doctor.

I went to the Sautee Nacoochee post office yesterday and if it had not been raining I would have taken a picture for you... across the street is a cow pasture. We were small town before but we were "in town". We are in the country for real now.

Details. So many details. I haven't gotten our trash service lined up yet either. Still have to work on the washer and dryer. Need to make a big grocery run to restock and replace.

The sun is coming up. After highs in the high nineties a few days ago, today we're expecting a high of 81. That helps. I'm going to brave the wilds and head to the car to find my clothes, vaseline, the coffee and... do what I can while I can.

Hugs and prayers, y'all.

Friday, July 15, 2011

freaky friday...

Greetings from my insanely amazing temporary housing in Sautee, Georgia. Our new permanent nest is just a bit up the road and while we're getting the "stuff" situated and unpacked we will be spending our nights here in the lap of cabin luxury. I took a good long soak in the huge tub last night and it was awesome. Tonight I might find myself in the hot tub if I can find a swimsuit.

Today is a big day as far as getting my stuff into the apartment, power turned on, satellite hooked up and I get my kid and my kitties back. I'm going to work as much as I can around those events.

I had a doctors appointment yesterday (remember my "creative" interpretation of my appointment earlier in the week?) and it wasn't bad. There was an emergency so the doctor was running about 45 minutes behind schedule but honestly, I was so glad for a few minutes to rest and catch my breath. I hit the ground running at about 5am yesterday and skipped lunch so I was exhausted.

The news was good... except for the fact that this doctor (I've only seen her twice but she's very good and very thorough) reiterated ALL the different diagnoses that I have and that can be kind of sobering... when you talk about the chronic back pain, obesity, copd... etc, etc. She was very sympathetic about the difficulty of losing weight when you're on medications that cause weight gain and are not able to do any physical activity but she said she's afraid if we don't get about fifty pounds off of my back that sooner or later, probably sooner, I will become disabled - to some degree I feel "less abled" already and I can't imagine this getting worse. Sobering.

The blood work they did on me was good... some things that were borderline and some things that were awesome. Low iron... some borderline results on the cardiac stuff they were checking (which is why they want to go ahead with the echocardiogram next week). My blood pressure was better but with the dizziness I've been having, they want to cut back on my dosage. My blood sugar was "stellar" considering the steroids, being overweight, and some of the meds that I'm on.

Everyone asks if they've checked my thyroid and every doctor I see draws a connection with all the various problems I have and either thyroid issues, rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia. But then they look for some of the specific diagnostic confirmations of those disorders and they just aren't there. It all winds back to this degenerative back stuff and the side effects of the medications I'm on to try to mitigate that pain. And every doctor assumes I'm on some narcotic pain medications and I'm not. I'm toughing it out, y'all. For realz.

I had a rough night's sleep. I had to tote my own stuff out of Jim and Angie's yesterday and into the cabin yesterday because there was no one else around to do it. I am feeling it... the dr reiterated yesterday that I cannot lift things... she also said that I am on "feet on the ground" orders meaning that she doesn't want me climbing on anything. She said, "pay someone to screw in lightbulbs if you have to... no climbing" because I'm dizzy and a fall could potentially be crippling.

I guess it still surprises me that this pain is still lingering and that I have accumulated all these crazy diagnoses because in my mind, I'm still 15 years old and a size 5. How did I get old like this?

Time to glam and start my long drive back to civilization... and start getting that nest back in order! Have a great Friday y'all! Love and hugs!

another peak

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

just a sneak....

outdoors at my staycation cabin....

my laptop charger is completely kaput so this may be it for a few days...

just know that I am finally getting the kind of rest and relaxation my weary, broken body has been needing for about six months.... and then tomorrow... I will get up and go to work...
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thankful thursday

When you wake up tired you know you're in trouble... but the temperature is not supposed to be as hot today and I'm getting closer and closer to my new nest. It's Thankful Thursday.... y'all ready?

The DISH equipment came early, they're scheduled to hook up on Friday afternoon.

I've looked over the stuff at the warehouse of the restoration company and the bulk of our stuff was salvageable. Most everything except Austin's room.

My mattresses were actually fine. So as soon as the textiles are delivered on Monday, I'll be able to have a bed.

I've got the loss list and have to just fill in the values of the items - it should take me about two or three hours. Ugh.But at least they're already listed out for me.

Renters insurance, y'all... please get it if you don't have it. If you're in Georgia, call me for it. If you're not in Georgia, call me to get the phone number of a State Farm agent in your area. Seriously. Call me. It made all the difference in the world.

Talked to the restoration guy for-ev-uh yesterday. He's a Christian guy an he was sharing some of his experiences with this stuff and I was sharing some of the ways that God has worked through my times of crisis. It was a good conversation - all except for the fact that my feet were killing me and I was dizzy and my back hurt so bad I felt like someone was poking me with a hot poker in my spine and my feet were swelling up like balloons. He's kinda cute though.

I didn't know how I was going to make it home, I was so dizzy. Dizzy has been the theme this week. I see the doctor today. Maybe she'll have answers for that. Is there a pill they can give you to make you un-dizzy?

My clothes are all washed and folded and ready to pack in my car... after work today I'll be going to the cabin instead of back here to the Highway 17 Hilton aka Jim and Angie's house. It's been a nice stay but I'm ready for a night of solitude. I need to get a washing machine and dryer in the next week and I'm praying about that... I just know it's gonna work out.

Our stuff will be delivered on Friday. The power will be turned on Friday. The DISH satellite guy comes on Friday. Mom and Dad will bring Austin and my fur-babies on Friday. That reminds me. I have to get new cat litter.

Our textiles (clothes, towels, blankets) will be delivered Monday.

We'll be getting Austin's room put together as the checks come in... he'll be sorta camping in the meantime.

Really, for all intents and purposes, this whole big tragedy will be completely resolved and we'll be back in our new nest in less than two weeks. That comes from a mighty God... or at least some mighty powerful karma... I can tell you that it didn't come from me. I'm just swept along in a river of good fortune.

Despite it all... six months of back pain... tachycardia... blood pressure... not feeling good... and then this whole "nest on fire" situation... I have truly good fortune and I'm not going to forget that.

Even if my pink Christmas tree didn't make it.

Have a great day, y'all... love and hugs!