Nov 7

There are several changes going on in the Story household – past, present and future. Let’s start with the past.

Back in July, Scott interviewed with General Truck Sales who was putting in a new showroom and repair center at our exit. I mean, this place is 5 minutes from our house. He passed the interview and drug tests for a position in the parts department, so he gave his 2-week notice to Menards and was set to begin his new job on the 29th. He was to report in to the Muncie branch for training with the promise that he’d move to the new center once it opened.

His first day was a disaster. They had him take test after test with no studying and no warning. They told him that he would be permanently at the Muncie branch (a 45-minute drive, each way). They told him that rather be in the parts department, he’d be working with hazardous materials and that any barrel or box that he labeled as hazardous waste would be his responsibility for the remaining existence of that container. If, months down the line, a semi with that container had an accident and that container was damage and the hazardous materials were spilled, Scott would be fined up to $50,000 and could spend 5 years in prison. All because he slapped a label on the container.

After 6 hours of dealing with the lies told to him in the interview process, Scott decided this job was not for him, and he quit. He immediately called Menards, since he had left on good terms, and reapplied for a position there. In order to do so, he had to go through the whole hire process just as someone who had never worked there before had. This included a drug test. Since he had passed the drug test at GTS, we had no worries about him passing one at Menards. He was rehired, worked a day and a half when he was called into the office and told that THC had been found in his urine and that he was not rehirable.

THC. He had been taking CBD oil to deal with the pain in his left foot from when a shelving unit fell on it while working at Menards. The foot never really healed properly and caused him a lot of pain and issues with swelling since he walked on concrete all day at work. He was taking 4 ibuprofen several times a day, which had us worried about the side effects of so much of it. I had heard of CBD oil and how well it managed pain. It was available at our grocery store, bought him the 10 mg capsules and had him start on it. Within a couple of weeks, his foot was no longer swelling up and he was able to walk all day with very little pain. Yay! Or so we thought.

I had read several reports on CBD oil online and all had said the CBD didn’t contain enough THC to show up on drug tests. Those reports were wrong. It does. And Scott lost his job because of trying to have a healthier way of dealing with pain management for an injury he sustained while at his job.

So, I took this as a sign that, maybe, just maybe, God wanted him to stay home and work on the house. I make enough money that we can survive on my income alone. We have to watch every penny, but we can survive. So, Scott became my “estate agent.”

We had money in savings, and have been using some of it judiciously to do home repairs. The front deck (4′ X 8′) was 25 years old and rotten enough to be dangerous. Scott tore it out, we sprayed the grass to kill it (1 gallon vinegar, 1 cup salt, 2T dish soap), laid the landscape fabric, and ordered pea gravel. Scott has spent the past month shoveling nearly 15 tons of stone; first into the area for the new deck (12′ X 10′), then in an area 3′ out from the house across the front of the house, around the deck and with an area to extend the downspout and move any rain water away from the foundation. We are using 1″ X 6″ boards as edging for this, but need to use 2″ X 6″ for the rest as the stone pushing against it is too much for the 1″ width.

And we have a new front deck. He interviewed contractors, he and I designed the deck and had the materials delivered, and he supervised the building of the new deck, although the man he hired really needed no supervision, just a couple of questions answered now and again.

Scott has cleaned out the garage (okay after I removed 120+ fleeces) and is in the process of organizing the many tools and supplies. I can park in the garage, now, which is something that hasn’t happened in years.

Scott has repainted the front door, inside and out, repaired the door frame, repaired the service door to the garage, replaced trim in the living room, sealed every entry point that a mouse might be able to use to gain entry into the house, patched holes in the 25-year-old vinyl siding, worked on the attic, reorganized his studio and the music equipment in the living room. He has kept the kitchen cleaned (and with all of the from-scratch cooking I am doing, that’s no mean feat). The myriad of things around the house that had gone for a long time neglected due to both of us having day jobs, my having Dyed in the Wool, his doing free-lance art (book covers mostly) and us being so busy on other things, are being done. He even lets me leave him a honey-do list each morning.

On top of this, he has been working on two written creative projects (one is nearly ready for the e-book publication), two art projects for long-term customers, and has been editing on my novel, which at nearly 130,000 words is a daunting task.

Now to the present. I love having him home. It has meant so many changes in our home, but all of them have been for the good. Funds, like I said, are tight. The savings we had has dwindled due to unforeseen things coming up (new dishwasher is to be delivered and set up today), as well as us way under budgeting another necessary repair to the house, but I am still happy with the situation. As long as we are wise with our spending, we should be just fine. My cooking everything and doing no eating out has helped. One meal eaten out can cost 20%-25% of our entire weekly food budget, so we just don’t eat out anymore. But that’s okay. It’s easier to stick with a healthy eating plan this way.

And, on top of all of this, Scott has dropped 24 pounds to date. He is healthier, has more energy, and is happier than I have seen him in many, many years. He is loving doing all of the work on our home. The skills he learned while working at Menards have come in very handy, and his confidence level at being able to tackle most jobs has grown. Just seeing him tired, but happy, at the end of the day is a blessing. I love coming home to a happy Scott.

And to the future. And there will be more changes coming. We have so much more to do on the house, and with the outside work 95% complete, we can now concentrate on the inside. We have a hardwood floor to finish installing (started years ago, but never completed), we have cabinets to redo to make them more useful, we have rooms to clean out and reorganize, we have so much that has just not been done. But he’s home and his “job” is seeing that they are checked off the list.

We already know what we want to accomplish next summer.

Change can be scary, especially when it comes to losing a job and having a reduced income. But change can be good if you are willing to see it as such and work within the parameters of that change. And sometimes change can be freeing. This one is all three – scary because our income has been reduced by a third, good because Scott is able to work on the house, and freeing for Scott to make our house a lovely, safe, and easier home in which to live.

I’m loving this change.

Mar 13

After a couple of months of ignoring the weight loss thing, I gained back about 9 pounds.  Last week I lost 3.6 of them, so I still have over 5 pounds to go to be back where I was last fall, but with Sandy working out at the gym with me, my workouts have gone from 45 minutes to 90 minutes three days a week, from 30 minutes to 60 minutes two days a week and to 30 minutes on each of the weekend days.

I almost lost 5 pounds last week, but in a moment of weakness, I had some Chinese food Sunday.  Chinese food is full of sodium and that made me go from 4.9 pounds lost to 3.6.  Grrrr!!!  It’s a good thing this is a new week.

I am using the www.myfitnesspal website to help me track everything and I love this!  For once I can add in calories burned during my cardio training sessions, which I had no clue about before.

Also, I am going to revamp and restart the 10,000 Step Club.  I’ll admit that I’ve let it go over the past couple of years, but beginning March 5th, I started purposefully to get in a minimum of 10,000 steps a day.  On the days I go to the gym, this is pretty easy, but on the days I don’t, I have to put in the steps on the treadmill or take a walk elsewhere in order to get the steps in.  I made it most days, and this week I intend to make it all days.

So, with this relaunching of the 10,000 Step Club in mind, and in order to help you dedicate yourself to getting fit and healthy, I am asking you to pledge yourself to walking a minimum of 10,000 steps so many days each week.  Below is a poll asking you how many days you intend to meet the 10,000 step minimum.  I am curious as to how many days a week people think they can do this.  And, let’s face it, I work at a desk all day, and my hobbies are weaving, spinning and knitting, so I sit doing those as well.  If I can get in 10,000 each day, then so can most people out there.

Also, let me know if you are interested in the 10,000 Step Club T-shirt. 

If you are, I’m thinking about putting it up on Cafe Press so you can get the shirt in the color of your choice and maybe add in tote bags, coffee mugs, etc.

 [poll id=”2″]

Feb 28

A new side to Lindenwood is their MoonTree Studios.  Last year, when we were there, the facility was still under construction, but it is finished now.  And it is beautiful.  The three main areas it supports are Art, Ecology and Spirituality.  I could live here, and you will see why.

There are two main buildings – the Residence Lodge and the Art Studio.  Let’s start with the Residence Lodge.

This is what you see when you walk in – warm, cozy, comfortable and peaceful.  I didn’t catch the cat’s name, but he reminded me of a larger version of Dylan. 

The details in this building were amazing and many artists contributed their talents and time to create it.

The bedrooms are simple, but comfortable.  This is where the resident artist would be staying while teaching at the studio.

One view of the living area from above on the balcony.

And another view from above.  The minute I stepped into this building, I felt peace wash over me.  Yes, I could live there.

This is the outside of the art studio building.  Check out all of those windows!

The natural lighting in this building was amazing and made the whole place feel light and airy.

I have always loved exposed beams in a building.  These are peg-joined in the good, old-fashioned way.  The barn on the farm I grew up on was peg-built, and the construction of the studio reminded me of that.

And then there is the weaving studio!

The sigh of contentment I took when entering this room – well, the opportunity to teach here is going to be welcomed, indeed.  Look at all that natural lighting!   I believe the room faces south and east, and to not have a dark space in which to try to discern colors and patterns is a blessing.

Another view of the weaving studio.  This was not the only studio space in the studio, either.  There was a painting studio, a pottery studio and another space that I believe was for the enameling classes. 

And speaking of classes, they are beginning to bring in artists from all over the country to teach here.  The following is their schedule for the near future with more classes and workshops being added all of the time.

If you have any questions or would like more information about MoonTree Studios, their schedules and teaching opportunities, please contact Sister Nancy at snancyr@poorhandmaids.org.  She is a delightful person who will be more than happy to tell you more about what moonTree has to offer.