Leaving tonight?

I thought that things would be a little less crazy this week, but I was wrong.

My son was trying to sell something online for us and almost got scammed. A person sent my son a check for over the asking price for the object and told him to take it to the bank right away.  He did because the bank was closing soon and he didn’t know what to do. Then the person was going to have his “moving person” swing by and pick up the object along with the extra money for moving the item to another state. It seemed a little fishy, but everything happened so fast that I didn’t stop my son.

When Paul heard about it later, he worried it was some sort of money laundering scheme. He dug around online and found out it was a scam. The scammer sends a legitimate looking check for over the price and tells the person to give the money to the mover who is stopping by to pick it up. The person who picks it up steals the item and the money then the check bounces. Our item was scheduled to be picked up the day we are leaving for vacation.

Yesterday morning, I went to the bank and expressed my concerns about the check being fraudulent. Upon closer examination, the bank also thought it was a scam. Unfortunately, when the check bounces my son’s account with be charged. I feel bad that I didn’t stop my son from putting the check into his account. We both thought something wasn’t right but ignored it because they were pressing my son to cash it before the bank closed the night before. It really didn’t give me enough time to think.

It just started the day out bad yesterday. But it didn’t end there. Someone pulled out in front of me and I skidded on the ice almost hitting them. The roads here are still horrible. Last Monday we got a foot of snow. Then we had 4 days of temps in the double digits below zero, followed by an ice storm, followed by more cold weather so the salt didn’t melt the ice.

Oh, it gets better. Then my husband went to the dental hygienist and she refused to treat him because his blood pressure was too high. Yesterday Paul had several meetings with key clients to try to save accounts. After I lost my position at the company we previously owned, clients got a little skittish with all of the changes. The meetings were stressful for Paul and he was running late to his appointment. His blood pressure was 185/107. They told him he needed to see his doctor immediately.

Paul had appointments all day, but kept monitoring his BP. His BP has been borderline high for years. By the end of the day, his BP was still high and the nurse said to take him to the ER since he also had a slight headache. Off to the ER we went. I was paranoid by all of the illnesses we were exposed to last night. If I didn’t think my husband could wind up dead during the night from a stroke, I wouldn’t have risked it. Ah, the things we do for love.

We spent the evening with Paul in a hospital bed, in a gown with an IV in his arm watching the state of the union address. The nurse came in and jokingly said that the SOTU was giving her high blood pressure. Even though no fight ensured about politics, Paul’s BP was still high when we left so they gave him medication. We left to drive home through another snow storm. Big snowflakes and sleet pattered against the windows, but we made it home safely. I certainly did not want to go back to the ER.

This morning there was 4 inches of snow over glare ice. Arabella fell on her way out to the car for school. It’s just nasty out there. Paul spent hours plowing everyone out. Then tonight we are expecting freezing rain followed by another 6 inches of snow. Paul and I are planning on flying out early tomorrow morning for a sailing vacation in the British Virgin Islands with friends. I hope we can leave.

I will be taking some time off of blogging. You are probably sick of my whining and complaining anyway. When I get back, I will write a travel series about the trip and lighten things up a little. I try to do that after things get a little heavy. Then I will be back at it again.

Well, I better get packing.

Life at 50 below

The last few days the wind chills were 50 below. That is a whole whopping 80 degrees below freezing. Have you ever wondered what it is like to live in a cold climate? Maybe you already do and we can commiserate together.

It is not terribly unusual for us to face subzero temperatures in a normal Wisconsin January. We are so used to it that the schools only close if it is 35+ below zero and we get over 6 inches of snow.

This week was rather extreme though even for us.

On Monday, we received a foot of snow. On Tuesday, the wind chills were around 25 below. Paul was in a hurry to plow out the driveway before it got cold out. He had some problems with the plow on the 4 wheeler and was asked to plow out a friend that just had surgery and my parents. After Paul got the plow fixed, he was able to plow everyone else out before the wind chill warning.

The kids had off of school Monday, Wednesday, and today.

Tuesday night Arabella and I had play practice. I drove to practice on the highway through the blowing and drifting snow. The snowplows put salt on the roads but it was too cold to melt the ice properly. There were patches of black ice on the highway that took my car towards the ditch. The ditches were already littered with cars and I passed a truck that just went in. I knew this because his lights were still on. I heard that there was a tow ban.

We made it home safely. I wore my goose down jacket, hat, mittens, and two sweaters. My son had a few friends over and they came over without coats and in shorts. They are so cool!

I was planning on working out Wednesday morning, but stayed home to man the fires instead. We have a very large old house. We wanted to keep the house warm without spending a fortune.

Although I sometimes want to spend more time at home, there is nothing glamorous about being trapped in your house when you don’t want to be. I decided to clean my kitchen washing the refrigerator and microwave.

The kids complained about how bored they were and I threatened to tell them about winters in the 1980’s. I wondered how our ancestors made it through the winter without modern conveniences like electricity and heat.

I kept the fires going all afternoon, stoking them every 20 minutes. I curled up on the couch with my cat and wrote a couple more chapters in my book. I listened to the wind howl and whip around the fresh snow. The sunshine glared brightly making it seem warm outside, tempting me to be lured out in the cold.

I looked at pictures on Facebook of tropical places, like Texas. A friend from Texas showed pictures of herself running outside in the frigid temps of 40 degrees. Jealousy stabbed me. To be able to run outside again! I would’ve been happy to be able to make it to the gym. But our world was shut down, even the postal workers didn’t deliver mail yesterday.

I went to sleep late last night checking to make sure that the dog was safely inside in his bed. I worried about the farmers and their livestock. The schools were closed and multiple businesses too. I even heard on Facebook that in WI some of the bars were closed.

I awoke early to the smell of smoke. Was my house on fire? There was a purple haze lingering in the air and a strong smell of smoke. We turned on the industrial dehumidifier to suck out the smoke which caused the boiler that heats our pool to error out and shut down from the cold air pouring in on it. We turned on the fans to get the smoke out. One of the vents was frozen and Paul used a small heater to thaw it out. The vent for the dehumidifier froze open. Paul ran outside to shove some old towels in the vent to keep out the cold air which caused thawing water to drip on electrical cords and outlets.

My parents lost power in their house today. Their house cooled down quickly which is tough since our furnaces cannot keep up running constantly when the power is on. I can’t wait to get our gas bill for this polar vortex.

It was another cold day, but I had to venture out to the gym. Thankfully it was open, although they reduced their hours.

Is it almost spring yet??

Although I complain, there is something beautiful about winter. There is nothing like curling up by the fire on a very cold day snuggled in blankets. The snow on the trees is breathtaking. There aren’t any bugs.

This weekend we are going to have a heat wave. It will be a balmy 40 degrees. Time to finally dust off those cross country skis! The guys will be heading to the lake to ice fish.

We are hardy people, we will make it through..

 

 

 

Goal 7: Finish strong with parenting and be an enjoyable life partner.

Winter has finally arrived in Wisconsin. Yesterday we received a foot of snow and the next two days we will have wind chill warnings of 35 to 50 below zero. Maybe I will be able to dust off my cross country skis after all.

It has been hard to work out lately. Not only has it been impossible to exercise outside, it has been hard to get to the gym.

Yesterday school was cancelled. Today the kids had school. Some are already cancelling for tomorrow. The roads have been treacherous, but we carry on because this is where we live.

The final countdown is on. Alex has less than 4 months now until graduation. He passed all of his classes and signed up to go to tech school this fall. I have been very excited about the positive changes but there have been a few slip ups. Alex still is consistently late for school. It hasn’t been easier since we moved further away. Plus the weather has been bad and last week he had car trouble. I think a lot of his problems would be solved if he just got up 10 minutes earlier.

Arabella is no better when it comes to timeliness. Angel always had to be 10 minutes early which caused a lot of fighting among the siblings when she drove the kids to school. As a parent, sometimes you just can’t win.

Next year we are planning on hosting a foreign exchange student. Then for her senior year, Arabella wants to be a foreign exchange student. We would love to visit her and watch her graduate in a foreign country.

But after this parenting gig is all over, Paul and I will be on our own too. We weren’t even married for a year before our first baby came along. I want to be the life partner that is enjoyable to be with. Right now it seems like all of our focus is on problem solving and dealing with all of the change in our life. We concern ourselves with the urgent but not necessarily the most important.

Life is always a work in progress. My goal is to finish strong and keep working on my relationships. Instead of trying to change others, I need to change me. That has been a difficult realization to make. I need to be the change I want to see in the world. I can’t fix others.

Oh, and the next couple of days it will be colder here than in Antarctica. Maybe visiting all 7 continents wouldn’t be so bad after all. I am getting used to this now. I have to admit, it is very beautiful watching the swirling snow fall.

Time to update my bucket list and start working on my goals.

Taking the best of the blizzard

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On Saturday, the mail didn’t come.

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After round one of the blizzard, my son’s car was almost covered with snow.

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After round two, the blizzard won. There were reports of the blizzard collapsing roofs.

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It took 4 hours to shovel out after the first round.

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We had to shovel out twice after that. Tonight my son is digging out his car.

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Climbing snow drifts is a good workout.

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This has been the 2nd biggest snowstorm ever recorded in our area. The biggest snowstorm recorded occurred back in the 1800’s, before anyone now living was even born.

This might be the biggest storm of my lifetime.

It is exciting to be a part of history.

Although, at this point, I just want winter to be over.

Blizzard blues

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It’s the third day of the blizzard now.

Yesterday it took my husband and son 4 hours to shovel out the driveway.

It is very likely that we are going to break the record of the biggest blizzard ever recorded in Wisconsin. This is the biggest snowstorm I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. By the time it is all said and done, we should have at least 3 ft of snow on the ground.

We have 30 mph sustained winds with gusts around 50 mph. It sounds like a freight train out there. Or maybe the roar of waves during a storm.

I awoke during the night to what sounded like distant sirens. I can’t even explain it. I don’t think I’ve heard it before, the howling wail.

I felt anxiety earlier in the day. Saturday is my long run day. I have a hard time with forced relaxation and sitting still. I finished my jigsaw puzzle, did a couple loads of laundry, and cleaned the kitchen.

Last night we received notification that there was an emergency code red. There is a tow ban, which means if you get stuck you won’t be getting out. We could get ticketed for going out. The roads are open for emergency only.

I had a hard time winding down to go to sleep because I felt the panic of being trapped surge within me. I was exhausted, but anxious and worried at the same time.

Isn’t it strange how anxiety works? I felt utterly exhausted, but had this useless nervous energy that wouldn’t let me relax and go to sleep. It would be great if I could write brilliant words or something along those lines. It is good for nothing, except running which I couldn’t do. The gym was closed.

I feel better with the morning light. Maybe it is good sometimes to try to relax, even if it is something I am not good at.

I’ve decided to take photos and document the biggest blizzard I will probably see in my lifetime. I will share the best with you after this storm is done.

Until then, I don’t want to hear anybody complain about how hot it is. I don’t want to see pictures of smiling people in shorts next to flowers.

I guess you could say I have the blizzard blues. Maybe I should write a song about it, I have enough time. School will probably be closed tomorrow. I doubt I will be able to get to work.

I might have enough time to dust off my summer clothes. Maybe I could crank the furnace to 80 and set up a beach towel on the carpet.

Or maybe I should cut down the snowy pine and call it Christmas.

I’m sick with spring fever. I’m going stir crazy.

Blizzard half time report

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It started yesterday.

It was mainly rain at first, heavy rain.

It puddled in pools in the parking lot.

Then there was the ping of ice on the windowpane.

I couldn’t stay warm.

We went to see Arabella perform in her high school play.

Claps of thunder rattled through the auditorium.

I wondered if the lights would go out from the tempest that raged outside as the drama unfolded on stage.

I left the school and entered into a swirling snow globe.

Cold ice pellets slid down my back through the gap the wind found in my coat.

The snow obstructed my view making it hard to find the path back home.

I awoke this morning to the mighty roar of the north wind.

I won’t make it to the gym today.

Wisconsin is closed for the weekend.

Overnight and into the day, 17 inches of snow came our way.

We are half way done now.

We are bracing for round two.

We are expecting 2 to 3 feet before this storm is through…

How is spring going for you??

Sprinter

Judging by the title, you might be tempted to think this post is about running. But I hate sprinting almost as much as I hate this sprinter.

I’ve heard this spring is referred to now as sprinter because winter has been hanging around too long at the end.

Last week we got over a foot of snow. We had one massive snowfall and very brief periods of heavy snow on a couple of other days. It’s been so cold and windy that I was tempted to cut down a Christmas tree for Easter.

I heard we broke a record for snowfall amounts in April. We also broke a couple of records older than me for record low high temps. On some days our high temperatures should’ve been our low temps for this time of year. So far we are expecting a 6 inch winter mix this next weekend. Seriously, we already broke the sprinter record. Why not call it quits? The only med(t)al you are going to get will be from the back of my shovel.

My car got stuck in the driveway at work. The snow was up to the bottom of my car. There was no way I was going to be able to drive through it. My husband said that my car was not made for Wisconsin winters. I agreed. I think I need a car for every season. I could have a 4WD Jeep for winter. In the summer, I would have a convertible. In the fall, I would buy an old VW robin egg blue hippie van for road tripping. I picture myself wearing vintage 60’s clothing as I am checking out the fall colors on Route 66…My husband said that probably won’t be happening anytime soon..Oh well.

The weather has brought about other repercussions. Our kids ran out of allotted snow days at school. Now they have to go to school 10 minutes earlier for the rest of the school year. It was that or have a week off for summer break. We’d also have to hope the week they had off was actually summer like. Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit…but I do remember a time where we had 6 inches of snow in the middle of May.

I spent sleepless nights wondering if the school bus would be 10 minutes early. Would my daughter roll out of bed right as the bus showed up? How will I get them out of bed earlier? I think my son was late for school today. He is always late. I told him last week that he would probably be late for his own funeral. Personally, I don’t care when he dies as long as he has given me many opportunities to roll over in my grave before he joins me at the pearly gates.

On days that school is off, my autistic brother Matt does not go to his workshop for the disabled. Apparently, however, he got picked up from his group home and was dropped off at the workshop. All of the doors were locked and he was left out all alone in the cold blustery snow. He wandered around for awhile outside in the cold until he found a business that was open. He went inside and told the lady at the front desk that he needed help.

Thankfully, he ended up being okay. It could’ve turned out worse. He could’ve froze to death out in the cutting cold north wind and blowing snow. I felt angry at the incompetence of my brother’s caregivers. What a bunch of idiots.

How can you feel good about dropping off a disabled person at a place where there aren’t any cars and the lights are all out during a snowstorm?? I’ll dump this guy off in the snow bank and be home in time to watch Family Feud. My brother doesn’t have a cell phone and has a hard time communicating with the people he knows.

Maybe something good will come out of it. Maybe the drivers will be required to make sure their disabled passengers get inside wherever they are going.

This past weekend I helped my uncle transplant at his greenhouse. I wasn’t allowed to touch the plants because I have been known to kill them. Instead I stuck labels in front of the plants like a tombstone in the cold dirt. The flowers smelled so nice and the greenhouse was so warm and sunny, like summer. I didn’t even mind all of the sneezing! For a few brief moments, I almost felt happy.

I hope this sprinter will morph into a full on marathon of summer.

Soon, I hope! I can’t keep going at this pace much longer..

Why are you so late?

Maybe I should take down the snowman from my window at work.

Left behind footprints in the snow…wishing it was sand.

Where did I put my ice scraper?

Got my car stuck in the driveway.

Had to ask my husband for help.

It was a slow drive home. Slow enough to come to a complete stop to take this picture.

Did I not sing enough Christmas carols? Where are the summer song birds hiding? Maybe it’s time to move down south?

Shoveling at half time.

Only 14 hours and another 5 inches to go. The wind still howls in a bitter cold rage.

We won’t be grilling on the deck tonight. But maybe, just maybe, we’ll be able to cross country ski one more time before spring comes.

Spring, why are you so late?

WARNING: stormy weather ahead

I feel crabby today…Irritated.

I didn’t sleep well last night. My body is sore…achy…from the 18 mile dread mill run.

My husband woke me up early this morning. Wake up! Wake up! You overslept! The kids will be late for school. The kids don’t have school today. Did you look at the calendar? Sorry, I was just worried you overslept. Have you known me to oversleep one day in my life? No, but today could be the first. I was only trying to help. 

I pulled myself out of bed groggily. I wanted to bite someone’s head off, but didn’t. I didn’t sit down to write a rough draft of my blog. I listened to the cat meow for food. He doesn’t start meowing until the minute he hears that I’m up.

Monday…time to pull myself up and head back to work. The weekend went well. I had Friday off and cleaned my house. Arabella threw a party for the kids that were on her team that made it to state. After 5 years of working as a team, this is it. She is done and we are moving. The rest of the afternoon, Arabella and I played games like backgammon.

Saturday it snowed a couple inches and I was forced to run 18 miles on the dread mill at the gym. The roads were surprisingly icy. I felt a lot of anxiety driving. I didn’t feel motivated to run. At random times, I felt like I was going to pass out. I thought maybe I was dehydrated, but I drank tons of water. I finally stepped off of the treadmill 4 hours after I got on.

My marathon friends told me that I was crazy for running 18 miles on a treadmill. They told me I should do my long run some other day when it was nicer out. But they don’t have jobs. They don’t understand what it is like to only have maybe one day free a week to be able to do a long run. They don’t understand the struggle, the balancing act.

Afterwards, I felt exhausted..nauseous..almost sick. Arabella wanted to play more games, but I was too tired. Paul wanted to watch a movie. It was a good movie, but I fell asleep. I woke up during the ending music. I always wake up at the ending music, but can never stay awake for the movie.

I had to get up Easter morning at 5:45 AM to get ready to sing in the choir. I slept on the couch until my son came home after midnight. He hollered at me saying that he is not a baby and I don’t have to wait up for him anymore. Then he kindly said good night.

I got up early feeling tired. Paul and I sang in the choir for 2 services. Between services there was a potluck. The organist brought styrofoam Christmas cups that we filled with Irish coffee. The sun glistened off the snow on the ground. Was it really Christmas? It must be some April Fool’s Day joke.

Both Easter services were packed. I never understood why churches are packed only on Easter and Christmas. Why bother?? (I am such an all or nothing thinker). But then I remembered that I forced my kids to attend both Easter and Christmas services, but over time have been slack on forcing them to attend as regularly on other Sundays. I want them to go, but they don’t want to. It is always a struggle. Angel is the only one that never complained about having to go to church, but she doesn’t live at home anymore.

After church, we had a small party. My mom, brother Matt, Paul’s step-dad Darryl, my uncle Rick, and son Alex’s girlfriend were in attendance in addition to our family except Angel. We played games and taught Alex’s girlfriend how to play trump card games.

Rick and Darryl lamented over being single while my mom complained about married life. Rick spent the morning in the ER with hives. His lips swelled up and he was having an allergic reaction to something. He showed us his hives which made him look like he was badly beaten. Darryl and Rick spent some time talking about their mysterious rashes. We did mention to Rick that race car wannabe driver Alex could take him back to the ER in a dash if he was feeling worse.

All in all, though, it was a nice relaxing day.

That brings us to today. It is another cold and crappy day in Wisconsin. We have a winter weather warning in place for tomorrow. We are expecting almost a foot of wet, heavy snow. There is no future warm up in sight. We might even break a record low high temperature this week.

These cold dark winter spring days are making me feel crabby!

The thread holding my sanity intact is becoming a bit frayed I’m afraid.

This winter is long

And it’s snowing again!! Big heavy snowflakes are falling. Then we will have 40 mph winds.

I will have to do today’s scheduled 18 mile run on the treadmill at the gym.

This winter is long…

I just want to curl up in a little ball and hide under the covers in my bed.

I feel jealous of people in warm climates. I saw your pictures this morning on Facebook of you training for the Ironman in a lake.

Our people are still on the lakes too, ice fishing!

Today I lack motivation. I desire hibernation until this long winter is done.