Saturday, March 28, 2015

Just a Quick Update

I got my cast off on Thursday. I have a cumbersome boot, but at least I don't have to sleep in it.

I went straight to bridge---so much fun after being housebound. When Butch picked me up after, I got such a surprise. Sandy and Elizabeth were in the car!!! Of course, I cried! They came to town to help me. They've been waiting on me hand and foot! I'm sure Butch is glad for the break.

She brought this:

It took 15 1/2 man hours to do it. That's counting all of us working on it. 1000 pieces in 5 1/2 hours. I NEVER do puzzles---mainly because I don't have the patience. When vacationing with my friends, they usually get one going. I sit down with them for about 10 minutes---or until I find one piece. Then I say, "okay, that's it for me!"

This was so fun because it gave us something to do while we were just sitting around talking. I'm still supposed to be sitting around anyway.

I might just start another one! Thanks Sandy! But mostly, thanks for the surprise of your visit. I'd say that was the BEST medicine!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What I Buy Wednesdays

This week I found these on Amazon.
This is one of those old-fashioned popsicle molds. It is $11.99 on Amazon. Throughout the year, I like to send packages to the college kids. Somewhere I saw something called a "box of sunshine" where everything inside was yellow. That's what I plan to do for my final package of the school year. You know, Lays potato chips, Juicy fruit gum, lemon Kool aid (for the popsicles), lemon heads and any other yellow things I can find! It will be a fun box to put together. I might even make some lemon cookies.

I can't exactly be specific here, but there will be some yard games given at Christmas from Joss and Main. I did by a couple other things from this place---really great prices.
I seem to have thing for throws these days. This one is $32.95. They have many to choose from---all are great color combinations. Also from Joss and Main.

Although I did not buy this---it would be perfect for me!
And it's PINK!! Looks like it would be a perfect scrapbook chair. I think this is a little pricey at $61.95. But the portability of it looks intriguing.

I'm a sucker for a good deal. I'm thinking I'll keep these for myself.
 Murano glass beads with Swarovski crystals.
12 bucks!! Yep, just $12.00 each. I've never bought from this website: Mobster
There were other color selections, but these were my favorites.

I've also bought a few books. I'm currently reading The Headmaster's Wife. I just started it yesterday and am 65% finished already. So far it's REALLY good. We'll see how ends. I also purchased my two book club books: The Snow Child and Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania. 

So there you have my purchases for this week. What have you bought lately? Any good bargains?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Great Social Security Debate

Do I take it now or wait until I'm older?

This debate has been ongoing. Everyone seems to say that if you don't need the money, you should wait because your benefit will be more. On the other hand, I know of 3 fairly intelligent (okay, one I'm not so sure about) people that are opting to take it right away at age 62. In fact, one told me, "Barb, do the math!" So, I did just that.

In the mean time, I thought I would share with you my basic math. Granted, I'm not eligible for much---although I'm told that in reality, I can draw half of my husband's benefit without it adversely affecting his. That sounds too good to be true, so Butch is going to find out about that.

Now remember, I've been a SAHM for most of my married life, so I joke about how paltry my benefit  is. Last time I got a statement, I think it showed I would get about 29 bucks a month. So for ease of calculation, I just figured it on $50 a month at age 66 when you are eligible to get 100% of your benefit.

If you take your social security benefits at age 62, there is a 25% penalty. If you wait until age 70, you get 132% of your benefit. The penalty for taking it early---from 62 to 66 is the same. So if you plan to take it early, you might as well start right away at 62.

Let's do the math to age 74.
$50 with a 25% penalty = $37.50 x 12 months = $450 x 12 years to age 74 = $5,400
$50 with 132% benefit = $116.00 x 12 months = $1392 x 4 years to age 74 = $5,568

Thereafter, you get $1392 a month compared to $450---that's triple the benefit by waiting just 8 years longer!

Once you reach age 74, you are ahead of the game if you wait. So there's the gamble. If you think you'll live past 74, then you should definitely wait to start drawing until the age of 70. As Connie always says, "if only we had a crystal ball!" Also, if you plan to continue working, you might as well wait as you are only allowed to earn so much before it affects your benefits.

Aren't you glad I cleared that up? You're welcome!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Overdoing It

The thing about overdoing it is that you don't know you've overdone it until you do!

There were a couple days this week that I definitely overdid it. The funny thing is that I didn't do that much at all---certainly not enough to make me think I had. It's not until later that it hits you---throbbing and swelling. Nothing a little ibuprofen can't handle. At least I'm able to stay off of the hard drugs.

The biggest problem, is that I can't sleep very well. I just can't seem to get comfortable with this heavy cast. When you get something in your head, it's hard to ignore. I felt like the cast was rubbing my ankle annoyingly. That's all I could think of. I twisted and turned to no avail. Plus, this cast is killing my knees.

I've been watching a series called Reign on Netflix. I had never heard of it before---just came across it as Netflix offered suggestions based on the type of things I like. It's about Mary Queen of Scots. I'm loving it. It gets me through the sleepless nights.

I had Nancy and Susan over to scrapbook yesterday. That was my first try at doing something other than hanging in the family room. It was fun. I had my leg up on a chair. It was fine for awhile until my back started hurting. I suffered a little pain and swelling later, but it was totally worth it. I miss hanging with my friends!

I'm supposed to get the cast off in just another 4 days. This 3 weeks has gone by fast. Originally I was supposed to have the cast for 4 weeks then a boot for 4 weeks and a loose shoe for 4 weeks. Everything seems to be moving pretty quickly, so I hope that means that I'm ahead of schedule and won't be laid up as long as I first was told.  I'll be really upset if I have to keep the cast for another week.

I'm planning on hobbling to book club tonight.

Not bored yet.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Dresses and Dress Codes

It never fails to amaze me as to the things that make the news. Today, a news report came through that several parents from a Catholic high school in Pennsylvania have put together a petition regarding the dress policy for the school prom (Cheri what's the scoop?). The parents are opposed to a new policy the school has instituted which requires photos of the prom dress the student plans to wear be submitted for approval prior to the purchase of tickets to the dance. The parents are complaining that the new policy has come out AFTER non-returnable dresses have been purchased. The school maintains that the dress policy has not changed.

So, why is this news? This bothers me on so many different levels.

There is a reason that the school felt compelled to institute this new policy. Apparently, the girls are wearing dresses that are inappropriate and violate the previous dress policy. Parents know the policy---what? Are they afraid to say "no" to their daughters? To me, this is a just another way for parents to send the message that their darlings should be able to do and wear whatever they want. No wonder there is a blatant disrespect for authority. Too bad if you purchased a non-returnable dress. You had to know the risk.

When Mindy was at St. Cecilia, the nuns would make the girls put on sweaters at the dance or pin the dresses shut as they felt necessary. Of course this caused a lot of drama and tears at the dance. Parents were upset too. I never did get it. Everybody knew the rules. I would never have allowed my girls to "let it all hang out"---even if only one had anything to "hang out!" And that one---fought with me during the dress buying process. How did I solve that problem? I had her dad take her dress shopping. If it passed muster with him, I KNEW it would pass muster with the nuns! Simple solution. I never fought with her over a dress again! The added bonus issue this solved was the cost of dresses! She knew that her dad would never let her do anything too crazy in the price department.

One of the reasons we sent our daughters (and grandchildren) to Catholic schools besides religious principles is because of their conservative views. The world moves way too fast. If we can slow that down just a little, that's okay by us. If you don't want that conservative environment---it's pretty simple: DON'T SEND YOUR KIDS THERE!

Modesty has always been important in Catholic schools. Heck, my high school had PRIVATE dressing rooms and showers in the gym locker room. I had no idea there was any other way. Skirt lengths were closely monitored, but that didn't keep us from rolling them up. We even had to button the top button on our blouses.

When push came to shove, we conformed. It was just easier than getting detention or grounded at home. Back then, if you got in trouble at school, you got in worse trouble at home. That's not how it works these days. I feel sorry for teachers and administration in today's schools. They have to be so careful about everything they do or say.

Catholic schools have always had "rules" that may not have been popular with the mainstream. They are trying to uphold centuries of discipline and beliefs.  Get along or get out.

The dresses of today were not even produced for young girls of yesteryear. Call me old-fashioned---I can live with it.

Some may think these kinds of policies are unfairly targeting girls. Well, I have plenty of friends with boys that have been concerned about how the girls now-a-days "flaunt" it. It's a problem with society in general. Don't even get me started with bikinis!!

Really, is it that big of a deal to dress modestly at school or school functions? Just because I had to button that top button at school didn't mean it ruined my life. For crying out loud---I had much bigger things to worry about as a teenager. Plus, it took the pressure off of "little" girls like me---if you know what I mean.

Off the soapbox now.

Friday, March 20, 2015

It's Finally Happened

Nashville has hit the big time. They say that happened when we got a pro football team, but I disagree. I've always loved the small town feel of Nashville. You can be downtown in 20 minutes, yet live out in the country. Sure, downtown is full of tourists---so glad to have them----so good for our city. But locals don't go downtown. Wait, I need to re-phrase that: "OLD" locals don't go downtown (well except for the theater). It's a happenin' place for the young. In fact, Mindy lives down there and loves it. She's looking to buy a bigger place right in her same building! She can walk (or run) everywhere.

I digress. I'm not at all happy about it. I wanted us to stay that small, home towny feelin' place. But, it's finally happened. We now have to dial the area code when we make phone calls---adding 3 extra digits to the dialing process. Considering I'm not a huge phone person anyway, this just about puts me over the edge. Add to that the recording I keep getting to add those digits makes the re-dialing that much more arduous. The funny part is that we don't even have more than one area code, so what's the point? I guess that's the next thing that's coming---we'll be assigned some new numbers. Sheesh! Just more to remember. I don't need it!

What? Does Nashville think it's St. Louis or something?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Where Does the Time Go?

Everybody keeps asking me if I'm getting bored. Frankly, I don't have the time to be bored. I thought I was going to relish all this free time---but I haven't really had any yet!! That's not exactly true. I do have a lot of free time, but I've been doing so much stuff that all of a sudden it's 2 p.m. and if feels like I still have so much I want to do. Time is running out. I need to calm down. I still have several weeks of recuperation---if I choose to recuperate. I think I'm going to allow myself more of this sitting around. I am still very busy even sitting around. It goes sort of like this:

First thing in the a.m.---clean up, get dressed, make tea, check emails, check blogs, check Facebook, turn on news, eat breakfast, read, pay bills/take care of business, write thank you notes, watch a taped show while stitching or crocheting, lunch, read, nap, listen to Ted Talks and read blogs from my reading list, catch up on phone games with family and friends (Dice with Buddies and Trivia Crack), take or make a phone call (one a day is about my limit), Luminosity brain training, go through the mail, news, dinner, tv while stitching or crocheting, write a blog entry, check emails one last time, read before bed.

And then I get to do this all over again the next day. Totally fun---not at all boring. In fact, now that I'm up and about, I'm feeling the need to do some household chores. That I could do without!! But there were a few things I was compelled to do---you know my OCD tendencies. Towels were out of order, spaghetti sauce had to be wiped off the candle and the dishwasher needed unloading. I'm limiting my chores to just the kitchen. I can't really be up for too long without my back hurting from the cast and my foot throbbing for having it down too long. For once in my life, I am listening to my body. It just makes me feel so lazy!

Thus is the life of a slacker. I'll take it. I haven't even had time for all the magazines I have piled up. I wonder if I would ever get bored?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

What I Buy Wednesdays

I've decided to start a new column on my blog for Wednesdays. I'll share whatever I've bought during the week along with links, coupon codes and bargains to boot! Since some things may be Christmas gifts, I may have to be a little covert about it.

Let's start off with this cutie:
The website is called Dot and Bo. It's a new place that I've found recently and has good prices. This toilet tissue holder is only $23.99. Now that I have college age grandchildren, this just might be a Christmas gift for one of them. They don't read my blog, so I'm safe posting that! Even if they did they'd have to guess which of the 3 it might be for.

For all of you Starbucks lovers out there, they are running a promotion for March for registered reward card holders. Go here to find out what the special this Monday will be: Happy Mondays. I love FREE!

I love this fabulous literary throw from Barnes and Noble. I need to tell you that I found out about it from Between Naps on the Porch. Just another of the many fabulous blogs I follow.
The throw has quotes from famous literary works. It also comes in a dark brown. It costs $39.95, but I was able to find a coupon online good until the end of April for 20% off. Use this at check out: X8W8L3A
I guess all this sitting around could end up being costly!! 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

This Isn't So Bad After All!

I was prepared to be completely laid up for at least a month---maybe two. I had no idea that after just barely a week, I would be getting a cast and a shoe to put on it! When they traded the splint/cast for the full cast, a guy came to talk to us about the shoe.
He said we could pay $15.00 now or let them file with our insurance company---which he was sure they would not pay for this. If we went the "filing" route, it would cost us $30 in the long run. Of course, we went ahead and paid the $15.00. Can you believe it---$15.00??? Shoes are so darn expensive. Maybe the key is just buying one! Plus, it's a medical thing---always an exorbitant cost. It kind of looks like a ski boot. Anyway, this is to make me more mobile. I had no idea I'd be up and around so fast. Somewhere along the line, I got it that I would have to be completely off of it for 4 weeks. That's what I planned for. This was an unexpected surprise. This must be why they say you should always take someone to the doctor's with you. They say so much that you can't absorb it all.
It will probably be no surprise to you to find that I immediately overdid it!! Hey, I had things to do---like wipe the spaghetti sauce that "someone" got on the candle in the kitchen. Anyway, I guess I was up too much as my foot was throbbing with a few of my toes numb from the cast. I'll try to take it a little easier. Notice one of my projects?
Just a little something I'm working on for a graduation gift. It's a great thing to do while trying to stay off of my feet. At least I'll feel like I'm accomplishing something.

I really have no excuse NOT to take it easy. My friends have lined up meals for the next 5 weeks. They are calling it "meals on wheels"---you know like the old people's program. They are delivering on Sundays and Thursdays. With leftovers, this is plenty of food. I tried to cancel it yesterday since I'm not exactly bed-ridden and was feeling guilty. I've already made myself a grilled cheese and scrambled eggs. Plus, being the pre-planner that I am, I have a lot of food in the freezer (spaghetti sauce, chili, rotel chicken, meatloaf, bbq pork, vegetable soup and several casseroles from my freezer club). They refused! What's a girl to do? I'll just relax and enjoy their "donations!" I'm really the luckiest girl---so many fabulous people in my life! Thank you!

And that's why this isn't so bad after all!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

I Never Knew I Was a Picky Eater!

The girls came over for Happy Hour last night. They were quite entertained by how things were going around here. Butch confessed that he's not a good caregiver. Technically, that's not true. He's doing a fine job. But, I can tell he's getting aggravated with me. I just should have spent a little time training him for the role. Instead I was busy trying to figure out how I could remain independent, when really I can't be.

I've never considered myself a picky person when it comes to food. But, apparently I am! No, not about the actual food itself, but how it's served to me. Butch will give me a huge fork to eat my breakfast on a little dessert plate. That size plate calls for a small fork (salad fork). Same with dessert---large fork. For cereal, he gives me a big soup spoon. He surprised me with strawberries and cream, but then gave me a big soup spoon to eat them with. I know this might seem ridiculous, but it seems "off" to me and a bit disconcerting---the big utensils do not balance nicely on the plate. You're probably thinking---"as little as Butch cares about food---I should be thankful he's serving me at all!" And, I am. He's being very patient and I'm not saying a single word in complaint---to him!

Getting down to the food itself---I never realized how set in my ways I am. I do not want pepper in my scrambled eggs, but yet, do want pepper in my soft boiled eggs. I didn't specifically say how I wanted my eggs seasoned, so how was he to know?

He bought me a loaf of the sunflower bread that he knows I love. I asked for 2 slices of peanut butter toast for lunch with a big glass of milk. He brought the toast, but failed to put jelly on it. I said, "oh." He said, "what?" I said, "you forgot the jelly." He said, "you didn't say you wanted jelly." He's right, I didn't specifically mention it, but when I'm having peanut butter toast for a meal at lunch or dinner, I want jelly. If I have it for breakfast, I take it just plain. Make sense? No, the girls didn't think so either! Oh, and he forgot the milk!

Again, I'm not complaining. I hate that I have to be so helpless right now. I'm able to hobble around a little, but this cast is so heavy! Being like this has made me realize how ridiculous I am about the littlest of things. I always knew that I had some OCD issues, but never realized that they extend to all areas of my life! The size of forks or spoons? Come on!

Butch has been a great care-giver. He asks me constantly if I need anything. I try to save everything up so as not to have him running all the time. I think, when I have the next toe done, I'll prepare some little written tests for him so he knows just how I like things. On second thought, I better not. He might not take kindly to that. How old do you have to be before it's considered "elder abuse!"

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


After being up all night on Friday night, I've been sleeping ever since! I thought I was going to get caught up on tv shows, movies and blogs. So far, that hasn't happened. Hopefully, when I no longer have to have my foot in the air, I'll be a little more productive.

In the mean time, I have  few comments. If you are looking for a REALLY good book, pick The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah. She is one author who can move me like no other. The story she weaves makes me sob out loud. I actually have to take a break from them to catch my breath and calm down. The stories can be heartbreaking, but always end on a happy note. Otherwise, they would just be downers. I love the surprises around every turn too. Butch has actually made he comment that I should stop reading those books---but I just can't. They are sooooo good. I learn something new every single time! That's one of my basic requirements for the enjoyment of a book: Did I learn something?

Speaking of surprises around every turn---if you haven't watched How to Get Away With Murder, I suggest you do. Surely they will start the re-runs soon so you can get caught up before season 2 begins. It is another really good story. I love the back and forth in time format. I love Viola Davis---she is such good actress.

I was disappointed in this season of The Bachelor. Maybe I'm just getting tired of the show. It's really a no brainer. I do like the drama. It can be trashy and I like that too. In order to liven things up, there is going to be two bachelorettes when the show starts up again in May. The two gals are from this season. Apparently, the 25 bachelors are going to take a vote the first night. That should be interesting. I hope they pick Britt. I don't like the other girl.

Lastly, there's nothing like being laid up and having to handle this continuing fraud on our credit card.  The brand new account has already been hacked. Today we just received new cards again---second time in less than two weeks. When I went to activate the new card, I found that the same charge has been put on the NEW card. When I called about it, they say that it is under dispute and it could take 2 billing cycles before it is corrected! What? I guess that means they let it go through this time. I think somebody really messed up. Plus, we think it has to be some sort of inside job. You know, if crooks would spend as much time actually working as they do trying to cheat and steal, they might not have to!

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Things I Learned After Surgery

Basically, I am a healthy person. Aside from wisdom teeth removal, I've only had surgery 3 times---C-sections with my girls. The last one was over 30 years ago.

I'm a good patient. I follow the rules to the letter. But still, there are things you just have to discover on your own. Here's my list.

Things I learned after surgery:

1. No matter how well I planned, some things just don’t work the way they should. Within 4 hours of being home, Butch already started to get a little “testy”! Well, he shouldn’t have left the remote where I can’t reach it!! I had a little spot on my “command center” for it---where it now resides.

2. Somehow, when it is a major hassle to go to the bathroom, I have to go MORE!!

3. Folding the hand towel in the bathroom isn’t so important after all.

4. Making our LEATHER couch my bed wasn’t such a good idea after all. The sheets slid off right away as did the pillows. The pillows for my foot had to keep being adjusted all the time---one more thing for Butch to do.

5. My hair looks like crap and there ain’t nothin’ I can do about it.

6. Oxycodone is a heavy duty narcotic that has a side effect of making you sleep.
Nuh uh! It totally hyped me up. I know that people become addicted to it. I must not be taking enough because I am neither high nor experiencing extreme happiness. I’m not floating either. I’m just the energizer bunny that can’t get off the couch!

7. I should have planned a few more snacks for my “command center.”

8. Whenever I move, I let out a little “poot.” I have no control over it. What I hate the most about that is it seems like such and old person thing to do!

9. Just about the time I don’t think I need anything else, I have to ask Butch for just one more thing.

10. When the doctor said “take the pain medicine and stay ahead of the pain,” I should have set an alarm from the start. Instead, I got behind and had to “chase the pain.” Definitely not a place to be.

Snow Days!!

I was a little bummed while we were in Costa Rica to be missing the little snow we hardly ever get. But, luckily for me, this past week we had a "big" one!! And for us that means 2.9"---our last snow was 5 inches in 2010. We've had plenty of cold, single digit temps too. Our low was 9 on the day we went for my surgery.

Still, I managed to get a couple of pictures. It's so pretty and peaceful.

Growing up in St. Louis, we had a lot of snow. It was always so exciting when we got a day off school. Even today, when I don't even have kids in school, I LOVE to watch the school closings. I'm not the only one who acts like a little kid when it comes to snow days. Mindy started calling two days before the predicted snow. "Do you think I'll be off work?" That's the adult version of "Do you think we'll get out of school?"

Well, she did have a "snow day" from work. It's like a little surprise to get a free day---no matter how old you are.

Butch and I just laugh at our news reporters. Besides the run on the grocery store that is so typical of people in the south at the mere mention of bad weather, the news pre-empts Good Morning America. They have nothing new to report---just the same things over and over.

Some of the things they do while reporting the snow are downright stupid. One reporter brushed away the snow to reveal a layer of ice beneath. To prove it was ice, she produced a hammer and pounded on it. Seriously---do all news reporters just happen to have a hammer in their pocket?

Another reporter laid down and made a snow angel. Unfortunately, when she raised her arms, her coat rode up and you could see the red string of her thong! A little later, she said she would probably never make another snow angel---without actually mentioning the incident.

But my favorite was the line one of the reporters used. "If you have to go out, you should not travel at a speed of more than 25 MPH. Don't let your "giddyup" get ahead of your "woah!

Only in "music city!"

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Surprise Visit to Charlotte

This goes back to a week ago. We got home from Costa Rica on Wednesday and left for Charlotte to visit Sandy and family on Friday. Specifically, we went to buy Mitchell a car. He's been having a tough time lately---over-stressed by school and the college application process. On top of that, his car had become completely unreliable. He had to jumpstart EVERY time he turned it off. The mechanics could never figure out what was wrong with it. He had 3 new batteries in a year.

Anyway, we sure did surprise him!! Turns out that when we got to town, he was already home. He was napping on the couch. I said, "We heard you needed a lift, so we decided to surprise you!" He sleepily responded, "Oh, great." Butch then said, "Come on, I need you to run a little errand with me."

When they got back, Mitchell said he was so surprised when they turned in to an auto dealership. They had it narrowed down to 2. With the convenience of email, Butch had told both that he was buying a car on Saturday, so whoever gave him the best deal would get the sale. As it turns out, the dealership with his favorite car made him an offer he couldn't believe---much lower than he thought he'd get it for.

Mitchell is over the moon!!

 Mitchell is not allowing any drinks in his car. He's been vying for the spot in the garage---using the tactic that he's the last to leave in the morning. Sandy isn't buying it!! We were just happy that we could do this for him. Things are definitely starting to look up for him!!
We also got to see one of his basketball games. That was fun. I hadn't seen him play since they lived in Kalamazoo---probably 4 or 5 years ago.
The Father/Daughter dance was also that weekend. We girls went for pedicures earlier in the day.

I was really happy to see them since it had been since Christmas. The next time we are scheduled to see them is when we go back for graduations in May. That would have been way to long for me. I just love them.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Sister's Crop

Right before leaving for Costa Rica, I met my sisters, Jeanne and Janet at Kentucky Lake State Park for some scrapbooking. It had been quite some time since I was able to have so much scrapbooking time. It can be a hassle to haul so much stuff: tables, lights, printer (except this time I forgot that), Cricut, computer, food, cooler and all of my "go to" scrapbook supplies. It almost takes longer to haul it than it does to get it set up. But when it's all set up, there's just something so relaxing about it. As I pull out my first pre-planned packet, I can feel the calm enveloping me. We usually start out with music while we work and talk. In the evenings we turn on the television. It's just a great way to be together with my sisters a couple times a year. I'm fortunate that I also get to have a few scrapbook retreats with my friends too. I've always said, "I get most of my scrapbooking done when I'm away from home. When I'm home, household responsibilities get in the way of what I would rather be doing!"

Anyway, we've already made reservations to meet again in September. Kentucky Lake is just about half way between St. Louis and Nashville. That means just 2 1/2 hours for me---a little more for them.

 Jeanne planned this title page for us.

 Three layouts about our girls trip to New York---one for each of the girls albums.

 Another title or end page---by me.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Setting Up to be Laid Up

By the time you read this, most likely I will be in the middle of my foot surgery. I have bone spurs in both of my "papa" toes (when talking about all of this, I've found that most people refer to their "papa" toe as their "big" toe. I guess it's a regional thing). The calcium build up has made my toes immobile which is very painful. If I tiptoe up to reach something, the pain almost drops me to my knees (which are bothering me now too---due to how I'm walking). Anyway, the prednisone I've been on for years masked the pain. Finally, even with that, my feet are painful. Hence my "problem" in Costa Rica. Enough of all that.

I've been really nervous about how I'm going to get around---but mainly about how I'm going to get in the house. Butch doesn't seem to be concerned, so I'm trying really hard to take solace in that.

Once the surgery is done, I cannot put any weight on it for a month. In fact, for the first 7-11 days, I have to keep my "toes above my nose." I'm not good at just sitting around. Still, I have been planning and preparing for this for a while. I'm getting myself "set up to be laid up." I'm trying to think of everything I might need from upstairs. I'm going to be sleeping on the couch for a while as I have two steps to get up in to my bed. Until I'm used to negotiating the crutches, I'm going to try to stay put. I want to avoid asking Butch to "fetch me this or fetch me that."

I've moved a little table and the rug out of the powder room---that's going to be where I need to take care of personal hygiene. I'm planning on using the pool bath for showers as it has a place to sit but that will be Monday at least. I'll be doing sponge baths in the powder room until then.
My friend, Madelyn has loaned me a toilet seat that fits over the regular toilet but is higher so it will be easier to get up. I have all of my essentials and even a little make-up. I removed the rug and a little table that I had in there to give me more room.

I've set up my "office" on the coffee table. What I'm trying to prevent is to constantly be asking Butch to get me this or get me that. I am an independent kind of gal and would prefer to stay that way! I've been practicing with the crutches and the rollater (walker with seat that I plan to put my knee on). I'm not very good.
This will soon be my home. I've angled the table so I can get in and out. I have a basket with magazines, kleenex, lotion, blistex, bottled water with a few "drop ins", the remotes, Kindle with book light, a trash bag, tweezers, crocheting and needlepoint in the bag under the table and a trash bag. I left the candy jar that has York mints in case I want a little treat.

 I don't really like doing hair related things in the kitchen, but I'll be washing my hair there for awhile.
The kitchen desk has become my clothes closet. I figured out all of the clothes that will fit over the cast.
When I got home from scrapbooking with my sisters, I left everything in the dining room. I set it up so that when I can get around and not have to lie flat, I might be able to get a little scrapbooking done. At least that's my plan.
I moved things out of the pool bath as this is where I'll be showering since there's a place to sit. I've already practiced that and am not sure how it will work. There's nothing to grab on to in order to stand up. I might just be standing.
I've got plenty of prepared foods in the freezer. Some I've made, others---meals from my freezer club. I've made a list of the things Butch can make me for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I was going to give it to him, but decided he might be insulted. I'll just make some suggestions now and then!

I've got all the laundry caught up. I've done the taxes---well, put all the information together for our tax man---a huge job. I've even written a few blog posts. I think it's going to be hard typing while lying down. The only things I didn't do that were on my list was to defrost the freezer (above) and finish cleaning out my closet. The work will be waiting for me when I'm better.

This is going to be interesting. I have a long list of all the things I can do to keep myself occupied while laid up. Realistically, I won't have the time to do everything anyway. Surely I won't get bored....

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

How to Travel in Unabated Luxury

Now that we're back from our amazing trip, I thought I would share how it is that you can travel in unabated luxury:

1. Tell your travel agent where you would like to go.
2. Ask for boutique hotels.
3. Request private drivers.
4. Be sure that she includes all the “must see” attractions.
5. Tell her all the extra things you would like to do: spa treatments, fishing, golf, etc.
6. Have her include restaurant recommendations.
7. Get back a tentative itinerary from her with a cost estimate.
8. Look over the itinerary and eliminate anything that doesn’t sound good to you.
9. Tweak the activities to meet your budgetary needs.
10. Get final estimate.

The most important rule: Do not ask what things cost individually!!! I say that because you will miss some of the most amazing opportunities if you know what they cost. As long as the overall itinerary fits within your budget, just let it go!! 

Case in point---when we were in Italy a few years ago and had a private cooking lesson in Tuscany. It was an all day thing culminating in the guys joining us for dinner with the dishes we prepared. It was so fabulous. I'm pretty certain that was REALLY expensive. Had we known the cost, we would have felt that we could not justify spending that much money. By not knowing, we had a "once in a lifetime" experience. 

Same with this trip. The hot air ballooning was probably over the top. Had we known, we might have "nixed" it and missed out on an unbelievable experience. I'm sure the hotels were "up there" too. Still the trip met within our budget, so it was well worth it. In fact, Stephanie said that she wanted to go to Costa Rica next year with their friends. Butch said, "Steph, you couldn't afford this trip." To which she responded, "Well dad, we can't afford YOUR trip. But I'm sure we could afford SOME trip!" And she can!!! I think she'll be surprised that she just might be able to travel in unabated luxury for a couple days of their trip!