Sunday, July 31, 2016

Life Still Sucks, But There Are Blessings

Sorry to have been away so long. I have wanted to come back and update, but I've just been too down and negative to be on here. I hate being negative; no one likes to read that! But, I do have some positive things to say, so I guess I'll just lay it all out there.

First off, a big THANK YOU to Betsy C. She left a very nice comment on my last post the other day, asking about how Sis is doing; this encouraged me to come back to the blog. I appreciate it!

So, Sis is doing MUCH better these days. By March she had lost 100 lbs!! She looks like a totally different person. She got on the right combo of water pills and heart medications and is almost back to normal. In May, her ejection fraction was up to 44% (from 19%). She has enough stamina to walk around the grocery store, do light housework, some cooking, etc., but still tires easily. I am not waiting on her hand and foot anymore, but I think she would still prefer that I do! She still has some days where she just doesn't want to get out of bed, but she does; sometimes it's not until Noon, but she does it. Most days she has her hair done up and her make up on, which helps her to feel better as well. Here is a recent picture of her from June:

You would never know this was the same woman lying in a hospital bed in January, as round as round can be from all the fluids she was retaining. She has been having great fun going through her closet and finding brand new clothes that were always too small for her that now fit her perfectly!

Financially, we are still really struggling. My unemployment ran out in March; there are no extensions. Since Sis's health improved, I was not able to apply to be her caregiver. I applied for jobs like crazy; no luck. I am not able to work for WalMart or in fast food because I cannot stand on my feet for more than 15-20 minutes at a time, otherwise I'd be all over that. I finally found a job in May working for a transportation company as a driver. We transport railroad crews from one city to another, sometimes picking them up on the side of the railroad tracks, sometimes from the local depot. I love the job because I love to drive, and the guys (and occasional gals) in the crews are super nice. The only drawback is the pay and the schedule. I make about what I made on unemployment, but instead of getting paid every week, it's every other week. I think that it actually averages out to be less than minimum wage. Right now I have about $40 in my checking account, and that has to last until the 12th! The schedule is 5am to 5pm, five days a week, which is fine. The problem is that I am "on call"; which means even though I go on the board as available at 5am, I may sit around all day waiting to be called for a run. It might come at 10am, or 4:55pm, or I might not get called at all. If I do go on a run, I hang around in Centralia all day because that is where the company vehicles are parked. I live 35 minutes away, so I can't afford the time or the gas to go back home just in case they call me to do another run. This weekend we were told that there was a huge back up of trains sitting in Spokane, so it was a call for all hands on deck - no days off - so that we could be ready for them this weekend. Well, I got one run yesterday - which was not for one of the bottled up trains - and as of this writing (at 12:30pm on my scheduled day off), nothing. Sigh. It can make it very difficult to do anything. But, I'm starting to adjust to it. And it's money on the bank.

We have not been able to get disability for Sis for a variety of reasons, which I won't go into. I heard about a possibility of getting more money for Les's social security, so we have applied for that. The smart thing to do would be to sell the house and move into something a little smaller, but I just don't see that happening. Mom has been helping me out, sending me money to make sure the car insurance is paid and my cell phone stays on. I use a pay-as-you-go plan that is only $35 a month, so that helps. I do need to get a smartphone for work, but I just can't afford one. I'm trying to find a used one that is not the newest and fanciest, but haven't found one yet. It has to be an android phone to use the apps I need for work.

Otherwise, we are just kind of in a holding pattern. Sis and Les sit in the living room all day, watching You Tube videos; sometimes Les goes out and works in the garden. Here's a few pics:

The garden is a bit straggly this year; one day Les decided he didn't feel like hoeing out the weeds, so he went out with the RoundUp instead. Unfortunately, it was a bit breezy out, and well ... let's just say it's a lesson learned: don't spray weed killer in the garden on a windy day. The second picture is of our one ginormous rhubarb bush. The stocks are huge and thick, but only about 2" worth is red. It should be ripe for harvesting next year. We planted some wild butterfly bushes in our front yard which are now starting to bloom. I got these great shots the other day just as Sis and I were leaving for town:

I have managed to make a few cards that I'm gong to give my mom for a gift, if I ever get down there to see her.  This is one of the cards I made that I sent to her as a thank you for a check she sent:

It's not a very good picture, but I think you get the idea. I absolutely adore this teacup die! I used it on three patterned papers and the white, then inlaid the patterned papers into it. Mom loved it! I need to make some more and learn how to take better pictures of them. I'd like to try and sell them on Etsy and perhaps in some of the local shops in town.

I guess that's the highlights of things that have been happening. I feel a little better; there seems to be a small pinpoint of light at the end of the tunnel and things don't seem quite so bleak. I still get down in the dumps frequently; I just don't know when I will ever get to move out into my own place, if ever. Mom is planning on moving in here by the end of the year, and to be honest, while it will be a good thing to have her here, I fear it will be the straw that breaks this camel's back. Mom and I do not get along when we live together, and Les does everything he can think of to push all of Mom's buttons. I don't know why. I cannot stand the tension in the house when all of that is going on. I crave my own space, my own things around me, my own privacy. Sis has become very attached to me and hates it when I am not constantly in her presence. She wants me to sit with her in the living room when I'm not at work, but all we do is watch video after video of stuff I am not even slightly interested in, and we can't have a conversation because then Les cannot hear the TV. I love her more than life itself, but she has become clingy and suffocating lately. I don't have anything that is just ... mine. She has taken over my Pinterest account and the You Tube account; any craft I try to do she has to be involved and then takes over; these are petty things, I know, but it just irks me. I'll get over it. Eventually. In the meantime I torture myself by looking at homes for rent and for sale online.

Well, hopefully I won't leave you along for so long again. Hopefully I'll have more positive stuff as the months go by. Wish me luck!



  1. Wow. I'm so sorry that things are still really rough for you guys. Your sis looks great though. I hope things really turn around for everyone.

  2. So good to see a post from you, and I am so thrilled that your sister is better! Wonderful news. How beautiful she is in that picture, too.

    It sounds like things are slowly turning around for your family. Your job sounds nice, I enjoy driving too. Good luck with everything, and thanks again for the post!

    1. Thank YOU, Betsey! I appreciate your encouragement and interest. The job is pretty cool.

  3. it isnt any fun being a constant caregiver , you seem to become invisable and drown in others needs, while screaming in your head and waving one hand desperately . Im also doing a crap low pay job just to escape for a few hours , it costs me to do the wretched job and the benefit system in the UK isnt the mythical golden fountain that so many think .

    1. You hit the nail perfectly on the head. I am constantly screaming in my head! Unfortunately, it screams pretty loudly and lot of negative things. And becoming invisible is the perfect description. Sometimes I think I set my expectations of others a little (or a lot) too high. Sorry to hear about your job, and I guess I did live under the impression that the UK's benefit system was pretty great. Will pulling out of the EU make it worse? Hang in there!

    2. the mystery trip that is pulling out of the EU ? who knows , not much seems to be happening at all, except for a huge influx of tourists from near and far due to the exchange rates

  4. Hey! Merry Christmas! I hope things are ok with you these days. Did your mom move in with you guys? How is your sister doing? Give us an update when you have a free moment. Your invisible friends care about you! :)


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