There are some problems with this site. I can't add images, and I see a post where I talked about winning a library raffle is totally gone.
I had a sad dream last night. I was in a small, rickety boat with my mother, and we needed to transfer into a larger boat for some kind of excursion.
To make the transfer, we had to jump down into a small, murky pond where a man was waiting to help us out. It looked dangerous and I wondered if my mother, at her age, should be doing this. It seemed like a literal leap of faith.
To my surprise, my mother jumped without any coaxing. She disappeared into the pond and I watched anxiously for her head to bob up. I waited and watched. Nothing happened. The seconds ticked by and I grew more anxious. She never emerged. I felt the panic rising in my chest.
To me, that dark, murky pond was a metaphor for Alzheimer's. I never really understood it. I often wondered what was going on inside my mother's brain, what she understood and what she didn't. What she felt. Not much more I want to say about this but it just makes me indescribably sad.
Yesterday I took a leisurely drive down to a town to pick up 2 pretty occasional tables I found on Facebook Marketplace. I plan to use them for my growing collection of succulents and cacti. They are mostly outside now, but I will need to make room for them for the winter. I posted about this yesterday but I see that post isn't here.
The tables are very pretty, black wrought iron legs with a black/white tile top with floral design. I wanted to post a photo of them which I'll do if they fix this website.
She had wanted $50 for the 2 of them. I bought them for $35, which I thought was more reasonable. On the way home, being in an area I'm not often in, I decided to stop for an early lunch at a Middle Eastern take-out place. I had a falafel eggplant sandwich. I also stopped at a Trader Joe's which was practically empty of shoppers! So unlike my local TJs.
Facebook Marketplace can be addictive. I'm going to have to be careful. Here's what I've bought there so far in just about a month's time:
1. Assorted perennials (very cheap)
2. The day bed frame
3. These 2 tables
4. Today, I bought a 6 foot aluminum Werner step ladder for $25. (They wanted $30). I have a rickety old wood stepladder that I only use when I absolutely have to becus it's not very stable. One of the few spots on the house not covered in vinyl is the front of the mini roof above the 2 pillars at my front entry. The paint is all peeling but I needed a tall ladder to deal with it. Now I have it.
5. & 6. Pending: 5 very large terra cotta pots and a cute wire plant stand.
When I offered the $25 for the ladder, I added that i lived in town and could pick up immediately, knowing that sellers appreciate prompt pickup. She said one person was ahead of me who wanted it. About 10 minutes later, she said the other person fell thru and I could have it. I have to wonder if she just decided she'd rather have someone who said they'd pick up right away come get it so they could be done with it. I don't really feel the other deal fell through.
There's no limit to what you can find there, although many people post these ridiculous prices on their stuff. Lots of dark, old furniture. Lots of refinishing "projects" that most people don't have time for. Those trendy dolls (forget the name) that used to be really hot collector items and which are now worthless. Old, out-of-repair things people believe are "antiques" and price accordingly.
I just don't think people today have as much interest in junky stuff. People are so busy working and they don't want to spend their limited free time trying to repair or fix something. Just my opinion.
I am very much in favor of reusing or recycling things, but with the price tags associated with much of this stuff, it doesn't make sense to spend that kind of money and then still have to spend more on reupholstery, repainting or refinishing.
I've also noticed that the vast majority of posted items get very little, if any response (unless, I suppose, they are sold later and the buyer and seller communicate via private message). So I've learned that buyers will tend to accept much lower prices.
Yesterday was a nice, dry weather day so I did the touch-up I wanted to do on the 2 pillars at my front entryway. I had missed a spot or two when I repainted them. They look sooooo much better.
I noticed some peeling paint under the front storm door and decided to scrape that away and repaint the wood threshold at the doorway. I figured it was a 15-minute job. My house is covered with vinyl now, so this is one of the very few areas with painted wood. I found some usable old paint, a neutral gray/brown, which will hold up better to people stepping on it than the off-white color that was there before.
But I had to prop the storm door open so it could dry and for that reason I couldn't paid the part behind the propped-open door. So that will be done in round 2. Which won't happen today as thunderstorms are expected. Patience.
I planted the butterfly weed and succulents I recently bought. Again, I would show you a picture, but...
Good news...my dad has an offer on his house on the Jersey shore and they offered full ask price of $200K. Realtor said it's because they lost out on a few other homes to other buyers who offered more. I guess the market there is pretty strong which surprises me a bit since the entire Jersey shore is supposed to be submerged in about 20 years due to global warming.
Realtor says buyer is pre-qualified so let's hope it's smooth sailing from here. REaltor emailed me the 13-page contract and dad's coming over to sign it; then I'll have to scan it page by page and email it back to realtor.
Archive for August, 2017
There are some problems with this site. I can't add images, and I see a post where I talked about winning a library raffle is totally gone.
I had a fun time at my cousin's yesterday. She mentioned she'd have her son there with his family (wife and 2 boys) and a friend from work. Well, I was surprised, she had about 40 people there, all from the company where she works.
She had a TON of food, all catered. She introduced me to everyone as "my cousin, PatientSaver," and a lot of people said, Oh, I've heard so much about you.
I enjoyed talking with a few of her friends, including one woman (and her husband) who seemed like a version of myself, becus she loves attracting birds, butterflies, bats and other critters to her yard.
I left around 6:30 pm and my timing got me home exactly when I wanted, just as it was turning dark at about 8 pm. No major traffic issues.
I saw some guys down at the bottom of the driveway today looking up at the trees and went down to talk to them. They're with the tree company the borough tree warden hired to take down 3 of the white pines. The owner spent quite a bit of time looking at them and walking around them with me. It won't be an easy job due to the power lines. I am going to have to sacrifice a dogwood to make room for their crane to access the trees. I guess it's not the end of the world; the tree has been ailing for years, though it does still flower each spring.
I guess I am more concerned about them using my driveway with their heavy trucks since I just had a new driveway put in last spring.
He said it would be better to do this job in the cold weather; better both for my driveway (harder asphalt will less likely be damaged) and also because much of the undergrowth will have died back after the frost and he would be able to see the ground and so on.
So it looks like it won't be done til November, which is a little disappointing but I guess I can wait, and it would still be ahead of any major winter storms, hopefully. It's a two or three-day job, he said.
I asked him to try to save some birch trees near the mailbox and another dogwood further in. They are going to chip what they can and haul away the big cut pieces that won't fit in the chipper. So yay for that.
I imagine everything will be really flattened once they get done, which means an opportunity for me to try to wrest control of this whole overgrown area next spring so I can more easily manage it. Maybe too much to expect I could plant grass in the area, but at least pull out any remaining invasive stuff like the bittersweet. There's poison ivy in there, so I'd have to be careful. Things grow so quickly around here that if you don't stay on top of it, it could be completely inaccessible after a single season.
Today I did a load of laundry which hopefully will dry outside...it's a bit muggy.
I also made a 3rd trip to a local woman who's selling perennials very cheaply via Facebook. I am getting into butterfly gardening more seriously, so I picked up 4 more butterfly weed plants and 2 scabiosa for just $15 total ($2.50 each)!
I had a scary experience today when I went to post a restaurant review on Yelp. I got a page that said do not turn off your computer. Call this number to restore your pages, etc. The scam that's been so much in the news. Of course, I shut down my computer immediately without going to any links or calling. Luckily, when I restarted, Windows did a lengthy scan and fixed whatever problem there was. Phew.
It's been a while, it seems, since I was able to say, "it's been a productive day." But it has been...
1. I repainted the two pillars at my front door (after bleaching and sanding yesterday). I wouldn't have thought this would make as huge a difference as it has. I guess there were a fair share of nicks and scuff marks and scratches and so on collected over the years, and it looks soooo much better.
Still, I need to do some touch-up tomorrow, but that will take 5 minutes. Just some spots I missed.
Not only that, but doing the pillars used no more than a half a quart, so I can return the 2nd quart I purchased at the hardware store. I couldn't believe the prices: $18 for one little quart of basic white paint. Geez.
I have oodles of half-used paint cans in the basement and I did find a gallon of "white" I planned on using for this project, but when I opened it up (it was about 8 years old) some rust from the rim fell into the paint. Not only that, but it was more of an ivory than a pure white, and that would be noticeable with the other white trim in front. So I had to make another trip to the hardware store this morning for new paint.
2. Fed neighbor's cat. One more day to go.
3. Another dump run. In the summer, I eat so much fresh fruit and I don't like this piling up and making a stink.
4. Applied for 2 jobs, inquired about a third via the same recruiter who got me my last contract job.
5. A load of laundry which I hung out to dry.
6. A woman's supposed to stop by tonight...soon....to hopefully purchase one or more Pyrex kitchenware I'm selling on FB. A glass casserole dish and a large mixing bowl, both with lids.
I decided I didn't need two identical glass casserole dishes (one is enough) and also don't need the extra large mixing bowl since I have a stainless steel one of that size plus two smaller glass Pyrex mixing bowls. A lot of people like Pyrex. All these bowls take up a lot of space in my limited cabinetry, especially now since I'm wanting to hide a small trash bin inside one of these cabinets. I hate looking at trash or recycling bins in the kitchen.
7. After she leaves, I hope to squeeze in a walk at local walking trail. Last time I was there, I remembered to bring a small tube of toothpaste and a paper towel so I could remove some graffiti on the glass display case at one end of the trail. It came off with a fair amount of scrubbing, but I needed more paper towels and a wet one to rinse all that toothpaste, which has just enough abrasive power to take off dried paint (little known fact). So I'd like to finish that job tonight. My little good deed for the day, which I'm happy to do because I know this trail very well and I guess I feel some pride of ownership. Hate seeing graffiti mar it.
My new phone system with built-in call blocking is working very well. I'm so happy to block calls, I now actually look forward to blocking spammers! Bring it on!
I have also downloaded a free app where I can do the same thing with my smart phone and get rid of the very pesky messages from who know where about sports stuff.
I decided to get a nice gourmet/gift box of nuts or cookies or other edibles and drop it off at municipal center as a thank you to the tree warden. He hasn't taken down the trees yet, but this will ensure he will. I think I'll go to BJs and see what they have.
I got a call from the borough tree warden today. He said can you meet me down by your mailbox in 5 minutes.
We talked about the white pine trees fronting the road. As you may have read in an earlier post, one of these humongus trees came down a few weeks back, just out of the blue, not during a storm or any kind of wind. I'm afraid one of these is going to hit my house someday.
He said he can take down 3 of the white pines closest to my house. They are the ones within striking distance if a pine broke off at near ground level, the way the other one did.
I thanked him sincerely. I am thrilled. This made my day, my week. He said he will hire a tree company they use and it should be done in about a month.
I am so happy!!!! If I had to hire someone myself to take 3 of these down, I estimate it would cost at least $4,000.
He did say these trees may or may not be on town property. He said it was close, and that to determine that, the town would have to hire a surveyor, and he doubted they would want to do that. So he's just going to go ahead and do it.
The other pines, he said, are definitely on my property. But at least those wouldn't threaten my home.
I am so happy.
Here's some views of the trees now:
This is the view from my front door. It's about 100 feet down to the road. The height of those pines are also about 100 feet. There used to be another white pine in between the two you see here, but that one came down about 2 or 3 years ago.
That's my mailbox on the left. The power lines are also on the left side of the road, so this overgrown area often results in power outages when branches fall. At the end of the road you can see a sharp curve to the left. My property continues after the curve, and there are additional white pines down there, but just a few.
You can see how over the years, the power company has trimmed the tree branches roughly in the middle, making these trees spindly and more prone to coming down in a strong wind.
He said they would probably cut everything along the power lines, which is fine with me except I asked them to save a birch growing close to my mailbox.
I realize I will lose a lot of privacy and maybe even notice the sound of traffic going by more, but things grow so quickly around here, I'm not too worried about that.
If they do clear everything, it would make it easier for me to get in there and clear more on my own; there is a dogwood or two buried in there I'd also like to save.
Advice to readers: Never plant white pines near the house or under power lines. They grow very fast and will soon become a problem because they are prone to breaking and the wood is soft.
Went to feed my neighbor's cat this morning. This is day 4 and I still haven't seen it (!) but the food is gone each day.
Did some grocery shopping, mostly at Aldi's but a few item at Caraluzzi's.
Went to the transfer station with trash.
I was totally surprised to learn I am eligible for a 2nd round of unemployment benefits. I almost feel embarrassed to talk about it because I don't feel I deserve it, but the rep assured me in this morning's call that I more than qualify.
As you may remember, I was laid off last July and then collected 6 months of benefits, ending in January of this year.
But then I worked 4.5 weeks at a contract job, and believe it or not the $9700 I grossed from that job will enable me to earn up to $16,000 in unemployment benefits for the next 6 months.
Yep, you read that correctly. It doesn't seem right, does it? Not only that, but my gross/net will actually be higher than what I got last year, by about $18 more a week.
This is great for my ongoing expenses as it was just this past month where I had to, for the first time since my layoff a year ago, believe it or not, transfer money from personal savings to my checking, just to cover ongoing expenses.
Because while most households could not live on unemployment benefits, I made it work, especially since I paid off my mortgage years ago. Property taxes and health insurance were my top 2 highest expenses. Then the little money I made from freelance writing earlier this year and that one contract job nicely replenished the coffers here.
However, the pressure is still on to find a job this year because I am fully expecting health insurance to be considerably more expensive when my COBRA runs out, compared to the $525/mth I'm paying now. That's assuming ACA is even available by then.
But I am immensely appreciative of these benefits. I thought at most I might qualify for half the benefit.
One remaining question: The contract job was physically located in CT and I live in CT, but the agency paying me was located in NY. Does that mean I need to file a CT and NY state tax return this year? I asked the payroll guy at that agency and he said no, what counts is where you live, but I'm not so sure that's true.
Laura, if you're reading this, tonight Dr. Greger is on PBS live and you can watch it from the NutritionFacts.org website!
This weekend I'll be traveling down to Jersey to my cousin's little party. I'll be meeting her son and his family for the first time (they're up visiting from FL), and her friend, L., will be there, who I met once already. It's about an hour-and-a-half trip. I'll stay I'm guessing for about 4 hours and then return home.
I am picking cherry tomatoes and cucumbers and enjoying them greatly in my salads. Wineberry-picking season is over, and the mulberries on my tree are 95% gone.
I have been trying to do more reading lately as my local public library offers several raffles with gift certificates to local shops and you get a ticket with each brief book review you write. I've written 3 so far and hope to add one more soon. The program ends this month.
I got word that a cousin on my mother's side passed away. It's too bad, because my other cousin and I were planning on seeing her to talk about family tree stuff. I would have gone to see her by now but the other cousin was too busy, and now it's too late. I feel sad; I hadn't even know she had liver cancer. The last time I saw her was when I was a little girl, though we did talk on the phone after my mother died. My mother was always fond of her.
Today's the last day of the awful humidity.
Yesterday I did drop off 4 more pieces at the main gallery which has most of my mother's stuff. Luckily, she didn't require me to take any home with me AND she surprised me with a small check ($87) for something that sold, but she had no idea what it was, only the price.
After that I hit Trader Joe's and stocked up on canned organic beans, which I eat daily, often in my salads.
There was a man there ahead of me who moved on with his cart, but then upon seeing me load of my cart with quite a lot of beans, couldn't resist talking to me I guess. He said he eats the garbanzo beans right out of the can, plain. I tried to give him other ideas for making them more tasty, to which he replied, Oh, that's beyond me. Really? Putting them in a burrito or in a salad is beyond you? Hmm. But hey, I must sound just as dumb when I'm talking to my auto mechanic or to any one of a number of home contractors.
I've been taking little walks around the block each night when it's much more comfortable outside. I ran into a neighbor and got a lot of news I didn't know about. That's why I love talking to neighbors.
Today was the first day of feeding one neighbor's cat. She's not really a neighbor since I have to drive about 2 miles to her house. She warned me right before she left on her trip that there was a large hornet nest in the making under the light above her garage door. She offered to let me out of cat duty if I felt uncomfortable about it, but that would just be silly. (She was relieved.)
When I went over there, the hornets were buzzing around rather angrily, no doubt becus it's a cloudy day. I gave them wide berth as I walked to the back door. The cat was nowhere to be seen, but we expected that. I stuck around a while to see if maybe she would emerge, but she didn't. That may happen tomorrow or the day after.
I'll email a brief update to my friend after about day 3. It may be very brief: "No sign of your cat." PatientSaver.
She decided she wants to pay me $30 a day x 7 = $210! Which is way more than I would ever charge but of course the money is welcome and needed. And she's not even requiring me to change the litter boxes.
My local weekly newspaper, which has been in continuous circulation since the 1800s, has a column purportedly written by a cat. I emailed the kitty word about the bobcat I saw in my yard recently and she reported on it in her column, except that she forgot to say what street I live on. Which would have been important since I live very close to Main Street and I think people would be surprised about a bobcat sighting so close to town.
I've been wasting far too much time on Facebook and Luminosity these days. Right now, for instance, I should get out for a walk since I'll be seeing dad for dinner tonight. To continue practicing Instagram, I'm going to start taking pix of my dinners out and posting to Instagram. Cus I am seeing a ton of social media writing jobs out there. Facebook I know. Instagram I know. (I used to post photos to Pinterest but that seems to be on the decline.) Twitter, I'm inactive on but I do have an account.
What I'd also like to do is download and start using some apps on my smartphone. I only have one app (!) which enables me to access my email far more quickly than I did before becus the PW is preloaded. Thank goodness this app presented itself to me becus i would otherwise not be aware it existed.
Ugh. So much for a walk. It's raining again.
This morning I sacrificed some much needed cabinet space in the kitchen so I could use one cabinet just for a small trash bin. Because I'm beginning to hate looking at the cluster of bins blocking my back kitchen door: the organics container, the paper/coardboard/newspaper container, the regular trash container (now really quite small) and the largest, the plastic and metal container).
I also put the paper bag full of paper waste in a small cubby at the top of my basement stairs, so that means I have just 2 containers to look at in the kitchen: organics and plastic/metal containers.
I suppose I could put the plastic/metal container in the basement, but I don't want to attract any insects. It's in a regular trash bin, the kind with a movable top. Plus it is convenient to throw stuff in there right there. I suppose I could do the same with the organics bin. It it a small vented container that fits inside a larger plastic container with a sturdy lock top but I do still wonder if the smell would attract ants or anything.
Here's a flag I'm trying to sell for $15. That's what a dealer told me it's worth, but it has an interesting history. I bought it years ago poking around some old antique place. It has only 48 stars, so that tells you it was made pre-1959, the year Hawaii and Alaska became states.
So dad has chosen one of the 3 realtors I lined up for him to list his house. It's the one I liked the most. She wanted to list it this weekend but called to tell me (becus dad wasn't answering his phone) the place has fleas and will need to be treated. So she had to cancel the photographer coming out to do the photos.
I have suggested to dad umpteen times he'd find it easier to use a landline, but he's a tightwad and doesn't want to spend that much. So he uses this old clamshell with a tiny LCD screen he can't read and much of the time he must push the wrong buttons becus he claims he doesn't hear the phone ring when there's an incoming call and of course his mailbox is perennially full so no one can leave a message.
It's now even more of a problem now that realtors are trying to reach him, and so now they're calling me instead. Sigh. Problem is, I can't reach him either. It's really frustrating.
UPDATE: We haven't resolved anything about his driving. I'm not trying to tell him not to drive (altho that's what he thinks) but I would like to see him avoid driving the highways going down to Jersey, especially when I'm with him and could do the driving. We talked about it more today but he can be a hard ass.
He basically said it's your prerogative not to drive with me if you feel uncomfortable but it's my right to drive when I want. Which is obviously the case. I again tried to say that when we were together, why not let me drive since otherwise it's a higher risk if he drives. He acknowledged that he is going blind but said he still feels he can drive. This is what's really behind his defensiveness and belligerent attitude on this.
This is the father I remember from when I was growing up. I did't see him much (my parents divorced when I was 6) but when I did see him I was a little afraid of him. He was very strict and he had a short temper. Over the years, I thought he mellowed quite a bit.
This whole encounter has left me thinking he does not have very good conflict resolution skills. Normally you try to find common ground and go from there. There is room for compromise.
I know this isn't a nice thing to do, but a part of me wishes he would realize how much I do for him and then perhaps he'd be more willing to compromise instead of digging his heels in and refusing to budge.
We have dinner together every Saturday. I was thinking of skipping it this Saturday because he's been very abrasive and unyielding and testy and a 2nd talk today did nothing to clear the air. I realize skipping the dinner is really like trying to punish him becus I know he looks forward to these dinners. When you get older there are fewer things you can do but enjoying a good meal is one thing most people can do. So withholding this would accomplish nothing but I admit to being an imperfect human being and wanting to skip it.
Today's my birthday. He rarely remembers, but I wasn't expecting him to.
I spoke to my friend R. who is returning to Sloan Kettering. He has numerous marble-sized tumors in his body. They'd given him a choice of either starting chemo or enrolling in a clinical drug trial that does not involve placebos, only the drug.
Since he finds it easiest to pop a pill, that's what he chose, so he has to take the train and a cab early tomorrow and will be mostly spending the day getting various baseline scans done.
So yeah, upon reflecting on LIvingAlmostLarge's post today about appreciating what we have, all I need do is think about what my friend is doing, fighting for his life. Remarkably, he is in fairly good spirits.
Tomorrow I decided I will head up to a local gallery to swap out 3 or 4 pieces that reside there now for some summer-themed pieces my mother did with sailboats and so on. I checked with the gallery owner today and she was fine with that idea. I probably should have done this in June, but life got in the way.
Dad's came over earlier becus we have to again fax a court eviction order to the NJ electric company who claimed they didn't get it when we faxed it the first time. It's really annoying, making special trips to library, etc. etc. May try calling them again and seeing if we can scan and email it instead of fax. The tenant was behind on paying her electric bill to the tune of $2300.
Taking care of parents can be a full-time job.
Not much else going on. I went to another MS lunch-lecture, had a delicious meal and met many of the same MS people who I'd seen at the dinner the week prior. This month, I'll be going to 1 of these each week. I enjoy the chance to socialize and of course the great meals.
A little history on MS drugs. When I was diagnosed, they had exactly 3 drugs: the so-called ABC drugs: Avonex, Betaseron and Copaxone. Nearly 30 years later, they have about 14 drugs to choose from, and it's the drug companies that make these drugs that host these dinner lectures for MS patients.
They pay a local neurologist I'm guessing $1,000 or $1500 to give their PowerPoint presentation and the MS people get a free meal. Not bad for a half hour presentation and most leave as soon as they're done, not staying for the dinner. There are 3 or 4 neurologists in my area who constantly do these talks; no doubt they find it worthwhile to earn a little extra cash for very little time spent.
It kind of makes me feel like the drug company is the pimp, the doctor is the prostitute and we MS patients are the johns.
Sometimes the drug companies also pay an MS person to talk about their personal experience with MS and how wonderful the drug is. They pay to fly them out to these little dinners all across the country. It's like a regular gig for them.
At the last MS lunch I went to this week, the speaker was a guy who was a motorcycle fanatic. He used to race them. When he was diagnosed with MS, he had to give much of that up, but his did in fact ride his motorcycle to the luncheon from NH. The speaker at the dinner before that was from Chicago.
Only a few of the newer drugs are pills; the rest are the original, old injectables, like the Copaxone I take, or infusions you have to take in a hospital.
They are uber-expensive and thus pharma thinks it worthwhile to pay for a whole lots of dinners as a means of getting prospective users of their drugs to hear their message. Maybe they should just lower the price of the drugs.
I pray to god i would never need to use most of these drugs becus many come with some pretty serious potential side effects, like death, or require regular blood work to make sure your liver's not damaged or your white blood cell count doesn't drop too low.
So, um, no thanks, I'll stick with Copaxone, which is less effective than the other drugs in slowing disease progression (roughly 30% fewer relapses and brain lesions vs about 50% ) but I'd rather not have to worry about other health problems caused by these drugs.
Not much new on the job front. I've applied for a few jobs that I felt perfectly qualified for but never heard a word from employer. Actually, I was maybe a little over-qualified. A few ads even said "recent college grad ok." So maybe that's their preference.
I contacted the DOL becus there's a possibility I may qualify for a new round of partial benefits based on the contract job I had in May/June. I feel like kind of a loser even putting in for that, but I have paid into the system for 30 years.
But I watch the news daily and see how Trump's threat to withdraw funding for ACA subsidies has thrown the insurance market into chaos, with the 2 remaining health insurance issuers considering pulling out of the market entirely. This is really problematic, becus they estimate prices will rise by 20% in 2018, so the subsidies are needed for low- to moderate-income people.