Tree & more Christmas lights

We bought a 4 ft artificial Christmas tree last year. Cory put it on a end table that is about a foot high so we now have a small Christmas tree. Which is nice. Since I moved out on my own I have only had a Christmas tree in my apartment once 3 years ago. Max decided it was a great hiding spot. He was only about 2 months old. Needless to say he is much bigger now and  4 ft tree does not stand to well against him.

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The video below was the second time he knocked it down in one day (last week sometime). Needless to say I was not impressed with him! His reaction was kinda funny though and I am glad I got it on video.

Cory and I went out for a drive last night around Halifax to see the Christmas Lights. This is something that my family has done every year since I can remember and a few weeks ago Cory and I along with my brother Denton and my parents went for a drive around Digby and I took some pictures.

I really wanted to go around here though, since we didn’t really get to do it last year or the year before. My friend Erin and I have gone a few years. This I think was the first time Cory and I went alone… Wow, I cant believe Christmas is next week. Time goes by so fast sometimes. Anyways here are the pictures from last night.

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Car, Cory and other stuff!

Cory and I had a couple of major weights lifted off of us today! I was able to cut my car insurance bill quite a bit. Initially my payment for this month was supposed to come out on the 15th, which would not show till the 18th, which was one day before I get paid. Normally I would just make sure that I saved enough from the last pay and it would be no big deal however this time I did not get paid enough on my last pay (being sick and all) to ensure that the money was there. So I called my insurance company to see if they could delay it by one day. Seems simple enough eh?

Apparently not… they had to put in a request which took a week. I called them about it the week before last to give them plenty of time. They came back to me yesterday saying yes they could do it however it would mean that my payments, which were ridiculous as it was at 246.82 a month, would be 370.24 for December 18th and January 18th, then go back down to around 246.82!  Doing the math if you divide 246.82 in half and then add 246.82 to that half it equals 370.23.

So they were basically dropping one payment off the year and combining it onto two of my regular payments. So I went from having to pay 246.82 on December 15th to 370.24 if I moved it technically 4 days to the 19th! Needless to say I was not happy with that. My pay would not even be that much. My car payment itself is only 165.85 bi-weekly. So for the last year I have been paying 578.52 a month for my car payment and insurance! That’s not even counting gas, maintenance, etc.

So I decided one, that I could not pay 370.24 a month for 2 months of insurance. That was just way too much and two, that I was not going to continue paying 246.82 a month any longer for insurance. I was going to find something cheaper. I had no choice… I tried getting my broker to find something cheaper but she kept telling me there was nothing cheaper because I have had 2 at fault accidents in the past 6 years.

I called around and on the second try I called TD Canada Auto and Home Insurance, who are actually located in my building at work, and who my company has a group rate for. They quoted me 76.00 a month which is 876.00 a year! That’s 1/3 of what I was already paying (2961.84 a year) and 1/4 of those larger payments they wanted to take out from my current company! I got quoted 19.58 a month for tenant insurance which would also bring my auto from 76.00 a month to 73.00 a month.

So now for 92.58 a month I am getting the same auto coverage plus home tenancy coverage! So that really blew my mind. That I have been paying 2/3 more a month for my auto insurance then I really needed to be. I wish I had of called around myself a year ago when my insurance went up from like 150.00 to 246.82. Would have saved me a heck of a lot of money. But no point kicking myself for it. Might as well just be happy that I will now be saving that much.

Now that I have bored you to death with numbers, the second thing that was a weight lifted off us was that Cory has been approved for long-term disability until he is 65 through Costco’s insurance and he is still considered an employee so we get all the little extras, like a turkey at Christmas time, his free Costco membership, etc. On top of being accepted she said he will still be getting the same amount a month as he is now, possibly even a little more, but definitely not less. He is guaranteed not to get less.

I can not explain how much of a relief that is to us. His Charcot-Marie-Tooth is not going to get better, it is progressive and will continue to get worse and he is going to need the care and stuff that he would not get if he did not get approved for long-term. Also, had he not gotten approved they would have forced him to re-train to do something else. With CMT his fine motor skills are affected. His manual dexterity is very limited and will get worse as his disease progresses, and his feet are already really bad. He shakes so bad he can not hold a cup without spilling something, not sometimes but always. So re-training is not an option and will never be.

Everything feels a lot better to me now. I am feeling better myself. I still am not 100 percent and I am concerned about the constant colds, chronic bronchitis and pneumonia and my FMS, but at least I know that he is taken care of and we can now concentrate on me and my issues. It’s gonna be a long fight for the both of us, and add in that we want to have children soon before it is too late for us which will be a big undertaking and a concern all in it’s own (because of my FMS and the ovarian cysts and other things) but I feel like fighting again. Which I did not last week. I just felt like giving up. It’s amazing how just a few seemingly small things can change your whole outlook. Thankfully for the better this time. I have hope and I plan on holding on to it.

It’s funny while writing this I am watching The Little Couple on TLC and I have to say I really feel inspired by them. How they are overcoming their obstacles and medical complications and have adopted two kids who also have medical issues all while she was undergoing chemo for cancer and how positive they are. I know it’s just a show but I really enjoy watching it and watching how they tackle life head on and see it as a gift and a blessing and not a curse.

Winter blues

I am having such a shitty time right now. It doesn’t even feel like Christmas to me. I feel so overwhelmed. All these Christmas shows on TV and all the commercials are really the only thing that make me even realize it is Christmas time. All I really want to do is hide myself under the blankets and only come up for air once in a while.

It doesn’t help that neither of us are feeling well. I am so disappointed. Things were starting to go well. But now with my dentist appointments I am back in debt for almost $1000. I know it does not seem like much but it is when you can’t pay it and it is Christmas and it is waying on your mind. I feel like hell and things are just not going anywhere near what I had planned.

I’m so stressed out over work. I have not felt this kind of stress about work in a long time. However because I am sick I have missed a lot of time. However at the same time if I come to work sick they don’t like it. I worked a week with no voice taking emails and was told it was fine as there was plenty of email in the bin. Wednesday I ended up having to log into the phones even though I warned the coach that I doubted I would make it through a call.

Of course I got one and he could not hear me and I was straining to talk. So after someone else ended up taking the call I basically got told to go home and don’t come back till I am feeling better. It really made me angry. I can’t help that I keep getting sick. I actually went home on Wednesday and back to the doctors and was told I have Bronchitis and strep throat.

I am stuck, I have no vacation time saved up so I can not take vacation. I have no voice still and can not work but if I call in sick it counts against me. My family doctor is booked through the end of next week and the doctor I saw at the clinic would not give me more then 2 days off.

I’m really actually angry at my work. I thought about it a lot and I am not sure what else they want me to do. I have been there 3 years. I have given it my all and can’t do much more. This is not going to get better. I get sick a lot. I can’t think of anything else I can do to keep myself healthy other then living in a bubble.

On top of that there is a temporary coach position open at work. I am working on the coach work book. I have it all done but one thing that I just can not figure out how to do. I’ve done it before but my head is so clogged I can not think strait. I have NO confidence about getting the job this time. I’ll be lucky if I have a job period in a few weeks.

I don’t know if it is the Fibromyalgia that is making me so susceptible to colds, flus, bronchitis, etc. But I am at the end of what I can deal with. I honestly don’t know what I am going to do if my voice is not back Monday morning. All I know is I feel like I am sinking faster then I can swim.

I also think part of my problem with Christmas this year is not having my family close by. Last year I was able to take some time off and visit them and was there over Christmas. This year I will not see them now again until after Christmas and it killing me.

Between work, not seeing my family and being sick. I just can’t wait for this holiday to be over. I just want to hide in bed. Which is exactly what I am about to do.

 

Why am I sick again?

I spent the first few days this week sick at home… again. It just feels never ending. We left Mom and Dad’s on Monday and I was supposed to work from 12-8 pm. However, I woke up that morning throwing up. Since I had a 2 1/2 hour drive ahead of us that I would have to do (Cory has never really driven that far and was not feeling well either). I called in to work to let them know I would not be there. It was not an easy decision to make. I only had about 2 hours of sleep because I was so unsettled, my stomach was upset but I was not getting sick.

I ended up moving from the bed to a very uncomfortable futon around 4 when I realized it was 4 and I had to get up and drive in 2 hours. I should have probably realized at that point that that was not going to happen but I was stubbornly trying to figure out how to manage it. In the end I gave up when I started throwing up. I decided to crawl back in bed and attempt the drive a little later on in the day.

And what a drive it was! I had to go the old route (more then 3 1/2 hours) because it was slower then the highway and the motion of the car was making me really sick and the last thing I wanted to do was get sick in my new car. I made it as far as Kentville before getting sick. After that I had to stop abut 4 times. When we got home I crawled into bed assuming I had what Cory was getting over and that I would be fine in the morning. I wasn’t though.

Now I have the cough back that I had a few months ago where I cough till I either pee my pants (I wish I was kidding) or I throw up, or both. I feel so miserable. The last 2 days I was coughing a lot up which was making me sick as I probably swallowed as much as I coughed up. Now I have a really deep dry hacking cough that vibrates everything around me. I feel really tight and wheezy as well so I assume it is my Asthma flaring up again.

I am still taking Singular once a day (a pill at night) and my inhalers Symbacort and Ventolin. I take the Symbacort first and after reaching 8 “puffs” then I switch to Ventolin as they told me in the Pulmonary clinic. I had stopped regularly taking Symbacort and Ventolin, though I kept taking the Singular. I am guessing I stopped too soon. They told me not to but I always end up doing that, as my symptoms die down I tend to automatically wean myself off them. I don’t even do it purposely. It seems to be ingrained in me to do it and I don’t even think about it. I guess I have to be really careful about that.

I haven’t even had then energy to pick up my computer other then to click the Netflix icon when there is nothing on TV to watch or when I am not sleeping. I did go to work yesterday and today but I have no voice again either. It’s really really hoarse when it is there and the more I talk the hoarser it gets and the more out of breath I get and the more I cough.

I am hoping that next week will be a bit better. I almost feel that I am getting another cold, before the one I have is even gone. I am stuffed up again and sneezing (which usually happens just at the beginning and not 4-5 days into it). I am not sure what I am going to do if I am not feeling better…

Christmas Lights

I can not believe tomorrow is our last full day here and that it has been 4 days already. I have to go back to work on Monday after almost 5 days off. I am looking forward to getting our new bed though soon! Mom and Dad are supposed to be giving me the rest of the money as an early Christmas present for Cory and I next week and then we can either pick it up or have it delivered. It will be so nice to sleep on a new bed mattress. A pillow-top one at that.

Today we went to Bridgetown to visit my Mom’s foster brother Ray. When my mom was in the city after high school taking a secretarial course and then living there her Mom and Dad brought in 2 foster boys who were severely mentally handy capped. My Grandmother had worked in a children’s home in Digby and the boys were there. She ended up bringing them home to live and there were there almost 30 years. So they were both around when I was born until now.

Well actually, one of the boys, Jerry died 9 years ago. My grandparents had to give him up because they were getting older (mid to late 70’s) and he was getting aggressive so he was put into a residential care facility. He was there a few years and choked on Christmas Eve 9 years ago and went into a coma for a week. They eventually took him off life support (by this time both my grandparents had passed and my mom and her brothers and sisters had no say or anything) and he died.

Ray the oldest one is still in a residential home and we go seem him every few months, well my Mom and my Uncle who died a little over a year ago did anyways. I only get a chance every year or so. We had a great visit today with him. He even recognized me and though he can not really speak (just knows a few words for things) he could say my name and kept saying shoes. He taught me to tie my shoes when I was about 3. What an amazing memory he has!

After coming back from Bridgetown we all went into Digby to see the Christmas lights. I took a bunch of pictures which you can see on my facebook. I am putting my 5 favorite below. I was using my iPhone but decided to try the Camera Plus app to see if it helped with night-time photos. It was a little better.

I also decided to do a Christmas version of my theme. I may put the other one back up later.

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Christmas Tree Lighting

I have not been to a Christmas tree lighting in Digby since my last year of high school in 1997 so I was really happy when Mom told me we were going tonight! Cory and I traveled in a bit early, went to McDonalds for lunch and then for a drive to the Digby ferry. I did not get a picture as we didn’t get close enough. However we stopped on the way back at the Digby Pines which is a beautiful old wooden railway hotel built in 1905. I took the picture below from the road so it is not the greatest image but you can see it’s beauty and can see a better picture by clicking the link above.

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We then wet for a drive first down Lighthouse Road in Digby. I wanted to get a picture of the lighthouse in the snow but the road was too bad and I did not want to chance it in a car without winter tires on a very hilly and dangerous at the best of times road. After that we headed out of the snow and down Digby neck. I wanted to visit my Nanny and Grampy’s and my Uncle’s Denton and Mark’s graves in Centerville but I drove by saying we would stop on the way back and we never did.

We met Mom, Dad and Denton at Pizza Delight in town which is a Pizza chain restaurant down here much like Pizza Hut (only better). We all had the buffet and sadly I did not think to take pictures. We then headed downtown to the Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. I only brought my cell so the pictures are not the greatest. It was snowing off and on but not super cold. Just perfect for a Christmas Tree Lighting.

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Santa showed up in the tricked out Fire Engine below. Much to the kids delight. It was actually really done up nicely. I had to take a few pictures to get that one. It’s a bit grainy but really pretty at the same time. There was even icicle lights on the windshield that sparkled. It was so pretty and we had a lot of fun.

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After they lit the tree they had a bunch of red and white fireworks. The picture below is really the only one on my phone that turned out okay. You can see the star at the top of the tree below.

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After that we got in the van as we had left our car at the Sobeys (Grocery store) and headed back to our car. Through the whole thing poor Cory was getting sick. I felt so bad but he really wanted to go. We saw the house below on the way through town and I managed to get a picture. However it had started to snow really bad and since neither Cory and I’s car or Mom and Dad’s van have snow tires we decided we would go looking at Christmas lights tomorrow night after going to Bridgewater for a fundraiser. So more pictures should follow tomorrow.

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To top the night off we sat outside when we got home around a propane heater in a large (really large) tent in the backyard and ate Candy Cane ice cream and candy cane bark in the snow with our next door neighbours and one of their kids (the other was at a sleepover for the night) and drank Candy Cane hot chocolate.

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Mom was talking about getting a Christmas tree tomorrow and decorating it before Cory and I leave. I am having so much fun and I think despite being sick Cory is having a fairly good time too. I can’t wait till tomorrow!

Holiday Cooking

Being home for 4 days before Christmas means lots (hopefully) of cooking and baking. Today Mom made my favorite Chocolate Rolled Oat Nuggets (Macaroons). They have always been a favorite of mine since I was a child. Mom makes them every year. I am hoping we get a lot of cooking and backing in in the next few days, Mom mentioned making perogies. Another of my favorites.

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Chocolate Rolled Oat Nuggets

• 1 cup white sugar
• 1/2 cup milk
• 3 cups rolled oats
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1/2 cup shortening or butter
• 4 tbs cocoa
• 1/2 cup coconut
• few grains salt

Directions

Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil and then add other ingredients. When mixed drop by teaspoonful on greased cookie sheet or waxed paper. Let stand until cool.

I love this time of year but it makes me miss home so much. Cory has been sick since last night so I am hoping he is feeling better tomorrow or we may be cutting our visit short. I really love being home though. Even my brother and I are getting along pretty well. He can be really annoying at times but I have to keep reminding myself that even though he is technically 23, mentally he is not. It’s hard to remember sometimes.

Mom bought Candy Cane Bark from Costco the other day as well. She was able to locate a recipe for it online. I love it. I love peppermint and I find that it reminds me of after eight mints which my Nanny always used to have and would sneak to me when my parents were not paying attention. It’s not that I was not allowed that kind of stuff but she always had it around Christmas time and I would eat it till I had a stomach ache!

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Candy Cane Bark

•  6  ounces chopped chocolate-flavor candy coating
•  
3  ounces chopped milk chocolate bar
•  
6   ounces chopped vanilla-flavor candy coating
•  
3   ounces chopped white chocolate baking squares
•  1/4  cup crushed pepperment candy canes

Directions

1. Line a large baking sheet with foil. In a small, heavy saucepan, melt chocolate-flavor candy coating and milk chocolate bar, stirring over low heat until smooth. Pour onto baking sheet and spread into a 10×8-inch rectangle; set aside.

2. In another small, heavy saucepan, melt vanilla-flavor candy coating and white chocolate baking squares, stirring over low heat until smooth.

3. Slowly pour white mixture over chocolate mixture on baking sheet. With a thin spatula, swirl white mixture into chocolate mixture. Shake baking sheet gently for even thickness.

4. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes. Chill 30 minutes or until firm. Use foil to lift candy from baking sheet; break candy into pieces. Makes 1-1/4 pounds.

I’m a little sad that I might not get to see my family again till after Christmas, this will only be my second year that I have been away from them over the holidays (first one was a few years ago). I wish they lived closer sometimes but I know they love it here and it is better for my brother in a way.

I am excited for Cory and I to start some of our own traditions and find some of our own favorite recipes and cook our first Christmas dinner ourselves (not this year but probably next). This Christmas we’ll be going to his sisters place for Christmas. Which is just a few blocks from us in the city.

Whats your favorite holiday recipes? Care to share?