Monday, February 09, 2015

Getting Used to Things

Although it's now been over 18 months since Mandy and the two grandkids moved down to Middletown, apparently -judging by my mood tonight, I still haven't fully adjusted to not having them here with me.

Last week was a bit of a zoo here as we were all still adjusting to the shock of my son's house burning a week ago this past Wednesday afternoon. People were bringing boxes and bags and bags of clothes as well as kitchen goods and bedding down to my house (and probably many were taking things to Chantel's parents' home too, to help Clate and Chantel get back on their feet.

Here's a couple pictures of some of the bags and boxes brought down here -with my apologies if any of these pictures require your having to twist and turn a bit to see 'em because I'm still adjusting to my new camera and the upload process and didn't change the angle of some of these pictures in the process.

The red tall laundry basket arrived filled with all kinds of toys -used and new too -for Chantel's little girl along with two big bags of clothes for her as well!

Clate and Chantel also were offered a house near here to rent for the duration of time they may need a place -until they figure out how much insurance money they will get to use to either find another place to purchase or decide if they will have a new place built or a double-wide perhaps put on the land (2 acres) where the old house was. So that will help her little girl adjust better as for them to stay in the motel room for what may end up being a lengthy stay, it was just way too cramped for Chantel and Catrin to be there day in and day out in one small room with no where for a two-year-old to really be able to play.

The outpouring from this community as well as friends and family from afar too has, at times, really been very overwhelming for them to see how generous people really can be! People are still bringing things down to my house too and some of the things brought here really surprised me greatly too. Like today when a friend of the family showed up with a smaller bag of items along with two beautiful handmade quilts that had been done by the Women of the Forest Baptist Church about 6 miles from here. The one quilt is more just a coverlet done in blocks of a very pretty pink shade interspersed with a matching floral print and is for little Catrin's bed and the other, is a very, very heavy comforter with an inner lining that is quite think done in patches of a pale blue print and solid blue squares. One need never worry about being cold with that quilt over them, for sure!  Both quilts though absolutely gorgeous works of art!

On Friday of this past week, I kind of thought there was a possibility that Mandy and the kids might come up this weekend since the weather forecast for Friday and Saturday was relatively decent. Actually, it was almost a heat wave compared to a few days earlier this week with the temps predicted to go up into the 40s and no not-so-nice weather predicted to show up until Sunday evening.

But Friday came and went and no one showed up here. But then, around noon on Saturday I got a phone call from Mandy telling me she and the kids were on their way up then and expected to arrive here around 3 p.m. Saturday.

Since I hadn't seen them since New Year's Day, it was so nice to see all three of them again! Really, REALLY, Nice!!! And to add to that the fact that my older grandson, Alex, also showed up here Saturday afternoon and was here till about 11:30 Saturday night, really made the day complete!

The kids were so well-behaved -no squabbling at all from either of them (with the small exception being that Maya refused to eat any of the homemade beef vegetable and pasta soup I had made that day for our supper.) The reason she wouldn't even taste it was because I had put a little bit of macaroni pasta in the soup to give it a little more fill or body or whatever you care to call it! There's no accounting for her whims at mealtime sometimes!

Then today (Sunday), Mandy and the kids went up to see Uncle Clate's new abode and when they got back to the house, it was time for them to gather up their things and pack them into the car so they could get a fairly early start on their return trip home to avoid any possibility of running into any potentially nasty weather.

We said our goodbyes, hugs and kisses all around. Maya has always been pretty good with that routine but it took Kurtis a longer time to having any real displays of affection. But once he started to give hugs and kisses, it expanded greatly to now, when he comes to offer his parting he does really give great big hugs. And as he was doing that today, I told him "You really give some great hugs now, Kurtis!" His response to that was a rather quiet, subdued "I know." I followed that with my usual comments to him about how he is Gram's little sweetheart along with "I love you, Buddy" and each time he would nod his head and again say "I know!"

Just so sweet to hear him say that and to see the big, big smiles on his face then too.

And then, it was time for them to leave and I stood on the front door step, watching them pull away with both kids waving, blowing kisses and poof, they were gone.

Another visit history, ya know.

I came back inside and got a fresh cup of coffee and looked through the Sunday paper, tried to see how much of any of the three crossword puzzles in there I could fill in -not much -but just enough to make me tired.

And so, off to the computer and playing there a bit on Facebook.

As the evening wore on though, I could feel an all too familiar sense of depression seeping into me and I knew it was because as nice as this quick visit was, as much fun as I had with my daughter and my beautiful grandkids here, the void was back again and brother, I was taking a big hit of missing them then tonight!

I know they'll be up here again in about a month from now -at least that was Mandy's plan but how I wish they lived closer to me.

How I wished they still all lived here with me!

So now, it's back to the old routines I've been trying to plug into my life -doing things I usually enjoy like baking bread and also, off and on, baking a special item for a very good friend of mine who will post pictures of some kind of baked goods on my Facebook with a little subtle hint to the effect of "this sure looks good, don't you think?" which means, any possibility you will fix this and bring it to me? She knows me pretty well now as that's about the only way I do tend to bake cakes or cookies now is if I know someone wants something like that and if I can fix it for them, it makes me feel good to be doing something for someone else!

But now, I think I'll do something just for me -and go to bed!

Maybe a good nite's sleep will erase some of the longing deep inside me for my babies!

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Cheesy Whining, Part Deux

Okay, let the whining begin!

First off, if you are part of my Friend list on Facebook, you've no doubt heard me grumping a good deal about the Nextbook Tablet I purchased for myself shortly after Christmas. My main complaint with this thing is the camera installed in it, which just so happens to be a front camera and I can't figure out how to take pictures using it because it seems all I am able to photograph with it would be selfies and I absolutely loathe, abhor and despise "selfies!"

Not being blessed with photogenic traits -at least not good ones anyway -I don't like having my picture taken as it is but selfies? There is no way on God's Green Earth you will ever see a selfie of me!

So, since my formerly very easy to use and nice little camera I've had for about 4 years now quit functioning on me, and I wanted to have a means to photograph some of my recent embroidery projects as well as getting pictures of my favorite subjects -my grandkids -I had been looking for a good deal on a new digital camera.

And this past weekend I found one on sale at Walmart -on their Clearance shelf! It's a Nikon CoolPix that has a lot of things I like about a camera.

But that is where my good vibes end and the whine begins!

I got a memory card for the camera when I purchased it and tonight decided to try to upload what pictures I had taken to my computer. This is a whole new experience for me because with my "new" computer that has Windows 8.1 ya know, trying to figure out how to upload pictures from my card -well, definitely not the easy process it was with my previous little Kodak! First, I had to find the photos file -which by the way is not the same as the Pictures file with Windows 8.1 and then, once I did find that, then I couldn't find the stuff to upload the pics with! Okay after a good long period of time I finally found the photos place and also so other indicators as to how to transfer these pictures over to the computer. So far, the process of uploading about 20 pictures only took me about 90 minutes and then I wasn't sure they had even been saved because at no time did anything pop up asking me if I wanted to save them and where did i want to save them too wasn't showing up anyplace either!

You know, the more I deal with computers the more frustrated I get! They are supposed to be so much faster -that has never happened for me with any of the previous computers I've had and it definitely doesn't take place with this one I just got back in September! Slower than freaking molasses in January is how I would describe this unit and that's with having my internet on the high speed end via my cable service but speed -can't prove that by me and this unit nor with any other computers I've had relatively recently!

Cameras and convenience? Not happening here! Yes it is a neat little camera but what one has to go through to get the pictures taken over to where you can use them in any way, shape or form -anything BUT easy!

I bitched a good bit when I got the Kodak camera a few years ago because I really didn't like a lot of things about Kodak's wonderful "easy share" system as it was anything but easy for me to figure out how to get it to function properly but by the time that camera died, I had gotten fairly well accustomed to how to deal with that feature. Now, it's here we go again!

I have nothing against learning some new things but sheesh, could we please put a few more instructions in with each new computer and not just assume that it is an innate mental process that we all come with knowledge built in our brains as to how to operate a new computer? Sure wouldn't hurt to have a little bit of information available about how to use Windows 8.1 for openers and how to use this little computer too would be greatly appreciated as well.

I have the same complaint about operating instructions with my lovely little tablet too! Very sparse on the instructions of how to operate this damned gem!

And then of course, there's my standard complaints about selling the lovely stuff I try to peddle to what few customers I have acquired over the past 18 months since I went back to being an Avonlady! How it is that when I sold these products oh, about 24 to 40 years ago, I had a whole lot more customers then, but my orders in terms of sales per customer generally totaled about the same each campaign as they do today but I have a lot fewer customers now. What confuses the heck out of me though is how I made $300-400 in sales then and frequently have that size (money-wise) orders much of the time today but how much profit I make on my orders today by comparison to what I was able to earn 30 years ago -a huge difference! And one that is not to my benefit either I might add!

I love seeing my invoices from them every two weeks and they proudly print on each one of them approximately what I have "earned" with each order I have submitted. Strangely enough, somehow an order that they say I have earned around $120 ends up with me being lucky if I will clear $20 when it's all said and done! I attribute that to the costs of the demos I purchase, samples to give my customers that I purchase and of course, copies of each campaign book to hand out to my customers too and all of that comes off the top of the figure they say I have earned! So it does seem to me that it ends up being a royal pain in the arse then!

If it weren't for the fact that my customers are also mostly very good friends of mine and I decided that returning to be an Avonlady again would be a good thing for me to force me to leave the house more than once every week or two and thus, keep me from becoming a total recluse, I would very seriously consider giving this financial venture up completely! But I keep hoping one of these days things will "click" and I'll get on a better track with this stuff plus, an occasional extra $20 bucks does come in handy! But it would be a whole lot better if it was $20 extra guaranteed each week and not hit and miss as it tends to be now.

Oh well! Such is life in the fast lane of being an Avon Rep!

Now my next time sucking project I'm going to have to do is figure out how to figure out my actual income from this stuff so I can report it on my income tax this year! ARRGH! I'm going to have to file income tax now -again -on something that is far from supplying me with the kind of a little bit of extra bucks that they tout the reps earn!

Now, after spending about 2-3 hours this morning printing out invoices and draining my printer's supply of black ink, I'm going to have to get over to Walmart now and pick up another set of cartridges so I can finish printing out my damned sales, costs of demos, costs of samples, costs for bags and other trivia things one needs for this venture and also, how to calculate my mileage along with a few orders that I have that were never picked up and a few that were delivered but then, the customer decided to skip out without paying me so how to deduct that then from my earnings too ya know.

Okay that is going to be it for my whine session for today.

Let's hope (and maybe pray a bit too) that nothing else comes along to give me cause to do yet another Whine post!


Cheesy Whining Part one!

Before I actually get started with this post, let me take 10 seconds here to apologize because, yes I am whining tonight!

Okay, with that much said -a warning for you as you read this -let me get on with this post.

The first part of this post is not a whine number but a little information on what happened to me, to my family, shortly after my last post here. That was a week ago today on January 28th -a day that will be locked in my mind forever, for sure.

How's that, you ask? Well, it's because sometime after I wrote that last post -around 9:15 last Wednesday night, I had a big shock as a neighbor of my son's phoned me to tell me that my son's house was on fire!

He had an old house on the top of the hill here in our little village and yes indeed, last Wednesday night his home went up in flames! His girlfriend (Chantel) and her little two-year-old daughter (Catrin) had just moved in with him about a month ago and knowing they were there, my first concern was if they got out of the house or if they were still inside. Thankfully, the young lady who phoned me said they had gotten out and were across the road with the neighbors there. Count that as one big relief and really, the first of many blessing that came out of this whole thing!

Thankfully too that the state of Pennsylvania has a requirement for anyone who has a mortgage and that is that it is absolutely MANDATORY that the home owner carries home owners/fire insurance! And the next blessing was that my son had actually listened to me when he took out his home owners policy and had it insured at "full replacement value!"

Although the walls of the old house are still standing, and we don't know the full details that will take place with the insurance and such, I really doubt that they will try to have him "rebuild" this place. The 2nd story and the attic were completely gutted plus severe damage done to the roof too -which by the way, also happened to be a metal roof but is now pretty far gone in the damages department. So we're thinking most likely it will be determined to be a total loss.

Within a very short period of time though, my Facebook wall was going crazy with messages asking what happened, if Chantel and little Catrin were okay, were was my son (on his way home from a run he'd made earlier Wednesday to Bristol, CT) and did they need anything, any help whatsoever? By Thursday morning people began to arrive at my house bringing whatever they thought Clate and Chantel could use or would need, etc. As a result, they had many donations made early on of clothing and also, money. Both much needed commodities, ya know, since 98% of their clothes went up in smoke and he's not been able to work since last Wednesday due to trying to get things resolved with the insurance company and such.

He was by Thursday night really blown away by the prayers and donations brought to my house or to Chantel's parents' home too of so many needed items and the caring messages continued to flood in for them from friends and family from all over the place it seemed.

They have been staying at the local motel but now, they are in the process of getting situated in a rental property owned by some very good family friends and should be settled in there perhaps as early as this afternoon or evening now. Hopefully the sooner the better as little Catrin is very confused by all this and initially, not knowing, not understanding, at her young age, what had transpired, she was fussing and crying, saying "I want to go home!"

But if anyone reading this is among those who messaged me or Clate or Chantel or any other members of my family or of Chantel's family, or are friends of ours, thank you, thank you, thank you for the very generous outpouring of love and everything else -many, many prayers -and giving thanks with us that all that got hurt was the house! They will recover from that and will be forging ahead a little more each and every day.

Hopefully, things will have settled down enough by tomorrow now and Clate will then be able to go back to work which will go a long way then to assist them having a paycheck once again, for openers.

After that, it will be moving as quickly as the insurance can all be processed and so far, the adjustor has been working with them at each and every turn to see that they get all the help they need. Yes, you are -at least in my opinion -in good hands with this company!

Because of the fire, I now have a third cat here too! Chantel's big and beautiful -truly, he is gorgeous -Maine Coon TomCat (MoJo) is currently camping here as it's a lot easier for me to add another cat into the household than for them to cart him all over while they are still staying in the motel. He was pretty standoffish at first -growling and hissing at my cats and the dog and then, doing the same routine with me too. But the past couple of days he has begun to loosen up a bit with me anyway. Apparently he has figured out that my hand is the one now feeding hin and judging by the size of this boy, he's never missed much in the way of meals! I wanted to take a photo of him but haven't gotten around to doing that as yet.

But I do have a photo I can share taken of the house the morning after the fire. You can perhaps get a bit of an idea of the destruction that occurred there in this photo.

Not necessarily the best photo of the old place but hopefully, it gives some idea of what it looks like today.

And that's the end of my story about the latest event in the life and times of my family and me. This wasn't really a whine and cheese post, only slightly. Stay tuned for the next installment which shall be labeled as Cheesy Whining, Part Deux!