Monday, September 18, 2023

Thinking About Stuff...


     It's been eight months since my last trimester's life plan went devastatingly to a halt. I know I'm stuck navigating it alone. Plans DH and I had need to be scrapped or carried on by me alone. Nothing is going to change that; nothing I can do will bring me back to what life was like on January 17th. Dwelling in this blog from time to time since then was useful, if only to dump my thoughts in the post or in response  to comments. I think it's run it's course now. My kids deserve their privacy. I do as well, even though I have appreciated the support and kind words. 

     So consider this my last post as Sam, the recent widow. I'm debating where blogging fits, if it does, going forward. I liked the concept of writing about budgeting and money management, creative cooking, exploring, travel, all things that were part of my life, and I hope still will be. Maybe I'll try and bring some version of my former blog back, albeit in this new unasked for life. It'd be nice to earn a little fun money, bring AdSense back, maybe explore Instagram and the other platforms, things to keep me busy in my many hours I'm now alone. Not right now though;  this weight of grief is so heavy. 

     I may try and figure out a new reincarnation of Sam, Coffee, Money, and Thyme, but hiding all the past posts and starting fresh with a public face. Or maybe not. I realized it was 10 years ago that I started to blog. To all you kind people, thank you for being readers and friends. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Me, Myself, and I

      Besides the dogs, the company I most keep is in my title. I once recall stating that I regretted never experiencing living alone before settling down with marriage and kids. Well, if I could take that back, I would in a heart beat. I know I don't have a bad life. I have wonderful kids and sisters, by blood and by choice, and other friends. My neighbors are kind and helpful. It's just not the life I planned for. Yeah, yeah, I know what is said about we plan and God laughs. I better get off that subject so as not to offend anyone. 

      DD2 got home from Norway on August 21 late afternoon and had a hard  adjustment once again to time zone changes. She had a good trip overall but decided, hostel stays are done. I wouldn't adequately describe, but part her own anxiety, crowded communal spaces, housekeeping leaving daily ridiculous notes about requiring linens ( left on top of a bed with said required linens), the experience almost sent her to book a last minute expensive hotel room instead. 

     She's essentially moved into her apartment. By that, I mean she, her roommate, and the collection of castoffs are in her new place. While sparse, it's liveable. She needs to get things sorted and homed, yet another week + later.  DD1 updated her guest room, so her sister is using the old twin bed frame and mattress. Her bedding is from college. Their living room is a $75 second hand futon and a couple saucer chairs, also from her college days. My sister had an old TV stand so that holds the television and gaming systems, plural. We've scrounged the bare necessities for kitchen use. The bathroom has a few new things like shower curtain and liner and bath mat, courtesy of roommates parents. She's using towels from college. With her not knowing if she'll relocate in a year for grad school or job, she just needs it to be comfortable and workable, not designed. 

     There's so much work needed in the yard. Last week and this past weekend was a bust with the heat and our schedules. I tackled a few minor things after work. I need to keep on with the rock moving, but it's a big job, and with heat index over 100 multiple days, I didn't brave it. The laundry room was the focus, needing to be completely empty and washer unplugged. It was replaced last Tuesday. I decided not to replace the dryer. I just couldn't see replacing a perfectly working one. It's a laundry room that isn't even sheetrocked, not a guest room so I don't care they don't match. Plus, I didn't need a triple digit expense. The simple washing machine was enough.

     The bathroom guy came and did another measure and confirmed my choices for shower material, basin, and floor. I ended up changing the floor to a lighter tile. Actually it will be vinyl planking that looks like tile. I ordered the vanity through Wayfair and it was delivered the same day as the washer and is sitting in the garage waiting for the week of September 11. He estimates it will take a week. After that, while yard continues, will be the fireplace insert, with an aim to have it useable again by November. My brother and brother-in-law are tidying the siding area by the patio. It will look nice, but the heat was oppressive so they're doing bit by bit. The BIL is also changing my bathroom fan upstairs. Then I can paint and do just a make due for now update. I'm just keeping on the list, big, then a few small, then back to big. New upstairs flooring will be next year, and depending on how the make due bath turns out, that bathroom full remodel the following year. 

     I'm burnt out. Labor Day weekend wasn't great, not bad, but just draining. The heat was oppressive and I struggled being around DHs family so just spent Friday night to Sunday morning at the lake. DD2 came Saturday afternoon but she too left Sunday morning. I went to a barbecue at my sister's Sunday night, but DD2 wasn't feeling that family either so stayed at my house and did her laundry. DD1 had helped at her cousins business and stayed here later. I had a nice talk with the girls, sort of a girl's sleep over. We all had Monday off, but pretty much just avoided the heat. I cooked a bunch, sent food home with my daughter, and I'm good for the week too. I'm supposed to have Friday off but the week is packed. 

     Dang, this got long but it's been a few weeks since I last posted. No pictures either, so here's a gratuitous dog one for attention. Pups little paws caked in mud. Grandpup looking handsome, but the smell of rotting fish, lake, and anything else he got into sent him for double baths, plus his leash, harness, and collar to soak in lemon juice. Yeah, they enjoyed the lake. Take care all. 

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Things I've Tackled, Funny

      Another week has passed- August is over half way done. My days blur into weeks, weeks into to months. I'm trying to live life, folks, though trying to live with joy is still a challenge. I, who normally love summer, can't wait for August to be done. I press on trying to both keep up on the have to's of life, and the wish list/home project list/life improvement list. You all are so kind pointing out that I am doing a lot. I guess I have. Here's what's been accomplished in the last few weeks. 

  • Cooked a few meals with assorted items on hand. I've got to get this budget under control and spending more on groceries when I've got hidden treasures is counterproductive to this ( Might even be inspired to add a good/ recipe post). I'm trying to plan meals and leftovers and not over shop, using up items completely. 
  • And...booked, but spent a small fortune on airfare for the cruise in February. However I  leveraged a credit card offer to save $200 eventually, that will pay me back within the next few months
  • Speaking of credit cards, I stopped using the card DH and I had in common.  I've opened one in just my name that will give me a $200 cash back credit, plus earns more per dollar. I'll cash in the points on the old one, applying them to the final payment. I pay off cards always before any interest is accrued. 
  • Took car to get oil changed, basic maintenances, and Anti Lock brake system issue resolved. Ugh, more unplanned expenses but a safe car, and once the other car is sorted, I can sell it for a fair price. 
  • Replaced batteries in thermostat. It was something accomplished I've not done before.
  • More items cleared from laundry room, trash items binned, items for my daughter's new apartment put in a box
  • Got legal paperwork notarized and more documents sent to bank to get DH's car loan released. 
  • I observed for now, but wrote checks and achieved the completion of the patio. It still needs curing time and I'm being cautious for a full 10 days, so by next weekend I can set furniture up. Then, on to tackling the yard cleanup and minimal landscaping. By that I mean, getting the pine brush and needles cleared, finish fire pit area, and prep rest of yard for grass seeding. That will involve spread bags of soil in uneven area. 
  • I ordered two of these planter boxes to line the side the stairs are on, either in a line, or create a right angle in the corner. I might fill with hostas next spring so they are not labor intensive, but for late summer and fall, perhaps pop a few planters of mum's for a color splash. 

  • Talked with neighbor who's a handyman to come look and propose a solution to the bare siding issue. He came over to look, and will design something to do in a couple weeks when concrete is set. 
  • More buckets of rocks moved to where they can be better used. It's a hot and heavy job and there's so many!!! I guess the rest of summer and fall, I'll focus on the outside of the house. 
     I managed to work all days scheduled and keep the balls in the air even when whacked with more sucker punches from DH's accounts. Remember, I tell myself, "you're not a weak ass bitch."

Dinners this week:
  • Saturday: Leftovers steak sandwich from dinner out night before 
  • Sunday: vegetables au Gratin, zucchini fritter 
  • Monday: Repeat 
  • Tuesday: Grilled cheese, veg au gratin
  • Wednesday: Gyro sandwich, from single kit
  • Thursday: Creamy spicy Pasta primavera 
  • Friday : Repeat 
     The other fritters were lunches, along with cucumbers and hummus, toast, yogurt, fruit,and cottage cheese. More on these food items in a post to come. As I eluded above, I'm nickel and diming my grocery budget to hopefully pad the cash flow a touch so I can do a little splurging on things to improve the home, like the planter boxes. I'm obviously not going hungry. 

     I want to still enjoy things, or enjoy things again. I find the television show Ghosts mildly amusing. I had heard it is a spin from an original BBC series and my daughter found that version on HBO Max. We got hooked. The first episode helped us adapt to cultural differences, and by episode 3 we found ourselves laughing out loud. Each British ghost seems to have an American counterpart, but the writing and how it's placed in context of the houses timeline is just more creative and funny with British Ghosts. There's also less filters with the humour, so more authentic. We can only get 3 seasons but fingers crossed we'll get all five eventually. Sometimes I just need a really good belly laugh. It's been a while. I'll still enjoy the American one, but it's just not as funny. With the writers strike, who knows when season 2 might start. 

     My daughter has made quite a few more purchases for her home, including her own outdoor furniture, artwork, and an alternative type yoga mat. Grandpup has decided it's a good stretch out lounger for himself.

     One day after a particularly windy storm, I collected a bunch of sticks from her yard and tossed in her fire pit. No sense accidentally running over with the mower. He proceeded to pull them out and run around happy as could be with them in his mouth. He's not short on personality. Needless to say, one of her purchases was a fire pit cover. 

      I took one of those Facebook Quizzes. Apparently if I was a character in Game of Thrones, I'd be a Targaryen. 
HOUSE TARGARYENYour quiz results determined that you belong to House Targaryen! You have earned the rare honor of flying under the Dragon’s banner while the Mother of Dragons soars alongside you on a fire-breathing beast! You are bold, passionate, determined, and sometimes unpredictable. People admire your strength and resilience but also have a tendency to fear your temper. Just like Daenerys, you are fiercely protective over the things you love and have a compassionate soul that wishes to help others. Keep on standing up for yourself and others, never backing down or lowering your voice just because someone said that you should!

     If you're a GoT fan, what's your take on that? I do have Welsh blood, so the dragon may be spot on. The smoke and haze has been horrible, but we've had some pretty sunsets as I caught before pulling the shades down for the night. Talk with you all soon. 

Saturday, August 12, 2023

My Life in a Long Post

      I'm working on being strong, well at least stronger. Physically, I'm trying to walk more and include some strength based exercise. I'm trying to eat better, get less simple carbs, more lean proteins, fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Mentally, it's going to be a long journey. My niece posted this. She's dealt with a lot, and just works harder- physically and mentally, when she has rougher patches. I'm borrowing it.

     Shout outs to all non-weak asses out there. I won't say I'm not gonna continue to have bouts of profound sadness, frustration, loneliness, and outright melt downs. What I will say is even if I hit the bottom, I'm going to crawl out of that well. I have to. Like the continued crap with DH's car loan and now not releasing the lean. Every time I call, I get a new hoop to jump through. They won't break me. No advise needed, I'm getting legal help, but dang.

     I need to clarify my post last week. My feelings of being judged are just my perception, and in certain moments, taking small irrelevant comments in ways not intended. That's part of my strength gaining efforts - let those things slide. I also don't want to paint my in-laws as bad people or toxic. I think they've all moved to a different place in their grief. After all, their day to day life, even my MIL's, didn't really change. Of course he left a hole for them too, but every day they aren't needing to reassess 36 years of plans and begin again. It's just a different impact. If I don't want people to expect things from me, I too can't expect others to act a certain way.

     I spent DH's birthday this past week with every one of those hard emotions. It was supposed to be the day he gave notice of his retirement. Everyone else (kids excluded) had a normal weekday I'm sure, though his sister sent out a group "thinking of everyone" text to me, my kids, his brother, and mom. I drank Diet Coke, purchased through McDonald's drive through, a relapse to my former bad habit. I ate something at some point. I spent the day at my daughter's so the dogs could play freely. I crashed with exhaustion and ignored the days emails. Yet, I got up the next day, drove back home, worked my job, solved a major issue, talked to my kids, even DD2 in Norway. I even booked my airfare for the cruise. Life went on. This is how things are; l can't change any of it, but can maybe change my facade. In time, maybe my outward appearance won't be just concealment. 

     Other things from the week were steps forward and back. The deck got taken down and hauled away. There was a lot of debris under it, pushed by dogs, cats, children the past 32 years so I got that all picked up for the trash collection Wednesday. The young man doing the patio has his truck back so that meant he could get the decking hauled away and start the gravel  and footings for the patio. I'm going to have to do something about the siding now as when house was resided, of course the deck blocked bottom of house. Now there's space between end of siding and bottom of house. The picture below was taken from the park. Yeah, it's chaos in the back yard. He worked Wednesday, then nothing Thursday or Friday. Fingers crossed he's back on it today, though I hear rumblings of potential storms. That's part of why I spent DH's birthday at my daughter's. Her back yard is a beautiful retreat. 

No deck, no patio yet. Siding solution needed. 
      The last of the yard waste ( for now) got taken to the collection site last Saturday. I even did some of the hauling myself. It's nice it's so close, and I'll take care of things right away going forward.There was a river rock border around the deck. It's been slow going, and will be ongoing until done as I need to be out of his way. I've moved rocks, just a few buckets so far, to fill in the front and side of garage rock garden area. I helped my friend water her various plants and garden while they were on vacation. It felt good to give back to her after all the support she's given us. I've done more outside work this summer than I've done in decades. I know I took DH and all his outside duties for granted. I just never worried about the outside maintenance. Well, it's my duty now and I'm going to rise to the challenge.

    I think next year I'll figure out some pollinator plants. I love this area by the pond. One afternoon I chatted with one of the water preservation gentlemen that are working to improve the city ponds. He told me there was going to be a floating island that would be anchored with plants that grow through and settle to the bottom. It's a man made ponding basin, but the improvements help it feel and look natural. My daughter also has beautiful pollinator plants in her deck planters.

     It's been quiet with my daughter gone to Norway, not that she's loud, but just the sounds of someone else here. I'll need to get used to it as she'll move into her apartment when she's back. It will be sparsely decorated but she's had a few offers of items needed. She's having a good time with extended family, like they already knew her. DD1 is helping her cousin tomorrow all day so grandpup will be at my house. He's just so darn cute and pup rises to compete with equal cuteness. They are confused about the backyard and why they can't go out the back door.

     Meals for the week were really basic and leftovers were either eaten another night or lunches. After bringing DD2 on Sunday, I finally cleaned out fridge and freezer. I bought a few odds and ends, but other than milk and maybe fresh fruit and veg, won't need many groceries the rest of the month. Lunches were leftovers of course. 

  • Saturday: Grilled bratwurst, fruit at my sister's ( ok and some tortilla chips and a rice krispie treat)
  • Sunday: Leftover chickpea and vegetable curry (I froze some for daughter too after making a massive pot of it Saturday for her) 
  • Monday: Rice crust quiche with spinach and bacon 
  • Tuesday: Weird because it was hot out, but with eating down pantry and freezer, I made potato crockpot soup with bacon bits, and boxed au gratin potatoes. I googled a few recipes for ideas, but sort of winged it myself and used  crockpot. As it uses salt heavy packaged food, it won't be an often meal, but with four cups water, more veggies, and probably two cups milk, I diluted the cheese packet, compensating with more onion and garlic powder. I froze some in a freezer bag.
  • Wednesday: Zucchini fritter,  broccoli, garlic toast
  • Thursday: leftovers 
  • Friday: Dinner out with family

     I hope to get some refrigerator pickles made this weekend if my daughter has enough spare cucumbers ready. Those were cantaloupe a few weeks back, not watermelon but now she has both coming. I also have enough cherries frozen for two more batches of jam. My sister gave me 1/2 dozen jam jars for the cause. I think I'm a homebody all weekend, no plans at all. I need to get my friend's house key back and another sister invited me to join her and friends out at a regional park for a camp fire. I'll see how I've made progress by then. That's what my life has been since we last talked. How are you all living August?