Saturday, May 29, 2021

My husband made some money yesterday

Those of you who have been following my blog closely will recall our search for a tractor with a cab throughout the summer and fall of 2020.  Cliff sold all his classic tractors and had enough cash laid by to buy a new, or almost new, tractor.  Almost magically, such a tractor appeared on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, I don't recall which.  You can read about our acquisition of that tractor HERE.   It was like new, and the price was very reasonable.

There have been no unpleasant surprises with the tractor since we bought it last December.  Cliff used it to dig post-holes, and he mowed with it.  It only had a little over 300 hours on it when we brought it home.  All brand new tractors have re-gen added, a feature which is good for the atmosphere... but everyone hates the feature.  It's awkward and aggravating to use.  Commercial tractor-trucks have the same feature added now; the drivers hate it.  But the like-new tractor we bought was manufactured before re-gen... another plus in its favor.  

I really don't understand this re-gen thing, so I'll give you a brief description I found... maybe you will understand it better than I do: "A forced regen occurs when soot builds up inside the diesel particulate filter (DPF) to the point that the vehicle is no longer operable. When this happens, a driver has to pull over and initiate a self-cleaning process that can take up to 40 minutes — valuable time that could have been spent on the road."

My husband has done enough reading about it on the Internet to know that nobody likes the process, and some have had big problems with it, even to the point of returning a tractor to the dealer and taking a loss on it.  So we scored big-time on that point.  

However, although the tractor was the same as a new one and didn't have the dreaded re-gen, there were some small details about the way it was made that weren't perfect for Cliff.  The cab wasn't very roomy for a big man; the seat wasn't comfortable... those sorts of issues.  The air conditioning was excellent, which was great for his asthma.  But those little built-in issues were there.

Cliff started talking about selling the tractor; he figured with everybody hating re-gen, he might make a little money by selling it for more than he paid.  The first time he mentioned that, I was almost speechless and tried to dissuade him, but he finally convinced me that this particular tractor wasn't perfect for him.  

I put an ad on Facebook Marketplace for him, but told him if he was going to advertise it for sale, he needed to add a couple thousand dollars more to the price than he was planning to.  After all, we didn't have to sell it, and later on, he could go down on the price if need be.  For a while, the ad got no action at all.  Then a few people called, most of them trying to get him to go down on the price without even coming to look at the tractor.  Lately, though, we had a couple of guys who were obviously serious buyers; one of them was very tempted to buy it, and even told Cliff that he had moved money over to buy it, but decided it was a little larger tractor than he needed. 

Yesterday a man bought the tractor, giving my husband a substantial amount to hold it for him until he comes back to get it next week.  We made a lot of money over what we paid for the tractor, and now Cliff can once again pursue his favorite activity:  Searching for a tractor that is just right for him!  Meanwhile, he still has his little John Deere which can do most any task that's needed around here.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Such weird weather

I just came in from the clothesline; it's chilly outside, even with a light jacket on.  It's 49° out there, to be exact.  I could have tossed all three loads in the dryer as I washed them, but I hate paying the electric company for drying my clothes if I can help it.  The predicted high for today is 59°.  I'm not complaining:  We don't have the furnace or air conditioner running, so I'll take a couple of cooler days.

We could use a new sofa.  We made the mistake of getting a leather one last time and we've hated it ever since we bought it.  All the furniture stores have big sales on Memorial Day, so I considered shopping for sofas this weekend.  But the more I thought about it, the less I wanted to go looking; I never want to go anywhere these days, especially shopping.  It's so hard to find what we want, and it seems as though we often don't like the couches we buy once we get them home, no matter how much time we spend trying them out in the store.

I had a scare this morning:  When I opened the door to feed the two cats, only Mama Kitty was there.  Blue is usually waiting for breakfast at least an hour ahead of time.  I fed Mama Kitty and called for Blue.  I checked the garage and the shop to make sure he hadn't been locked in, but he's wise to that now; if he hears the automatic doors closing, he runs as fast as he can.  He's been locked in those places accidentally before, and doesn't intend for it to happen again.  At six AM he still hadn't shown up.  I went to the back porch and yelled for him across the pasture where he hunts so often, wondering if the hunter had become the hunted.  About ten minutes later, I looked out the window and saw Mama Kitty had mosied back there and was sitting, peering intently out over the pasture.  I couldn't see anything in that direction and came inside, but five minutes later, Blue was back there with her.  

I was so happy to see him I let him inside and fed him breakfast in the house.  That was shortly after six, and as I type this at 10:30, he's still in his bed across the living room napping, occasionally stretching, yawning, and changing positions.  The problem with outdoor cats is that there are so many things that can happen to them:  coyotes, bobcats, and foxes are numerous here.  Every time I get a scare like this, I remind myself we've had Mama Kitty 11 or 12 years, and she's still around doing fine.

It's been a lazy couple of days.  It rained off and on yesterday, and today we have clouds and chilly weather.  Cliff is cat-napping on the couch, and I haven't done much to brag about.  

These are strange times we're living in, in so many different ways.  I think I need a nap.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

There are pills for everything

This is mostly about my health issues and how I'm dealing with them; it will probably bore most of you, but I wanted to get it on my blog, so here you have it.  If you have frequent heartburn, maybe it will be a wakeup call for someone.

We've been very spoiled, living in America.  If something is broken in our bodies, we want it fixed.  If there is pain, we look for a pill.  If we're sad, we want a happy pill.  If we are fat, we want a magic fix, a procedure... something that will fix us, yet allow us to do whatever we want.  I have been in this group at times.

Just look at the diet pills that have been on the market in the past:  Either they don't work, or tend to turn you over to amphetamine-drug addiction.  And oh, the varieties of "diets"!  Many of the low-carb diets cause weight loss, but at some point you will likely gain back the weight.  But that's true of most diets.

I've learned some things from my research about Barrett's Esophagus, the precancerous condition with which I've been diagnosed.  I've always had tendencies toward heartburn; rather than look for the underlying problem of my discomfort, I bought over-the-counter pills for the times I was in distress, and they worked great!  Until they didn't.  I have to admit, I knew some of the causes of my "heartburn" were what I was putting into my stomach, but it was just so easy to take a pill.  I was given omeprazole, which is only supposed to be taken for a month or so at most.  It worked very well... until it didn't.  So I was told to take two of them daily instead of one.  Same scenario.  It worked until it didn't, and meanwhile, I was ingesting a proton pump inhibitor that is not supposed to be taken forever.  

My nurse-practitioner said it was time for me to see a gastro-enterologist.  He scheduled an upper GI, but I really didn't know what to make of the results and I never saw him after the procedure.  He talked to me briefly after I woke up, but I didn't hear any mention of what was causing my reflux and pain.  This year I had the same procedure again, done by a different doctor from the same group; he was much more personable, and pointed out the Barrett's Esophagus that, he said, had shown up on my first upper GI a year earlier.  He had an appointment scheduled for me in mid-June, as well as a folder with some information on what I should and shouldn't eat; coffee was at the top of the list, but I had given that up already.  I went back to the omeprazole and got by for a few months, but again, it stopped working for me.  This year at the time of my procedure, I was taking Sucralfate four times daily, at least one hour before meals and at least two hours after, on an empty stomach; it seemed like the only thing that helped by this time.  Talking to me before the procedure, the doctor mentioned that some people get the same results only taking it twice a day.  

After reading the list of things that cause acid, I despaired:  Limited dairy products, few fats, few simple carbs (but lots of complex carbs).  No chocolate, no oranges or orange juice, no tomato sauces of any kind... and not many fats, except the good ones that you find in fish.  

Of course I googled and found more diet advice.  I joined a group on Facebook and learned I'm not the only one with this kind of problem.  Someone mentioned a book, "The Acid Watcher Diet", and I bought it from Kindle to read on the iPad.  The book is very strict, down to suggesting I buy non-GMO's and organic; this isn't practical for me, and honestly, I don't feel it's GMO's making us sick; I think it's our gluttony in this country.  So I knew I wasn't going to follow every single suggestion in the book.  However, I have incorporated a lot of the advice I read into how I eat, and I can tell you that I am now down to two Sucralfate pills and haven't had heartburn for six days.  

A friend told me about her father's journey with acid reflux and said he doesn't eat anything for last three hours before he goes to bed at night; I found that same advice in the Acid Watcher book.  It stressed the need of fiber in the diet and said the best cereal you can eat is Grape-nuts, which has only four ingredients.  I don't like the stuff, but I eat 1/3  cup of it every morning, soaked in a little milk... no sugar added.  And fruit!  I've always loved fruit.  Yesterday I had a kiwi, a banana, a mango ($.50 each at Aldi last week), and a couple of apples.  I had a chicken salad sandwich on Aldi's very low-priced whole-wheat bread, and a little yogurt.  I'm gaining back some of the weight I lost when I was so uncomfortable.

That's how I'm eating now, and it seems to be helping.  I caused this problem over the years because I felt I should be able to eat anything I wanted.  Meanwhile, I was setting up my body for Barrett's Esophagus, a condition you can never get rid of once it's there.  Doctors call Barrett's a pre-cancerous condition, but by the numbers, only one person out of two hundred per year actually develops cancer.  

My future is looking better. 

Monday, May 24, 2021

Finally, we had a day without rain (unless you count a few sprinkles)

Two or more weeks of daily rain brought back an old saying from my childhood in Iowa and north Missouri:  "Do you think the rain will hurt the rhubarb?"

As a child, I never knew what the saying meant, but I heard it often.  Remember, in the late forties and early fifties, most people still gardened.  All my farmer relatives had some rhubarb somewhere in or near the garden.  As an adult, I know that it's very hard to give rhubarb too much water; it thrives on rain.  So the answer to the question "will the rain hurt the rhubarb" is "of course not, anybody knows that!"  As a child, I didn't know why people asked the question, but I noticed they always smiled or chuckled when they said it; so I assumed there must be a joke in there somewhere.  I never cared for rhubarb, although I would eat a bit of the strawberry-rhubarb pies Grandma made.  My husband loves rhubarb, but he hasn't had any for years.

My weekend went well.  We "cut the cord" with CenturyLink (the company that we've been getting our Internet from since 1998) as well as Directv.  Our Internet speed gives us about four times the speed Centurylink gave us.  We are two miles from the source of our internet, which is at the top of the Wellington water tower.  I'm a little doubtful about how long it will work, because there are a lot of trees between here and that source, and trees do keep growing.  If it will last two years, I won't feel too bad about paying to have it installed here.  If not, I would hope something else comes along; my next-door grandson seems to think there will be another option at some point.

Yesterday was pretty warm, and the sun made several appearances after noon.  I did some tilling in the garden when I got home from church, and planted a few more seeds.  This whole Missouri river bluff we live on is made of windblown sandy soil that drains very quickly, so you can get five inches of rain on Thursday and three days later.  Even if I till it while it's a little too wet, it doesn't clump up and harden into rock-like lumps, the way clay soil does.  Many's the time I've put on my boots and just pushed seeds into the mud, when the rain refused to stop for days at a time.  

Taken at 6:15 AM this morning

The fenced area at the far end of the garden contains my three tomato plants and two pepper plants.  Raccoons have been know to visit my tomato plants when there are many green tomatoes setting on; they pull them off the plant, take a bite or two, then pull more off until what would be the first tomatoes to ripen are totally gone.

My row of green beans.  I also have a more recent planting that just popped out of the ground.

Here you have my two rows of sweet corn.  The nearer part of the two rows just popped up two days ago.  I need to thin the plants a little.  

It's just a small garden.  I have no intention of canning anything.  At this point in my life, I just try to plant several small plantings so I have something throughout summer for the table, fresh.  

There are some other random plants that don't show up in the picture:  One zucchini plant, which will likely be ruined by squash bugs before I ever get a single zucchini;  a cucumber vine over by the cage where it can climb up the fence, etc.  Oh, and two heads of cabbage at one end of the green bean row.  

Gardening isn't the thrill it used to be for me, but it still puts hope and faith in my heart, watching things grow.  Below is a poem I wrote, back in the days of my huge gardens.

Donna Wood

It's hope that orders garden seed,in winter's snow and wind.
Although the world is frozen, hope can see it born again!
It's faith that plants the tiny seeds, though spring has not arrived.
The seeds look dry and dormant, but Faith whispers, "They're alive!"
It's love that tends the growing plants and prays for rain and sun:
Love hoes and weeds and labors, till the garden season's done.
When I work in my garden, it reminds me, row by row,
That hope and faith and love together make the Christian grow.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Same old routine around here

One of my readers assumed there was something wrong with me because I hadn't posted an entry for awhile.  Actually, we haven't had anything major to deal with lately.  I have been having a terrible time going to sleep for the past three months or so, and believe me, that takes the steam out of me.  For years I slept six hours most nights, and I get along fine on that.  Lately, I've only gotten three or four hours.  It makes me grumpy, and I don't care whether I do a blog entry or not.  Once in awhile, maybe twice a week, I take an over-the-counter sleep aid, and that usually helps... but those pills also make me groggy, so I still don't care about doing much.  As far as health problems, we haven't had any new ones.  Our doctor doubled my blood pressure pill, and it looks like that is starting work as it should.  

I'm still trying to find out what I can eat that won't hurt my stomach and esophagus.  Most days are pain-free for me now, and when reflux pops up at night, I try to think back and remember what I had for my last meal of the day before.  I do know I have to take my time eating; if I don't eat slowly, that food takes forever to go down to my stomach.

Every day for the past week it has rained; most days we only get a sprinkle, but the skies are constantly dark and dreary, and I don't do well with that kind of weather when it refuses to go away.  We received three and a half inches of rain this week, and I'm happy for that.  Cliff said he heard on the news that Kansas City is about to break their record for having the largest number of consecutive rainy days.

I am excited about one thing right now:  tomorrow we get faster Internet that comes to our house through the air!  Bye-bye, Centurylink and Directv.  We will be streaming our television shows from now on, and watching local channels on the antenna.  All the local folks who have Nexus say it is wonderful.  Maybe now I won't have to take a nap while I'm downloading pictures to my blog.  We will be using the lowest-priced deal they offer, at least to begin with.  Their lowest speed is five times faster than Centurylink has ever been.  We won't be penalized if we decide we don't want it.  

We went to Aldi's today, and also stopped by Price Chopper because they had a deal on cauliflower and broccoli.  Price Chopper is an expensive store, but their fruits and vegetables are the best quality around.  Most folks in the stores didn't wear masks today, but I wore mine.  Just guessing, I'd say 1/4 of the shoppers wore masks.

So, my worried Arkansas friend, worry no more.  

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Laughing through difficult times

In spite of the tension and worry last week when I was with my husband at the hospital, I was reminded again that the indomitable human spirit is stronger than fear or sorrow, and will rise up and laugh in the face of the Grim Reaper.

I've seen it at almost every funeral I've attended:  After the ceremony where tears are shed for the dear departed, you'll see friends and relatives gathered in small groups telling stories about the past, chuckling as they recollect good times.  

Cliff's younger brother, Don, died a few years ago; you'd have to have known him to realize what a character he really was.  But there was much laughter at his memorial service as grandchildren, sons, and even the minister told true tales about him that almost had us rolling in the aisles, so to speak.  What risks he took as he proceeded through his wild and crazy life! There was joy amid the tears as we listened. 

During Cliff's two-day stay at the hospital last week, we had quite a few laughs.  He wasn't in pain, so we did a lot of joking and reminiscing as we passed the time together.  On Tuesday his sister Rena came over and the three of us had one of the best visits ever.  The next day, when we learned Cliff would be released as soon as could be arranged, the two of us joked and laughed through those hours of waiting until we finally got to go home.  I never sleep very well at night.  I yawned at one point Cliff suggested I try to take a nap.  "I remember when we both could fit onto a bed this size," he said.

"Oh, I'm pretty sure I could fit onto that hospital bed with you," I said.  "Scoot over and we'll see."

I didn't even take off my shoes off; I got on the bed, stretched out, and laid my head on his shoulder.  It was very comforting to me, although at that time I really wasn't troubled anyway.  A male nurse walked in to do something or other and didn't even acknowledge the fact there were two of us in the bed; he just said what he had to say.

Folks, a sense of humor can get you through a lot of life's painful or tedious moments.  It eases the tensions caused by fear.  I don't believe our marriage would have lasted these soon-to-be fifty-five years if it hadn't been for our mutual ability not to take ourselves too seriously, and to laugh our way through hard times.  

We only get one life to live on this earth; we may as well enjoy it.


Thursday, May 13, 2021

It's been an interesting few days

Sunday my husband sat on the couch all day and napped.  Monday, it was the same thing, and he didn't even surf the web much, if any; that's highly unusual.  He tried to eat but just couldn't.  In fact, I couldn't even get him to drink much water.  That evening I told him he had to go to the emergency room, because something was obviously wrong; he protested, but not too much.  The grandson took us to St. Mary's and it wasn't long before they took him in.  He was having trouble breathing... that seemed to be his main problem.  But he also had heartburn (that's what he thought was wrong just before he ended up having a four-way bypass, sixteen years ago).  As soon as they hooked him up to an IV and did a little testing, they began checking his heart.  His blood pressure was up quite a bit and his pulse was faster than it should have been.  Once he'd been there awhile, he started feeling better.  None of the folks working with him had much to say about what was wrong.  Later a sweet nurse said they hadn't wanted to worry us until they knew what the problem was.

They checked Cliff's vitals, did a EKG, took blood, and mentioned a chest Xray.  Honestly, I'm not sure what all they did for him, but everyone remained cool, calm, and pleasant during our ER visit.  After an hour or so, a doctor came back and informed us my husband had atrial fibrillation.  I was familiar with that term because my mother had the condition for years.  Cliff had never had problems before with irregular heartbeat, so this was unfamiliar territory for him.  I suspect since I have an irregular heartbeat, he wanted to out-do me.  I'm kidding, of course.

They said they were keeping him overnight so they could try to get his heart beating properly and monitor him closely.  The next morning his heartbeat was still irregular.  We had assumed he'd go home the next morning, but no.  They weren't going to let him go until the situation got better.

Just about the time they were preparing to take other measures to get his heart back in rhythm, his ticker settled down and started beating regularly, all by itself.  

They dealt with his breathing problems all during his stay, also.

He was released around noon yesterday with two new pills to take:  A blood thinner and something else.  It's been an exciting couple of days and I am not recalling everything very well.  

I spent both days with him, coming home at night.  I don't drive, but I have a pretty good family network to take me to and from the hospital.  Our daughter, my grandson, and his girl-friend all did a great job of shuffling me back and forth to the hospital as they made their rounds to and from their jobs.  Cliff's sister lives five or ten minutes from the hospital and she and I decided that if he is ever in the hospital longer than two days, my dog and I will stay at her house.  She has dogs of her own and a well-fenced back yard, so Gabe would fit right in.   Let's hope that doesn't happen, but my husband and I are at an age when nothing surprises us.

And now, back to your regular programming.  My blog is beginning to look like a medical journal lately, but I'm just keeping it real, as Pioneer Woman always said.   

Monday, May 10, 2021

Why won't winter leave?

Night before last we had 60-miles-per-hour straight line winds coming from the east from 1:00 AM till 1:30   It's very seldom we see wind from the east, so that's unusual in itself.  Living in a mobile home, I dread high winds, but the worst thing that came from this foul wind was a power outage that lasted less than an hour.  This morning when I got up at five, I the temperature showing on the Echo show was 34 degrees!  I have tomatoes and peppers in the garden.  When the sun is fully up, I'll see if they made it through the night.  I also had some green beans and corn that just came up four days ago, too.  None of those vegetables like cold weather, and they can't survive frost; if I have to replace them, I'll be sad about it, but I always think of the farmers around here whose livelihood depends on the weather.  There is field corn up all around us.

Friday and Saturday were glorious days as far as how I felt.  Sunday, not so much.  Every time the burn of indigestion starts up, I try to think what I could have done differently the day before:  Saturday I probably ate too many grapes, as we have an abundance of them in the refrigerator; I do like grapes.  Also, because I'd felt good the two days before, I decided a little cream on my steel-cut oats shouldn't hurt.  Later on, I had less than a half-cup of ice cream.  From what I've read, Barrett's doesn't react to fats very well, so those transgressions caused yesterday's problems.  And perhaps none of that caused the problem; maybe this condition just rears its ugly head when it wants to.  However, I won't be using cream or eating ice cream again.  Today appears to be another good one, knock wood.  

Saturday my daughter and three grandchildren (with their children).  It was the first time we've seen them all together in a long, long time.  It's so much fun to watch the babies, and to see our almost thirteen-year-old great-granddaughter conversing like an adult instead of like a child.  They grow up so fast, don't they?  I have another great-granddaughter in Georgia.

It was hard for my daughter to get a decent picture.  Babies don't like to sit still.

That's Brynn on the left, Ivan on the right.  Ivan is the youngest, but he's the biggest.  He keeps his mom hopping, because he wants to do everything he isn't supposed to do and does not like to take no for an answer.

It looks like it's going to be a nice day, although cloudy.  From what I see on the weather forecast, it is going to steadily get warmer and by next week, we should be getting normal temperatures, accompanied by rain.  I never gripe about rain!

Thursday, May 06, 2021

I'm very happy

First off, I will admit to sometimes wondering how long my feeling well is going to last.  What if the Gastro doctor doesn't want me to take any of these pills that have stopped my pain?  What if he gives me something else and it doesn't work?  It seems every med I've taken for this current problem works... until it doesn't.  As I type this, though, I'm reminded of Matthew 6:25-26:  "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air: They do not sow or reap or gather into barns—and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?"

I intend to get back to meditating regularly; that has always chased worries away and calmed me down.  

There are several pluses to this whole esophagus problem:  I'm eating in a much more healthful manner and am very aware that stuffing myself makes me miserable, even if it's healthy foods I'm eating; I'm learning that from experience.  I notice if I'm eating differently, my husband does so too, even though I've told him I'll still cook anything he wants; I have no trouble staying away from fried foods and ice cream when I know I'll suffer for it in a couple of hours.  When I have my appointment with the doctor's assistant next month, I'm going to talk to her about what I should eat.

The biggest bonus of this whole episode is that every day when I get out of bed without pain, it's like the best day of my life!

I bought a Ninja air fryer Max XL at Kohl's for $149.99 on sale, then got $30 off with Kohl's cash.  But wait, there's more!  For spending that amount, I received $10 dollars in Kohl's cash to be used after the first of next month, and free shipping.  I should get my air fryer early next week.  Oh yes, and another bonus that made this a fantastic bargain:  My daughter usually gets me a huge tin of Topsy's Popcorn for Mother's Day because I love it so; she realized that wasn't an option now, and wanted to pay half the cost of my air fryer.  Actually, I owe her $15 back, because the price on the air fryer went down $30 overnight.  I don't think she would take it back, though, if I offered. 

I think we'll make a trip to Aldi sometime today; I need to stock up on steel-cut oats... and grits, if they have them.  If not, since we have to pick up a prescription at Walmart anyway, I'll get grits there.

What a happy day I'm having!  I hope all of my readers have a great day too.

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Life is good

We're having a cold snap around here, for which I'm grateful.  We had to turn on the air conditioner one day already, and I hate to see that expense on our budget again; we're getting almost a week of reprieve for the next ten days.  We still haven't gotten enough rain, but I'm thankful for the one inch we got last week.  I may have to hunt up the soaker hose for the garden.  

I'm still trying my best to concentrate on eating in a way that will help me.  The sucralfate I'm taking has been approved by the gastro doctor and will now be coming by mail every three months.  Since I haven't had my appointment there, I'm not sure if this is temporary or permanent; either way, I'm glad to have it coming; it's also cheaper when I get it from Optum RX.  I really wish I would stop losing weight now (never thought I'd be saying that).  I like the fact I'm down to 144 pounds for the first time in years, but enough is enough.  I'm five feet seven inches tall; the charts say I should weigh somewhere from 121 to 153, but I'm big-boned.  I have even had a couple of strangers mention that I'm "skinny"!  I think it will level out once I reach a stage where I know I'm eating the right thing; remember, I'm used to having plenty of ice cream, fried morel mushrooms, fried potatoes... also butter used liberally at every meal and snack.  I'm wondering if I should buy an air fryer, because I love fried foods so much; maybe that would be a happy medium for me.  And yet, at my age, I hate to buy another gadget for my family to get rid of when I'm gone.  

I haven't mentioned Blue, the indoor/outdoor cat, lately.  I was going to make him live outside when he began shedding, and he does for the most part.  However, if he wants in, goes straight to his cat tree, and then goes to his bed next to that for a nap, I let him stay until his nap is over.  I have the kind of tick-and-flea stuff you apply between the animal's shoulder blades, so there's no worry about fleas in the house.  He's always outside during the night.  We are putting stuff in his ears for something... probably mites.  Cliff is amazed that the cat doesn't claw me as he puts the drops in his ears while I hold him;  Blue hates the process and squirms a bit, but never threatens to hurt anyone.

I found someone local who wanted the Little People stuff; the preacher's wife!  I refused to let her pay for them because she does so much for people around the community, even when she doesn't feel up to it.  She baby-sits a little girl who is enjoying the toys already, and her first grandchild will enter the world in a few months.  She has four grown children, so I'm sure she'll have more grandchildren in the future.  Those toys will make a lot of children happy for quite some time, I'm sure. 

Our second-oldest grandchild, Brett, brought his two kids to visit Saturday.  We hadn't seen them for a long, long time, and we so enjoyed their visit.  

I think that's all I have for now.