One Box at a Time

We moved into this house on March 27th of this year (2018).  I am still unpacking boxes.  I am still shifting boxes to where the contents need to go.  I am still taking boxes of things out to the truck to go to Goodwill (I am so thankful to have a cap on the back of the truck to protect those boxes from the weather, so they don’t have to stay in the house until I’m ready to go!).

There are several reasons why it’s taking so long to get unpacked and settled in.  First is my health and my back.  I have a bad back, and you will probably get tired of hearing about it.  But it has a huge effect on how much I can get done in one day.  I can work for a few minutes, longer some days and less on other days, and then I have to stop and sit or lay down until it quits hurting.  Moving boxes around, and being bent over to unpack boxes, makes my back hurt.

Each day, I try to get at least one box of stuff unpacked and put away.  Yesterday, I did three!  This morning, I got one done before I even got dressed.  Right now there are about five boxes full of stuff to go to Goodwill sitting in the middle of the living room; I need to go out and shift the stuff that’s already in the truck to make room for these.  Most of the boxes waiting to go out are full of fabric that I should have gotten rid of before we left Oregon — polyester which, while pretty colors, is not something I like to wear; dull and coarse fabrics purchased to make costumes for the community theater in Sprague River (we needed shepherds and so on for Pilgrim’s Progress and for a Christmas pageant).  We ended up finding enough costumes in the church costume boxes that I didn’t have to use most of the fabric I’d bought (cheap at Goodwill, whence it is returning, though not, of course, to the same store!).

I do intend to do some sewing once the house is straightened out, so I did keep quite a bit of fabric — three plastic tubs worth.  And possibly another couple of small boxes that are sitting on the shelves in the storage closet, but I will go through those on another day.

Juniper got sunburned yesterday.  You may wonder what is so bad about that — everyone gets sunburned from time to time, unless they are blessed with very dark skin.  But Juniper has two issues which make it really bad for her to get too much sun.  Both are auto-immune diseases.  She has vitiligo, which is where patches of skin lose all their pigment and turn albino (supposedly Michael Jackson had this, which was why he always wore a glove on one hand).  These albino patches burn in just a few minutes — she has quite a bit of pink on her face.  Frequent burning leads to a much higher-than-normal risk of skin cancer eventually, so I try hard to keep her out of the sun — and then she needs high doses of Vitamin D3 to make up for it.

The other issue, and even more critical, is that she has lupus, and too much sun can trigger a lupus flare.  (Florescent lights can trigger a flare, too, among other things.)  We are just getting her healed up from the last flare she had, which was triggered by getting too much sun last summer while camping in the Black Hills in South Dakota with my sister Pam and her family for a few days.  We had a good time camping, but it is so hard to keep Juniper out of the sun if we are outdoors.  I’ve given up on the idea of getting a canoe for us, because going out on the water is even worse as far as sun exposure goes.  What may save us this time is that she doesn’t also have the stress of traveling in addition to the sun exposure.  And I think she’s getting over the stress of the big move to Kentucky now that the house is starting to look like a house instead of a storage container.  So hopefully we’ll be able to minimize the damage this time.

Juniper slept part of last night on the bathroom floor again.  I went downstairs a little past midnight to go to the bathroom, and got her up and into the bed in the downstairs bedroom.  An hour or two later, she was upstairs trying to make me get up and come down to ‘cover her up.’  This is a losing proposition, although a bedtime routine that she insists on; usually what happens is I get her into bed and covered up, and by the time I’m going out the bedroom door, she’s getting back out of bed and asking me to cover her up again.  I’ve quit doing repeats; she gets covered up and put to bed by me ONCE, not dozens of times!  So anyway, when I refused to get up at her bidding in the middle of the night, she screamed for a few minutes, then got quiet.  I thought I heard her talking outside, and got up to look and make sure she was still inside the fenced part of the yard (she hasn’t climbed over the gate yet, but theoretically she could, if she wanted to badly enough); when I turned around, there she was in the other twin bed in the attic!  When I went down to the bathroom again later, she was in the downstairs bed again (I guess I did get SOME sleep, because I didn’t hear her go down the stairs that time).  When I finally got up this morning she was in the bathroom.

So if anyone wonders why I’m tired during the day, see the above.  That was actually a fairly good night, all things considered.

Someone in the Kinder Goat group on Facebook posted a good idea for a hay feeder — they cut some holes in an IBC tote, and fastened it to a fence so the goats couldn’t push it away from the fence; the person can toss hay into it from outside of the fence.  I’ve got a perfect spot to do something like this, inside the middle bay of the big barn.  The hay will (hopefully) be going into the hay loft from that bay, and the far end of the bay opens into one of the goat paddocks.

On my daily checklist:

Made the beds.

Weighed myself.

Wiped down the bathroom sink and the toilet (did the tub yesterday before Juniper’s bath).  (The slightly bigger bathroom really makes a difference when it comes to ease of cleaning.  I can get to things to clean without contortions.  It also helps a bunch when Juniper and I both have to be in there, which is a really good thing lately, since that’s where she’s hanging out most of the time!)

Dirty clothes to the laundry hamper as soon as they are removed from body.

Daily Bible study.

Writing here on this blog.

Tossed some more stuff from the ‘office.’  (Old envelopes we will never ever use.)

Some things, like cleaning the kitchen sink, are waiting on getting the drain unclogged, sigh.

And…I got a heavy bag full of papers (three and a half file drawers worth) out to the garbage cans — but the bag split on the way and I had to pick it all up and put it in three bags in order to get it there.  That hurt my back, so I probably won’t get a whole lot more done today.  I intended, when I went out, to pick up the trash that Cameo got into and strewed around the yard several days ago.  Guess that will have to wait until tomorrow morning.

Made us a casserole for brunch (and supper, it turned out).  Used a can of spinach, a can of olives drained and crushed, a small can of mushrooms, four eggs, half a cup of cassava meal, some seasonings (salt, sage, garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric which I add to everything possible because of its anti-inflammatory properties), and a can of jack mackerel, with the liquid but without the backbones — they are edible, but crunchy and I don’t care much for them.  Cooked it in the microwave for 18 minutes, and it was quite good, I thought.  We got two meals for each of us out of it, too.

Tomorrow we must go to town — I need to sort out some bank account stuff (haven’t been able to find a new check book for one of the accounts I still have in Oregon — it’s where Juniper’s SSI checks are still being deposited), and pay a couple of bills; get some enzyme to put down the kitchen sink drain (and HOPE it works!); pick up a few groceries and some chicken feed.




Starting Over

I’m going to try to keep a blog regularly.  Maybe not every day, but often.  Topics will range widely, but I want to use this space to keep track of God’s blessings and answers to prayer; Bible study topics; how Juniper is doing; progress on the house and the property; my health; family visits; what I’ve been reading lately; projects of all kinds; and so on.  There’s going to be a learning curve — for one thing, I need to figure out how to add pictures!

Juniper and Me at church late 2013

Well!  That was easier than I expected!  LOL!  This is Juniper (in the red coat, and happy!) and me, about five years ago.  For anyone reading this who doesn’t know us very well, Juniper was born in 1980 — she’s 38 this year.  She is autistic, functions at about the level of a three-year-old; and has several auto-immune conditions:  celiac disease, vitiligo, probably Sjogren’s Syndrome, and — most serious — lupus.  She has two older sisters: Cedar Sanderson, chemist, and author of Pixie Noir and several other good reads; and Maranatha, who is ‘retired’ from teaching full-time at a Christian school in New Hampshire, and planning self-employment.  Cedar has four children; two will be in college this year (ouch!).

As you might expect, Juniper has been both a blessing and a source of a lot of stress her entire life.  For the last year and a few months, she’s been having an auto-immune flare.  She has obviously not been feeling good (her way of showing this is screaming and shrieking at the top of her lungs, not sleeping, and other behaviors that she doesn’t normally do anymore), and has lost a lot of weight.  I was reluctant to take her to the doctors she usually saw in Oregon because they didn’t seem to think that she or her health was very important.  So when we made the decision to move closer to her older sisters (Cedar lives about four hours from us now, in Ohio) and I found and bought this place in Kentucky, I started looking for a doctor to take her to who would actually care about her.  Found one who I think is pretty good down in Nashville (about two and a half hours drive from us); got some blood work done, and Juniper is on liquid Vitamin D3 and a special anti-inflammatory turmeric/curcumin concoction, and doing somewhat better.  At least she’s ‘there’ again — she was like a zombie — a shrieking screaming zombie — for a while.  We are continuing to work on diet and other factors which are adversely affecting both of our health; trying to stick to the auto-immune protocol diet more strictly, for one thing.

The move was challenging.  I’ve always had trouble with my back, but starting a couple of years ago have been in serious pain a lot of the time, more often than not.  Junior Mad Scientist granddaughter was living with us for a while prior to the move, and she ended up doing much of the packing.  I should have gotten more stuff sorted out before the move, but am working on it now as I unpack boxes.  We are actually nearly to the end of the boxes — I think there are only maybe a dozen or so left to deal with.  But of course those are going to take a lot of my time and mental energy to sort and deal with, because the hardest ones got left for last!  The biggest blessing is that right at the end of our little road, less than half a mile from the house, is a nice little Baptist church.  We haven’t been able to attend very much yet, mostly because of Juniper’s health issues (partly because of my back pain), but I look forward to getting to know the people there and to worshiping with them.  Ever since I was first saved, I’ve wished that we could live within walking distance of our church, and now we do!

There have been a lot of issues with the house — some I knew about, like no kitchen (just an empty room, no cabinets or anything) and no flooring, just the sub-floor.  Some I suspected could be a problem but was hoping wouldn’t be (all the plumbing needed to be re-done — there were leaks all over under the house; and the wiring is a mishmash of old and new).  And some things we weren’t expecting — well pump needing to be replaced; split water line between the well and the house.  Ah, well, I really bought it for the location — figured the house was at least solid and had a good roof!  And it’s paid for, which means a lot to me.

I’m working on reading through the New Testament this summer, plus Psalms.  It’s always interesting to read some of Matthew Henry’s take on the different passages.  Amazes me to see the insight that he had, and really points up how much our modern education is horribly lacking.  Though I suppose even back then only a few believers had the depth of understanding, knowledge, and wisdom that he had.  We do have a few even in our day….