Thursday, January 31, 2013

Cooling off

In more ways than one.  The temperature plummeted last night and it's bitterly cold out there.  Zach had gone out and shoveled, with the neighbors on either side helping with their snow blowers but the wind picked up and the sidewalk got covered a bit again.  Still, I'm not sending him out there just yet.  The wind chills are about minus 15 or so.  And the sidewalks aren't that bad.  The driveway is clear enough for the car and our neighbor got out there earlier to get rid of the barrier the snow plow left us.  If the wind dies down later, I'll send him out.

I also had to cool down because of family issues, that I won't go into in detail.  It's frustrating that family members won't accept that I'm an adult and can make my own decisions and that those decisions are based on need and logic.  I know it's hard to understand someone else's circumstances when you've never had to live through them.  Some of my family don't think anything of spending money to do things.  We don't have that luxury.  Every penny counts and we are in dire straits now, with some of our few luxuries probably going away in the next month or so.  We've already cut most of them out.  But it's not like we ever lived lavishly.  We've always had to use thrift and sacrifice.  Some members of my family don't understand just how close to poverty we live on a daily basis. 

And one member decided we should just relocate to where there are better jobs.  Because it's that easy to just sell your house for enough to cover your mortgage, pick up and find another job when you're years from retirement.  It's always easy to plan someone else's life for them when you don't have to endure the consequences.

I couldn't post yesterday because I was too angry.  I hate it when family tries to manipulate me to do something they have decided I should do.  I know what the consequences of my decisions are and it's just a fact of life that this is my only option. 

But I can't let myself get dragged down there again so...

I'm at the toe of the brown sock.  I had to redo the foot a bit as it was too short initially.  Supposedly the toe is around 2 inches long but it's never the case for me and I have no idea how anyone else gets a 2 inch toe either.  So I had to tink back and reknit.  I think it's going to be fine this time.  I'll measure it before I graft the toe.  Which is what I should have done with the pink sock.  I looked at it last night and thought it looked a little long.  I tried it on and it was too long for my big foot so I'll need to rip it back and re-knit the toe on that.  Fortunately I won't need more yarn for that...just less.  I keep making mistakes on these socks that I don't normally make.  I think stress affects my concentration. 

I had filled the bird feeders before the snow but it looks like they need to be refilled again.  Tomorrow maybe.  I know it will be just as cold tomorrow but I've got laundry and a kitchen to clean today.  I noticed a group of mourning doves out there this afternoon.  They couldn't get to the feeders but I had spilled a bunch of bird seed when I filled them so they were pecking on the ground.  There were 5 of them.  I had never noticed doves in the backyard before.  Last week we had huge crows out there eating the fat from the deer Tom shot.  We had saved it for the birds and put it out there recently.  I love watching the birds.

But now I need to get busy with laundry and try to clean the kitchen.  It's gotten away from me again and there is a huge pile of clutter in front of the pantry of things that don't fit in there.  I need to find a place for them.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Stupid me

I got the yarn in yesterday and I ordered the wrong brand of pink bamboo so I ordered the right brand today.  It will be in by Friday or Monday, most likely but I do have the brown to work on for now so it's not a problem but I'm now looking at not even getting my money back on yarn because I can't blame anyone but myself.  I was tired, it was late at night and my mind wasn't where it should have been but I've still got to blame me and only me.  I can still use the yarn in some other project but it would have been nice not to have made so many mistakes in knitting these socks.

Got word yesterday that my mother is having problems with her legs.  She says they won't do what she tells them to so the dr is suggesting she see a neurologist but in the meantime, my younger sister is being worn down with having to take care of my mother when she goes down because my octogenarian father can't do it himself.  My niece and nephew suggested it might be time for assisted-living.  I think they're right.  My older sister and I are many miles away and while I can't go down there due to financial problems, my older sister is a minister and can't just leave.  Nor can we get there as soon as S. needs us to.  I know my parents would hate to give up their independence but how independent are they if someone has to take care of them frequently.  It's not like they would be in a nursing home...they would have their own apartment.  It's just someone would be there 24/7 for assistance.  I'm thinking they won't go for the option though.  I just know I can't help out.  My family up here has to take priority.

I've got the heel turned on the brown sock.  I was supposed to take pictures today but I had shopping to do and with the change in weather, my fibromyalgia has flared up so badly that I'm going to take a pain pill, leave a can of beef stew on the counter for Tom's supper, and go to bed.  I'll knit when the pain in my arms lets up a bit but even typing is hurting and I'm taking frequent breaks just typing this up.

So...I will leave it here and get into my jammies and hop into bed.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Making the cuts

I finished up one pink sock and started a brown one, different pattern.  More of a sculptured pattern than the lace and faux cable I used with the pink sock.  I'm waiting for my supplemental yarn to appear so I don't have to weave in any ends in the middle of the sock.  Just start fresh with a new skein.  It should be here by Wednesday, by which time I should have the brown sock done.  I'm using Fawke's pattern, which is no longer available online.  Might be if you use the wayback machine but I already had it printed out.  I had a couple of other Harry Potter-inspired patterns printed out, too, but I'm not sure where they are.  I'm so unorganized with my patterns.

I'm at the heel flap now, which is the fun part of socks for me.  I never use the heel of the pattern...just use the one I learned on.  It's easy, sturdy and fun.

After looking at Tom's paycheck, we're going to have to dig deep to make cuts.  Without overtime, we're looking at $400 a month less.  I've got the grocery bill down a bit but I have to cut even further.  I called and canceled the upper channels of cable but got a deal for the upper digital channels, which Tom loves and I rather like them myself.  The science, history and documentary channels are his favorites.  So we got to keep that for only $10.  And we kept the dvr boxes.  If it comes to it, we'll get rid of those and use the cable boxes, which would be cheaper but I use the dvr a lot and so does Zach.

But if it's a choice between eating and having the dvr's a no brainer.

Definitely no more purchases of yarn, books or any other luxuries.  We have a fantastic library so that's not a problem and I have plenty of yarn to work with.  Enough for more than a year or so.  And hopefully Zach can find work soon.  He's going to put in applications again this week and look at volunteering at the local library.  We never use that one because it's not as big as the one in Beaver Dam and they're not open nearly as much.  Weird hours.  Sometimes only 8 hours a day.  But volunteering will help him form some people skills and maybe make some connections.

I'm not feeling well today.  Didn't get much sleep at all last night and am having an anxiety attack today.  I hate them but there is nothing I can do since all the medication for them conflicts with my pain meds.  I can take valerian and that helps sometimes but as tired as I am, I'd go right to sleep if I took that.  And I need to get supper fixed and laundry done.  I don't have the energy to clean today so I'm not even going to try but it's not so bad because we kept up with it over the weekend.

For now, off to my room to knit some.  I'd rather read but that would put me to sleep as well.  Or maybe I should just give in and take a long nap.  Because being this sleepy is making me miserable.

Still, I feel good about cutting some out of our monthly expenses.  Every little bit helps.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

I'm still knitting socks.

I was fending off a sinus infection today...or the beginnings of one.  I apparently won this round.  It will be back though.  So I didn't get a lot done today aside from swapping the bookcase under the south window for the rack so I can start my seedlings soon.  I have some herbs on my new shelf in the kitchen but not enough room for all the things for my garden.  Fortunately the seeds are in at StuffMart so I was able to get more herb seeds.  I still have no idea what happened to my huge bag of seeds.  I'd hate to have to pay out for all those again.

I'm nearly done with the sock.  I can't knit throughout the day on it because using those small needles hurts my hands after a while.  I do get about 5 hours a day on them but I'm not a fast knitter so it's going to be a while before they're done.  They do look good though.  I went to check my order for the extra yarn only to discover I didn't actually finish ordering it.  I got the last stage and quit apparently.  So they are on order now.  I wondered why I didn't get a confirmation email.

I might get busy on some art stuff next week now that my art supplies are a little more organized.  I miss it.  I'm also looking at some sculpting as well.  Never done it before but I've got some clay I can work with.  I've been watching a painting show on PBS that isn't Bob Ross and have learned a lot from the guy.  Can't think of his name but he's really good.  And it takes about 6 episodes to finish a painting.  Lots of information there.

But for now supper is over and I need to clean up the kitchen, take some stuff down to the basement, put the wash in the dryer and then find a place for all my knitted baby things I took off the rack.  Probably put them in a bag and stuff them in my closet.  I'll have some ready for next winter to donate.  Just not enough to bother with now.  Plus it's almost February.  Not a lot of winter left.

So off to finish up my chores and then to bed.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Nothing but socks

I had to order more sock yarn in all three colors because the bamboo yarn is not only a bit sturdier, it's less yardage.  I tried my best to make it work but it just won't.  I'm using size 0 dpns, which is pretty fun but is wearing a worn spot on my finger.  Still, the yarn is great, not splitty at all and the stitch definition is beautiful.  I just won't be making anything on the socks.  But I am getting a pair for my mother which I wouldn't have done if I hadn't been ordering the yarn anyway. 

I've been sleeping pretty well until last night and then just couldn't stay asleep.  Probably because of the impending cold spell.  We had furious winds Saturday night that kept me up most of the night but I slept late so I was fine.  Gusts of nearly 55 mph.  I worried about the window beside the bed being blown in.  I think it ended up ripping the plastic off the tape.  I didn't check.  I know I should but I don't want to open that curtain right now with temps around 0 and wind chill in the minus 20s.  Winter has finally arrived. 

And I'm ready for a heat wave.

I finished up the Farscape marathon, watched some stuff on dvr and now am working my way through American Horror Story, season 1.  I love it!  I'm alternating with the two seasons, as I have Asylum on my dvr.  I got in a Stargate mood and am going through season 1 to give myself a break from the AHS seasons.  They are pretty intense, after all.

I've got Once Upon a Time on order from the library.  I'll be done with AHS by then, I'm sure.  It may take a month or so to get that one.

Tom is no longer foreman at work.  They did away with his job and are training him to run a tube laser.  It's a mixed bag.  Shorter hours, although he's lead man, which means basically doing the same job for less pay AND having another job to do at the same time.  But any overtime he'll get paid for so if he goes back to those 70 hour weeks, we'll feel it.  It's been extremely stressful here, wondering how to survive on even less money.  I'm so tired of watching the pay check go down instead of up.

I need to crunch the numbers tomorrow and we might get rid of the upper cable channels.  I don't mind getting rid of the movie channels but I would hate to lose the science channels.  Tom loves those.  Still...we've got to cut somewhere.  It may not even be cheaper to cut them out because of their package deals.  We'll just have to see about that. 

I've cut back on groceries and turned the heat down to around 55 during the day, 50 at night.  I just bundle up more and if it's too cold, I grab a hot water bottle and hold it for a while.  That warms me up.  It may seem silly to hang onto cable and do without more heat but we live in a very rural area and don't normally need a/c in the summer so it's just a few months we have to worry about the cost of the utilities.  And so far we've barely gotten over $100.  Cutting out $30 of the cable bill won't give us that much more heat.  We're also not going to the store as much anymore so we've saved on gas as well.

I'm sure it will all work out and if we have to do away with cable, we'll survive.  But for now, it's just a bit uncomfortable, but not miserable, to have less heat.  Tom and Zach have heaters in their rooms so they can take the chill off of their rooms without running the furnace all the time.  I do just fine after supper when I curl up in bed and knit.  I really don't need more heat for that.

Time to finish up supper so I can get back to knitting.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Still here

With the stress involved in Tom's job and trying to overcome the fatigue that is ever-present in my life, the past week has been a blur.  Tom's now making less money and with our taxes going up, too, this is going to be a real challenge.  I don't expect to make any money from knitting the socks for my aunt's daughter-in-law but at least I'm having a good time knitting with bamboo for the first time.  Apparently it knits up larger so I had to rip out and start over with smaller needles.  Gauge, you say?  Pish!  I normally always knit according to gauge so I didn't bother checking.  It was only after I turned the heel that I thought the socks looked abnormally large.  They were big even on my huge feet.

So I started over and they are much better now.  But I'm still battling the fatigue and with the cold weather, pain.  Good news, though!  My gp is willing to manage my fibromyalgia so I don't have to find a new rheumatologist when she retires next month.  And, she'll give me that same amount of meds I was getting.  That was a huge weight off my shoulders.

I need to get some laundry done today.  It's windy enough that clothes would dry on the line and it's in the low 30s so they would definitely dry but the clothes line died during the blizzard we had before Christmas.  I need to re-string it and no way I'm doing that today.  With the wind chill, temps are in the low 20s and I'm barely going to get out there to dump the compost and refill the bird feeders.  But I must get it done before Monday when temps drop to around 0 with wind chills predicted in the minus 30s.  Brrrr.  I bought Professor a sweater on sale because that is way too cold for him to go out to wee.

I am sleeping again, so that's good.  I had a few nights of a puppy with an upset tummy who needed to go out every hour on the hour (and still hit the puppy pads in the night) but he's better now and able to sleep through most of the night.  He still gets up a couple of times during the night but Zach has been taking him out so that helps a lot.

Fortunately most of the snow is gone aside from the mountain beside the driveway from the snow plow and our efforts to clear the driveway.  You can see grass for the most part.  We got a dusting this morning but it's gone now and only flurries are predicted in the near future.

Back to knitting...I finished up the baby blanket but need to wash it and find a box to ship it to my daughter.  That's the hardest part for me as I'm not a fan of going to the post office.  It's not far away...just 5 blocks or so...but it's on the main road and parking isn't great.  Plus pulling back out into traffic is never easy.  But I must get it done so...

Well, off to start the laundry and then some general cleaning.  I need to vacuum and dust.  And de-clutter as much as I can.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Bam! again

Zach and I finally made it to The Hobbit yesterday.  It was wonderful even if the matinee prices went up 75 cents due to the  new sound system...dolby surround!  Doubly amazing.  We packed sandwiches instead of stopping to get a bite because the new taxes are taking $200 more a month out of Tom's pay.  And we didn't have $100 extra so no more luxuries.  Or very few anyway.  I'm still debating what to do about cable since we can't get any tv stations otherwise.  We mostly watch the upper channels and since it's our only entertainment, I'm going to see what I can do to bring our budget back into control first before I start cutting off everything.

I went to bed early last night because I had trouble sleeping Sunday night and was very tired.  Around 1 a.m. the phone rang.  It was Tom.  On the side of a dark country road with a very dead truck.  So we gathered up his new tool kit and headed off to find him.  Fortunately we know the route well and found him with no problems.  We did the jumper cable thing and got the truck started so I followed him on our way home.  We got a couple of miles down the road when his lights failed, followed quickly by the death of the battery again.  At least this time we were in a bitty town with street lights so he pulled over, locked up and got in the car with us.  We waited until morning to call a tow truck, saving a bit of money on overtime costs.  It's the alternator, which is going to run us around $500.

I don't know when we will ever get a chance to breathe.  If we could have gotten the car home, Tom could have done the trouble shooting and fixed it himself for half that cost.  More than half, actually, but having it cut out far from home...wasn't an option.

And so I've dug out my tightwad books, my Encyclopedia of Country Living and am sitting bundled up to save heat.  I won't turn it up until I'm uncomfortable, which I'm not as yet.  I've been up moving around cleaning so that's probably why.  When I'm ready to sit down for the evening, I'll probably turn it up a bit.  We're not in danger of freezing.  It's sitting at 55F.  Can't see my breath so I'm fine.  I've got to dry a load of clothes in the dryer and although it's in the basement, we do get some of the humidity up here.  It's not vented outside so we get all the heat from the dryer.  I just use old pantyhose to cover the venting pipe.

I'm still waiting for the sock yarn.  As far as I know it hasn't even shipped yet.  I'm a bit annoyed about that since it's been more than a few days, but I'll give them to Friday before I look into canceling the order.  I've never tried WEBS before so I don't know how good they are.

Well, off to tackle my bedroom, de-cluttering and vacuuming.  Then onto the dining room and kitchen.  Not sure about supper but I've got a chicken thawed out.  I'll probably poach it and take the meat off the bone so I can stretch it out for at least 3 meals.  I've got a cup of tea to warm me up and the sun is shining out there so it doesn't feel too gloomy.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Socks and mitts

Pretty much all I'm doing these days.  My aunt contacted me to knit some socks for her granddaughter so I've been looking for some yarn.  I found some at WEBS...bamboo sock yarn for $7.29 a 100g skein.  Pretty colors, too, so I ordered 3 skeins.  Two for the granddaughter and one for my mother.  I knit her a pair every year.  I picked up some books from the library today but I think I'll probably go with either something I already have in print or something off the internet. 

I do need to get back to finishing up the blankets I've started...such as my granddaughter's blanket and the Greek Key blanket for Zach.  I'm awful at actually finishing things.  Plus I have a sweater to finish up as well.  It's been on the needles well over a year.  I might just frog it and start over with something else.

I'm so tired of the snow.  It's not been as bitterly cold as we've known in the past so the gas/electric bill was only  $112 for last month.  Way lower than any December bill we've ever had.  So I upped the temps by 2 degrees.  It's pretty comfortable now at 60F.  Still, with our paycheck going down due to tax increases, I probably shouldn't. 

Zach is under the weather with a cold or something.  I'm not feeling well myself but it's probably more depression than anything viral.  I'm not a fan of the holidays.  I wish I could be but they are extremely stressful times and just another reminder of how little money we have. 

I ordered American Horror Story and Farscape: Peacekeepers' Wars from and am waiting for them.  AHS is already in town and will be delivered tomorrow but F:PW hasn't shipped yet.  A bit annoyed but the price is so low I shouldn't complain.  It's the last of the purchases until much later in the year.  We have to be absolutely frugal from now on.  At least we have an amazing library so I don't have to worry about getting to watch things I want to if I'm willing to wait in line for them.

So...I'm off to watch some more Farscape: season 3 and knit on mitts some more.  Then maybe finish up Zach's socks.  I wish I could find the baby blanket pattern I was working on.  I should never organize my room, ever again.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A rude awakening

Last night, for the first time in my adult life, I went to bed before midnight.  I was tired and didn't see any reason to stay up so I went to bed about 10:30 and fell asleep immediately.  Only to wake up around 12:30 a.m. to a very wet and cold feeling.  The cat keeps trying to tip over their water dish, which sits on a table at the foot of the bed.  Early this morning, he succeeded.  I was drenched in ice cold water.  All the covers were wet, my sweat pants were dripping and he was happily drinking out of the tipped over container, the teaspoon of water that remained.

I called for Zach and he gathered up towels while I changed into dry pajamas.  Then he took all the wet bedclothes down to the basement and brought up some dry blankets for me.  I had two layers of dry towels on top of the damp sheet and mattress but there is no place else to sleep so I had to make do with what I could.  It took forever to get to sleep because the towels kept bunching up under me and the covers weren't tucked in so they kept falling off the bed.  And I was dealing with several throws that weren't big enough but layered just right, kept me warm. Except when I turned over, they didn't turn with me.

Then, when I finally got comfortable and warm, the cat decides he wants to cuddle with me.  Darn it!  I let him.

So today I'm doing laundry and trying to find my two pair of jeans that have disappeared.  I thought they were in the dirty clothes basket in the basement but they're not there.  Neither are they upstairs or in my drawers.  I think the car key fairies are really messing with me.

So...Happy New Year.  The year can only get better from here on.