geanniegray.com

a blog about life with diabetes, depression & dysfunction & how to manage them with HOPE!

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getting back to business…


Wow.  I dunno about you guys, but this has been a crazy, mostly-yucky few months for me!  Between this god-awful allergy/bronchitis/whooping cough/sumpin’-sumpin’ and then getting that molar pulled followed swiftly by a lovely dry socket, I have been, let’s just say not fit for company.

Thank God I am finally feeling better.  I still don’t have my voice back though.  Yeah, yeah…funny.  Ha.  Ha.  I can talk at least, but it’s just squeaky and crackly.  I’ve never had laryngitis or whatever this is called for this long.  Usually a week or possibly two and I’m over it, but this is nuts!  I never realized how much I hum or sing harmony along with whatever song is playing.  I notice it now because I simply can NOT do it!

It’s definitely true, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.  Well, except for that tooth.  I don’t miss it.  I can finally swallow and talk (or squeak) without it jabbing into my tongue all the time.  Yay for that!

Okay, so let’s catch up.  I guess everyone is getting ready for Thanksgiving now.  I swear, every year at this time, I always feel like time just speeds up even faster than normal.  No matter what vows I make to do better “next year”, be more prepared, the holidays always seem to catch me off guard.  I’ve decided, at least for me, it’s that we’re all trying to wring the last bit of summer out that we can, so we’re rushing around doing summer things and then suddenly BOOM! it’s fall.  Ha ha ha!  That’s sure the way it has been this year, too.

For several years of our married life, autumn has found us doing some major remodeling on the house of some sort.  So then as Thanksgiving looms, we are rushing and working all hours to get done so we can host at least one gathering of family.   One year, we were almost done painting the last of our three biggest rooms!  Another year I think we had just swapped furniture in the living room and family room.

This year?  Well, no big projects going on, but one is in the pipe.  We actually have material stacked up in the hallway waiting for the chaos to commence.

We built our house.  Well, I say “we” but y’know, my man built it.  Seriously.  He framed it and did the wiring and plumbing.  We hired all of the drywall, siding, roof and foundation out.  We were thrilled snotless to be finally getting a house after living eight years in a 12×60 single wide with a toddler!  Then we had lived several months with both the boys in my parents’ basement.  We were ready for some space!  We thought we had tons.

We were wrong.

Of course, we tried to save money, build it nice but not extravagant by any means. And we really DID think we had given ourselves plenty of room.  Most of the rooms are perfectly fine, but our master bedroom is just cramped.  That’s the only way you can put it.

We have your typical 3-bed/2-bath ranch style house with family room, living room, utility room and dine-in kitchen.   Our original floor plan had a walk-in closet in the master bedroom that jutted out into the kitchen.  My dad convinced us that it was going to make the kitchen way too small, and he was right.  I would have hated the kitchen if we’d done it that way.  So to remedy that, we basically shoved that closet back into the bedroom, made it smaller and gave up a chunk of space we — thought — we could spare.

We were wrong.

The bedroom has two doors and one 36-inch window, plus the two hinge-type closet doors.  One door opens to the kitchen, the other is a pocket door that opens to the walk-thru master bath which then leads through the utility room that then opens up into the kitchen as well.  IF you are still with me after that, you are amazing.  Can I just say that right now?  🙂

So our bedroom/bathroom/utility/kitchen have a circular path through them and we use all of those on a regular basis.  ANYway, so for a couple years, we’ve sporadically talked about pushing one wall of the bedroom into the living that we seldom use anyway.  Our front door is in the living room and opens to our porch.  We don’t use that door much and it is directly in line with a larger arched opening into the family room.  It’s a straight shot from one to the other.  To the left of the arched doorway, if you’re facing in toward the house, is that little hallway to the two bedrooms.  So if we pushed the bedroom all the way to the front door, it would basically create another short hallway from the front door to the family room and connected to the current hallway in an L shape.   Doing that would give us about 120 extra square feet in the bedroom.  That is some much needed space!

The main reason we never started the project before was because of the cost of flooring.  The other stuff is not terribly expensive and can be bought in smaller batches as it is used and needed.  But not the floor.  And we are getting rid of all the carpet, remember?   And, as my mother is always so quick to point out, “Carpet is the cheapest” but we want wood, sooOOOOoo…. sigh  There’s our conundrum.

Sometime last week, Melissa texted me a post from Facebook where the sister of someone we know was selling several boxes of nice hardwood flooring.  We looked around online to compare prices and even if it was discounted a little from retail, it was still going to be out of our ability to pay for, so we politely declined to buy it.  They came back with a slightly cheaper price and we thought and figured again, but things are very tight right now with Tommy repairing this other truck, so we still couldn’t afford it.

Somewhere along the line, I mentioned all this to my mom.  Just while chatting on the phone.  In typical mom-style, she asked how much the people wanted for the wood.  She would buy it for us “for Christmas”.  She insisted until I said I would talk it over with Tommy.  He reminded me of how many times our parents have helped my sister and her husband out financially, so he said go ahead and let her buy it.  So now we have nine boxes of hardwood stacked in the hallway.  It is just enough to do our entire bedroom…the way it is now.

If we expand the room like we want, we will need another three boxes.  We’ve found that, contrary to what the floor-selling people told us, there is a place local that we can get more of this same color/style wood, so that’s not a worry, although it will be around $300 to buy the additional wood.  We wouldn’t have to have it just yet.

We’re not quite going to this extreme, but close…

We kept talking about this whole idea and decided that if we were going to stay here, and after 25 years, I’m pretty sure we’re not going anywhere, we should probably go ahead and make the house like we want, more practical and comfortable while we are still able.

We’re not spring chickens anymore, in case you didn’t know.  So now I’m thinking about logistics, the moving our bedroom into one of the spare rooms, the fact that doing that requires renting a carpet cleaner because Max occasionally thinks that’s his bathroom 🙁 and we didn’t realize it for awhile.  GASP!

There will be ceiling to repair/redo, which means Yay! I’ll be getting rid of the popcorn in the bedroom, but Urgh, It will be a job doing it back slick.  Tommy doesn’t seem to have any reservations and I’ve never seen the man not do something he set his mind to, so I’m not worrying about it either.

I’ll get to repaint the bedroom, like I wanted to already since we got rid of all our old bedding and got new allergen-free/resistant stuff.  Getting the carpet out will help the allergies a lot and so I can paint the room to match the new spread I got for the bed.  It’s grey, in case you wondered, a very light grey and it’s just a quilted cotton coverlet type, but the main reason I got it was because it can be thrown in the washer.   I’m going to use some tone of blue as an accent, I think.  Maybe even do one wall a different color.  Here are examples of my color ideas for wall paint:

I’m thinking something like either of these two shades for the main grey color….

I couldn’t find any bedroom pix with the grey/blue combo, so here are a couple living rooms with the tone of blue I’m thinking for accent…

or possibly…

We shall see.  As of right now, I made the mistake of looking around for some images of “remodeling chaos” and up popped a bunch of Pinterest stuff and “after” shots from professional remodeling jobs.  Now I’m all like, dang!  Have you seen my house?  Better yet, have you seen my bank balance?!?

Can you feel me?  Yeah…I gotta stick to the real world here in Po’ville where we barely scrapin’ by.  Ha, ha!

Nothing like moving large pieces of furniture from room to room to make you realize how much space they actually take up.  That’s what I dread the most, I guess.  Living with the added mess and chaos that just comes with a remodel.  When you have to move one room into another while the other one is still there.  Not knowing where anything is because you had to find a whole new place to put it where it wouldn’t get in the way in a room it doesn’t even belong anyway.  See?  

Oh well… soon, maybe.  You know I’ll keep you posted.  And with my actual pix possibly!  Ha!


how does your garden grow?


Hosea 6:11

Hey guys. It’s been busy around the Gray residence the past several days. Our garden is beginning to take off, so that means we’ve been out there in the dirt!

Here’s what we started with April 20th … we sowed the whole thing, which you can’t tell here.  garden planted: April 20, 2016We have several varieties of tomato and pepper plants, some broccoli and cabbage, beans and potatoes, squash, zucchini and cucumbers and a bit of lettuce and a rhubarb plant.  Now, it was NOT my intention to plant so much stuff.  As I said in another post, Mom got the gardening bug this year for the first time in a long time.  She loves those green beans.  I do too, but I hate picking them, so ever since Tommy and I started gardening on our own (without any input or advisory help from the family) we have put those “fences” up for the beans to grow on.  It makes picking LOTS easier and keeps the beans cleaner, which in turn, keeps them healthier.  Mom has always been uber picky about them though, telling us that we were picking them too soon.  (she likes them FULL with huge beans…which most times leaves the green part too tough to even eat!)  I’ll just tell you, we are gonna butt heads before this is over.  Haha!

My intention was to not even put out beans.  Last time we did, they were awful.  Not even tender to begin with and way beyond too tough by the time they were mature enough to pick.  We ended up just pulling them, vines and all, off the fence and giving them to the chickens.  Putting up that fencing is WAY too much trouble for that.  I just wasn’t in the mood to deal with it this year.

We haven’t planted for the past couple years because it was just such a small harvest for so much effort and then last year, with cycling so much, there’s no time to tend a big garden.

Anyway, so besides what amounts to four rows of beans (once we plant on each side of the two fences), Mom wanted four more rows.  So there they are, already showing the signs of being planted without something to run up, browning leaves and dirt all over them.  For some reason, it seems they just don’t do as well, at least for us, unless we plant them on the fences.  (and like I said, even then if the weather’s not just right, they won’t be good either!)

If you hadn’t figured it out by now, I’m not really a gardener.  Ha.  I can get stuff to grow and I don’t mind planting, but I detest the maintenance.  The weeding, hoeing, the bug-watching, the dusting and fertilizing.  I hate that stuff.  Tommy would wallow in the dirt out there all day if he had time and you let him.  Whenever we are pulling weeds, I’m fussing about all the dirt getting on me and he’s down on his knees patting and pushing the dirt around the plants.  Tommy, crawling around in the garden...

He LOVES it.   It’s so funny…I don’t know how he has missed it all these years, but a couple weeks ago we were out there weeding and he says, “I love doing this, don’t you?”  I just looked at him, mouth agape and hair sticking to my face in the sweat and dirt on it.  “Um, nope.  It is just about the least favorite thing to do ever.”  He was flabbergasted!  Yeah, my poor hubby is not the most intuitive fella.

So yeah, I have a love/hate relationship with gardening.  I LOVE knowing what’s gone into my veggies, that no poison has been sprayed on them (that’s if I can keep my mom from putting Sevin all over them!) or tilled into the ground, but the whole process, beyond planting, I just hate!  I hate harvesting too.  Not as bad as weeding and hoeing, but almost.  It’s just so much work and it’s all so rush-rush.  With the way I’ve been so stinking low on energy lately, even more than usual, I just don’t know how much I’ll be able to handle this fall.  But I’m not going to fret over that now.  Maybe between now and then, I’ll have figured out what’s going on with me and feel a lot better.  Lord, let it be so!

As for the “love” side of gardening, I wouldn’t have put out lettuce at all since we had such a poor experience with it last time.  But Mom had bought some lettuce plants (I had sowed seed last time) and they are doing great!  No bugs or anything, so I’ve been out there gathering some and making some amazing wilted lettuce with sauteed onions and peppers.  YUMMO!!  I will be glad when the squash and zucchini come in too because we love them as well and use them in just about every dish when we have them in the garden.

Hosea 6:11

I’m gonna try to focus on this scripture from Hosea and maybe see if my attitude changes.  I really think that I just dislike the garden because I’m not wired to love it, ya know?

My great aunt Lida was a gardening phenom.  She LOVED working the soil and tending her plants.  When Tommy and I first got married, we lived behind Aunt Lida in a little trailer for almost 5 years.  Between the front of our trailer and the back of her house was her massive garden plot.  She would be out there early in the morning before it got too hot and then sometimes again in late afternoon.  She could work circles around any of the rest of us.  And she knew EVERYTHING about growing things.  I really miss her whenever we’re doing things like that.

Okay, I’m gonna shut it down now.  Hopefully, in a few weeks, I can post some pictures of some amazing tomatoes and stuff for you.  We shall see!

Blessings!

 


the garden is planted!


Unlike Monday, this Tuesday was good.  I didn’t feel super, but good enough to work in the garden.  We haven’t put one out in a couple years.  The last times we have, we’ve done it all by ourselves.  It seemed like no one else was in the mood for it.  We’d get comments about how it was too much work, it was cheaper to buy from the store or we weren’t keeping it the way “you’re supposed to”.  That just meant we were doing something different than the way they or previous generations did it.   sigh  As you might guess, we get those kinds of comments about pretty much everything we do!

Dad just doesn’t and didn’t want to fool with the garden at all.gardeningIt seems Mom has been the one suddenly just dying to have a garden this year.  Every time she’d send Dad down to the house with the tractor and plow, if Tommy was around he’d make at least one comment about it, letting us all know he was completely against the idea.  Actually, last time he had Tommy’s ear bent for almost 45 minutes!  ha ha

Anyway, so after dumping the chicken poops all over the garden for the past couple years and getting it worked into the ground, we have probably the best-looking dirt we’ve ever had!  YAY!  The ground here is very clay-heavy and has never grown anything, including grass (see that bald spot at the lower left of the photo? ‘ats what I’m sayin’!)  We’ve brought in cow manure in years past so every year we try to enhance the soil somehow.  But this year it is just more rich-looking and less hard/crusty/mud-rocky.  We are hopeful to get a lot better results this year!  After looking at the following photo, it doesn’t really appear to be the greatest soil, but it is dry so just trust me, that dirt is the best we’ve ever had to plant!

pretty dirt all ready to be planted

our garden, all ready to plant!

Tommy took off work because that’s the only way we’ve ever been able to get a garden out without working into the night and pulling out all sorts of lights, fighting shadows and all that craziness.  Today however, we had Mom and my brother-in-law, Dale, helping us!  Mom often has Dale help her with things and already had him lined up to help with planting on Wednesday though I’m not sure why since she hadn’t mentioned it to us, but ANYhow, she was able to suddenly change his plans (I’m laughing because Mom does that kinda thing SO often!) and we had help!

Mom has to be careful because she’s got some kind of weird spasm thing in her shoulders, so I had to keep her from overdoing.  She will get herself completely down in the bed just from something like sweeping or chopping vegetables.  She could help drop seed and cover plants though, so we were able to actually get the entire garden planted, including putting up our “bean fence” which is a little labor intense, but is the best way we’ve found to keep the beans clean and give them plenty of room to vine.  We put out several varieties of tomatoes and peppers, some broccoli seedlings, 45 day cabbage, squash and zucchini, two kinds of potatoes, cucumbers, a rhubarb plant, green beans and even some romaine lettuce.

the garden's all planted!

the garden, all planted and ready to grow!  God bless it with increase, please!

 Tommy and I were SO glad to have that done.  We weren’t expecting to have help so what normally would have taken us at least two days went much faster!  Mom was tired, but we finally got her to go home when we were down to just filling in the last empty area of the garden with beans.

She was insistent that we put out a ton of beans.  I would normally not put any more than goes around our bean fence, which amounts to four rows, but she wanted more, so we have eight rows, four of which aren’t on any sort of support.  I don’t like picking dirty beans.  Well wait, I don’t like picking beans at all, but especially if I have to crawl around in the dirt.  That’s why we go to the trouble of putting up that fence.  It keeps them up off the ground and they’re much easier to pick!  I could tell Mom thought it was just crazy for us to spend the time and labor to put up our fence.  I’ll be curious to see how much trouble she thinks it was when she’s having to deal with her extra rows on the ground.   ha ha

I am sore and really tired and “sun-kissed”…well, aggressively sun-kissed, but not burned, thank God!  My hands, which tend to get random, weird (probably neuropathy-related) itching-blisters anyway got even more torn up, but at least not itching.

diabetic gardener's hands

my poor, sad diabetic/gardener hands

I went in, took a shower to wash the grit off and sacked out!  Poor Tommy had to go do some running for the Jeep project, so he ended up coming in quite a bit later.

We have sewn the seed, now for God to send the right amounts of sun and rain and deliver the increase!  Let it be so, we pray!

Blessings to you!

G~



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