Archive for2017-05 to 10 – Summer in Michigan 2017

Saving his dignity

It’s hard when a man is faced with the loss of strength and now has severe limitations.

John is faced with diminishing physical abilities, but he doesn’t want to give up and I sure don’t want to rob him of any pleasures and accomplishments but it’s hard on both of us.

Do I offer to do it, or do I give him a chance to prove he still has that ability?

He went outside to work on clearing the area between our trailer and the water’s edge. I had walked it yesterday. I knew he’d have a hard time navigating the undergrowth on his little mobility scooter. I finally went out and pushed him up the hill. He would have sat there for hours if I hadn’t volunteered. But I hate to take away the feeling of accomplishment.

Yesterday, when I said to him “I just can’t do it any longer” I was also giving him an “out.” If I can’t do it, it’ll be easier for him to follow suit. I know it’s too much for him. The truth is it’s too much for either of us but I could have kept quiet. He probably would have felt less willing to admit that we have to give it up. Now I’ve lowered the bar… the expectations are lessened. Hopefully, he’ll be more willing to give it up because I really don’t want to come back up here again… ever.

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I’m too old for this!

We made it to the Upper Peninsula. It was about 3:30 when we arrived.

But I am realizing it just takes too much effort to be here. Packing was a multi-day chore. After driving/riding for 350 miles, we had to bring things inside, get water pump working, clean up the mouse droppings, make sure the toilet was usable, make beds, make sure the appliances work, etc. When I finally got to sit down, I was so hot and tired that I thought, “Never again.”

I’d give this place away before I’d subject us to more trips up here and the work required.

John will be 80 in March. I’m 75. It would be difficult for someone 30 years younger than us.

The pump weighs about 50 pounds. Together we got it from inside the trailer to the well, and it worked! But the trees that were barely noticeable last year are invasive this year. They’re blocking the view so they have to go. Cutting them is going to take more effort than John has to waste. I can’t do it.

If I had to describe how I feel about this place, I’d say I dislike it because it’s robbing us of our energy at a time when we don’t have a surplus to give.

We work too hard to get here, and then we work repacking for home only to get back and have to unpack. It’s not fun. It’s not relaxing.

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A summer highlight

Friday John and I went out for a yummy walleye dinner at the Saginaw Moose Lodge. Dixie Highway Band started playing at 7:00 and they’re our favorite country-style group.

Of course, I realize John’s breathing problem limits his stamina so we haven’t danced much since he went on oxygen a year ago. We used to dance several times a week, especially in Florida. I miss that form of entertainment and exercise but I am happy to listen to the music.

Friday night Russ, Vickie, a new guitarist, and Lonnie sounded really good. When the band played our favorite tune “Wagon Wheel,” John surprised me and asked me to dance. No, we didn’t last the whole dance (not even half of it) but we had fun. And he asked me again later. I’m sure I can look forward to slipping into his arms when we’re at dances in Florida. It’ll be fun even if we don’t last long on the floor. And little by little I see he’s regaining some of his strength from all of his hospitalizations last year.

When you have a health condition like John has, it doesn’t just affect him. Our lives are totally different. But being with him is always my pleasure.

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Take to the U.P.

Yup, I’ve made a list of stuff to take to the U.P. This will serve as a dry-run for our trip to Florida. True, I don’t need to bring nearly as much for five days in the Upper Peninsula, but there will be similarities and I’m sure I’ll end up with additions to my current, lengthy list for our October return to our condo.

I always start my “October return trip” packing lists before we are even home in May. Before I’ve unpacked, it’s easier to list the stuff that I’ll be taking back with me. I also edit last year’s list.

The U.P. trip has a lot of stuff that I don’t need for Florida because I leave a lot in our condo. For example, I have to take all the bedding (sheets, mattress pad, blankets, pillows) as well as kitchen and bathroom towels to the U.P. (Leaving them there would invite mice and smells to invade them. Of course in Florida, the bedding and linens are on the beds, in the kitchen towel drawer, and in the linen closet.

During this trip to the U.P., we intended to “clean out” our trailer so we can put it on the market. There is stuff in the trailer which we’ll leave behind (kitchen dishes, small appliances, little heater, etc.) but old clothes, books, magazines, etc. can all go in the trash. We don’t need to leave it spotless, but we do need to clean the floors, etc. I’m not looking forward to the work.

Yup, I’m more than a tad lazy.

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Not especially hot here

The past couple of weeks here in Michigan it’s been in the 70s and low 80s. Not especially hot.

I read the weather forecast the other day for our Florida community. The temperature that day was 94° for a high and a real feel of 120°!!

When I expressed concern, one Florida friend said she just stays inside in the A/C. That’s true. When in the south we do avoid the outside heat by quickly moving in and out. And when we’re on the golf cart, the moving air always makes it comfortable.

But at 120°, even the pool wouldn’t be refreshing. I generally plunk down in a shady lounge chair on the pool deck and only go in the water to “cool off.” Walking barefoot would hurt. “Cooling off” would need to be constant which means I’d probably get a sunburn.

But I’m hopeful that the October temperatures will be a bit more comfortable. In days we’ll leave for our southern paradise.

I have promised myself that I’ll hang out at the pool at least two or three times a week. Last year I used our patio, but there’s no water there. I want a little sun color. I was pasty white last year. I don’t like leaving John, but maybe I can get him to sit in the shade with me. At least we see friends there.

Next week we’ll be in the Upper Peninsula and I fear we’ll be darn chilly. I’m packing primarily sweat and long pants. Shorts and swim suits probably won’t be worn. (Might take one of each.) When we arrive we won’t have any screens so temps that are a little cool will probably be ok. We plan to fix the screen soon after we get there. We do have a fan.

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OCD? Our finances.. Part IV

NOTE: Can you tell I love writing? This OCD topic isn’t of interest to anyone but me, but putting down my thoughts provides me comfort, and points out my quirkiness so I can reign it in (if need be).

When it comes to watching our finances, I’m very careful. I have an ongoing spread sheet which I have maintained since 2007. It shows a rolling total of our “net worth.”

In this spread sheet, I have listed our out-going payments (condo HOA, health care expenses, utilities, etc.) and our income (pension, social security, and any other money coming in). The income minus the out-go shows where we stand financially on a daily basis.

The spread sheet is nearly 4,000 lines long and every day a new line is added. Each morning I take the time to “resolve” the sheet and make sure the money is there to cover any expenditures.

If you ask how much we are worth, I can tell you to the penny.

Our Florida condo, Thomas Township house, and U.P. property are hard to zero-in on but I try to estimate (using Zillow) so those values are added to the overall picture. Our investments are listed and updated when we get statements from the investment firms. It can’t be exact, but I try to have a picture of our finances so we are assured of the cash to make all payments.

I don’t know of anyone else who goes to the lengths I go to resolve their financial picture. It is comforting to me to know exactly where we stand and, like being responsible for our trip arrangements, I take it very seriously.

I guess working for St. Mary’s Medical Center for 23 1/2 years trained me for the role I have assumed. I was the “planning person” for St. Mary’s. Now I’m the planner for our household.

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OCD? Part III

My previous two posts have covered the possibility that I may have a form of OCD.

I am obsessive about reservations for our October trip south and packing lists but I am anything but tidy and neat. My house is a mess and you can trip on the dust-bunnies. Why? Well, in part because I’m busy making lists for our trip in less than two months.

It would really bug me to find, after getting to Florida, that I’d forgotten something.

An example of the problem which occurs when I may have “left something behind” can be demonstrated with my small Edirol digital recorder. No, I haven’t needed it but it’s been missing since arriving here in the spring. It’s “probably” safe in our Florida condo (I think I forgot it when we packed to head north) but it bothers the heck out of me to be uncertain.

If we get back to our southern home and I can’t locate the recorder, I’ll have to wait over six months to get back to Michigan to look for it. It’ll drive me crazy. So it bothers me. Should I continue to search for it here? (I’ve looked everywhere for it.) Logically, I have concluded that it’s in Florida since I last saw it there and don’t recall packing it. You can see that until we get down there, it’s a no-win situation. I haven’t found it here, so evidently it’s there…. but what if it isn’t?

To avoid that situation I have learned to photograph my clothes hanging in my closet before leaving Florida in May, and before leaving Michigan in October. I also photograph the clothes as I’m packing them. That way, if I am uncertain if an item is here or there, I can look at the photos and try to spot if it was packed.

Yes, I guess I’m a little compulsive, but careful and detailed lists, saves looking for a particular item, only to find I left it at our other home.

I nearly always forget something. It’s sometimes just a specific pair of scissors or a top I’d planned to wear. Generally, it’s something I can get by without or something I can replace, but it still causes me grief and lost sleep, so I make lists and double check them while packing.

One thing is certain, even if something is forgotten, we’ll get by without it or purchase a replacement. Nothing will cause us to make a 1,300-mile trip back (I say as I knock on wood).

And it’s not just me. When we made our trip north in May, some bread we’d planned to use for sandwiches on the way north was left on the kitchen counter. I’m sure it’ll still be there when we arrive on October 8th. That oversight bothered John a lot more than me. No, we didn’t consider going back, but he fumed about it for several hundred miles. So I also include items I fear John will forget and add them to my checklist.

Maybe my OCD is rubbing off on him.

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Do I have OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder)? Part II

I talked about my “trip compulsions” but even more severe is my compulsion for lists (especially regarding the stuff which goes back to Florida).

There’s no way we can just do a “whoops” if I forget something so I try to be certain that everything is packed and/or ready before we pull out.

I make lists of stuff to do before leaving (like contacting our credit card company, notifying the police and water dept.) as well as calls to assure everything is ready in Florida when we arrive (our mail will be delivered on schedule, our newspaper will be there, and cable will be on).

I have packing lists for clothes and items that need to be taken back with us. It would be really annoying if we got back and discovered we’d forgotten John’s handicapped parking placard, or the digital clock which goes on the wall outside the guest room bath, or my favorite afghan, or our air purifier. You get the idea. So my lists are made and re-checked over and over.

Stuff gets added and subtracted as I read and re-read the lists. I start new lists. Maybe I should do one on chores I need to perform before leaving. (Laundry, windows closed, etc.)

I’d like to leave most of my clothes in Michigan but I’ve made some excellent purchases this summer including three pairs of low-heeled sandals and a pair of heels. They need to go with us so I can wear them in Florida this season.

On July 23rd, my post to this blog included some of my purchases this summer. I also bought two skorts (black & white), three dresses (fitted bright colors stretchy, knit (Roni Nichole) stretchy and a maxi dress), a bathing suit, a pair of white slacks, and those blog mentioned super cute tops (water colors, red bare off shoulder, black halter-style plus a more recent purchased halter-style silvery).

I need to leave a similar number of items so I have clothes in Michigan and I don’t have to haul as much back and forth.

Some stuff I haul because I need them both places and don’t want to buy more. An example: my summer robes. I have two nice ones which I drag back and forth. I do leave behind a winter-weight robe in both locations. Jackets also get moved back and forth. I don’t wear them that often, but I need a light-weight jacket or two. I actually have three: brown fuzzy, green really light weight, and a cardigan style off-white.

And there are items like our air purifier, my back up drives, several pairs of scissors. No point buying dupes of those things but I sure don’t want to be without them.

I study my lists. They are long and detailed.

Do I have an obsessive compulsive disorder when it comes to list-making for stuff to take to Florida or do before leaving?

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Do I have OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder)? Part I

No, I’m not compulsively neat nor is my house organized, but when it comes to planning for our trip south, I am obsessive.

I think it’s because I feel the planning for motels and other stops is my responsibility. John drives. I make sure everything comes together smoothly.

The reservations for a single over-night stop (on October 6th) have been made since May 26th.

I know that was way ahead of the normal way to make plans, but I do have a good reason: I’ve found that many motels, if booked sufficiently far out, will have lower rates and allow cancellations at 4:00 pm on the day of the reservations.

Last year, I didn’t book soon enough. Our original plan had been to stay on the first night at the half-way point, the Quality Inn in Sweetwater, TN, but when I had tried to make the reservation, I found that, because I’d waited to book until a few weeks before we’d need the room, any cancellation of the reservation would have to be a full day (24 hours) earlier than our first night’s stop. We need to be more flexible. We MUST be able to change our reservations on that day while we’re on the road. And, since we aren’t sure how John’ll hold up, we can’t know the day before.

As it was, instead of two days and one night, we were on the road for three days and two nights. We couldn’t have made it to Sweetwater that first day. We’d have been forced to pay for a room we couldn’t use.

So this year I started earlier (in May). Sure enough, this year, I got a decent rate at the motel in Sweetwater, TN, and if necessary we can cancel up until 4:00 p.m. on the day of the reservation. Sweetwater is our preferred stopping point but only if we can make the 1,250 mile trip in two days and one night.

To allow changes, I have also made reservations for the two overnight stops on a slower trip south. That way we can take three days and two nights, if we need them. And for even more flexibility, for the second night, I also have booked two reservations in southern Georgia so we have two choices about 50 miles apart.

We just have to decide by 4:00 p.m. each day.

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Take to Florida or Leave in Michigan? That is the question..

Since we have sort of decided that our Michigan home should be ready to go on the market when we leave for Florida next October, we know we’ll have to get rid of a lot of stuff and find storage space in our Florida condo for items we won’t want to get rid of.

An example is the harp that John built. It’ll definitely go to Florida. We’re going to have a lot of items like that but we don’t want to overload our Florida condo and, since we don’t have much storage, we’re going to have to be very selective.

This winter, I want to hire someone with carpentry skills so we can have our Florida “office area” converted into floor to ceiling storage as well as additional storage in the garage. There are cabinets in the office now, but they can be moved to the garage. I want him to build deep-as-possible cabinets, pantry, and closets. I have the design in mind but we need to talk to someone who can make sure it’s done right. The wood can be basic plywood painted white. I’m not expecting it to be quality cabinets, just storage space.

Since we’ll still have limited storage, we won’t be able to re-locate too much. I know there are some things that we must take, but a lot will be sold next summer. (We’ll sell our stuff using an estate sale service.)

In addition to my harp, we’ll want to keep some of our musical instruments, John’s dulcimer, his banjo, my dad’s tenor guitar and my autoharp, some stain glass items, some of my collection of craft books, the sling style rocking lounger (in our trailer now to use on our patio), an afgan or two, my sewing machine in its stand (I’ll get rid of the one in Florida), maybe our headboard, my chest of drawers, and the two oak living room end tables John made (to use in Florida as bedside stands), the long walnut coffee table (currently on the loft balcony) to exchange with the table we currently use, the oak file cabinet and print cabinet (in the dining room) so I can set up an office in our B.R., the two brown and white folding chairs John wove, the framed artwork over our bed, and a few miscellaneous items.

If we get the corner curio cabinet I have picked out (from Wayfair), maybe I’d like to keep some glassware and knit knacks.

It might be easier to bring some of the stuff back with us this October. An example is the award and yard statue the ODPC gave me.

It’s hard to get John to think about devesting ourselves of this house, but he knows it has to happen. I doubt that I can get him to start moving items south.

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Heading north in a couple weeks

Hopefully we’ll have decent, warm, bug-free weather when we go up to our Upper Peninsula place. We want to get it ready to sell.

Last year we talked with a realtor about listing it but he didn’t seem interested and never got back with us at all so we’ll find someone else.

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Memories of Snowfest and Our House Guests

Saginaw Subterranean Strings, our fun, performing music club, presented Snowfest concerts in Fischer Hall, Frankenmuth, MI, for 20 years (beginning in 1993). The club, which began in 1992, dissolved in 2013.

Fischer Hall was a lovely place to hold the event and we drew standing-room-only crowds all weekend and made sizeable donations to the Frankenmuth Museum, adjacent to the hall. Our club would play/jam for an hour and then we’d take an hour break and exceptional, invited acts would take the stage for 20-minute performances. We’d end the day with a great “everyone included” finale.

The city of Frankenmuth hosted the international ice and snow sculpting events up and down Main Street while we performed in the Hall, near all the sculptures. Many years it was bitter cold and we passers-by could come inside for free music, a place to sit, and warmth. Audiences came first because they were cold or tired of walking, but they loved the music! Folks started arriving earlier and earlier to get the front-row seats in the lovely, historic opera house and they’d stay put all day.

We would present the concerts for two days (a total of 12 hours of entertainment). John ran the sound and I was director and emcee. We also fed our club and the invited performers. (A potluck supplied by our club helped.) It was exhausting but we loved it!

After the Saturday concerts, John and I would invite the “featured acts” to stay at home. We have only three bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths so it was a “tight fit.” After dinner at a local restaurant, the guest performers who lived too far from Frankenmuth to drive back and forth would follow us back to our place.

We extended the invitation, and everyone accepted. We never ran out of food, bedding, bathrooms, hot water, wine, nor wonderful music which was played by others long after we’d fallen asleep

These wonderful house-crowds included Les Raber, Bob Hubbach, Judy Raber, Chuck & Nan Boody, Martha & John Kuch, Cindy & Paul Goelz, and Mary Lou & Hugh Battley. (Not all every year but a full house annually.)

The Kuchs and Cindy & Paul were the first to stay with us.

One year at the last minute, Les Raber, Michigan’s premier fiddler, invited himself. It was an honor to have him stay but we had no rooms left so we made up a bed in the basement (which was sorta finished with a large, comfortable sectional.) Les only stayed down there one year. We worked out other arrangements for him to stay in the guest room the next year.

When Les came, it gave the whole event a big “draw.” Everyone wanted to be where Les was.

The exceptional dulcimer player, Bob Hubbach, asked if he could stay at our place and by then we’d moved Les out of the basement space so that became Bob Hubbach’s area. He returned year after year even after we’d lost Les.

The Battleys stayed in our hot tub room on an elevated air mattress.

Chuck and Nan joined us, driving from Minnesota one or two years. They brought their own air mattress and put it on the balcony.

Just before Les died, Judy Raber, his daughter, started playing fiddle. Les passed away in 1999.

Judy took over Les’s role as a great fiddler and was the last addition to our house party. We bought a twin size air mattress for her but the only place where she’d have any privacy was the dining room (under the table). The last year she slept on a couch instead of the air mattress on the floor.

We finally had to admit that the two-day event had become too much for everyone involved. Our music club officially hosted the weekend, but the members were getting older and all the driving in bad weather a few years frightened us. In 2009, we cut the concert down to ONE day instead of two and the Morningstars hosted a dance on Sunday.

Even with the one-day format, it was difficult for our older members and really hard on us. We would drive back and forth FROM FLORIDA which was crazy for a donated weekend. On our return to Florida in February 2009, we ran into a horrid ice storm and it frightened us. We turned the 2010 Saturday concert over to Dee Dee Tibbits (a lovely, talented entertainer and friend.) She has continued the Snowfest concerts in the perfect venue spot Fischer Hall.

Those concerts and the wonderful hosting opportunities were all so much fun, but now impossible because of John’s health issues.

The other day we had three of our Florida lady friends stop in and I wished we’d planned to have them stay over. I miss having a crowd of folks enjoy our surroundings.

Now we get more visitors in Florida. (The lovely weather in mid-winter probably has something to do with that.) It would now be too much for John to tackle a huge houseful of guests like before because he always loves to present a glorious breakfast for all. He’d make banana and raspberry filled pancakes, an egg/sausage casserole, and lots more. And the night before, we’d have a John’s wine sampling.

But the Snowfest Concerts gave us lovely memories and bonded us to some great friends.

You can see a flyer for the 2006 concert below.

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August Plans

Sometime within the next couple of weeks we need to go to the Upper Peninsula to check on our place. Hopefully we’ll stay only part of a week.

Hope we miss the mosquitoes, the biting flies, and the wood ticks.

When we get there, we need to fix the screens. They fell apart last year. Literally fell apart! They were so old. One had a small hole which tried to cover with tape. As I worked, I realized that screen had two or three or a dozen and when I touched the screen, more would appear. Screen by screen they dissolved from age.

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Florida Guests

This afternoon we got a call from Joannie Franz. She, Shelly and Caroline who were headed back to Cooper’s and they wanted to stop at our place.

We had a great visit.

It was so nice to have some of our Florida friends in our house. I can’t remember when we’ve had any guests.

They were very complimentary about our place. And, since they know we want to sell our place, they had excellent suggestions.

For example, we’d been thinking we need to “fix up our house” but they suggested that instead we set a price and offer a reduction by xxx dollars equal to what we think would help with a “remodel.” That way the buyer can buy (and feel they’ve gotten a deal) and the remodel would suit their tastes.

Shelly, who sold her place last year, suggested that set it up for sale before we leave in October (2017) and we list it for April 2018.

Someone also suggested that we hire an estate sale business rather than having a “garage” sale. Caroline said, “Hire someone to do the work, don’t do it yourself.”

I mentioned we need to scrub dow the kitchen and she said, “Have it done by a cleaning service.”

So we came away with lots of good ideas.

As they left, they said they think our place, with it’s view, will sell quickly.

I was ready to try to prep it before we head south, but logically I realize we have a lot of clutter to get rid of. I don’t think we can do it by our departure on October 6th. ( days until we leave for Florida.) So maybe we’ll get the realtor to come to our house and look over things so we’ll know what we need to eliminate/change. Then we’ll start on that list, but finish next year when we get back. We’ll try to have it ready to sell by April 2019.

This year, we can take the suggestions of the realtor and work on them. We’ll check out the hottub to see if it still works, and purge as much as we can. Maybe we’ll hire a contractor to put the drywall back up in the basement so it doesn’t look like we had a flood.

Some precious stuff we’ll take with us to Florida in October (especially my harp that John built). I’ll try to sell some craft items on eBay, and we’ll deal with the rest next year.

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We don’t dance anymore

John’s health problem has limited his/our fun activities. We used to be the first ones on the dance floor, but now his stamina is so limited that we wouldn’t even make it to the floor. Our activities are limited.

Last night we joined his siblings for our monthly dinner and it was enjoyable, but that’s one of the few times we’ve done anything social since we returned to Michigan in early May.

I hope we can attend the parties in our Florida community. Even if we aren’t dancing, we can enjoy the company of our friends. I have put several dates on our Florida calendar: the Michigan Club welcome back party, a sportsman’s club barbeque, a Oldies but Goodies Halloween party, a Bill & Donna Elvis street party, Thursday country couples gatherings at the clubhouse, a November Michigan Club party/dinner, and in December at least two holiday dinner/dances as well as our HOA holiday dinner.

It’ll be fun to have stuff to look forward to. We will go to two-times-a-week exercise classes and probably tai chi on Mondays and Wednesdays. I vow to go to the pool at least once or twice a week. We need to do more to make life enjoyable. I love the company of my husband, but we need to be around more people.

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Have you noticed the counter?

On July 25th I added a “counter” to count down until we arrive at our condo in Florida.

I prepared it using the 8th of October as my “count-down-to” date. I could just as easily have done it showing when we leave for Florida (on the 6th of October).

Here’s what comes up when I do it that way: days until we leave for our Florida paradise.

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I am careful with my grammar

I just took a grammar quiz. The results stated:

“CONGRATULATIONS!! You ACED this quiz! WOAH!! Did you know that only 3% of Americans can get a perfect score on this grammar test? You must have a masters degree from an Ivy League. No grammar question that can fool you… Have you considered becoming an editor? Well done on your score!!”

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Count down Timer

days until we leave for Florida.

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Where’d my energy go?

I have absolutely no zip. I don’t want to “go back to bed” but I’d be happy to veg out all day on the couch. I know there is work to be done, but I keep putting it off.

Wonder how I can get motivated.

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Hooked on eBay

Last month I got rid of a lot of clothes that didn’t fit or were antiquated. I vowed not to buy more but I do recognize that my “social” wardrobe needs up-dating.

Today on eBay, I bought a cute, black, (cheap), Alfani top (see the left photo). It was about $50 off the Macy’s price. Actually with a proper matching pair of capris, pants, or a skirt, I think I can create a versatile, dressy outfit, so it’ll be wearable lots of times.

Last week (again on eBay) I found some cute medium high sandal-style heels (brand: I Love Comfort) and a colorful, Arueh bright print dress with a lot of stretch (really nice, feels like high-end fabric.) It’s the picture on the right side.

I don’t need new items while in Michigan, but in Florida, I like a variety and these were all brand new and at rummage sale prices.

eBay also provided an opportunity to pick up a new battery for my Kindle Paperwhite. I’ve had the same old battery since I bought my Kindle in 2013 and it doesn’t last like it did before. I haven’t installed it yet because here in our house, I can keep my Paperwhite plugged in, but when I want to spend a long day at the pool in Florida, I’ll need more battery life.

Earlier this summer on eBay, I did grab a couple of super cute bargain tops.. a Chico’s water colored floaty top as well as one that’s red cold-shoulder with fluttery ruffles on the sleeves.

I spent less than $100 total on EVERYTHING I’ve pictured or mentioned. John says I’m a cheap date. (Definitely not high-maintenance.) But from here on I vow I am going to avoid looking on eBay because what I have is more than significant for my needs both here and in Florida. I’m trying not to wear the new stuff very often until we head south so they’ll be extra special for parties in Florida. I did wear the water colored floaty top to a dinner last week and received several favorable comments.

The activities and our friends in Florida are why I enjoy our life in the south so much… Lots of time to look our best.

We already know we’ll be going to a bar-be-que on October 16th, the Michigan Club welcome back party on the 26th and a Baby Boomers Halloween party on the 28th. In November, we resume our weekly Thursday gatherings before Rockin’ Rendezvous, a street party, and another Michigan Club party. I don’t know yet how many holiday parties we’ll attend in December but I know there’ll be several (at least three that I’m aware of).

I’ll soon wish I’d gotten more cheap clothes.

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Is it Time?

I loved website design, but I’m not really interested in maintaining it any longer (except for my blog). I’d just as soon give up the dulcimers.com and dulcimers.biz sites. I know they’re valuable, but I don’t want to be bothered with them. They’re both out-of-date and to up-grade them would require learning new skills. I am preoccupied with our situation and can’t concentrate long enough on site design to do what I’d need to do.

Maybe I’ll advertise that I’ll sell them and see what I could get.

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Losing Weight

John likes to suggest that I lose weight but I had a good rebuttal tonight. I used what Dr. Marquez had said to me when I told him I want to lose at least 20 pounds. Dr. Marquez said, “And what happens if you get sick?”

I explained to John, if he’d been at his optimum weight a couple years ago, he’d be skin and bones now. He had a little extra to give and he’s now over 30 pounds lighter but it’s a weight he can live with.

We know of several friends our age who have lost weight because of illness (Martha and Dotty come to mind immediately). For many years, both ladies tried unsuccessfully to lose weight. Now they have because of illness. They are actually skinny. I’m sure they both know they can’t lose more and survive.

I am not saying I don’t want to lose weight, but I know I’m healthy at this level. (I’m about 138.) I have been saying I want to lose 20-25 pounds but if I lost that much, I’d be too thin and I’d look lots older. And I need a little emergency fund in case of illness. Like Dr. Marquez said, “Look around you. Bet you weigh less than most of your friends.”

Nevertheless, I know I’d feel I’d be better at least 10 pounds lighter. Maybe 125-128 would be a good goal level (10-13 pounds)

My scale took about five pounds off me when we got back from Florida. Wonder if I could get a scale that would take me down to my goal.

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Yesterday we went to Evart for the afternoon-evening

A short visit to my favorite festival, the ODPC Funfest. It seemed very different this time but maybe it was because it hasn’t officially start. Thursday, the 13th, is the first official day.

I was glad we went, but wish I’d come away feeling that it’ll always be the Evart we love. Instead we both felt it had “changed.”

Several workshop leaders brought their complaints to me and I listened, but obviously there’s nothing I can do and change is inevitable. Things like a different balance of instruments (which was always 50% hammered dulcimer and 50% all other instruments combined), no “festival ribbons” (instead wrist bands), a drastic change in admission fee.

The jamming was almost non-existant. We did hear a few tunes coming out of the rabbit barn, but that was all. (Of course we left about 6:45 so most hadn’t started.)

But friends are still friends and a lot of nice people welcomed us with open arms. Some things never change.

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First time we’ll missed the ODPC Funfest in 26 years

We hope to drive up to the Evart fairgrounds Wednesday, but probably we won’t attend the actual festival which starts Thursday.

With John’s health problems, it’s too exhausting for him. We started going in 1991 and have never missed. That’s 26 years but John is more important.

We’ll drive up, visit with the Conklins and others.

We can’t take the 5th wheel. It’s too difficult to set up, hook up, and take down.

If we can figure a way John can work out the problem with his oxygen, we may go back on Saturday but he only has about six hours of battery life. We’ll see how Wednesday works.

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His heart’s strong

John went to his Saginaw cardiologist on Tuesday and was told that he has a great heart.

I could have told them that!

We were worried that he may be doing damage to it by “doing too much.” The doctor said his heart can take anything he dishes out.

A year or so ago, he was told by a different doctor that he won’t die of heart problems. It’ll be his lungs that kill him. Sadly we both realize that his lungs are deteriorating. Hopefully we can keep him breathing for many years, but it’s getting tougher.

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Don’t have any energy

I think my digestive system is finally “settling down.” I have a good day and then a bad day, but the bad days aren’t as pronounced. I am gradually feeling better. Unfortunately I have no zip or energy. Wonder what is ailing me?

John has had it too. His also comes and goes. Since we both had it, I tend to think it’s a bug.

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Rainy Saturday

Right now it’s raining but weather reports say that it’ll break up early this afternoon.

Neither John nor I have felt good this week. We both had stomach/digestive problems.

Hopefully I’m feeling better and maybe I can get busy and clean up some of the clutter around here. The utility room is my target today.

(John’s thinking about getting a cat. If we get one, her litter will go in the utility room so I need to clean it out.)

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Following my example….

After my mother, who had alzheimers died, Kelly (my daughter) told me I’d showed her how to act as a daughter. (I hope she never has to care for me that way, but it was good to see that she learned that lesson.)

Maybe my role now is to show all my wonderful friends how to be a wife to a husband who has a terminal illness.

I hope they realize that love evolves. When your partner has a serious or terminal health condition, you adapt.

John has always been a strong, viral man. It’s hurt him deeply to be reduced to breathing through a machine and waiting for me to get a handicapped assist cart before we try to go into a grocery store.

We can’t dance any more. He even has problems getting enough breath to talk, but I love him as much now as when he was healthy.

I know he needs me (although sometimes it’s hard for him to acknowledge that). I understand that I’m now providing the physical strength he no longer possesses. I am no youngster. I’m 75. I am weaker than I would have been a few years ago, but I am trying to do what is required of me.

I wonder if Shelly realizes that she might someday need to support Richard, or Linda realizes that Ron might someday need her help in every way. Sherry and Bob are perfect together, but does she understand that she may someday have to try to lift him, if he can’t stand up? Dave and Sharon are younger so the problems are less likely, but do they realize that life isn’t always as easy as what they’re experiencing now?

Maybe that’s our role in life to show others the strength they will need when life changes. Maybe, like in my situation when my mother developed alzheimers, it’ll be your mother who needs your help, or maybe your partner won’t be as as healthy as they once were. You just step up and do it.

I want those who will follow to watch me, because I plan to be a “good example.”

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Tomorrow We’ll have been in Michigan ONE MONTH

In less than four months we should be back in Florida. I can’t say that I’m enjoying 2017 in Michigan, but maybe it’ll improve once we finish the flood clean-up. (We’re getting close.)

I can see so many things that we need to do here. The deck toward the lake is an absolute mess. The yard looks horrid, and the house isn’t as clean as I wish it was. Oh, well….

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Politics

In our family, we try not to discuss politics.

John’s a fierce supporter of President Trump and I am exactly the reverse. It could drive a wedge between us, but we both try to avoid any political discussion.

Sometimes we’ll share funny jokes, but rarely are they brutal.

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No fun!

Since our arrival back in Michigan on May 15th, three weeks ago, we have been working to clean up our flood mess.

We did take a break on May 26th for walleye at the Moose Lodge. We also joined John’s siblings on the 31st for a nice family dinner in Owosso. We’ve been to the dentist and John’s been to his pulmonologist’s office and he’s had blood work done twice. I had my hair cut and colored today. That’s it! That’s our fun.

Quite a change from Florida! I checked our calendar and just for the months of April and May we went to at least two parties a week (even though John was in the hospital from April 20th until the 25th.) We also went to tai chi and Sit and Get Fit once or twice a week each. Wherever we were, we saw people we knew. We had folks stop over. We made an effort to go to Country Couples evenings on Thursday nights, and lots of other parties. We were social.

In Florida, I became addicted to hugs. I miss our Florida friends.

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Didn’t Make It

I thought we’d be able to park a vehicle in the garage by now but it’ll be another couple of weeks. For one thing, we don’t want to just move trash. We want to get rid of it and getting rid of it means breaking it down, or bagging it up and that takes time.

Only a few items have been saved. I was surprised that my “professional” floor model steamer came through nicely. Lots of photos were spared because they were stored in a tall plastic bin. John rescued a Kirby vacuum, but I’d love to see it tossed (it’s incredibly noisy). Afghans and washable rugs were laundered and piled up. (I wish I had a place to store them, but right now they are stacked on the bed in the guest room. I salvaged a couple bins of yarn. I assume my sewing machine is ok because it was high enough but I haven’t been able to try it out so don’t know if the food pedal works. (I haven’t tried to get to my sewing machine yet because it’s behind some items the clean up crew moved to the back of the main basement room.)

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Little by Little

We’re making progress. Slow but sure.

I’ll bet within a week we’ll be able to park at least one vehicle in the garage. We still have a long way to go to be finished because we haven’t done anything in the basement. It actually feels good to be purging even some of the junk.

I fear that we haven’t been brutal enough. We should have just trashed everything, but instead we’re saving some stuff and I can see our “collection” growing again.

We have eliminated a lot of the throw-away stuff but we’ve kept some and I fear that trash will just breed more. Example – John is determined to keep a whole plastic bin of recipe books. Most of our good recipes are on my computer or on line. We don’t need a whole slew of books. To me, the only item of value is the bin.

Getting rid of basement stuff has prompted us to eliminate some other items. We’ve put a couple items on Craigs List and I’m even thinking about selling some items on eBay.

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Fish and Friends at the Moose

Last night at Saginaw Moose Lodge 82, we enjoyed the best walleye – correction the best fish, we’re had since the last time we were here. Florida may have fun activities but Michigan’s fresh-water walleye and perch are better than any fish we’ve ever had in Florida. (It’s all you can eat with extras for $10.50!)

We visited with a friendly couple (Val and Jim) we’ve seen at various country dances and at the Moose many times. They are related to a couple down the street from our house here in Dude Estates. Val was saying that she’s depressed due to several situations in her life including the recent death of her best friend.

I told her how isolated I feel in Michigan and we’ve vowed to get together.

She’s bouncy, cute, 79, with energy galore. Hope we get together.

The band started at 7:00, our favorites: the Dixie Highway Band. Russ even remembered that I love “Wagon Wheel” which they played as their first number! (We danced to it near our table.)

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Stuff we may not have found without the flooded basement

We’ve been sorting through things that were stored in our basement. Several items have turned up which we didn’t know we had. For instance, I found a bin of yarn on cones. (I had forgotten I had them.)

Today I found two large plastic bins of my sweaters. I will donate most of them (and most were very nice) to the Salvation Army. (I found three or four that I want to wear. Two were Christmas sweaters so I’ll take them south in case I need them for a holiday event. One was black (crocheted) covered with flowers with pearls in each one.)

We found a Sharp SlimCam (video recorder), a couple of unaffected suitcases, and some interesting photos. John found a nice pen.

Most of the junk just goes in large plastic bags to go to the curbside Friday.

We’re making a dent.

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It just keeps piling on

John’s attitude has been grand but I can see that the whole health situation, flood, car problems, and other challenges are getting him down.

Sunday he broke off his front tooth. It’ll be about $1,500 to replace it. So far he’s had a root canal and a temporary put in the spot.

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Death Is Nothing At All – Poem by Henry Scott Holland

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?

I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.

All is well.

(Written by Henry Scott Holland (27 January 1847 – 17 March 1918).)

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Clean-up

Our weekly garbage collection (Friday) took away a load of junk that was left when 18″ of water flooded our basement.

We also gave the seven-piece sectional to a fellow who answered our Craig’s list for-free ad as well as bunch of Christmas tree ornaments and an old card table. He was glad to take the stuff.

We burned some junk wood from the basement yesterday.

There’s still a lot of stuff left in the basement and garage but we’ve made a dent.

Some of the big items are a refrigerator and chest type freezer. We’ll get it all done, but it’ll take months.

This flood has forced John to realize that this house is a “huge burden.” (Yes, he said that.) We’ll see what happens.

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We’re back in Michigan

Made it to our place in Thomas Township (west of Saginaw) at 2:00 pm yesterday. (Monday)

We had imagined what we’d experience with the remnants of the 18″ flood. Actually it isn’t as bad as we’d feared. Yes, it is a mess with lots or ruined stuff, but the house itself doesn’t smell bad. Today we got rid of the seven piece off white sectional. We gave it away to a man and his son who were very appreciative. They are convinced that it can be spot cleaned and it is a nice, high end piece of furniture without any rips or tears.

As it turned out, the chest type freezer in our garage also died. The stuff inside it is still cold so doesn’t stink yet and tomorrow the manager of the company that did the restoration is coming back to clean it out.

As the pile of junk is reduced, even slightly, it doesn’t seem as daunting.

Tomorrow we have dentist appointments in the a.m. and Thursday we’ll go to town so John can see his Saginaw pulmonologist.

We’ll need to put a lot of stuff at the curb for pick-up Friday. We can put two large items out as well as lots of bags and garbage cans. Hopefully we can make a dent in the garage. Then there’s the mess in the basement.

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We’re on the road

It’s raining.

We’ve hoped for rain for months now because so much of Florida is a high risk for fires because of the lack of rain. Here we are nearly to the Georgia border and it’s raining pretty hard. Not helping the driving situation.

Traffic isn’t too bad. We hope to get to Marietta, GA, which is north of Atlanta. Atlanta is always a bear to drive through but might be easier on the weekend. We have found that the traffic into Atlanta is unbelievable in the morning so we’ll miss that. Then tomorrow we’d like to get to Dayton/Miamisburg, Ohio so we’re past Cincinnati for the same reason.

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