Saturday, January 30, 2010

What' the Point?

Since my last post our family relationships have become viral. As when my mother was ill, old wounds and skewed perceptions have festered, then spread despite various precautions and interventions.

Have you ever felt someone was angry and not known why? Have you asked and been told, "I'm not angry, you are."? Has that person's behavior spread the infection so far that you all quarantine yourselves?

And then, along comes a child's fifth birthday party! Instead of feeling joy we're dreading it. Instead of a celebration we fear a standoff with some family either not attending or texting to see when others have left.

I'd like to wake up tomorrow and realize my fever's broken and I'd been hallucinating!

Thankfully, today we're invited to my oldest son's for lunch. It's a welcome diversion from the "sick room" feeling we've experienced. By Sunday afternoon maybe we'll feel well enough to weather any attacks on our immune system!

I can tell you this much: If families can't get along now, what the hell will they do when it REALLY matters?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Things Are NOT Recovering

Other than shopping monthly, reading the blogs or watching TV, I wouldn't realize just how crappy the economy is. Truly, I wouldn't because I don't interact in it or rely on it like the mainstream.

I'm not a nine to fiver; I don't dress for success, chase the almighty dollar or watch the clock. I don't have massive debt, creditors calling or late notices in my mailbox. In that regard, I'm really, really fortunate.

But today, via email and phone calls I got a peek at how horrible it's become locally. My son, who bought three foreclosures to rehab into rentals, called with this news: one house had been vandalized of work tools and lumber; another house had squatters hiding out in the attic!; and, as he came in the front door of his home, someone carryied his 32" flat screen TV out the back door. It was the ONE time he hadn't left his pit bull and Golden Retriever home. And believe me, they don't let anyone in the door! What a Monday!

Then my youngest sister called. She'd been out walking her dogs and found a young girl (maybe 8-10) picking through a garbage can! She wasn't in school and said her family had no heat. I've never heard of such a thing in this area. Never. Not picking through a garbage can. Most malnourished kids go to school because they qualify for the school breakfast and lunch.

Then I emailed a friend who'd been laid off from her counseling job. The agency had lost its funding and closed with a two week notice. My friend will be fine. Everything she has is paid for. She has savings, grows a garden and cuts her own firewood. So I asked, "Out of curiosity, how much do you think the economy affected your practice?" She said: "One Hundred Percent."

Without violating confidentiality, she said every single client's concerns/problems could be traced back to the economic downturn, though she had a different term for it: the "Shit can system."

I'm sure her terminology is due to the frustration she and her colleagues felt after losing their office and its affect on their clients. Imagine, day after day, hearing the horror stories of people whose lives have skidded to the bottom rung. Drug, alcohol and physical abuse. People losing their home, cars, jobs, savings, health insurance, status, security (or at least the perception of it), marriages and relationships. Children acting out, being teased and getting depressed.

Regardless of race, religion, or age, people everywhere are being affected by the downward spiral of "the economy." Sometimes its not as noticeable. Sometimes people aren't looking - too busy being entertained and pacified - but what happens at the top (think Washington, DC., the Fed and Wall Street)trickles down. Always has and probably always will.

It's the middle guy and the little guy and those who are nearly invisible who are most affected. It makes me mad as Hell to see this deterioration. And it makes me more determined than ever to push back, to practice local charity and prep like Hell.

With regard to charity, I don't "donate" to any organized, tax exempt group. I don't trust it and feel I have an immediate affect working one on one. My sister discovered who the young girl's family was. Tonight I packed some food to deliver there tomorrow. I also called a friend who operates a free store. She has access to heating funds, clothing and will lend a hand.

My youngest son has a girlfriend who's struggling. She works 30 hours a week for $7.60 an hour. She has a five year old daughter and lives in a trashy mobile home she rents for $100 a month. I've never been there but my son says,
Think Appalachia." My son keeps her van running and I give her one box of food a month enough to feed them for a week. This gal gardens and cans and goes deer hunting so she's tough but still she needs a little help.

These are my charitable contributions. If anymore were expected of me, well that's another post.

We're monitoring the weather reports because snow and single digit temps are on the way. We have three out of town medical appointments this week. Not looking forward to the road conditions! Have a great week everyone.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Some Progress

This is a Charles Wysocki puzzle Dad and I just completed. The scene reminds me of what we should all be striving for: self-sufficiency. This place has everything but a lake or spring but, who knows, maybe they're hidden from view! What more could we desire? A fruit tree, garden, farm animals, outhouse, well, sturdy home, woods to supply the fireplace and plenty of fresh air!

Dad opted out of our excursion yesterday so we ran errands. Our first stop was the lumber yard for twenty 2x6 treated planks to expand the deck area at the front door. We recently added a used storm door courtesy of one of my son's foreclosures. Prior to this project, which Sweetie completed in two and a half hours - we had three steps to the front door with no landing before entering the shed. With no room to manuever this made access difficult and dangerous.

Come spring we'll connect the "new" decking to the existing deck and eliminate one set of steps. In the meantime we built a 4x8 foot platform, snugged it against the house and reattached the steps and handrailing.

At the Habitat ReStore we picked up new bread and pizza pans for 50 cents each and 4#s of 16 penny nails for 50 cent a pound.

We were gone three hours and checked in on Dad once. We also stopped at my oldest son's where I delivered the message intended for my family members on Tuesday: "Grandpa's wondering if you've all forgotten him. He asked me to check if his phone was working because he seldom gets a call." That got his attention.

As we were leaving he asked what we were having for supper. I told him roast and he pulled one out of his fridge. Seems we were on the same wavelength in that regard.

"If you'll prepare it, I'll get Bryan to pick me up," he said. How could I refuse? We had a great gabbing around the table as we devoured two beef roasts, sweet corn, french bread, Yukon Gold potatoes, broccoli and peach and blueberry pies.

Telling my son about Dad's "wondering" guaranteed the message would travel thoughout the family with maximum impact. The family listens to him because they know we're close and he's able to best "explain" me!

Tonight my youngest sister is coming for a visit. Tomorrow Dad's invited to feed scraps of wood into the stove at my youngest son's while he finishs drywalling. When completed, this rehab will be off grid and he'll stop paying rent.

So onward we go. Hope you all have a great weekend, Treesong

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Returning to Normal?

A little at least. I usually take a walk every morning. I'd slacked off for a month and began again just prior to Dad moving in two weeks ago. Since then I've been out trekking four times. This morning I resolved to head out no matter the weather, my frame of mind or anything short of an ambulance being in the drive.

It was a little slippery but I had my cell phone in case I took a spill and couldn't get up. Wouldn't that bite?

The forecast for Lake Linden calls for a high of 25 but it's already 32 here at our paradise. Gotta love that lake effect warmth and half the snowfall!

Another real estate sign has popped up in the neighborhood. Seventeen acres that sold last year is up for sale at twice the price. Just over 500 feet of inland lake shore - but the DEQ won't permit building within any reasonable distance of the shoreline due to some wetland areas. Will be interesting to see if anyone bites.

Yesterday we watched the political race in Massachusetts. The Democrats had better pay attention. The Republican winner has an opportunity to take his message - and the underlying ramifications of it - and create a new momentum that puts all politicians on notice. The people are sick and tired of not being represented. There was much made of the Dems arrogance, their poor listening skills and the runaway spending. Today, what little news we listened to, talked of various "spins" regarding the Massachusetts race.

To put it bluntly, the time is ripening for a revolt by the people. And our so called representatives had better change course. Last night one news commentator essentially said the people are ready for a revolution. I seldom listen to the news so it was surprising to hear this.

Well enough of my limited political observation. I hate politics! Good thing I live in the boonies. If I were in Washington I'd likely be arrested.

We're working on a puzzle again today - cheap entertainment. When it's finished I'm going to post a picture of it. You'll see why - soon, I promise.

Monday, January 18, 2010

People & Their Perceptions!

Well, life is always interesting, especially when it comes to people!

As usual, family opinions and perceptions are in overdrive now that Dad has decided to stay here for the winter.

From their perceptions, we live in the hinterlands at the End of the World; we're weird, "don't do anything," and are only interested in his money. What a few of them forget is it's HIS money and he's already doled out nearly every cent he had saved to ALL of us, them included.

And then there's old wounds, old prejudices and old judgements and a few of them cling so much to them that they can't operate in the present - for Dad's benefit. Oh well, they're the losers as far as we're concerned.

In two weeks he's had two phone calls and one visit - despite me reaching out in order to keep Dad "in the loop." Today I was nearly brought to tears and then got pissed. My Dad asked me to call his cell phone to see if it was still working!!!

Tomorrow, we take him to his house to pick up a few things, drop him off at my youngest sister's (if she remembers), then take him to his doctor appointment. You can bet I'll ask her and any other family member I see if they've forgot about him.

It's a sad day when family can't get beyond their judgements and absurd fantasies about "What they're doing to Dad" and just spend time with him.

Two nights ago my sister-in-law emailed her husband and told her about Dad. She also sent him my email to her concerning him. In it I was upbeat and informative and attached a picture of Dad. The A-- wrote back to her and said, "Well, isn't she cute!" This was followed by a barrage of criticisms and accusations, some from when our childhood!

No wonder he trains snipers! Goes straight for the juggler and ignores the the elderly, ill man.

Sorry for the rant but I can't and won't sit here and bitch to my Dad about the jerks. Maybe tomorrow I'll be back on track regarding prepping and homesteading, etc.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Hole In Our Preps!!!

Sooner or later we had to discover it. Thankfully, it was something small - a supply of night light bulbs!

And being the bragger that I am (concerning how prepared we are) Dad had to add his two cents. "You're kind of low on ink pens." And we are.

And now, after a whirlwind week of doctor appointments, grocery shopping and various other excursions to Consumer Land, we have no appointments until January 19th.

"Well, can we stand nearly five full days at home?" I asked no one in particular.

"The question should be can the three of us stand one another for five full days at home," said you know who.

"Oh, the cats will keep our attention on them instead of one another," said Sweetie.

And so it is.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Since January 10th

Dad had his return appointment with the "bone doctor" on the 12th. He no longer wears his sling and received a cortisone shot, instructions for arm exercises and an admonishment: no shoveling, no lifting. The doctor refuses any surgery and employed a lot of humor to communicate to Dad that staying with us was a wise choice.

Today was his regular VA Clinic appointment for a B12 shot and blood draw. On the way to town he said, "Well, I think maybe I better stay with you guys for the winter." Sweetest words I've never heard in a long time. No more concerns about him climbing nine steps to his front door, falling, or being lonely.

My brother, who's in Jordan, was told about Dad's fall, etc. and said he'd call Dad. That was three days ago. No call yet but that's par for the course. My sisters and children are a bit stunned that he's decided to stay here because "he's always on the go." I said everyone eventually slows down and Dad left home every day to have company. Duh!!!

Yesterday I said I hoped he wasn't bored to death here but he said he was bored at home "with no one there." So as far as we're concerned that's settled.

This family doesn't communicate with one another so I've called everyone - including my ex - and told them, "This is his home too. You can visit him anytime; you can pick him up anytime/anywhere; you can call him on our line or his cell but he's made his choice!"

Believe me, it will be an adjustment for all of us!!!

On a lighter note, even our cats are making the adjustment. Kitty Kitty's taken on the role of "this is my house" while Dad's cat, Oreo, who's never gotten along with other cats, has tried repeatedly to befriend our cat. Quite the role reversal we were expecting. Even at his house Oreo would never accept other visitors, let alone cats!

We placed Oreo's litter box and food dish in a location out of sight of Kitty Kitty but Oreo has decided to use our cat's possessions. For two days, Kitty Kitty sat on an ottoman glaring at Oreo whenever she did this. Today, she placed herself between the two locations and growls whenever Oreo approaches. Not to be swayed, Oreo gradually approached Kitty Kitty and sat down nearby. She'll remain there for several minutes while our cat protests, then walks away, only to try again later. Maybe persistence will wear Kitty Kitty down. Time will tell!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Jessie Ventura, Hoarders and Other Thoughts

First, I didn't mean to give the impression that I'm complaining about my Dad being here. Far from it. He's always been nearly our only company so appreciate this time with him and his reports to my siblings that "he's being spoiled."

His stories are interesting and varied. Today he talked about a potato farmer in Posen, Michigan; his time on the icebreaker Mackinaw; his memories of living in Detroit during the Depression; and when he first asked a girl to dance!

Today, we did our monthly shopping and Dad was along for the experience. I spent $189.43 which included two 10# bags of chicken, three large packages of pork sirloin chops, two packages of brats and three packages of chicken gizzards. Everything else was dry goods, four 34.5oz. cans of Folgers for $6 each; some canned goods and fresh veggies. As usual, I noticed the price increases: butter up by 50 cents; potato chips up by 25 cents; hamburger was $2.79# and 2# of carrots were $1.76. The "on sale" meats were real shockers: beef roast $3.49 - $4.29# depending on the cut; there was a $1.22 per/pound difference on sirloin pork chops between Walmart and Econo Foods. So once again, we'll eat less meat and more soups and casseroles.

My oldest son was here visiting last night and someone mentioned Jesse Ventura's Conspiracy Theories. Surprisingly, my son said he watches the show and agrees that most of what's presented is "probably true." Of course I had to say, "How can you think those stories are true and not prep like we do?" Silence filled the room and it seemed that a light bulb went off. Tonight he was back out here to do some electrical work. On the drive back to his girlfriend's workplace he said he was awake last night thinking about what I'd said. I simply said, "Well, keep thinking."

We have another reason for appreciating this place - lake affect. It's always 10 degrees warmer here in the winter and 10 degrees colder in the summer and the annual snowfall is less. Sweetie has plowed the drive about six times this winter and three of those were "just to play" in two inches of new snow.

And then there's the TV show Hoarders. Any of you watch it? The few episodes I've seen are a reminder of my youngest sister - during most of her life. Medication and counseling has helped some. My mother was a hoarder but not a messy one. When she ran out of storage she just bought a warehouse, and then another and another. When those were full she bought old semi trailers and parked them in the field. She's been gone since 1997 and there is still stuff to clean up.

I can see a larger garden and maybe an chicken or cow in the near future. And come spring we'll begin to accumulate firewood! I'll feel better when we have three years worth stacked.

If the price increases continue - which they will - well, I just can't imagine the pain it's going to be for people. And if you're a prepper don't your appreciate all those items bought at lower prices?

Well, time to do the dishes. Take care, Treesong

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Having Another Person In the House...

We've learned that three adults take up space! We're developed certain habits that don't fit with an elderly, injured person in residence. I've been relaxing on the sofa but Dad has taken that spot and throughout the day we play musical chairs. Part of this may be that he's trying to get comfortable and part may be that he's used to sitting in one place at his house or my sister's.

Our supplies have served us well. We've utilized the raised toilet seat, urinal, bath bench, spare sweatpants, T-shirts, socks, flannel shirts, extra large bath towels, medical supplies, two bed quilts, two lap quilts and a pillow. In the kitchen I rearranged a cupboard so Dad could reach his favorite coffee cup and cereal bowl.

And, with one more person here we've notice how quickly the food is used. Not complaining, mind you, because most is restocked from our pantry. But if we had 1-4 more people here full time - WOW!

Overall, this experience has revealed our need to organize things differently. Easier access is the key to a smooth running household but we tend to pack things in boxes and stuff them out of sight. Fortunately, there was no emergency but searching for things raised my blood pressure!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Companies Destroy Unsold Items

Got this elsewhere on the web:
"This week the New York Times reported a disheartening story about two of the largest retail chains. You see, instead of taking unsold items to sample sales or donating them to people in need, H&M and Wal-Mart have been throwing them out in giant trash bags. And in the case that someone may stumble on these bags and try to keep or re-sell the items, these companies have gone ahead and slashed up garments, cut off the sleeves of coats, and sliced holes in shoes so they are unwearable."

If this isn't the most wasteful, stupidest thing I've heard TODAY. The corporate nitwits ought to be forced to wear these items.

I was reading the entire article to my Dad and he said during the Depression potatoes were thrown out but first dyed purple to discourage people from eating them!!!! In other words, if you're not going to buy a product - regardless of the reason - then we'll make sure it's completely unfit just in case you think you're going to get it for free.

Knowing me, if I had discovered bags of new items intentionally damaged I'd be remaking them into usuable - just to spite the bastards. Just curdles my blood.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Our Hospital Visit

WE abided by my father's desire to wait until today to go to the hospital for his injuries. Had I thought they were life threatening he would have been taken directly there after arriving at our house.

Anyway, Dad woke up three times this morning: 6:30 a.m., 8 a.m. and 9:45a.m. After eating his oatmeal and having his pedicure (which he sorely needed) we went to the hospital. Arrived and 11:30 a.m. and left at 4:15 p.m. He was seen by a very nice new doctor who immediately realized he was #1, forgetful; #2, in denial; and #3, in need of 24 hour supervision, at least short term. Long story short, he has a torn rotator cuff which cannot be repaired due to his age, his pacemaker and his overall health. He also has a severely sprained left foot, a fractured rib and several other bruises. The doc did say the bruises had "developed at different times due to different mishaps."

Dad came home with his right arm in a sling for a week and an air cast on his foot. Given those two situations he realized he could not stay alone and promptly said, "Well, I guess you get your wish to have me stay with you awhile." I told him we were happy to have him and would never consider NOT caring for him.

Tonight he called my two sisters and gave them the news. His middle daughter lives five miles further from town than he does so she'll check on his cat, collect his mail and shovel his steps. The youngest daughter lives in town, works part time, is unreliable, always broke, etc. Last night I called to tell her of Dad's fall. She said he could stay with her so she could "keep my bills paid." As usual she wants another lifeline. If she had a million dollar lifeline she'd be in the same condition within a month, maybe less.

We never crossed the bridge from Hancock (where the hospital is) to Houghton where Dad's car is parked. Didn't want to give him any opportunity to change his mind and attempt to drive. We offered to pick up clothing and his cat before coming home and he said, "No, I'm not moving in yet."

So, we're thankful he's okay and here with us. He sees the "bone doctor" Jan.12th and hopes he can have the cast and sling removed.

So, I've decided the next several days will be a good "test" for all of us. As usual, Thanks to all of you for your comments.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

More Trips to Town

The best laid plans always get changed. I gave this place a thorough vacuuming while Sweetie picked my Dad up at my son's business. He had convinced by Dad to leave his car there and come home with him for an overnight stay.

As Sweetie pulled up to Dad's car my Dad just sat there. Long story short, he had fallen while shoveling snow at his house. He managed to get off the ground and in his car but had to drive one handed! Though in obvious pain, he refused medical treatment, so I inspected the damage when they arrived. As far as I can tell he has a dislocated shoulder and bruised ribs.

I placed my hand on his good shoulder and said, "Dad, we really should get you seen by a doctor." In a flash, his good arm flew up and smacked me. His anger was evident in his choice of words so I backed off. After that shock, we sat down and focused on our cat's antics. Finally, my Dad said he'd go to the doctor when we bring him back to his car tomorrow. Stubborn Norwegian, as usual.

He took a nap, completed a word search puzzle and is now laying on the sofa. Of course, all I'm thinking is he shouldn't live alone anymore.

Just yesterday he told Sweetie he has to figure out where to get two suppers a week because his Meals On Wheels are for five days. My father refuses to cook - which is probably just as well. Every morning he microwaves some instant oatmeal, has a banana, then leaves the house. Almost every day he stops at my sister's and about half the time she remembers to ask if he's hungry. When she doesn't ask, he doesn't say a thing. This is the sister who is forever broke, accesses food pantries and spends foolishly. He stays at her home until 4 p.m. then goes home to his microwaveable meal, his cat and television for company. We've pleaded with him to move in town to senior housing but he maintains he'll be "carried out" of his house be the undertaker.

If it weren't for him seeing a doctor tomorrow I'd try to convince him to stay here another day. We've repeatedly offered to have him stay here for at least the winter but he refuses. It's a frustrating and sad situation and we all dread the day when one of us finds him dead. But, I'll probably be the same way if I live to be 81.

So, instead of hibernating, Sweetie and I have decided we'll visit him at least two evenings a week (26 miles one way) and have supper with him. We'll also call him more often. He'll know what we're up to but that's just something he'll have to tolerate.

Another thing that concerns me is my Dad's thriftiness. He is by no means poor. Yet, he keeps the thermostat on 65 and dresses accordingly: a long sleeved T-shirt, flannel shirt, TWO hooded sweatshirts, windbreaker, plus a cap on his head. He wears long johns year round and jeans; 3 socks on one foot and 2 on another and keeps his legs wrapped in a blanket. And still he complains about the high heating bill. When we offer to pick him up he claims he doesn't want us spending the money. Sweetie made up an excuse as to why we'd be in town two days in a row to get him to agree to accept the ride out here.

His rent is an unbelievable $180 a month plus utilities. He has well water, satellite TV, propane heat, phone and electric. His 2007 SUV was bought for cash. He has no credit cards and about $3000 a month in income!!!! His thrift is part of the reason he gave each of us our inheritance early. That's been a godsend for each of us but I'm just livid that he continues to live this way.

He jokes that coming to our house is like a "warm vacation" because we're the only ones who heat with wood and it's 75-84 degrees in here. Today he said he came to the "sanitarium" for treatment of his injury. A little dry Norwegian humor but I still worry about him.

Even worse, my idiotic, arrogant brother is his executor and has his power of attorney. When he comes home in March he'll spend two days with my Dad and the rest of in the bars. If his siblings express concern for our father he says we're upset for nothing. He was the same way with our mother until the doctor called him and said she had three weeks to live. Four days before she died he showed up. Typical ass that he is.

Guess this has turned into a rant. Oh well.

So we'll no longer hibernate and our fuel bill will increase. Like they say, sometimes life gets in the way.

Monday, January 4, 2010

God, I HATE Going to Town!

A trip to town was necessary today. One more opportunity to witness morons in action.

Sweetie had to have a tractor tire repaired, but found out the tire is trash. Guess who's trying to figure out where we'll get $400 for a new one?

I still had $41.11 remaining on a Shopko gift certificate. Most people that would be excited but I'm so accustomed to doing without or paying barely nothing that 60-70% off doesn't impress me. Besides, there isn't much we need. While Sweetie sat in the truck I shopped: one puzzle book to keep at our house for my Dad's use - $2; a pizza cutter and metal measuring spoons - $6.50; a package of underwear and two pairs of socks - $9; and finally, canned cat food and paper towels - $13.80. The last 12 roll pack of paper towels lasted six months and the cat food was 13 cents per can more than usual. Just kills me. Total thus far: $31.30. I hit the junk food aisle and got chips, peanuts and Diet Coke. Final bill: $43.90. Figures. I get a gift card and go over the limit. I think they're designed that way. Oh well, it was the thought that counts.

And then, I stand at the checkout. I'm third in line and something goes wrong with the register so we all move to another aisle. I'm now fifth in line as two people in a hurry step in front of me. I smile. Gotta keep that holiday spirit, right?

I smiled again when she bumped my cart and said it was "two damn cold to be shopping." Well, I agree - if you're a 90# waif who has bare feet slipped into open-toed heels; has four inches of her midriff exposed (including the belly ring); and is wearing what appears to be a bolero for a jacket! Sheeeesh! Yah oughta be comatose.

Finally, I exit the store - in time to see her fall on her fanny.

After I dump a bag in the back of our truck, I open the door and Sweetie's laughing so hard he needs his inhaler. Ms. Bolero jacket had fallen again and slid part way beneath her car.

I tell Sweetie maybe she'll stay home the rest of the winter. He says we could have been rich if we'd had a video camera. For the next 12 miles he enterains me with stories of his parking lot people watching - all either inappropriately dressed or sliding into other cars.

Our last stop was a tour of two foreclosed houses my son just bought for $5000 each. Both are in need of some work. One home sits on half a block and the original portion is over 100 year old square logs that were preserved by siding and drywall. He's installing insulation, new cabinets and fixtures in the kitchen addition. The second house was full of trash, mattresses, assorted clothes and a few dirty dishes. As we walked through it I pulled open a kitchen drawer and found silverware that matches what we have. Home it came. My son would have thrown it out. Upstairs we got a bookcase Sweetie will use in the garage and three pairs of men's sweatpants. Two pair appear to be new. On our way home I called someone who's looking for bunk beds. My son's house has a red metal set that doesn't needs a home.

So, it was a profitable and entertaining day but I'm glad to be home. The weather is getting worse and the drivers were careless. We saw two accident on the way to town and three on the way home.

Oh, that we never, ever had to leave here, especially on days like this. It's about 10 degrees, the wind is about 25mph and it's been snowing all day.

Well, time to fix supper. Take care, Treesong

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Woke up today thinking, "What a year it was!" We managed to move, survived a few disappointments, miss some friends and family who have passed on, and our hearts are still beating. Overall, we made progress and that was more evident when we stopped at our old place and spent a night next door at Sweetie's mom's vacant house. That night I was reminded of how we struggled to stay the course and believe that our goals would eventually be met; of how we didn't let any naysayer discourage us; of how we just persevered.

And so, in 2010, we'll do the same.

The fedgov can create more debt; the congress critters can pass more laws; prices can increase or decrease; wars will continue to be waged; the elite will suck the lifeblood out of anything they view as profitable; and the masses can continue to stick their heads in the sand. What matters is what we're committed to; what we're willing to do to survive. We're certain of our path, persistent in our pursuit of it and happy with the choice. That, my friends, leaves us in better shape than most people.

Time to curl up on the sofa and bask in fruits of our labors. Happy New Year, Treesong

P.S. Emmie J Driskell left a comment with a bunch of squares with an occassional group of letters. Hmmmm...

Friday, January 1, 2010

SOOOOOO Thankful to Be Home!

Hello 2010 and all you preppers/bloggers/readers out there.

We drove 1250 miles in three days, slept very little and enjoyed seeing Sweetie's nieces and nephews, despite the death of their mother and his oldest sister. And miracle of miracles, we had dry roads for all but the last 150 miles!

We came home to about 2 inches of new snow so there was no need to walk in 400 feet or plow. What a blessing for two tired folks.

Kitty, Kitty, who's not much of a lap cat, has blessed Sweetie with her presence. Our dog Lady has remained in HER recliner and the wood stove is peculating away. All is well in our little world.

Being away for a few days and white knuckling our way through 4-6 lanes of traffic gave us an appreciation of our little home. As we were introduced to various mourners, we were always referred to as the "hardy folks who drove all the way from the UP." That caught people's attention and the questions about our location, how much snow we have, and how cold it is soon follow. As invariably happens, we met transplanted Yoopers or people who are related to them. Even the funeral home director's wife grew up 15 miles from us. When I asked her maiden name I discovered she's the sister of my lawyer. Small world indeed.

Some of you are familiar with a grocery chain called Save-a-Lot. We stopped at one in Gaylord on our way north. Every spare space in the car was utilized. Our poor dog had to squeeze between the step ladder we picked up at Sweetie's mom's vacant house and stacks of canned goods. Our bed pillows cushioned the area for our dog and the luggage was re-arranged in the trunk so two sets of shop lights could squeeze in. Canned soups and veggies for 59 cents a can; crackers for 89 cents; coffee for $4.69; and great deals on meat were a huge savings compared to what we pay here.

One of my three nephews leaves tomorrow for Afghanistan. I'm not happy about that and pray that he'll return safe and sane. He joined the Marines after high school and loves the discipline and camaraderie. In that respect it's been a good experience for him. But, I don't support the "war on terror" and I think we're in a quagmire. It troubles me that my young nephew has no comprehension of the politics surrounding our presence there - or in Iraq - and has been thoroughly brainwashed. He no longer thinks (not that he was ever taught to) but just reacts to instructions. And yes, I understand that a soldier's duty is to follow orders. But we have millions of young people coming out of high school with no ability to think or analyze and many of those are prime targets for a military machine. So there's my political rant for the day.

Well, it's time to take a rest. I've been going non-stop since we got home at 4:15p.m.

Thanks to all of you for your comments. Keep prepping, have perseverance and hope for 2010. Treesong