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.

Sep 5
Update on Mom
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Taking it Personally | icon4 09 5th, 2012| icon38 Comments »

First of all, I want to thank everyone who has been so sweet to send Mom cards, good thoughts and prayers.  She appreciated them very much.

Mom is dying.  I can’t put it any other way.  She is not expected to regain consciousness and is being put into hospice until she goes.  The doctor told Dad it could be tomorrow or it could be two weeks.

Please keep my Dad in your prayers.  He’s going to be lost without her.  After 49 years of a very loving marriage, this is going to be the toughest thing he will ever have to go through.

If Mom makes it to her birthday on the 24th, she will be 67.  I don’t think she’ll be here to see it though.

Yes, I am hurting right now.  Knowing you will never see or hear your mother again is very hard.  Many of you have gone through this and know how I feel.

Apr 24

I did it!  I worked out for 45 minutes yesterday morning concentrating on cardio and 45 minutes right after work concentrating on strength training.  My shoulders hurt so bad last night I had to take ibuprophen to go to sleep, but I did it!

And, I put in 45 minutes on cardio this morning, again, this time pushing up the incline height and really making myself sweat it out.  Okay, I don’t sweat, but I did get very tired.  I wish I did sweat, because I think it would help cool me down since the treadmill I use is directly under a ceiling fan.  I just get very red in the face and drink lots of water.  🙂

Also, I priced and entered 44 more items into the inventory spreadsheet, which took me an hour and a half minutes last night.  I think I still have about 50-60 more items to enter, so I should reach my goal of getting it all caught up by the weekend.  Whew!

Over the weekend, my MIL asked me if I am ever going to slow down, meaning give up dyeing, teaching, going to shows, etc., and I told her “no.”  Then I explained to her that while I like my day job, it is there to pay the bills.  All these things I do away from the day job are what makes my life worth living.  I love teaching, I love dyeing, spinning, weaving, knitting, writing, and creating.  They are my life’s blood and without these activities, I’d be miserable.  I’m not sure she really understood, but it got me to thinking.  Do the rest of you feel the same about your activities outside of your job?  How many people are lucky enough that their “job” is getting to do the things you really love?