Friday, October 19, 2018

WHAT IF YOU OR YOUR OTHER HALF WAS UNABLE TO DEAL WITH THE HOUSEHOLD OR FINANCES?

Gosh darn!  I did it again!  I forgot to post yesterday! 

Now, I was doing well, at the beginning of the week I had an idea for what to post about - which I forgot, but as I wrote this very line, the idea came back. 

Husband has been having a bad week - his back now is down to an ache and it varies from worse to better - twice it disappeared completely for a couple of hours - but sometimes it gets worse when he takes the medication or when he soaks in a hot shower, the idea our doctor recommended.  We happened to be at the doctor’s office today - before all this with his shoulder, I had made appointments for our annual visit and its bloodwork, and today was the bloodwork.  Doctor said it could take 6 weeks for his shoulder to stop hurting completely - 4 more to go and neither can take much more of this - for him the pain and inability to go out and do things as he gets too exhausted and it makes his shoulder/arm/ - and now also - neck hurt more.  He is frustrated with it all and I am exhausted from trying to help him. Every thing is a bit confused.  I am not completely sure what day it is unless I check.  (Good thing we have our pills in several day of the week boxes, so it helps remind us what day it and whether or not we took our medications.)  When we go for lunch at Wendys I order and get the lunch while he gets the table - the opposite of what we normally do - which also confuses the employees - one fellow there lists me as Mrs. “husband first name”.  Others just list with me his name.  And then again, the weekend crew which does not know us as well asked for my name - I gave him my middle name to avoid having to spell my name. 

On the other hand I have gotten a lot of decluttering done as we are home so much.  I have finished scanning in the articles from the older reenacting magazines that we decided to scan the articles he wanted into the computer and then get rid of the magazines.  They are now stacked up to take to next month’s reenactment unit meeting and pass them along to others who have joined more recently and not had a chance to read them.  In one magazine he only had one article marked to scan - and that was two pages - see, we really did not need to keep the entire magazine at all.  As these magazines leave, I have room for the newer ones.  I started today scanning in the articles from the magazine from the national of my embroidery club.  These magazines after they are scanned go with me to the meetings or places where we do a “stitch in public” and I give them out to people who might be interested in joining us so they can see the nice magazine they will get from national and also get rid of them without throwing them away (ditto the other ones we bring to the reenactment unit meetings).  I also have been making telephone calls that I put off as we are not home and awake enough time to make the calls.  I still have to call our eye doctor and make an appointment for us - but not sure when to do so as he can’t drive out there.

Okay, now the idea I had for this week.  Have you done anything to allow someone else to take over running your household if they had to? For decades I tried to get my husband to pay attention to our finances - where we bank, what money comes in, what bills have to go out, etc.  He never wanted to talk about it  - it would be bad luck.  I started paying his bills for him before we got married and kept doing so - “You’re an accountant.  You do it.  You are better at it.”  I would say to him as I tried to get him to look at things and how I do them “What would happen if I was kidnaped and you had to find the money to pay them to get me back?”  Death was not allowed to be mentioned.  “I would tell them that have to put you on the phone to tell me where the money is so I could pay them.”

In December 2012 we were in a bad car accident - in front of the house next door to ours.  We luckily were not only still alive somehow, but also uninjured.  This scared him.  He suggested to me that I should I make up a notebook with all the information that someone would need to take over our bills, deposits, running the household, etc.  By this he meant, even more than himself, if someone had to take it all over because we were injured. 

I started doing this and in the ensuing 6 years I have done parts of it and then redone so.  To date it is in my computer and not in a notebook, but I am working doing so.  I found a old looseleaf book to use.  (Better to recycle it to this than have it sit in the closet and buy a new one.)

My first go around with this - back in 2013 - was to write copious notes about when each bill comes in, when it has to go out, how I write the check, and how I post it in my financial software.  Second go around, I scanned one of each bill into the computer as an example. 

Currently I am scanning in each bill (first page only) when it is paid along with the check that pays it, anyway, as part of my bill paying.  I have to make new notes about each bill and put it the notebook.  I also figured out that I would put in the information we receive annually about our garbage pickup, with written instructions to go along with it.  I want to write up information about how to use the washer and dryer.  How and what I clean (okay, plan to clean and don’t always get to).  When things such as the oil burner inspection needs to be done (the company we have a contract with did not call last year - or this year and with dealing with husband and still trying to get to my client to go to work there (for 2 months work now) I never had a chance to call them to ask why I haven’t heard about an appointment for 2 years or set up an appointment.  Where what Christmas decorations are stored in the basement and so on.

What prompted to me to write about this now is an article I read in a publication reminding me how hard this can be on the survivor(s).  I have had several clients who had their home/family run traditionally.  The wife took care of the house and the husband took care of the finances.  In each case the husband died and I had to help the widow figure out what they had.  This was in the pre-Internet days which was an advantage as for some items we just had to wait until the widow received something in the mail.  In January/February one receives all the papers for income taxes so that helped.  In addition in some cases we had to check the state unclaimed/abandoned property office (each US state has one - not sure what is done in other countries) to see if anything had slipped by us and had been turned over to the state for the state to hold until it was claimed.  Especially important for all spouses (and/or someone else) to know about is any life insurance which has its premiums  paid off as nothing may come in the mail from the insurance company.

In addition these days the items maybe sent by email - and one may not be able to check the spouse’s email.  Generally items online are not something that can be inherited.  By this I mean if your spouse had an (or more than one) email accounts and you do not know how to sign into them, you may not be allowed to get into them as they were your spouse’s account not yours.  In addition if there is a Facebook account etc. you may not be given the information to sign into it - it is their account not yours.  Do you and your spouse (by which I mean any significant other) share a book download account?  If it is in your spouse’s name you probably lose the books in it as they are not for sharing and cannot be inherited. 

So if you and someone share accounts make sure that both of you know how to sign into them and what the passwords are.  In the article I mentioned, the poor widow was going crazy trying to figure out her husband’s security question answers to be able to set new passwords when she did not know what the passwords were to the accounts.  Her husband’s first pet’s name - she put in what she thought it was, but it did not work.  His first school - not the one she thought it was. 

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK -

None of us likes to think about injury or illness or death of ourselves or those we love - and we think that we have lots of time to deal with it.  One never knows.  Make sure that you and your other half -if you have one - or someone else who is close and responsible - know about each other’s accounts and log in info.  Make sure that you both know what your (joint if applicable) financial situation is and how and when money comes in and goes out and from where it comes and where it goes.  Make sure that both of you know about all insurances related to each other.  Try to have a list of bills you pay monthly, quarterly, annually, etc. for reference.  Have a list of incoming money and when, how and where it comes- especially money that is not a paycheck.  If you own a house, car, stocks, etc. make sure both (or all) of you know where the ownership papers are for it.  Bank Vault?  Locked box in the closet? The back of several drawers?  Also if you (or your other) has jewelry include the information about where it is, what it is, and if it is valuable.  (My husband knows that the jewelry in the jewelry box on top of dresser is all junk jewelry of no value, but there is a small box stashed with minor items that are real jewelry and the rest is in our bank vault.)

Also if you have all this information organized, in case of an emergency you can take the information with you if you have to flee your home from any of these horrible weather situations which have become more common in recent years.  I have a copy of the computer data backup I put in the bank in my “grab and go” folder which has copies of our car and house titles, insurance policies, and I put the bank statements when I reconcile them in the folder - and take out the prior month’s statement and file that one away.  This way I have the most recent bank statement to come with us - including the ones for the two organizations that I am treasurer of. 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

COPING WITH HUSBAND IN PAIN

We ended up going to the doctor on Friday and husband’s pain is muscle related.  Doctor felt a “knot” in husband’s back. Since the hospital had taken X-rays of husband’s back, the doctor would have access to them - he was not sure why he had not received the info about the visit as we had specified him as the doctor.  He did send husband for X-rays of his neck.  He called in prescriptions for husband to our pharmacy.  (By law in our state there are no longer written prescriptions allowed for people.)  He had the Xrays taken.  We had lunch on the way home at Wendys that we passed, so it would be the most like a normal lunch for him - although it was a terrible Wendys, not like our regular wonderful one, I settled him in at home and picked up the prescriptions.

One is an anti-inflammatory and one is a muscle relaxer.  He was also to take extra strength Tylenol with them.  The former drove his blood glucose up high (doctor said it would).  And between the other medication and his pain, he could not drive - which meant he would be staying in the house.

Until Saturday night he sat in the kitchen at the table watching TV.  At my suggestion, I brought him his laptop so he could go online.  His chair (well, the chair I brought him to use instead of his) blocks the way to the bathroom, the pantry, and the door to the basement - especially if he sits back from the table which he was doing.  So, little got done.  I still have one load of laundry from last week which has not been brought up and folded yet - and I just started this week’s laundry - but at least as of Saturday night he felt well enough to go upstairs to his computer.

Through Sunday night I was picking up lunch for us and bringing it back (Wendys, of course) and picked up dinner Saturday night.  Sunday I made him hot dogs for lunch and then we had Wendys - picked up by me - for dinner.  Thank goodness the big "Dr. Who" season start was Sunday afternoon and gave his something to watch.

Monday he decided that he was going out for lunch and drove us to, of course, Wendys.  I ordered and picked up the food as he normally would and he got the table as I normally would.  We did the same yesterday and today (Wednesday) also.  I have been cooking dinners that are “soft”as he does not want to use a knife to cut - it hurts too much. I had been going out and running errands without him.  The weekend and Monday (a holiday here) the post office was closed, but yesterday he decided that we would go, as normal, on our way to lunch to mail what I had to mail out and see what was in our box.  That went fine and then I left him at home and went to the supermarket as while running errands I found that some items we normally buy were on sale (who had time to look at the circulars received?) and I wanted to buy them.  Today we went out for lunch, stopping at the post office on the way.  Afterwards I had to go to the bank and he wanted to buy a new remote reading thermometer as the one he has in our holly tree to let him know what the temperature is outside, broke since all of this started.  Walmart has discontinued the thermometer, so he has to find an alternative.  Walmart and the supermarket next to were both too cold for him and it made his shoulder hurt more.  I knew I should have left him home.

Strangely I did manage to get a lot of things that needed to be done finished.  My cell phone won’t work with this (or my other) laptop and I wanted to transfer and organize photos that I took so I don’t buy (any more) duplicate bears.  While at my desk I always feel that I should be doing work, work or household books and such so I don’t get to it - so I used this opportunity to sort the photos and copy them. While he was upstairs I got the downstairs bathroom cleaned - I hate to admit to being “at least”a month behind on this - now I have to do the upstairs bathroom.  I made some phone calls that needed to be done.  I did an IRS form for my embroidery club (I am treasurer of same). 

I always said that I needed more time home and more time driving - unfortunately it took his injury for me to have more of both.

He feels better than he did - although when today started he felt worse.  I can see from how he moves and how interested he is in things that he is doing even better than he thinks he is.  One problem is that he is afraid that cold air will make his arm hurt worse.  One theory on where the injury came from is that I had turned on the a/c for him when I left for the meeting as it was hot in the room and his shoulder got cold - so he is trying to avoid cold air.  Unfortunately we are having temperatures which are more summer than fall and we are both sweating and hot and I think the discomfort from same is keeping him from feeling better.  It is also making our bedroom smell like a gym locker room - I have changed the bedding and keep spraying with Lysol.

I was to go to a client this week - I called and told her what happened and I would call next week for an appointment.  I need to do the work and I also get paid quarterly and need the check.

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK -

“Stuff” happens. 

One has to figure out what to do to keep life going as normally as possible.  One has to take the time to take care of one’s loved ones - and one’s self.  Time and money have to be reappropriated when needed.  I am glad he did not have a heart attack and can put him with the 4 year old child that he is when not feeling well.  If driving out and picking up his regular lunch keeps him happier, that is fine with me even if it would be easier to make him lunch at home.

If organizing falls a bit further behind, well, that it is how it is. 

Friday, October 5, 2018

I WAS FINALLY CATCHING UP A BIT AND...

Well, here I am again, posting a day late.  Did I forget?  Did I play games with my computer again?  Was there a blackout?  No!  But please forgive my late posting - again.

I had a tax return to finish for a client - (USA) deadline for late filing on extension of individual tax returns is October 15.  This particular client tends to file on extension every year, but usually I get his information and prepare the return earlier in September.  This year he did not contact me until mid September to set up an appointment - which was a week or so later.  He lost his wife late last year and has been in and out of the hospital himself - he was going back in the day after he gave me his info.  Even now, the return is finished and out to him, but I need to discuss his final estimated tax payment for 2018 which is due in January 2019 before I can fill in and send him that file.

My embroidery guild chapter needed someone to teach some stitches at the October 3 meeting and I got volunteered - I had to do prep for the meeting and try out some stitches to see what I would teach - and have some samples of it for the members to see what they looked like. 

I finished same in time for the meeting and was finishing teaching the first stitch when my cell phone rang with my husband’s special ringer.  I figured it was a text message - he never calls me as he only has 100 minutes a month (and almost every month ends the month with none of the minutes used) and while they were stitching I opened the message - only to find that it was phone call from husband.  I called back (must be important if he called) and he told me that he did not feel well - his arm hurt which pain killer OTC pill should he take.  I told him and went back to teaching.  In 5 minutes - 10 at the most - he called again, just this side of crying about how bad it was and it was his left arm.  That set me panicking.  I explained, made my apologies, grabbed as many of my samples as I saw (plus my other stuff, including a piece - the raised work butterfly - that I had brought in for “show and tell” and ran out the door.  We live maybe 5 minutes drive from the meeting.

He was upset and in a panic.  I looked up the symptoms of a heart attack - yes, pain radiating in the left arm, even without chest pain could be a heart attack.  Now, husband and I are the type of people who avoid doctors as much as they can, but we were both worried.  Question became which hospital emergency room to go to.  We have a large hospital which was owned by the county until it sold it, but it still serves the purpose of the county hospital near us.  Further away there is a Catholic Diocese run hospital.  I suggested same, despite it being maybe 10 minutes futher away as we had been “happy” with two other hospitals so owned - one for his cataract surgeries and one when his mother had heart surgery - and if he needed same, he would be transferred to that hospital, one of the top in the country, if we went to this hospital, plus our GP is associated with it.  Why a question as to which one to go to?  Well, his mother died at this hospital and that sticks in his mind.  I pointed out that while it was the same building, it was a different hospital now, with new ownership (had been a private hospital owned by doctors before).               

He made sure that he had his medical insurance cards (we are both on Medicare  - me as of this month, him as of last year) and we were off.  He had to drive as he has motion sickness - which is also why an ambulance, which we thought to be overkill any way, was not in question. 

When we arrived I remembered a problem with this hospital - most of the parking is at the rear of the building far from the doors - and the emergency room is at the front. We looked in the small lot by the emergency entrance - no spaces.  I had him stop the car and get out and I drove it and parked it at the rear of the building - at least the parking was free, at the county hospital they charge - and should not for so many reasons.  He actually went in alone without complaining or whimpering.  (He does not like to do things alone.)  I had figured he would be waiting for me, but he had the good senses to start things going.  I parked at the rear of the building, and ran (well as close to running as an overweight, out of shape 65 year old woman can run without having a heart attack herself) around the side of the building, in the entrance (halfway to the front) and started following signs while briskly walking - emergency luckily was a red sign with white writing and easy to spot to see which way to go.  I got to the front of the building and it ended?  I saw an elevator and pushed the ground floor button and then ran out and followed more signs - arriving at the emergency waiting area just as they were taking him in. 

 I was impressed with the computers on wheeled stations so that the staff could come to the bed and do the computer work right there.  Staff was nice and understanding.  While one employee settled him into the bed, the nurse took info from me - she was rather impressed that I had a list of our meds (they only needed his of course) in my cell phone.  Based on the errors we made in info while trying to recall things while in panic, I will also enter in additional info, including family history for both of us as we forget when they asked that his mother had heart surgery as well as his cataract surgery and to mention that he is allergic to most raw fruit and many nuts.  I did remember that he was allergic to penicillin ,but he insisted no - and that I was allergic to same.  He has always said that he was allergic to penicillin to me and I am allergic to sulfa meds.  (“Aren’t sulfa meds penicillin” he asked me later when we were discussing this.)

Once he was settled in, it became wait and wait.  Staff and the woman accompanying the patient in the curtained area next to husband all were constantly upset that I was standing and tried to get me to sit.  I prefer standing as it hurts my bottom to sit for long times (I lost weight there) and we were concerned about -yes - bed bugs.  Standing for an afternoon is nothing to me, but it kept bothering everyone - and I was less in the way in the tight quarters of his area standing than sitting and could more easily get out of anyone’s way. 

We had explained that he had excruciating pain in his left shoulder radiating down his left arm and that we were concerned if it was a heart attack, as well as what it was if it was not.

They did blood work (something husband fears and it was not done well - there was blood on the sheet).  They hooked him up to a machine.  A man came and took him to X-ray, not knowing it was around the corner in the same room I asked if I could follow along - husband asked me to stay with him the entire time, which I had expected and planned to do.  They did other things in a flurry of tasks.  Then it became wait.... wait....wait...  

We had arrived around noon.  It became 2:30 - our normal lunch time.  Neither of us had eaten that day as the 2:30 meal is usually our first of the day.  We are both Type 2 Diabetics.  I can do passably well not eating, but he needs to eat or his blood sugar drops.  He said he was okay.  By 3 pm he was heading into trouble.  I went to the nurse and explained and asked if they had some orange juice which is what he usually will have if he has a low - and she gave him same and offered turkey sandwich, which they have in a fridge in the unit.  So he had a bit of lunch.  (I had sort of thought that he could not eat, which is why I asked for the juice, just in case surgery was needed.)  I thought of running out and looking for something for me (we have cheese cracker packages in the car - figured some place to eat in the building or at worst, Burger King was 3 buildings over on the road). But I decided I felt okay and waited. 

Over the afternoon we were told his blood tests were okay.  Later we  that he would be moved to an observation section where he would wait until they did a second set of blood tests as they needed to compare them - ok, makes sense.  I asked the doctor who told us this, about checking about other reasons for the pain he was in - “We have to rule out a heart attack first and then look at muscular-skeletal reasons.”  Okay, makes sense. 

It took an hour or so before he was transferred to the observation section.  This was a room with larger curtained areas where one could move about (me - not him, he was again hooked up).  After he was settled in and we knew that nothing would happen for awhile, I nervously asked him about leaving for about 15 minutes to run back out to car and get cheese crackers to eat.  He said it was fine and that I should check for a cafeteria in the hospital.  I went back out a little more leisurely and checked the lunchonette type restaurant in the building - $8 for a burger?  Did not see if that included fries or something, but would only not want same anyway and $8 a bit high on the budget, so I continued the car.  As I had walked through there was a photo exhibit - it reminded me that husband had exhibited his cut paper art works in the hospital (before his mom died) several times.  I went out to the car.  On a chance, I drove the car around to the front of the building and found an empty space in the small lot in the front near the emergency room to make leaving easier.  Problem - only one package of cheese crackers in the car.  I guess I did not replace them when we (okay I) ate them in the past.

So I took the package back with me and ate the crackers.   They brought him dinner - lunch? at 4 pm - the Diabetic diet - macaroni in tomato sauce, spinach, diet pudding, diet ginger ale, and coffee - artificial sweetener on the side of course.  He ate the macaroni and spinach.  Eventually they came and took the second blood tests - and had to stick him all over again, I thought the tube they left in his arm would be used, but no they had to stick him again. Those tests came back fine.

So, I started asking what they were going to do next about the pain.  No, they were done - he should go to his doctor or an orthopedist about that!  So we spent 8.5 hours there and left with a couple of holes in arms, papers, hungry stomachs, and the pain in his arm still there.

He had trouble falling asleep last night - did not do so until 6 am - so when he finally fell asleep I let him sleep since he had not had a full night sleep the night before, hoping when he finally awoke he would feel better.  No, it may even be worse.  So tomorrow we will go see our regular doctor, who hopefully will be able to help him. 

I ran out today and ran the most pressing of the errands I was suppose to do yesterday such as transfer money so I could mail out bill payments due out.

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK -

1 - Be prepared.  (Even if you are not a Boy Scout.)

I know what medications we each take, but was getting confused and the list of same in a memo in my cell phone helped.  The personal and family histories in the phone would have been of great help.

If I had remembered to replace cheese cracker packages when we (I) ate them, I would have had  more of them to eat as a lunch - and not have been shaking with low blood sugar when we got home. (We ended with me going out and picking up Chinese take out for dinner, as it was too late to cook - and we got foods he did not need to cut.) 

Have something on your cell phone (or tablet) to keep you busy - without wifi as there was none.  I spent the time in the observation area playing cards on my phone.  (The TVs did not work in either room.)  While in the observation room he spent his time annoying his sister with text messages telling her where he was and why and NO she should not come or send her husband.  (I have not mentioned it to my family yet.)

We thought we were prepared, well I thought I was prepared for both of us, but we were not.  If I had been the patient, he would have had even more problems. 

2 - Simple things can be complicated and one needs to keep thinking and come up with ideas quickly. 

He needed his insurance cards and had to juggle it out of his pocket while being hooked up to machines - I took the wallet from him and shoved it in my pocket for the rest of the time we were there and added his cards back to it for him.  (He would not give me his cell phone to hold except during the X- rays.) 

When he went to eat the turkey sandwich we asked if he could/should take his pill that he would normally take with lunch - nurse checked and the doctor said yes.  He tried to wrangle his pill box out and was getting frustrated.  We both take that same medication.  I told him to stop and pulled out my box and handed him one of mine - I took one back from his supply later.  Much easier than him trying to get it out.

Eating the meal they gave him was a bit hard as the tray table was too far from him no matter how I positioned it.  He is a sloppy eater and did not want to drop food on himself.  I finally figured out to turn the tray 90 degrees so it could stick off the table and still have enough tray on the table not to fall off.  This way the tray stuck out so it covered him lap.

3 - Go with the flow

Yes, it is a trite expression, but there was no other choice.  We were there - I could not run the errands I intended.  The soda bottles and donation items will wait.  The visit to our bank vault to exchange this month’s data backups for last month’s - well, last month’s will work until next month’s goes in.  Nothing to do to change the situation - just go along with it and be glad that he did not have a heart attack and hope that the doctor can help (easily) with the pain in his shoulder as he is currently pacing the kitchen as he is trying not to take the next OTC pill until closer to bed time.  Oh, I forgot to mention that he found one of our old kitchen chairs the most comfortable thing to sit on and has planted himself on it (I brought it over for him from our studio) at our kitchen table in front of the door to the basement and blocking the path to the pantry closet and the downstairs bathroom. This making doing chores very hard to do as I either have to climb over him or ask him to move.  Last night’s laundry is being done tonight.




Thursday, September 27, 2018

GLAD THIS MONTH IS OVER

This month has a been a bit too much.  I will be glad when it is behind me.  Just this week, to give you an idea.

I did get my mom to the doctor yesterday for her checkup yesterday after needing to change the appointment a few times.  I told her to make sure to blame me to the doctor and his staff so they would not be upset with her.  She has a pacemaker and was past due to have it checked, as well as having her blood, etc. checked.  Mom is 89.  She still lives alone in our family house and still drives.  She hates to ask for help; I keep telling her to call me when she needs to go somewhere she doesn’t want to drive to, but until now she has refused to call me.  In this case she had a problem due to construction near the doctor’s office when she went there earlier in the month as she cannot walk distances and would have had to park too far away.  Hence why she called for a ride, I could drop her off if there was still a problem, park and come back, etc.  All was good, although blood work will, of course, take a day or two.  We had lunch together afterwards for about 3 or 4 hours.  We had been headed for a kosher deli - I had to park 4 stores away from it - mom was impressed with my parallel parking, something I just take for granted.  But as we inched along, we (she) stopped at a pizza place and while stopped looked in and thought how nice it was - should we go there instead?  I was not looking forward to a overfilled, overpriced (especially since I knew she would insist on paying) turkey sandwich (least fatty of the meats there).  So I jumped at the change - less for her to walk, lighter meal, and much less expensive.  We each had a cheese slice and diet soda and sat and talked and talked.  (I write like I talk and she talks more and longer than I do.)  It was between meal times and the place was empty or I would have not have stayed, taking up the table as long as we did.

We did go to the Long Island Fair last Sunday to do an embroidery demonstration - and to visit friends we only see at the Fair.  One woman used to be the Supervisor of the Juvenile section for decades and had to give it up due to eye trouble, was not at the Fair last year at all.  (She continued to volunteer after she gave up the Supervisor position.)  I was so glad that she had her son drop her off for a visit.  She was sitting in the Juvenile section and as soon as volunteers heard she was there, we all stopped by to see her.  She is 90.  I was so glad to hear that she was basically well - she had vision problems, which is now mostly blindness and now has hearing problems, but she is the same always in all other regards.  After the day, which was the last day of the Fair, was pick up of entries - my three dimensional butterfly embroidery shocked me and won second prize.  I had seen the lovely and involved pieces that it was competing with when I dropped it off and figured that I would get an honorable mention due to the technique.  That is one project that sat for decades finished.  Now to pick another one to finsih. While at the Fair I was also able to check in with someone who is a mutual friend of a friend who moved to South Carolina and find out the couple in SC survived Florence with no problems.

I was suppose to go to a client this week.  I called her yesterday (while mom was seeing the doctor) to go there Thursday.  The client said it was a problem and could I come on Friday.  (Glad she did not say today as we were suppose to have horrible rain - yes, there was rain, but not as bad as they said.)  I called her today to say that I could come on Friday, but she didn’t really want me there then, either (even though she had suggested it).  Apparently they are filming a movie at her location and her cousin who keeps her company is ill - besides, she tells me, she has had no business all month, so there is little for me to do.  So, I will be going there in 2 weeks and do the September and October work at the same time.

In my mind this was great.  I get another day to catch up on stuff - the bathrooms REALLY need cleaning.  But no, when husband hears that I am not going to the client on Friday, he suggests that since he wants to go to Pennsylvania on Saturday for a wool show, we could go down on Friday for the day and stay overnight.  So, the bathrooms will wait a little longer.

Today was the day I write the newsletter for my embroidery chapter and send it out by email.  I managed to get that done after dinner - normally done in the afternoon, but there was other “fires” to put out then.  I send out 3 versions of the newsletter - the basic newsletter is the same, the email with it changes - one to our members, one to prospective members and one to the other newsletter editors in our region and our region director. 

This coming Sunday we were suppose to go to a reenactment event with our unit, but the unit is backing out of it as too few members can go and the place is changing what it said about our setup. 

Now in addition to writing to all of you, I am doing our laundry.  Will go and change loads between writing this and sending it out.  Dinner dishes were done before the newsletter.  Kitchen sink area is setup with dish towels over the dish rack, the front of the sink, the windowsill behind the sink, and the pots drying on a towel next to the other side of the sink - so husband can come and wash his hair in the sink.  The dishpan I use in the sink is out on a counter with items waiting for washing before we go to bed.  ( I made instant diet pudding for snack - the items needed for such are most of what is waiting to be washed.)  But no - I still have not thrown out the bad eggs.

And next week I am suppose to teach new stitches (my choice) at the embroidery meeting!
                                       
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK -

Sometimes it seems that what must be done in terms of larger projects and appointments is coming too often, too much and too fast.  Take it one project at a time, that is all one can do.  Things will get done.

Friday, September 21, 2018

WHAT SHOULD YOU GET RID OF AND WHAT SHOULD YOU KEEP?

Pardon me - I didn’t post yesterday.  As I think I mentioned the most important annual Jewish holiday was yesterday and when it was over last night it slipped my memory what day of the week it was.  So here I am, a day late and a post short. 

As I was talking about last week, much of what one needs to know about organizing we know.  It is finding the time and pushing ourselves to do it that is the problem - at least for me.  Basically one has to sort through what one has and get rid of what is not being used and will not be used and then set up what is left in an organized manner so that one can find what one is looking for quickly. 

What to get rid of?  A good question.  Some of it is rather obvious - empty boxes of cereal for example.  They are garbage. Almost empty box?  Depends on how much is left - if you can eat it all while continuing to work - eat it and toss the box; if it is enough for a meal or two - use it up at meals and toss the empty box.  In this case I mean for the cereal box to stand for anything which gets used up, but the empty container is still around.  This week and last week I made a chicken stew that my husband loves for dinner.  Problem is that the garbage pickup is on Monday and Thursday and I was making the stew on Monday last week and Tuesday this week and both times had to hold it all both times until Wednesday night when I put it out for Thursday pick up.  The bones, skin and such have to be thrown out, but if I toss them in the kitchen garbage and they don’t go out right away, it will smell terrible.  I can take the kitchen bag out to the can outside, but it really upsets me to put the bag(s) out only about 1/3 full.  So, I put the chicken garbage into one of those plastic shopping bags that one gets at groceries stores, put same in the bowl I had used to hold the cooked chicken overnight (cooked the chicken one day, made the stew the next) before taking it off the bones and left it in the fridge.  When it was time for the garbage to go out I added the shopping bag of chicken icky stuff to it and out it went.  I then washed the bowl the bag had been in.  I actually have left over stew from both nights.  It can’t be frozen as it has potatoes in it and they never freeze well.  I have the stews in two canning jars in the fridge (one from last week and one from this).  I will hold them until the end of the next week - if husband has not eaten it by then (he really LOVES this stew) then it will go out that Sunday night in the garbage - it will not be allowed to sit beyond when it will be safe to eat.

Staying with the kitchen, some items are harder to get rid of.  Husband will decide that he likes something - say a particular canned soup - and buy a lot of it.  Then something will happen and it will not be eaten.  Say, he decides it raises his blood sugar too much and he should only have it once in a while.  The items sit........and sit.........and sit..........and sit.......and sit.  Suddenly they are past their date and one cannot even donate them.  It really kills me to throw out 6 full cans of something because it passed its date a year or two before - but out they must go.  They are taking up needed room and if they are eaten by accident they may make someone ill.  I have to check on some eggs we have in the fridge - wait, I will check right now - an entire dozen dated for June 16, 2018.  Now what do I do?  Normally I would toss the eggs.  But here is a bit of info - when eggs pass their date and are sent back to the producer by the stores they are allowed to be repackaged and sent back out a certain number of times - gross right, but it is true.  Eggs can be tested to see if they are still good and I will have to find the instructions on how to check them.  Okay, per “The Joy of Cooking” if the eggs float in cold water they are no good.  I will test them tomorrow and then throw them out if they float.  We go through periods where we eat eggs or use them in cooking and will buy them - and then the period of eating them ends - see husband deciding he likes something and then deciding not to have it any more, above - I think he was making quiches with them and then stopped doing so - and they sit.  Usually it only part of a dozen, which is left.  In case you are thinking - what about breakfast?  We wake up so late that we have lunch for breakfast, dinner for lunch and then a late night snack for supper, so eggs tend to be more of a dinner food here.  I am going to test them.....  Well, they will going out Sunday night with the garbage for Monday, the 3 I picked at random all floated - but, on the other hand, I was wrong - there are only 10, not a full dozen.  We have a quart of milk in the fridge also.  I know that is fresh, we bought it for a meeting of our reenactment unit last Monday - husband had volunteered to bring snack - oh that reminds me of something else, we are going to return an unopened package of cookies - we bought 2 different kinds for the meeting and apparently it was a chocolate mint cookie crowd, not a chocolate chip crowd.  But no one opened the milk to use in their coffee.  So I have to figure out how to use up a the quart - I guess we will be having diet pudding for snack a few times.  We were lucky to find the quart - mostly it comes in half gallons and more around here, and the quart cost almost as much as the half gallon.

So - when one sorts through stuff one will find stuff to toss, stuff to check and decide if it should be tossed - now or soon after, stuff to return, and stuff to use up.  If only I had some chocolate syrup for the milk, but if I buy same, then I will have a started bottle of chocolate syrup and someday in the future will be deciding if it should be thrown out or not.  (Plus we just plain should not have the extra carbohydrates.)

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK -

You know that you know what to do.   Go through and toss the floating eggs and the long past date things (whether they are actually dated or not) - and the chicken stuff which has been stored until you can toss it.  Get rid of the empty boxes or finish up what it is in them and get rid of them.  Return items which are in good condition which can be returned.  Use up the items that can still be used - before they have to be tossed because they are floating eggs.   This applies in the rest of the house as well as in the kitchen - paints and makeup can go past their use time also, for example.  The dress you bought for Sally’s wedding a month ago and then bought a different one, that you wore instead - return it if you can or donate it - unless you know that you can wear it for Harry’s wedding next month.  And so on. 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

YOU already know what to do

I don’t know about you, but I actually know what needs to be done for to declutter and get organized.  You probably also know what to do.  You have probably read it in book after book -
       
        1- Go through what you have
        2 - Purge anything that you have not used in X years (generally one or two years depending on the book.
        3 - Separate items that don’t belong where they are into one of four boxes - keep, put somewhere else, throw out, donate, sometimes, a fifth box - return to the owner.
        4- Survey what you have left and figure out how to store it, buying storage containers only after knowing what you need and measuring the space and items to go into storage.
        5 - Keep up putting items away every day.

Oh, this reminded me, I am looking to buy plastic storage to organize the freezer compartment of the fridge better.  For some reason lately a lot of food items we buy are in bags - they used to be packages in boxes, they lie on top of each other and I forget what I have.  I want them to stand up so I can see what I have.  Hold on a minute while I measure the freezer section - hmm mmm mmm - sorry, okay, I am back - that’s less than 10.5 inches tall, 14.5 inches deep, and 19 inches across and I plan on 2 containers across - that would be 9.5 inches across each maximum.  I put the measurements in my cell phone in the Walmart section of my “to buy” list.  I will have to see what is available.

Oh wait  - the timer in my cell phone went off - I have to down to the basement and switch loads in the washer and dryer.  Be right back....hmm mmm mmm.  Okay, back again.  I forgot that there was a blanket in the dryer from last week.  We sleep with two in winter, one in summer and I had this one on the bed, but put the other one on the bed last week and washed the one that was there as we both had colds over the past month and thought it best to wash to wash the one we had been breathing on.  It is now sealed in a plastic bag to keep it clean until it is needed again.  It will go in a small storage piece in our bedroom. Back to all of you, cell phone will go off again in 50 minutes to switch loads again.

Okay - while the above is true, I do other things while I am writing my posts, it is also why the common “simple 5 steps” to get uncluttered and organized don’t always work.  Oh, I also updated the browser in my other laptop while I have been writing this.  It is not that I don’t care about all of you - (I do wish there were more of you, but I am glad to have every one you reading my posts - feel free to tell friends to join us) but we all have to multitask these days.  It is not as easy in the real world as it is in organizing books.

Yes, the basic 5 steps are what need to be done, but sometimes they have to be done in small bites - catch as catch can.  When my husband was screaming about his sock drawer - too many socks, too little room.  He has trouble finding socks which are comfortable and the ones he liked are wearing out quicker and quicker so he is searching for new socks - as the ones he like are, of course, discontinued.  Of course he buys MORE socks and then hates them.  It is hard to convince him to let me donate them - “I haven’t even worn some of the pairs yet - and what if I can’t find new socks and neeeeeed these?  So I went through his dresser drawers - yes, more than just that drawer - over a period of 2 days - on and off when I had a chance. 

What did I find, well, his missing “space pen” for one thing.  I found that the bottom drawer was filled with more James Bond toys.  I managed to add them to the boxes we had bought and put in the spare bedroom (aka the teddys room) closet.  Ah, most of an empty drawer to work with. I put some empty shoe boxes in same.  I use them for drawer dividers - two boxes make 3 delineated spaces across - box, space, box.  I put the socks he does not wear in the bottom drawer. I also went through stuff he keeps on the left side of his top drawer (which is where his underwear and socks are also kept).  He has a small jewelry box  - mostly junk, the few nice pieces he has are in my jewelry box, empty eyeglass cases (yes, I keep same also) and other small items - under these I found the space pen.  Those items were sorted through and mostly stored in the bottom drawer.  Why did all of this go to the bottom drawer?  Well, he could not get something out of same unless he was sitting down as he would get dizzy, so it is a good place to put things he will rarely, if ever need.  I then rearranged the space in the top drawer and sorted the socks he wears into the boxes (the beige set in one box, the ivory set - he calls them white) in another box and the new socks behind them in the same boxes - white socks in with the beige socks and black socks in with the ivory ones - so they are easy to tell apart by color looking in.  Underpants are no longer squeezed into a shoe box, but in the space between two shoe boxes, so they have a bit more space.  (His underpants like mine are rolled as this seems to make them fit in the space better and easier to grab out - he needs to buy new ones of same soon - he complains all the time.) He also has some ankle height socks which he finds comfortable to sleep in during the winter as they keep his feet warm but don’t “bother him”. 

In doing this I did find some items which I knew he no longer needed and would not be attached to - especially the socks he won’t wear - and packed them to be donated.  Also in doing this I had pulled out some shoe boxes from the top of my closet - some were empty and set aside for use in situations such as this, others had shoes in them, and I pulled some shoes off my closet door rack, that I don’t wear, to donate also to make room for some of the ones in the boxes - although the door rack is about 1/3 empty after I was done - and I don’t have a lot of shoes.  (If I let him know, his extra shoes will end up there, so I won’t mention it.)

All of this - socks, underwear, James Bond toys, shoes, etc. took about 2 hours spread over 2 evenings.  I believe in doing things as one can.  Oh, I had no boxes for donation, etc. just some shopping bags.

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK -

Use the time YOU have available and try using your innate knowledge of what to do.  You know to throw out garbage  - you just have to figure out what is the garbage in what you have.  You know to donate what can be donated - don’t look at it as you are getting rid of something you loved (or hated and regretted), but rather finding the item a new home with someone who needs it. 

Think about what you use and how you use it - and how often you do.  Something - such as underwear and socks that are worn daily should be able to be reached as easily as possible. 

But remember we do things by habit which may not be the best way to do so.  What you do not use as often, can be harder to get to.  Since I was in junior high school I had a sock drawer and an underwear drawer.  In my current dresser these were two small half size drawers, the underwear drawer being the top drawer, the socks, the next one down.  The underwear had my underpants that I daily wear one of, my bras - 3 of them rotated through wear and laundry, and half slips - short white, long white, short black, long black - which I very rarely wear - only if the skirt/dress is a bit sheerer than normal.  My sock drawer had my every day socks, my panty hose (rarely worn - once a month to work and if there was an event to which I had to wear a dress), my knee high stockings (worn even less), and the socks I wear to keep my feet warm.  Husband said to me one day after we had been married for decades “every morning you open the top drawer and take out underpants and close the drawer.  Then you open the next drawer down and take out socks and close the drawer.  Why don’t you put the items you wear daily in the same drawer and put the other items in the second drawer?  Makes sense - why did I not think of this?  Well, I had been doing it the same way for so long, it never occurred to me that there was a better way.  I now have my everyday socks and underwear in the top drawer - panties are 3 pairs across, 3 pairs up and two sets of same deep (the set in the front is not a full 9 pairs) and the sock balls stand next to them filling the rest of the drawer - no separation between the two necessary.  The second drawer holds my bras in front on one side, my sleep socks across the front on the other.  A box of stockings - pantyhose and knee highs behind the sleep sock.  I have wool socks which I have acquired over the recent freezing cold winters we have had in the back of the drawer.  The slips are stacked between the bras and the wool socks.  One drawer to open every day instead of two - labor saved.

So think as you declutter and organize about how you can change where items are stored - even in something as common as your dresser  - to work better.


My thoughts and prayers to those in the path of Florence. 










Thursday, September 6, 2018

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Happy New Year!

Huh? It’s September? 

I am again reminding everyone that one does not have to wait for January 1 to start a new year, turn a new page, start organizing.  Every day is the start of a new year.

When I was a child my year started in September.  School started then - a new school year.  The new TV shows came on for the year (later this became the start of the fall season) - a new TV year.  And in either September or October, being Jewish, it was the religious new year also - the anniversary of the beginning of the world we were told..  The January 1 new year always seemed lacking in reason to me - what was starting anew - just the newly printed calendars.

It is a bit arbitrary.  The new year used to start on March 25 - talk about crazy, Could you imagine March 24, 2018 being followed by March 25, 2019?  This change of year changed at various dates in various places based on the religion practiced in the area starting in 1582.  In the British countries, including their colonies here in America, the change to January 1 as the start of the new year was made in 1750.  (And this led to all sorts of problems as there was also an adjustment to the calendar of 11 days at the time to correct errors in the prior adjustments by leap year days. If you were born on April 10, 1720 O.S. (old style), you would change your birthday to April 21, 1720 for example.)   

The Lunar New Year is in February.  The Muslim New Year occurs at a different time each year in the common (western) calendar although it falls on the same day of the Muslim calendar.  It will vary over the entire year over time.  (The common calendar is a solar calendar- it is based on the travel of the earth around the sun and how long it takes.  The use of the different number of days in various months and leap year day keep the common calendar set more or less fixed against the seasons of the year.  While there are a number of lunar calendars ( based on the length of the months at about 29 days in the time it takes the moon to travel around the earth), some of them will insert a leap year adjustment of some sort - in the Jewish calendar it is an extra month added a number of times over a cycle of years - the Muslim calendar does not add an extra month to adjust for the solar year and so its holidays move through the year over a period of years as there is an 11 day difference in the length of the year.)

Okay, now we are getting religion classes and history lessons.  Back then people had less stuff to deal with and could keep it better organized.  What is going on?

What I am saying (and I have posted similar in the past) is that the day we consider to be the golden time to start organizing (or doing something else) is a fairly arbitrary day.  If today is September 5 - it will be a year until the next September 5, so it is also the start of a new year.

Make sense (I hope)?

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK

Since every day is the start of a new year, do not put off starting or doing something until January 1.  Start NOW!  Okay, maybe today is too soon, pick a day soon and start THEN!  No more procrastination.  No more New Year's resolutions left uncompleted.  Pick one thing, just one thing and do it.  Then do something else - one thing at time adds up.