Wednesday, January 23, 2013

In Case You Were Wondering

A year ago in August, on Megan's first day of 9th grade, I took a picture of her getting ready for school.  When I downloaded the picture from the camera and looked at it, I got smacked right between the eyes with a realization!  A very ugly realization!

I didn't write about it here, but I did say something on Facebook about it.  It was one of those things that you just become oblivious to.  I'd looked at it every day, for 10 YEARS, and no longer saw it.

That towel over the back door's window.

Ugh. That thing needed to go!

I was determined that another 10 years would not pass with that towel being used as a curtain.  Originally, we put it up when we moved into the house, and intended to use it only until I could find a curtain I liked.  Yep, that plan didn't work out so well.

So, I went shopping.  I didn't find any window curtains I liked.  They were either all way too big, or were the type that wouldn't cover the entire window.  I was faced with a choice...either buy a big one and alter it, or start from scratch and make my own.  After looking around for a few weeks, in town, out of town, and on the internet, I just didn't find anything I was crazy about.

I wasn't excited about any of the fabric I saw, but decided on some and bought it.  But I just wasn't into it that much, and, you guessed it, the curtain didn't get made.  A couple of months later, we were in a town with a Hobby Lobby store, and I looked through their fabrics.  I wasn't sure what I wanted, but I knew I just wasn't really seeing it.  I found some that I kind of liked and thought would work, so I bought it.  Again, got it home, just not crazy about it, and no curtain got made.

Every so often over the next year, I'd look at that towel, think some grumpy thoughts, and then go back to ignoring it.

Then, a wonderful thing finally happened!  In November 2012, a Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts store opened in my town!  Hooray!  One of the first things I did was go through their fabrics.  Rats.  Didn't find any I liked.  But about a week later, I checked again.  And, Yes!  In the sale pile, I found just what I was looking for!  I bought this wonderful fabric, took it home, and within a couple of days, I had time to make my curtain.

Ah, what a relief it was to finally say goodbye to that old towel!  Never fear, I didn't throw it away, or have a special sacrificial ceremony and burn it, as tempting as that was.  It got added to the "car towel" pile, and it is happily right at home there.

I know some of you saw and commented on that original Facebook post, so there you go.  As Paul Harvey would say, "And now you know the rest of the story".  Just in case you were wondering...and even if you weren't!  ;o)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lesson Learned

Jesus used parables to teach, and one such story actually came into play at our house recently. 

Do you remember the parable of the talants (from Matthew 25)?  A man was going on a journey, so he gave each of his servants some talents of money to take care of for him.  He gave one servant five talants, another servant two talents, and the last servant got one talent.  Then the man went on his journey.

While he was gone, the servants with the five and two talents put the money to work and doubled what they were originally given.  But the third servant only hid the money and so he didn't gain anything.  When the man came back from his long journey and went to settle up with the servants, he was pleased with the first two, because they doubled his money.  But the third servant was scolded, the talent taken away from him and given to the first servant, and he was cast out, because he did nothing but bury the money for safe keeping.

So, what does this have to do with my family? Late last week, we got a bank statement in the mail.  Megan has a savings account in South Dakota, at the credit union on Ellsworth Air Force Base.  She's had that account since she was a baby, and there's not a ton of money in it, but we have left it there knowing that at some point, it will come in handy.  She has an account here, too, and we have talked about transferring the money from the South Dakota account, but never have done it.  We just didn't bother, because we knew it was in the bank, earning interest.

Until now. 

Here's the part of the parable that applies:  "Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest." (Matthew 25:27).

Every so often we get bank statements, and it shows the interest earned on Megan's account.  This time, there was no interest added.  So I looked for an explanation, and down at the bottom of the page, there was a note from the bank, saying the account is now "dormant".  Apparently after a certain amount of time with no deposit, the bank has decided it can keep and use Megan's money for free.  I don't think so!

We will be making a trip to the bank here to set up the transfer.  In doing so, we will be taking the talent away from the servant who only hid it in the ground, and will give it to the servant who will put it to work and make more money.  How annoying, and bold, that a bank will do what they've done. I know they don't have Megan's money set aside gathering dust.  They are using it, and making money off of it, and not passing Megan's share of that profit on to her.  They are stealing from her! 

Even though I know Jesus wasn't really talking about money with the Parable of the Talents, that's exactly how it applies here. 

Lesson learned!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Who Rides on the Clouds

One day last week, we had a breathtaking sunrise, and in the evening, we had a fiery sunset that made everything glow.  We often have one or the other, but to have both in the same day was a treat.

The rest of the day was the middle of this beautiful sandwich.

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the Lord is to be praised. Psalm 113:3 NIV
Sing to God, sing praise to his name,
 extol him who rides on the clouds-
his name is the Lord-
 and rejoice before him. Psalm 68:4 NIV

Saturday, January 19, 2013

My New Career

Lately, I have a new career. Doggy nurse! It's pretty much a full-time job. Too bad it doesn't pay well. Actually, it doesn't pay at all. Sadly, the vet clinic is getting paid plenty! In the last couple of months, four out of our five dogs have made trips, some of them multiple trips, to the vet. I'll start with Teddie's story.

Teddie is 17 1/2 years old. We've actually been seriously doctoring her for the past year. Due to her age, her liver and kidneys are failing, with the liver being most advanced. Because of this, she has no appetite on her own, and requires a daily pill so she will eat, which still isn't much. She's not in pain, she's still a happy girl, but with the medication, we don't have to watch her starve to death. Her heart is strong as can be.

Also due to her age, she has eye problems.  One eye has glaucoma, the other eye has an ulcer on the cornea that will not heal.  We are told the ulcer is because of her age, her immune system doesn't work well, and her cells don't regenerate.  Her eye looks terrible, but it doesn't seem to be bothering her at all.  Even though the eye will probably never heal, medication keeps it from getting worse.  She has two different eye drops that she gets several times a day, and an antibiotic pill twice a day for her eye.

Also due to her age, she has developed a cough, which is not due to anything like congestive heart failure, but it's sort of a permanent bronchitis, also due to her immune system not working well.  As long as she's on a certain antibiotic, the cough is mostly gone.  The minute we stop the medication, the cough immediately comes back, and it is very croupy. 

Poor Teddie.  She gets three pills in the morning, one type of eye drops two or three times per day, and the other eye drops every three to four hours!  At night, she gets another pill.  Poor dog!  I feel terrible for her.  I'm always having to do something to her, but she's a pretty good sport and endures.  Believe me, this is all to keep her comfy.  I know we are getting closer to the end of her life, and if the time comes that she starts to suffer, we will let her go.  I won't allow her to be in pain or so sick that she can't enjoy life.  Until that time, I will do whatever I can to make her comfortable.  As long as she's happy, I'm happy.

You can see the ring on the eye from the ulcer, and the other eye bulges from the glaucoma. Getting old just stinks!

The next patient was Sweet Pea.  She developed a rather large, squishy lump covering her chest and running down her belly.  Thankfully, it is a benign lipoma.  It slowly grows, but the vet doesn't want to remove it unless it starts to cause her problems.  The surgery would be so extensive and painful for her, that it's just not worth it.  Sweet Pea doesn't have any pain or discomfort with this, it just looks and feels icky.  I'm so glad there's no medication or treatment she has to go through.  It is a strictly "keep an eye on it" type of thing.

Sweet Pea with her chest tumor.  Not easy to see here, it bulges out in front, and you can kind of see how it's starting to look kind of lumpy next to her leg.

Next up is Pip.  Thursday night, Pip crawled under the couch and threw up.  It was weird and random, so I thought, but that's what she did.  When we pulled the couch out to clean it up, there were at least eight other old barf spots under there.  Chad commented that now we knew what she was doing when we weren't home.  Ugh!  No food in any of the "puddles", just liquid.  So, off to the vet we went yesterday.  After a thorough exam and a couple of tests, the vet is confident that Pip is making too much stomach acid, and before mealtimes (morning and evening), the excess acid is upsetting her tummy.  Thankfully, there's a very easy fix for this problem.  Pip now takes Zantac twice a day, and hopefully we won't have anymore vomit surprises!

Hopefully Zantac will have Pip's tummy feeling all better.

And last, but certainly not least, is Jack.  He was really going to town last night with licking his foot.  Poor guy, he's got a split nail on one of his front paws.  There was a ridge down that nail, and it split open, clear down to the quick, and was bleeding.  Ouch!  So after a call to the vet (they know me so well now!), it was time to doctor that toe.  Jack HATES having his feet messed with, and gets snappy if you mess with his nails (claw clipping is NOT fun), and he really didn't want me messing with this sore nail.  The vet said to clean the toe and claw with betadine (That had to sting!),  and fill in the fissure with cornstarch to help stop the bleeding.  Next, I had to smear anti-biotic ointment on the toe and around the nail, then bandage the toe and nail.  Then we were instructed to put a sock on him and tape it to his leg.  Since it's wet outside from melting snow, Jack also gets a bread sack "boot".  It will take a few days for the quick to harden and not start to bleed, so this will be how we take care of his toe and nail for awhile.

Oh, the indignities!

Jack was not at all happy with any of this operation, and he's a very big and strong boy.  To keep him still while I worked on him, Chad had to literally straddle his back (wasn't easy getting Jack to lay down for this), and sit on him to keep an escape from happening.  After the Jack rodeo, I thought he'd be trying to get the sock off and be working on the bandage in nothing flat.  But that isn't happening!  He's leaving everything alone, and didn't even mind wearing his "boot" outside.  It's pretty funny though; walking with the sack on his foot, he sounds like he has a flat tire!

Bet you wish you had such fancy footwear!

So, if anyone needs me, just look for me at my doggy hospital!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Roy G Biv

This winter, we've had a visitor every sunny day.  His name is Roy G Biv.  Every time Roy visits, he leaves something on the carpet, and sometimes on the furniture.  But I really don't mind. 

Would you?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Jack Antics

Jack is quite a fireball.  He is perfectly coiled energy, poised for action.  At any moment, he will spring and take the world by force!

Here, see for yourself...

The view from where I was sitting.

The view from where Megan was sitting.

Ready to spring into action!

Total holiday excitement, right here!

Oh, I love this dog!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year, 2013!

I am so glad 2013 is here!  2012 had it's good times and blessings, but it also had some very hard and definitely not fun times for my family, and I am ready to be out with the old, and in with the new.  We are counting our blessings, hoping and praying for good health and peace, and we are thankful for God's mercy and grace.

Last night, we stayed home to celebrate, and just went upstairs to mom's.  Gwen, a good friend, part of the family really, came over, and we had an interesting combination of yummy things to eat.  A mixture of tacos, nachos, fresh guacamole, a selection of meats and cheeses, fresh veggies, crackers, dips, pie and watergate salad!  We all sampled a bit of everything, and the beauty of it all is leftovers!  I will not have to cook at all today!

After eating, we played a rollicking game of "Dumb Ass" (a trivia game).  I know some of you may be wondering why we were playing a game with a name like that; it is an inside family joke, and despite the name, it is a fun game!  The only problem with it is, you can only play it once, because you'll already know all the answers if you play it again, and that would be no fun.  We were able to play several noisy rounds before we ran out of cards (first person to shout out the correct answer wins the card).

Next, we played Monopoly.  We had a few hours to wait for 2013 to arrive, so we got busy making each other go bankrupt.  It was a lot of fun; there were many houses and hotels bought, sold back, bought again, sold back again, lots of properties mortgaged, and wow, the jail was a very busy place!  Actually, when the houses and hotels started showing up around three sides of the board, jail was the safest place to be!  It was a lot of fun, and in the end, Gwen cleaned us all out, owned everything, and the game ended with just a few minutes left of 2012.  Interestingly enough, Megan was the last one to avoid losing it all to Gwen.  That's my baby; Megan, the railroad magnate!

We spent those last minutes cleaning up the game and the kitchen, then as 2013 made its debut, we opened the sparkling grape juice, wished a Happy New Year to all, and ended our little gathering.

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year, and may God's blessings be abundant in 2013!