Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Humble Pie

I know I blog an awful lot about places that my husband and I travel to.  You might think that means that we never encounter money issues.  The truth would be far from that.  Oh yes, we have our fair share of budgeting woes just like everyone else, as I mentioned in my last blog entry at:
Sure, most of the time our finances can cover most things we need and even some things we want.  With a lot of hard work, especially on the part of my husband, and some pretty tight purse strings we do what neither of our families ever taught us to do.  We live below our means almost all the time. 
We save and scrimp and do special things only for special occasions.  We rarely ever eat at restaurants.  We don't have fancy cell phones.  Entertainment is kept to what we can actually, truly afford.  We don't buy the latest or greatest.  Electronics in our house are almost always way out of date (-like the one and only computer that we have ever owned is this laptop, circa 2007 that I get to write these blog entries on and read others wonderful stuff for which I am so grateful!)  Our one caveat is travel.  We would rather do that than anything else, so we budget accordingly.
And yet, there is my husband who as I have mentioned before is ultra generous- sometimes to a fault.  Sometimes until it hurts a bit in the household budget. 
Last year we decided it was finally time for my husband to have a new car.  He was driving a 14 year old Ford Escort.  It was starting to nickel and dime us in the form of $300-$500 repairs every few months and some more major stuff was clearly on the way.  Neither my husband or I are handy enough with cars and we don't have any car fix-it type friends.  So, we decided to sell the car. 
A funny thing happened while I was in the process of putting it on Craigslist.  A very good friend told me that she would really like to buy it.  She was truly in need of a car and has friends that could help her fix it up.  But of course, she had no money.  You guessed it.  This is where my husbands generosity comes in.  My oldest friend and my husband worked out a deal.  She would make small payments to us for the next year and be finished with them by September 2011. 
Fast forward 6 months, and suddenly my friend can't continue to make even small payments to us.  Her husband is very sick.  She has 4 kids.  My husband is more than happy to write off her debt.
I hold my tongue.  It's really not my business.  And...I actually agreed with my husband that it was best to forgive this debt.  My friendship is worth way more than the money and my husband and I would never have loaned it if we couldn't afford to lose it.  So we told my friend not to worry about the debt and not another word was ever said about it.
Guess who just surprised me by paying back every last dime?  My friend and her husband received a large settlement from the VA and she really felt strongly about paying us back.
So... my husbands generosity ended up making it so we would be paid back just in time to cover his over zealous generosity from last weekend. 
I gotta' admit it.  I'm a little peeved... but damn I love that man!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Why We Maybe Don't Take Our Sweet Husband Shopping With Us...

Yeah, we started the serious Christmas shopping this past weekend.  Now that Thanksgiving is actually past and we need to get things going so packages might actually get where we need them to go ON TIME this year...

So, there's only one problem.  Y'all know how sweet I've told you that my husband is.  Real thoughtful and all.  He's really tough to say no to.  Especially when he's being all thoughtful of others and those others are cute little kiddos...  Apparently, my husband thinks he's Santa.
Photo credit:
And I must be the Grinch, cuz' now I have to dig into next weeks budget just to put gas in the car for this week.  Oops! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


 ...that my husband will become completely healthy next year, that he's the most patient and loving soul that anyone could ever know, that he's seen fit to spend his life with me, that he is the one person who can calm my fears, make me smile and KNOW that life is getting better all the time.

...that my nephew, Nathan, now spends his days filled with healthy activities and friends like his new Boy Scout troop, that he thinks that being the father/son team to get the most food donations to the food bank is awesome, that he is now feeling safe enough to voice his opinions about visiting his mother, that Nathan spent this Fall fishing and camping with his Dad.

...that we have cars that run pretty much as they should, a house that is well maintained thanks in part to my strong desire to move away from it, that the fences made it through last nights wind storm once again, that I never want for food- in fact have to keep my consumption of it in check, that I can afford to jack my heat up to keep out the cold damp weather and pretend that I am somewhere in the warm sun, that I have had the opportunity to visit many warm sunny places.

...that sometimes I need to experience true craziness through others only to realize that I'm grateful not to actually be that nutty myself, that I am capable of empathy for said people without having to give up my life and myself to prove it.

...that my dogs make me laugh all the time- especially when Parker proves that his nose is still working by stealing a pork chop right off a plate, that they help keep me warm, show me what unconditional love is all about, that Hailey trusts us enough even after her traumatic start in a puppy mill to literally melt in our laps, that the happy dance they do reminds me how exciting it really is that my husband and I actually do make it home every day.

...that we will have 6 adults, 5 kids, and 5 dogs here to enjoy the chaos and love that will be Thanksgiving at our house this year, that my friend is able to face her future without her husband with strength and grace and that they have chosen to spend one of his last holidays with us.

...that I never stop being amazed at what every new day brings, that life is an ever changing and wonderful adventure in this stunning and wild place that we call AMERICA!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Quick Update On My Husband

The visit with the plastic surgeon was extremely informative.  She was super nice.

I only wish the news about what's going on inside my husbands abdomen was just as nice.  But it's not, so...

There is bad news and good news.  The bad: (cuz' I like to get that over with first) he is an example of an extreme case of what happens when massive infection interferes with the natural healing process.  Basically, to quote the surgeon verbatim- "he has zero support for his core at this moment" and everything that can be herniated is herniated.  Things have even managed to move into new and different places.  Amazing, but not in a good way, dang it!

Never fear, there is the good:  this can all be fixed with a hernia specialist and she knows just who to send us to.  And when it's all said and done, my husband will have what the plastic surgeon refers to as a 'two fer'.  He needs his hernias fixed and muscle repaired so he will basically end up with a free tummy tuck (cuz' insurance is definitely on the hook for this).  Thank goodness for that!

The surgery should happen in February.  That gives me some time to figure out creative ways to keep my husband from doing too much during the healing process.  I've already put in a call to his brother so he can visit during that time and they can do fun sitting around kind of stuff...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

For My Husband, Because He So Deserves It

My husband is about the most selfless person I know.  Seriously.  I'm not just sayin' that.

So the fact that he has finally agreed to and scheduled a consultation with a plastic surgeon to deal with what he was left with after The Thing That Changed Everything is so wonderful!  This is something I have been waiting patiently for, for quite a while now.  But I know my husband is a man who doesn't need to be pushed.  He can too easily be influenced by what I want.  While he would do anything for me, quite literally, I do not ever want to make his life decisions for him.  It just wouldn't be right.

So... there are many decisions that will have to be made regarding different options for my husband and his future well-being and quality of life.  He is much too young to deal with the things he has dealt with for over 2 years now.  And we have been told by numerous doctors that he will have several options for his care when he decides to finally have his revision surgery.  Since his initial life-saving surgery happened as an emergency, things were sort of left in limbo and we were told that he should have a revision at the 18 months to 2 years mark because of unsafe long term weaknesses in his abdomen.  Here we are at 2 years 4 months and finally starting this process.  I can't really overstate how traumatic the first surgery was so I am not surprised that there has been some delay.  Neither one of us has been looking forward to any more surgery for my husband.  But now, it finally feels right to seek out an answer as to what my husband can do to be 'made whole again' as much as possible.  This will be a first step in planning that we hope will lead to a set process that will begin after the new year.

I know I am so grateful to have my husband alive.  I cannot imagine my life without him.  And so I also know that it is not really fair to feel any bitterness about all of this.  So many others have so much more to deal with in their lives.  And yet... I must admit to having a little resentment.  I am only human I suppose and seeing my husband go through pain, body changes, and uncertainty has left me a tiny bit weary I must admit.  Still, I have hope in my heart and want the best possible outcome. 

This is where all of you come in!  We will be in the office of the plastic surgeon at 12 noon tomorrow- Nov. 21st, Pacific time.  She will be planning the overall surgery and then we will work with specialists depending on what all is needed.  Please keep us in your thoughts, send us good vibes, pray for us- whatever it is that you personally do in your life when divine intervention is needed.  I find myself so badly wanting all of this to just go away.  And yet we must venture through it.  There is no other way to restore health and function for my husband.

Specifically, our needs are: help with complicated incisional hernia repair and finding the right specialist, repair and restoration of core muscle function as much as possible, eliminating scar tissue that could contribute to further intestinal blockage in the future, and avoiding secondary infection and fluid build-up that my husband experienced with the first surgery that contributed to complications and poor healing after that original surgery. And of course, for emotional healing and well being as we go through this process.  That's not asking for too much is it?!

 Photo credit:

I know this is an important first step and can only be a good thing.  I hate to admit it, but I have grown tired of always worrying about what is going on inside my husbands abdomen, what the pains mean, why his stomach is so lumpy and uneven.  It's almost as if we've had a third party in our relationship for the past two years and I am so ready to let it go.  And yet, I am scared.  I can't imagine any more complications.  I wish we could just magically make my husband totally healthy again without having to go through anything more.  But I also know that is not reality.  And so we begin this chapter of our lives...  Help us make a wish come true!

photo credit:

Monday, November 14, 2011

My Thanksgiving Wish

We've had all kinds of different Thanksgiving set ups over the years.  Some huge and some small and intimate. Sometimes we host an 'Orphan Thanksgiving' for those we know that don't really have family to go to for the holiday.  Sometimes it's just a few close friends.

While it's beautiful and relaxing to have this:

This year, I'm hoping for a lot more of this:
I've invited several friends with a bunch of little kids who love to help out in the kitchen and I'm already dreaming of all the little cooks with their fingers in the pots.  And all the joy that their little hearts have to share...

Gotta' go and get out those 'fancy' gold paper plates!

Friday, November 11, 2011

11-11-11/ Veterans Day

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.” 

The Uniform Holiday Bill (Public Law 90-363 (82 Stat. 250)) was signed on June 28, 1968, and was intended to ensure three-day weekends for Federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. It was thought that these extended weekends would encourage travel, recreational and cultural activities and stimulate greater industrial and commercial production. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holidays on their original dates.

The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on October 25, 1971. It was quite apparent that the commemoration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic significance to a great number of our citizens, and so on September 20th, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479), which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. This action supported the desires of the overwhelming majority of state legislatures, all major veterans service organizations and the American people.  -from the Department Of Veterans Affairs official website.

Isn't it cool that this day of the triple 11 is our Veterans Day this year? 

Somehow it just feels right in our busy world to stop and give thanks and think of those who have given so much...and to do it without a 3 day weekend to play and sort of forget the true meaning behind the reflection.
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