Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fans gone, work still to come

Well we finally got the roar of those darn fans out of our heads. They came a picked them up Sunday afternoon. Yeah!!!! It's funny, now everyday normal noises sound so darn loud.
I was so glad for them to be gone, I almost didn't mind the huge mess left behind. Unfortunately, they had to remove part of the insulation in the walls and well there were little bits of it everywhere, not to mention all the dust and mess from cutting away sheet rock.
But after a couple of hours it was livable. We can't put the stuff back in the bottom of the pantry because there is no wall there. I just don't feel safe putting food stuff where it is open into the garage, even if it's covered in plastic. The contractor came out to discuss repairs and he said to count on two weeks to get everything replaced, repaired and restored after the insurance signed off on it. So I guess we'll be in a little bit of limbo until then, but at least we can get into the kitchen for now! Warm scrambled eggs never tasted so good! I know me an eggs right.
Thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers. We're trying to get back to as much normalcy as we can.
Mom's still not feeling well, but both Cindy and I are doing ok. I still have headaches but nothing unusual about that. But Cindy seems to be back to her normal self, except very tired. They're working her pretty hard at work this week. She's trying to get all the offices set up before the store opens next week. They are doing what they call a soft opening (not sure what that is really) this Friday, so they have her schedule to work all weekend. Bless her heart they had her work 20 straight, rather long days (going between the closing store and the new store) just before she got sick. Not sure she's up for another long stretch so I hope they give her some time off next week. She's not used to these long days after they had cut her back so far. Working 10-11 hours a day after being used to less than 30 a week is a bit hard to get used to when they don't give you a day or two off either.
Well enough whining from me, just wanted to report that we can hear again, and I'll be able to start blogging again, at least for a while. Not sure at this point when the construction part will start. But it will be nice to have a floor that doesn't ripple and puff and most of all WALLS. It's too weird looking a all the molding, foot boards, toe kicks and walls being gone at the bottom of the walls. It's only about 2 foot up but it just gives a rotting, dirty look to the whole place. Especially under the cabinets being all open. Ick! I'll try to get some pictures if I can get my camera to work properly so you can see what we're dealing with, or at least see the before and after shots when they get finished. I just hope this doesn't cost us a small fortune. With the $2,000 for the water heater and the $700 for the car and the $500 for the deductible, we're swimming in a hole already.
Take care, hope life at your house is less adventuresome!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Every had one of THOSE DAYS....?

Well I've been blessed I haven't had one quite as bad as today in some time now. God has been watching over us, keep us safe from days like this one.
So you all know I've been really working at trying to save us some money around here. Today I guess, I hope, I prayer, it paid off.
First off everyone here is sick. Cindy went to the doctor yesterday and he's running a test for streph throat but he's pretty sure that's what she's got. First week in the new store, new manager and she can't go back to work before Monday.
Mom's getting dizzy again, losing balance again and shaking like a leaf... yes again. These symptoms are usually followed by another stay in the hospital, though we're all praying it won't happen this time.
I've got a good old fashioned sinus infection that has my head killing me, and my sleep patterns are way way off again.
So this morning the kids are suppose to take mom to get some test run. They over sleep so Cindy is going to take her ( I can't drive). They get in the car, with some effort because mom looses her balance and Cindy barely caught her. The air is so hot and humid neither of them can breath. Then the Car won't start! David (nephew-in-law) comes over and says he thinks it's the battery. Bless his heart he has an abscessed tooth and he's sick as a dog. But there's no telling him no when it comes to helping Grandma (mom). So it loads it up, takes it to have it checked and finds there are other problems with the car. Expensive ones. While they are out with the battery, the run a few errands for us, picking up a few groceries, some scripts and some syringes for mom (insulin). Aren't we just blessed with the best family???
Anyway, just after they bring in the groceries, Krys (my beautiful wonderful niece)has a doctors appointment and she drags David in with her so the doctor can take a look at him too.
While they are out and about, we find water all over the kitchen floor. The hot water heater has ruptured and it's spewing HOT water and flooding the kitchen, pantry, laundry room and garage. It's in a tiny closet in the garage and we can't open the door because it's spewing hot water at the door (you can hear it in the house). We are not able to turn the water off, so we call the plumber? It will be at least an hour until anyone can get here. OK try the City and see if someone can come turn off the water for us....? They will get someone out when they can.
Just when I think we're going to have to get boats, my niece walks in the door. Praise God! They get the water cut off. Our new linoleum floor is already rippling from the hot water under it. So we call the insurance company to see if they will help pay for the new hot water heater and continue to try and get all the water up. Nope they will not pay a dime on the water heater but they will set up and pay (after the $500 deductible) a restoration crew to come out and clean up all the water and check for damages. So we have 5 very nice men running around pulling sheet rock and molding off the walls, pulling up carpet, moving appliances, sucking up water, spraying anti-mold spray, and setting up ginormous, ear shattering fans and humidifiers. Thankfully only a little corner of the carpet had to be pulled up. The carpet was dry but the padding was wet and had to be removed in that corner. Most of the sheetrock that has to be replaced is inside the pantry and behind the fridge, and washer and dryer.
The smell of the chemicals they had to spray were making us sick and the deafing roar of the fans is enough to make you want to scream (but no one would hear you). So we called the insurance company again and explained we are without hot water, unable to acess the kitchen because of all the drying equiptment, we're all asthmatics and the smell is killing us, and besides that we can't hear the person right next to us, much less the phone. So they agree to put us up in a hotel for the night. Except when mom and Cindy pile out to the car to leave, ( I didn't want to leave the fans running with no one home and my room is the fartherest back and the sound isn't bad back here at all), the car won't start!
So here we are, $2,100 for a new water hearter and to bring it up to code ( new ones in place since our last heater 11 years ago), $500 going for the deductable plus anything else we'll be out getting the repairs done, and whatever it ends up costing to get the car running.
I didn't save that much, but with God's help, we'll get it all taken care of.
But it's been one of THOSE DAYS!
Hugs, take care and I hope your day was a good one.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Pinching pennies

I've done a lot of searching on ways to save on my grocery bill in the last year. One of the things I have found is that cutting the cost of drug store items has saved me more than anything. I gave up my shampoo and began using the same one mom and Cindy use. Though my hair is far more oily than theirs, I can just wash it more often and only wash it once each time and get the same clean hair and don't use any more shampoo. I just wash it in the sink every other day (if I shower everyday, my skin drys out way too badly).
I've found if I make my own foaming facial cleanser I save a few pennies and I don't waste as much cleanser. I found this article quite a while ago, but didn't put it to use until 3 months ago. I used advice I got here. While this article is about hand soap I use it to make my own foaming facial cleanser using a cheap store brand general facial cleaner. In fact this Walgreen's cleanser, it's a gel style cleanser and hard to rinse off and I end up using to much. Now that it's foaming I use far less and get the same clean face. I've been using it for about 3months now and I just opened my second bottle of Walgreen's cleanser last week.
I use about about a tbsp. of the Walgreen's cleanser in the 6 oz bottle I recycled. Since I wash my face no less than 10 times a day (extremely oily) this has kept my skin from drying out and saved me tons of $$$.
I also recycled an old liquid hand soap bottle and put my dish washing soap in it. Now a few pumps of soap keeps me from using to much for a sink full of dishes.
I've started scrubbing out the sinks with baking soda and I keep a spray bottle filled with 50/50 blend of water and vinegar by the sink. I give it a spray down every time I use the sink, this cuts down on cleaning products. The vinegar water is the perfect cleaner for the fridge too!
These are just a few of the things I been doing to cut the grocery bill, what are some things you do that helps cut that every higher total at the check out stand?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cowboy Stew

One of our new favorites and go to meals is cowboy stew. Why it's called that I don't know it's not stew like at all...giggle but it's my version of something they served the children at school. It's tasty, filling and very quick and easy to make.

In my every continuing need to cut cost, I've gotten into the habit of cooking a pot of beans every week. I like to make my own beans so I can control the amount of salt and flavor them like I like, but you can use canned if you want. You can also use whatever kind of beans you like or have on hand.

Cowboy Stew
  • 1/2 lb ground meat
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • green or red onion, chopped
  • med can of tomato sauce ( we use salt-free)
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 cup cooked Dreamfields Pasta
  • 2 cups or more beans ( I make chili beans from scratch and have on hand)
  • Optional: grated cheese, sour cream, chopped green onions and olives.
  1. Brown ground meat with onions and peppers and put on pasta to cook
  2. Add tomato sauce and season with chili powder and cumin and let simmer a few minutes
  3. Mix in beans; drain pasta and add it too
  4. Taste for seasoning and serve with cheese, sour cream, green onions and olives or whatever else you might like. I normally just add a little cheese in mine.

Since I keep ground meat with onions and peppers in the freezer and I usually cook a pot of beans at the beginning of each week, I can get this on the table in the amount of time it take to cook the little bit of pasta.

This is a good for those nights when you just don't feel like or don't have time to cook a whole dinner.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Great Disappearing Act

It's been a long long time since I've posted. Truth is I didn't have anything to share. With mom in the hospital yet again and then when she came home she was in such pain, I simply didn't feel like watching what we ate. We ate too much take out, too much junk and too many nights of everyone scrounging for something to eat. Even when I could get myself in the mood to cook and feed us all better, another bout of depression would hit and I just couldn't do it. With mom out of commission, and me unable to drive that left Cindy to buy groceries and in this heat it's been hit or miss. More just picking up what we had to have for a few days and unfortunately that included a great deal of convenience food (something I've never liked).

She had dr. appointment after dr. appointment, test after test and no one could find out why her legs hurt her so badly. Her home nurse visited 2x a week and her PT 2x a week and neither of them could figure it out either. She got to the point she was sleeping all the time and was very very restless, talking and moving a great deal in her sleep. I urged and fussed until she agreed to get an appointment with her primary doctor to talk about having another sleep study done. But before she could make the appointment, Vickie (her home nurse) came for her visit and found she'd gained 7 pounds in one day. (Hmmm why didn't she tell me that?) She called and got her in to see the Dr. 20 minutes later. Back in the hospital she went. She had fluid around her heart and they put her on a lasix drip immediately. After a couple days they got her balanced on oral meds and then after only 4 days (sarcasm), she got to come home. Guess what? No more leg pain. She's doing very well now. She's still on the walker, but she's walking a great deal more and getting out of the house a little. She feels better and has been taking on cleaning projects, buy groceries (if someone takes hers, still can't drive yet).

Now she's on a strict sodium reduced diet along with fluid restrictions to keep the fluid from building up again. Now I need to learn how to cook salt-free. Boy you wouldn't believe just all the things that have sodium in them!!! I mean even ketchup and mustard have salt. So I have another challenge on my hands.

It's been nearly two years now since this all started. Since the first diagnosis that she needed to get the valve replaced immediately, finally getting it done in January, all the complications and setbacks since. We're really hoping this last trip to the hospital, is just that, her last trip. Seems every time she comes home she's doing so well until suddenly she's not, and then she ends back in the hospital. We counted it up and she's spent nearly twice as much time in a hospital or one rehab center or other than she has at home this year.

We've all been under so much stress for so long, that I think we've all forgotten how to just relax. My sleeping patterns are worse than ever. I'm having awful bouts of depression and all this rain we've had has had my allergies in full swing.

Cindy bless her heart has not only had all the stress of dealing with mom's health but work as well. It finally got to be too much for her and she had to take off for about a week and "run" away from home. She just needed some time to not worry about anyone or anything but herself. Now if she could have just stop calling home to make sure we were ok, she might have relaxed a little more…giggle. He knees and ankles are giving her problems again.

Mom feels so bad for having put us through this, not that there is anything to be sorry for. But we all live with guilt when it comes to the way our life effects others, even more for those closest to us.

I'm so not posting this for sympathy; it's why I didn't post it while it was all going on. But I did want to explain why I seem to have just abandoned both blogs. Sometimes life just takes all of our attention!

Hopefully, I can get refocused, re-energized, and inspired to get back with it. I just need to figure out how to cook low carb, cheap, and salt free…giggle so the focus is going to have to change a little, but I'll do it. God's been with us all the way through this and he'll guide me through this latest hurdle too. One thing is for sure, canned foods (not that we use them often anyway) are almost all out of the question at this point. No more canned beans, I'll have to make sure I always have cooked beans on hand. On the plus size they're much cheaper anyway!!!!

That's where we are now and I promise to try and post more often. Adding recipes, but with fewer pictures, I still don't have a camera and my phone is iffy at best…giggle

I hope you're all doing well, that your summer is going well and the heat isn't too horrible where you are.

Take care until next time,