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Karen's blog is about life, love, and the pursuit of writing well
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1. Seeking Certification

We got our new jackets on Friday – don’t they look snazzy?! I’m SO BLESSED to work with such incredible people!!

Work is going well. I continue to work my ass off but I’m starting to feel more and more comfortable with what I’m doing. There are moments when I feel like I’m sort of flying by the seat of my pants and thank goodness I think quick on my feet and can ooze fake confidence when I need to, but for the most part, I’m settling into the medical assistant position.

I’ve been a medical assistant for a little over one year now. That sort of blows my mind when I stop to think about it. I honestly feel like I still just stumbled into this gig and I’m BSing my way through every clinic. I’m confident on the phones and handling the scheduling part of the job, of course, but the actual medical part of this job still sort of scares me a little bit.

I guess I’m going to stick this out. I had thought, at one time, I might just hang it up and move on to something else, but this past year, though terribly challenging, and continues to challenge me every day, has been one of the most rewarding years in my life. There’s something deeply satisfying helping people and it’s such an HONOR to work with some of the top 1% of the doctors in the country!

I’m pretty sure this is my last job. I will likely retire from the medical field. Which is so crazy for me. I never, once, in my whole life, aspired to be in the medical field. I wanted to be a writer, a paralegal, or a medical transcriptionist, which true, is in the medical field, but more on the outskirts of the medical field, not in the trenches actually interacting with patients.

And yet, here I am.

I have spent hundreds of dollars on scrubs. When I started as a scheduler, we wore a different color each day of the week. So I spent $200 just on that my first week of work. Now that I’m a medical assistant, our colors have changed again – navy, black and gray. And I have added on to my scrub collection as I’ve gone along because I get bored with one brand, I find something just a little cute/different and/or the fit is unflattering that I can’t force myself to wear them anymore.

Scrubs are NOT cheap. I just recently bought another scrub “outfit” for just under $70.

One scrub top. One scrub bottom.

So. There’s that investment.

And now I’m getting ready to spend another $150 in order to become certified. And another $50 bucks to purchase the study guide and an online test so that I can prepare for this certification process. BUT. If/when I do this, I will automatically receive a $1 raise which means I will have paid for my investment in three weeks and ultimately make more money.

Not to mention, being certified carries more responsibility and more opportunities.

And I’m motivated to do this because the government has implemented yet more strangling meaningful use policies and I’m no longer able to do a few tasks like I used to be able to do. However, I can do these tasks if I’m certified. So OF COURSE, I have to become certified because nothing frustrates me more than NOT being to do something or do my job to my maximum ability.

I will learn everything there is to know about being a medical assistant. I honestly have no intention of going any further than this, at this point. But if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I have an uncanny knack for sort of falling into things so who knows where I’ll be five years from now.

I never imagined I would be where I am now five years ago.

As far as the people … my nurse still drives me nuts – in fact, there are days I would gladly punch her in the face. But she’s sweet and funny and we’re all getting used to her, I suppose. Her personality is just so ABRASIVE! AARGH! And everything about her rubs me like sandpaper, her tone of voice, the way she treats patients, the way she has to include herself in EVERY SINGLE CONVERSATION THAT GOES ON AROUND HER, whether she’s included or not, her obsession with food, her butt crack. Yes, her butt crack. She was a size smaller when she came to us from the hospital but she refuses to allow herself to buy bigger pants, so she wears these tight t-shirts and low-waisted scrub pants and when she bends over – HELLO MOON. Our nurse manager actually came by her one day, yanked down her t-shirt and whispered in her ear loud enough for me to hear, “your butt crack is showing again.” AAARGH She’s just so immature and self absorbed … drives me nuts.

However. I don’t see her going anywhere any time soon so I guess I just need to suck it up. I’ve worked with my doctor for over a year now and I’m the “veteran” on the team since his nurse started with him in October and his PA started with him this past January. Even though I’ve worked with him over a year now, I still feel pretty shy around him. We’re both loosening up around each other now and I am starting to see a lot more of his personality. I’m VERY FORTUNATE to work with a laid back, easy-going doctor. He rarely loses his temper (in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him lose his temper), but you can tell when he’s annoyed. I just try and make his clinics run as smooth as possible, even if that means I make other people in the clinic mad at me because I INSIST they do their jobs.

Go figure.

We’re supposed to be moving into our new home in July. The hospital is adding onto the main building and neurosurgery will be taking over the 7th floor. My doctor was on the planning board for this move so he views it as his baby. I’m really looking forward to moving to our new digs. Not only will it be “new”, it will be next to the hospital and Kevin and I are already planning on meeting in the hospital cafeteria for lunch. (They actually have pretty good food for cheap). Parking will be a challenge as it’s already a challenge at the hospital as it is now, let alone when our clinic starts going over there every day, but we’ll find our new normal, we’ll just have to endure the speed bumps along the way.

The building we’re in now is embarrassing. It’s so old and ever since the announcement was made that we would be moving to the hospital, there has been very little motivation to fix or maintain our building and it’s starting to show a lot of wear and tear.

Oh. That reminds me of a story.

Our air conditioner went out – again. Our air conditioner goes out about every other month, it’s so annoying. So our HVAC guys showed up to take a look at it and found that the wires had been yanked out. Apparently, some homeless guy was living in the area, (the area is enclosed by a privacy fence) and he had cut out all of the copper wiring presumably to sell it. This is what happens when you have a crappy economy and more and more people are out of work – desperate times call for desperate measures.

There is now a lock on the fenced-in area. (There probably should have been a lock on it to begin with but you don’t think about things like this until they happen).

There are always weird situations that crop up in this business, but the latest weirdness happened a few weeks ago. A nine-year old boy came into the clinic for scoliosis. Though I’m not sure how the referring doctor came up with this diagnosis considering there were no films on file to show he had scoliosis. The boy’s guardian was his grandmother, who couldn’t read. So the boy’s mother came with them, but could barely read herself. So getting someone to fill out paperwork was a challenge.

When I approached the front desk to get the boy’s chart and show him back to a room, one of the girls pulled me aside and told me that the boy had gone into the mens’ bathroom and pooped on the floor. Why he didn’t poop in the toilet, I don’t know. (I found out later that the nine-year old boy still wore pull-ups. Not because he couldn’t control his bladder/bowels, but because his guardians were tired of dealing with his rebellious I will poop and pee whenever and wherever I please attitude). When I called the boy back, the mother started to stand and told the grandmother she was to stay in the waiting room. I nixed that suggestion in the bud.

“Is she the boy’s guardian?” I asked.

When the mother quietly nodded, (I can be quite intimidating when I need to be), I shook my head and said, “she will have to come back with him since she’s the guardian.” (It’s a legal issue).

In addition to the boy, the boy’s little sister came back, too. They were both the wildest children I’ve ever been around. They talked a mile a minute and they would not sit still. I had to get the pediatric cuff in order to take his blood pressure and I had to get firm with him because he wouldn’t sit still. When my doctor’s PA went in there next, (she interviews new patients first before the doctor goes in), I heard her raise her voice a few times telling the boy to sit down and be quiet. And when my doctor finally went in there, he was in there for two minutes, (because there was nothing he could do for the boy since we didn’t have any films on him – he’s a doctor, not an xray machine), the little boy followed him out and looked at my doctor like he was a god or something. I’m sure the boy didn’t have a male role model in his life judging from the way he was following my doctor around like a little lost puppy.

In addition to being sad, the whole situation was pretty disgusting, too. They were Medicaid and though I’m trying very hard not to judge people who have Medicaid, more often than not, they are people who were referred to our clinic without a proper workup and it’s a waste of everyone’s time and money simply because the boy’s primary care physician didn’t fully do his/her job. I’m assuming the boy’s PCP simply referred him to our office to get the boy out of his hair.

It’s a terrible abuse of our Medicaid system.

I could go on and on with examples, I don’t want to sound too preachy or judgy, but just know, there’s a REASON why Medicaid patients are cast into a stereotypical mold, because many act exactly the way we expect them to. It’s very sad, to be honest.

Our nurse manager is moving on to another position. We’re all pretty shaken by this news. She’s AWESOME and she will be SORELY missed but we can’t fault her for wanting to further her career. In the meantime, management has formed two committees, (sounds like something management would do, lol) in order to help interview her replacement. I didn’t volunteer for the position, I wasn’t sure I wanted to put myself in that situation, but when they came to me and asked me to participate I couldn’t really say no. This is going to be doubly challenging considering we’re getting ready to move and we won’t really have a “captain” to guide us.

I have a feeling this summer is going to be crazy busy for us.


Filed under: Work Stuff

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2. I Don’t Want to Get Older – I’m Not Ready to BE Old

Weepy glees – have a box of tissues ready.

I cried like a baby from start to finish after watching this video. I think this scenario affects us so much because we have an innate fear of getting older. And an even bigger fear of not being loved because of how we LOOK/ACT when we get older.

I lost it when the guy commented about how beautiful she was to him, wrinkles and all. And you can tell he really means it, he’s just not saying it to be nice. That’s love. Pure and simple. *sigh*

And I love how they kept a sweet sense of humor about everything. That’s exactly how Kevin and I are – we often giggle like teenagers like that.

My age has never really bothered me before now. But I’ll be honest – I’m going to be 50 this year. The big 5-0 – half a century old. I don’t feel it and people tell me I don’t look it but when I stop to think about it, it sort of shocks me. How did this happen? Inside, I don’t feel a day over 30. Knowing I’m going to be 50 this year just feels … surreal. Unnatural. It can’t be real. There must be some sort of mistake.

I’m fortunate. I work with people half my age so they keep me young. I stay physically and mentally active. And I don’t plan on stopping any time soon. I have no plans to retire – why? I ENJOY working. I always have. I get a high out of being productive. And there’s NO WAY Kevin would ever let me stop – I can barely keep up with him now.

Do you think if I stay busy enough I’ll stay ahead of the aging process?

Well I’m going to try, damn it.


Filed under: Life

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3. We Are Officially Empty Nesters

EmptyNest-1 So it’s a done deal, the boys moved out.

They moved out just before Brandon’s 20th birthday in March.

Happy birthday, son!

Now get out. HA!

The move went pretty smoothly. The boys don’t have a lot, their bedrooms were the most challenging to move what with their beds and all of their computer crap, er, equipment. We were able to get everything in Kevin’s truck and I think we made a total of three trips with his truck full. I, however, made about twelve trips. I put their dresser drawers, (full of clothes), into my car. Then I loaded my car down with all the “practical” gifts Santa gave them this past Christmas and which they weren’t excited about AT ALL, until we moved everything in.

I also placed SEVERAL blankets in my car and had to drive very carefully to the apartment when it came time to move their computers. I get that they are both INTO their computers and they have both spent a lot of money on their computers, but I get uncomfortable with just HOW much they’re obsessed with their computers – you would think they were made from glass the way they were both acting.

However, we got everything moved over, unpacked and cleaned up in one day. We were all pretty exhausted when it was all said and done. I THOUGHT I had taken some pictures of their place, but I can’t find them for the life of me. They’re probably on Kevin’s hard drive. I think he wiped our camera cards off so we could go to Hawaii. (What?!? Yep – more on that … one of these days).

It’s a cute apartment. Tiny, but really perfect for both of them. It’s a two bedroom, two bath place. We had to put Brandon’s chest-of-drawers in his closet (which I must say, their apartment has some pretty decent-sized closets) to make room for his over sized computer desk. But it works. They have a wood-burning fireplace. And yes, it works. Their apartment is a corner apartment on the 2nd floor – the corner apartments have fireplaces. It still sort of boggles my mind that apartments have fireplaces – isn’t that a HUGE fire hazard?? I pray they have responsible neighbors in the winter time.

When it came time to look at the available units in their apartment complex, we, (and by “we” I really mean all of us), wanted a third-floor apartment. We figured it would be the quietest – they wouldn’t have to worry about noisy neighbors above them. But the only third-floor apartment that was available when they were ready to move in had carpet in the kitchen.

Um – YUCK and NO.

So, they settled for the 2nd floor apartment. They didn’t have anyone living above them for quite a while but now they say they think someone lives up there but they don’t hear a lot of walking around going on so they think maybe their upstairs neighbor travels a lot of something as it doesn’t appear they are home very often.

We did have trouble moving their sofa into the apartment. Since they are on the second floor and right by the staircase, we didn’t have a lot of wiggle room getting the sofa into the apartment. In fact, there was a moment, when we all sort of paused, our arms aching from holding the sofa and thought, “we are NOT going to get this sucker in.” But somehow, we maneuvered it in and I confess, it’s perfect for the space and a pretty comfy couch. I think, though, if they ever move, we will have to take the legs off in order to get it back out again.

They both swear they are not going to move. HA!

•••)o(•••

It’s been … weird not having them here. They’ve been out for two months now and it still doesn’t seem real. It just feels like they’re at a friend’s house or something. But then again, quite honestly, we didn’t see them very much when they were living with us.

I think Blake was happier about moving than Brandon. I’m not sure Brandon was quite ready to move, but now that they’ve been out for a few months, I think they are both loving it. Who wouldn’t want to be their own boss? No rules. No having to live with the frustration of turning the Internet off at 10:00 PM every night. (Yes. We did that because if we hadn’t, they would have been up all night every night. Nope. Not in our house).

Of course, we’ve spoiled them. We bought them quite a few things and in fact, we still continue to buy them quite a few things. For example, Brandon mentioned that they needed a pizza stone so they could cook their frozen pizzas. We bought them one last night.

Kevin gets quite cranky with me with the all the stuff I buy them, but honestly, it’s like playing dolls or something – I just can’t resist!

Kevin found a George Foreman grill at a yard sale for one dollar. Bought it and to our delight, it actually works. We’ll give that to the boys and show them how to cook hamburger patties.

Roy found a set of 12 bowls at a yard sale for $2 – he will keep some of them and plans on giving the rest to the boys.

They also come over to our house quite a few times throughout the week to eat dinner with us. For two reasons, really: 1., it’s nice to see them and to catch up on their lives, and 2., I worry they will be too cheap to eat decent meals. In fact, Brandon has mentioned he had to call in sick one time because he woke up with vertigo and was nauseous. When I quizzed him about what he had been eating it was pretty much Ramen noodles and cereal.

I rest my case.

•••)o(•••

They’ve had a few incidents since living there. The neighbors next to them have fights and get quite loud sometimes. Blake said he woke up one night to some loud music about 2:00 AM and one of the other neighbors called the cops on them.

They were both pretty nervous to live on their own at first – and I think they both still are – they immediately deadbolt the door whenever we leave, lol, but I think they’re getting more used to it now.

Their apartment is not far from our house. It’s literally down the street. I think the close proximity also helps all of us and is probably the reason I haven’t really “felt” their absence. We can be at their house in about five minutes.

This has been SUPER AWESOME though in regards to them appreciating what they have and what they spend their money on. In fact, shortly after we got them moved in, Brandon held up his hands and said, “Okay everyone, you need to take your shoes off.” haha!

And Blake has already mopped and cleaned his bathroom several times.

I love it! That’s what it takes – though it’s super hard to let go of our children, we absolutely MUST do it. They have to learn to take care of themselves and to appreciate what they work hard to have.

Blake is still working for Kevin – I really don’t see that changing until Kevin finally bites the bullet and retires and closes his office. In fact, he is actively looking for more business and may even have to hire an extra person some day if he gets very much more.

And while we’re on the subject of Kevin’s business, his office lease will be up soon. He’s thinking of possibly moving his office to the front part of the rental house thereby saving TONS of money in rent.

The problem is: will people be creeped out going to someone’s house for their accounting needs? We’re still tossing the idea around.

Brandon is still at the shoe store. And in fact, he likes it, much to my surprise. He’s a cashier, which again, surprises me. It’s not that I don’t think he’s smart enough to be a cashier, it’s just, that job comes with a lot of trust and responsibility and I’m flattered that his boss has that much confidence in him. People I work with know Brandon works at this popular shoe store and I had a co-worker instant message me the other day to tell me that Brandon waited on her and she was impressed with his professional demeanor. In fact, he sold her a program that she hadn’t really wanted to participate in but said that he was such a good salesman, she felt like she would be missing out on something if she said no. haha! That really warmed my heart that she told me that and it makes me EXTREMELY proud to be his momma. I think Brandon will go far in life.

I think Blake will, too, I just think his success will be a little more understated than Brandon’s. But who knows, they continue to surprise me every day.

The extra bedrooms are still empty. We are going to use one room for Kevin – he currently sleeps in his office on a futon. We don’t sleep together because he uses a sleep-pap machine and sounds like Darth Vader and I flop so much and snore that it wakes him up. I think we’re going to use the other bedroom as a game room slash workout room. Not sure on that one yet.

The rooms need a coat of paint. They were FILTHY dirty when the boys moved out. In fact, there was so much dust built up that when I cleaned the rooms, I had a respiratory issue for a solid week. No joke. We are going to paint them next weekend, I think, since it’ll be Memorial Day Weekend and I’ll have three days off.

So yes. We’re now officially empty nesters. It’s been a pretty smooth transition. I love when they come over and I love when they leave. Ha!


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4. Sailing the Inside Passage to Alaska

IMG_1559

Finally. We’re on Holland America’s Statendam. Look at that water – smooth as GLASS!!

Here’s one of my favorite pictures from our 2013 Alaska trip:

IMG_1581

I want to blow this one up and hang it – soooo pretty.

Here’s a short video to show how smooth the water was in the inside passage…

We were also fortunate to see some whales, too.

I wish I could say the trip back down to Vancouver, after our cruise was over, was equally smooth sailing but alas, no, it was not.

We were one of the last cruises of the season and we ran into a storm on the way home. Luckily, our ship was small enough that we were able to stick to the inside passage and though it was not as smooth sailing as above, it wasn’t too bad. Whenever we passed by an area that there were no longer mountains on either side of us, the waters got very choppy and I got seasick. In fact, we have a video, somewhere, of the water in the pool sloshy so much that it soaks the deck. The pool water got so bad, that Holland America had to drain the pool it was making such a mess. But at least we were able to keep to the inside passage most of the way back to Vancouver. We were sailing side-by-side a Royal Carribean ship and it was too large to sail the passage so I heard they had some REALLY choppy waters on the way back.

That is definitely a con to cruising – even though the captains do a fantastic job of avoiding rough waters, it will occasionally happen. That’s when your Dramamine comes in handy.


Filed under: Cruise 13, Vacation

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5. Applying

This picture has nothing to do with anything, just thought it was cute.

This picture has nothing to do with anything, just thought it was cute.

We visited two apartments today.

The first one, we met the gal at the complex and she showed us an apartment on the 2nd floor. The first thing I noticed was – it was dirty. At least, it FELT dirty. And it was right next to a major highway, so there was the highway noise. And then there were REALLY squeaky floors. And the floors felt … bumpy. And I immediately felt sorry for the neighbors down below the unit. And it just felt … wrong. The boys weren’t too terribly impressed, but they haven’t really had anything to compare it to so …

When we left, we discussed the pros and cons. I felt like there were too many cons and I wasn’t impressed.

Moving on.

The second apartment, I had high hopes for. It’s the closest one to our house and the most reasonably priced. It’s near grocery stores and in the middle of a nice neighborhood. I crossed my fingers.

We didn’t have an appointment at this complex, we just showed up. (But to be fair, I had called them them day before and they said it was okay to do that). The guy was super nice and very helpful. He also showed us a unit on the middle floor and I immediately LOVED it. It felt right right off the bat.

The living area was a nice size. The kitchen is small, but again, it’s just the two of them. There’s also a pantry and a coat closet just off the tiny dining area. It has two bedrooms and two bathrooms. And the closet in the master bedroom is the BIGGEST closet I have ever seen. In fact, it’s so large, they could easily have a third person move in and use the closet as their “bedroom.” There is definitely room for a twin-sized bed in the closet. They’ve been toying with the idea of having one of their cousins move in with them… but we’ll see how that goes. It came as sort of a shock to Blake, when we talked to the manager more at length, that if their cousin moves in, he just can’t “move in,” he too will have to go through the application/approval process which means he will HAVE to have a job before that can happen. I’m relieved that was brought up and discussed because I really think Blake had plans on basically supporting the cousin and that would have been a bad idea all around.

They have several units available. And again, I think it might be a better idea if the boys either get a ground floor or a top floor – stay away from the 2nd floor. Having neighbors is bad enough, having a neighbor both on top of you and below you is double the trouble.

This complex has a pool, a BBQ area, and a laundry facility. And Blake is seriously considering paying an extra $15 per month to reserve a carport.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. We left with some applications and went to our third apartment prospect.

But the manager was out and wouldn’t be back for 45 minutes. So we went ahead and came back home.

The conversation we had with the boys was probably one of the best conversations we’ve had in, wow, a LONG time. We weighed the pros and cons of the 2nd complex and talked about a realistic move-in time. After a while, I said, “what, exactly, are we waiting for? Let’s go ahead and start the application process.”

And that’s what we did. The boys filled out the applications and wrote checks out for the application fee. Kevin wanted to see if they could be approved on their own first before we agree to become co-signers. Either way, we are going to work hard to try and make this happen. The manager said they usually have an answer back within 24-hours. I told the boys to keep their phones close.

We never even returned to the third complex.

I’m so excited for them! This is such a big step in their lives!! We talked about priorities – what would they need to buy right away and what could wait. I even found a pretty sweet kitchen table and chairs on clearance at one of the furniture places. I think I’m going to try and talk everyone into going to a few furniture places tonight after dinner, just to give them an idea of how much things cost.

If today produces nothing else, it was a FANTASTIC learning experience for the boys. We can talk to them until we’re blue in the face, but to actually hear someone else explain the process and do some comparison shopping was a much needed dose of reality for them. I was worried about them being able to afford it, but after delving more into their finances, and being shocked by how much they both have in savings (We’re doing something right!!), I’m more confident they will make this work. And they’ll still have keys to our house, they can come over and do their laundry and of course, they’re welcome to come over for dinners to save them money on food, at least, initially.

I’m hoping we have an answer by the end of this week. I hope they get approved on their own, but if they need a co-signer then let’s get the ball rolling on that process. Our goal is to get them moved in mid-March, IF all goes according to plan.

It would be nice to have them all settled before the end of April.

Why the end of April, you ask? You’ll see … :-D


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6. Dear God …

dear-GOD


Filed under: random stuff

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7. Time to Grow Up, Boys!

I have the day off today and tomorrow.

Let’s take a moment and savor that sentence a moment ……………………………………

Okay fine. You don’t care. But I am loving it!

I haven’t had a day off since our Vegas trip in October.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Okay, okay … we’ve savored enough.

I got my gray covered this morning.

me-darkhair2

I ABHOR the hair dresser. Not because of where I go – they are actually super nice and their prices are fantastic – no, I hate going to the hair dressers because that means I have to be messed with and I HATE BEING MESSED WITH.

Body massages and pedicures are definitely out for me.

Know what else I’ve been up to today? Other than a nappie poo … or two … (Hey! It’s a day off, remember?? I can be lazy if I want to be …), calling apartment complexes.

I did a lot of research over the weekend. (I love doing research on the ‘net – so many things pop-up that you don’t think about). And I narrowed our search to four strong possible places for the boys to live.

Yes. The boys SHOULD be doing this themselves. No. If I waited for them to take the initiative they would never move out. I wish I was kidding. *sigh*

Since this is the year we kick them out (I’m DETERMINED to make this happen), then I’m taking the bull by the horns and getting this ball rolling. Plus. They are getting on my nerves SO BAD. They are both so immature and lazy and I’m sick of their little boy mentalities – ENOUGH.

All of these places are close to where we live. And the prices are reasonable. In fact, my first pick just happens to be the cheapest pick. And the closest. When I called to see if anything was available, I learned a con right away – the parking is a first-come-first-serve situation. Which means … what exactly, I’m not sure. But if they want to park under one of the carports, they have to pay an additional $15 per month – which is one reason it’s probably cheap, now that I think about it.

I called all four places today. We are looking at two tomorrow. Possibly three. Since I could never get anyone to answer the phone at one of the complexes, we’ll just take a chance and drop by tomorrow and see if anyone is available to show us around. And the fourth place? Didn’t have any units available until April. Which, may work out fine anyway as I’m not sure the boys would be ready to move out in a week anyway.

We’ll talk about that tonight at dinner.

We have an appointment to meet someone at my second choice at 10:00. When I told Brandon what we were doing, (he isn’t working today) he was NOT excited. When I asked him why, he sighed and said “it’s more responsibility.” Well freakin’ duh! It’s called LIFE son; it’s time to start living it.

See what I’m dealing with here? They’re spoiled rotten. And yes, I realize it’s our fault. Bleh.

Anyway, I’m trying not to get my hopes up about these showings tomorrow. I can’t explain it but I either KNOW it’s going to be right or it WON’T. That’s how it always is with me. I KNEW Kevin was the one for me. I KNEW this house was perfect for us. I KNOW whether I’m going to get along with someone or not right away. I KNOW if I like something or not right away. It’s just a … feeling. That’s the best way I can describe it. Granted, these apartments are not for me. And I will do my best to keep my mouth shut and let the boys do the talking … but ugh. I just can’t wait on them anymore. I’m ready for them to begin their lives whether they are ready or not.

And I’m being selfish – I want two extra rooms in our house. One will be an extra bedroom for either me or Kevin (I mentioned we don’t sleep together, right??) and the other will be an office and/or a workout room.

It’s going to be SO NICE to have that space. But I don’t want to get too excited yet – we still have to make this happen. Blake actually did a budget the other day based on just the money he makes and he can do this – it will be tight, but he can do it. Brandon … can do it but he may have to get another part-time job or get more hours at work. But I’m hoping that moving out will motivate the boys to DO something more with their lives. Right now, they just go to work and play video games. I mean, they will likely do that when they move out, but at least it will be on their terms.

This MIGHT motivate my nephew, my 24-year old nephew still living at home with his dad, I might add, to get a job and maybe move in with them. They have all talked about moving in with each other for years. That way, they could split expenses three ways and it will hopefully kick-start my nephew’s life into gear. WIN-WIN.

Time to grow up, boys!


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8. Walking Through Vancouver

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Kevin was so fascinated by these planes in Vancouver. We watched several take off and land.

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This was taken off the pier in Vancouver. Just another example of Kevin’s eye – I would have never have thought to take this picture.

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Kevin is so cute – I don’t care who you are. (inside joke).


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9. Tweet of the Moment

I would.

We watched “The Iron Lady” this past weekend and WOW – Margaret Thatcher was one tough lady! (And I was super impressed with Meryl Streep’s performance).

But some of the things she said really resonated with me … for example:

One of the greatest problems of our age is that we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas. Now, thoughts and ideas, that interests me.

Watch your thoughts, for they become words.Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny. What we think, we become.

I think we’ve been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it’s the government’s job to cope with it. ‘I have a problem, I’ll get a grant.’ ‘I’m homeless, the government must house me.’ They’re casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There’s no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation.

There are significant differences between the American and European version of capitalism. The American traditionally emphasizes the need for limited government, light regulations, low taxes and maximum labour-market flexibility. Its success has been shown above all in the ability to create new jobs, in which it is consistently more successful than Europe.

Sadly, not anymore. Our country is definitely not as successful as it used to be and I not only blame OBummer, but the government in general. America is no longer, “We the People,” it’s “We the People want the Government to Take Care of Us Because Being a Responsible Adult is Too Hard.” (Insert incessant whining here).

Yes, I’m bitter. I’m one of the 51% working stiffs supporting the other 50% of people who DON’T work. It’s disgusting the way this country kowtows to people who are physically, and mentally, capable of working but choose not to.


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10. Photo: {My Crazy Family By Marriage}

crazy-family

We may be crazy, but MY GOSH we have fun!


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11. Unemployment Drops Despite Obama’s Attempts to Keep it High

The authors compared neighboring counties in adjacent states, and found that states that had the shortest duration of unemployment benefits experienced the strongest labor market recovery. “A 1% drop in benefit duration leads to a statistically significant increase of employment. 1.8 million jobs were created in 2014 due to the benefit cut.” Those 1.8 million jobs represent 1.2% of the U.S. labor force: correlating quite closely to the drop in unemployment over the past year.

What can we learn from all this? Nothing we shouldn’t have already known. If you pay people to stay unemployed, more people will stay unemployed.

Annnnnnd *snap – 2016 can’t get here fast enough.


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12. Roy’s Been on His Own for Four Weeks

That statement doesn’t even seem real to me. Though in some ways, it feels like he’s been living in the rental house for months, not simply a few weeks.

I’ll be honest, I was skeptical. I’m still a little skeptical but more optimist now. The novelty is wearing off but once again, Kevin has surprised me with his determination to MAKE this work. He keeps him busy. So busy, in fact, that Roy collapses into bed at the end of the day. It’s not that he’s physically busy, though Kevin does a pretty good job of keeping him busy washing windows, taking out the trash, sweeping, cleaning up the kitchen and vacuuming at his office, but he makes sure Roy is mentally exhausted as well.

And that’s a good thing. If he’s busy he won’t get into mischief.

I saw Roy out washing the windows on the rental house this morning. The rental house has huge windows, which is one of the things I love about the house (funny – but people either love those windows, or they don’t – it’s rarely in between).

We didn’t tell Roy to get out and wash the windows, he took it upon himself to do it. However, when we went shopping last night, I called Kevin on his cell to ask him if Roy had any Windex, that since this weekend was supposed to be nice (and it is – it’s GORGEOUS outside right now [I actually wrote this last weekend – it’s cloudy and supposed to snow later tonight]), it would be a good opportunity for him to wash the house windows. They’re very streaky and it’s very obvious since the afternoon sun shines right into the front living area.

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(Friday night is our grocery-shopping night. We take Roy with us. When we get there, we go our separate ways: I do our shopping and Kevin takes Roy around and helps him pick out the stuff he needs. He also helps Roy understand the cost of things and teaches him how to budget his money. Can you believe he’s never been taught that before?? Also. Saturday is wash day. Roy brings his clothes over to our house and starts a load. He then goes back home and I finish his laundry. I think I about have Kevin talked into buying a washer and dryer for that house at some point – MAJOR rental perk, I’m sure!).

Roy doesn’t live in the front of the house (pictured above – that’s the living/dining room when you walk in the front door). There’s no reason for him to use the front two rooms. He stays in the back of the house, in the family room, just right off the kitchen.

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Kevin and Roy went and picked up the sofa you see in the picture today. They got it from our niece and her husband – they’re moving into a house and didn’t need it anymore. The sofa actually used to be in Kevin’s dad’s shop before he closed up his business. It’s a decent couch and not bad for FREE. :-)

Roy was feeling a bit like he was living in a fish bowl and had been talking about buying blinds for the huge window just behind the sofa. (There’s a sun room on the other side of that window and though there’s a privacy fence in the backyard, the house is up high enough that his neighbor can see into his house and that creeps him out. That would creep me out, too.

When Roy gets something into his head, it stays – FOR-EV-ER. And when him and Kevin were at Lowes, (they practically live there), Roy spotted some outdoor roll-er thingie shades and wouldn’t you know it, they fit the large window. They’re not ideal and at some point we’d like to have some custom blinds on that window, but they cover the window and work at concealing Roy so he doesn’t feel like his neighbor can see every little thing he does.

Kevin thinks I should write about Roy more often. He wanted me to start a new blog and just tell Roy’s story but hello – HAVE YOU MET ME!? I can barely keep up with this blog, let alone a brand new one. But I do want to write about Roy more. He continuously surprises me. I’m ashamed to admit, even though I’ve known Roy for about 27 years, I haven’t really gotten to know him until these past four weeks. He’s actually pretty funny. And he will say things that convince me that he’s not NEARLY as slow as the family has made him out to be all of these years. I just think the family has written him off and haven’t taken the time to teach him things. Yes. He requires patience. And no, there IS NO WAY I could take him on, full time, like Kevin has. Kevin checks on him and keeps him close EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I could not do that. Judge if you must but I’m just being honest. I don’t have the patience required for that much full-time care taking, however, I’m really glad that I’ve gotten to know Roy because he’s a pleasure to be around.

Yes. He can be devious. Yes. He can be sneaky. And he is mischievous at times. You have to take everything he says with a grain of salt. He doesn’t lie, per se, but he definitely stretches the truth sometimes. The fact that he KNOWS to do that also convinces me he’s not that bad off. He needs constant reassurance and that means he asks the same questions over and over again, (so that you finally have to say, “Roy. Enough. I’ve already answered that question and I won’t answer it again”), and he CONSTANTLY apologizes for, well, being human. Whenever he drops something, or he forgets to do something, or accidentally gets in your way, he’s like a whipped puppy and he apologizes. It sort of breaks my heart, if you want the God’s honest truth. The more I’m around Roy and the more he casually mentions what Kevin’s parents have said to him or treated him, the more I want to go over and give Kevin’s parents a piece of my mind. However. Again. Take it a with a grain of salt. How much is exaggerated to garner sympathy?

Exactly.

Roy dyed his own hair. When he was living with Kevin’s parents, they would keep his hair army short. And since he’s in his mid-forties, he is getting gray hair. This really bothers Roy. He doesn’t like his gray hair – he feels old. He doesn’t like to look old because in his mind, he’s not old – he’s still a young adult. (But then again – do ANY of us really like going gray?)

So he bought a box of hair dye at Wal-Mart the other day and when he went grocery shopping with us on Friday night, I didn’t even notice that he had colored his hair – he did that great of a job. He colored it just enough to take most of the gray out but it doesn’t look artificial. I was quite impressed. Kevin also trimmed up the sides and back so it’a little longer and Roy is in heaven – he thinks he looks sexy. HAHA! He is, however, terrified of what Kevin’s mom is going to say about it because she would never allow him to color his hair when he was living with them.

And that breaks my heart. Every little independent thing he does, the first thing he says is, “I hope ____ doesn’t get mad at me.” That’s how much control she had over him. We keep telling him, “so what – who cares what she thinks,” but deep down, Roy is terrified that she will assert control again and make him move out and back in with them.

And we keep telling him that’s not going to happen.

Again with the patience factor. We’ll just have to prove to him that we’re moving forward, we’re not moving backward and he’s not moving back in with Kevin’s parents – ever.

We’re going over to his house tonight for dinner. He bought himself a crockpot at Wal-Mart last night and he’s cooking us chili for dinner. I’ll probably cook some cornbread and take it over there. We thought him having a crockpot would be a good idea, then he can cook himself some meat and make several meals out of it. We’re still not comfortable with him using the oven, at least, unsupervised, so this is the next best step.

Oh – and by the way – Roy’s dog, Misty. They took her to the vet and they pulled five rotted teeth. She’s doing well. In fact, she feels loads better (I can imagine!). So all is good on the dog front. She’s definitely moving slow, though. The vet said he thinks she has arthritis in her hips, which would explain the way she sort of waddles when she walks. She’s also on a diet – Roy has been feeding her too much and she’s getting fat. So now he measures out how much food to give her. It’s little things like that, not knowing when to stop giving her food, or when to stop feeding himself, that makes him need constant supervision.


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13. Short Tweets

I love this guy’s tweets – they’re 300 bites of short stories. Clever!


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14. Audio Teaching: The Christian Hope: Part Two

I hope you’ll take time to listen to these audio teachings, if not here, then perhaps you’ll consider downloading them and taking them with you?

anchor

What the Bible really says about Death, Judgment, Rewards, Heaven, and the Future Life on a Restored Earth. God originally planned for mankind to live on earth, and His plan, though postponed by sin, will not be thwarted – it will come to pass in the future when a new earth is created. The Christian’s Hope shows from Scripture that each Christian will be rewarded in the coming world in direct proportion to the quality of how he lives for God in this world.

Click the arrow to listen to the Hope of Israel.

A Biblical Look at “Hope”

In order to properly understand the Christian’s hope, it is important to examine the exact meaning of the word “hope.” “Hope” means “a desire for, or an expectation of, good, especially when there is some confidence of fulfillment.” It is used that way both in common English and in the Bible. However, the Bible often uses the word “hope” in another way—to refer to the special expectation of good that God has in store for each Christian in the future. This includes the “Rapture,” receiving a new, glorified body, and living forever in Paradise. Today, the ordinary use of “hope” allows for the possibility that what is hoped for will not come to pass. However, when the Bible uses the word “hope” to refer to things that God has promised, the meaning of “hope” shifts from that which has a reasonable chance of coming to pass to that which will absolutely come to pass. To be a useful anchor, hope must hold fast.

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15. Prompt: It’s a Hard Life – Yes, I’m Being Sarcastic

Pick a random word and do Google image search on it. Check out the eleventh picture it brings up. Write about whatever that image brings to mind.

eskimo First of all, you’re probably wondering how I came up with the word “Eskimo”. Well. Kevin and I do not sleep together. He uses a sleep apnea machine and sounds like Darth Vader, I’m a fish – I flop constantly because I can never find a comfortable spot.

If we don’t sleep together, then we actually get some sleep.

We switch off between the bed in our bedroom and the futon with an air mattress in the man cave (i.e. the screen-in back porch that Kevin enclosed and made into his office). This week, it’s Kevin’s turn on the futon. So. He’s in there stripping off blankets (because I’m hot throughout the day, but for some reason, when I go to sleep, my body temperature drops and I FREEZE – hence the multiple blankets). And he laughed and said, “What are you, Eskimo?” at about the same time I was looking at this prompt …

The picture of the woman above – the first thing I think of when I look at her is, “ugh – no teeth.” The second thing I think of is “look at those wrinkles. I bet she’s really about 30.”

I’m not trying to be snarky. When I look at her face the one word that comes to mind is “rough.”

She looks like she’s had a rough life. I bet she’s had to work tooth and nail (no pun intended) for every little thing she’s ever acquired or owned in her lifetime. I imagine her to have grown children with three or four grandchildren. I can see her getting up at 4:00 in the morning to begin her day. I bet she spends the majority of her days preparing to survive her day and upcoming night. I bet she makes all of her own breads and comes up with creative ways to cook meals given her harsh environment. I’m sure she can skin a fish faster than I can skin a banana.

And I bet she’s happy. She’s content with her life because she was conditioned to live this harsh life. She has purpose. She’s never idle. There is a reason for everything she does. Sitting down is a luxury.

But laughter comes easily for her. She is respected and she is likely more healthy than 60% of lazy Americans. She has a lot to say and a lot to contribute, but she respects her husband and allows him to make the majority of decisions.

And she doesn’t resent him for it.

I compare my life to my preconceived notions of this woman’s life and I come up short. Way short. I’m lazy and spoiled compared to this woman. I take my life luxuries for granted and though I work hard, my efforts are minuscule in comparison. I can not IMAGINE living my life in such a harsh and unforgiving environment – I like my electricity and fast food restaurants. I like my conveniences and instant entertainment.

Though I can’t imagine my life like this woman’s, I’m quite certain I COULD live my life like her, if I was forced to. I wouldn’t like it, it would be incredibly hard and a huge adjustment, but I could, and would, do it if it meant making a life for myself, or my family.

Life is about surviving, not simply existing.


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16. Christianity 101

Living in our rental house is not the only change we’ve been making in Roy’s life – we’ve been teaching him Christianity 101.

He’s been going to church with first his mom (Kevin’s grandmother) and then with Kevin’s parents all his life. And I’m not knocking church – it’s great if you’re getting something out of it. And by that I mean, you’re studying God’s word and learning how, and why, God wants you to live a certain way. It’s a great place to fellowship with other Christians and to make life-long friends. God wants us to fellowship with other Christians.

However. If you dread Church, or you’re not getting anything out of the lectures pastors give, then perhaps it’s time to step back and re-evaluate why you’re going or why you’re not receiving God’s wonderful messages.

That’s where we are with Roy. Roy’s churches have continued to use the King’s James version of the bible. And there’s nothing wrong with the King’s James version, it’s just an antiquated language that is not used anymore. It’s hard for people to understand because we don’t use that language anymore. And because people don’t understand the language (or the culture in which the Bible was written), then people just assume that the Bible is not meant for us to understand.

AND THAT’S BULL HOCKEY.

God WANTS us to know how to read the Bible. He wants us to live our lives by rules laid out in the Bible. He gives us examples of how to live our lives and what can happen if we choose NOT to live by his rules. If we don’t live our lives by His rules, then he is unable to protect us against Satan’s tricks. And of course, it’s Satan’s goals to trick people into thinking they are incapable of understanding the Bible because then he will swoop in and create havoc in our lives.

So. Roy has made the decision of NOT going to church for a while and sitting with us when we have Bible study at our house every Sunday evening after dinner. We watch a few videos from the Truth or Tradition YouTube channel and then we all take turns reading out of the New International Version of the Bible. He made the decision to not go to church because he never felt like he understood anything that was taught. Too many churches focus on the hell and damnation of the Bible and though that is part of God’s word, it’s a VERY SMALL part of God’s word. Or worse, pastors will pick and choose verses out of the Bible, taking them completely out of context, and use them to their own advantage. The first time I realized that was happening was the last time I set foot in a church. I have NO INTENTIONS of going back to church – ever.

God is about love and teaching us humility, compassion, forgiveness and HOW TO LOVE OTHERS. How is anyone expected to be inspired or moved into helping others when all they are fed every Sunday is scary crap about Satan and being fried alive in hell?

Think about it.

Anyway. After watching a video, I asked Kevin to bring up one of their older videos (we have it set up where we watch YouTube on our TV and Kevin controls it with his phone – TECHNOLOGY RULES!) where they talk about HOW to read and understand the bible. Kevin brought up this video:

We’ve been watching Truth or Tradition videos for as long as they’ve been making them and somehow, we missed this one. What a COOL summary of the Bible!!

And we started talking about buying Roy a Bible that he can understand – more like a children’s bible. I wouldn’t mind having a children’s bible to read the basic stories myself. I’m not even sure I know all of the basic stories, to be perfectly honest.

I think all of us, deep down, are searching for something in our lives. Whether that’s the meaning of life, how to make our marriages successful, how to raise a God-fearing child (and God-fearing is actually, more accurately translated, into RESPECTING GOD), how to seek forgiveness or how to cultivate patience … learning God’s word, living a Godly life, tends to satisfy that hunger and produce peace.

Don’t believe me? Try it. What have you got to lose?

*Oh, by the way – I just found out they have an iPhone/Android app. Which I downloaded and am looking forward to using on-the-go.


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17. Photo: Pause

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Slow down.

Savor the little moments.

Turn off the distractions.

Listen.

What do you hear?

What do you see?

Breathe.

Appreciate.

We took this photo in a Vancouver park while we were waiting to board our cruise ship to Alaska. Kevin took this photo because he’s way better at spotting abstract moments than I am.


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18. Write: For Those Writers Out There That Need to Know About the Decomp Process

I looked this information up when I wrote this short piece the other day. Then I thought, “why not share this information with other writers?” Because at some point, you need to know about dead bodies, right?

Or is it just me? :-D

By the way, word to the wise, DON’T Google images for decomp. You’re welcome.

Believe it or not, decomposition begins as soon as you die; it starts deep into the digestive system, where the intestinal flora [bacteria that live in our intestines and that are crucial for the proper functioning of the gut] begin to multiply exponentially and to feed on your internal organs, the same organs they helped protect when you were alive. This process is called autolysis and it begins as the dead body begins to cool off, a few minutes after death. The external signs of putrefaction [bloating, marbling of the skin tissue, swollen and protruding tongue, seepage of fluids from every imaginable orifice, odor of rotting meat] may start to show as soon as a few hours after death, depending greatly on the environmental factors surrounding the corpse. In general, a corpse lying out in the open and exposed to high temperatures and humidity can become completely skeletonized in as few as 10 days to a month, at the most. Areas of the body which have sustained injury or trauma decompose much more rapidly than those which are not injured. However, a corpse that’s been carefully embalmed, put into a sealed casket and interred in a place where there’s little moisture can be exhumed and still be nearly intact several months or even years after the demise.

The following is a copy/paste of an article called “The 26 Stages of Death”, the original of which is located at here.

Moment of Death:
1} The heart stops
2} The skin gets tight and grey in color
3} All the muscles relax
4} The bladder and bowels empty
5} The body’s temperature will typically drop 1.5 degrees F. per hour unless outside environment is a factor. The liver is the organ that stays warmest the longest, and this temperature is used to establish time of death if the body is found within that time frame.

After 30 minutes:
6} The skin gets purple and waxy
7} The lips, finger- and toe nails fade to a pale color or turn white as the blood leaves.
8} Blood pools at the lowest parts of the body leaving a dark purple-black stain called lividity
9} The hands and feet turn blue {because of lack of oxygenation to the tissues}
10} The eyes start to sink into the skull

After 4 hours:
11} Rigor mortis starts to set in
12} The purpling of the skin and pooling of blood continue
13} Rigor Mortis begins to tighten the muscles for about another 24 hours, then will reverse and the body will return to a limp state.
After 12 hours:
14} The body is in full rigor mortis.

After 24 hours:
15} The body is now the temperature of the surrounding environment
16} In males, the spermatozoa die.
17} The head and neck are now a greenish-blue color
18} The greenish-blue color continues to spread to the rest of the body
19} There is the strong smell of rotting meat {unless the corpse is in an extremelly frigid environment}
20} The face of the person is essentially no longer recognizable

After 3 days:
21} The gases in the body tissues form large blisters on the skin
22} The whole body begins to bloat and swell grotesquely. This process is speeded up if victim is in a hot environment, or in water
23} Fluids leak from the mouth, nose, eyes, ears and rectum and urinary opening

After 3 weeks:
24} The skin, hair, and nails are so loose they can be easily pulled off the corpse
25} The skin cracks and bursts open in many places because of the pressure of Internal gases and the breakdown of the skin itself
26} Decomposition will continue until body is nothing but skeletal remains, which can take as little as a month in hot climates and two months in cold climates. The teeth are often the only thing left, years and centuries later, because tooth enamel is the strongest substance in the body. The jawbone is the densest, so that usually will also remain.


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19. If You’re Going to Be A Christian…Then Act Like It!

act-like-it

If you’re going to be a Christian…then start representing! Stop moping around…giving people attitude…and complaining about every little thing that throws off your day. People are watching you.

How do you think you’ll ever be able to convince someone that they should investigate Christianity if their only interaction with Christianity is poor old you and your negative outlook on things? Have you ever considered that you’re actually hurting Christ more than helping him with how you treat other people? Do you think that showing up on Sunday and listening to the band or singing in the choir is going to bring others to Christ?

Christ said that you should “let your light so shine” so that others will want come unto Him.

Instead…you’re like a walking fire hydrant extinguishing any light that might be burning faintly within others.

So if you call yourself a Christian…then just start loving others and overlooking their faults. Quit trying to make everyone else pay for their sins. God’s got that under control. Become ambassadors of mercy instead heavenly bounty hunters and you’ll never have to beg someone to listen to your message about Christ again.

Source


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20. Update on Roy

For those of you just tuning in …

We moved Roy into the house on Saturday.

It was … fun … ish.

The house needed a good cleaning though. It’s been vacant for a little over a year and with all the construction that we’ve had done and Kevin’s projects that he’s been working on, it was a giant dust storm. (In fact, when I got done cleaning the wood floors – which nearly the entire house is wood floors, I was actually wheezing).

Then Blake helped me move his tubs of clothes over to the house and Kevin went over to his parent’s house with Roy to get the rest of his stuff.

Two truck loads later (no seriously – TWO truck loads), we finally have all of his stuff moved in.

And the place is JUNKED up.

Let me explain.

I know people do what’s necessary to cope with stressful situations. I get that. However, it annoys me to no end that Roy’s caregivers didn’t see, or plan, for the bigger picture. Instead of allowing him to spend money on superficial, spur-of-the-moment and rash desires (I think he has five remote cars, one violin, a drum set and countless video game systems) in order to entertain and appease him into submission, why didn’t Roy’s caregivers start a hope chest for him. Like a bedroom set. Living room furniture. Kitchen gadgets and appliances. Items he could store away in his “hope chest” so that WHEN he moved out (because come on – it HAD to happen one day, one way or another), he would be better equipped to start his new life.

Instead, when we moved him into his house, he had nothing. Nothing. Not even his own bed. And being the middle of the month, and several hundred dollars poorer (not sure where that money went, quite frankly), he’s starting out with the barest of bare essentials.

We ended up buying him a $100 bed frame. It’s rickety and sheer plywood, but it’s a bed. He didn’t have enough money to buy a mattress, so we ended up buying him an air mattress. And he’ll likely have to sleep on it for several months because we’ve already budgeted his money out a few months and he has upcoming expenses that he won’t be able to get out of, unfortunately.

He doesn’t have anyplace to put his clothes, so he’s quite literally living out of plastic tubs, for now. He does have his own TV and plenty of entertainment, OF COURSE, and his own recliner that actually belonged to his mom (Kevin’s grandmother). He also got her dishes and towels, so there’s that.

We bought him super cheap (like you can actually bend it with your hands) cookie sheets, silverware, kitchen gadgets, toaster and pots and pans. (The pots and pans are so small, like almost look like they belong to a doll, but they will work for now since it’s only him). He already had a George Foreman grill and a toaster oven, which he’s okay using. We’re not sure he can handle a full-blown oven yet. And I’m not sure we feel comfortable with him trying. So, he’s not to use the oven, for now.

Of course, the house has a microwave and a fridge, so there’s that.

And that’s pretty much it.

I can assure you, Kevin now has full control of his money and will make every dollar count because Roy is going to need every dime in order to make a life for himself. No more brainless purchases. We counselled Roy and told him when it comes to money, bills first, needs second, wants third. Period. That’s how life works.

So what the heck was the two truck loads of stuff, you ask? Good question. We haven’t had time to go through it yet. But just Kevin’s initial survey? It looks like we will be donating a bunch of stuff to the Goodwill and/or filling a dumpster.

Roy has his dog. Who is 11 years old and not getting around very well. She belonged to his mom (Kevin’s grandmother) and she has several teeth that are rotting away. They made an appointment for her to see a vet the beginning of next month (government payday) and Kevin found out how much that is going to cost: $320 – they will have to put her to sleep and pull several teeth. And they also cautioned that since she’s so old, she may not even survive the procedure. So … Roy has the emotional stress of not knowing if his dog will survive another month or not.

This poor kid (I call him a kid, but he’s 44 [?] – a kid in a man’s body) has been through so much in his lifetime. I found out some pretty shocking news about his birth mom – Roy told me himself. I never knew his family history and I won’t repeat it here. Suffice it to say, NO ONE should have to go through life with the crap that Roy has had to go through. I think that’s another reason Kevin and I are so determined to help him – we just feel sorry for the guy.

I’m a little annoyed with Kevin’s family, to be frank. I feel like everyone is just waiting to write Roy off. No one offered to help move him into his own house, no offers to periodically bring him food – complete silence. (What the hell??) Granted, we have no idea if Roy will be able to handle living on his own, but at least this way, we can say that we tried it. This is a trial run for Roy. We’re hoping he’s able to handle it, and himself, and if/when the time comes that his parents want to move into the house, Roy will be used to living on his own and will prove that he CAN live on his own, so we can move him into a nearby duplex or apartment. If Roy can not live on his own, then we will have to look at a housing program for him. Which, in some ways, may be better for him because at least this way he will have people around him and can make friends.

Roy has lots of acquaintances. He is the most sociable, and likable quite frankly, person that I know. He has no qualms walking up to people and striking up a conversation. (Which is both a good and bad thing). But friends/friends? I’m not sure. He goes to church every Sunday (Kevin has been taking him) and he has friends there. We sort of have a standing joke that people are always saying “Hi Roy!” to him wherever we go. He seems to know EVERYONE. But I don’t know how “close” these “friendships” are, you know? I think people are just being nice to him because of his mental condition. I don’t know that Roy has ever been close to anyone outside of Kevin’s grandmother.

So maybe a home would be good for him in that aspect.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. We’re in trial mode now. We’ll just have to see how he does and hope he doesn’t hurt himself or burn the house down.

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21. Linda, Listen to Me

The doctor I work for actually showed me this video. We were coming back to Springfield after our out-of-town clinic last Friday and he, his PA and his nurse were talking about it. I mentioned not having seen it and Dr. M. pulled out his phone and showed me. (That sounds sort of dirty, lol).

What a cutie pie! Of course, after getting over the cuteness I would probably spank his little bottom but you have to admit, it’s pretty cute.

It won’t be so cute when he’s seven/eight though.

And you know he most likely picked up this “bargaining” power from the adults in his life. You can tell his mom is always saying, “Listen to me.”

This is a pretty terrible example to set for your child. Instead of teaching humility and responsibility, (“I’m sorry, mom. You’re right, I shouldn’t have tried to ask for cupcakes when you already told me I couldn’t have one”) it’s all about talking your way out of bad behavior.

Yes. Of course I realize he’s only three years old – you’re missing the point. Cute/funny aside, look at the big picture. What is this sort of behavior teaching him?

Kids are sponges. They react and learn from the people in their lives. Think about it.


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22. Excited to Board Our Ship

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Still waiting to board our cruise ship to Alaska. This was back in October 2013.

We chose Holland America. It was the last cruise to Alaska in 2013. It was a smaller boat and full of old people, we were one of the youngest couples on board. It was comfortable though and we thoroughly enjoyed it. It won’t be our first cruise line choice in the future, but we certainly don’t regret sailing with them.

If you’re ever in the market to take a cruise, TIP: stay overnight in the city where your shipped is docked. We flew down the same day our cruise was set to take off (it was our first cruise – rookie mistake) and very nearly didn’t make it in time. It was one of the most stressful times of my life and we vowed NEVER to do that again. Yes. It’s more expensive, but it’s money well spent in the end because you arrive, get to do a little sight-seeing, get a good night’s rest and arrive in plenty of time to board the ship the next day.

And speaking of cruises … I don’t think we’re going to have the money to go on a cruise this year. Which is very disappointing as this will be our 25th wedding anniversary and I’ve always told Kevin I would love to go to Hawaii for our 25th anniversary. I wanted to take a seven-day cruise around the Hawaiian islands this year but wow – expensive. And we would have to cash in ALL of our AA airline points THEN SOME and well, money is tight. We’ve been fixing up the rental house and … life happens. So. I know Kevin feels bad about it but I don’t want to stress him out so I have firmly declared that we’re taking a staycation this year.

There’s always next year, right?


Filed under: Cruise 13

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23. Motherhood Comes in All Shapes and Sizes

I love, love, LOVE this video. I’ve always had a problem with sanctimonious mothers who think THEIR way is the BEST way to raise a child.

I couldn’t disagree more.

I bottle fed my children and I’m not ashamed to admit that. I used to be ashamed to admit it because whenever I would mention it on this blog, or anywhere else, quite frankly, I would get the disapproving stink eye or a snarky comment. And then I would inevitably feel inadequate and guilty.

Not anymore, dude. I’m not even going to justify my decision – I did what I thought was best for my children and my sanity.

It always annoys me whenever people feel the need to justify their decisions. I’m sure you did what you thought best. End of discussion.

And that’s where I stand on motherhood issues.

Whether you bottle fed, breast fed, stayed at home, worked out of the home, used cloth diapers or disposable diapers – in the end, it’s really none of my business. As long as you’re doing what’s best for the child and your family, it really doesn’t matter. The ultimate goal is to raise our children to be responsible, educated, compassionate human beings; how you reach that goal is up to you. There is no “one size fits all” answer, no matter what you hear politicians, the media, or even other mothers try to convince us otherwise.

You do what’s best for you and your family and don’t you dare feel guilty about your decisions or feel like you have to justify your decisions.

Ultimately – it’s none of our business how you live your life.


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24. Audio Teaching: The Christian’s Hope: Part One

I hope you’ll take time to listen to these audio teachings, if not here, then perhaps you’ll consider downloading them and taking them with you?

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What the Bible really says about Death, Judgment, Rewards, Heaven, and the Future Life on a Restored Earth. God originally planned for mankind to live on earth, and His plan, though postponed by sin, will not be thwarted – it will come to pass in the future when a new earth is created. The Christian’s Hope shows from Scripture that each Christian will be rewarded in the coming world in direct proportion to the quality of how he lives for God in this world.

Click the arrow to listen to the Acknowledgements/Prayer/Introduction.

Click the arrow to listen to Our Valuable Anchor.

Read along here.

A Biblical Look at “Hope”

In order to properly understand the Christian’s hope, it is important to examine the exact meaning of the word “hope.” “Hope” means “a desire for, or an expectation of, good, especially when there is some confidence of fulfillment.” It is used that way both in common English and in the Bible. However, the Bible often uses the word “hope” in another way—to refer to the special expectation of good that God has in store for each Christian in the future. This includes the “Rapture,” receiving a new, glorified body, and living forever in Paradise. Today, the ordinary use of “hope” allows for the possibility that what is hoped for will not come to pass. However, when the Bible uses the word “hope” to refer to things that God has promised, the meaning of “hope” shifts from that which has a reasonable chance of coming to pass to that which will absolutely come to pass. To be a useful anchor, hope must hold fast.

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Filed under: Abundant Life

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25. Rental House: Ugly Wallpaper

This wallpaper used to be in one of the bathrooms in the rental house. And this was actually just one of the pictures on the wallpaper. There were several different bathroom scenarios – I think one of them was a naked man peeing into the toilet.

What were they thinking putting that on the walls? Were they trying to be funny? Because it wasn’t only inappropriate, it was the ugliest wallpaper I’ve ever seen.

Ever.

I wonder if we’ll look back on the fashion choices we’ve made today and think, “What was I thinking?”

Actually. We already do. HA!


Filed under: Rental House Woes

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