New (to me) Car

Last week, I purchased a new-to-me car, a 2011 Ford Fusion. For the last few years, I had been driving a 2006 Hyundai Santa Fe which belonged to my husband before we got married. I started driving that in 2018 when my Ford Focus got totaled in an accident and the replacement car we got was a stick shift that Joe drives. (I haven’t driven a stick in many years and am sorely out of practice!)

I have always liked Fords. My first car, which my parents bought me my first year of college, was a Plymouth Horizon, but my second car, which I picked out, was a black Ford Escort Pony with hot pink striping. Both of those cars were stick shift. After that, I owned a Ford Taurus sedan, a Ford Taurus wagon, and a Ford Focus (all automatics).

It was a bit strange driving the Santa Fe at first. I had to get used to being up higher since it was an SUV. But it was a good vehicle for the time I drove it. Unfortunately, it had gotten to the point where there was enough stuff wrong with it that it wasn’t worth fixing anymore. I thought about getting another SUV, but now that I have arthritis in my right hip, it can be difficult to get in an SUV.

The Fusion has some great features which I have never had before. It has a navigation system along with a rear backup camera. It also has heated seats (black leather) and dual temperature controls. It also only has 58K miles on it. I am looking forward to driving it for quite a few years.

Here are some pictures:

December Update

I started my personal winter break today. I will still be doing some work, but I won’t be working my regular hours until after the New Year. I was so productive today:

  • Took Baxter to daycare
  • Took Michael for bloodwork
  • Went to the store and got a few things, including stuff to make Peanut Butter Blossoms (requested by Michael)
  • Cleaned the cat box (I don’t do this often enough!)
  • Called the gas company
  • Emailed the lawyer about Michael’s SSI appeal
  • Did some filing
  • Went to Rite Aid for Michael’s new weight loss medication and the rest of our stocking stuffers
  • Went to the library
  • Made lunch
  • Made Peanut Butter Blossoms with Michael (used dark chocolate Kisses because that’s all they had at the store)
  • Went back to the store to get stuff for chocolate chip cookies (Joe’s favorite)
  • Picked up Baxter from daycare
  • Made dinner
  • Wrapped Christmas presents
  • Checked my work email

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and we are going to make the chocolate chip cookies. Michael asked if we could watch a Christmas movie, so after dinner we are going to watch Christmas Vacation.

For Christmas Day, the three of us are celebrating in the morning with stockings and presents. Then Michael’s dad is picking him up at noon, and Joe and I are going to his parents’ house at 2pm. His dad has recently stopped treatment for his stomach cancer, plus he has a lung disease, so he wants to have his kids there for Christmas. There won’t be any grandkids, so it will just be ten of us.

Sunday night Michael will come home, and then he has all of next week off school. He does have some past assignments that weren’t turned in, however, so I will be working on those with him. Monday I get to do something I have never done before – prep for a colonoscopy. I am having my first colonoscopy on Tuesday morning. I have had many endoscopies, but never a colonoscopy.

Wednesday a friend of mine is coming over with her boys. She is going to work remotely in the afternoon while the boys play with Michael, but then we will get to visit after she is done with work for the day. I am really looking forward to their visit!

Thursday I will probably work, and then Friday (New Year’s Day) I am going to make the turkey dinner I had planned for Christmas Day before we got asked to go to Joe’s parents’ house for Christmas.

So it should be a nice holiday season. Hope you all have a happy holiday season as well!

November Update

I thought I would sit down and write an update as to what’s going on these days.

The holidays are going to be different this year.  Normally, we get together with my husband’s family for Thanksgiving Day and also for Christmas Eve.  But my father-in-law is still undergoing chemo and needs to be very careful to avoid catching anything, so we are not going to be getting together this year.  My parents both live in Illinois, so we don’t usually see them at the holidays either.

My in-laws decided to splurge this year and got us a grill as an early Christmas present.  It’s the same model they have, and it’s really nice.  We have used it a couple of times already.  Speaking of early Christmas presents, we have done a little shopping for ourselves as well.  I got new drapes for the dining room and a replacement set of Little House books since my originals are in bad condition and I still enjoy re-reading the series from time to time.  Joe got barbecue tools and a cover for the new grill.  Michael has been updating his wish list on Amazon for any family that want to get him something.

Michael has been struggling a bit with the hybrid schedule his school is on this fall.  His grades aren’t as good as they normally are because he has missed a few assignments or not read all the directions for the week when he is online.  He has also been feeling a bit stressed/overwhelmed with things.  His psychiatrist has increased one of his meds to help, and we are also back to biweekly sessions with his therapist.  The autistic support teacher is also meeting with him over Zoom once a week to review his assignments and the directions for the week in his classes.

For his senior year, Michael is taking English, Chemistry, Financial Algebra, and four credits of Electronics Technology.  He was originally going to take a couple of half-credit electives, but he doesn’t need them to graduate so he decided not to take them.  The seniors have online school Monday – Wednesday and in person school Thursday and Friday.  Thursdays are his academic classes, and since there are only three of them he gets out at 11am.  Fridays he has his shop all day.  The shop teacher has them working on individual projects for part of the day, and Michael is programming a video game for his project.

Work has been busy but not overwhelmingly so.  We are still working towards our new computer system and are finalizing all the product data uploads now.  We hope to be live before Thanksgiving.  I think the timing is good, because we will have a few weeks during our typically slower time to get used to the new system.  Then when things pick up in January, everyone should be pretty comfortable with it.

So that’s the news for now. Hope you are all doing well and staying healthy.

One Year with Baxter

It has been one year since Baxter joined our family. There have been lots of ups and downs as I adjusted to having a dog, but today I can say that I’m glad he’s here with us.

I wasn’t so sure I would feel that way at various points over the last year. There were a few days where I felt like I had postpartum depression – the feelings of being helpless and overwhelmed were so strong. Sometimes I could not figure out what he needed – when he regressed on his potty training after I introduced some wet food when he stopped eating the dry food. Thankfully cutting the wet food back to a very small amount mixed with the dry fixed that issue.

Getting outside help has made things substantially better. First we hired a dog trainer once a week for a few weeks. She helped us work with him on some of the issues we were having. He still has a lot to learn, but she gave us some tips on how to train him which were very helpful. Another thing we did is start taking him to doggy daycare once or twice a week. That way he gets to be energetic and social with other dogs while I get a little break from him. He loves it there and gets excited when I mention going to daycare. Plus he is super tired and chill in the evening after he goes and even somewhat the next day.

One thing I can’t believe is how much money we have spent in the last year on him. I have only ever had cats before and spend very little money on them. Part of it was us going overboard buying stuff for him like treats and toys, but also he has needed to go to the vet more often and now we are paying for the daycare.

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t think I want to go through raising a puppy again, despite how utterly cute he was. But I am glad now to have him in our lives.

Happy 4th of July

It is Saturday, July 4th, and today we are going to our first family gathering in several months. Since my father-in-law is currently undergoing chemo, it will just be the kids and not the grandkids attending this time. I got Michael some extra snacks to enjoy at home while he watches Baxter for us.

Joe’s job is winding down, and he starts his new job on the 13th. He will be working at a cabinet manufacturer. It’s first shift, but they are currently working extra long days plus every other Saturday. Once he gets through training, the hours will be 5:30-3:00. I would hate to get up that early; starting at 7:30 is plenty early enough for me!

His current job had their annual raffle, and he won a bunch of stuff, including a new laptop and a Dell all-in-one computer. I am using the Dell for work now instead of my old laptop. It has a huge screen, which I love. He was also able to get a graphics card that they were going to throw out, and he put that in Michael’s desktop computer. The only computer issue we are having now is that since we moved Michael’s computer up to the office, he occasionally gets disconnected from his games. So I bought an inexpensive wifi extender, and we are going to try that to see if it gives him a better signal up here. I do lose the connection occasionally as well, so it will help me too if it works.

Things with Baxter are doing much better. Since I cut back his wet food to a tablespoon per meal mixed with his dry food, he is settling more and we are getting back into a good rhythm with going potty. It’s still not perfect, but at least we gained back the ground we had lost for those few weeks. We are still meeting with the trainer and working on leave it and greeting people at the door and walking on the leash. It is slow going but I am still hopeful we can get there. I am also going to be taking him for a trial day at a doggy daycare this coming Tuesday. If it works out, I plan to take him there 1-2 times per week. I think it will be good for him.

The sunroom floor is in now, so that room is just about ready for the furniture that’s arriving on Wednesday. I am so excited to finally be able to use this room! I will post pictures once we get the furniture. We still need blinds and possibly other furniture, since we just got a recliner and a two-piece sectional with a chaise lounge.

So that’s my news for today. Enjoy your holiday!

We’ve Gone Green!

Under my desk – one of his favorite spots when I’m working!

I guess our county is in the green phase of reopening now. The dog park is open, although both times I have gone there haven’t been any dogs Baxter could play with.

Tuesday after I got the stitches out from my dental implant, I treated myself to lunch at a Mexican restaurant. It was nice to sit there and enjoy food I didn’t have to cook that was still hot. Takeout is nice but it has its limitations.

I don’t plan to go back to church yet. I will continue viewing the online services, which I had been doing off and on even before the pandemic. I prefer that method anyway!

I am going to get my hair cut on Thursday. It’s halfway down my back and desperately needs a few inches off. Plus she will thin it out some and taper it around my face. I want to look somewhat presentable when I have to do some staff training next month.

Speaking of work, I have been very busy there. We are adding new health and safety products to the website, plus I’m helping test the new system we are switching to later this year. And my boss has also asked me to train the sales staff on how to use the new system, so I’m trying to prepare for that as well.

On the Baxter front, we are now working with a dog trainer. She is coming once a week and plans to help us with the various issues we have been having. Lately it seems like potty training has regressed a bit so we are going back to a more routine schedule for taking him out. I really hope we can get this under control!

He was so cute the other night though. I took him out around 9pm and he was fascinated by the lightning bugs. He really wanted to catch one!

Moving to Yellow (May 31st Update)

I don’t have much to report this week.

I had a very productive week at work. Splitting my time between new product entry and new system testing breaks up the monotony of doing one thing all the time.

Michael finished up his assignments for the fourth quarter, so all that is left is to return his library books and pay his fines, which are less than $1.00 in total.  That will be on Wednesday.

Our county is now in the yellow zone, which means the stay at home order is lifted and some businesses can reopen while following social distancing guidelines. People are encouraged to continue working from home if they can and are supposed to limit gatherings to 25 people.