Nichole’s Summer Journal, August 21–Changes

21 08 2009

Wow!  I’ve been away from my blog for over 6 weeks now.  Sometimes, I just go through seasons where I don’t want to write anything at all.  It is certainly not because life has become boring or that anything bad has happened.

Life has been very full and beautiful these days.  Jim has come a long way since he had a terrible crisis in April.  At that time, it was thought he might need home health care.  Now through the counsel of his new heart doctor at the Veteran’s hospital in Nashville–his medicines are more balanced.  Jim has been able to live a fuller life.  He will always be disabled in that he can’t be operatated on but the right balance of medications, some exercise and a good diet has done wonderful things for Jim.  We are both very grateful!

During the summer–we always had Tuesdays off from the responsibilites of our two grandsons.  We did a great deal of driving around Western, Ky and our own county.  One day we put 95 miles on our car just driving around our county.  The farm land in our county and the other counties of Western, Ky is so beautiful and peaceful.

Alas, we are having to cut down on our field trips because I decided not to go back to work as a substitute teacher.  I spent a month going over the pros and cons of going back to work.  I have a hearing problem–especially with consonants.  If you say to me:  “Will you get the rake?”  I’m probably going to get you the cake.  Rhyming words are especially hard for me.  I have no problem hearing music or loud noise but getting those consonants straight especially in rhyming words is a real trial to my ears.  Thus , for that reason alone –I decided to give up the classroom.

I have enjoyed being with Jim all summer.  We established a routine of walking our dogs each morning.  I hated to give that up , too.  We are frugal people so we will make it.  I still have the responsibility of picking our grandsons up from school and keeping them for a couple of hours.  We did ask for Tuesdays off.  Even if we can’t go on one of our traveling excursions we can still play table games or watch some movies.  ( We get all of our movies from the library)

We are changing our internet service to a wireless service.  It was supposed to be changed this week but when they came out –it was decided that an outdoor antenna was needed.  The company will do that at their expense.  This new service will cost us $30.00 less a month.  Hopefully, that will happen by the end of next week. 

I’m also washing less and hanging out my jeans , towels, and sheets in the sun.  I’ve turned my central air up to 77 and I shut if off at night.  I’m excited about cutting costs.  I think it will be fun to learn how to live more frugually.

We are also excited that our third grandson will hopefully be with us by the end of September.  I’m looking forward to being around a newborn baby again.  I won’t be caring for the baby.  Sandy’s next door neighbor will be doing that but still there will many opportunties to adore this new little baby boy.

Things are going very well with our new priest at our parish.  This summer three new families have come.  Last Sunday, they were made catechumens which was very exciting.  Our priest is full of life and vitality and we are really enjoying him very much.

So these are some of the changes that have been happening.  After we get our new internet service–I hope to be blogging more.  For new readers, I recommend that you read the 25 chapters I have written about raising my family under the Vera stories.  I hope to get back to writing more stories in that category soon.

So for now–may God’s peace be richly and fully with each of you!


Nichole’s Summer Journal, 6/26/09

19 07 2009

It is 8:10 a.m. Saturday morning–I’m catching up on my writing.  Yesterday the boys came at 8:00 a.m.  Jim sat out on the porch with them so I could finish getting my makeup on and make our bed.

I halfway thought of planning an outing for them but kept thinking the youth who worked on our steps would come by and to say goodbye. 

At any rate, the boys kept me busy race walking around the block as they rode their bikes.  Then they decided that all the furniture on the front porch should go to the side porch.  Next, they rearranged all of my plants.

During lunch John was mad that I didn’t have any more chicken nuggets.  He was also mad that I would not get him another soft drink. ( 1 is the limit for the day)  Sandy had brought over plenty of bottled water for them to drink.  The boys just were not interested in that.

Alex was quite content during lunch eating left over spaghetti.  I also let him roast a hot dog over the gas burner.  I offered John these foods too but he didn’t want them.  Finally he ate some packaged crackers that his mom had brought over for them to eat. 

Finally, the trauma for John ended when I acted scared that the boys had lost their arms.  They had pulled their arms in on their shirts so that it looked like they had no arms.  They laughed and laughed and we played that game for about 10 minutes.

After lunch Alex went to the store with me.  He was so precious while we were shopping as he sang to himself.  He loves to sit in the shopping cart and just sing very softly.  I enjoyed every minute of his singing.

While we were gone, John moved things around in our family room.  I must say he is a good organizer and has a keen eye for what looks good.  I complimented him several times.

Alex remembered the big dirt pile from where the youth had dug deep for our porch stairs.   He wanted to take a few of his cars and go play in the dirt. Sandy came shortly after he was engaged with the dirtpile.  She sat on the new steps and talked with us while the boys played. 

The Methodist youth from Wisconsin were going to have a block party to celebrate their week of work.  We were invited.  John wanted to stay with us and attend the party.  Alex was not interested. 

I was a little nervous about going to the block party.  However, it turned out wonderful.  Jan and  Brenda ( the adult helpers) and the youth who worked on our steps came and talked with us.  They all gave John big hugs.  The praise band was beginning to warm up.  They wanted John to go and sing with them.  Suddenly, John got scared and wanted to go home.

Jim and I were not going to turn down a BBQ dinner with the works.  So Jan sat with John while we got our food.  I placed enough food on my plate to share with John. John did calm down but he wouldn’t eat.  After we finished our dinner we said goodbye to all of our new friends and took John home.

It was only 7:30 p.m. but Jim was exhausted.  He has told me everyday for the last three days that he thinks his health is getting worse.

I read some and then went to bed.

Nichole’s Summer Journal, 6/24/2004

12 07 2009

Well, we waited and waited for the bus to drop the youth off today.  They never came.  The boys were with us today and they were very disappointed.  However, they worked me hard with having me race walk to keep up with their bike riding.

Around 10:00 a.m., I started making m list of how we were going to do our banking.  I like to get cash for my groceries for the month.  So I made a list of how many ones, five, tens, etc I wanted.  Jim’s check was in the bank.  This is his second Social Security check. 

We packed up the car to go to the bank and then later go to Maria’s home in Cerulean, Ky.  We had planned to eat lunch with her.  She served us a pizza for lunch.  Then she suggested that we visit her Mennonite friends, Jake and Rebecca.   I had not been to see them since last summer.

Jake greeted us.  It was unusual to have him home but the heat index had forced him in the house to rest.  Rebecca had taken lunch to her grown son who has his own home.  Later, she came back and we all got caught up on the happenings in everyone’s lives.

Jake took us to see all of their animals.  There were two new colts to see.  He offered to put John and Alex on a horse but they were scared.  There was piglet running around the farm.  Someone had dropped it off the same way folks often drop off dogs.  They decided to keep it and let it roam the farm and get fat.  He told us they would butcher it in the fall.  That made me sad.

As we were getting ready to leave, Jake offered to take the boys down the road in his little horse driven cart.  They boys were excited to have that experience.  We thougt he was going to be at the end of the road by the Methodist Church but when we got there –they were no where to be seen.

We drove back to Maria’s home and they were not there.  Finally, as we got out on the main road again, Jake and the boys were coming down the road.  They pulled in at the Methodist church.  Jake let the boys take turns holding the reins and driving the cart around the church parking lot. 

Our final stop was in Gracy, Ky where we stopped to get another .50 ice cream cone. 

When we got back to our home, we saw that the concrete for the steps had been poured.  We would have loved to see the concrete truck pouring the concrete.  We found out the youth had been at another home during the morning.

Later, that evening two of the adult workers came to take the wooden form off of the dried concrete.  Jim went out to talk with them.  I was already in my night clothes and didn’t get a chance to greet them.  What a day it has been.

Nichole’s Summer Journal, 6/23/2009

9 07 2009

Today we didn’t have to take care of our grandsons.  We were up early to take our walk.  The youth from Wisconsin arrived at our home at 7:45 a.m.  They were eager to get to work.  Their goal was to form a frame to hold the concrete.  I had plans to pick up my daughter-in- law , Linda, and take her to an Amish store in Guthrie, Ky.

I had fun greeting the kids and asking about their evening.  I took my dogs out to greet them for the day. 

Linda and I had a wonderful trip enjoying the country scenery on the way to Guthrie.  She had never been to  this store but had heard me mention it many times.  We went through the store looking at everything two complete times.  It was hard to make up my mind what I wanted to buy. 

Later, we drove down the same highway to an Amish bakery.  Again, it was hard to decide what to buy.  We did pick up some salt rising bread and some sweet rolls for my brother and his wife, T, who is a new cancer patient. 

After I dropped Linda off at her home–I took the sweet rolls and bread by my brother’s house.  I was surprised that he gave me a check for taking care of their flowers for two weeks.  I was happy to have helped them and didn’t expect any pay.

I didn’t get home until 1:15 p.m.  Jim and I took soft drinks out  for all of the workers.  At first they were shy in accepting them but quickly changed their minds.  The heat index was 105 degrees that afternoon.

The bus picked the youth up at 2:15 p.m. Jim and I drove out towards Herndon, Ky and found a country road that took us back to 4l-A.  The road was full of Amish farms.  We had missed our usual Tuesday long day together and the country ride was a must to complete our day.

We were very happy that my sister-in-law, T came to our cancer group.  Sherry F. who is in charge of cancer services in our county gave a wonderful presentation.  T got some very good information as she begins her journey with chemotherapy soon.

We had sandwiches for supper after our cancer group.  It is now 7:55 p.m. as I write about my day.

Nichole’s Summer Journal, 6/22/09

5 07 2009

Ninety Methodist youth from Wisconsin began their volunteer labors in the older neighborhoods this morning.  We were chosen to have our concrete stairs on our side porch replaced.  We waited in anticipation for them to arrive.

Finally, a huge bus dropped off six youth and two adults.  The planning commision had ordered all of the materials.  It was a bustle of activity.  The mayor even came by to greet everyone. 

John and Alex (grandsons) didn’t wasnt to miss a beat of the activity.  I sat on the porch and read while the boys took in everything.  Finally, at lunch we let the workers have their lunch on our porch in private.  They also had some devotional time.

Off and on during the day– the boys would cycle to the C’s and we would chat a bit.  Mrs. C has a daily story of her worries over Mr. C constantly repairing his “old truck”.

In the midst of the day, Jim went to help serve lunch at the Salvation Army.  He brought home 12 loaves of bread and 5 dozen eggs.  We gave the eggs to the group to give to their cook.

The bus picked up everyone around 3:15 p.m.  Then the bus made the rounds to pick up all of the other youth and adults around town who were working on other houses.

Today, the youth tore out the old stairs, dug out the dirt in preparation for the new steps and laid gravel down.  There was enough gravel left over to replenish our driveway.

It has been a very busy day.

Nichole’s Summer Journal, 6/19/2009

28 06 2009

It is the last day of Spring.  It is 8:19 p.m.–and is still light outdoors.  I hear a lawn mower going.

We took Tickie, ( our dog) to get groomed this morning.  When we got back from that errand, I sat down and filled out some paper work for my health insurance.

It was a cleaning day today.  Although I keep things pretty orderly –I’m not good at wet mopping my hard wood floors on a regular basis.  Vera used to sweep them for me but she is gone.  Two weeks ago, Jim and I swept and mopped for our “House Blessing” by our new priest.  I decided then that a two week schedule would be a  good goal to strive for.

So Jim swept the floors and I mopped again.  I dusted the furniture and took a small paint brush to dust pictures.  I polished my piano as the last chore.  This will probably help my allergies.  I suffered terribly last year but then I didn’t wet mop very often.  So this is my experiment. 

I was going to work on my music this afternoon but alas more paperwork awaited me.  Even though Jim is in the veteran’s health care program –his charges have been based on tax year 2008.  We had been getting some hefty bills so I called and asked if they had a “hardship” program.  They sent me some papers.  It took me two hours to fill them out plus I had to write an essay about our situation.

We took our papers to the post office and had a copy made before we mailed them.  We also picked up “Tickie” from the groomers.  We don’t have her groomed very often.  It had been 3 whole months.  But she is a long haired dog and all of our attempts to cut her hair at home have been disasters.  She looked so great.  I know she feels better.  I feel better just looking at how clean and neat she is.

Jim and I had a simple meal of lima beans, rice, lettuce, tomatoes and cornchips.  We then watched an old Cary Grant, Rosalind Russel movie, His Girl Friday.  It was just too hyper for me.   All of the characters talked too fast and the scenes were just so jabbled ( a new word I invented). 

Well, I’m glad the cleaning is done for two more weeks.  It was nice to have a day off from taking care of our grandsons.

Nichole’s Summer Journal, 6/18/2009

28 06 2009

The grandsons brought their bikes with them today.  I got plenty of exercise race walking to keep up with them. ( I don’t allow them to venture out on their own)

We spent an hour visiting our elderly neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. C. The boys like to follow Mr. C around.  At age 86, he is still working on his truck and car.  His truck is 25 years old.  It was a gift to him –brand new–when he retired as a trucker.  It continually breaks down.  Mr. C has a huge water tank in the back of his truck.  He takes it down to the water treatment plant and fills it up  to water his 300 tomato plants. 

It drives Mrs. C crazy that Mr. C is still trying to manage so many tomato plants.  “Next summer, I won’t allow it.  This is the last summer for this foolishness.  I’m the one who has to worry when he the truck breaks now.” 

Mrs. C. broke a hip in spring of 2008.  She hasn’t gotten back to driving until….this summer. Mr. C.  has called her a couple of times needing to be rescued.  This couple does not have a cell phone.  Mr. C. has to walk to find a phone in order to contact Mrs. C.  This worries her to know end.  I told her that she should call me.  I’m home most of the time this summer.  I would be glad to rescue Mr. C. 

After we got home from the C’s. –Jim went to help serve lunch at The Salvation Army.  He enjoys doing this each week.  We haven’t had to buy or bake bread since he started volunteering.  The table is always full of donated bread.  It is good quality bread–most of it pound and a half loaves that are whole wheat and not made with fructose or bad cooking oils.  Jim usually gets enough to share with others.

Maria came to town for her weekly trip to the nursing home to visit her friend who had a serious accident when she was a young woman.  She is in her late 40’s and has been in the nursing home since she was 18 years old.  John likes to go with Maria to visit  Debbie.  When they got home, I noticed he had a orange soda and some chips.  The recreation leader gave them to him.  Naturally, little brother was a little jealous.

That afternoon we also took Mary, my friend, on an errand.  Then she treated us to an ice cream at McDonalds.  We went back to the home where she is staying and the boys played with water guns in her back yard while we sat on the patio and visited.

In the heat of the late afternoon, the boys wanted to ride their bikes again.  So I got another racewalk in.  At last, Sandy, their mother came.  I didn’t have to cook as Maria had brought me some of her leftovers to heat up.

After supper I went to water T’s flowers.  It is now 8:10 p.m. I’m very tired!