Where Have You Been for the Past 35 Years?!

Wow! What a while since the last posting, right?! So sorry and no excuses. I simply haven’t had anything happening except sad and depressing events. I don’t want to dump all of that here, so I have been avoiding posting. Simple enough. But, enough is enough. So here I am.

We have made a couple of purchases and a couple of short trips since I last visited with you. First purchase was a “new to us” car. It is a 2016 BMW X1 and, before everyone gets all “ooooh” and “ahhh” I have to say, after a LOT of research and looking, we decided on this because it was not anymore $$$ than any of the other small to mid-size crossovers that are out there. It was a certified used vehicle and we were able to purchase a bumper to bumper extended warranty as well as the additional 2 years left on the manufacturer’s warranty. Just a side note; we pay for everything we do and purchase with cash. With our income being well below poverty levels we cannot afford to pay interest over and above the already outrageous prices for big tag items. We budget very, very carefully. Some day I might share how we work our budget to do the things we do, but for now I will just say that we live extremely frugally. Which brings me to our next purchase….

About 3 weeks ago we took a day trip to South Louisiana and we bought a “new to us” Skoolie. For those of you who are not familiar with that term, it refers to a bus that was previously used for school, church, etc., transportation but has since been converted into a traveling home, similar to a class “A” RV. Again, I can not emphasize enough, how much research with did on all of our options. We found this Skoolie after almost purchasing a traditional motorhome. When we first contacted the seller we were heartbroken. They had a buyer that was flying in to pick the bus up. It was disappointing because when we saw the bus we knew, beyond doubt, that it was the absolute perfect home for us. You know the feeling?! You just instantly see yourself in something, like the perfect pair of shoes or the puppy that snuggles and warms your heart instantly.

Booyah for us, the people did not show to pick up the bus and we got the call. We left immediately the next morning. No taking chances on losing the opportunity a second time. When we got there and did the overall inspections, etc., I can’t tell you what a divine moment it felt like. When we asked the lowest possible price for cash, today, it all fell into place like only a true blessing does. Now that leads me to one of our recent disappointments among a string of them. The house that we are currently in and all of the work and the future we had planned here at home.

We moved back to my husband’s family home in January of this year because his mother wanted us to have the house and as she aged she was no longer able to live here alone. She was actually living with one of his sisters so, after a couple of years of her asking, we acquiesced. All of his siblings, 4 sisters and 1 brother, had agreed to sign paperwork regarding their potential claim to the property because none of them wanted to be saddled with the project of repairing and remodeling. With the exception of one sister, they all have their own family homes now. We moved and began doing the research regarding foundation repair, roof replacement, new windows, and so on.

We had a lot of plans and we were moving forward until the end of February. You can look at some of the pictures on previous posts. Not a lot of them but we were moving forward at a leisurely pace. (Why hurry when you have the rest of your life?) Boy, are we glad we didn’t move any faster. The sign offs on sibling claims to the property kept getting put off and the paperwork sat on the desk week after week. You know how some families have a bad case of sibling rivalry? Well, how does this sound? If so and so has signed theirs I will sign mine, otherwise let me know when they do and then I will. Over, and over, and over again. Then, as I noted in a previous blog, the worst imaginable accident happened with my Mother-in-Law and my Dad at nearly the same time.

Since the news of my Dad’s going into hospice care we have been able to make 2 trips to Northern Michigan to visit with my parents. My Dad is off nearly all medications now and his head is a bit clearer. This allowed him to be “present” during the visits and we were able to enjoy spending some good time with him and my Mom. Also, since my Mother-in-Law’s fall and subsequent hip surgery followed by Post Operative Delirium, things have gone horribly wrong so we have spent as much time as possible, between trips up north, visiting with her. Originally, after the surgery, she was moved to a Skilled Nursing Facility in my Sister-in-Laws hometown, as that is where she was when she fell and had the surgery. Shortly after that move we had them transfer her to a SNF here. Three of the 6 children live here so there was more family contact which we believed would aid in recovery. Then,,,

She fell a second time, in the shower attached to her room one morning. No one at the facility knew she was up wandering and she couldn’t say why she was in the shower room as she had already been up, had breakfast, and was dressed for a doctor’s appointment that morning. She had a huge knot on her head and she bruised her left arm up pretty good. This, in addition to the horrific pressure wound on her left ankle that was a gift from the previous SNF seems to have been as devastatingly cliche’ as it can get. We sat at the ER and they ran a myriad of tests and scans and we were relieved to hear there were no serious injuries. Not the whole story though. Seems it never is.

Two days following the fall, she was not eating again and she was having episodes of brain fog that were eerie. Back to the ER a second time and a whole new battery of tests and scans with the same results. Everything looked fine, but nothing appeared fine. The best guess was that the Post Operative Delirium had just not fully cleared out of her system yet. Now I won’t put you through the sheer hell that has been her life since that day, but I will tell you that the “confusion” did not clear up any. On her 80th birthday, they moved my MIL to the Alzheimer’s wing of the Nursing Facility she was in. We tried to avoid this move and delayed as long as feasibly possible, but let’s not underestimate the voice that the Federal Government has under the guise of Medicare.

Last night, four days into her 80th year, we were at the ER again. She has been favoring her left arm and it has been getting progressively weaker for the past 2-3 weeks. It also seems that she is using her legs less and less. That meant another round of exhaustive tests and scans. About midnight we were informed that the tests were not positive this time around. The CT Scan showed that she now has a bleed on her brain. Even more devastating was the news that it is in the Medulla Oblongata which is the portion that controls all of our autonomic functions (those things we never have to think about, like breathing, body temperature, heart rate, digestion, and such). Just so happens that this is the worst part of the brain for something like this to occur and it is inoperable.

My husband and I fully believe in God’s Perfect Will and in miracles so I will never say anything is written in stone, but I will say that the prognosis from here is not promising. We met with the doctor this morning for more clarification and we were advised that there were some very; serious decisions that had to be made right away. After calling the 2 sisters here locally, we all met with a member of the hospital staff. This Palliative Care Specialist helped us through the bulk of the information regarding choices available at this stage and some family had to come to terms with the gravity of the situation. Then a decision had to be made which, at this point, I am not comfortable sharing in detail. Some day I will discuss them with you and give our reasons and considerations, but it is all too raw now.

What I would like to share, and end here with, is the decision we made during this time with regards to our living situation. See, we cannot afford to live in the house, which is 2 story, 5 bedroom, 2 bath, 2100 sq. ft. as she sits. With the lack of insulation, the sinking and breaking foundation, the old roof, a lot of missing and problem windows, a gas leak in the upstairs a/c, and several water leaks under the house it is simply too expensive for our budget paying just the most basic utilities. The summer hasn’t even begun here and the estimate is that electric bills triple in summer months when the hot, dry temperatures can be an average in the high 90’s and low 100’s. That being said, we are very cautious with our finances and we do not see the wisdom in putting the money needed to make the house a livable home when we do not have sole ownership yet. That would be placing a fool’s bet and we cannot risk that.

Aside from the house issues that have arisen, we have renewed our original decision of 13 years ago regarding our absolute, pure disdain for the State of Texas. We left here those many years ago because we do not want to live in this neck of the woods. I am sure there are plenty of you who love this state and kudos to you. As for us, we truly hate this place. It is either brutally hot and torturous or grey and brown, grey and brown, grey and brown (dismal to the tenth degree). We love the out-of-doors and we love to grow our own organic food. Our dogs love to wander outside and play. Because of the blistering sun and the insatiable sand fleas, ticks, and fire ants, neither activity is reasonable.

I’m not even beginning to mention the absolute bureaucratic nightmare that the various government entities have created. It is the most frustrating place we have ever lived, AGAIN! If you live here and you have never been anywhere else in the world for an extended period of time I believe that you can readily accept this life. After all, there is nothing wrong with it if there is nothing better to compare it to. However, if you have lived elsewhere or traveled extensively, I think you understand the points. Enough griping for now.

Here is where the Bluebird Skoolie comes into play and I know you know what I am talking about. We are hitting the road. We are not getting any younger ourselves and there are quite a few adventures we haven’t had. That said, within the next month we will begin to follow our vagabond nature and strike out once again. This time we will be full time RVers. The whole vibe of my posts will change as we travel throughout the lower forty eight and we strike out on our new adventure. The bottom line is, we are still alive and we are going to live. There is far too much left out there to explore and we have come to terms with the fact that we are truly Nomads at heart.

We will still have the home base in Texas and I will still share my experiences from a well lived life. All of the past, present and future joys, fears, tears, and lessons rolled up and laid out for all. I hope you all stay around to share the next chapter with us. We love being able to talk with you. See you soon and God Bless all of you!!

NOTE: Regarding the title of today’s post; When we walked in to the ER last night and saw my MIL, the first thing she said to me was “Well hey! There you are. I am so glad to see you. Where the hell have you been for the past, oh, 35 years?” I love this woman who has been part of my life for almost 35 years now so I had to use that small bit of humor to start the day.