Friday, February 27, 2015

February 27, 2015

A Day Playing with Cards
February 27, 2015

The storage containers that I got today with Rewards Cards from Staples

This morning I was up early because I needed to open up at the office.  Ron had a doctor's appointment and didn't get to the office until about 11:30.  The morning started out slow, but by the time Ron got there it had picked up and we both stayed busy for the next hour or so.  Would you believe?  The lady in my story from yesterday came back and paid for the keys she had left with me unpaid.  Ron waited on her and I stayed in my office.  Ron thinks someone talked to her because she came in quietly and asked for the keys and paid cash.   I had prayed for her yesterday and I hope her anger is gone.

Once Ron was back and we took care of the customers who seemed to be coming in on their lunch hours, I went to pick up some lunch for me.  I have not been to the grocery store this week but hope to go early in the morning.

We had decided to close at 3:00 this afternoon since the parade would be shutting down the area about 4:00.  Just before leaving, I decided to open the one bill that had come today.  It was from AT&T.  I had just paid their bill this past Monday and could not figure out why I was getting another one so soon.  The bill was for almost 4 times the normal amount and I just handed it to Ron and told him to handle it.  After a long time on hold, the lady he talked to said there was an error and we were charged for something we should not have been charged for.  Now they owe me almost $75 for over billing last month.  Do you always go over your bills, or just pay them?

At the office, I had some time during the morning to cut out some more pieces to the next quilt squares.  I still have a lot to do on the one I am currently working on.  I left the office and took an end of the month deposit to the bank and then started "Playing with Cards."  I needed a few things at Staples, and I had an assortment of Staples Rewards cards and certificates.  I got the things I needed and a nice variety of storage containers and only paid $6 for the $81 of storage containers.

On my way home, my phone kept chirping at me telling me I had some texts.  I didn't try to read them while driving since that is illegal as well as stupid.  When I pulled in the garage, I sat in the car reading and answering the texts.  I had sent two to Ron when he opened the door from the house to the garage and asked why I was sitting in the car texting.  He must have pulled in the driveway just as I closed the garage door and here I sat texting while he was in the house.

We decided to use one of the gift cards to Olive Garden that we got for Christmas and go there for supper.  Following supper, we went to Hobby Lobby where I used a gift card I got for my birthday to buy a hummingbird feeder and two pieces of fabric that were on sale for a good price.  Our next stop was Kohl's where I had a very generous gift card that I got for my birthday which I used to buy a new toaster oven (ours died a few months ago and I miss it).  I also bought a gift item and I still have money left on the card.  That is my kind of shopping!  What a treat.  We are so thankful to those who provided those gifts to us.

Vickey had called while we were in Hobby Lobby, so I returned the call later on the way home and we chatted all the way home and for the next 30 minutes.  She has been sick and I had missed our phone calls. 

Vickey asked how my week had been and it was easy to say that it had been a very good week! 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

February 26, 2015

One Person Can Ruin a Day
February 26, 2015

Project I worked on today - a baby quilt probably

This morning I was up early and got to the office just after 9:00.  We were closing at 11:00 so I thought I should put in a little time.  I spent the time working on paper work, cutting out some quilt pieces and waiting on some customers.

It has always amazed us how many people come in to buy merchandise and don't bring money.  Way back when my dad was still living (20+ years ago) we would talk about how many came in, had you cut their keys, looked at the bill when you wrote it up, and went to the car to get their money.  We would usually comment to each other when they headed for the car, "Do they do that at H.E.B. or Luby's?"  It just boggles the mind that people go in a store to make a purchase and don't bring means to pay.

This morning a lady asked for 15 keys.  Ron cut them while I wrote her bill.  Then, she asked if we took credit cards - which really turned out to be a debit card.  I ran the card for about $25 and it was declined.  I gave it back to her.  Without asking me, she ran it again.  It costs me money every time a card is declined.  She was about to run it again when I stopped her and told her it had already cost me $2 in fees and not to run it again.

She pulled out $15 cash and handed it to me.  I told her the bill was $25 and she said she was going to put the other $10 on the Debit card.  I told her no, that I would hold the keys for her until she came back with the money.  She wanted me to let her take part of them for the $15.  (We know from experience that they very rarely come back to get the other keys and pay the rest.)  I told her I would keep them all for her and she said that she wouldn't come back at all.  I told her very calmly, that was ok.  I returned to my office.  She told Ron she was going to "report me on Facebook."

Yes, I could have taken her $15 and gotten some of the money and maybe I should have, but Ron agreed with the way I handled it.  He had heard the exchange.  A customer behind her was rolling his eyes at her.  We don't like to make customers angry, but we don't work for free.  We expect to be paid for our merchandise and labor.  After the store cleared out, I told him it bugged me that I could be having a great day and one person could ruin it. 

We are all guilty of doing the same thing to others.  Their day may be great and we make a derogatory comment and they will dwell on it.  Maybe her day was bad and she was taking it out on me.  Maybe she had no idea why the money was not in her account and was upset about that.  Anyhow, I was glad it was a short day.  We were closing early for the Charro Days Children's Parade.  I left around 11:00 but Ron didn't get out for a while.  Customers continued to come in and kept him there.

On my way home, I stopped by Mom's house and then came home and spent the afternoon working on my sewing room, sorting, cleaning, and then sewing.  I cut out some more pieces and got 4 quilt squares made. 

Ron was out all afternoon and got home about supper time.  I read for a while and relaxed.  It was a good day.  Only a few birds came to the feeders.  I filled all of the fountains and ponds.  We had unplugged the pumps when we went out of town and had not had time to start them again.  I just had a quiet afternoon and that was nice.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

February 25, 2015

600th Blog Posting
February 25, 2015

It was nice to see the sunshine in the yard this morning.

It is hard to believe that this is my 600th posting on this blog.  When I started, I was deaf, and waiting for word on if I would qualify for a Cochlear Implant.  I didn't know if I would end up spending the rest of my life deaf, or if I would be able to get the surgery and then if the surgery would be a success.  Not all Cochlear Implants are successful.  The vast majority of them help tremendously, but some do not.  During that time, God gave me peace as I waited.

There is a lot of work to get the most possible out of a Cochlear implant.  That involves wearing the Cochlear Sound Processor most of the waking hours.  I will say that it is not real comfortable.  They have improved them over time, they get smaller and lighter in weight, but it is still not great.  Don't get me wrong - it is worth that to not be deaf, but it will be better as they continue to improve them in years to come.  Cochlear continues to come up with new innovations to make the hearing experience as close to natural as possible.

Part of the adapting involves several visits with an audiologist trained in dealing with Cochlear Implants.  Many suggestions are offered for each problem the recipient is dealing with on a daily basis.  The ladies at the Houston Ear Research Foundation have been kind, patient, and helpful.  They are always only a phone call away, and of course, those are phone calls Ron must make for me. 

With all the rain we have had this winter, the ivy is growing rapidly.

There are times I don't think about my implant and the sound processor as I go through my day, but I very often think about how wonderful it is to not be deaf.  Yesterday I stopped by our son's home to pick something up and to see the grandchildren for a few minutes.  I could hear!  They can talk non-stop!  What a noisy setting for me!  Chatter, chatter, chatter.  They were as happy to see me as I was to see them.  They all had things to tell me or ask me.  The youngest grandson always has the same question: "Did you bring me candy?"
The flowers in the yard still had the rain drops from a little earlier, clinging to them. 

Sometimes at home, I take the processor off and enjoy the peace and quiet.  Other times, like this morning, I put it on rather early before I go out into the yard to fill the bird feeders.  I want to hear the birds.  They were rather quiet this morning until I got the feeders filled.  Then the chatter started.

The phone continues to be a challenge.  I had to answer it at the office once this morning while Ron was busy with a customer.  I could not hear or understand the customer, so I had to ask the customer on the phone to hold while I got someone to help her.  That frustrates me, but for now, I just can't manage the phone.
Sunflowers come up volunteer under the bird feeders, from dropped seeds.
This morning I asked Ron if he had any jobs promised.  He said he had promised one, that he would be working on in the shop all day.  I asked if I could wait until noon to come in.  That was fine with him.  I stayed at the house and did two loads of laundry and filled and ran the dishwasher and then made 6 quilt squares for the current "in progress" project.  I am enjoying it and hope to get some more done tonight, but in the evenings, I just seem to be too tired to sew lately.
It is growing.  There are now 48 blocks.

During the afternoon at the office, I waited on customers as often as possible so that Ron could work on the job he was doing.  In between customers, I cut out some quilt squares for another "in progress" project.  I will be busy with office work in a couple of days as the end of February comes.  We will be closed some over the next couple of days since Charro Days' parades form at the corner by our business.  We just can't function as a business during those days.  There is a parade Thursday afternoon and they try to encourage us to lock up and leave by 11:00.  Friday, the parade is in the evening, so we will probably close about 3:00.  We are no longer open on Saturdays, so that parade will not bother us.

Around 4:30 I left the office to go to the drug store and pick up a prescription.  I was able to do that quickly, so I had time to go by and check on my mom.  She has been feeling so much better!  She was resting when I got there and we talked for about 20 minutes.  She is so delighted with her progress and of course, the rest of us are also.

Next stop was at Luby's Cafeteria to meet our friends for supper.  We decided tonight would be the best time to get together since the traffic the next two nights will be terrible with the parades creating traffic jams all over town.  We had a good supper and a good visit.  My friend Pat is such an encourager.  She is a blessing in my life.  We talked about our trip last weekend to Dallas and about a few things we missed here last Sunday including what we have heard was an excellent sermon.

Following supper I came home and Ron returned to the shop to try to finish the job he had been working on today.  I am getting some more laundry from our trip done and some of the new fabric I bought is in the dryer right now, soon to be ready for me to use.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

February 24, 2015

Opposites Attract
February 24, 2015

My husband coming in from a job today. 
 The temperature was about 41 degrees.

Most people have heard the saying, "Opposites attract" applied to marriage.  There is a lot of truth in that statement.  Ron and I often comment on couples where one is quiet, studious, and serious and the other is fun-loving, chatty, and knows everyone in the room. 

This summer Ron and I will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary.  We love each other a lot, and we are rather opposite.  This cold weather brings out one of the obvious ways we differ.  This morning when I got up, the temperature was 39 degrees and the wind chill was 31. It took almost all day for the temperature to get to 43 degrees with a wind chill of 41.  The above photo shows how Ron dressed for the day.  He had on either 4 or 5 layers including a hoodie and a hat.  Below is the way I dressed for the day.
As I came into the office this morning I carried (not wore) a light jacket in case I needed it (I didn't).  I was pretty comfortable in the office all day.  I admit, Ron went out on a job, but I went out on an errand and didn't even take the jacket with me.  If I had to be working out in the cold, I probably would have worn a jacket, but usually I am not out in the weather very long. 
Here is the office thermostat set on 69 degrees.  Ron kept at least 2 layers on all the time.  I drank iced drinks all day and Ron was constantly reheating his coffee in the microwave.  I was born and grew up in Brownsville in deep South Texas.  He was born and grew up in North Texas, not far from Dallas.  You would think he would be able to take the cold and I wouldn't.  In truth, he has found out in the last year that he has a thyroid problem that probably accounts for why he is so cold all of the time.  I have had a thyroid condition for 6 or more years and maybe mine accounts for my reaction being the opposite.  Our conditions both are thyroid related, but not the same condition.

Back to the fact that opposites attract.  In high school we took tests that showed our interests and abilities and then suggested possible career directions.  I have always said that Ron and I fit the scripture in the Bible that says in marriage the two shall become one.  On my test, I scored a 1% in mechanical and Ron scored a 99%.  I scored a 99% in music and he scored a 1%.  Together we make a whole.  I must say that the most touching gift I ever received from Ron was season concert tickets to the Houston symphony orchestra when we were living in Houston early in our marriage.  Financially it was a sacrificial gift and it was so thoughtful because I knew it was not something he wanted to do.  We had the two tickets and both went to the first concert.  After that he let me select a friend to take. 

With my hearing loss, the inability to hear and enjoy music as it really sounds is maybe my greatest loss.  I can hear voices of loved ones and can carry on conversations and although many things can be a struggle, the music is just about hopeless.  Ron commented a couple of days ago how the Chick-fil-A we were in was playing Christian music and I said, "What music?"  Normally that type of music is totally lost to me.  All I hear is noise that I don't even recognize as music.  I was completely unaware that music was playing. 

Marriage is not a 50/50 partnership, it is 100/100.  Both must give their all for a marriage to work.  That doesn't mean that Ron had to like the music I did, but it meant that when he sacrificed to provide beautiful music for me, he went the extra mile for me.  When he encourages me to go to the quilt festivals in Houston every year, it is because he wants me to do something I love.  When he goes along and carries my packages, it is a REAL sacrifice.  When I get up early and make his coffee every morning (I never drink coffee), it is a sacrifice but it is for the good of our marriage.  Our joke about the coffee is that I bring it to him in bed every morning, but I set it across the room so he will have to get up to get it.  I am a morning person and he is not.

When Ron mows the yard, it really bothers his allergies.  I love to mow the yard and although I have a lot of allergy trouble, mowing the yard is not one of the things that aggravates mine.  He often feels guilty when I am out there mowing in the heat of the summer, but I really don't mind.  In the very hottest of times, he will do it to save me from the heat and when I broke my elbow he did it or got our grandsons to do it.  Years ago, he hired a man to have a crew do the front yard every week so that I only do the back yard and if I don't have time, it can be put off.  No one sees our back yard except us (and the house across the resaca). 

I must tell you that at this point of the blog I am sitting here laughing.  I was getting warm and headed into the dining room where the thermostat is located, to lower it one degree.  Ron was just walking into the dining room looking for me to help him put on another layer.  He is having trouble with his shoulder and needed my help.  He allowed me to lower the thermostat, but may be back soon with another layer to put on.

There must be give and take in a marriage to make it work, but there are also areas where the couple needs to be in full agreement.  They need to both love the Lord with all their hearts.  Not only does God become the center of that marriage, but they need to both want to be in church and it is by far best if they want to be a part of the same church body.  This is not an area where being opposites compliments the marriage.  They need to agree on having or not having a family.  That is not something where one should have to give up what they want.  Being forced into a decision about having or not having children should be settled before marriage.

Overall goals need to be aimed in the same direction.  Some things are minor goals, such as "Where shall we go on vacation?"  If the desires are very different, they will probably need to vary the choices.  Thankfully we both love the mountains.  We love waterfalls and will hike a long way to see a beautiful one.  I love the beach.  Ron doesn't.  Over the years we came to the compromise that I would swim, the kids would hunt shells, build sandcastles, or swim, and Ron would wear his steel toed shoes and build a bonfire.  He does not like sand between his toes.  If I could, I would live at the beach.  He would never make that choice. When he and I go to the island for a weekend, I know it is one of those sacrifices he makes for me.

So, I love my guy, in so many layers of clothing that he can't remember which layer has the cell phone and has to check lots of pockets to find it when it starts ringing.  He loves me and adds layers so that I don't have a heat stroke. I think I will keep him!

February 23, 2105

Wet Chilly Morning, Cold Evening
February 23, 2015

Two or three of these egrets were across the street 
from the office on this cold, wet morning.

This morning I needed to be at the office early.  I had a doctor's appointment scheduled for the day, but could not remember what time the appointment was to be.  I thought I had the information at the office.  I could not find it when I got there, so I asked Ron to call and find out for me.  He tried a couple of times and could not get them on the phone.  After a while, I called and just could not hear them.  He walked into my office about that time and so I handed the phone to him.  He finished the call and then told me that he had already had gotten the answer but had not had time to tell me.  It just showed me I can't make those types of calls without his help.

The drive to work was wet with drizzle, windy, cold, and just plain yucky!  You know how drivers are on Monday mornings?  They seem to all be running late and their driving gets really bad.  Add to that the weather and it was not a nice drive to the office.  I beat Ron there by a long time, so I opened up and got things going for the day.  We stayed busy all day with was probably several customers who had found us closed the end of last week for our trip to Dallas.

It turned out the appointment was not until 2:30 so I worked on bookkeeping most of the morning.  I sorted the bills as to what needed my attention today and what didn't need to be dealt with until next week.  We had asked the post office to hold our mail while we were gone so about noon Ron went to get it.  While he was gone the mailman brought today's mail.  I did get a few checks in the mail; I finished writing checks to pay bills and took them with me when I left for my appointment at the doctor's office to mail on my way back to the office.

During the day at the office two Winter Texan ladies came in for some keys and while Ron cut their high security keys, I chatted with them.  They asked about my Cochlear Implant since I had not seen them in about a year.  They were pleased with my ability to carry on a fairly normal conversation with them.  It is always nice when customers remember and ask about it.  One commented that they could not see it at all.  I told them that usually my hair covers it except when the wind is blowing a lot and then it is because my hair is messed up from the wind.  They are very nice ladies and it was a good conversation.

At the doctor's office, the Physician's Assistant saw me - a very nice lady named Katherine.  She was pleased with my results on an increased dosage of one medication.  Then I asked her about allergy testing and we discussed it for a bit.  It turns out they have an allergy specialist in their office who compounds the serum herself.  Katherine had her come talk to me and then we moved to the allergist's office.  The allergist (Cynthia) went through a lot of questions and answered my questions.  I like her and we have set up to do the testing in a couple of weeks.  That means I have to be off my allergy medications until then.  My allergies have not been as bad this year, but they are always a problem and I am tired of them!  I hope that she can help.

On my way back to the office, I went to the post office to mail the checks I had written and then at the office prepared a deposit and took it to the bank and picked up rolls of coins for the cash drawer.  From there I tried to pick up a package of tortillas but the place I tried was out of tortillas and had closed early.  I went to the utility company to pay their bill and then to my mom's house to see how she was doing.

Mom is making great progress.  At this point, she can tell a difference and it was obvious that she felt better.  The physical therapy office provides van service and she is now using that to go to her appointments.  We visited for a while and then I headed home to fix supper.  I went by another tortilla place which was also sold out.  I am not sure why but maybe due to all the Charro Days activities going on this week.  For those who don't know, Charro Days is a local celebration with our sister city just across the river in Mexico.  We have parades, and a large variety of activities.  Everyone is encouraged to wear Mexican costumes and lots of people have parties serving Mexican food.  So this may not be the week for me to find fresh tortillas.

From there I went to Walgreen's to get milk and bread and it was 7:30 before I got home.  Ron had only been home a few minutes since he had a job at a bank after we closed.  I had bought some Bar-B-Que on the way home from Dallas so we had that for supper.  I unpacked some of the things we had brought home from Stephen's.  I had loaned him some of the plates and bowls we use and so I filled the dishwasher with things I brought home and got them washed and ready to put away.

A little unpacking got done.  I had done some Sunday night and more this morning, but have not finished.  The quilt group cancelled for Tuesday night and that will work out for me.  I may finish unpacking and get a couple of things done.  The weather forecast was not correct on the cold weather.  They did not expect it to get as cold as it has gotten.  Hope my plants survive!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

February 22, 2015

Home Again!
February 22, 2015

It is good to be home again.  Most of us like to travel, but most of us are glad to get back home after those travels.  We had an excellent trip.  When we were traveling, the weather was good except for mist, drizzle, and rain today mostly between Dallas and San Antonio.  Being a Sunday morning, the traffic was rather light so that made traveling in the rain bearable.  We did pass a very bad accident along that part of the trip and it had traffic on the expressway down to one slow lane.

Accidents can happen any where, and any time.  We had received a prayer request yesterday morning for friends who had been leaving California after visiting their daughter and her family and were in a very serious accident as they drove.  They were doing about 65 mph on the expressway and a vehicle doing 90-100 mph rear-ended them.  It was only by the grace of God that they are now at their daughter's home after the horrible hit they took, sending their car in all directions.

About 1:30 we met up with our son David and his family at North Star Mall and had lunch in the food court.  After visiting for a while, the kids went shopping and the adults continued visiting.  It was good to see them all.
 I napped part of the way home and also did some reading.  Ron and I were delighted to have great visits with two of our 4 sons and their families.
When we got home our two oldest grandsons came over and helped Ron unload the car.  We had brought back a table that Stephen had used for the last several years and no longer had room to keep.  We will use it in our living room for the older grandchildren when we have the family over for lunch.

Ron and Stephen had loaded the table and chairs last night at Stephen's house as we unloaded some decorations we had used at the rehearsal dinner.  The decorations are things they look forward to using in their home.  It was so good to see them and to see that marriage is agreeing with them.
Our children are so thoughtful.  Diana had knitted a scarf for me and it is beautiful.  I know I will enjoy using it when it gets cold enough here.  All of our children are very generous toward us and we are thankful for it.  I shopped at the Quilt Store yesterday with a gift card from Stephen and Kristina and Ron shopped at Half-Price Books with a gift card from them.  They all know what we like.

At the Food Court at North Star Mall today, hearing was difficult, but Ron said he had the same problem.  It was very crowded and noisy.  We noticed the contrast of the almost silence as we stepped out of the mall and heard the birds singing, compared to how very noisy the mall was.

We are so glad we were able to be away for a few days, but we know this will be a busy week ahead as we try to catch up on things.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

February 21, 2015

Classes Are Done!
February 21, 2015

As Ron and I sit in a Chick-Fil-A, I think after three days of classes, our brains are fried.   This afternoon after Ron attended the trade show, he and Stephen went to Half-Price Bookstore where he used a couple of gift cards and came out with a large box of books.  We are waiting at Chick-fil-A while Stephen attends his weekly Bible study and Ron was bemoaning the fact that he forgot to bring his Kindle.  We had just left Half-Price Books.  I suggested he go get a book out of the car.  Very embarrassed, he trudged out to the car for reading material. 

Poor Ron, I have laughed at him all weekend.  We stayed at the convention hotel while attending the classes and for some reason they put us sort of at the far end of the building on the top floor.  We have seen only one or two people in that section of the hotel the whole time we have been there.  I told him that maybe they remembered his snoring from three years ago and put us as far away from other guests as possible.  He did give me permission to share these stories.

We left home Wednesday morning and had a good drive to Dallas. The weather was wonderful and Ron drove so the heavy traffic didn't bother me - I slept some.  We arrived at our hotel ahead of the 5:00 traffic.  After unloading we relaxed having had a long drive.  We had stopped at Pok-e-Joe's on the way up to get lunch and neither of us was hungry so we read and went to sleep. 

Thursday morning (and each morning) the hotel provided us a fantastic buffet breakfast that was filling and delicious.  On Thursday, Ron and I were in a class together all day.  Our class fees included a lunch which was a buffet of sandwich fixings and was delicious.  The class was on the use of the computer program Quick Books which many small businesses use for bookkeeping, as do we.  I know the basics, but Ron doesn't so it was a good class for him to attend and I learned a few things.  The teacher had 15 minutes notice that he was needed to teach the class due to an emergency with the scheduled teacher.  He did a great job and was easy for me to hear and understand.

After class we went to the room and relaxed and waited until about 7:00 and went to the store where Stephen works.

We spent some time with him there until he locked up the store and then we drove to his house and got Kristina and went to supper.

It turned out to be a Christmas Dinner at Chili's as Kristina and Stephen gave us the Christmas gifts they had for us.  I got books and more books and Ron got a new Bible that has more footnotes than you have ever seen.
We had a good time and good supper but stayed out later than intended and kept them up late.  Kristina has a little bit of a long drive the next morning to the school where she teaches.  It was good to be with them and see them happy and doing well.

We got back to the hotel about 11:30 and went straight to sleep to be ready for another 8:00 a.m. class Friday.  We were up early for another of those great breakfasts.  Then to classes.  Friday we were in different classes.  Ron took a safe class all day and I took a class in the morning on Growing Your Business and in the afternoon on Locksmith Marketing.  Both were useful and the same man taught the marketing class who taught the Thursday class.  The morning class was small and I was on the front row, so I did fine hearing.  These are the best classes I have taken for the license.  They were useful to me, well taught and I did not fight to stay awake.

Friday evening we met Stephen and Kristina for my birthday dinner at Olive Garden since we couldn't be together for my birthday.  After supper we returned to the hotel and visited for a while before Stephen and Kristina headed home. 

Saturday morning was the same: great breakfast and 8:00 class.  We just had a one hour class this time.  It was harder for me to hear and less interesting, but necessary.  After class we returned to the room before going to the trade show.  I only stayed long enough to greet some friends and then I met Stephen and Kristina to go to Carrollton to do some shopping.  They had given me a gift certificate to the Quilt Store there and that made shopping extra fun. 

We looked around town at antiques and assorted other unique shops before having lunch at the Twisted Root Burger Co. and then we went to the Quilt Store.

Kristina and I both wanted to learn more about each other's tastes in colors and fabrics.  We had a good time shopping and I managed to spend my gift certificate before we returned to Dallas. 

Ron and Stephen had left earlier to go to the Half-Price Book store and Kristina and I shopped more before meeting them.  Then she left for a baby-sitting job and we went to Chick-fil-A with Stephen.  That is where I started this blog.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

February 17, 2015

Licensing a Locksmith
February 17, 2015

Most of you know that Ron and I are the owners of Landreth's Locksmith Service.  My grandparents started the business and that is where the name Landreth comes from - it is my maiden name.  Ron married the boss's daughter.  About 15 years ago I guess, the state decided Locksmiths needed to be licensed.  What a shame that a few "fly-by-night" guys put all these regulations and expenses on the rest of us.

Now, we must have 16 hours of continuing education every two years.  We pay for the classes, the travel, the hotels, the meals out of town, the license for the business and licenses for each of us. The past few times, there were no classes that had any relation to what I do at the office, but since I am a co-owner, I must be licensed and take classes.  Last time I took Safe Work for Dummies or some such course.  I have taken classes on Keyless Entry,  Storefront Doors, Rules and Regulations, Americans with Disabilities Act, (how to be sure a disabled person can open a door), Methods of Entry, Panic Bars, and a long list of other classes that do not apply to my work in our business.  I have been complaining for a while to those who select the classes to be offered, that there are others like me who run the office and would like some help in that area. 

This year, they are offering an 8 hour class on Quick Books.  I use Quick Books for our bookkeeping program at the office and know how to use it, but it has many sections I don't use and it could be helpful to find out whatelse it could do for me.  Ron doesn't know how to use it and found out while I was out so much this past fall, that it would help if he did know how to use it.  So we are taking that class together on Thursday. 

Friday we will be in separate classes.  With my hearing limitations, that makes it hard for me.  Last time I took all the classes he did.  Friday I will be taking Locksmith Marketing, which may turn out to be mostly webpages.  (Oh, I took an 8 hour class on Webpage Design.)  We do have a website that our sons set up for us.  Then they moved away.  I don't know how to maintain it so I have to call them to make changes.  This afternoon, our oldest grandson showed up at the office and I asked if he could get me into the programing portion of the website.  He was going to work on it a few months ago, but forgot the password.  I gave it to him this afternoon and he quickly did a lot of things on it for me.  I wish I was taking him with me to this class!  Now I know who can put into practice what I learn in the class.

The Marketing class is 4 hours.  The other 4 class hours on Friday for me will be a class on How to Grow Your Business.  That will be helpful (I hope).  I don't remember what Ron is taking on Friday.  I think it is one class for 8 hours.  On Saturday morning we will both take a one hour Ethics class.  So really, we have to have 17 hours each, since classes are 4 or 8 hours and you need one of your hours to be ethics, so for us the only way to do it is to go to 17 hours of classes each. We could spread them out, but it works out cheaper to get them all in one long weekend.  This will also be our state convention for locksmiths.

I am dreading the next few days.  The hearing is always very difficult in group settings.  The lunches are around large round tables and it is hard to hear anyone who is not right beside me.  Hearing in the classes is hard.  I have been in classes of 8 and classes of 40.  You never know.  Some teachers help; some don't.  Some talk fast; some speak softly.  A few speak up and speak clearly and that really helps.  There are rarely any classes offered south of San Antonio.  We have taken a few classes in Corpus, but those are rare and most are just a couple of hours on a week night which is not easy for us with a 3 hour drive each way.  We have taken classes in Houston, Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, and Corpus.

During the next few days, I am not sure how much I will be able to keep up on the blog, but I will try. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

February 16, 2015

Monday, Again!?!
Time Flies When You are Having Fun
February 16, 2015

As I typed that title, I thought, maybe the first line isn't really true.  At first there was a feeling of, "How can it be Monday again, already?"  Then I thought of all that has gone on since last Monday and that makes it seem like it has been a long time ago.  That made the second title "Time Flies When You are Having Fun" seem more appropriate.  Last Monday my friend, Tiny, was still visiting with us.  That night we went to the Oyster Bar to eat supper with Tiny and Mom.  Tiny wanted fresh fried shrimp while she was here.

Tuesday evening was our quilt group meeting.  That day also, my sister and her husband arrived in town.  Wednesday was my birthday and Tiny and I ended up leaving the office and going shopping down town and then we picked up lunch before I took her to the airport in Harlingen. I stopped at the quilt shop in Harlingen and then at a friend's office.  Next it was time for my birthday dinner at our son's home with my birthday cake which was made and decorated by a couple of our grandchildren.  Thursday was Mom's birthday and we had a birthday dinner at her house followed by a beautiful, yummy cake. 

Friday night it was time for supper with our friends.  Saturday was Valentine's Day and Sunday was busy with church activities and lunch with our son's family and another family.  What a week I have had since last Monday.  As I have mentioned before, we manage to spread out the celebrating for a week for the birthdays.

This morning I over slept again.  Ron was almost ready to leave when I got up.  I asked why he didn't wake me and he said he planned to do it before he left.  He can be very sweet.  I managed to spend a little time in the yard before coming in and getting ready for work.  When I arrived, I saw I had a text from my friend Rhonda and she wanted to know if I could go with her downtown so she could shop for some fabric.  I was glad to go along and we left my office about 11:30.  We were only gone an hour, but accomplished what she needed.  Rhonda is fluent in Spanish and that helps shopping in downtown Brownsville.  She is busy getting ready for her youngest daughter's wedding. 

When I got back to the office I ate lunch and worked on some bookkeeping chores.  Then I cut out some fabric pieces for a quilt.  I have an ironing board, cutting board, and sewing machine in my office, but don't use them too often.  I want to get better about using them when it is slow at the office. 

Just before closing time I left to go by Mom's house on the way home to see how she was doing since she had been having trouble with her cough.  She had just gotten home from the doctor's office.  Our daughter-in-law Barb had taken her.  Barb dropped off a prescription at the pharmacy on her way home and I took Mom to buy groceries.  We each picked up a few things and then I took her home and stayed to visit for a while. 

Mom is doing much better, but the medications cause some problems and she is eager to get off as many of them as she can.  She will need a little time to do that, but should be able to do without some of them.  Each one brings its own set of side effects and none of us like those. 

When my friend Tiny was here we talked a lot about having to depend on others to meet our needs.  None of us like doing that.  Tiny has had to give up almost all driving.  She has lost the sight in one eye due to a serious bout with shingles.  She will only drive short distances in the area where she lives.  It has been very hard for her to give it up.  None of us want to relinquish any of our independence, but sometimes it is for the best. 

When I went deaf I had to depend on my husband for so many things and I still do.  The main thing he still has to do for me is the telephone calls.  He also has to be sure I am up in the mornings after my vibrating alarm goes off.  I can drive, but when we travel together he does all the driving now.  We used to share.  I did make some trips alone, to the Dallas area this past fall, but broke each trip up into 2 days.  One of the medications I take makes me sleepy so it is just too hard to do the trip in one stretch. 

Mom and I talked about the things we do out of habit without thinking about them.  She and I have always been able just to reach up and get something off a high shelf.  We are both learning that sometimes that isn't wise.  We also just twist to get something we need to pickup instead of turning our whole bodies to face the item we need.  Old habits die hard.  Many of us carry things that are heavier than we need to be carrying.  A friend posted yesterday that after she carries 5 gallon water bottles, her knees hurt for a couple of days.  I suggested 3 gallon jugs.  That is what we use and still, I ask Ron to put them on the counter for me.  I can do it, but usually pay a physical price for doing it.  I used to have no problem with the 5 gallon bottles.  Now I would not try one at all.

Ron mentioned that he sees his mother slowing down a little more.  She is almost as old as my mom who just turned 92.  We are so thankful to both have our moms and to see them mentally alert and happy.  Ron's mom has more physical problems than my mom, but she stays busy with reading and handwork, and craft items.  She enjoys her days.

Most of us have some weakness that slows us down as we get a little older.  For me, of course the hearing is a big adjustment.  For Mom right now, it is her back.  Ron's mother also suffers a lot with back pain from bone spurs in the spine and knee trouble.  I hope that each of us can grow old gracefully.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

February 15, 2015

Salvation Sermon
February 15, 2015

Last night I did not sleep well.  I went to sleep early, but woke up at 2:00 a.m. and tossed and turned for 2 hours.  At 4:00 a.m. I started reading until 5:00 a.m. and then gave up and got up.  I baked muffins for breakfast and wrote my blog for the previous day.

Ron left for church a little before I did.  We had a good group in class and very good discussion.  Ron brought a good lesson and always encourages discussion.

Mom had asked me to call this morning to see if she wanted me to pick her up for church.  She had a bad cough yesterday and wasn't sure if she would be up to going today, but she was, so I picked her up and we returned in time for church.  She lives close to the church.  We had a guest preacher today and he is excellent in explaining the gospel and telling people what they must do to be saved.  Using the scripture in John 3:16, he very clearly laid out what one must do to come to the Lord for salvation.  Several adults responded to the sermon, coming forward to ask God to forgive their sins, ask Him to come into their hearts and to ask Him to become the Lord of their lives.

The pastor speaking this morning was Dr. Gene Williams.  He has preached here many times before and is very good at presenting the message of salvation in a very clear way.  He is getting well up in years and his health is failing.  As you watch him walk, you worry he may not make the next step, but once he is behind the pulpit, the Word of God pours from him flawlessly.  What a blessing it was to have him in our church today.

After the service Mom went with the Lunch Bunch and we went with Jeff's family to Buddy's Bar-B-Que place along with another family, the Benders.  It was a fun lunch and all the children enjoyed each other's company.

Ron and I came home and relaxed.  We both had headaches for some reason and so it was a quiet afternoon.  He went to his Mom's to take a few things to her that she needed.  He got a late afternoon nap.  I  am trying not to go to sleep early so I can get back on schedule.

Hearing in the restaurant again was hard.  I could hear my grandson sitting on one side of me, my daughter-in-law at the end of the table on the other side of me, and our friend across from me.  That really isn't too bad, but this place is shaped like a barn with very high ceilings, and concrete floor, so I think hearing could be hard for others also.

In church, using my transistor radio and the cable for the Cochlear Sound Processor, I could hear probably 98% of the sermon.  That was great.  The biggest problem there is that if I have the radio hooked to the sound processor I can't hear people next to me speaking to me or hear guests I may be greeting.  So I must make a choice which I want to hear.

February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day 2015
February 14, 2015

Flowers from a sweet young lady at church.

The day was a rather unproductive, laid-back kind of day.  I slept until 7:00, spent time at the computer until 8:00, spent a little time in the yard filling ponds and feeders for the birds.  Ron had left early and left me a note saying he saw four green jays in the yard before he left.  I later saw one, but that was all.

Around 9:30 I left for the grocery store and had a rather frustrating time.  I did fine with the shopping at the Wal-Mart on the port road, but when I got ready to check out, there were only 2 lanes open for people with a lot of items and many open for people with a few items.  There were only 2 people in front of me but the clerk was slow and chatty and somehow messed up the change for the man in front of me and someone had to be called over to take care of the problem.

It was well over 20 minutes before I got checked out.  I found a manager and mentioned three problems I encountered.  One that bugged me is that they run your check through and return it to you but when you sign the agreement for that, you don't see the total and there was something about additional fees.  The manager said she agreed that was wrong and would have them check on the software.  She said they had been short handed and that was why they didn't have more lanes open (didn't explain why the express lanes were all open). 

Once, home I unloaded the groceries, but only put away the cold things and sat down to relax and read.  I had a scare while at the store.  I thought I had lost my Discover card.  (I found it.)  I was buying a lot of supplies for the office and use that to pay for office purchases.  The last I remembered using it was in Harlingen and I had put it in my right hand pocket next to my phone.  A complete search of my purse proved it was not there.  Once in the car, I felt down on the right hand side of the driver's seat and sure enough, it was there.  It took a while to get my brain to relax over that concern.  So I sat down to read and of course, fell asleep - reading does that to me.

I woke up when Ron came home and we went out in the yard so I could show him a couple of trees I wanted removed.  He accomplished that during the afternoon.  I called to see if I could go to Mom's to pick up her and Carmen.  She said she had a bad cough and would I just come get Carmen - she was going back to bed.  Carmen worked all afternoon and got my house clean and shiny.  She is a hard worker. 

I cut out pieces for 6 quilt squares, but did not do any sewing.  I did laundry and a little cleaning.  At one point, the door bell rang, which is rather rare.  It was a sweet friend bringing me some flowers.  I think they were birthday flowers and so unexpected. 

Then I took Carmen to Mom's and stopped to pick up supper for them on my way.  Mom was much better when we got there.  It was good to see her bright smile again - it had been missing earlier.

Hearing issues were fine most of the day.  The grocery store caused no problems,  I do fairly well with clerks now.  With Carmen, it is not the hearing, it is the understanding since she speaks Spanish.  She knows a little English and I know a little Spanish.  We manage.  It was really an uneventful day and I was ready for one of those!
I added some fern from the yard to the arrangement.  I transplanted this fern to our yard from my grandmother's house almost 38 years ago.  I think of her every time I see it.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

February 13, 2015

Just a Few Quick Words
February 13, 2015

Green Parakeets
Friday the 13th was a good day.  No tragic things happened.  We had a little rain in the morning and gray skies for the rest of the day. 

Ron was out of the office all morning at the doctor's office where he got good reports on his blood work done during the visit and last week.  He is feeling a little better and they are running one more blood test.

At the office, during the morning, I paid some bills, waited on lots of customers, and sent my reports off to the accountant who is suffering with shingles.  I gathered trash and sorted papers on my desk. Ron returned about noon and Mom, Janet and Joe Bob stopped by for a visit.  Soon the visit was over and they left so Janet and Joe Bob could pack to return to their home.  They helped Mom get a lot of errands run.

Ron was in and out a time or two in the afternoon and worked on the items I had taken in from customers during the morning.  He made a trip to check on his Mom and I waited on most of the customers so he could do the errands and counter work.

Just before closing, I saw part of the flock of green parakeets about a block away and went out to take some photos.  This one was taken a block from where they were.
I kept hearing some closer, and it turned out to be two on the power lines behind the shop.  I got a couple of photos, but it was so gray and windy, the photos are not great.

I love being able to HEAR them!

After closing, we went to meet our friends for our Friday night dinner.  They are always fun to chat with.  We had a good visit, but in the beginning, I was picking up a lot of noise on the sound processor and it was hard to hear.  After a bit, we had the room to ourselves and it got better.  The audiologist suggests that I sit across the table from my friend to hear better and if it was only the two of us, that might work, but with four of us at the table, side by side works better and after we eat, I turn toward her and that puts my deaf ear to the guys and we get along better.  Hearing in restaurants is so very hard.

Once we got home, I read for a while in the recliner and Ron woke me later to get me to go to bed instead of sleeping in the recliner.  A medication I am on seems to make me sleepy and I know I need the sleep, but I am not getting all the things done that I want.