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Monday, October 28, 2013

Valerie and Joel are Engaged!

 Joel texted me Saturday morning asking if Willie was at work and what his phone number was. I didn't think much of it. Joel had recently bought the house that he and Valerie live in and I thought maybe he wanted to know if Lowe's carried something.

Willie was busy playing with Kahlen and feeding fish so I took his phone into him. I told him Joel was going to call him. He looked at me funny. I told him Joel had asked if he was at work, so it was probably something about the house.

Willie looked at me funny again. He looked at his phone. He joked that I should tell Joel he better call before the Iowa game started. Then said, "I wonder..."

"What?" I asked and looked at him. "You think?!"

"I bet he's going to ask!" Willie finished.

Impatiently we waited. I went in to the other room. When I came out Willie was on the phone. I could tell by the way he was talking we were right. Joel had called to ask for permission to ask Valerie to marry him!!!

A while later I got a text from Valerie. They were going to come out and visit. We knew why, but I wasn't sure if he asked her yet so I didn't say anything.

When they got to the house, they didn't say anything. We all stood outside and talked a while. When we went in, they still hadn't said anything. Finally I'd had it. She had been hiding her hand, so I knew he had asked.

"I'm not waiting any longer!" I yelled, "where IS IT!"

Valerie showed me her hand and I screamed "YAY!!" I scared Paxton in the process and he decided that he had to be afraid of Valerie and Joel for the next hour because of it.

Valerie said that Joel had came in and told her that he was going to his mom's to change the oil in the car. It was early, and she was still half asleep, so he could have told her anything and she wouldn't have caught on.

When he got back, he was very persistent about carving the pumpkins. She didn't think anything of it. She kept piddling around doing other things. Yet, he kept after her about carving the pumpkins. Valerie
 was starting to wonder why he was so intent on getting the pumpkins carved.

Finally, he got her to carve the pumpkins. Joel has carved out the bottom of a pumpkin. He scooped out all the pumpkin goop. He put the ring inside. Then he put the bottom back on an epoxied the bottom back on so it didn't look carved. She found the ring inside!

I was so happy for them. I made a point to tell Kahlen she should call Joel, Uncle Joel!

Since Joel and Valerie started going out, she has been so happy. They are such a good match. They have both been so good for each other.

Now, it is wedding planning time!!!!

A Day At the Pumpkin Patch

 Last Sunday, I went to the pumpkin patch in Grinnell with my grand kids. Their parents, except Josh, he had to work.

My sister came to stay with my dad for the day. Which meant I could go and have this time with them. I am very grateful that my sister is willing to help out.

Since there are thirty-six pictures on this post, I will let them tell the story. I might comment on a picture now and then though.


Mommy and Daughter


Mommy and son

They had a magician. He let the kids pet his dove
after his show. 


This was probably the best kiddie tractor ride I've seen.
It didn't just go in circles.
Kahlen loved it!





Noah's first trip to the pumpkin patch


Mommy and son

Scrubbing her pumpkin



Daddy and daughter

A tongue sticking out is very necessary
for walking

Mommy and son 

The corn crib





The goats like Noah better than Noah liked the goats



Paxton's favorite part





Thursday, October 24, 2013

Toilets..... grrrrrrrr

There is at least one in every house. No, I'm not talking about the toilet itself. I'm talking about the repeat offender. The one person, that every time they sit on the toilet,  it gets clogged. EVERY SINGLE TIME! The repeat offender in my house, (my dad, thought I should say that to keep from embarrassing, those that shouldn't be embarrassed,)   when he clogs the toilet, he clogs it good! I'm talking a solid dam with no leakage. This dam could hold back a tsunami. Any tsunami. It could save the world if it wasn't stuck in my toilet.

And stuck in my toilet is an understatement. I have plunged for hours and hours, I think my record is six hours, and it won't move. Arms sore and hands bruised, I got desperate.


Before I continue, I want to say something to the repeat offenders, you know who you are. I know it isn't something you do on purpose. I know you'd be happier if you didn't clog the toilet every time you had to poo. But, let me say this, FIBER IS YOUR FRIEND!!!! Eat veggies, or fruit or whole grains, something, anything! Robin Williams calls broccoli, "Nature's broom." He's right you know, but it doesn't have to be broccoli. Did you know that pears are very high in fiber? Grab a snack pack, you know you loved them as a kid. 

 Fixing the problem before it turns to concrete is is your first best plan. Drink something hot for breakfast every morning. Drink plenty of water or juice or whatever during the day. Find a way to make yourself regular. Stay away from laxatives, and stool softeners though, (unless a doctor has told you to use them) your digestive system will become dependent on them. 

Notice I said WILL become dependent on them. The bowel is a lazy cuss. It will sit back and do nothing if given the chance. Taking laxatives and stool softeners are just the ticket to make your digestive system take a permanent nap. They make life much too easy for the bowel, and it likes it that way. If you already have this problem, talk to your doctor about a bowel retraining program. If your problems are not due to medications, or medical problems, you, probably, can get your bowel to get its lazy butt up off the couch and working properly again. It will take time and dedication. 

My dad's problem is due to medications, and being old. He won't eat veggies, unless I sneak them in something else. I give him fresh fruit every day. He gets five prunes every morning. I get whole grain bread and crackers. I give him orange juice. Sometimes, even that doesn't help. If he goes a day without, well, going, I make him a breakfast full of fiber. Oatmeal, prunes, fresh fruit, and a magic ingredient. A poo poo platter, if you will. 

Oh, the magic ingredient? It is something that works every time! Mandarin oranges. I don't know why, or what it is about them, but they work EVERY TIME! 

However, if he goes even one day without BM..... 

 I needed a better way to clear a clog. I had called Willie at work and asked him to ask his plumbing people for ideas. The only one they came up with was a snake. I tried the snake. I HATED the snake! All it really did was make a big mess, and the damn dam was still in my toilet. It was completely disgusting! 

In desperation, I looked up clogged toilets on Pinterest. That's where I found it! It was so simple, I thought. There is no way it will work, I growled. I'll try it anyway, I sighed. 

Dish soap, Pinterest recommended. Hot water and dish soap. My hands and arms sore and tired, I got a tub of hot water and put it in the microwave to get it a little hotter. It said NOT to use boiling water, it may crack the porcelain, I did NOT want that. While that was heating up, I plunged as much water out of the bowl as I could and squirted a couple of squirts of dish soap in the bowl. I let it sit. When the water was hot, I poured it in the bowl and let it sit for a while. Supposedly, the soap and water helps break down the fats in the poo and helps break it up. After a while, I went and tried plunging again. Still no luck. It said letting it sit overnight can help. We only have one bathroom on the main floor, and Dad can't get upstairs. It had to get unclogged. I plunged what I could out again, and repeated the process and basically gave up. 

Willie got home later. I told him what was going on and that it might need snaked.  He went in to check it out, flushed the toilet, and it WENT DOWN!!! I was a combination of thrilled and pissed off! I was so glad it went down, but after six hours of plunging and everything else, I was mad that all he had to do was walk in and flush it! 

I started thinking about this whole dish soap and hot water thing. Was that what finally broke up the clog? Or was that just dumb luck that Willie got it to flush? Hmmmmm. 

Next time Dad went into the bathroom I told him not to flush. Just leave it and I would take care of it. When he was done, I squirted dish soap in and let it sit a while. 

Trying not to let my hopes get too high, I walked into the bathroom. Could it be this easy? I thought to myself. I flushed the toilet. DAMN! No, it wasn't that easy. The toilet clogged as usual. Don't give up. I went and started heating up some water, then returned to the toilet and plunged out the water I could again. Frustrated, I went to get the hot water. I poured it into the toilet, not expecting anything to happen. IT FLUSHED!!! It was a beautiful site! Clean water filled the bowl. I was so happy! 

Now, when I know dad is going into the bathroom to do his thing, I go in first and squirt some dish soap in before he even sits down. I figure, might as well get things going right away. It doesn't stop a clog, but it sure helps break it up quicker!

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Quick Side Note

This is for any one who read my post about my dad's first love, and may be wondering how it turned out.

I'm glad I never said anything to Dad. I got an envelope from Alaska one day in the mail. I was hopeful when I got it from the mail box. Inside was  the letter I wrote and a note.

They received the letter, but Billie Jean no longer lived in Alaska. They tried reaching her at a former address, to no avail. They tried to find her, the last they knew she lived in Nevada. The could not find her though.

I was disappointed, but also touched that they tried so hard to forward the letter, never having opened it.

The True Function of the Appendix: A Clinical Study

The appendix has long been maligned as a worthless organ. One that does nothing, and quite often causes more problems than it is worth, and thus removed. It gets infected, then plucked from the body and left in a medical trash heap somewhere for proper disposition. The former owner, goes on with life as if nothing has changed.

I have done extensive research on the appendix. I have read thousands of studies, talked to many eye witnesses, and poured over statistic after statistic. I have come to the conclusion that the appendix has one very important function. A function that only a few renowned scientists know about and that even fewer will speak of out loud. The government has been hiding facts from us. They know exactly what the appendix can do. I am here, as a whistle blower, to tell you the truth.

 The appendix is the source of a toddler's SUPERPOWER! That's right, toddlers have a superpower. All toddlers have it. Inside those little bodies is an appendix that functions fully for one reason and one reason only.

The government has been hiding this fact from us for decades. They discovered the tremendous power of the toddler appendix about the time they started hiding the fact that Area 51 existed. Coincidence? I think not. It is my conclusion that the government is trying to weaponize the power of the toddler appendix, and the aliens are helping them.

So, what is this superpower that toddlers have? What has the government been hiding from us all of these decades? Spending time, manpower and United States treasury to exploit and misuse.

It seems the toddler appendix is a gland that secrets a special substance. This substance is transported by the circulatory system to the hands and finger tips. Somehow, without being seen, this substance shoots from the finger tips. With this ability, it turns out, that toddlers can and will enter any room, any where, and with one wave of the hand, it will become instantly STICKY! The substance is therefore referred to as Instastick.

The toddler superpower has been found to be universal and crosses race, ethnicity and cultural boundaries. All toddlers have this power. A power to which we have no recourse. No matter how quickly you follow a toddler around with a cleaning rag, the entire house will become and remain sticky the entire time the toddler is occupying space in it. As well as three days after.

 I have watched carefully as Willie, bravely tries to defeat the Instastick. Following the toddler carefully, relentlessly, always with damp paper towel in hand. Cleaning, said toddler, quickly and efficiently. Yet, the Instastick always prevails.

It is a cruel opponent. It teases and it sneaks. It finds its way from one side of a room to the other without the aid of the toddler moving in anyway. It is stronger than we are. The Instastick knows our weaknesses, and uses them against us. It turns out that the appendix has its own brain and is highly intelligent, far more than humans. This intelligence is passed on to the Instastick, which it turns out is a living organism, which can survive both with or without oxygen. This gives it the ability to hide in places you don't think to look and then it will stretch out on the floor to catch your sock as you walk across. It climbs up counters and slips under your hand as you go to lean on the same counter. Before you know it, the Instastick is in your hair, on your hands and in your dog's ears. No one and nothing is safe from its viciousness.

Can you imagine what will happen if the government succeeds in its efforts to weaponize it? May the good Lord help us all!

New Project

 Since my dad moved in and I had to quit my job to care for him I have had a conundrum. Lots and lots of time on my hands, but very limited funds, and limited freedom to do what I want. There isn't much I can do about the freedom to do what I want. Filling time, and maybe making a little money in the process, those I may have a solution for. Well, filling time anyway. Making money, we will just have to wait and see.

Money has been so tight. When I quit my job, Willie and I lost a third of our income. It has been hard. Dad helps, but I don't feel right asking him for money, not really. Willie and I have been on our own for over 30 years. Asking Dad for money, it just really rubs me the wrong way.

Asking Dad for money so I can buy birthday and Christmas presents.... Not going to happen.

I had to think of some way to make some money for Christmas. People around here really enjoyed the windows I painted when I still worked at Star Drug. I loved doing them, I got a lot of compliments.

I knew I had some reclaimed barn wood that my friend Dawn had given me. I had cleaned it up, and sanded it down, and then forgot about it for the last year and a half.

I decided to go down stairs and dig it out and paint on it. Star Drug has an area where local crafters can sell their wares. There is everything from crocheted blankets, to jewelry to homemade swifter pads. We have some very talented local crafters. Especially, the crocheters. There are always beautiful things for sale in the "Iowan's Creative Corner." That is where I plan to try to sell my stuff. They keep 10%, I think that's fair, they also collect the sales tax, so I don't have to worry about that.



Given the time of year, and given that this little community I live in is very Lutheran, I decided Christmas would be the subject. I only had six pieces of barn wood, I had to make them things that would sell. Let's face it, Christmas sells. And, well, I want them to sell quickly enough that I have Christmas money. If they sell. I hope they sell. If they don't, at least I'll have some new Christmas decorations.

So, I painted. When I was done painting, I sprayed them with a clear coat to protect them. The hardest part was putting the stupid hardware on them for hanging. That didn't go well at all. You would think as old as the wood is you could screw a nail right in. Yeah..... THAT didn't happen. I was afraid to use the drill. I didn't want it to split the wood. I tried putting the screws in by hand. I tried some more. I kept trying.

I finally went and got the drill. I put the screw on the drill tip. Put the tip to the wood. turned on the drill. It wound and wound and wound, and got nowhere. Really?!?
I gave up. I tried using hangers that had nails instead of screws. I laid out a blanket on the floor. I put one of them face down on the blanket. I grabbed the hammer and the nail. I pounded the nail. It's at this point I would love to say I pounded the nail in. I would really love to say that. I can't say that.
This one is going to have reclaimed knobs in it for hanging
stockings
I pounded some more. This wood was as hard as cement. The nail finally started going in. It wanted to go crooked. I tried to straighten it out. It still went crooked. I pounded and pounded. The stupid piece of poo would NOT go in! I decided maybe it was because of the knot in the wood. I moved the hanger thingy, and tried again. The nail went in. Not straight, but in. I went to pound the other nail in. I carefully made sure the hanger thingy was straight. I tapped carefully. I tried very hard to make sure the nail stayed straight. I did not succeed. Not only did the nail not go in straight, somehow the hanger thingy ended up crooked, too. Arrrgggh!

My inner McCoy escaped and said,  "I'm an artist, Jim, not a carpenter." (I decided I can call myself an artist now. I have actually been paid for my work, once.) I did, finally get the hardware on two of them. Three of them weren't ready for hardware. The sixth one, I decided to put a black ribbon through the big knot hole. It looked good, and no pounding or drilling needed.

I took the three over to Star Drug. Sylvia and Ilah both loved them. Hopefully I can get the other three there in a day or two. I hope they sell.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Three Things I Discovered Today

People always say, "You learn something new everyday." Well, today I learned three new things. Do I get a gold star for extra credit? Or at least a little extra recess time for working so hard? I'd really like a little extra recess time! I don't get any of that any more.

First thing I learned. You know that recipe on Pinterest? Well, you really can make a really good pumpkin cake with just a boxed yellow cake mix, a can of pumpkin and two eggs. OK, yeah, I added a teaspoon of cinnamon, some fresh ground nutmeg, about a quarter teaspoon of allspice and a teaspoon of vanilla, too. Oh, and about a tablespoon of local honey. And pecans! I almost forgot the pecans! Frosted it with a can of cream cheese frosting, sprinkled with cinnamon and a few more pecans. It was quite tasty! As I was eating, about my third piece, I realized raisins, or dried cranberries would be really good in it, too! Or DATES! Yummmmm!


Second thing I learned, this stuff! Borax, is AWESOME stuff! My dad has accidents, a lot. I have been driving myself bat crap crazy trying to find something, anything that would take the urine smell out of his clothes. I tried sprays, so many different sprays. I tried pre-soaking, jeans just don't pre-soak well. I tried baking soda, I tried vinegar, I tried vinegar and  baking soda at the same time. I tried crying, none of it worked. I bought a box of Borax. Finally! It takes out the smell, and BONUS the clothes come out really soft, too. I'm using it on Willie and my clothes now, too.


Third thing I learned today, and this may be the most important, never EVER watch something you DVR'd weeks ago, that has weather warnings on it, with someone who has dementia. 
Dad: Here we go again....
Me: What?
Dad: Look, (points at TV) 
Me: (I look up at TV) What?
Dad: The weather, it's starting up again. 
Me: Ooohhh, no, I recorded this last week, you can ignore it. It isn't for today. 

(I go back to what I was working on. Five minutes later....)

Dad: Here we go again.... 
(I look at Dad,) 
Dad: The weather is starting up again....
Me: No, Dad, it is from last week, I recorded this last week. You can ignore it, it isn't for today. 
Dad: No, it's right there, on the screen.
Me: It's from last week Dad, it isn't for today. 
Dad: Oh, ok..

(I start back to what I was doing. 
Five minutes later...)

Dad: Here we go again....
I look at Dad. I grab the remote. I fast forward to the next episode. 
Me: There, now we don't have to worry about it. 

(Back to what I was working on.)

Dad: I saw on the TV a little bit ago that there are weather warnings out..... 
Me: Yeah, but they aren't for here.