Monday, August 25, 2014

A Handle on Time

Things are just rather strange these days. I don't know what day it is most of the time. It seems that my life was geared to a clock in a way I never noticed. My day started at 7 a.m. and ended around 6 p.m. I only say six because that's about when I finished up any evening meal I would have after work and after that I was pretty much useless.

Now that I'm retired, I get up and don't know what day it is. I still have my alarm set for 7 a.m. but I may get up at 7 or 8 or 9. A few times I got up at 6 a.m. and didn't know what time it was because the clock hadn't gone off. The sky was very light so I just thought it was time to get up. When I realized the time I was annoyed. Of course I didn't go back to bed because what would be the point. I was up and awake.

Anyway, days of the week are the most difficult. I really can't seem to keep track. I've missed a couple of appointments because of this disorientation. I probably should get a calendar and put it up. The clock photos shows an astrological clock and it provides not only time, but the months with the astrological signs, not that I care, and I think day of the week. That's what I need on the wall in the living room. And it is rather pretty.

I haven't needed a calendar at home for a long time. I live alone and I used my work calendar since that is where most of my time was managed. I use Google Calendar to schedule personal appointments but that means I have to be on my computer or have my phone in my hand. When I worked I knew the weekends because there were only two days, never enough time, and I was exhausted. No one had to tell me it was Saturday.

This week I'm trying to turn over a new leaf... not really.. I just want to attempt to structure my time better. I want to spend less time on the computer wasting time and more time writing. I also have to clean up and dispose of a lot of stuff that is lying around. I have to do some wall patching, painting, and just clean out the storage areas to get rid of stuff I haven't touched in years. Cleaning my house was something I used to relish. Now, I can't seem to let go of anything. Still, I want to try. I'd like to get back to crochet and sewing but of course I have to get those areas cleaned out. They're just cluttered and not very useful at the moment. I'm not a full fledged hoarder... yet, but I can see how easily I could become one.

So, today is Monday. I have an appointment this morning and Sarah will come after school today. I have to finish the laundry. I worked on that a couple of days ago and am almost done with it. I hate folding sheets. A lot. But it has to be done. Once the laundry is done. I have to start looking patching the damage to the ceiling and sanding the area already patched in that room from some repairs done... a while ago. It is hard and dusty work. I figure if I take it slow I'll be fine.

If I'm lucky, I might have enough stuff to get rid of that I could actually set it out for a small yard sale. I'm not optimistic but one can only hope. If I made $10 I'd be ahead.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Bad Habits

I was wracking my brain about ideas for a post today and finally succumbed to my trusty list of sites that have ideas for blog posts. Somehow that always seems like cheating. I read through several on one list before finding one. I don't know why it was so hard. Honestly, the suggestions were not that complicated. Here's one. What is the one thing you're most ashamed of and why? Actually, the questions was to list my bad  habits or addictions and if and how I've tried to get rid of them.

Seriously. I'm in a quandary over it. My bad habits are not really something I'd go around telling anyone about. Would you? Admittedly, I don't have a tremendous amount of bad habits. I'm obsessive about certain things. I like order and structure. Clutter agitates me. No really, it does. I get very stressed when things are cluttered. I have two rooms right now that I avoid looking in because I've got to go in there and straightened things up. I finished the living room except for rehanging pictures and getting a couple of wall lamps. My plan is to take a room a week and work on it,  clearing out the stuff that needs to be disposed of or put away.

I suppose my worst habit is putting things off. I've gotten worse at this in the last few years. I know something needs doing and I drag my heels. I don't know why and I don't know how to fix it. But is this really a bad habit or just laziness?

No, I can't put my finger on a really bad habit. Sometimes I go to bed without showering. Not often but I've had a few days where I was so exhausted and felt so bad that I really didn't care. I usually change the sheets the next day and get a shower as soon as I get up.

Oh, and sometimes I forget to brush my teeth. This really is a terrible thing. Of course, I always go and brush them as soon as I remember... unless I'm at the doctor's office. . . or something like that.

I eat things I know are terrible for me,  like ice cream. Of course, that's made with milk and women need extra calcium so I think this isn't a very bad habit at all.

In more recent months, I've neglected to put away the laundry. . . for up to three weeks. I know! I know! Terrible! But I just pull out what I need and leave the rest. I do hang up my street clothes... most of the time.

Oh.. wait... sometimes... I forget to ... really this is just terrible.... I forget to take the garbage to the street, sometimes for two weeks in a row! They've given us these huge dumpsters on wheels that we just roll down but I just forget. I generally leave it at the street so I have to carry the garbage to the street and dump it in the container.

I'm sure there's probably more bad habits I have but I have to think about it. I think these might be the worst.

Oh, and I have, once or twice, belched in public. But I always say excuse me.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Tasty Dinner

Mike and I had supper tonight together. I'm trying to show him some easy recipes that he can make for himself and freeze some of it for later. Tonight it is a family favorite:

 Chili Rice Dinner

This is a delicious one pan meal that I fed my family of four with for years. It works well with cheesey bread and side dishes are up to you. We didn't usually need them but a salad is a nice contrast.

My substitute items are for my convenience only. I've made it either way. If you're a cook, you may have all this stuff to hand. I'm all about shortcuts. This can also be prepared in the microwave if you like. Instructions follow the main recipe.

Ingredients you'll need:
  1. Ground Beef
  2. Onion
  3. Chili Powder
  4. Dry Mustard seasoning
  5. Whole kernel corn
  6. Bell pepper
  7. Tomato sauce
  8. Water
  9. Minute Rice
  10. Cheese
Instructions and Measurements:

Brown in a skillet over medium heat:

  • 1 lb of ground beef (I always buy 80/20 but the higher fat content probably will work just as well)
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion (I substitute dehydrated minced or chopped onions 1/4 cup soaked in hot water for about 20 minutes.)
  • Drain fat if necessary. (this may not be necessary with low fat meats.)
Add following ingredients and bring to FULL boil, stirring occasionally.
  • 1 Tbl chili power (I've also added things to make it a bit more spicy. If you like spicy foods, add your spice of choice. I've used Mexican seasoning and creole seasoning.)
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 package whole corn 10 oz (I use a can of sweet corn drained)
  • 1 cup diced bell pepper (I buy the multi-color peppers, chop them up and freeze them to have on hand anytime.)
  • 1 15oz can tomato sauce
Stir in:
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 cup of Minute Rice
  • Turn head low and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn heat off.
Top with:  
  • 1/2 cup of shredded cheeses ( If I don't have cheese to shred I use slices of American cheese.)
  • Once cheese melts, serve.

Microwave instruction:

Remember microwaves differ. Please err on the side of caution and reduce the times until you know what works best. If something isn't done, add a minute more until you reach desired result.
  • Break up beef in small chuncks in a 2 qt non-metal baking dish. Add onion, cook high power 4 minutes. Drain any fat.
  • Stir in spices, corn, pepper & tomato sauce. Omit water. Cover and cook 4 minutes.
  • Stir in rice, cover and cook 4 minutes longer.
  • Sprinkle with cheese and cook 1 minute to melt.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

It All Adds Up

Sarah is being difficult with her math at school. She simply refuses to do it, saying, "It isn't my thing." Yes, I'm sure she's heard someone make that statement. It isn't the first time she's done this sort of thing. I'm worried because how do you get a 7 year old to see that she must learn this stuff, like it or not. She's far better at passive resistance than anyone I've ever seen. Even her father...and he excelled at it.

Math is really important and even I, for whom math isn't "my thing" either, know that it is a necessary skill. People always joke that I know where every dime goes. My husband would get annoyed because I was furious when the bank statement didn't balance to the penny. It drives me crazy. So, I've been worrying over Sarah's lack of incentive. I decided I have good reason.

During my shopping on Tuesday morning (mentioned in yesterday's post) I decided I wanted a Hershey Pie(TM). I haven't had one in a while and it just sounded good. So, since I had to pass within a dozen yards of a Burger King, I decided to splurge. I pulled up to the drive-thru and ordered.

The disembodied, tinny voice drifted into my car. "That'll be $1.72."

They're a bit pricey but well worth the it. "Thank you."

I pulled around to the second window and pulled my wallet out. I had a pocket full of change in there. Large amounts of change in a handbag is useful for two things: as an effective assault weapon and for upper body workouts. It is terrible if you have neck and shoulder problems. I decided to pay with cash... uh... change. I counted out $1.77 in quarters and pennies and waited until she opened the window.

She smiled at me. "That'll be $1.72."

I handed her the money with a nice smile in return. "I'm giving you $1.77. That way you won't have to give me a bunch of pennies."

A look passed over her face and the smile sort of retracted a bit and froze. Her eyes became glassy. "But it's $1.72."

A thousand replies shot through my brain, like confetti during a Macy's parade. They fell with equal impact as I forcibly held the smile on my face and struggled to maintain a calm expression.

"Just give me a nickle back."

She never blinked. She just accepted that I knew what I was talking about and handed me a nickle and my pie. The smile had all but disappeared.

I drove away with a lighter handbag and a heavy heart.  I suppose Sarah will probably be able to get a job at Burger King someday.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

It Actually Sucks!

I was out and about this morning shopping for a vacuum cleaner. It is not fun. I've been doing my research, shopping different brands and types. I always read the reviews for each one. I'm no longer optimistic that I'll find an affordable, reliable vacuum. They are oxymorons.

What happened to American workmanship, quality, and reasonable price? You want me to buy American but you want me to pay three times the price for a machine that doesn't work as well as the Chinese brand? Really? And those are just junk, too.

Anyway... I had considered a Hoover bagless machine until I visited my son's house and used the one they have ... exactly like what I was planning to buy. She's had it for a year and says it is awful. It is hard to get the trash out of the plastic container. It spits trash all over the floor and won't suck it up. She told me she's had to work on it several times, thinking that it was something stuck in the machine. It wasn't. I didn't know any of that until I used it. It is awful. So, won't be buying one of those.

The reviews on all of them are equally dismal. All of them. Very negative reviews. Defective belts. Defective casings. Defective dust cups. Defective cords. Heavy. Unwieldy. Seriously. Lots of the folks writing this had to return the original machines to the store or factory for repair or exchanges.

Do your research. I was able to see about three reviews via consumer reports on one but reviews at Walmart and Amazon for the same machine were just terrible.

Next, I researched for bagged machines. They have better reviews. Unfortunately.. the stores don't carry them. I have to order it. I did find an American made machine at a local store. Looked good. Four year warranty, easy to use, bit heavy. $400! Right but that warranty sounded good. About what you'd pay yearly for one of the crappy ones. I researched it. Terrible reviews.

The only thing I can positively say I got out of this is that shopping for a vacuum is the only thing that actually sucks.

Friday, August 15, 2014

An Island of Pink & Green

It is after one p.m. and I find myself here, in a corner of the front porch, behind the moon flower vines and crepe myrtle. It is beautiful weather, just 79 at the moment. My porch faces west so soon I'll have to go in because the sun will shine directly into my corner and warm things up a great deal.

My porch is very inviting in the early mornings. With the cooler temps, it is a nice, quiet place to sit and drink coffee. Most mornings this is where I spend at least an hour. Lately, I've been able to sit out longer but the evenings I'm driven in by hordes of mosquitoes. I've looked for standing water but there isn't any as far as I can find. My neighbors may have some on their property. The house next door is vacant and could have some there. Either way, the pests are really bad after dark. But that's a few hours away.

I saw a humming bird flying around not three feet from me, checking out the princess feather flowers and it appeared to be checking out the vines. The moon flower has still not bloomed and I'm getting concerned. If it gets much cooler, they may die before they bloom.

In the distance I hear two dogs barking. One is a small, annoying yap to the northwest. The other is a deep bark to the northeast. I suspect the annoying yap is causing the other one. Perhaps big bark got tired because he stopped. Eventually, so did little yap. Overhead a small plane heads for the local airport.

It feels like one of those days you remember from your past, where life seemed to drift at a slower pace that the world around you. I can hear traffic in the distance, someone using a circular saw a few houses away, a loud car once in awhile up the street. But for the most part, my world has shrunk to an island of green and blue with pink flowers where all of that seems far away.

I need a screened porch. I've been sitting here for a while thinking it through, trying to figure out how to do it. I think I could. The only thing that would present a problem would be a doorway. It isn't framed for that and I'm not confident enough to try it.

For most of the week I've had to keep checking to see what day it is. Suddenly, time isn't driven by appointments, events, and workload. It appears to move all by itself, without telling me. Friday has arrived and it feels like any other day. I got up this morning, a bit later than usual because I sat up later than usual. I went for my walk, changed clothes, made my 3rd trip to the bank and came home to eat toast and drink herbal iced tea.

It is very odd, really. Around 10 p.m. I get this feeling I should go to bed because I have to get up in the morning. The thought that follows is no I don't. I can get up when I want. The next thing that happens is I feel this sense that I'm doing something wrong. I should be getting up, getting dressed, and doing something constructive. Of course, I go to bed and sleep and get up again.

Truthfully, I've been on the run a bit this week trying to get my finances in order. I had an IRA that was virtually worthless so I rolled it over rather than letting them take $400 of it. I  had to take some of the insurance money that is left and put it where it might actually do some good eventually. I had to get medical insurance set up. I spent a lot of time filling out forms, calling people, and running to the bank three times. I've had to shop for another doctor and I have a couple of names. Now to call and see if they will take me. I also have to update my checkbook and see if I can buy groceries. I still have no idea the exact amount of my pension. So, even though it feels as if I just sat around watching mysteries, reading posts, websites, and novels I did do constructive things.

And now, the day has warmed to 81 and that's just a bit too uncomfortable for me at the moment. I don't know if it is better in the house. I've been shutting off the air most of this week. The temps in the evening, night, and early mornings are very mild and I've put it to good use. I'm going to put up a clothesline, I hope, this weekend. Every penny has to count now and there's no sense heating up my house when it is hot enough outside. I'll save the dryer for the winter.

I leave you with a nice bouquet.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Lefthanded Day

It is amazing how much difference a tiny pill can make. The pain reached proportions I couldn't manage yesterday and something whispered in my ear, "Take an Imitrex." I paused, thought about it, and decided it couldn't hurt. I had to go pick up the prescription at the pharmacy but that's OK. I took one when I got back home, sat down in the recliner with my neck supported and spent the next few hours dozing and trying to watch Hercule Poirot. I woke around 4 and my neck wasn't hurting.

So, this is definately a migraine trigger point. Must remember to take the pill sooner. Take doxepin a few times a week.

I got up at 7:30 this morning... on purpose. I've had my vacation. I've lain around watching t.v. and reading and trying to deal with the pain. Nothing is getting done and I'm now bored. So, I set my clock last night and after my morning coffee, I went to the cemetery for my walk.

First, there was no yellow tape cordoning off the section where I saw the police yesterday. I was disappointed. In fact, the corner looked just as it usually did, still has that hanging branch that a vagrant could use as shelter.

I got half way around the park and realized that two miles is probably not going to happen for a few weeks. All the flareups I've had have left my hip and back in an unpredictable state. I'm not hurting as I was a week ago but the three times I've walked since I got home have shown me that I'm not going to be able to push myself. So, I've fallen back to one mile, more or less. I'm fine with it for now but I want to get my distance back up. I didn't even break a sweat out there today. Of course, the last two days are just lovely so, you have to work to sweat.

I came home, got out the weed trimmer and trimmed all around the house. Mike was going to come do it this weekend but I've got something else I want him to do and it will take him hours to do the trim work and he won't be much use after the fact. So, I've got it done all around the house and walkway. It looks good but I have to say Mike did a better job than me. And I cut down some flowers. Fortunately, they weren't that big a deal. They were Four O'clocks that just have been so stubborn to grown. I didn't create a bed for them, just dug a hole and put them in it. They've not grown well but they're on the south side of the porch, where nothing I have ever planted has grown for some reason. I don't know if it is the soil or what. I have decided to cover the are with a ground cover, put mulch or gravel on top of it and forget about it. It is just too much of a pain to deal with and you can't even get the lawn mower in that area.

Once I finished with the trimming, I was tired but surprisingly, nothing hurt. I've always found that certain activities, like rowing, actually make my shoulders and neck feel better. I have no way to get that same effect but using the trimmer seemed to mimic it a bit. Now, tomorrow... we'll see if I can even move.

I had no idea it was International Lefthanders Day. I'm a lefty and you'd think I'd know these things. I just don't keep up with it much. I mean... that's just how I write.

It has been a week of terrible loss. Robin Williams killed himself. Such a tragedy. As usual, the papers and blogs and television shows are all pumping it for all it is worth. I do hope someone remembers to point out the fact that depression is a murderer. It will kill its victim unless recognized and treated. I find it the ultimate tragedy that a man as public and well loved as Mr. Williams has become the victim of this disease. How sad he lost all hope. How sad that he hid behind his clown face so well.

The impact of Mr. Williams death totally eclipsed the death of Lauren Bacall. I had no idea, until a Facebook friend posted it, that she died yesterday. If you've ever seen To Have and Have Not, you'll know Bacall. If you haven't see Bogie and Bacall together, you really should.

Now, I've spent most of my afternoon doing nothing again. I did apply for a job through Manpower. It is 2-3 days a week, which is just what I want. So, we'll see. I'm probably over qualified but I can't help that. We shall see.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Mystery in the Cemetary

I went for a walk this morning, around 9 a.m. The day is sunny and mild so it seemed like the right thing to do. I did not get in two miles. I barely got one mile. My hip and back were bothering me. I'm still having problems with my neck. I woke up with a headache and I think that was caused by dehydration. I promptly drank a couple of glasses of water.

As I said it was a beautiful morning to walk but as I finished my walk, the police were driving in to a corner of the cemetery, behind the lake. I didn't take this photo today but you can see the bunch of trees in that corner in the center of this photo. One of the trees has branches now hanging like a curtain, to the ground. The officer got out and went behind that. There was a city vehicle, an SUV, and a police car back there and there's no road in that area, just grass.

I have no idea what they found. Could have been a homeless person sleeping there but I think the three vehicles was overkill. Could have been a dead body. I guess I might not be the only person who sees the cemetery as a good place to dump a body? I'm very curious and I hung around a bit but I finally just got in the car and came home. I wish I'd stayed a bit longer. May ride over there and see what's transpired. If they've cleared out it was probably a derelict. If the cops have the site cordoned off... well, it could be interesting.

With my back and neck acting up I'm not able to do much of anything. I am going to go out and cut the yard I think. I can ride the mower to do that. Mike is working but I can handled the riding mower alone. I probably could do the trim work but I'm a bit scared to try. Using my shoulders and upper arms tends to aggravate the neck. However, I've reached a place where I'm "damned if I do and damned if I don't".

I have a lovely tomato  plant in my garden. It has had numerous tomatoes on it but I have not had a single one. Something is stealing them just before they get ripe. I think it is a squirrel. So, will not try that again. I mean out of nearly a dozen tomatoes, not one. I'm so angry about it. I'm ready to rip the thing out of the ground. You simply can't grow them in this neighborhood. Nothing keeps the vermin away. I've had no bugs of any kind, just pest. And the tomatoes are the only thing getting taken.

I do wish I could find some relief from this pain. I'm at the point of asking for pain killers. I've never been there before. I don't want to do that. I have problems at times remembering which pill I've taken;there are so many of them now. I use a minder but pain meds are a different thing.

Must go now. I need to get up and move around.

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Lot Like Work

Retirement isn't what I thought it would be. It feels just like work. I just spent the morning at my desk sorting out CHAMPVA paperwork, filling out Cobra forms, my job exit interview, my physical therapy exit evaluation, reconciling the bank statements, and trying to sort out a new problem. My primary care doctor is closing her practice due to ill health.

I've got everything done but that. I have no idea who to call since my insurance probably won't be up and running for 45 days. Yes.... any meds I'll have to pay for up front but they will probably reimburse me for most of it. And some of them are free. My real problem is with the ones that aren't. I have no idea of cost because I've been blessed with none for so long.

Once the bank statement was reconciled, I realized just how much I'm going to feel the pinch. I have one big trip for the first week of September but after that, there'll be no going anywhere but to church and back. I've got to go to the employment office but frankly, from what I'm seeing, it may not matter. I keep getting notices from about jobs but they're ridiculously unsuitable. And most want full time. I'm not up to that yet. I might get there but not for a bit. I'm leery of substituting... I'd like it but with the immuno-suppressors I'm taking a huge risk of picking up something really bad. I've no wish to repeat the last two winters.

I've managed to get a lot of the paperwork done. That leaves me free to start cleaning house. Oh the joy. Everything is really a mess. I want to get rid of a bunch of stuff but sorting will not be fun because I always renege on it. I'll put it in the toss pile and then keep going back and rethinking it. I have furniture that I need to get rid of too. I'd love to give David and Felicia a couple of things but getting that stuff to Arkansas is a problem. They don't have a truck and neither do I. Shipping would be more than the value of the items. She could use the huge bookcase and the desk would be perfect in Sarah's room there. I suppose she could use it anywhere but it will be Sarah's desk someday. It was Mike's desk. David had one and I gave it to him and Becca and it disappeared. His was a double pedestal and Mike's is a single. I used Mikes for a couple of decades as a sewing desk. I have a better one now and don't really need that one.

I'm going to sit down sometime in the next week and work out some schedules for myself. I can see time getting away from me. I want to plan writing time and sewing time. I have tons of stuff I need to sew. I have crochet, too, I want to finish. First, the house has to be sorted. In about a month, Mike and I have to scrape and paint the windows on the outside. It has to be done and I have to get new storm windows. That comes out of my savings. I suppose I could try and salvage the old ones but they are so difficult to open and close.

I'm having a real problem with my sciatica. Shooting pains from my lower back, down my leg and into my foot, with cramps all the way down. Not comfortable sitting at all. I'm using that CVS Leg Cramp pills. I've used them for several years now and they're wonderful. I've just not had a spell with it this bad in a very long time. So far, today, they're no working.

My neck pain has been better since I used the doxepin several night. I suspect this particular pain is fibromyalgia. It wouldn't respond to the doxepin so well if it were joint pain. This is neurological. I will see my rhuematologist at the end of the month and discuss it with her. When I take doxepin regularly I have less problems with that kind of pain. This is because of serotonin. Serotonin helps with pain but too much can cause severe problems, too. I have no doubt she'll just prescribe another anti-depressant. I'm going to take it every other day or so as the pain requires and see how it goes. I just can't take it every day.

And now I'm off. I've got to do something to stop my butt from hurting! Yes, my butt. From the lower back, across the right buttocks, down the right leg to my ankle is hurting something fierce. Will catch up later.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Summer Vacation

I'm a week into retirement. Wow. Mike and I drove down to Mena, Arkansas to pick up Sarah. It was nice to visit David and his family but the drive nearly did me in. It is simply too far to travel with back and neck trouble without proper pain medicine. I was pretty bad by the time we got there. Tuesday was even worse. I could not sit anywhere. They have nice, big cushy furniture and under normal conditions a good book would have worked perfectly. Unfortunately, my back and neck problems have all but ended the days I can relax with a good book anywhere. I read but not as long and not as much. I simply can't hold my head in a reading position for very long without a price.

I spent Tuesday in a kitchen chair to take some of the pressure off but it was only a slight help. We had an early birthday party for Sarah with David's in-laws and church family. It was really nice and Sarah had a great time. After everyone left we played a Wii game.. Just Dancing. You had to do what the character on the screen was doing. Let me tell you, I learned a few things about my children. Hysterical videos resulted.

Wednesday David took us to dig for diamonds at Crater Diamond mine. That was fun but I got to tell you, that's too much work for a tiny rock that isn't worth anything. And I suspect it would take more than 15 minutes to learn to recognize what to look for. We found a lot of rocks... and I think we had a fairly good time. The kids would have liked the water park they had much better but we weren't prepared for that.

Later that afternoon, I mentioned getting a rocker for them so when I came down I could sit in that. Felicia suddenly remembered she had a rocker and pulled it out of the office for me. It is a nice rocker. One of those glider kind you see so much of now. But let me tell you, such a big improvement! Not perfect, because no chair is, but it was such a vast relief.

We attended their church for Wednesday service. I enjoyed that but I was really uncomfortable by the end. Bro. Wilson had prayed for me at Sarah's party and he prayed for me again at the end of the service. 

On Thursday, Dave took us to Runestone Park in Heavener Oklahoma. My neck was a bit better as long as I was standing up. I must say, this site was a bit more my kind of thing. I'd heard, in passing, of the runestone in my history studies but I had the impression of a moderate sized plaque in a glass case with people standing looking down at it. Not so. This thing is probably ten feet tall by ten feet wide and is actually part of the mountain. It juts upward from the ground int a point. The runes are bigger than my hand. It is encased in a cedar shed behind plexiglass but in such a way you can clearly see the carvings. The valley it sits in is lovely and I suspect in the spring time a very inviting place to visit. This day it was very humid and hot. The climb down had us breathing heavy. Beware of lots of stairs to climb but it is well worth it.

When shuffling things around in my bags on Wednesday I happened to find a single Doxepin. If you've read me for a long time, you know this is a pill originally prescribed for my migraine headaches. I no longer use it for that but I found it worked great for some of my pain problems over the years, mostly fibromyalgia related pain but it also helped with some of my RA pain. No, I didn't bring the bottle with me. I just found one pill. I debated trying it on Tuesday and Wednesday night but the trip back to Evansville loomed before me and I decided to misery until Thursday night. Thursday was a moderately miserable day but with David and Felicia at work I didn't really have to be sociable so I just sat in the rocker they pulled from a back room.

Thursday we did nothing. Everyone was working and it was just me, Mike, and Sarah at the house so it was a relatively quiet day. I got our stuff washed and packed and everything ready to go. We gassed up that evening and got ice and some fruit for the road and headed out.

Thanks to my Doxepin I got a good night's sleep and woke with far less pain than I've had in weeks. The neck was still not good but I could live with it. We were on the road by 8 a.m. and headed home. Sarah napped a bit but overall she was awake and really good. My right leg is the only problem I had later in the day. Sciatica kicked in from all the sitting. Legs cramps are not fun but I have pills to take for that too and they go everywhere with me.

We took several breaks for potty and to let me walk a bit. I didn't want to get home with the same problem I arrived with in Arkansas. For lunch, we stopped at the W. Memphis exit. Although Sarah had Taco Bell tacos she still needed a Burger King shake. Fortunately, they were side-by-side at the truck stop. Mike and I had burgers, although it wasn't my first choice, Arkansas, from Little Rock to Memphis, has nary a Cracker Barrel. I had no intention of going as far as the Memphis exit and we weren't waiting as long as Dyersburg.

We arrived back in Evansville around 7 p.m. and dropped Sarah off. Mike picked up his scooter and went home and I went around unpacking and putting things away. I noted that my floors were a mess and decided I had no desire to wake up to that. I vaccumed the floors, ate something and spent the evening laying around till late.

And that is my summer vacation and the first week of retirement. I am happy I got to see my son and his family. I simply don't want a repeat of the pain I experienced from the drive. I will never leave home without Doxepin again.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Runaway Train
My week felt like a runaway train. From the start on Monday I was running flat out and didn't stop until sometime around the middle of the day on Friday. I wish I could tell you about it but it went so fast that I can only hit the highlights.

Most of my time was spent trying to get the August recertifications completed, which I did by Wednesday. We had move briefing on Wednesday and since it was my last one, I got to do the presentation. I love doing those anyway so it was fun. 

The four case managers, me, Carolyn, Stacey, and Penny went to lunch on Wednesday and on Thursday, Carolyn and I went with Dena (admissions clerk) and Valerie (inspection clerk). Thursday afternoon they threw us a retirement party. Carolyn's last day was Thursday and mine Friday but it was more efficient and economical to do one reception. It was really nice. I've detailed it on Facebook but for the non-FB'ers I'll review here.

The agency gave us a nice retirement send-off. It was Carolyn's last day and mine was Friday.  The first photos is of the girls I work with most closely. The tall older lady on the end is Martha, an inspector who retired several years ago, so nice of her to come. Next is Carolyn, Penny, me & Stacey. We're the case managers. Penny is the only one left of the original six case managers when I was hired. Stacy came in about 8 or 9 yrs ago. 

The next photo shows our boss, Marques & on the opposite end, next to Stacey, is Gayle. She was the agency receptionist when I started and is now a site manager. She is an awesome and intimidating receptionist but we got no flack from clients when Gayle was in charge of the front desk. She's a sweetheart. There are photos of the refreshment table and the cake and then the gifts. 

They did a lot for us. My department gave both us $50 in Amazon Kindle gift cards, and a lottery ticket, of which I really could use even $100K! The pink glass with the suckers is from Dena, the admissions clerk and has DumDum suckers in it and says "Work is for....". 

They gave us the centerpieces made by Debbie in HR. They're so cute. Cake was made by Debbie's daughter-in-law and was delicious. We were given recognition certificates and mine says 16 years. As of September 14 it would have been 16 years. I was only about a month and a half shy of it.

Nice speech by the Executive director and the supervisor. My whole department was surprised by the supervisor's speech. He did very well and said some nice things. Considering Carolyn and I have been the biggest thorn in his side, he was very generous. Had he been so generous when I needed generosity, I might not have decided to quit. But, I try not to harbor grudges and I remind myself of the times when he was more kind to me that I expected. I would not have been able to work at all when Jerry died if he had not been kind. I will let God take care of the rest. 

I did love this job and the people I worked with were the best in the business. For more than 14 years we've been a "High Performer". We were the third largest housing authority in the state with avg. of 1900 tenants. Our SEMAP scores were always above 90. I will miss the challenges but not the stress.

On Friday trained I Stacey and Penny on how to hook up the computer and projector to do the PowerPoint presentations we do at the move briefing. I generally do this for everyone. We went over that and I went through all my pending items with Penny and turned over two months of re-certifications to be done, several moves in progress, and pending interims. I went through documents on my computer and forwarded several to the appropriate people so they could have them to use. Since I created all forms and documents in the department, it was necessary to get them those we use most often or things I thought they might benefit from using. I sent emails to corporate regarding the landlord account procedures and the landlord handbook, which I actually wrote, compiled, and designed. Not bad if I do say so.

By noon, I was on the phone doing my usual Friday lunch cover for the receptionist. Once that was done, I went to lunch about 1 p.m. and when I returned I gave Penny my keys and finished clearing my computer, deleting Chrome and all my personal items and changing the voice mail on my phone. At 4:15 I said my goodbyes and left the building for the last time.

No, I didn't cry. One of the girls did and that almost made me cry but only for a minute because I don't like seeing people sad. I left with a smile on my face. . . and a much lighter load on my back. 

Next stop...