Cliff needed to have the propane tank at the shop filled. He and the grandson burn wood to heat it when they have some, but they've used their stockpile. The shop needs heat available because there's always something to be done there, and who wants to freeze to death while they're working on cars or tractors? Heat is only needed when there's actually somebody out there, because even when it's zero outside, the building is so well insulated, it stays above freezing. Anyhow, filling two propane tanks is an expensive proposition... to the tune of over $800. On a positive note, we won't have to buy any more propane, probably, until next November. When the furnace doesn't run, the only appliance in the house that uses propane is the kitchen stove.
During winter I crave grapefruits and oranges, but for the past several years the prices on citrus fruit have been outrageous. Throughout the many years my sister was a winter Texan, she would bring back bushels of grapefruits and share them. Placed in the refrigerator, those grapefruits would last for weeks. I'd eat three or four a day sometimes. When I was a child, my mother would cut a grapefruit in half and sprinkle sugar on the halves, but at some point as an adult, I found out I could peel them and eat them with no sugar, and they tasted just fine. My sister finally decided she was getting too old to drive all those miles to and from Mission, Texas, alone, so that ended my grapefruit gluttony. I'd look at the fruits when I grocery-shopped, but couldn't bring myself to pay that much. This year, though, I decided to bite the bullet and spend a dollar apiece for them. After all, some people drink three or four Pepsis or Cokes a day, sugary drinks that really have no redeeming features. Why was I too cheap to buy citrus fruits that are good for me? Now, every time we're at Costco, I buy a bag of huge grapefruits and eat one every day. I'd love to have some good oranges, but so far this year the ones I've purchased have been so sour I can hardly eat them.
Arthritis is a strange thing, isn't it? The pain often increases or decreases for no apparent reason. You wake up one day barely able to walk, and think, "Well, I guess this is how it's going to be." Then days later you realize your pain level is less (never totally gone, though) and thank God. I've often heard people say the weather affects their arthritis pain, but I've never thought that applied to me until this past week or two: My leg and knee pain has really increased, as well as the "old Arthur", as Cliff's mom called it, in my hands. I've mentioned this to Cliff, and he's told me his pain has been awful lately, too; he has a lot more arthritis than I do, in more joints. If he lays in bed on his left side, his hip hurts. When he rolls over to his right side, it's his shoulder, which is slightly deformed from years of meat-cutting and butchering. He has a rough time getting comfortable. I'm thankful that I've not had pain that disturbs my sleep (what little sleep I get, all five or six hours). When I'm laying in bed, I'm pain-free.
Here's something that occurred to me during my time of increased pain levels: I was limping, and even resorted to taking Tylenol a couple of times, but I have still been enjoying life: Reading good books, watching television shows I enjoy, even walking my dog eight or ten times daily in sub-freezing temperatures limping as I go. Yes, you can be hurting and still enjoy life. Isn't that great?
Speaking of dogs, Gabe is doing great, and makes me smile and laugh all the time. He can't get enough snuggling, it seems. Cliff has never cared for dogs living in the house, although I've forced several house dogs on him. But he does like Gabe. He frequently mentions how smart the dog is, and how cute. This is not something he's said about other dogs I've had. He's especially glad we don't find dog hair all over the place, although "non-shedding" isn't quite accurate, even though Schnauzers are supposed to be non-shedding. When I brush him, the brush will gradually fill up with soft hairs from his undercoat. But you never find more than a random stray hair or two on the furniture. The weather has been so nice lately, I've wished for a tie-out for Gabe, so he could be out enjoying the fresh air and playing with his cat. I'm going to buy one on my next trip to Walmart.
My goodness, this entry is a multi-subject ramble, isn't it?