Friday, December 19, 2014

URCH! ACHTUNG! STOP! HAULT



Sea urchins. Image: Nina Thune, Wikimedia

No, this is not a post about a German Urchin. (Those are German Urchin to the right..)

 Although it does give me an idea for a children's book....

And I haven't forgotten you!


IT's  [my post] about something happening that you weren't planning on. Not you, but me. But you could relate.

Like when Sandra Bullock gets unconnected from the Spaceship's Umbilical Chord and then torn apart from Brown Eyed Astronaut George Clooney who was the driver of the shuttle in the movie GRAVITY.

It's an earth shattering thing to be loosed into outer space. As Sandra showed us. An unplanned event at the worst time, whether being loosed into outer space or just in a space of time that you thought something differentshould take place, well, it's not planned. These sea urchins' picture  were taken by Nina Thune. Wikimedia.

And unplanned things, like maybe a child when you thought you were done having children and are now a grandparent, can be tricky to hold onto your bearings. If you have them to begin with. With no bearings you are pretty much outta luck. With some bearing,  after bearing your last born,  you can navigate the best you can in a situation that was unplanned, halted your life, changed it, and maybe even put a damper on how you can bare it all.

*******************************************************************************

****************(this post is going to get into more of what happens with Crohns disease and extramanifestations such as chostochondroitin pain and in a weird location: my right rib. I will talk about my arm and hand, severe fatigue, blah, blah,. If you want to stick around to find out how I got a flat tire and then tune out, you are welcome to.)************************************************************************************

This happened the other day.

(no, not a family of urchins) 
 
 

Not just something close to unbearable and at the wrong time- but a

Set back.

 Just as we are rounding second base for the month of December , and all that it entails;

ka-chow!



We had an incident that dislocated us from Sandra Bullock's shuttle. (and another one that I really am talking about.)

 Yup, just you and that empty void of space and a chlostrophobic white space suit to hyperventilate into as you drift further into the bleakness of the dark, yet beautiful, unknown.

Or closer to the steamy, hot sun.

Or maybe just toward earth and that one part where ya have to burn up before ya get to fall into water!


When this happened I felt as if I couldn't buy a break. It was one of those days where a two hour errand trip ended up taking all day.


We'd done a zillion trips to crafts stores to find the right thing to put up the right sun catcher in Grandma's window and it was turning into a circus. One holder would be clear but had a metal handle. Nope.

Then one was just right but only held the tip of your toe nail.
 
Oh, by the way- this isn't the point that flung us into outer space where we couldn't buy a break. And it wasn't when my Uncle came into my Grandma's and told me to have Padre check out the deflating left tire on my car.  Nor was it when I was in BIG O and they said that all the tires needed replacing, that I felt

I could not buy a brake.

I was located in a place where I could buy brakes, but I needed tires.

How do tires know when to ruin Christmas? Or December? Actually, anytime you have to replace all four tires, it's a bad time. So, really, flat tires don't discriminate on when they make you miserable.

And why do they have to give the snow tire sphill?  (the tire shop guys) I mean, it's Idaho, and yes we get a lot of snow, black ice, slush, etc.  And women need to have good snow tires so we don't need men's help as we try to traverse a mountain side to get to a ski hill, right? 

But, Readers,  we haven't even had a speck of snow
*those were J's words said to me after school one day as the sun shined like it does in Florida or something and is as warm as Arizona. Well, I am kidding. Warm for here. Idaho in the middle of December. And this was written a bit ago.

So I am in the tire store, on a nice day, that started at a nice time but ended up taking all day and I was only supposed to be out and about TWO hours,  and I was trying to be sold snow tires. And the worst part of it was the kid with me whining to leave. He'd had it. Little does he know what is on the horizon of having it........

Anyway, I listened to the snow tire deal and

Then try to be convinced to get the best grade they had in the spring.
So buy 8 tires.

If I had not had on a mask, the seller could have seen the expression on my face. Instead he had to see if he could read my eyes behind my coke bottle thick, foggy glasses.


He gave me stats, threw the donut on at Padre's request (yes, I waited to call him before I had Joe throw on some snow tires just for good measure) and we were home sooner than the sky could let a frozen sun sink into the west.

This tire problem was taken care of and calm was restored after I waited and called Sam's Club on a daily basis for two weeks to find that the tire I wanted- the Michehlin Revenge r5ooo. - kidding- was out of stock for four to six weeks.

That's right. I waited two weeks to find out I would have to wait four to six to get the kind I really wanted.

With one donut on the vehicle and Christmas weather immenent, I wasn't confident I wanted to go that route and wished I'd just got the ones my gut told me to get back when I was at the tire store with just the one going flat. sigh. (Joe, I was going to just go with your higher end tire you had in stock.)

That's what I get for having Padre. My Uncle has the same vehicle and the same problem some months ago and found the right tire but so did the rest of America.

I might have posted all this a bit ago but there is more to this whole December month, ox in the mire, can 't buy a break and apparently buy the tire ya want, story.

The Christmas miracle in this whole debacle is that it didn't ruin Christmas. It made for a VERY long day, I'd hit my Crohns/Prednisone max an hour before I found the right hanger for the sun catcher at Grandma's and a star is happily gleaming at her house along with a fixed 'Mad Blue Bird.'
Glad I could just give her mine since hers broke. 


 But the miracle of this scenario- was that I didn't have my mind didn't sink into despair. So sitting in Big O, watching TV with an option of eating popcorn and coffee, which I did neither,  although grating on my nerves (the TV and the kid) was actually not making me sink into a December Depression.
Why?

good question. I think it was because we were prepared.

I didn't freak out about changing a tire if needed. I felt calm enough to do it and the weather was fine if I had needed to.
 
Somewhat.

For a disaster like not finding something you need on the first trip. And then a flat tire. In December. Four new tires due to be paid for in December- we were prepared with emergency funds.
 
The only thing I had no control over was my health. And that has been pretty precarious. But I was helped through that as well when I told them to throw a donut on and we just drove home with me feeling a sense of peace; that all would be okay. 
 
The shock was absorbed, the hit taken and the financial belt tightened. But it was O.K.

Thank you tire angels.
(now for that one around my belly)
And being able to live at home, Padre. So that I could accumulate the needed emergency funds.
 
Good thing it wasn't snowing.

Even though J. would come home and say: "NOT EVEN a SPECK of SNOW!" in complaintive mode, I have been  secretly grateful for some errand running NOT in lots of specks of snow. Juggling my "stuff" is hard enough and that just makes it easier to fall. Even using trekking poles, it can be a bit slippery.

And falls are not good for us people right now. I have had to learn to carry my purse on the opposite side with the one ankle getting worse..

***************************************************
So I have some health news. I was leading into it but taking forever. Sorry. I have pics I will put up in due time.

My set back has made my life a bit more painful and for some reason I have also developed pain in the area of my right rib cage. I chalk it up to chostochondroiton pain. Which is what the X-Rays have said. But I get to do some more testing.

The bad news, that caught my attention while reading this post is my legs,
For you Readers that read to find out about health,, etc. and what is going on there I have to tell you that I upped the time that I was walking. I wore my braces. I put in my padding for cushiony-ness into my shoes. I did all I could.

But my body just could not bare the load. One night we had the church party. I pushed myself to get to a store so we could get J a shirt for our Christmas pics. after that.  I honestly was near tears at the end. I had grabbed a wheelchair at the store so that I could walk and then rest if needed.

It was was needed.
THEN the unthinkable happened the next day I made a trip to Wal-Mart (nothing unusual)
However This is when I should have


Stopped!

The place was hoppin'! There were NO Scooters! I think they have six total and so I decided to grab a wheelchair with a mesh thing in front that you can lift up or over- either way I didn't do it. I just limped all over Wal-Mart.

By the time I made the full loop, I knew I had done damage. My foot that likes to do the limp dog thing had been flipped up as many times as I could walk like I had on flippers at the beach.

But the ankle itself was in so much pain. The impinged part. The side part. Whatever that means- in my terms it means it hurts at the front of my ankle at the top and has to do with the no muscle factor and cartilege and tendons that tend to be done. And in "flipping" it up with each step.

The inside left ankle hurt- no burned. I have a spur that needs removing but there is more to the pain/impinging whatever.

By yesterday it was bruised over. I have iced it. There is a small vessel that is burst. Not a big deal but it adds to the hurt.

********

This is getting hard to finish. And I am having some frustrations! Sorry.
 
These are tender mercies in my life, Readers. 

There are the things that don't change, they can progress and that can be hard. Really hard.

 It was the URCH! to our: "Hey! All is WELL!" feeling that keeps ya getting up in the morning and plugging along.

A Crohns incident. Well, that is a vague term. But it was one in which the writing on the wall is there but you have been ignoring it with the help of prednisone.

And to be honest, this does depress me. I want to be better. I was hopeful that this new med would just change my life! YAY! But there is so much damage done due to prednisone that is irreversible that I have to accept. With, what is that word? Grace?

Current health events have brought A LOT to a stop. Gosh, I have had to back off on decorating and prepping for the big day. Good thing I started a loooong time back.

Sorry this is ending on a downer! I will rest up, ice up this ankle, and jump right back into the Christmas writing!
 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Scraps & The Fabric Store


(Our old school lights around a plastic old school wreath and placed upon my adirondack chair.)

The other day I was browsing through "scraps" of fabric. Yes, scraps. As I did this I thought of my son outside waiting for me- opting for music on the radio vs. coming into the Fabric store.
 
"They are soo boring."


J had said on some occassion where we had waited a mere half hour to have a slice of felt cut.

ME: "Are you kidding me? When I grew up we  had fabric stores that ONLY sold  FABRIC. Heck, here you could go look at some stickers or wood to make something,  paint it, or cut paper out into amazing things.  There are even toys.

"And the music was not this hip hop over the stereo right now. It was straight Barry Manilow.,"

J: "Berry Who?"


 
(The weather has been incredibly warm and so it makes it hard to sit in the chair this way...)

Anyway, I thought it so interesting having worked at a craft store, my mom now does, and how much I enjoy fabric and yarn and can't really do anything amazing with it.

One of my sisters seems to be a quilting machine or something cause she can whip up amazing award winnning quilts, but I can do the basics and that is basically it.

But I love fabric! How soft it is! Well the kind I was rubbing my hand across because I was looking for the fabric that would go on the back side of all the shirts J. can't get rid of. Becaues they are his history- the track meets he's won in, the teams he sweat alongside with-- heck I could make the backing out of all the jerseys he has had to buy with each basketball session.
 
(a scrap of paper that gave me an idea for the downstairs mantle using items I already had!)
 

However, snuggling up with that next to ya doesn't seem like it would be fun and those jerseys could still be rank. Where were we? Oh, soft scraps of fabric sold in stores that play musis that put kids to sleep or shriek.

I couldn't find the exact soft material that my neighbor had whipped up into a scarf for me- see how amazing scraps can be?- and had to go with a longer more lush, Grizzly Bear softness material. That, with the amount of shirts I wanted to put ON the blanket, would cost as much to buy the kind of rifle needed, and the amount a taxidermist would need to keep him in the pose of almost eating me.

But it was so soft! I looked up and there was a pillow made out of some of it. I could do that with that patch. Or do as, Rachael, the friend I met there, suggested and put it in the midddle and the sides of the blanket.
 
(another page from a magazine that gave me ideas for the holidays- which, due to the balmy 56 we had today makes it confusing. J. came home and threw on some shorts. Notice the quilt- it was half a quilt that Grandma liked to say was for just putting over you when you sat in a chair and watched TV.
And there is a clothes pin in there. Another Ode to my mother's mom. She made doll furniture for us girls out of it when we were young and we thought it was so fun.)
 

I have no idea if I will get to the pillow this year. But it does fit in with his nature room whether graduates from The Grizz HS, or not.

There are scraps of material that I let go that made me mad at myself for not keeping, but while in de-cluttering boot camp; there is a point to let go. Unnntil you find out that Pinterest existed (after four years) and they re-cycle, upcycle, Twice Around the Block, Stuff and you find you should have held on a little bit longer. Until some guy invented antiquining.
 
(other things that inspired me and a journal where I scribbled it all down.)
 

Truth be told there are just a couple things I thought:

 "Wow! that merino wool lined pair of pants I no lnger fit would be awesome in a Christmas Wreath!! Or as some kind of plaid ornament!"

No,, I come from a long line of scrap keepers. My mom has the best scraps. And she has the best skills to bring to pass the projects she has in mind. The mailman brought me an interesting gift recently that had to do with just sort of thing:  Making things I can't make; quilts. But inside were old school books and patterns that had belonged to my grandmother.
 
 
(One of the wreaths is finished and embellished with a star that has a theme J. and I chose for this season: All is Well. The Wreath behind it has some work to be done on it and a brown star will go with it. Another bad pic taken by myself but it has been fun to play with yarn and use up those Amazon boxes. I actually love the styrofoam ones the best but sometimes an idea can't wait!)
 

My aunt had sent them to me along with letters and stamps to start my Christmas letters! But what I found really interesting was my grandmother's writing on a scrap piece of paper. Listed on it were the items she wanted to get from the fabric store. Quarter yard of such and such fabric, little doo-dads.
Did she ever get them? Were they just listed and left in the book like a lot of my unfinished projects?
 
(I gotta get on these babies. Which, like I have said before, it is good I started preparing for Christmas in the Summer or else I would not have five cards written yet.)
 
Speaking of which- I gotta wrap this up. More later on why. Sheesh, a woman can't even finish a blog post without things hindering the way!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Thanksgiving Vacation Fail

 
 
 
(I will talk about this picture at the bottom of this post)
 
Actually, the meal itself and baby sister's first T-day went off rather well.
BUT I have to thank, "FEVER",  for making 3, no 4 days absolutely lovely!!
Just a minute I need to research something.

K- I am back. Where was I? Oh, the fever. Sinus infections and antibiotics not working and projects not gotten to!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I allowed J. to quite wearing his hazmat suit around once the entero and ebola left the news, then BOOM ! sick kid.

There we were enjoying a book and all the sudden I feel waves of heat emanating off J. like waves of heat of something hot and they recorded it and I saw it on TV somewhere, sometime in my life.

BAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I pulled out all the stops. Ibuprofen.
After four hours he was still complaining of the headache and so Tylenol.

Should have been a one day deal right? WRongo. I had to step it up and take care of laundry and cleainging before it was ****************
 
 
 
I had to stop there, Readers. J. had to deal with an asthma flare and it has not been fun.
The cards up yonder have a little story to them.
 
I am out of cards- well, I do have some but they are these cheap ones I got after Christmas last year with a bunch of bears in a tree. I don't know what I was thinking.
 
This year I did look at the discounted ones but was willing to get a decent, non- teddy bear in your tree, Christmas Card.
 
Only ONE box of cards had the name: 'God', or 'Christ' on them. And guess what? They were least expensive. I hope that Black Friday meant everyone got theirs already.
 
If not, kinda sad, eh?
And they are a nicely made cards.... Maybe Black Friday wiped them out! Gotta think positive!
 
 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Sking Across the Country




(Even though Padre doesn't like dogs in the house, I had to let Frank in. I might put him upstairs though where Padre can see him when he walks in the door. I mean look at that face... he looks like he wants ya to just take him for a walk. Glad he is fake.)


It's a good thing I asked J. some pretty specific Christmas Wish questions this year because I struck out each time and he would have wound up with a totally different Christmas than he thought he'd have.

 Apparently I have a hard time with his suble hints such as giving me the weather report each day and pictures of what it looks like at various ski hills.

I shrugged it off because he has been sick anyway. Thankfully I didn't have to worry about driving up the peak of Mt. Krumpet to let him ski down what little snow had fallen.

 
(It snowed again here in IF. The first time it did J. tried to ski down our street. This time he couldn't. Well, he couldn't get momentum the first time. This time, he's sick. A month early. He has this tradition of a week long hacking cough sick due to asthma etc. etc. I put in four hours tonight of taking care of the little guy. Sad. Thanksgiving week was ruined due to fever and it has morphed into an awesome infection. Needless to say, he was bummed. Life really starts to get hard in 6th grade for some reason. )


Where were we?

Oh, me and something to do with gift giving....

**********************************************************************
So I have tried to interject things he could do closer to home. And things that I liked. Cause isn't that what Christmas is about? Giving what you want, or what you don't need anymore?
(Kidding. Saw that last line on pinterest or something. But I do find myself buying people things that I have found work for me and I want them to like it too. Like that book I have been pushing called:

The Christmas Wish.


Jaden just wishes that I would not get off on such kicks. (Like making things out of felt and yarn and wreaths.)But I continue cause it is part of me dealing with getting through what I affectionately call:  Prednisone Heck. (gotta edit for the kiddos)

(polar bear ornament nod to the book above. Anja gets to ride one AND take a nap with one! Yikes!)

And it's fun to find out what would be the perfect gift that will light his eyes up on Christmas day!
It's about the anticipation and wonder leading up to that day. The presents wrapped under the tree that you have NO idea what they are but you shake it and try to guess on a daily basis.
Making gifts so that they are truly special and have meaning.

When I was younger I would re-arrange the gifts under the tree, one on top of the other so it would show the bow and tag. Oh, and count them so could  tell my best friend on the bus how many were under the tree and how far they extended out into the living room.

 

(When I said I started a long time ago to get ready for Christmas, I wasn't kidding. Now I can use some of my yarn creations. And the one book page rosette. I don't know if I can do a bunch of those or not to make a wreath or not.)
 back to J. and my sleuth-like searching for what would be great for him.......

 I casually, but uber excitedly, said to J:

"Hey, what if I got ya a pair of cross country skis this Christmas!!? "

J, looking like a stale donut while looking out the car window at the museum's latest display on Jelly Fish replied:

"I don't want to be sking across the country. I want to be skiing down a mountain."
 
 

ME: "Ha, ha- that was a funny- cross country skiing and across the country"  trying to dust off the disappointment but in my mind thinking:

"Well, just great! I loved cross country skiing as a kid and he'd have fun if he'd just give it a chance! Heck,  there are two parks, Readers,  close by that he could just pop over to and ski for fun. Plus it is cheaper than down hill skiing.  And I wouldn't have to get him to the hill. However, I wouldn't be able to join him on either trip. So that would be kinda lonely.

hmmm. Where was I?

 
 
Oh, driving to somewhere and me trying to push my idea of a gift on J. or pry outta him what he REALLY wants.

*Can I just interject right here how hard it is to even get him to even give an OPINION on something. For example I will ask which color of a shirt he thinks looks better on me or a style.

He shrugs and tells me: "I don't know. It's a shirt. It's fine."

ME: "Well, great. I will have to ask one of my friends and that means texting them the picture and blah, blah, blah.

And then I aksed this simple gift question, one that should be extremely easy for a kid of almost tween-ish to answer.

"So if you were to have some new Jammas do you like these pajammas or these?" showing him the Pajamma Gram magazine.



J, looking up from his book that he read over the break while sporting a fever and which made it so I had to wear a mask around him which fogged my glasses and was super annoying:

"Mom, I don't do jammas." he said a little to testily, " I WEAR these to bed"- pulling his basketball shorts up in his clenched hand to emphasize his point because a day earlier he had seen a possible gift becuase I put it through the wash.

My sister, who was helping me while my head borrowed Jaden's fever said: "Whose nightgown is this?" holding up a perfectly cute green tartan plaid ' night gown' that Scrooge himself could have been wearing the night he had a change of heart!!

(more wrapping 101 made possible due to some preparation months ago.)


ME,discreetly ,: "It's for Jaden! For Christmas! Bring it here!"

J: "You got me a NIGHTGOWN for Christmas? Why don't ya just call me, "Pa", I look like that guy from the Prairie who built that cabin and had a loud red head.

(how cute is Michele's crocheted wash rag on a present as a bow? Her etsy shop is: Fiber Art Crochet. She's fast with delivery and great to work with on special requests. I love little shops like hers- they have that home town feel.)


So I reflected on this pattern of J. trying to tell me what he wanted by the subtle hints he made. Like when we drove passed the huge picture of a Jelly Fish hanging on the historic museum downtown and he said: "Mountain Trading has Targhee Ski Passes for sale."

Me: "That's nice, Honey. Hey, we should go to the museum when I am up to it and look into those Jelly Fish."

* Well, my feet are freezing and so are my hands. J. is finally wiped out from coughing. Yay! In another couple hours I need to call the Docs. so I might try to get some shut eye. However news from a friend that her son broke his collar bone on the first run of the season has me a little worried.

Another reason to not Cross Country Ski; less injury.





Saturday, November 29, 2014

Siskels & Eberts



 



Here's this post for ya, Readers. Enjoy.

I love a hooked pillow that was really naughty and would not let me put it on here correctly.  I have NO idea why it is posting on top of my main page. I need to learn about computers.

The colors from the pillow seem to usher in Thanksgiving & Ultimately Christmas!
 (It is from a store called Sturbridge. )
The fall colors seem to lean towards the beginning of the holidays, which for us, is Thanksgiving- in 24 hours. Which means a lot of work for whoever is doing it.
However, here in Idaho it snowed.
 
 
Photo History- a time when it snowed in Idaho that was a stock photo of mine
(then the wind blew and it mostly melted making the lawns a dull, muddy brown color)
 
 
The pillow from above ultimately reminds me of going to my grandmother's on Christmas Eve. 
Which entailed a very scary bridge over the
It was a tradition to drive to Shelley, Idaho. Back then the snow piled high up on the sides of the roads and, if we were lucky, new fallen snow would be spread out over the open farm land and lights from people's homes would have a soft glow.
 
Grandma's Waffle Cookies were waiting for us
 
 
 (I wonder if I will make these this year? I should have started in August like everything else and froze them, then we could)
 
 
 
Where was I?
 
oh, a blog post and throwing out random photos cause it's hard to take new ones right now.
 
I will start the original post.... 
 
 (random stock photo of my little wheelbarrel and shovel with some fall berries. back when I could forage the yard and neighborhood for berries. sheesh.)


Due to technology we can get things easier, faster, and sometime cheaper, and not even know it.
Uuuntil ya get a letter in the email asking you to review it.

ME: "Who do they think I am? Siskel or Ebert?" I ask myself upon opening my email to find a million emails  from no one I know.

They (the companies that you may have purchased from or got your email address was given them from the company you worked with) actually don't care which one of the movie reviewer persons you most resemble, they just hope you will take a moment out of your stressful life and leave a positive review.
Padre thinks that it is heavily one sided as the only reviewers leave bad ones cause they are so mad.

ME: "I don't. I actually do the opposite. If they have good service, are kind and have a quality product that reaches me in a reasonable amount of time; I am letting the world know!"


Also I have the time but often, even if I am too ill to get on here, I  truly desire to give a company a good review, and APPRECIATE a good review when searching for the best quality and bang for my buck, I try to return the favor. For you Readers. And the non readers.

There are times when I delete the emails and go on with my life with my perfect new whatever and thank the company in my brain when it holds out, or up or whatever because I didn't have the strength to give the review.

Taking the time to write one is almost the equivalent to a hand written Thank You note from a wedding or baby shower.  It's that hard to get done. There are a lot of people. And it's hard to remember who is who.

(not a real bird. random shot taken by me some time ago for, yet again, random post moments.)


The moments when some item has let you down can send you rip roarin' to your computer to write the most detailed review possible! To save some unknowing person the hastle of buying something wonderful, which it was- in fact it was so soft and nice to sleep on the first time but then started to pill right after the first wash and then it had to be returned.

Glad I keep receipts.

Thank you, Padre for your example of keeping track of all things purchased. I don't live up to your level, which is almost akin to an art form,  but one day I'm sure I'll get the hang of it.

In today's tech world, it's sometimes harder to do a return than ya think. I keep my invoice numbers and so when I had a need to return an item, I called the company the immediately found the info. and I was excited to get it taken care of but then they said:

 "You will have to take it to our store."

ME thinking to myself: "I can barely walk to the mailbox because of a nice asthma attack after bronchitis and who a body that needs to  be taken to the recyclers. ?

If I could have boxed it up and got all the info. I could have asked a friend, family member, or passerby to take it to the post office. But usually they have you print something off and put it on there and when you see the UPS dude, you wave him down.

So basically upon hearing this information I was about getting the item BACK to the place of purchase. It  is a bit harder.

If you are me.


If you are you and it is hard too, well then you can relate.

 
(The only shot I got of J. and his friend skiing last year. Yeh, the moon- pretty, no?  As we were leaving Kelly Canyon the boys were tearing off wet socks in the car so instead of taking a shot of that stinky mess, I snapped this lovely shot of the moon .)





I have been astonished what has to be done within some companies to return an item purchased online.  *(are any one's feet cold? I am FREEZING. Double sock Day. Hate those. Make my shoes not fit. Especially with ankle braces. Sorry, back to my post...)

Once, I had a Nike customer service rep. tell me the back alley way to returning an item on their website and I was forever grateful to him. Living at home made that easier too. It was only easier cause I could print up something lickety split and get the UPS driver the package the next time I saw him. Which was the next day.

*(just stand outside your house and flag them down as they drive really fast down the road. Wear bright colors. )

So, before it is even Christmas I have had some returns. Heck, before Thanksgiving! However these were not Christmas purchases.

They were items that I had to return because they failed. That's right, failed. After all my research, debating, then "go aheading"- the item failed. ?


 
(This twig has fallen over more times than I can count and I STILL have not put heavy rocks in it.)
This is also cuter in person- the polar bear goes was bought to go along with the book:
 
 The Christmas Wish.
 
I found this ornament and a cardinal to go with each book Madre gave the kids/will give the grand kids this week so they can enjoy the magic all month! I love how
 
"Piggy & Dirt's"
 
 (a shop on etsy and his name is actually Kurtknudsen) 
 
star looks like the frozen, ice cave the little girl, Anja, has to walk through with the enormous, and quiet musk ox. The glass looks like the shards of long hanging ice sickles from the book. I am loving the clear glass stars more than I thought I would!
 And I kinda like the twig I chose for this year's Charlie Brown Twig Tree in my room.
With some dimmed lights on it, it doesn't look too bad.
 
 
 
Buy the book for anyone you know! It is so good! My sister read it last night,  texted me: "this is really cute," and she hadn't even read it to the kids yet cause they had to go to bed pronto after leaving grandma's house.
I swear I am going to be knitting Nordic attire anytime in the next decade!
 
Okay, back to my return story.

So yesterday started with just one simple return, help my grandma who is tougher than me , by hanging something, then be done. Two hours max. Right? Wrong. And that wasn't because it was a long line.

First of all I had to simply hang something for my grandma.

 (More random fall-ish stuff which was a project of keeping leaves soft and supple. They are in some book between wax paper somewhere)
 

Upon going to her home I found that the gift I had gotten her a few months ago, was actually broken a little bit. Well, a lot "a bit." It is a sun catcher. The one that is a mad blue bird. A little chain holds it up. Well the side of the circular glass has a small, soldered part that basically had the strength of cheap floss and it was broken. All this time she has had it and not been able to use it! Darn!

I felt so bad. And she didn't want to put anyone out by asking for help.

Good thing I owned one too, so I could exchange it and hang it using a 3M sticky hook.  Well, the window needed to be washed off first. Actually, it was really clean but she is meticulous and so she had my grandpa shine it up so I could put the sticky stuff on. Then I noticed the thing only held a small amount of weight and it wasn't the see through kind. Clear would be better.  I decided to go to a craft store and get a see through one and maybe some material. Real quick trip, right?


(Grandma's Swing in the Winter Courtesy of my cousin, Karen)

Wrong.
Long story sorta short, I drive to the craft store, grab a ticket so that the long line of people waiting to have fabric cut isn't longer when I decide to get some fabric, and it double the time it takes to get to me  and then I look for the 3M product.

On the scooter.
 

 I have to gauge my ability and cortisol levels for the day's activities and try to make it balance- kinda  like a check book at the end of the day. I make a lot of errors in this little calculation and come up short most days. Which is frustrating to a semi- wanna- be medcial accountant.

But determing what energy to spend and where is hard.  It's kinda like trying to guess what the weather will be like. Well, maybe for a meteorologist back in the olden days.

I am still new at trying to drive these things and there an be obstacles that make it hard.
The craft store, in an attempt to tempt customers to buy wrapping paper, have their displays on the side of almost every aisle. I don't know if they used a measuring tape when they did this but and I can tell you it is hard to do a 90 point turn in a Scooter around wrapping paper, people, and aisles.



(Grandmother's House- where we'd go every Christmas Eve. It waw a little cramped but we all managed to get inside and open a special gift grandma would have found for us at King's in Shelley, Idaho. The butterflies would build as we drew closer to her home; passing big snow drifts and periodic houses lit in the vast sea of darkness and drowned deep with snow. I hated the bridge we had to cross!)


Dear store,

Please know that by putting a bunch of wrapping paper on every aisle, nearly had me in tears by the time you called up #o7 to have some fabric cut. Yes, this gave me time to find more items to buy like a thing to make 'scherenschnitter'





(German for paper cutting. Or paper cuts. I'm sure it happens while paper cutting.  ) to keep J. busy over the break but still.. (They were at 80 on the fabric cutting out situation when I got there. Once it hits 100- they start over.)

Before I was a person who needed a scooter, I didn't think like one, so I didn't drive it down aisles and pretend to not be able to maneuver around things. I just lived my life oblivious to what people who can't do some things can't do. Like drive around wrapping paper displays. So I know that you don't realize how difficult it is for some people. Please move those darn boxes of wrapping paper! Or I won't be able to come shop there. Well, maybe it will be best if I just stay home.

Love,

Amanda



(A ramp outside of Grandma's house that we liked to climb and get in trouble for doing so! ha! Photo Courtesy of Karen,  Aunt Becky's Daughter!)
---

Out of the craft store, with my clear hanging hook and a bit of fabric, I came upon the car to find Jaden listless in fact he was dead! Cause of death: boredom. ! He quickly resurrected and told me:

J: "I was able to clean the whole car out while you were in there. But then the sun beat down so hard and I got hot  just got listless, hungry, then passed to other side."

ME: "Did you see a light? You should have put together the puzzle I brought for such emergency situations!"

J: "well, the light from the sun was blinding me from seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and I couldn't put the puzzle together because you don't have a card table in here. Just a sink."

ME: "Well, put that on the list!"

(more of Grandmother's house in black and white by Karen.)


After I revived him with water and some gummy fruit snacks, and revived myself with some almonds and gummies. Kidding. He actually was sprightly and told me he had cleaned out most of the car like I'd asked him to but the exploded pop can I had put in there for an emergency still needed some detail work. He must know Christmas is around the corner.

To keep him from dying of boredom, I  had him help me with the next return item.

Readers, I was REALLY worried about this one. Everyone is out for the holidays, it is almost Black out Friday.... I had my needed equipment to hold my decaying bones up, but would they have a chair if I needed to sit down? I said the return prayer and headed in with my trusty side kick; J.

*Can I just interject that it is REALLY hard to write a blog post when Padre keeps texting me? He's just upstairs.... and it's way too early to start texting right now.

His text- which spoils the end of my post- "You can't (shouldn't) drive very far on the donut spare, especially the front drive wheels, it's a different circumference."




(How would Santa fit down this chimney? I often wondered when we'd be at Grandma's for Christmas Eve
Me texting back: "Well, how do I get it back to the tire store to be changed." ha! that should stymie him for a bit.

So back to my original post.....

I got out of the car and thanked heaven that it was a sunny day and not slushy snow to drive around in and when I walked into the store I was so happy to see TWO  workers and ONE customer. My prayer was answered!

They helped her then a THIRD worker showed up. She started talking to the worker # 2. I waited. My glasses started to fog.
(Wearing those Ebola suits is so hot!)

*Op! Nope! here is another text from Padre: "That will be ok, just can't over do it or wait a long time. With the holiday and Black Friday, it would be wise to deal with it today and I will help. "

Me: "They don't open til 9. And it's six something."

Padre: "Ya can't be too early."

ME: "I guess I could make some hot cocoa and wait outside til they open."



(Aww- there she is, Readers; my Grandma. The one who put on those waffled cookie Christmas Eves. Thanks, Grandma. Also pictured is the photographer's mom and my aunt, Becky.
***********************************

back to my post.....

So there we were, Readers! No one in front of us, three workers to help us return the sheets that started pilled and looking awful after three washes!

Since I didn't snap a picture, I will try to paint one.

I was standing there with a floral cane. I wore teal with jeans. Jaden had on clothes too. And we stood there. The teen made eye contact then looked around.  I almost stepped forward into the

"You are Now Being Helped Zone"

but I quickly stepped back as no one had yet invited me because the two other workers were talking still about something non-store related.

I looked at J. He looked at me. I made him hold the sheets. Finally, I got the courage and just asked: "Can you help us?"

(This is what Santy Claus had to shimmy through to come to Grandma's house. Lots of memories made round this fire thanks to Grandpa Ed! He'd sit in his recliner and scare us as we ran passed him through the living room, into an adjoining hallway that led into a bathroom and opened up into the kitchen. Where we started the lap again. Much to Grandma's dismay)

Them: startled. They looked at each other and it seemed the teen lost the
 
"who has to help the next customer" war

by virtue of me being closer or possibly tenure with the company.
 I was helped and once I showed the proper identification that I bought the sheets and why I was returning them-
which I told the teen and the teen then read back some options from the computer and we tried to see which option matched .

*******************************************************

Need to rest. So I will just tell ya that we got the hook to grandma's, my Uncle saw that one of my tires was low, I went into a tire shop and found out the good news; one is completely shot and all three need to be replaced. I thought I could get by til spring. Nope. Threw a donut on, and will have Michelin's put on it shortly. I can't wait. Better drive good in snow. Time to put salt back in the back of the car now.

(The door that opened from the bathroom to the kitchen which made the full crazy loop to run and aggravate grandma's nerves (Grandpa just turned the hearing aid down,)


In light of Thanksgiving, I am glad we got it checked out and there wasn't a big blow out somewhere in the middle of nowhere and me and J. weren't hitch hiking along 17th street.



***********************************************************************
Hopefully this will be my last post that I have to lean on other people's photos! I am regaining some strength in areas but we had a set back. The other day while reading I felt heat radiating from Jaden. Wonderful! The next day was Turkey day and that morning he was saying he couldn't make it!

But Readers he rallied back to make it and I followed. That night we read again, a story from the little magazine called: The Friend.  We had quelched his fever with ibuprofen and that Tylenol but there it was again; his body was like a little stove radiating . He was reaching 102 and that was when we wrapped up our reading, got the fluids going and trying to bring it down.

(a dresser we would pass in our track meets around Grandma's house.)


Don't you love sick days over the holidays? Makes it that much more fun!!! All the plans to play with cousins or do something fun, nope. This morning I took him some orange juice and allergy meds and he chirped:
 
"I slept really good! And I don't feel hot!"
I didn't take his temperature and just went about the morning and after
a few hours later he got up for real which was on teenager Saturday morning time and we clocked him in  temperature over 100. No going out to play today! I had gotten him some things do to over the break so I figured we were set.

However,   I have to admit that it was a struggle getting the sheets and bathroom cleaned when I was sporting a low grade fever right myself and getting that woozy feeling. But the mom has to push through! Towels cleaned, windows opened to air out, and disinfecting to be done. Why? So the domino effect doesn't happen!

To be honest, I was almost looking forward to a day where we just chilled. No places to go. Only some down time at home. Why would you want to go anywhere on Black Friday? It seemed like just what the doctor ordered! Except when ya feel REALLY bad.

And then it came..... the much wished for, anticipated event of his whole nephew career; "Do ya wanna go plinkin? " His Uncle asked and his younger cousins were ready to go.

The sick begged and pleaded. prodded. Readers, I hate having to make that call. But I told him no. Later tonight he admitted that I had been right to keep him home and that he had felt he should stay home but he couldn't resist the temptation to go. Wish he couldv;ve felt that earlier when my head was pounding and he was begging and pleading to go.

It's hard stickin' to your guns.

On the plus side I got my sheets changed and read and even written some reviews!!

Christmas Break better not go this way......