Sunday, May 9, 2021

Stepping Out

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there.      

I hope you had a wonderful day. 

We are both over two weeks past fully vaccinated and numbers (although there still are numbers) are down.  We are still a little leery about venturing out. Our area still has a mask mandate which is unfortunately often ignored and horrible attendance at vaccination clinics which isn't just nerve wracking for us oldies, but for our young grandchildren cannot be vaccinated at this time. 

My favorite part of the watching the children during this time is that they have no problem with mask wearing unless someone tells them they should. Our preschoolers like to wear masks when we go out even though they never leave the car. Sometimes they wear them around the house. The "big" kids put them on in the morning with their coat and hat so they can climb on the bus. When we pick up kids after school, I see most children in the parking lot still wearing their masks, even after they climb into vehicles or start walking down streets. It has become second nature to them and they are not uncomfortable protecting others. 

Mr. Merry has no intention of rejoining the world. He was never a people person and between retirement and quarantine, he had reached his happy place.  He has found a chain hardware store that enforces mask wearing and he is perfectly happy spending the rest of his life either purchasing home improvement supplies or doing home improvement projects all by himself. 

I have begun to break free! This weekend I took my daughters and daughter in laws to a nearby college town to visit an eatery. I know this very liberal town and college would be very covid conscious so that Mr. Merry would not be too upset and thought it would be a nice foray back into some sort of normality. Everyone wore masks, even on the street where distancing is difficult. All stores required masks and had limits on numbers. It was a nice start. 

Somehow the second lady in this generation has turned 40 (how can that be? how old am I??) and we tried to celebrate inbetween the baseball, soccer, running and other activities that my moms are shuttling back and forth to and from. We settled on a favorite spot with an amazing new brunch menu! My first time eating in a restaurant in 18 months was a rousing success. 

This Thursday I am going to the early bird dinner at a little diner with two of my neighbors. One of them works at a factory bakery that supplies McDonald restaurants in our state. Employees can purchase sandwich buns and English muffins at the end of shift if there are overruns and she helped supply us early in the pandemic when breads were scarce. I am treating to thank her. 

Then on Sunday (can you hear the chains falling off?) I have made reservations at a tea room about 2 hours from here. My most further daughter in law will drive 40 minutes to my house where my vehicle will leave with another daughter in law, a daughter, a granddaughter and myself to drive an hour and 45 minutes to my oldest daughter's house. We will carpool with my other granddaughter, her mother in law, sister in law, and niece to a tea room where we will take up the entire little private dining room.  The beauty of all these teachers and healthcare workers and retirees is that all of us over the age of 18 are fully vaccinated. 

After the fiasco of the fire department chicken dinner drive thru (where no one selling tickets, fixing boxes or delivering to cars was masked) Mr. Merry has no interest in ever eating in a restaurant or socializing or really leaving the house. Luckily I have family and friends who are being brave with me. 

Sunday, April 25, 2021


 Saturday, April 24 at 9:00 a.m. we hit the two week mark after our second vaccine.  I spent the day trying to convince my husband to go out to a restaurant for breakfast on Sunday, but he had so many horror stories that I ended up having a dining out nightmare on Saturday night. 

I thought I would slowly introduce him back into the world on Sunday with a drive thru Chicken BBQ at a local fire station. The line was four blocks long and when we got closer we could see three sets of two people, one taking the money, the other putting a post-it note on your windshield with numbers of dinners. Pretty slick except for the fact NOT ONE of them was wearing a mask. 

We pulled around the building where we could see about ten people in one of the bays boxing chicken dinners and putting them in bags. NOT ONE of the people preparing the dinners was wearing a mask, but they did all have gloves on. 

The two people running dinners to car windows were not wearing masks. 

Our county has a 28% vaccination rate. Our health department is hosting all day shot clinics and no one is attending. Those who do come for the vaccine were coming from other counties who had wait lists, but now those counties can take care of their own. 

I am not a happy camper. It is hard to make that giant step of trying to get back to normal when no one is willing to follow the rules.  My best friend lost her 40 year old nephew this week to Covid. He tested positive on a Tuesday, was admitted to the hospital a few days later, was put on a bi-pap, then transferred to a bigger hospital and put on a ventilator. He died 8 days after the test. He chose not to be vaccinated. 

Meanwhile, I watched our church service on Facebook on Saturday night. My daughter in law called me this morning to remind me my grandson was doing something special at mass at their church this morning so I went to their Facebook page and watched their mass. It took me until the end of the service to realize I was watching the Saturday night service so then I had to go to the Sunday service and watch that so that I could see my grandson.  Yes, that is right. I attended THREE complete church services this weekend. 

Our wacky weather is continuing after four inches of snow last Tuesday, a moderate week and now a forecast in the 80's by this Tuesday.  Mother Nature has lost her marbles! 

Monday, April 12, 2021

April 12th

Well, somehow it is April 12th and I am still working on my word for the month. I keep waiting for inspiration, but I have nothing.  

We have had nicer weather than normal. Not too hot, not too cold. Warmer than usual. 

I make breakfast, put two grandchildren on a school bus, play with my "baby" who will somehow be 2 in July and his sister who will leave me for kindergarten in the fall.  My co-grandparent family is dealing with illness but has been up to watching the other three grandchildren the past two weeks. We meet the mother pf the two we have at 4 p.m., come home and have dinner and usually fall asleep in our recliners. 

I have been accumulating more books in my "to read" pile. 

We had a few family members over for Easter. And got tired of leftovers since I can only cook for a very large crowd. 

I have not figured out where or how to start my photo sorting project. I have purchased a boatload of photo cases to put the sorted photographs into so I need to get busy. 

Today I started my Medicare journey. I am six months away and already wish I had started sooner.  I called my pension plan who told me that my insurance did not offer a Medicare supplemental plan. I called my insurance and found out that they do offer a supplemental plan and will send me a booklet with plans and costs. I talked to my neighbor who turned 65 last year and got advice from her. Then I called my best friend who turned 65 last week and actually had appointments with two different Medicare advisors and made spreadsheets and is crossing her fingers she has chosen wisely.  

I found there is a Part A, a Part B, a Part C which everyone tells me is a mistake that will cost me too much for not what i think it will be, a Part D which will increase my prescription costs no matter which plan of the 18 available plans in my county I chose. There used to be a Part F, now there is a Part G and, I just found out a Plan N. However, my insurance company offers a Plan F which will be explained in the booklet they are sending me.  

So far I have come to the conclusion that whatever I chose will be wrong and cost me lots of money. I am ripe for spending too much since I purchased a supplemental to the plan that expires on my 65th birthday (I have no memory of signing up for it or purchasing it) that paid an additional $10,000 of the deductibles, co-pays and remaining percentages when I broke my arm.  

I haven't started my own spreadsheet yet, but I should have enough notes by the weekend to start one. 

Oh, and we got our second vaccine. I did not feel the shot. I did not have any side effects until that evening when every joint in my body ached. We did have a temperature drop of 25 degrees the same evening so I am not sure if it was a side effect. We were also very tired but had been babysitting preschoolers and toddlers for six consecutive days so I am not sure i can blame that on the vaccine either. 

Monday, March 15, 2021

March This and That

Saturday was an exciting day here at the House with the Picket Fence! We got in our car and drove to the Lutheran Church in our town where the wonderful folks at the County Health Department were dispensing Covid Vaccines!  We made the cut when our governor decreased the age to 60+ and I called to register at 8 a.m. the day the appointments opened. 

Our appointment was at 9 am. We arrived in the parking lot at 8:58 am, were immediately checked in by a masked worker with a clipboard, signed our names, and drove under the awning, I stuck out my right arm, my husband stuck out his left arm, and we exited the parking lot by 9:05 am. We actually could have left sooner but the couple in the van in front of us had to step outside and remove their coats. They efficiently administered over 500 first doses of the Moderna vaccine. 

Our only side effect was a sore arm for about 24 hours. I would say it was a dull ache which was much less than the constant pain in my "healed" left arm, which is more of a constant painful sharper ache. If I had been sitting on the driver's side, I probably would not have noticed anything. 

Meanwhile, I tried a new recipe last Friday. We eat fish on Friday for Lent and our last indoor restaurant experience was the last Friday in February 2020 at the Red Lobster. Our state has a mandatory mask directive, but our town interprets it to mean that you don't need one outdoors, even if you are standing right next to each other. Or if you are just "running in". This means we can't pick up carry out fish dinners at the local lodges or even stop at the drive in stands that are opening. 

I looked at Pinterest and kind of had the ingredients for this recipe. 

I halved the recipe and substituted 7 ounces of medium shrimp, which I cut in half, for the crab. I substituted red pepper for the pimento and substituted 8 ounces of shredded mozzarella cheese for the Cheddar and Swiss. Perhaps I threw in some diced celery, too. Measurements on all the vegetables were a little fuzzy. 

It was delicious and I will definitely make it again. My daughter is hinting that it would not be any harder to make two at once and send one home with her. I do have some imitation crab in the freezer, but I dont' think it would add enough flavor to this dish. 

Debbie at  inspired me with her mammoth photo organizing project. I had been eyeing the photo keepers which were half off too long and they increased to the regular price of $44. For some reason I looked at them yesterday and they were on clearance for $12.59! I looked at the mountain of shoeboxes (and there are more in drawers and hidden places) and ordered 8 of the boxes. This morning I woke up and decided I would unload some of photos of my children to my children and ordered 5 more!

Now I HAVE to commit to this project! I need to figure out where I am going to put my command center - away from little fingers - and I hope to enlist some grandchildren on Spring Break to help me. 


Miss Merry