Friday, September 28, 2018

My Husband, The Gunslinger

As I alluded in a previous post, there have been some wild stories floating around about us in the trailer park.

The backstory: (Caution: a bit of language...)
When my son first moved back in with us about four years ago, he was one messed up puppy. He was very angry, depressed and had a rather disturbing outlook on life. He had lived with his dad for a number of years, not because he or I wanted him to, but his dad had more money than me and it is a good ole boys network in the county he lives in. So, I lost. I kept trying but didn't succeed in getting my son back until his dad finally fucked him up enough that he couldn't handle him anymore. My son was unruly and argumentative. He was angry at me for not getting him back sooner and angry at his dad for not letting him come back sooner. He was angry at the world. We knew he would need some help. Lord, I tried getting him some help. I made dozens of phone calls. Our insurance wouldn't cover the help he needed. Of course, never mind the fact we had paid in thousands in premiums and never used the insurance for anything, but they didn't cover anything except once a week counseling services. Since I was married, I didn't qualify for help through the state. Too much money, dontcha know. If I had stayed single, I could have gotten him all the help he needed. Alas, that was not the case, so my husband and I did everything we could think of to try to engage him in a positive manner. It seemed nothing was getting through to him. He was doing drugs and drinking. We had to lock all of our stuff up in the vehicles because we couldn't leave it out where he might be able to access it. He wouldn't come home when we told him to. We called the cops several times because of his behavior hoping maybe we could scare him straight since being nice wasn't working. That only made him more angry.

Then one night he came home so drunk he couldn't tell us where he was and could barely speak. I called for an ambulance to take him to the hospital. I don't remember what they told me what his blood alcohol was. I was a bit distressed that night. I do know it was high and I was surprised he was conscious at all. I asked the cop if they could get him the treatment he needed at the hospital and then take him to juvie. He suggested to skip juvie as all it would do was connect him with kids that were actually bad and would probably just make things worse for my husband and me. Not to mention the cost. Did you know, if your kid goes to juvie, you have to pay for it? I didn't either until then. So, I bring him home and ground him for life. I tried to take his electronics away. He just got more from "friends" and the rest of the stuff I didn't find.

All of that leads up to the good part. The gunslinger part.

Of course that night was a spectacle. The neighbors all had to be outside watching the scene. We were both in shorts, no shoes and tank tops. Our guns were right out there for everyone to see. That wasn't really our biggest concern, what with my drunken kid and all. So the ambulance hauls him off with the promise that as soon as we are done with the cops I will be on my way. We talk to the cops about our options for my son, the cops talk to the kid who brought him home (which is a whole 'nother story) and issue him a citation for providing alcohol to a minor, talk to us more. Finally with all the formalities taken care of, the subject turned to carry guns. What the cop was carrying on duty, what his off duty carry was, what my husband was carrying. Through the entire event, not once did they ask us to remove our weapons, nor did they make any attempt to unarm us or take our guns. My husband never reached for his gun, never pulled it out of the holster when talking to the cops, never even acknowledged he had it until the end of the conversation when everything was dealt with.

OH, but the stories that were passed around the next day!! My son was in no shape for a couple of days to even speak to anyone with his hangover and misery. Which he totally deserved as far as I am concerned. Once he was feeling like he was going to live, he heard some very interesting tales. According to the rumors, my husband pulled his gun on the cops! Obviously not or he would have gone to jail or be dead. However, the story going around was that he pulled his gun on the cops and didn't even get into trouble! The cops just let him pull a gun on them and didn't care. Who must my husband be if he can do that?

I never did get all the details as we really don't speak to anyone out here and after this event more people avoided us. I just found it quite amusing that people would think that there was any truth in the story at all. When was the last time you heard of someone, anyone, pulling a gun on a cop and not getting tackled or shot (or at least shot at)? I haven't heard of that. Ever. Apparently, my husband can!! 😁 He's the Gunslinger!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Woohoo! School's Out! and Other Random Thoughts

This past week has been fairly eventful.

The "new journey" that didn't happen. Our anniversary. The visit with my husband's mom. Drying some red onions. (Onions take a long time to dry.)

OH! and one more thing! My son turned in his last assignment for his high school diploma. We should find out what his final grade is sometime this week. Then they send his diploma and he is officially a high school graduate. And it's about time. They saved English for last, which is his least favorite subject. After helping him, I see why. What a bunch of useless crap for the average person. After days on end of reading and writing about things that will never matter in his life, I can see why he wanted so much help. I love to read and write, he doesn't. Even at that, I found it taxing. Hallelujah! It's done.

Now, he can go enlist in the Marines. Right? Ummmm. No. He went round and round about joining the Marines. Or maybe the Army. Well, maybe the Marines. Or maybe the Army. He doesn't have the diploma in hand to physically sign the line yet, so I think it is still up in the air. For now, however, it is the Army. He says that he can get better career offers and more advancement and money if he goes with the Army. He is young and money talks loud, so I am thinking that might be his final decision.

Since we are not buying the camper, we now have more decisions to make ourselves. We do not have enough for a down payment that we find acceptable, so buying land right this minute, so to speak, is something that we feel is not a good choice. If we had found the right camper, the campground would have been a good choice. For now, we are staying where we are and saving until we figure out what the right move is. Who knows? By the time we figure out the right move, we may have what we want for a down payment. We are not keen on staying here, but are not willing to take the wrong path. The right path will present itself when we are ready and looking for it.

In the meantime, I have ordered more seed for our fall garden. We are getting some peas, greens, lettuces, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, turnips. We also have seeds already purchased for beets, spinach, Austrian peas. We finally received our order for onions and garlic. We paid my son to move a garden bed as he is looking to earn a bit of money while he is waiting and we won't just give it to him. Since we are now not moving, we will be planting this week. We will be eating good. :)

Speaking of eating good, for our anniversary, we had smoked pork chops, baked potato and salad with home made blue cheese dressing. Which, by the way, was better than IHOP.

My son is off to take his driver's test this morning. Since he is 18, I do not have to take him. His aunt and uncle picked him up this morning to run him down there and take the test. He learned to drive at 14 and has been studying for the written exam for months, so I have complete faith in him that when I see him this evening after work, he will officially be a driver. Then he plans on going to his dad's house as they found a little truck that he wants to buy. I will be glad for him to have his license as I am getting a bit tired of him needing a ride all the time. Which I really don't do that often, it will just be nice to not need to anymore. I guess until he joins the Marines/Army, I will be trying to find odd jobs for him to do for gas money now.

It has been raining off and on for several days now here. Too bad I didn't get the garden bed moved sooner and all the seeds planted. The rain would have been great for the new plantings. The thunder shirt that we got for our dog has been great. It also seems to help to get him outside when it's raining since he won't normally go out then. Maybe because the rain gets on the shirt and not directly landing on him.

Too bad I have to work today. With the rain, it would be a good day to stay inside and get some stuff done. Oh well, more money to put into the savings bucket. Or pay my son for whatever work I can find.

So how did your week go?

P.S. Supper tonight is navy bean soup with smoked ham.
P.P.S. I am thankful that my son is finally done with his school and that he is following through with the plans that he has been making all year.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Anniversaries, Doctors and Firsts

My husband and I share an anniversary with his parents. By lucky happenstance, we picked our date for getting hitched that was the same as his parents. And let's be honest, how many of us can say what date our parents got married? I know I can't!

Our anniversary was this past week. We went to his mom's house and stayed overnight to spend some time with her and take her to her doctors appointment. We had a few questions we wanted to address and she had some questions to address, and as we all know, you better take someone with you to make sure you don't forget something or miss something. So that is what we did.

Then we went to IHOP to eat. It was the first time we have ever been to an IHOP that had good food and good service. It was also where his mom wanted to go. Would not have been our choice. That being said, it really was not bad at all. I love breakfast any time of the day.

Unfortunately, this was his mom's first anniversary without her husband. He passed away at the end of last year. They were married for 64 years. I only wish we had that long. What a wonderful life to have to live your entire adult life with the one you love like that.

We were glad to be able to spend the time with her. We were glad to be able to be there for her for this first. The first year of everything after the death of a loved one is the toughest. It is the year of firsts for everything and hard as hell. And it sucks. It sucks for my mother-in-law, my husband, his brother, my husband's kids. They have all had this year of firsts without this leader of the family. I am glad that all of my husband's family is close and all help each other out. I am also glad that I can be here for my husband, his children are married, as is his brother, and all have a support system. With that support system, we can all be there for his mom.

We did have a good visit, the doctor appointment went well and she didn't have to be alone on this anniversary.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Cheese Heaven

We found a dip that we really liked at Kroger. It was a smoked gouda cheese dip. So, I figured if we could buy it, I could make it. And probably better. So, I did.

It is one block of any size of smoked gouda. You will most likely find it in the deli or cheese section. Not in the cheese/butter case. That is not awesome cheese. Nor is it acceptable. Pay the price, buy the good stuff. You can thank me later.

Shred that awesome gouda up finely. Add some very finely diced red onion. We use dried cuz that is how I roll, but fresh would be good too. Maybe better.

Throw in some garlic. Fresh garlic. Minced or very super finely chopped. How much is up to you. We love garlic so we use a lot.

Add a pinch of salt and pepper.

Here is where you can go crazy. You can mix in some mayo or sour cream. The first few times we made it, it was with mayo. Since we are foregoing sugar, that means no store bought mayo. We used sour cream. It was just as good. We notice the sweetness of mayo now that we don't use added sugar, so your mileage may vary. Try it both ways and see what you like best.

It should be quite thick. It is not a dip like a dressing, it is more like a spread. Put that shit on anything you like, it will magically become better.

(Hint: We have put this cheese dip/spread on melba toast, pretzel chips, pita chips, bread, crackers.... The list goes on.)

I would show you a picture of it, but it's too late, we ate it all. In one day. Off the spoon.

Why are you still here? You need to add this stuff to your grocery list right now. Go on, I'll wait. I will see you on the other side of cheese heaven.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

A New New Journey

So now we are going to embark on a new, new journey.

We made the decision to get the 5th wheel and go to the campground. We started to make our plans. What size storage shed would we need? What all would need to go to storage? (Hint: a lot!) What could we take with us? Where would the litter box go?  Where will I put my canner and dehydrator? On and on those questions were swirling. It was starting to seem like a Herculean task. One we could accomplish, but wow. However, it was that last question specifically that sent us back to the dealer to get some measurements to make sure I had a home for both of them.

We took ourselves on down to the dealer, they let us into the camper. Our name was plastered on the outside of the door. That was really cool. :)  So in we go with our tape measure and my notebook. I have to write everything down to make sure I don't forget. We start with some of the cabinets. So far so good. We work our way to the back bunk room. There is a wardrobe in there that I thought would make a good place to store my canner and jars. There is also a little shelving unit that I thought would be a good place to store the lids and other paraphernalia for canning. That was when we finally saw it....

Water damage and powdery mold. There was only two little places at the very bottom of the half bath door jamb that had water damage. The mold was in the shelving unit and at the bottom of the half bath door. If we had not been using our flashlight, we may not have noticed it. It was not a dark black mold, it was that really light hardly notice it mold. Except with a flashlight. Loud and Proud then. That right there is a deal breaker.

The guy that we worked with was not there on Saturday, so we are going back tomorrow to tell him the news. Sorry, you didn't make the sale. We will show him why. He will try to tell us it will be ok. He will try to convince us we can just replace the door jamb and door and everything will be peachy keen. Too bad for him, not happening. If they can show us something comparable, something with similar space and price, we will consider. I don't think they have that based on what we saw when we have been there looking. So, I will consider this divine intervention. Thank my lucky stars we didn't jump off into this with no return and now we can figure out our next new path. And maybe it feeling like a Hurculean task was because we were supposed to go back before they did the detailing and cleaning or there is the possibility that we would have never known until it was too late. As was said in the comments on the last post, we don't want someone else's problem child. I already have one of those: he is 18.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

A New Journey

Well, we have jumped in with both feet. We made a decision to buy the camper and go that route.

We actually bought a fifth wheel. It has a whole lot more room in it for us and the pets. The dealership we bought it from will deliver it where ever we want (within reason of course) for free. I talked to a friend of mine last night to see if she would care if we parked it there for now. She said no problem and it will not cost us anything. Of course, we will still pay her something as we don't feel it's right to park the beast in her driveway or yard for nothing. Although, she did ask that we leave a key so when she needs to get away from her daughter or grand daughter for a few minutes, she can go have some peace and quiet. I said sure thing.

Part of the reason we made this decision instead of buying a house right away was the campground that we went to for the memorial on Sunday. We met quite a few of the people that live there year round and were quite impressed with them. Everyone was very welcoming and friendly despite the occasion. We also found out that the campground owners and our friend's fellow year rounders put the memorial on for our friend. The campground gave use of one of the pavilions and provided the meat for the dinner that we had. His neighbors are the ones who put everything else together. They cleaned the pavilion, set up the tables and candles, set up the video and picture memorial and music, and anything that needed purchased they all pitched in and bought it. All the folks that came to the memorial, including us, brought side dishes. It really helped restore some faith in people to see them come together like that to help ease someone's pain.

As we drove around the campground people actually waved. I realize that in a campground one would expect that. That being said, I have seen a lot less southern hospitality since I moved down here than I thought I would. In our trailer park, no one waves at each other. Not that we care as we don't want to associate with the kind of people that live here anyway.

At this campground, we met a woman who is a horticulturist (retired), a man who is a professional fisher (as in competitions- not a hobby fisher), and several folks who are retired from various walks of life like mechanics and truck driving. One guy even gave us his number to call if our friend gets back to work and breaks down emotionally while he is out somewhere in the truck. He said he would go to him no matter where he was or how far away. To us, those are the kinds of neighbors you want.

We might have another option for this as well. The friend that is letting us park the camper at her house for the time being is up for a discussion about maybe staying on her property until we are ready to buy. There would obviously be a lot of details that we would have to talk about and work out and it may not be something that all of us want to do. We'll see.

I do, however, think that staying at the campground would be a better bet for us expense-wise. All we would need to do there is hook up so to speak. If we stay in my friend's yard, there would be a shit ton of things that would cost us to get set up. I am not sure that we would save any money taking that route. More discussions and options. :) It does feel as if things are falling into place for us now that we have made the decision. The price was right, a "free" spot to park it until we are ready to move it, a son-in-law that can move it when we need to, a place we both really felt comfortable at. Maybe I'm just being crazy, but I swear even the music on the radio today seemed like it was supporting our decision!

We will just take each of our next steps as they come and it will all work out for us in the end. Also, I will be getting out of dodge! Or at least this dodgy trailer park!! I'll have to become preppin in a campground!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Getting Out of Dodge

My husband and I are looking for a way to get out of this trailer park. I have a feeling that there are some rough times coming down the pike and feel like we need to be out of here before it hits. With the kind of neighborhood that this is, I think it is prudent to not be here if (when) there is any kind of economic downturn.

Most of the people out here rely on either welfare or unskilled labor jobs. Gas stations, grocery stores and fast food. Jobs likely to have hours cut when there is a downturn. Jobs like mine. ;) I have a lot of seniority at work so I'm not too worried about mine so long as the nursery stays open. If not, well we don't rely on my income anyway. My husband is not going to lose his job. We are 99.9% sure of that. What we worry about is all the yahoos out here that will. Thanks to my son, everyone out is well aware that we have weapons. Due to his lack of OPSEC and some other wild stories that were told and gossiped about (which were completely false!), pretty much all the yahoos out here now know it.

We try hard to be circumspect when we bring in groceries, except with no garage and parking by the road, it's a little hard to be discreet when bringing in the bags. I do realize most people are not that observant, I just worry how many people have noticed us bringing in groceries and other items.

We could easily have some money for a down payment and when we sell the trailer would have even more.

So the options we are looking at right now are to buy a travel trailer and find a nice campground to go to or find someone with property we could "rent" some space on, or bite the bullet and just buy a house.

They all have pros and cons. We sat down and worked on a list of pros and cons for everything we could think of for staying put, getting the travel trailer and buying a house with as much land as we could afford.

As far as our list, staying here seems to have the least amount of pros. Not necessarily the most amount of cons, but definitely the least amount of pros. The campground also has a lot of cons. The biggest problem we have with "renting" land from a like minded person is finding someone that would agree to it that is close enough for my husband to go to work without driving for a long time. We do know a few folks that would let us, but two are not someone we think that we would want to have to work with long term unless there was no other choice and the other one is too far away from his job. Buying a house is just scary, especially with the economy needing a reset. Having that much debt hanging over our heads is a scary thought. With that said, it seems like it would benefit us the most.

We still have not reached a decision, but I do feel like we are running out of time. Have you ever felt that way?  How did you reach a decision? Or did you even have options to choose from? I realize without any real details it would be hard for you to say what you would do. With that said, what pros and cons do you see with the choices we have? You might have a thought that we didn't think of.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Food Storage Build Up

Last Friday, when I got paid, I had my check left over from the week before. So I decided to go to the store and stock up on some food. We had already been to the grocery store on Sunday, so it wasn't the usual shopping trip. 

I  believe I have mentioned before that we got a can rack. It rotates the cans so that we don't have to take everything out of the pantry and put the new stuff in and then put all the original stuff back in. We would go to the store and it would take me over an hour just to put groceries away. This is a much smoother and easier process. Just drop it in the top. All of the sections are adjustable so I can move it around to fit whatever can size we buy. The box and paperwork said it would hold something like 200+ cans. I don't know if it will actually hold that many. I should count them. (I need to anyway so I can update the inventory list.) 

Anyway, I made a trip to the store to see if I could get enough to top off the can rack and finish filling the containers I store the beans in. I spent about $100 and succeeded. Well, almost. I am a few cans short as a couple items I bought, I bought the store out of but not enough to fill that row. I also bought several bags of beans and some popcorn. (I love popcorn. Not the microwave kind, the kind you pop on the stove!) 

I got all the cans in the rack and pulled the bean containers out. Dumped the current contents out into a bowl and dumped the new beans in. Put the original ones on top and back into the cabinet they went. 

I realize that most people can't do that. I am fortunate enough that we could. It is a good feeling to know that no matter what happens, whether personal, local or regional, we will be okay for a time without having to worry about food. No where near a year's worth or anything like that, but definitely enough for a while, especially if it just the two of us, but even if my son is still here.

Next on the list is getting some cat and dog food built up. We almost always have a second bag of food that is not opened yet, but will be nice to know that we have more than just about 30 days worth of pet food. My goal is to get to about 60 days. 

So what about you? Do you have enough to get you past some tough times? At least a week's worth? If not, get hoppin' before it's too late! 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Just a Little Ramble

Well, shit. I spoke to soon. No sooner than I posted on Saturday that they had not been back to finish taking the trees out, the guy showed up and pulled out almost all of the privet that was left. There is just a short portion towards the very back of the property. Now, we have zero shade on that side of the trailer. We have just a little bit of shade left at the back for our little awning/gazebo. Which I expect will be gone soon enough. I can only be thankful that we are going to be cooling off soon. I hope soon enough anyway as I really don't look forward to the power bill that will come with trying to keep this little oven cool.

I talked in the past about canning some hamburger. I used some last week for the first time. I made a casserole with the hamburger and potatoes with a white sauce and plenty of cheese on top. It turned out really good. Makes me feel better about my cooking abilities. Also makes me feel better about my canning skills, albeit new skills. We will be canning more hamburger in the near future.

I dehydrated my basil. I planted several different kinds of basil and the only one that came up was the Red Rubin basil. It smells delicious and looks beautiful. We cut it down and picked all the leaves off of it and tossed it in the dehydrator. Usually, leaves of any sort do not take a long time to dry so it was finished off in just a few hours.

We have had several storms here the last week. One of the storms knocked our power out just as we were starting supper. Fortunately, we have more than one way to cook supper, so it really didn't stop or deter anything. We just lit an oil lamp and got out the camp cookstove and finished cooking. I am so glad that we have multiple ways of getting things accomplished. However, we do need to get more of the one gallon cans of propane for the cookstove.

The dude is back next door. He is tearing down the trailer today. Thank God. That thing was a real eyesore now that all the privet is gone. We couldn't really see it when the privet was still there. He seems to making good time with it. I do wonder how long he will be at it before he is finished with it, though.

I am also keeping an eye on hurricane Florence that will hit the coast. Obviously, I don't live there as I live in TN, but depending on its strength and where it hits, it could still dump a lot of rain on us and possibly some wind. If that is the case, I will start some preps here for the yard and garden to make sure we don't have any damage.

That's it for now.

P.S. Supper tonight is still unknown. I haven't decided yet!

P.P.S. Today I am thankful for the cooler weather of the past couple of days. It has been really nice out, even with the off and on rain.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Short Post, Just a Question

I have a question. What is the issue with tattoos? I am not trying to be facetious. Is it all tattoos? Just the people who think they need to tattoo their whole body? Just a face/neck issue?

I am just wondering as I have read several times the past few weeks about people not liking tattoos. My husband has five and I have three. Only one for either of us is visible even with short sleeves. If I wear a tank top, the two on my back are visible. Neither of us have large tattoos. Just small ones that mean something to us. I know plenty of folks that have tattoos that are normal productive citizens.

So, I am just wondering if it is all tattoos on everyone or just some tattoos that are offensive and unattractive.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Where's the Beef?

As I have mentioned before, we bought a whole cow for the freezer. One thing I didn't mention is that I did not grow up eating a lot of beef. In fact, for a period of time, I was a vegetarian. It lasted for about 7 years. Not for animal rights or anything like that. I still had my leather jacket and had no problem with anyone else eating meat. I just didn't care for it. My mom didn't eat much beef either. She preferred pork, chicken and turkey. I still don't care for turkey. The rest, I will most definitely eat now. The problem I am having is learning to cook it.

Last Friday, I decided to do a bit of batch cooking since I work on Saturday and knew we would be busy over our weekend. I wanted to make Italian beef and beef tips with a cheesy white sauce and noodles. The only thing that turned out was the noodles. I was one unhappy camper.

The beef tips were some that we had previously canned. I already knew they were tender as we had opened some up and used them before. I still am not sure exactly where I went wrong, but the beef and sauce turned into glue. Tasted good, but I think I could have glued up some wallpaper with it. So we tossed it. Eeerrrrrrrr.

When I made the Italian beef, I made up the dressing and seasoning mix and that went just fine. Then I took the roast I had thawed and dumped it all in the slow cooker and set it on its lowest setting. It was smelling really good. I know you shouldn't open the slow cooker as it's cooking but I wanted to make sure I had enough liquid. This was about 2-3 hours after I had put it in. The roast was completely cooked already! And hard as a rock. I put the cooker on the warm setting and left it there for several hours hoping that it might soften it up some. No such luck. I took my meat thermometer out and checked the temp of the liquid while it was on warm and it was about 160 degrees. If I recall correctly, when I got the cooker, the warm setting should run about 140 degrees. We ended up throwing that whole roast out. I am not sure if it was the wrong kind of roast to use for the recipe or if it was simply the slow cooker started running too hot. Either way, two batches of food got pitched over the fence for the animals to eat.

I was extremely unhappy for the waste of all of that. Some things I get right, some go quite wrong.

We had ribeye and baked potatoes for Labor day. My son loves a good steak and since we have plenty from the cow, I don't mind making them. Not all the time, just for things like holidays or his birthday.

We bought an Instant Pot to replace the slow cooker. I like the slow cooker and use it a lot. Since I don't want to overcook everything I make and it seems to be running too hot, we decided to replace it. The Instant Pot seemed like the best answer to that since it will do a lot of things in one small package. We actually used it to make the baked potatoes. It was fabulous. In about 30 minutes we had fluffy fall apart baked potatoes. Yummo! I do believe the Instant Pot will be my new favorite kitchen gadget.

We have decided against trying to burn the garden refuse ourselves. I will ask my boss if I can take the stuff to work and throw it in the burn pile we have. Every time we try to burn it, or plan on it, it rains and the stuff is all wet again. This weekend we are going to move one of the raised beds. We have looked at the layout of the garden and figured if we move one bed, we will be able to better use the garden space. It will also create a space close to the front door to put the grill and a couple of chairs so when we are grilling out, it is easy to get to and not have to walk so far from the kitchen to the grill. It will be a direct line, which is much better than the layout now.

The park has finally decided to do something with the abandoned trailer next door. We actually didn't mind it since it meant no neighbors on that side. However, so far all they have done is string out the stuff left behind and take the stuff that the maintenance workers wanted and leave the garbage and leftovers all over the yard. Then on Wednesday, we heard some machinery running over there. Ignored it at first since we knew they had started tearing things down. Then something bashed into the side of our house. I looked out the window and they are digging out the privet that grows between our houses. That does upset me. It is about 15-20 feet tall and gives us shade on that side of the house in the afternoons. My husband went out to talk to the guy digging it up. He asked if he had to tear it all out and the guy said he was just doing what he was told, so my husband asked if he couldn't leave at least some of it since it's our shade. He said he would ask but most likely it would only be at the very back of the lot, which means we lose our shade on the house and most of it for our awning that we put up. Not to mention the privacy that it gave us. That is a real bummer. However, they have not been back yet, so maybe they will be able to leave it. A girl can always hope!

One of my cats has decided to fully accept the dog now. He is terrifying the dog, though. When we first got puppy, he got too close to the cats and they swiped at him, teaching him quickly to let them have their space. Claws meant get back. Of course, the cats play with each other already by swiping and chewing on each other. Not drawing blood or anything like that, just typical cat play. Now, one of the cats has decided to try the same with the dog. Which he thinks means back off. Since the cat weighs about 10 pounds and the dog about 60, and he still plays rough, I am not sure I want them to play like that as I am afraid he will nip too hard and the cat will attack him and one of them end up getting hurt. When I am playing with the dog, he usually gets over excited and ends up nipping me and bruising me. He hasn't ever broke the skin, just gets a little overzealous. :)

That is about it for this week. How about you? How has your week gone?

P.S. Supper tonight is a cold plate. We will have cheese, crackers, veggies, sliced ham and whatever else I decide to cut up but don't have to cook. It's gonna be another hot humid day and since I work, I want something easy to fix and cold.

P.P.S. I am thankful that we have plenty to eat. I don't like throwing food out that turns out yucky, but at least we won't go hungry when it does happen.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Batch Cooking

I have been batch cooking for a long time. It began years ago when I had to do a lot of back and forth from IL to TN for my son. I found it much easier to spend one day a week cooking than to try to cook every day. I no longer spend lots of time driving on weekends or work through the week and so don't do as much batch cooking.

When my husband and I worked at the same company, we were away from home for long hours just like most other people. We found that batch cooking still worked for us. So we did. We would get lots of comments on how good everything we had smelled or looked. My husband is still there and he still gets the same comments. (The company had/has a high turnover rate in the accounting department so there seems to always be new faces to tell about batch cooking.)  He talks to the folks that ask about it. I have talked to folks at my work about it. It saves time and money. It's healthier than eating out. It's easy to fix supper when all you have to do after a long day at work is heat it up.

We are both amazed at how many people have never heard of it or never thought about it. We are both glad to share our experience with it and encourage others to try it. As with anything, some folks say they are going to try it and see, then don't. Others say they may try it, except they are skeptical and not sure they could make it work. Others see the idea as great and they can't wait to try it out, then do. I like it when my husband comes home from work and tells me that so-and-so at work tried out batch cooking and it's working for them, too.

If it saves time and money for someone, then I am all to happy to share any idea I have used. It's the same with gardening. We both like to talk gardening and will happily talk to anyone about it. If someone then decides to try their had at some tomatoes or any other veggie, then we have just put that someone on the path to providing for themselves. Even if it is just one plant at a time.

What ideas have you shared that has made life easier or cheaper for someone? It could be an idea that will work for me too!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Another Catching Up- This is becoming a bad habit.

All right. So it has been a while again. We have been really busy the past few weeks.

I picked up a couple of extra days at work. We visited my mother-in-law for a memorial and remembrance at homecoming at church. I am in overdrive helping my son finish his online school program so he can be done and have his diploma in hand so he can join the Marines by the end of September. We have been trying to get garden work done and prepare for the fall garden.

I am still the best seller at work. We have a contest that will be starting this weekend regarding sales. I fully expect to win it. Actually, the manager and assistant manager both told me they expect me to win it, as well. The manager is not eligible, but the asst. man. is. But right now since she is still new, she is trying to get things in shape and isn't spending a lot of time with the customers yet. And compared to the other two who work on the lot with me? No challenge!

My son found out that there is a vacancy in the enrollment for the Marines at the end of September. It is the same MOS as he selected and if we can get his diploma before then, he can get signed up and go then. The kid who was supposed to go can't pass the PT test, so he can't go yet. Apparently, there are a couple of other kids who might also vie for the spot, so I am helping him get through his last two courses for school. It's only two, shouldn't take too long, right? Well, it obviously can. It's English. And a ton of writing. For a kid that likes texting because he can use text lingo and shorten everything. A kid who barely passed his first two English classes. He hates it. Will do math and science all day long, just please don't make him write an essay! So I get to help. A lot. I have been spending hours a day for days to help. I am so glad my husband is willing to let me help and help me with other things that need done as well. My poor dog and cats think I have abandoned them, I have paid so little attention to them lately.

We ripped all the corn and beans out of the garden. We already burned part of what we ripped out and are waiting on the corn to finish drying so we can burn it too. I hope to be able to do that this weekend. Then we can pull out the vining plants and let them dry so we can burn them up as well. If you are wondering why I want to burn instead of compost, I shall tell you. Since we ended up with an insect problem and had some powdery mildew, I want to get rid of it completely instead of trying to cook it out in the compost and risk it again next year. With our humid climate, funguses and mildews are an ongoing problem or concern each year already. I will also be harvesting a lot of tomatoes today that I will put in the dehydrator. Mostly cherry and pear tomatoes. They are good rehydrated and put on pizza and in sauces for pasta.

It has been very hot and humid here the past couple of days. A few days last week were downright beautiful. We had the windows open several nights last week. Possibility of rain today and tomorrow. I hope it does as what is left in the garden could desperately use it.

We had the truck in the shop again at the end of last week. This time we don't know what is wrong with it. The shop couldn't figure it out either. Basically we were told to let it get worse so we can figure it out. When they had the truck (for three days), it not once acted up. Of course. We are not sure if it is a sensor starting to go bad or if it's the transmission or who knows what. We had the transmission flushed and refilled because originally we thought the tranny was the problem. Now we are not so sure. Since all we can do is describe what we think is happening and the truck didn't do it when the shop had it, they couldn't diagnose it. So we brought it home. And while my husband has been riding to work, when we did drive it, it didn't do it for us either. I would wish miracle cure and that it righted itself, but I know that is not how it works.

I have had several long talks with my husband lately. I know, I know. Just what a guy wants, right?!? I am glad that he did though. I have been stressing over a lot of things recently and needed some help to get my head straight. I wanted to talk to him and not some girl friend because I wanted advice and help, not sympathy. Men and women have their strengths and weaknesses. I needed the strength from my husband, not an "I know how you feel". He helped me figure a few things out and I am starting to feel much better and not quite so stressed. As time passes, I know that the stress will go away altogether. And that is why men and women are different. We need to be to work together and help each other.

Two Saturday's ago, I had the dog back at the vet. I got home from work on Friday night and was his usual self. Jumping all over, head down butt up tail wagging shaking his whole body happy. He followed me through the house while I was doing my get home routine. Then I took him outside and he was just fine again. About that time my husband rolled in. Puppy started his whole greet routine and was still just fine. My husband went to change out of his work clothes. Dog and I followed. He changed, we came back out in the kitchen to our customary chairs and dog limped a few steps to the edge of the kitchen and stopped. Holding his paw up. He did eventually come a bit into the kitchen but wouldn't put any weight on his paw. I tried to look and he didn't like that so I left him be a few minutes. Then I picked him up and held him while my husband looked at it. Nothing to see. Then he ran through the house like nothing was wrong when a jet flew over, barking his head of like usual. I guess he has to let me know there is a jet just in case I can't hear it. Or feel it, they shake the whole house. Then back to limping. I am pretty sure dogs don't fake injuries. Off and on all evening. Same thing the next morning for the first two hours. Then I got him down on the floor with his paw turned over. Oh my. Redness, swelling, growling when I touched it. So I called the vet and they said bring him in. So I got my workout for the day getting him out to the car and in it. Then I got my next workout for the week once I got inside and he started going for every animal in the place. He likes cats but likes to chase them. He does not like dogs any more. Thanks rat dog from across the road. Plenty of dogs at the vet's office. Finally they put us in the exam room. I put him up on the table and this little gal who must still be in high school comes in and says Hi! I'm Dr. something-or-another-I- didn't-catch since I was still stuck on the fact that she looked younger than my son. She was competent and smart though. I pinned the dog to me so she could look without any chance of puppy biting her. Turns out he had bitten his nails again- Something I am actively trying to get him to stop doing. But instead of the problem being that he bit it down to the quick, he split it. She asked if we had carpet. Why yes we do. And rugs everywhere since he will NOT walk on tile or linoleum. So she deduced that he caught his split nail on the rug and pulled the tendon. That is why he had redness and inflammation. She tidied the nail up. Gave me some anti-inflammatory meds that are steroid free and sent me on my way. To the front desk and the dogs that my dog wanted to eat. I paid and got my ass outside, thus ending the workouts needed for the rest of the month. Still had to lift the dog into the suv and out again once we got home. Which I accomplished. Then went to work to sweat like a pig and lift plants and trees all day. Man, you would think I would be in shape. Although, as my husband tells me, round is a shape.

We are still doing good on keeping our sugar consumption down. We are trying to eat smaller, more frequent meals to avoid over-eating. That seems to be going better for my husband as when I am at work, I really don't eat the whole time I am there. I have a six hour shift, therefore, no required lunch break. Which I am not fussed about as I am hot while I am there and not interested in eating anyway. I do, however, drink an entire bottle of Pedialyte when I work. In addition to two or three bottles of water to stay hydrated.

That seems to be the bulk of what has happened the last few weeks. I am hoping that, other than getting this school work done, the next week or so is uneventful. I won't plan on it as this year seems to be our year. For stuff. I guess we are getting it all out of the way at once. Which, hey! I am A-Okay with.

P.S. Tonight for supper is salmon patties. I have no idea what we are having with it yet. Just that we are having salmon patties.

P.P.S. I am thankful for my husband. I am every day. He is a blessing to me and I feel so lucky to have him and his strength and wisdom.

Friday, August 10, 2018

My Almost Bucket List

I read a post a day or two ago about bucket lists. Like Patrice, I have never had a bucket list. I never felt the need for one. I didn't panic when I turned 30. Or 40 for that matter.

I remember when I was in my early 20's, I worked in my mom's office part time. One of the gals that worked there was getting ready to turn 30. She was truly upset and worried because she had a bucket list and had not completed it. She had children, she was turning 30, her life was over! Very dramatic. I asked her why turning 30 was so bad. She lamented that she was getting old. I didn't understand because I wasn't knocking on the door to 30. Of course, I also had to ask what a bucket list was since I had never heard of it.

When I turned 30, I breathed a sigh of relief. No more would people look at me think I was still "young" and immature. I was an adult. No more being told I was only 20-something and I couldn't possibly understand. Mind you, I had my son when I was 22, one month to the day before I turned 23. It's not like I was a single, childless college student who had never been in the real world. I had a full time job and was raising my kid. I finally felt I had joined the ranks of adulthood.

I  just don't get the idea of a bucket list, though. If you have a goal or a desire to do something, why are you not striving to do it now, instead of some unspecified time in the future? Why wouldn't you want to? We have a goal and desire to own our own land. We are working towards it now. We have a goal date set. I don't understand the idea that you would want it and not go after it. If you have some place that you want to see or go, why not start saving now.

Maybe it's just me, but I look at a bucket list as a way to be unmotivated. If you can put it on a bucket list, you don't ever actually have to strive towards it. Perhaps some folks do. I don't know. I only know of a few folks that ever talked about having one, and without fail, none of them did any of the items on their lists and then complained about it. The folks that did do great or fun things, did them because they had an opportunity and they took it. My mom and sister went to Spain. A friend of mine went to Peru last summer. They didn't put it on some list and then whine about not going. They saved up the money (in my mom's case working two jobs) and went for it.

It could be that I don't feel the need for a bucket list because I don't have a desire to travel much beyond getting on the bike with my husband and taking a short trip. If I ever get to see the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone or some other place, then I will be pleased about it. I won't, however, be sad if I don't. I still have seen many beautiful and moving places in my life. I choose to be happy and content than to be sad and disappointed. If I were to have a bucket list, item number one would be to be happy.

What do you know? I had a bucket list and I completed it.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Hooray for Thunder Shirts and Other Daily Goings-on

I am happy to report that the thunder shirt is working. My dog still doesn't like the storms and thunder, but instead of hiding and shaking and pounding heart, he simply finds a place to lay down where it's fairly closed in and dark. That is a huge improvement. I am so glad that we got it.

We did get the garden sprayed. The stuff that we used has neem oil and an "exciter" to make the bugs come out and eat the treated leaves. Then they die off. It affects their neurological systems so that they stop laying eggs and stop eating. Course when I went out the next day to water, I saw about a million bugs I think. It was a little surprising and kinda gross to see so many. We will spray again next weekend to get them under control before we plant the fall garden.

I have saved and dried a bunch of the beans we grew this year for planting next year. The pintos and Cherokee cornfield did really well, the red beans did ok and the limas and tiger eye did not do well at all. Hopefully as I keep planting them, the harvest will improve as it adapts to my soil and micro-climate.

The corn is now a total loss. The last two storms did it in. I thought last week after the storm that I could probably salvage some of it. The storms yesterday pretty much finished it off. I am not sure that any of it will mature enough to save any seed. Bummer. Plus as it fell and broke it started smothering the squash plants. I think that bed is going to be done for now. I will leave it there until after we spray this coming weekend to make sure we get any bugs that might be hiding in there and then rip it all out. I don't think it has too many pests as none of the plants look like they have been munched on.

The peanuts, on the other hand, are still going strong and looking splendid. It will still be a while before they are ready to harvest. They have a long maturation date.

We had to fix the truck again. Over the weekend as we were out running errands, the fan quit blowing. Which sucked because it was so hot and humid. We first replaced some resistor thing. I don't remember exactly what it was called. It was cheaper than the blower motor and if it didn't work, we figured it's still a new part and we won't have to worry about it going out later. It didn't work. So the next day my husband bought the blower motor. We went out and changed it. It was surprisingly easy to do. Now it works again.

I have an old rocking chair that I will be restoring and cleaning. I spent some time researching it. It appears to have been made in the early 1900's. I need to clean it to see if I can find any identifying mark on it. It is a mission style chair and seems to be in the Stickley style. Without finding the mark, I can't be sure of the maker, though. I don't think it has any actual value as the seat cushion has been replaced and there seems to be either a back cushion or something along those lines missing. It does, however, appear to have the original springs. I just think it's cool to have a piece of furniture that is that old. I actually got it from my mom years ago. I also have an old dresser that I think I will do some research on to see if I can date it as well. Also from my mom. I seriously doubt that it is worth anything, either, owing to the stickers I put on it as a kid!! Although I may be able to get them off without damaging it. It makes me wonder with furniture that old where all it has been. How many people have owned it. If it could talk, what stories would it have. They were both obviously well cared for as they are both in pretty good condition. Even if they are 100+ years old (which is what classifies a piece of furniture as antique), they have both been in my family, either my mom's house or mine, for probably 40 years or more. I will have to ask her when she bought them. I just remember them always being there.

I roasted some garlic yesterday. Oh man, does that ever make the house smell good. I saved all the tops that I could to use in fresh cooking. Waste not, want not and all that. I also made breakfast burrito guts yesterday. We don't wrap them anymore, as my husband hasn't mastered the biting into things yet without his plate coming loose or moving. So I make the innards and he just eats them off a plate instead. It's a really filling hearty breakfast.

After the storms yesterday, it cooled off enough that I was able to open windows and use fans. Boy, I love fresh air in the house. Don't get me wrong, I am thankful for air conditioning. I just get tired of the staleness in the house when it's on. I also love to have fresh air when I am sleeping, as does my husband.

This afternoon, I am going to find my mayonnaise recipe and make it so I can make my gouda cheese dip. It's quite tasty. I am not sure how well my husband will do with crackers, but maybe he can use bread instead. I imagine it would be good on anything. It's cheese. That's kind of like bacon, it goes with everything. And if it doesn't, then you shouldn't eat it!

That's about it for the last several days. I don't really feel like I have gotten a lot accomplished. I did get things done, like laundry, washing down cabinets, sorting and purging lids for food containers that I no longer have the bowls, organizing cabinets, etc., but there really isn't anything exciting or news-worthy about that! I do feel that they are all important tasks as I would not have to worry about those issues if something happened. Just not worth putting up a blog post about it. Do you ever feel like you haven't accomplished anything if it wasn't something big?

Starting next week, I will be working two days a week. The new assistant manager seems pretty cool. She told me she heard good things about me and that she could be very persistent and would be in getting me to work more. I told her I could be very stubborn, but was willing to test our wills! Which in that case she would actually win since I had already decided to start picking up more hours. Slowly to make sure the dog doesn't freak out when I am suddenly gone more than one day a week. Plus, as I start working more, I am hoping that the temperatures start going down. I realize they won't for a while yet, but I can handle a couple of days for now.

Well, I am off to find something to do. I am not sure what I will accomplish this afternoon. I just plan on flying by the seat of my pants to figure it out. Probably start with cleaning the bathroom since I washed the bathroom rug yesterday. Don't want to put a clean rug in a dirty bathroom. 😁

P.S. Supper tonight will be ham steak and eggs. Or maybe the cheese dip and crackers with some fresh fruit. Not sure yet.

P.P.S. I am thankful for my husband. I had a killer headache this morning (sinus) and he let me sleep in. He really takes good care of me. I can only hope I take care of him as well as he does me.  

Monday, July 30, 2018

Decisions and Catching Up

I was unofficially offered a promotion at work on Saturday. It would mean a pretty good raise, but also a lot more hours. Saturday night, my husband and I talked about it. I slept on it. We talked some more on Sunday morning. I decided if they could meet a few terms that I had, I would take the job. So, I texted my boss Sunday evening to tell him I had made a decision. Would he rather me come in on Monday or just call? He said just to call. I think he thought I would say no.

I called today mid-morning and he didn't answer and I left a message. He called this afternoon to tell me the offer was off the table for now. The owner had made a decision early this morning to hire another manager. He also told me that if this other employee didn't work out, he would make sure the owner knew what he had in mind and the offer would be renewed.

My dog got stung by a bee again today. He has a bad habit of chasing anything that buzzes. He went flying off the porch when I let him out to chase something in the yard and before he got off the steps, he apparently stepped on a yellow jacket. He limped back up on the porch and we got him inside. I looked up what could be done for it. I saw a few things, but the biggest thing I saw was to make sure the stinger was out. I was trying to look at his paw and he was NOT happy about it. He growled at me and actually snapped at me. I know he was hurting, but that is totally not acceptable. So, I snapped my fingers at him and pointed down, which he knows means to stop what he is doing and lay down, which he did. He didn't bite hard and didn't break the skin or leave a mark or anything, however, that behavior will not be tolerated. We decided for me to hold him in my lap and hang on to his head just in case and my husband checked the paw out. No stinger that we could see. He did growl, just didn't make any attempt to snap or bite. We gave him a couple of treats for being such a good boy. I got some frozen chicken innards I saved from the last chicken we cooked and stuck them in a sock. I put it down on the floor and got his paw on it. He stayed like that for a few minutes. Now, he seems to be fine.

We have to take my son to meet his dad Thursday evening. After that, we will go watch my husband's grandson play baseball. This is the first year that he is playing and we are both excited. I played softball and my husband played baseball growing up. We are really looking forward to it!

We are going to spray the garden tonight. I don't like to do that, but some bugs seem to think that my tomatoes are for their delight. Not so. Death to the bugs! *evil laugh here*

We got a bunch of beans out of the garden to dry and put up for next year's garden. I am already starting to make plans. First, I have to get the garden ready for fall and make those plans. I know some of what we will plant, but need to see what I have left and saved from last year. Then I will have to order some seeds.

My husband has a sinus infection. Not sure if it is from the dental work or just because. We are treating it and he seems to be on the back end of it. Not soon enough for him. I don't blame him, I don't like them either.

We had fried fish again last night. We did not have game night. We listened to music instead. It has been a while since we have done that, too. I think we will have game night tonight. Yahtzee is calling my name!

One of the things that we do each week is set up a meal plan. That allows us to use up all the leftovers and not have to throw food out. The meal plan is of course flexible. We decide what we think sounds good for the week, write it down, then invariably change something at some point. It seems to be just a starting place while allowing both of us to be part of the planning process. Cuz who wants to be the only one choosing dinner every night?

Our reel mower seems to be doing a good job as long as we stay on top of the yard. Or my husband stays on top of the yard. 😀  I think we will stick with it. No gas or oil? I'm in.

See y'all later!

P.S. Supper tonight is home made pizza. I have the dough rising right now and all the topping picked out and ready to go. Dessert/snack is going to be fresh fruit.

P.P.S. I am thankful that the bee sting for my poor puppy wasn't worse.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

I'm Ba-aaack!!!

So after a rough couple of weeks, I am back. Life in the Trailer household is back on track.

So after the crazy drivers on Friday when my husband had his dental work, I figured that his mouth hurting and not being able to eat well would be the only problem. Well, we all know what happens when you assume something.

On Saturday, the adhesive they used to hold the plate in was long gone. He was told to keep it in for 24 hours at least. He woke up in the middle of the night with the plate in the bed and not his mouth. It would not stay in place the whole day on Saturday. It rubbed his gums where the teeth had come out. He couldn't eat anything. I make a lot of home made stock, thankfully, so at least he could drink something nutritious. I didn't eat much either. I felt bad eating in front of him when he was so hungry and all he could get in himself was stock. He was in quite a bit of pain on Saturday as well. I tried to do what I could, but there isn't much to do for that except make sure he had ibuprofen. We don't either one take prescription pain meds. He doesn't like them and I can't take them.

The ibuprofen helped some, but definitely did not get rid of the pain. So in a stoke of stupidity, we decided a couple of shots of whiskey would help get rid of the pain. Well, it did work. The stupidity came in because neither of us had eaten anything solid. So, after a couple of shots, you can imagine just how much it affected us. My husband went on to bed. I was on the phone with a friend, so I stayed up longer. And continued to drink. That's where the real stupidity came in. I was drunker than Cooter Brown by the time I went to bed. I woke up with what I thought was a hangover. Which I obviously deserved for being that dumb. I got out the Pedialyte and drank the whole container. Then started on a second one. Then I realized I wasn't dehydrated any more. I just didn't feel good. I still attributed that to being hung over. A mistake I won't make again.

I realized the next morning that wasn't the case. I won't go into details, but for three days, instead of me taking care of my husband, he was taking care of me. That was not how this was supposed to work!! It wiped my ass out. It took almost a week to recover. Add in to that not sleeping because of storms and still more fireworks, it was rough.

I still haven't had a really good nights sleep. I have laid on the floor and slept on the floor more in the last month than I have in the last year. I have had nights that I have had heartburn so bad, I had to sleep sitting up, which is also uncomfortable. At least I can take a nap if I need one!!

In addition to all of that, both of us have just felt bad the last couple of weeks. Since we had cut out most of the sugar and chemicals out of our diet we had been feeling a lot better physically. My headaches had virtually vanished. I hadn't been having much heartburn, hormone or gut issues. Just felt better. But since my husband was so limited on what he could eat, I was focusing on fixing what he could. I ate what he ate. Big mistake. Basically, I did it to myself, though. That is another mistake I won't make again.

Now on to the good news!

My husband had his follow up visit. His mouth is healing really well. He was able to move to the paste to hold the denture in. It finally stays in all day. He is figuring out how to chew with it and is able to eat a lot more foods now. Since he can eat more food now, I have been able to go back to fixing the foods we normally eat. In the past few days, we have gone back to low sugar, organic and chemical free foods. The difference in how I feel is dramatic.

The garden is still doing well. We are getting all kinds of squash. Delicious. The beans are just about done, so I will be pulling them this week and replanting the ones with the short maturity dates so we can get another round out of them before I plant the fall garden. Sadly, the corn is not fairing well. The winds from the storms have pretty much knocked it all down. It hasn't seemed to kill it so I left it out there to see if any of the corn will be salvageable. The peanuts are doing fabulous, and we have some winter squash and watermelons coming right along. The tomatoes are producing, albeit slowly, but producing.

We bought a fryer at Kroger. It was on sale for 20% off and I had a coupon for another $10 off. Woohoo! I have been wanting one for a long time. So on Sunday night, I made fried fish with a beer batter coating and French fries. So much better fried and not baked. I bought mushrooms and onions when we got groceries planning to dehydrate them, but now I think I will make fried mushrooms and onion rings.

We also added quite a bit of food to our deep pantry. I have a can rack that we bought that will hold and rotate about 200 cans. We have it almost full. Which doesn't count the stuff that I can and that doesn't fit in the can rack due to the shape of the can. I realize that wouldn't go too far feeding the three of us, but it would be better than nothing, and more than most people have.

Last night for dinner was lasagna mess. I just use whatever noodles I want and instead of taking the time to layer it, I throw everything in the pot I made the sauce in, mix it up and dump it into a baking dish. Easy, peasy, cheesy.

I talked to my sister yesterday. Fertile Myrtle is pregnant with number five!! I am excited for her! She has four girls, so her and her husband decided to try one more time to see if they can get a boy! She is having a lot of morning (all day) sickness like I had with my son, and she didn't with her girls, so they are really hoping that is a sign that this one is a boy. And of course her husband feels bad and keeps apologizing saying he did this to her! I am pretty sure based on what I learned in biology class, that it took both of them! I am just glad that he cares that much about her.

We bought a thunder shirt for the dog. We have had several people tell us that it has worked wonders for their dogs for storms and fireworks. We bought it last Friday. I am glad we did as it stormed all night Friday night. I didn't go to bed until about four in the morning. Then had to work Saturday. That was a long day. The thunder shirt is helping I think. He doesn't seem to mind wearing it. He also seems to calm down faster when I sit or lay down with him. He is still scared, but not shaking so bad and his heart doesn't pound as fast. I plan on putting it on him a little bit each day and kind of randomly. I don't want him to equate the shirt to storms and get scared just because I put it on him. Hopefully we will see a difference soon. I would love for him to not be so scared. That can't be good for him.

Sunday night, my husband and I got back into game night. We played Connect 4. We always have a blast when we have game night. I have a ton of board games and card games, dice and dominos. We used to have game night every week. I am not sure when exactly or why we stopped, but I think this will be put back in our routine. Maybe every Sunday, along with a fish fry! Now we just need to get into fishing and catch our own!

I have to run to Walmart today to pick up a couple of things. I hope to get out in the garden after that. It is cloudy right now, and if it stays that way, it will make it nicer to work out there. I am hoping it stays nice out for a while at least so I can wash the dog's rugs and have enough time out there with him so they can dry.

I think that is pretty much everything for right now. I'll see you all tomorrow!

P.S. Supper tonight is meatloaf with those aforementioned fried mushrooms and onion rings.

P.P.S. I am thankful for health and feeling good. Obviously, feeling good makes for a better mood and outlook and easier to accomplish things.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

When it Rains, It Pours

Wow, it's been a rough few days.

On Friday, my husband and I went in for his morning appointment. It was the measurement, fitting, instructions, waivers and all of that for the teeth he was getting pulled. Time for all the questions that we had come up with. All of that went really well. We went to Wallyworld to get the stuff they told us we would need for at least the first two weeks. We came home. We had a really good lunch since I knew that my husband would not be able to eat dinner. We got a couple of things done, but not much because I didn't want to work him too hard since he was getting teeth pulled.

We left about an hour or so before the afternoon appointment to make sure we had time to get there. Good thing as there was some road construction about two blocks from the office that was not there that morning. We did make it with a few minutes to spare. We decided to smoke once more before we went in while watching traffic. It was backed up forever and we were talking about how we hoped it was gone before we had to leave. We watched a truck pull in to the back of the building with mowers. Then this noise... At first we thought that was fast, how did they get the mowers running that fast? Oh NO!! It was our truck!!!!

So, out we jump and pop the hood. The serpentine belt had shredded. Really? Right now?

In we go so my husband can check in. We know we need to call the insurance to schedule a tow. We figure out where we want to take it. My husband said he will call his buddy. He pulls out his phone and started to pull the guy's number up and they called him back. He started to head back and realized I needed the phone number so I can call this guy. I was checking our insurance online to make sure we had the towing add on, which I was pretty sure of, but just double checking cuz that's what I do.
I open his phone back up to call the guy. Only to realize he had pulled him up by his first name, not full name and there were three to choose from. I asked the girl at the front desk to go back and ask which one I am supposed to call. They were already working on him. These folks waste no time! I head outside and start at the top. Nope, not it. I called the second one. Nope, wrong number. Third call was no answer. So I called again. I can be quite persistent. Bingo! Got an answer and it was the right person. He can take the truck today, but can't work on it until Monday. I told him I had no idea what time we would be there as my husband is getting his teeth worked on and I have to call a tow truck. Who would be bringing us with him. Of course, I have no idea how we will get home. He told me no problem, we could all figure something out.

I go back inside and ask the girl at the front desk how long this typically takes. She said about an hour. Ok, back out to call the insurance and see how long for a tow truck. The phone call was easy, the gal was really helpful and polite. She made sure that we were safe and not in any immediate danger and set everything up. About an hour they should be there.

My husband came out from the back and still no tow truck. We had to wait almost 20 minutes after he was done for the truck to get there. At least we were inside as it was pretty hot outside. The tow truck guy finally shows up. He gets the shredded belt off and the truck on the roll back. With about half an inch to spare before missing it entirely. Gets it strapped down and now it's time to climb into the truck. Only to realize there is only two seats and what I assumed was a filing cabinet in the middle. So I sat on the filing cabinet. And rode with the craziest driver I have ever had the privilege to ride with. He tailgated, he slammed on his brakes at the last second, he checked the weather on his phone, he picked his nose. OH MY GOD, I thought he was going to kill us. The only thing I could think of is, he is going to hit someone and I am going to fly through the windshield and the truck is going to flip over the cab and squash me.

It didn't happen. We made it to the shop in one piece. Well, except my nerves. But alive.

So, my husband and his mechanic buddy talk for a few minutes and we find out he is going to have his wife drive us all the way to our house. Which is not really that far from their house, but she planned on going all the way back to the shop. Which was really cool of them!

Turns out she is about the third or fourth craziest driver I have ever rode with. She is from Chicago and still drives like it! She was super nice and really pleasant to talk with on the way home, but I don't miss the Chicago driving experience. I wasn't keen on living it again with someone I had never rode with. Again, we made it home in one piece, minus a few nerves. And maybe a few more gray hairs after the driving we had to endure in one afternoon.

Finally, we are home and looking forward to relaxing. We sit and talk for a bit and figure we are both wiped out and are ready for bed. Then the fireworks start again. Yay. Time for the next dog freak out. I don't even know what time I got to bed.

I will leave it here for now, as I am still tired and am really hoping that there are no more fireworks. I have had all I can take for this year. I will finish the rest in the next post.

P.S. Supper tonight was salmon patties and potato wedges.

P.P.S. I am thankful that the Fourth of July only comes once a year.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Garden Goodies and a Fearful Fourth!

Hello, everyone! How was your Independence Day? We had a pretty good one all the way up until the fireworks started. Then one cat went into hiding. The dog freaked out.

Here is the cat "hiding":

No pics of the dog freaking out. I was ready to pull my hair out. He was going through the house trying to climb or crawl under everything. I had to drag him out of the litter box. My husband and I finally put his cage back up and shoved him in. He started chewing on the bars and I was afraid he would break his teeth. So, in I went into the cage. I sat in there with him for about an hour. Then I let him out when it sounded like the fireworks had slowed down. Only to have him make a beeline for my son's room and try to claw his way through it. About 2330 he finally settled enough for me to go to bed. Only to have my other cat wake me up at about 0230. I checked on the dog and he seemed okay by then. Then I woke up at 0330 with heartburn. I came to the kitchen to get some milk and found the dog getting ready to eat cat poop. Which I took from him and cleaned up his mess. Next thing I know, the cat that had awakened me was hacking and puking in the hallway. Yay. What a night.

This morning, I sliced a bag of onions with my mandolin slicer my honey got for me. It was marvelous. I sliced those suckers in a fraction of the time it normally takes. Loaded them up into the dehydrator. (I think I have mentioned I have a nine tray Excalibur.) I filled all the trays up, took it outside and turned it on. I will be able to bring it in later after the smell dies down. I think I am probably stinking up the whole street.

Yesterday, I put up the mushrooms I had already dehydrated. We have about one quart of those now. We found some clearanced out so we bought four packages and into the dehydrator they went.

I canned some ground beef last week that I forgot to mention. I followed the tips from Annie (Thank You!!) and think I have a good batch.

Also, this morning I spent some time in the garden harvesting more veggies. I got three lemon squash, gold rush beans, green beans, tiger eye, pinto, red and Cherokee cornfield beans.

I need to work on using the flash so it doesn't come out with funky colors.

I was supposed to get my new holster today. It didn't show up. We have a new mailman and seem to be having some problems.

Tomorrow, my husband goes in for his dental work. I am looking forward to it so he won't have to deal with the constant pain anymore. For the past few weeks, it's been every day. At least after the procedure is done and his mouth starts healing the pain will go away. I plan on spoiling him for the next little while until he feels like himself again. He will probably tell me he is fine and to stop hovering! LOL

January will be my turn. Unless something changes, I want to wait until the down time at work when I don't have any hours so I don't miss any days. After that, we will finish my husband's teeth, then mine and all dental work will be done.

As per request, here are a couple of pics of the gazebo we put up.

It even has shelves and a hook in the corners so I can put out some pretties! And maybe someday I will even get cushions for my chairs and get them in there. For now, it's just the fire pit to keep it out of the weather. I will get our adirondack chairs in there so we can enjoy it now.
It is now time for me to get some dishes done and laundry washed to hang outside. I hope you enjoy the rest of your day! Tomorrow, I will get some pics of the dried up onions posted.

P.S. Supper tonight is chuck roast and garden veggies. I am using the pressure cooker this time to see how it turns out. A new project for me as I have never used one before.

P.P.S. Today I am thankful that we do have a cage for the dog. We used it when we first got him to keep him safe from the cats at night. We haven't used it in ages and had to put it back together last night since we had taken it down some time ago. I am just glad that I was able to safely contain him and prevent him from getting hurt during his freak out.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Monthly Maintenance and Rambling

This is our maintenance week. The first week of every month we specify as our week to make sure things get done.

We clean our guns(we both have our carry permits), we run down the generator and recharge it, we clean the filters on the air conditioners, ad nauseam.

One of the things I do is run some vinegar through the coffee pot. It stinks but does clean it out. We clean the filters on the air conditioners. We clean the fan blades and the motors. I wash rugs and blankets that sit on the back of chairs. We take this week to make sure that everything that needs regular attention gets it. We have found that if we set a specific week aside for maintenance, it actually happens.

We (meaning my husband) found the part for the mower. If we can find a bit of time that is drier, we (meaning my husband) will mow, hopefully tomorrow. Or just in the morning, wet or not.

As a random aside, it took my son all of one day to fall out of his pattern of getting up in the morning. He is back to his staying up late, playing video games and watching you tube all night(I do not provide the internet that allows him to do this any more. He downloads stuff when he is at dad's house, so he doesn't need it when he is home) He swears he has goals, but just can't seem to stick with them. As seems to be typical for a millennial, he thinks things should be handed to him without work. He has a short amount of time before he has to figure it out and go somewhere. It may be the Marines if he can figure out a few things, or flat on his face, because he doesn't get to just stay here forever.  I hope he can figure it out since I don't want him to wind up a failure, but I can't fix everything for him. He has to grow up at some point.

We finally got our gazebo put up. It said it could be put up in 30 minutes. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
It took us a couple of hours. It wasn't really hard, it was just that the directions left a lot to be desired. Now that it is up, we are glad for that and are looking forward to being able to spend some time outside in an enclosed space and try to avoid some mosquitos. And flies. And other creepy crawlies.

Someone set off fireworks on Saturday night and my poor puppy freaked out. There hasn't been any since then, but not holding my breath that there won't be any tonight. I am hoping that with time we can get him over the loud noise fear.

Another thing that we try to do every week is plan our meals. It makes it much easier to plan buying groceries and using the food that we have that is fresh. Less waste means less money wasted. And less money wasted means more money saved.

For me, more money saved means we get to where we want to go. I have wanted a "simpler" lifestyle since I was a kid. My husband was the same. It's not that we don't want to work, we just want to work for ourselves on our own land. Also, we want to spend our time together. I know that there are folks out there who actually enjoy spending time together and folks who don't. We are one of those couples that enjoys being together.

Last night for supper we had sirloin steaks (broiled - I am so glad for my broiler pan), beans and greens for my husband and I and green beans for my picky eater kid.

What sort of thing(s) do you look at to ensure maintenance of the things you need to take care of? How often do you change filters? Clean filters? Just in general check the maintenance and status of the stuff you own? Would you check those items more than once a month? What sort of things do you do weekly or monthly?

P.S. Supper tonight is roasted chicken and mashed potatoes.

P.P.S. Today I am thankful for air conditioning since it was so hot and muggy out today.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Friday Wash-Out and Purge

I want to start off with an apology that I have not posted or answered/responded to comments for a few days. I use my phone as a hot spot and when the weather is stormy, I have spotty service for internet. It's really slow when there are a lot of folks around me using the internet to begin with, but add in bad weather and it's even worse.

I did not get a lot done this week as I spent a lot of time calming my pets during all the storms. Then I was just lazy after that! I find that rainy weather makes me feel lazy.

Yesterday was wash day. I don't mean laundry. Every Friday, I do extra cleaning. I take everything off my counters and wash it. I wash the microwave inside and out, including the tray. I wash down the appliances. I scrub out the whole coffee pot. I wipe out the inside of the oven if it needs it. I wash the shelves in the fridge. I wipe down handles on cabinets. I just make sure that everything in the kitchen is spic and span. Obviously, I wipe off counters and clean up spills every day, but just want to do a more thorough cleaning at least once a week. This house is dusty enough without letting it pile up behind/under appliances on the counter. I also think that, in a way, keeping the house clean is a way of being prepared. If you have a clean house and laundry, etc. caught up, if you have any kind of event, it's one less thing that you have to worry about.

I cleaned out two more cabinets in the kitchen. I purged a lot out of it. Now we have an entire cabinet that is empty! Woohoo! I plan on getting some of the stuff that sits on the counter in there (like the food processor and my tea collection). I am trying to purge stuff that has outlived its usefulness. I also set aside a bunch of dish towels to dump into the rag bin. They are not as absorbent as they used to be and some were getting a little too threadbare.

I used my new broiler pan last night. I made pork chops. They were delicious. Pork fat rules! lol I also broiled the rest of the zucchini I picked out of the garden and made salad and home made blue cheese dressing. I can't wait til everything for a salad comes out of the garden again. I am pleased with the broiler pan we got. It did not warp or twist and nothing stuck to it! Woohoo!

I do have to work today. I will be picking up another day per week soon. I talked to my boss about it last weekend. He asked if I would be willing to come in on his day off as they don't have anyone else that they can rely on for sales if one or the other of us isn't there. I also found out last week, that despite only working one day a week, I am the highest seller. How pathetic. And that doesn't speak well for the direction of the company, either. I hope that is something that improves. We do have a lot of new folks, so hopefully they will get better at sales as they grow more comfortable in the job. I've been there three years and still learn new things. It's a lot to absorb. It's sure to be a hot one out there today, but supposed to be clear all day. I am keeping my fingers crossed for good customer traffic for some good sales. Plus that helps the day go by faster. (I don't work on commission, just don't want to see the company I work for fail.)

This weekend we will be working on the yard and garden. We need to get a part for the mower that we are having a hard time finding. Don't ask me what it is, I can't remember what it's called. We do have the reel mower but it doesn't do a very good job for the stuff that is really tall. And with all the rain, the grass is really tall again.

That's it for me for now. How did you guys do this week?

P.S. Supper tonight is who knows? It will depend on how worn out I am from the heat today. I drink Pedialyte while at work to prevent dehydration, but the heat and humidity can still wear a body out.

P.P.S. I am going to start listing something that I am thankful for when I post. A good way to remind myself of the better things in life. It might be something small or something important, but I just want a way to be active in positive thinking. Today I am thankful that I found a good broiler pan. It will help make some of our suppers faster and easier to prepare.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Storms and Suppers

It has stormed here again today so we did not put the gazebo up. It's supposed to storm again tomorrow so we will not put it up tomorrow either.

I was planning on canning today. When I was ready to get started, I saw the forecast for storms and decided to hold off until tomorrow morning. Since we lose power here so readily, I did not want to risk the jars going into the canner and then not finishing due to power loss.

Today was a regular day for me. I got laundry done. It was outside for a while to dry. Nothing like the smell of laundry hung outside to dry in sun and fresh air. Then the clouds started rolling in, so I brought it in to avoid it getting soaked again.

As I said yesterday, I made some beef veggie soup Saturday morning. For the beef, I used the eye of round roast I made and didn't eat, as the meat was really tough when I cooked it the first time. I tried a recipe I found online that was repeated several times so I hoped it would be good. Not so much. I cut the roast up into pieces and made a tomato juice, with some other veggies pureed and added in, and let it sit overnight hoping to make the meat more tender. I added some beans and corn to the mix and let it simmer all day. When we ate it and to begin with the meat still wasn't tender enough for me and the soup had way too much meat. To stretch the pot of soup, today I added more veggies (carrots, potatoes and some zucchini from the garden) and a bit more tomato juice. Now it has the consistency and look that I hoped for the first time. Plus it stretches one dish that will have a few leftovers into something we can eat for a few more days. (It makes a great lunch.)

Any ideas on how to cook eye of round roast good and tender the first time? I am thinking I need to pressure cook it, but cooking beef is a new thing for me. I didn't grow up eating much beef. I was totally missing out! My husband is a total beef and potatoes kind of guy, but hasn't had much experience cooking roasts, so we are a bit clueless in this!

I would also love some recommendations on cube steak. It is not something that I have had and like so far, but we have some from the beef we bought. I am thinking I will need to pressure cook that as well. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

I found a broiler pan at Kroger. I have been looking for one for a while now, but after reading reviews decided against any that I found online since I couldn't put hands on it. On Sunday, we went grocery shopping and checked out their kitchen stuff. It is a Good Cook brand. I think I will be pleased with it when I use it the first time.

 Change of thinking now: we have had almost three inches of rain in three days. How much rain have you gotten? You getting flooded out?

P.S. Supper tonight is the fixed and added to soup.

P.P.S Today I am thankful for readers (Annie) that help me out and give me some tips! Advice is always welcome! 😀

Monday, June 25, 2018

Some Canning Lessons and More

Last week ended up being a busy week, right through today. We just got home.

Wednesday, I had some unexpected time with my husband. We spent the day going over some plans for when we are ready to build our home. We also made our plans for what we had going on this weekend.

Then Wednesday evening, I noticed that something didn't smell too good in the hallway. I thought it was the litter boxes. I thought to myself, I really need to do something about that. My husband and I also noticed a big increase in the gnats and flies in the house. I assumed it was from the heat and humidity and letting the dog in and out all day long. And probably the litter boxes.

So on Thursday, I decided to get a start on the litter boxes. I figured it must be time to completely dump and wash out. Except when I got them out, I knew that could not be the problem. Cleaned them out anyway. Still smells. Did something die under the house?

I got the beans and beef broth jars washed off and ready to put in the panty. I opened the door, and Oh my Lord! there was the smell. And flies. And gnats. And GRODY! maggots on some of my canned jars. Barf-gag-eewwww-bleh! I pulled the jars down and immediately took them to the kitchen sink to wash them off and see if the seal was broken. As far as I could tell they were not, except that the bugs were on the inside, too. I pushed the tops in to see if they popped. They did not. They still looked sealed. So I filled the sink with hot soapy water and dropped them in. Here was the bubbles. Not very many, but enough to show me they were not sealed completely. I am not sure how the tops can be popped down but the seal not intact. Strange.

Then I had to clean the pantry out. I inspected every single jar in there. Most everything in it is commercially canned or sealed up in bags, so everything else was ok. I sprayed vinegar on the shelf and wiped up as much as I could. I got out the vacuum cleaner and sucked up as much as I could. Then I sprayed again. And vacuumed again. Then sprayed again for good measure. I left the pantry open to check on the progress and make sure no more icky buggies were left. I did get everything out of the pantry but the flies and gnats moved on the rest of the house. I spent all day Friday chasing flies and killing them. My dog helped out and caught a few. And proceeded to eat them. I am glad he is not a licker. The cats were useless in this job.

To control the gnats, I used water, apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dish soap. I mixed it up, covered it with plastic wrap and cut a hole in it. When I have read about it online, it said a little slit. I found that doesn't work and put a decent size hole. Then when the little bastards fly in and land on the under side of it, I smack it and send them right into the mix. They drown and I laugh my evil laugh. Just like every time I killed a fly. DIE bugs DIE!

Since I spent so much time on bug patrol on Thursday and Friday, I did not get as much around the house done as I wanted. I did not make it to the store, I did not get out into the garden and I did not get any laundry done.

I worked again on Saturday. So no time there either. Saturday morning, I put together some beef vegetable soup in the crock pot for supper Saturday and leftovers for Sunday. Thankfully, because we had a two hour road trip to meet my ex and pick my kid up from his visit with his dad and grandmother. At work, I did get a really good deal on more fruit trees. $5 each! I got two more apples, a pear (will need another one for pollination) and a nectarine tree. I will be so glad when we get our property and I can plant my fruit trees in the ground instead of in pots.

Sunday, we pretty much spent the day either out shopping and running errands or calming the dog and one of the cats when the thunder started rolling again.

We did find a gazebo on clearance on Sunday so we snatched that deal up. We have been looking at replacing the one that bit the dust last year but so far just hadn't bit the bullet and gotten one. Sunday was our day. We don't have it up because of the storms. Hopefully by this weekend we will have it up.

Today, we went to my mother-in-law's house to install her microwave. She bought a new kitchen set of appliances and they had to order the microwave. So my husband and I met his brother at his mom's house to install it. Which of course goes how every installation goes. We ran into problems and it took about 4 hours longer than we thought it would. Totally typical. At least for us, and I assume most everyone else.

We are now home and can take a breather before getting up tomorrow and starting our work week. (Our work schedules are Tuesday through Saturday.)

Lesson learned: Check those canning jars. Don't put them on a top shelf where you can't see them. Check them all the time. Don't let those bastard bugs set up shop in your pantry, because when you do, it's hell to get rid of them.

Tomorrow, it's back to normal for us. With a new routing for me to check the canning jars at least once or twice a week.

P.S. We did clean the vacuum cleaner out. We took it apart to make sure that none of the bugs were left in it.

P.P.S. Supper tonight is Arby's as I didn't plan anything for dinner, so we grabbed a couple of sandwiches and will eat them for supper.