My new ride, Fraelsi

My new ride, Fraelsi
Fraelsi means Freedom in Farose

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Bike shows and taxes

     I took a friend and we went up to Chicago Friday for a overnight play day.  A yarn shop visit and meal out, a stay at a nice hotel and then to the Motorcyle show.  Hundreds of bikes, lots of vendors, hundreds and more humans.  Some-ok, a lot of awesome show bikes, plenty of new bikes to look at, sit on , sign up for a ride or to buy.  Lots of walking and seeing and a new helmet that I needed.
     A trip to Ikea to look at beds for the attic retreat, which is not done yet but after looking on line I needed to see the actual day beds I was interested in to decide which would work best for my space and needs.  Great weather and a nice time.
      Today was mud work, drag the clean laundry out of the dryer and battle with my federal and state taxes, which are now done.  I did not owe IL taxes this year, they owe me a few $$ but very few.  Federal return is smaller than last year but I made more, so imagine that is some of that, higher income probably put me just over the line for higher tax bracket this year.
     We are having a mild winter still, and I am not griping about that, I still have a long way to go before this house is really energy efficient, but I do make some gains and a bit of progress every year.  Getting the attic expansion finished will help, insulation, siding and closing in the eaves on the dormer will gain some more but I think a lot of foam in the space between the insulation blanket and the house framing/foundation in the crawl space and utility area will gain me the most in the near future.
     But I know I have a good life and many blessings.  I whine some but I do realize just how good my life here is.  I know I do the work and make the choices to have that job and this house and all the other stuff, none of it came easily or free.  But yes, I do live in a good place, in a good country and am fortunate to be born here.
     I don't like the political problems right now and am not very sympathetic with those who voted for Trump and the Republicans when they start feeling the pinch from the policy changes.  Today it was someone I have known and cared for most of my life, and the subsidy that has helped keep diabetic testing strips affordable.  That was part of that government waste she wanted cut so bad, along with preventing abortion and making America Great again.
     Diabetes is one of the fastest growing diseases/health problems in America now, and the policy that helped keep those very needed testing strips more affordable was not something she thought about loosing with her voting choice, but I don't think it will be the only thing that changes and hurts her and many others. We will all suffer with the policy changes, while those making the changes profit and get richer.
     I don't like it but I also know that her choice and her vote helped take away that subsidy, from her and from everyone else that needs those testing strips, no matter what party or who they voted for.
     So, we can all suffer together, or we can stand up to our government and we can tell them that we do need an Affordable Health care plan, or a national health care plan, that we need to be more environmental, we need to work towards more renewable energy and get farther away from fossil fuels.  We need to have sensible immigration plans that work, we need to have refugee programs that work and we need to get a plan that helps bring the undocumented in this country out of the shadows and into being part of the legal work force and into having a reason to respect and work with the legal system.
     I think we are in for a few rough years, and it's not my idea of fun in my old age.
 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Old houses and attic conversions

     It was the summer of 2004 when I bought this house, and late August before I got possession, filthy, stinking and crawling with cockroaches. But is was once a solidly built cottage for a working family, in 1900.  And the framing was locally grown hard oak, the carpenters worked hard to build a good home.
     It's now January 2017 and I am seeing drywall on the south end of that attic conversion.  The north end got drywall finished and painted last winter.  I don't make fast progress but it is also paid for materials and my labor and that of my son Ben, for the most part.
     The north studio is a mess, but that is how it goes when you do renovations in a small house you are living in.  Everything moves from 1 space to another and back and around and gets dirty and drywall dust gets everywhere.  But it's improving and I have my lowest winter heating bill yet, despite gaining about 600 more square feet of living space.
     And I keep working in that pork processing plant, making a living, paying my bills and taxes and liking my life as a single woman in an old river town.  I live a good life, my own life and my way.  I am not happy with the newly inaugurated president but until he manages to get himself impeached, I guess we are stuck with him and with the Republicans doing all the damage to us they can.  And it looks like they will be doing a lot of damage to everyone but the very rich.
    And I will find a way to survive, and get by and keep living my life.  I will fight what I can, do what I can and hope we as a country survive the madness we seem to be descending into.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The end of 2016, the start of 2017

     Hard to believe that 2016 will be ending in just a few hours, it's just past 7 p.m. here in central IL, we (the plant) put in just over 8 hours today and I came home to play with the drywall mud in the south end of my attic project that seems never ending.  The north end got finished, except for trim work, last winter and this winter Ben is helping (some) me get the south end and the dormer/stair well done this winter.  I have 3 days off and 2 are paid, so I hope to get work done to the point of painting the southwest end and being able to move the plastic draping and all the stuff so the south east end can get finished.
     I am still dealing with the problems with the 401K rollover and Roth funds.  But most of the money has been sent to me, an 'interesting IRS issue' is now the current problem, like some idiot did not look over the check and paperwork before putting it into the Fed-Ex envelope and send it off to me.  Roth funds are post tax and taking out state and federal taxes again should have been easy to catch and correct--if someone whose job including looking over every detail of that--had actually looked it over....I did tell him to fix it and that I had no problem calling his boss's boss on his private work line to leave a message again--which I had already done, per his request, If there were any problems..the taxes out again and the check short was reason enough...
     But I am making old house progress again, and I am working down the debt load some, and have too many knitting projects going at the same time.  But my new winter tam will soon be done, using up some wools that were my mother's stash. I am slowly working on the re-knitting the sleeve to the purple gansey that Shadow damaged a long time ago.  1 of my new stockings has a heel, the other is ready for that, and then I work long, long legs.  But I also have yarn coming for a new sweater for me, and it will be here next week so I better get busy with a few other things.
     2017, wow, I remember when I was 17 and thinking that 2000 was so far off.  Now that's way in the past, that damnable car accident is almost 7 years past, me and this old house have been  making slow progress since August 2004, and I am getting old fast.  I am not happy about who won the Presidential election but we will see how that goes, Not a lot I can do about who has that position but I can sure raise my voice, write and keep track of what our elected and not working for us senators and congress are doing.
     JBS is a harder taskmaster, and they have changed how our clock/work time is figured, which has managed to short me for some of the time, every day that I am working.  I don't know if I will be able to get it corrected but I will now keep track of when I punch in and punch out and meet with the union if it does not get resolved.  It's not my supervisors doing, but corporate has some interesting ways of keeping a tight budget and a few other things.  We got out 1 day this week to have JBS work rules in print, pages and pages, on the hallway wall going out, in English, French and Spanish, and a lot of rules, and all are a 2 strikes and out the door, so any 2 can get you walked out...
     I had plans and hopes of those Roth funds doing more, going farther, paying down more debt but I won't complain about what I did with the money, some went into savings for my vacation plans, some went to pay on that iPad mini I wanted but did not need, so now owe under $200 on that account.  I bought a good floor jack and some other tools, and I bought some yarns, and paid on bills early.  And some bought the needed drywall for the attic project and that newest bucket of drywall mud.  It bought the car the $51 light housing for the center brake light so that can be fixed once it comes.
     And so far, I have not gotten me any new dolls for a while, but I have a lot of doll debt on my PayPal account that I had hoped to pay down with those Roth funds and that didn't get done.  But I am making some progress paying off debt, I know a lot of my Chase debt, both cards, are putting work on the car and truck on plastic, and a not trustworthy shop..  So now Ben and I are we did doing all the work we can,   We did the tie rods on the car an the windshield washer reservoir and will replace that light housing when the part comes, and we replaced brake lines on the truck and put new shocks on the front.  I did the valve adjustment on the Rebel this fall too.
     I don't want to be mean or nasty, but part of my life being so good is my being single and not dating and owning my own life and my time.  My finances are more stable, my emotional health is far better and I am happier.  I like this old  house, despite all the work and money it has taken and it still needs and I like where I work, the town I live in and who I am.  Life without some man wanting my time, trying to control my life or money is very workable for me.   Yes, it has drawbacks but I will keep the drawbacks and stay single and happy.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Winter is Coming

     And not just in Game of Thrones, it seems to be hitting Illinois now too.  The wind chimes on the front porch sing all night, the wind howls and I am so glad to have done as much work as I have gotten done to make this old house more weather tight and energy effective.
     But life here is pretty good, I've been single for over 11 years now, have not been dating anyone for about 3 years, maybe longer, it just really doen't seem important.  I am really liking my life, who I am and what I am doing, most of the time.
      There is nothing wrong with being in a relationship, making that work, but I've really done badly at it and now, I'm 60, and I can enjoy the single life without feeling I owe it to someone to let them take up my very valuable off work time with their wants and needs and demands.
      Winter plans are for lowering debt, getting more interior work done here in the house and better order to my chaos, and plan for and save up for a vacation up to Canada, about 520 miles each direction, not counting all the play I do, for the Mad Bastard Scooter Rally, being held in London, Ontario Canada in late June.  I will need wet riding gear, a passport, a map of where all the yarn shops are between here and there I want to visit--  and my old truck, my new Vespa and I will, all by ourselves, make my very first trip out of the country, my very first real vacation.
      And I am still not happy with who our President elect is, or all the hate and anger and racism this long and ugly campaign season has brought out, or all the nasty attitudes it seems to have opened the doors to.  But I am vowing to stand up against such, every where and every time it rears it's ugly head, including at my place of work, a very racially mixed, immigrant heavy location, and that mix of people suits me well.
     And I am still battling with Windows 10 and Microsoft, and my silly iPad refuses to let me use my blogger app to post on either of my blogs.  But knitting is going nicely at the kitchen table while I use the iPad to watch Netflix and The Crown, my current knitting entertainment.
     I am considering my managing to escape several things to be a God given blessing, and I am now starting to remind myself to take my own advice-don't rise to the bait if you don't want to be the fish- especially when it comes to stuff on Facebook.
      Yes, it is a rather solitary and self centered life, but I am solitary by nature, most of the time, and I am paying for that self-centered life with my own hard work and earnings, which are mine, then, to do with as I see fit or want to.  I don't owe it to anyone else to make their life better, easier, nicer, happier and I don't expect them to do that for me either.
      If it suits me to do things for someone else, that is my right and my choice.  I do get to pick who I let into my small. personal life and time and who I will do things for, spend money on and so forth.  That again is my right, and being related by blood does not make any obligations.
       And now it's time to eat my breakfast and head to the plant for a 8+ hour Saturday once again.  

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Busy life

     I tried to start this several weeks ago on my iPad and had problems so nothing was posted.  Now I am trying again with my laptop but also chasing a doll sale on line, trying to clean up my attic north end, the sewing area, my current sleeping area and get started with finishing drywall work on the south end.
     I spent the summer playing when I was not at work, the old house got no work done, no doll sewing was done, not much knitting was worked on but I put about 3000 miles on 2 small motorcycles and really enjoyed my off work time.
     So, now that the plant is working 6 days a week, and bike riding season is about gone, I will try and deal with the attic disaster/mess, the south end not being a finished area, not enough time, hurting a lot and needing a place to sew.  Today is the start-and Ben is still living here o I do have help at hand, and I can afford any needed materials with all the overtime we are making!
     This old house is important to me, it's my home, my shelter from the weather, and from the world, my sanctuary from all the ugliness out there some days.  But, since I live here with just my parrots, dog and occasionally a son, and I don't have much company/visitors, it is easy to just put off or avoid all the work that needs done to have a weather tight, easier to keep clean, looks nicer in the eyes of others, home.
     So, this summer I put a lot of miles in riding, on my 2008 Rebel which I've owned 4 years now, and I traded my small Honda Metropolitan in for a Vespa LXV 150ie, which was new, fuel injected and runs like a dream.  We've spent the last 2260+ miles getting to know each other.
     I've gone on 2 different runs with people from the St. Louis MO area, both times to Hermann MO, the first was with people working for or who have also bought 'rides' from Moto Europa, the shop in St. Louis where I bought my LXV.  Much bigger, faster, more powerful bikes but I had a great ride and proved that little 150cc LXV could really and that I could ride.  The most recent run was with 30 DSG out of the St. Louis area, a scooter group.  And it was the coldest ride I have made, so I learned I could do that 57-67 degrees stuff but sure would dress warmer next time and my chaps would be on me, not at home.
     Now, it's November, the day is sunny and nice and I am staying home, the laundry is done, I am started working on the south end of the attic area and my little bed now has clean sheets and the quilt is on the bed, still not tidy or tucked in but at least that is started.
     And I will work on cleaning up and making some order here in the north sewing area so I can gt some needed sewing work done, before the doll club meeting and before the Doll Club Christmas party the very first Sunday in December, which is now less than a month from now.
     The Presidential election this year has become a very ugly campaign season, I have a lot of concerns about this election and who is running, neither candidate is a really good choice but 1 is a far worse choice than the other.  But the hate and ugly attitudes that have come out all over the country, including in my place of work have e wondering how we, as a nation, can recover and men those torn down fences and walls.  Hate, once turned loose, is very hard to get caged back up once again.  But I can refuse to be a part, and I can work to keep my heart and soul in good order, to avoid people filled with this ugly hate, racism and nasty attitudes.
     I have made some really poor, crappy, stupid choice in my life,and have worked hard to fix the mess and problems.  It has taken me a long hard walk in life to have this life I live, and I keep working to keep it the life I want and I like.  I keep a job and I keep my bills paid, My credit rating is good, not excellent but I can live with good credit.  I don't need excellent credit, and i am working on paying down that long term, high interest debt I have built up on those damn credit cards I have been too careless with.  My debt, my decisions and my job to pay them down and accept paying that money eating interest while I work those debts down.
      There are no words that really explain how I feel, where I am at with my life, and so I will just say that this life works well for me and I am content.  Or I am able to do what I want when it matters, I can afford what really matters to me and no one else runs my life or makes my decisions and I am not making decisions to make someone else happy.
     When I was a young woman I lived my life to make a young man happy, all decisions were based on what he wanted and what worked for him and what pleased him.  Today I can honestly say that he is part of why I can ride a motorcycle as well as I do.  Because he made me learn to ride the bike and not the brake.  His pushing me, his criticism made me learn a skill that I use and enjoy now and has others complimenting me on.  Now, he's a burned out, discontent, petty and lives a poor and miserable life.  His choices have created that life, and all the best of the man he was back when I was 17-20 are, as far as I can see, the parts he threw away or wasted.
     But the best of what he taught me is part of the good parts of me, of the woman I am, of the life I enjoy.  My choices, my decisions and my taking my life back from him and his influence and becoming smart enough to finally just stay away from him.  He's not around to watch and say, with pride, "I taught that gal to ride when we were both young and crazy."  That's a bit sad, but it's also how life goes, people need to be cared about, appreciated, important and when getting stoned is more important than a relationship with someone, in time, if they are smart, they go away and never come back.
     Gifts are sometimes the skills we help others learn, my life is so much richer from the skills someone cared enough to teach me, pushed me to learn, forced me to help them so I learned on the job.  I carry that with me, the memories, both good and bad, and I use those skills for so many things, from cooking to knitting to working on my own vehicles and my 'rides'.  I am a better person for those skills but some came at rather high prices and I spent a long hard time emotionally paying for those skills.
     Yes, I have sympathy for those with problems, but I know those problems had some help getting in their lives, choices, we just have to make choices, it's part of being humans, and you can't always see where that choice will lead you or what it might bring into your life.  But each of us has to work on our own roads and life, I can't live my children's lives, or the lives of their children.  I can't and sure don't want to live the lives my coworkers have.  It's not a shoe that fits me, and not what works for me, some have really solid, good lives, some don't.
     So, here I sit, the first drywall mud is on in the baseboard heater area, the fan is going, Ben helped me get up the plastic sheeting to close off the south attic area so drywall dust won't filter through the entire house, or at least make it harder for that to happen.  And I will keep the power off on the attic baseboard heaters until the 1 on the south end is back on that wall.  That means the drywall area finished, primed and painted.  Both heaters are on the same breaker so having 1 off the wall and not safely usable means having both shut off.  Yes, incentive for me to get off my lazy bum and get the work done today.  I don't have to do a huge area, but I will do the immediate area and do it correct and so it looks nice before that heater is attached where it belongs and the power back on.  I have a couple small plug in heaters and 1 is running now here on the north end, to keep this space tolerable for me to be in.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Fall once again

     And I am not ready but have a week of vacation and plan to get some things done around here.  But I am not making good progress today.  I did turn the dried chilies into chili powder and have named it Toxic Waste Chili Powder, and it is way stronger than any I have had/grown in the past.
   And I am making progress on a pair of socks for Ben, but not much else.  But I am crying over anything and everything, not just it being 9/11 once again.
     Yesterday I was screaming mad most of the day, and today it's tears over nothing, and ya, I know the cause and it will continue 9 more pills and some time to flush some of that anti-inflammation drug out of my system.  I wasn't this impatient to take any medication in my life, not even pain drugs at any time with the car accident.  Wait, I was desperate for them to put me under when I had the perforated appendix and was sick and miserable with pain and getting septic from all the poison leaking into my system, ya, I begged them to put me under fast and get the surgery done.  So, now it's 9 more pills and 6 hours apart.  And the sciatic nerve in my left hip/leg is doing much better so the drugs are doing their job.  And I will work harder with yoga stretches and hope to not have sciatica flare up so bead ever again.
     And I am on vacation so that gives me time to heal up and get some things done, and I know I am ok, this is a common and normal side effect from this med, which the doctor let me know I would possibly get to deal with and he wanted to know if I would have any problems with it.  No, I go through that weepy stage some times with over the counter meds for seasonal allergies, first week is weepy, the next is just sad and blue and by the 3rd week I am more 'myself' and hoping the trees quit shedding pollens in the spring or that we get a hard, killing frost in the fall and I am rid of rag weed pollen and I look forward to rains that lower the pollen levels.
   But life here is pretty good, despite the moods and not getting much done today.  And I will probably get more than pjs on soon and go outside for a while.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Cousin Envy

     I don't have a lot of family or relatives and the ones I do have and stay in contact are very important to me.  And I watched my aunt's children grow up and marry, and really like them.  They have had far more stable lives and made better choices than my siblings and I have, at least, what I have seen.
     1 of my cousins is just very awesome, she had to overcome hip problems when she was a baby and spinal problems that had her in a huge, ugly brace through most of her high school years.  And she married a local guy, 1 I went to school with, from a solid ranching family.  And that has been a good marriage, 3 adult kids that turned out pretty well, and a happy life.
     My aunt made some crappy choices when she was young but she got her head sorted out and her life on track, met and married an awesome man who wanted to be the Dad to the 3 children she brought with her to that marriage.  They have grown old together, and made their life work well, and showed their kids how to make marriage work.
    So, now here is my cousin, the ranch wife, with the long term husband, making plans for a vacation to Yellowstone.  I have been there, both to their ranch and Yellowstone.  And I have envy issues this week, oh, not so much that great house or ranch, or that awesome way of life.  Not even really that vacation to Yellowstone.  I envy that marriage, that still together, still really like each other, not just love, but like and accept each other, see each other's faults and have been living with the faults and the pluses and want to keep doing that growing old together stuff.
      I didn't make the right choices, made a mess of my life several times, didn't give my kids the good foundation my aunt gave her kids, my cousin and husband have given their kids, and I know I can't change that.  No going back and doing a 'rewrite' on life, but I have come to terms with me, my choices, worked through some head problems and make better choices now.
     But my life is solitary, no one to grow old with, no one who really knows me, all the years of my life, or most of them.  Not even my adult kids know me well, so ya, I am really private and solitary, far more than people realize.
     And my cousin has solid, church attending religious beliefs, I have solid beliefs, but they follow no church and they have me walking a solitary life.  Most of the time I am very ok with that, and I really do like my life, now, and the person I have grown into.
     No, I don't want to trade lives, no, I don't want to be my cousin, it's just a twinge of cousin envy, and it's ok that I look at her and her life and am so very glad she has that husband, and life, her family and friends and I really hope they have a great vacation as I know they have worked hard and earned a holiday.
     I have a week of paid vacation time coming up this month, old house chores that need done, and taking the Vespa to St. Louis for the first oil change.  I work at that meat packing plant so have stuff my cousin doesn't, like affordable health insurance, paid vacation time, money to spend on yarns, fabrics, dolls and motorcycles.  My cousin doesn't want the motorcycles, really doesn't collect dolls and isn't into yarns but she sews and quilts and does awesome work with fabrics.
     My cousin has had high colesteral for years and has some weight issues, her doctor would like to see her drop at least 25 pounds, so that's something I don't have and sure don't envy.  And I have been known to do awesome things with both fabrics and yarns and I like those bikes and dolls, so that works really well for me.
     And I have financial stability that does not depend on someone else, so that has to matter, if her husband died, I don't know if her life would stay as good and stable, it's always been a family ranch and I don't know what that situation is and it's not my business.  But I do know she's not been employed much and so has not paid into that Social Security system any amount, so she could see draw on her husband's but I don't know if she has much built up on her own account.  I also have a pension locked that I can start drawing in just under 5 years, from a prior meat packing plant, and a 401K growing, good credit in my own name, and the house is in my name, it's my mortgage.  
     Those vehicles and the Rebel are mine, no liens against them and I have 35 more payments on the new Vespa, unless I pay it off early and I probably will.  So, ya, I have that stuff, credit cards and the worldly goods that my wages have bought me.  So, I am doing ok and no one makes the decisions in my life or how my paycheck gets spent.  Bills first here and then groceries, then if anything is left, those extra things, which includes meals out.
       And I really like being single, and don't even want to date, don't have a lot of time, seems I am busy or I have things I want to do with my time and my life and I don't want to share, not the time, not the house, not the rides, and not the paychecks.  So, really good reasons to stay single, to not date and so, despite a twinge of cousin envy, my life is working pretty good.  And I don't want her vacation or house or husband, think I have sorted out that envy and am ok with the fact that I have/had a bit of cousin envy.