Sunday, December 30, 2012

Return of the appetite

I haven't had much of an appetite for days.  Generally, when I'm really sick, my appetite is the first to go, and, if I'm wise, it also lets me know I'm sick.  If I know I'm sick I can take extra-good care of myself and maybe limit the damage. 

Ron was being onery and I stuck my armpit in his face.  He began groaning and jerking his head back and forth, trying to escape the stinky armpit.  It was pretty funny. 

"I'm going to take a shower" I told him. 
"Please" he responded in a strained voice. 

While showering, I realized that I actually had the energy to shower.  I pulled a whole handful of dead hair out while shampooing.  I just molt a lot and it had been a few days since my last shower.  I also realized I had an appetite.

Am I better?  No.  But I think I'm on the road to better. 

Ron's just happy I got that shower, and some deodorant! 

I miss my Kindle

Last night I concluded that I'm better off without cold medicine.  Or flu medicine, whatever it is I've got.  I cough more when I take the remedy. 

Ron and I don't have fevers; but we do have a lot of coughing.  No runny nose or sneezing; but a lot of postnasal drip (sorry to be so specific).  I'm kind of achy and run down, Ron has a neuropathy flare.  We're both really tired.  If I had to guess I'd say the flu.

Do I wish we'd had the vaccine?  No.  Both my siblings had to be hospitalized after flu vaccines.  Flu vaccines can cause neuropathy, I can only imagine they would aggravate existing neuropathy.  I'm glad we skipped that. 

At any rate, we're at home.  No deliveries.  Doing the good citizen quarantine thing. 

It was interesting, I tried a couple different remedies I had on hand, and the best remedy seems to be nothing.  I thought it was cute, I have no appetite (always happens when I'm sick) and Ron is very concerned with feeding me.  This morning he told me he took out one of my frozen pot roast dinners and put it in the fridge for me to eat later (I'll need that to take my pills).  I thought that was very thoughtful and sweet. 

Ron's watching TV and reading.  I'm lamenting the loss of my Kindle and reading a paperback romance novel I bought a while back.  NAM thrift store has them for 75 cents, and they tend to get a lot of inspirational romance novels.  I prefer those. 

I've often considered getting a subscription, but I haven't.  Part of it is the fact that I could get 20, 99 cent Kindle books for the price of four real ones. 

Man, I miss my Kindle. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012


Baby Girl is a very unusual cat.  Upon seeing me sitting in my computer chair, coughing away, she ran into the room and tried to climb my back.  Ow.  Ow.  It didn't work out.  Thank God I was wearing my housecoat.  She's on the couch now. 

Why won't she get in my lap, or sleep with me?  I don't know.  That's the the purview of a "normal" cat and she's ever been normal. 

Last night was not much fun, changing the litter box with this cough.  Ugh.  All, and I mean all, I want to do is whine. 

I want to be the person who looks at something like this and says "What is God's will for me in this?  How can this make me a better person?"  Sadly, I ususally devolve to whining and pity parties. 

I got a good look at Ron today, and it shamed me.  He offered me his leftover pizza, he listened to me whining even though he felt just as bad, he let the cat out to play.  He laid in bed, reading talking books, watching TV, and resting.  He didn't whine, and as far as I know, he's had nothing to drink today. 

I'm tired, so I've been sleeping as much as possible.  I wake up with strange nightmares.  I have a couple paperback books. 

Did I mention my Kindle is D E A D - dead?  Bummer.  I called Amazon, they can't do anything.  When I can afford the basic one, I will get the $25 2 year warranty.  That could have saved my old one. 

My electronics took a real beating this month. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Not the best day

I could make excuses.  I could. 

But I believe in being true to myself, honestly analyzing my flaws and saying "I messed up, I can do better." 

I did not have a good night.  I was up all night coughing (see, that would be the excuse), even with the safe-for-me cold medicine.  Ron had an equally bad night. 

We had a good ride to work.  I was relieved to hear the driver complain about getting over some virus, so she already had immunity.  We got to the warehouse and got the supplies, then rode to work. 

As I entered, the other vendor grabbed me.  My food machine was down.  I had to fix it.  The coffee machine was on free (I know, we did that on purpose) and "all the machines were empty".  Hm.  Interesting interpretation on that. 

That kind of set a negative tone for me, for a while.  I didn't exactly fight it, and I'm not proud of it. 

I informed her I would get right to it all, as soon as I got the cart and Ron's wheelchair so I could get him out of the cold.  I gave them their present and left. 

I got the supplies in the building.  I fixed the food machines (they were playing with the backup generators, which put the machines "down"), and threw away the perishable food because I had a health code warning. 

The machine triggers a health code warning when it is out of the preferred temperature range.  It was pretty discouraging, throwing away all the sandwiches. 

I turned off the "free" on the coffee machine, to the disappointment of several postal workers (I let them get their drinks before I shut it off).  Hey, it was on for 4 days.  We needed to refill just about everything.  Hopefully it will encourage them to try the machine. 

Everyone at work had a dry, hacking, cough, just like ours.  So, I'd guess we got it at work.  I noticed the other vendor's employees had it, too.  My chest hurts, I'm tired, and I can't shake the cough.  I'm glad we're not face to face. 

I would love to go to church, but not sick.  We have pregnant ladies, disabled people, newborns, need I go on?  I don't want to find out I infected someone.  I'm really glad we didn't go last week, when we were probably contagious.  They have an online service, so I can watch that. 

I would hate to think I made someone else feel like this, or worse, because I was selfish and thought of my own needs.   I want to make Jesus happy. 

Metrolift got us to work early, I needed the time, but we got it all done.  Snacks weren't too bad except for candy, which we couldn't afford, but we'll get it.  Sodas were also pretty dead and the food machines were down, so people couldn't buy from them.  The bottled soda vendor did pretty well. 

We went home.  An interesting driver, got to ranting.  If he wants a career in public transit he had better get better at hiding his emotions. 

Not as bad as the guy we had a few times, who kept telling me my neighbor was the antichrist.  I agreed after I caught the neighbor looking in my bedroom window one night.  [different neighborhood]

I went home and had a pretty good nap, until the neighbor kids came out to play.  It was pretty cold so they went in pretty quick, but I was wide awake and about due for some cough syrup.  I got up and took that. 

My Kindle was acting wierd.  I called Amazon, it's out of warranty, and dead.  [sob] 


Thursday, December 27, 2012


Boy, I feel lousy. 

Normally I'm not a sickly person.  Migraines, yeah.  Nausea and vomiting due to medication.  Yup.  But I don't get colds and flu, not until this year. 

I had 2 colds, very unusual for me.  Then I got this, which I'm thinking is some kind of flu.  I feel really tired, not much appetite, coughing and kind of achy.  However, I'm not running a fever so it could just be what one columnist termed "Houstonitis" Houstonitis  I read that 7 years ago and it stuck. 

God knows I hear a chorus of coughing everywhere I go.  That is the bad thing about living in the big city. 

Ron got hit harder than me, not surprising, but he's on the mend and we need to go to work.  So, I'm going. 

I don't have a fever.  I'll do what I've been doing, which is rest up as much as possible. 

It's kind of unusual for me.  It's not very often my medical symptoms outweigh the psychiatric ones.  This fatigue is purely medical. 

Yeah, I've got a layer of depression under there like some kind of nasty frosting, but I have the energy and motivation to clean the litter box.  I can live with this. 

God knows I am giving myself the nutritional support I need to heal, and that may be one reason I'm doing better than Ron.  I have to be EXTREMELY careful what I take, because decongestants are found in almost every remedy - and could cause a fatal seizure for me.  I stick to straight guiafenesin with a cough suppressant. 

The last thing I need are more problems. 

Video Blog - cute kitten and some hacking.

Short video blog. 

I did some research. It doesn't look like the flu necessarily aggravates neuropathy. It does look like a lot of neuropathy has been linked to flu vaccines, so I'm VERY glad Ron never got one. My theory - as his body fights, the neuropathy worsens, and he suffers more. I hate to see him suffer. Last night I gave him some guiafenisin tablets and he found them very helpful. Since he is drinking I have to be very careful.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Off the Subject

I have a dreadful headache.  I can't decide if it's a result of stress, something I ate, or both.  I just know my head hurts.  I tried to lie down for a while, Ron had a noisy phone call.  Then the neighbor kids came out to play.  They are very happy children.  Happy, noisy, children.  Kind of impossible to sleep with that. 

Don't get me wrong; Ron and I lived next to people who beat their family members.  One lady beat her children.  We could hear them crying and screaming (yes, we called CPS), nearly ever day.  I'm glad to live next to a happy family - when my meds are right. 

Speaking of, I did take everything as directed so it's not really that.  I think most of my mood is just caregiver burnout + depression.  I feel like nothing I do for Ron has any positive feedback.  He loves me.  Great.  But he's drinking himself to death. 

He doesn't realize, and won't hear, that the neuropathy is his body's way of screaming at him to stop drinking, please.  I beg him to see a doctor, he refuses, and washes down another couple tylenol with some Everclear (apparently he still has some, or bought some, unclear on that). 

I'm getting scared.  When we joined the blind vendor program, he filled out life insurance paperwork.  I'm going to ask him to switch the beneficiary to me.  He had set it as his parents, who are in a nursing home.  He made them beneficiaries because he felt they would want to have a lavish funeral - not that he wanted one, and he wanted them to "be comfortable".  Well, they told him not to visit anymore.  Never answered his calls (when he called on my phone they picked right up, once).  Never called him. 

If he's going to drink himself to death I need a liferaft.  I'll talk to him about it in a day or so. 

God forbid, he did die, I'm sure the church would help me out.  I know my family would do what they could.  One family member told me I could never work at a Christian bookstore because the "false teachers" would make me angry.  She's right. 

I want to get off the subject.  I want to be in a place where I'm not worrying about his drinking, all the time.  Where I go on and have a happy life, trusting that God will provide for my needs. 

God doesn't want me to worry, the Bible is clear on that.  The Holy Spirit in me reminds me that God loves Ron MUCH more than I could ever fathom.  I have to give Ron to God or I'll have a nervous breakdown. 

I know this, I cannot allow Ron's drinking to determine whether or not I'm having a good day.  I can't allow Ron's drinking to determine how I'm walking with God.  I can't allow Ron's existential questions (why me?) to erode my faith.  That's what the devil wants. 

Do I think I'm a great faith warrior, winning millions of souls?  No, but I think I am effective enough to merit attacks.  Those attacks are designed to depress me, diminish my faith, and discourage evangelism and prayer warfare (my weapons of faith).  I can't allow that to happen. 

I have to leave Ron in God's hands and pray for the grace to go on. 

How do people handle things like this without God in their lives? 

The Merciful

You know, I'd love to put me out there as a rightous, good, spiritual person.  But, the honest truth is I fail, often. 

Example, last night.  Ron was drunk and in pain from neuropathy.  He kept groaning. 

[I gave this post a lot of thought because it could be used against me]

I had an irresistable urge to yell SHUT UP.  I got so sick of it.  Groan.  Moan.  Muttering.  He fell a couple times.  Woke me up at least a dozen times. 

[Media player just cued up "Monkey" by George Michael.  Appropriate.  You might think I have problems with a bisexual artist.  Not really.  He was always very open that he'd "do" anything.  I find that a lot more honest than the artists who "come out" after making their millions.

I love "Monkey" because it talks about the pain of loving someone with an addiction.  ]

I had gone to such pains to have a pleasant night, last night.  I had a nice candle lit.  I sprayed my favorite air freshener.  I made sure the bed was nice and comfy, with all my blankets, and I ended up throwing them off in annoyance as I kept yelling at Ron to be quiet. 

I finally shut his bedroom door.  What I found really exasperating, the minute, and I mean the minute I finally got up, he went to sleep and snored for hours.  Agh. 

I've asked him if he wants to see a doctor about the neuropathy.  No.  I've asked him if he'd like to go a pain clinic.  No.  Try out a TENS unit?  No. 

He doesn't want to do that.  He wants to lie in bed and groan all night. 

Don't get me wrong, I am very grateful he's staying away from pain pills.  Pain meds and alcohol kill.  If he has to drink he needs to play keep away. 

I've been called a martyr, and they aren't wrong.  I do tend to martyr myself.  But Ron's got me beat all to hell and back. 

He has a sore throat today, so we're staying home.  I have a sore throat, too.  I'm doing what I think will help, lots of whey protien shakes, vitamins, and a few herbal things I find helpful for fighting viruses.  I need to drink more water, though. 

Days like today I realize my soul has a long way to go.  God has to fill me up with His love and mercy, because I just don't have it sometimes. 

"Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy"  Matthew 5:7

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

It seemed like a good idea at the time

Boy, Ron and I were a pair tonight.  I called my parents, and Ron kept interrupting, drunkenly, with compliments and "tell them I love them!" 

I think the funniest moment, for me, was when Ron thanked Dad for having me, and Dad said "It seemed like a good idea at the time."  You can read that line a million different ways.  [laugh] 

I'm taking it as a compliment.  Ron kept telling me how much he loves me, etc.  It was very sweet.  At least if he's drinking, he's very nice to me now. A lot better than old days. 

I'm battling depression, but I did great today considering.  It was very windy and cold, and as a result, very quiet. 

[This blog interrupted for Bubba petting] 

Bubba spent most of the day outside, Baby Girl stayed in.  Mostly.  Ron kept petting her and telling me how much he loved her, and he loved me too...

He's still in some pain but it seems to be a little better now.  

He called to me, turn the TV to a different channel.  I did.  We both cried over the ending of "She's in love with the Boy".  Then we watched "Undercover Boss" and cried over the ending. 

We were certainly on the same page.  I have an old, low-def television - I'm very happy with it.  I feel so smug - even the crackheads didn't want it.  Ron has his Direct TV receiver plugged into a pair of headphones, I think.  He tends to create complex nests of wires and adapters. 

I'm waiting to cook the pizza, until we both feel better. 

Happily, the only drama has been when Bubba finally came home and the kitten wanted to play.  Ron kept screaming "Invader alert" until I figured out he was referring to the kitten.  I locked her up in Ron's room so Bubba can have some alone time. 

Merry Christmas

As I thought, our neighbors' parties went on until well after midnight. I finally figured out, duh, they are from Mexico.  Maybe I'd better look up Mexican Christmas traditions:

It explains a lot - the late night parties on Christmas eve, the late night party on January 6th.  I know to expect a party on the 6th.  However, all the neighbors kept it pretty quiet as these things go - a lot of loud talking and children playing, but no loud music. Thank you for that. 

As you know, I spent my time blogging and listening to my music.  I finally went to sleep around 1 and woke up about 9. 

I had a pretty bad headache, so I took something, ate some cereal, and waited for Ron to wake up.  When Ron woke up he was in a pretty grim mood.  I later realized he was having neuropathy pain.  I asked and he confirmed. 

He hates to complain.  Recently I asked him about a medical issue, and he said "Oh, yeah, that's been hurting for a while" (that issue is pretty much resolved).  He thinks he might have some kind of bronchitis but is not interested in seeing a doctor.  Well, he can still make his own decisions.  I figure a guy who can manage a business, schedule all our paratransit trips, and pay the bills can decide if he wants to see a doctor. 

He's cursing again. I hate to hear him hurting.

I remember how I felt when we went to, I think it was 5 different doctors, maybe 6, and they all said "We can't do anything for neuropathy, do you want a narcotic?"  Ron said "No way".   Thank God.  Those things are addictive. 

I had turned on some Christmas music.  Ron liked that.  He got around to the point where he wanted to open presents.  We took turns.  He got lots of tasty snacks and a gift card.  I got various fun items.  The cats even got some presents. 

Later on, I'll connect my cell phone to the computer and upload a few photos of Baby Girl.  She's awfully cute. 

Ron feels pretty bad, so we're going to save the Christmas day pizza for tomorrow or another night.  We have to eat it by the 29th. 

I'd like to get another pizza for New Year's, but that means going to Walmart.  Yike.  I know it will be crazy for the next couple days and I'd really like to avoid that. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

2012 Year in Review!

My neighbors are having their annual party so I figure I might as well do this.  Please, God, don't let us get any more excitement this year. 

January:  Ron's computer died.  We had ongoing drama with trying to fix it.  Then Excel died.  I ended up giving him my old computer and switching over to the Macbook my Dad had given me.  I had problems with an overly friendly guy at work; but set some boundaries and made it clear I would complain if it continued.  He got the message.  My lithium levels were an abysmal .1, meaning I had to increase my dose - increasing my nausea and other side effects.  The Mac did not allow any Video Blogs using the webcam. 

February:  Encounters with people who think I'm filthy rich.  I wonder if one of them blabbed to the guys who robbed us, but I'm getting ahead of myself.  I did a Bible Handout on Valentine's day, and broke my pinky toe on the left foot, 2 days later.  Serious pain.  Video blogs were back, using the ancient digital camera with the SDRAM card. I got myself a nice set of $30 speakers.  Listening to them now.  Depression.  Ron started writing tracts and handing them out. 

March:  Mom and Dad came to visit.  We went to Galveston, I got a bladder infection and had to see my primary doc.  Not cheap, but worth it.  Plumbing issues had me in tears.  Ron fixed it.  Then the Bible publisher, or my bank, messed up and double charged me for an order of Spanish Bibles.  I had a really hard time getting that resolved.  The walls of my bathroom shower enclosure continued to degrade.  Praise God an internet friend found someone willing to fix it for free - the process took months, but I didn't mind.  It was a little wierd only taking tub baths for a while.  From this point onward, we had the guys over several nights a week, doing demo and fixing things.  Ron wrote more tracts. 

April: Yet another Bible Handout.  I had a 2 day migraine after eating some peanut butter.  Ron got to play nurse advocate - a lot of yelling at the pharmacy as I retched into my bucket.  Got my lithium level checked.  It was only up to .3. 

May:  Depressed.  I found out some poetry I wrote back in 2000 was now available as an e-book. 

June:  Started writing out my life story.  Depressed as a result.  Bad trips on Metrolift.  Good news: found a church.  I just wish I could get there more often.  Love my church. 

June:  Two Bible handouts.  Looks like I did about a thousand Bibles distributed this year, total.  Got a nasty depression.  Some fighting with Ron.  I took a pay cut of $200 a month.  Good thing I have sponsors buying Bibles. 

July:  We did Chick-fil-a day.   

August:  Two Bible Handouts in one week.

September:  Ron finds a kitten in the bushes.  We adopt her, Baby Girl.  I did a Bible Handout in Acres Homes, a notorious ghetto.  It's very successful.  I do another handout and forget the sign, but still distribute everything.  I attend a family wedding in Florida, lots of fun.  I distribute Bibles all over northern Florida, including a good Samaritan who comes by to "jump" us at 2 AM on my birthday, in the middle of nowhere. 

October:  Bubba brings me a live rat, and eats most of it a few days later.  We attend a mandatory conference in Austin, which wasn't as bad as I feared.  I even got a few dances out of Ron at the party.  Ron's drinking escalates, again.  Halloween handout - 140 served. 

November:  Another Bible Handout in Acres Homes.  The election.  I take Ron out for fried chicken after voting.  Got my lithium level into a therapeutic range by taking 4 lithiums a day. 

December:  I reveal my whole name, Heather Boutte.  Our home is robbed, they kick in the front door, destroying the door and frame.  They steal my 5 year old hand me down laptop but don't bother with anything else.  They ransack my bedroom, throw a lamp and the queen mattress against the wall, failing to find the "treasures" I don't own.  I believe in storing my treasure in heaven, and I was never happier about that when I walked through the house after the robbery.  The police are very nice.  Several people offer me their old computers.  I accept one of them.  Friends replace the front door and frame; everything is restored, better than before.  I do another handout after the Sandy Hook shooting.  The world did not end.  Yet. 
Ha ha. 

Heather's night out

A few days ago, I saw an ad for "Girls Night Out".  I got to thinking about it. 

What would be "Heather's Night Out"? 

It would start with a couple cases of Bibles.  I'd have them all prepped and ready to go.  Ron would come with me, and we'd go to Acres Homes.  We'd set up on the corner and do a Bible Handout. 

After we finished, we'd get a bus or paratransit and go home, to put up the handout supplies.  Not a lot of places welcome a Free Bibles sign. 

Then Ron and I would head out for some fast food and get a nice value meal dinner.  Maybe Arby's.  I love their fries  - they are the best I've eaten.  A nice beef and cheddar, a curly fries, and some soda. 

Then I'd go home. 

That would be my ultimate night out. 

Everyone has their something

I'd like to think I'm better about my depression. 

Example: I have a nice candle lit, playing "Evacuate the Dancefloor" for the dozenth time tonight.  Why?  It makes me happy. 

God doesn't want me to suffer needlessly.  Yeah, my depression renders me able to do the work I need to do, and keeps me leaning on Him.  I trust Him for everything as a result of my illness.  I will never complain about that. 

Even the apostle Paul had a "thorn in the flesh" (commentators think it was a nasty eye condition); he begged God to remove it, but God said "My strength is made perfect in weakness".  As a result, Paul resolved to "Glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest more fully on me" (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). 

So, I'm crying in front of my screen, listening to dance tunes, happy my cat likes his Christmas dinner - I put straight kitten food in the feeder instead of the half-and-half.  Bubba just rejected treats to eat it. 

Do I want this illness?  Hell, no.  That's why I never had children.  In my family, mental illness is highly inheritable and I didn't want them to get the "gift".  Oh, I'd want to die if they did.  I won't put my child through this hell.  I'd rather die childless. 

I'm not the only one suffering.  I've come to a conclusion recently.  If someone isn't having money problems, they are having health or relationship problems.  Sometimes all of the above.  It may be a problem child.  It may be a chronic, debilitating health condition.  It may be depression, or ADD.  But it's something - everyone has their something that plaugues them and makes them cry. 

I am absolutely not the only one in pain tonight.  One friend is facing what could be the imminent death of her husband.  One friend has a daughter addicted to drugs, in treatment.  Many are sick with horrible viruses. Some have sick children.  People are laid off and facing foreclosure. 

So, I have mental illness, an alcoholic husband, and money troubles.  It's like the cartoon, it shows 3 corners of a triangle.  One is kids.  One is clean house.  One is sanity.  The caption says "Pick 2".  These are the three I've got. 

So how do I cope?  Being nice to myself, when depressed, would seem to be the logical answer, but when I'm depressed I don't think I deserve it.  Being nice can also involve effort I may not be able to put out. 

If I can't drag myself into the shower, a bath is probably out of the question.  Cooking myself a nice meal is also out. 

What can I do, is a better question.   Today, I bought myself easy foods.  Corn based cereal, and a gallon of milk.  It will get me through the depression, on those times I just can't fix a meal.  When I was manic, I cooked up a lot of hamburger meat and froze it.  All I need to do is warm it up and throw it in a tortilla (which I have) with some shredded cheese (check).  I've got eggs if I can cook. 

I bought us a large pepperoni pizza for dinner tomorrow.  I just throw it in the oven.  Ron doesn't want me to use the oven when it's warm, but it will be cold tomorrow.  So, pizza for dinner, and no delivery.  It's good pizza, too. 

I am really terrible about feeding myself when depressed, so this is big.  I can burn nice smelling things, like the rose incense I love and my wonderful "True Rose" Yankee Candle.  I've been burning it off and on for  a month now and I still have plenty of candle left, about 3/4. 

I can put on my favorite turquoise plaid housecoat. and wear that when I'm at home.  When I had a little mania over the weekend, I washed all the bedding and made my bed.  It's full of wonderful, cozy, layers. 

I can listen to the music I love.  I already paid for it - and listening to music is proven to help with depression.  I can practice my faith, doing my God time and maybe a little extra Bible study.  It says in the Bible if I ask God for help in understanding He will give it (James 1:5), so even if I'm having some brain fog I can still read my Bible.  I'll get something out of it. 

And, I think, I will buy a few of those prison Bibles for the guys who robbed us.  I have a strong feeling they will be caught. 

I can also accept it has been a HELL of a month.  Things will get better.  God loves me.  He has everything planned out - I just need to seek His will on it every day. 

Ready for my new brain

Still fighting depression.  I did OK most of the day, I got up on time, did my God Time, took my shower. 

I went to work, carrying a gift bag for the sandwich guy.  "For going above and beyond" I told him as I gave it to him.  He was touched. 

I went mainly with edible gifts this year, featuring a lot of the large, 8 ounce, chocolate bars.  People seem to enjoy them. 

I handed some out to the drivers, and they were very well received.  I also handed out New Testaments with chocolate and regular candy.  I think I said this before, but I did about 200 Bibles this month, total. 

I'm glad I could do it.  I told Ron, I try to approach each day as "How does God want me to serve Him today?"  I think it's a good approach.

At any rate, I could tell today was going to be a 2 Wellbutrin day.  I did pretty well, too. 

We went to work, oh, sales are terrible.  I really think only God can sustain us.  Ron had to borrow money to pay the property tax. Thank God for good friends. 

We stocked what we could and left.  We went home and then went to Walmart.  I thought it would be fun - you can tell I was a little manic when I thought that! 

At any rate, we went.  I put Ron on the bench.  They have a literal bench near the exit. 

I got Ron a plate lunch, at his request.  Then I got some more giant candy bars, some soda for me, toilet paper, etc.  We had a good ride home, and when we got home I found 3 boxes on the porch. 

Yay.  Christmas presents.  I brought them in and stored them, then put up the groceries. 

I noticed some party preparations next door, so I took a long nap in case anyone has a party tonight.  It's not much fun to be sleep deprived on Christmas eve. 

I am so ready to be raptured.  Do you know how many Christmases I spent sick, as a kid?  Then, when I grew out of that, I had the depressions every Christmas - still do. A few years I had wild manias where I gave everyone extravagant gifts.  I felt like a speeding car with no brakes. 

This year, it's just the depression.  I am ready for my new brain, let me tell you. 

Revelation 21:4-5

New International Version (NIV)
4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sunday Night

I hate spam.  That is one reason I won't monetize my blog.  I feel like my blog should be a place for reading and learning about my life, if you want, not a marketplace with "carefully selected links". 

I tend to get a spike in readership on Sunday nights, so I feel a special obligation to be interesting on Sunday Night.  It's up to you to decide if I failed. 

I can't remember if I did a blog yesterday.  Ron and I went to work, went to the bank, and then went out to eat.  I ate Samosa.  I love eating Samosa.  It's like an Indian hot pocket with a delicious filling.  Ron ate a shawerma.  He loves them. 

I went to bed pretty early and woke up early, ready for church.  I took a shower.  I did my God time.  I put on a sweater and jeans.  Well, I had to wear a t-shirt under the sweater, which had a pretty daring neckline.  If Ron could see I would wear it around the house for him, but no way would I wear it out in public. 

I couldn't get comfortable in the t-shirt, and finally realized I had it on backwards.  I took it off and fixed it.  Ron finally woke up. 

Our ride was due at 9:30.  Ron called Metrolift (the paratransit company) about then.  It was "unassigned".  That is a very bad sign. 

We needed to get to the Starbucks at 10:30, so we could get picked up and get to church by 11.  Time passed.  They sent it to Yellow cab.  Generally that's as bad as "unassigned" because it means it will be about an hour before a driver shows up. 

I mean, REALLY?  We live in the 4th largest city in the nation, in a completely decent middle class neighborhood, not far from downtown (as things go) and it still takes them an hour? 

Ugh, I could tell you some STORIES about cab rides and hours long wait times... unless you are at the airport, forget about a cab.  So many times I'd be waiting, and thinking "I could walk home faster". 

OK, enough whining.  By 10:30 Ron had called Metrolift and said forget about it, it's too late anyway.  He called our friend to tell him we weren't coming, and he wasn't around anyway, so that worked out. 

The cab showed up at 10:50, and we had to tell him to go away repeatedly for several minutes before he got it.  When I said "It was a 9:30 pickup" he got that - looked at his watch, went "OH" and then I told him "We called half an hour ago and said it was too late, cancel the trip" he had a lightbulb moment and went back to his cab. 

It would have been a good trip for him, but what's the point of going to our pickup point for church when church was literally starting in 5 minutes?   We didn't even have a ride from the Starbucks to church!   

This is why, my friends, if we ever won the lottery Ron and I would hire our own personal driver.  It is really frustrating, having to rely on unreliable transportation. 

You, for instance, when you want to go somewhere you probably get in your car, drive yourself.  You don't have to ride next to an obese person flowing into your personal space; people who shove their junk in your lap; someone who wears too much cologne; a chronic complainer; angry clients who want to take it all out on you; someone with strange sores all over their skin, shoved up against you; wierd people interrogating you - bad odors, you name it.  Some of the other clients get "touchy" with us, I've seen clients hit the drivers on multiple occasions, one woman tried to unzip Ron's pants; one guy likes me so much they put him in the backseat and Ron has to play jealous husband.... it's no treat. 

It's a hell of a lot better than walking, and a lot cheaper than cabs, but if the buses ran better I would never ride paratransit again.  I haven't even gotten to the notoriously unreliable nature of the trips.  They can be hours late, drive you around for 2 hours before dropping you off, the pickup can arrive before I even get dropped off... you get the idea. 

See, I ALSO woke up with a migraine.  I managed so subjugate it, but got so frustrated it came back.  Metrolift is a massive migraine all by itself. 

I'm still battling depression!  I'm battling depression, and a migraine, and all I wanted was to go to church... I didn't even get that.  I was so disappointed. 

I'm going to have to take a phenergan before I go to bed.  This headache will not die. 

On the plus side, I always appreciate the day after a headache because I feel better!  I have to work tomorrow, but I have a goodie bag for my sandwich guy.  He really want above and beyond on several occasions this year. 

Example: metrolift is coming early - he made sure he beat them so I got everything stocked.  Or, metrolift got us there late - he made another stop before coming to us so we could intersect. 

After work, just for fun, we're going to Walmart to watch the mayhem.  Ron wants some vitamin D.  I could use some more soda. 

It'll be a cold day before I get more shredded wheat - I'm pretty sure that was my trigger.  Or the samosa, or God knows what - I need to keep a food log. 

Sounds like a good New Year's resolution - a food log. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A little dizzy

It's nice to have my music back.  I love to play my music while I work on the computer. 

While working on Ron's old computer - and might I say he was a LOT more generous than I, in sharing it (I think he was happy he could help "fix" the damage), I tried listening on headphones, but Ron couldn't talk to me. 

I wasn't about to load my stuff on his computer.  He's not a fan.  He gets all prune faced. 

The only thing that's worse than hearing my music, he'd say, is hearing me sing along with it.  But I have no doubt, if something awful happened he'd miss my singing along with everything else. 

I still have the depression, hoping I toss it by Christmas. 

In the meantime, I had no music while online.  Then, something happened this week.  A generous family member, an old computer languishing in a closet, maybe.  Like I said in the video blog, if I got a new-to-me I wouldn't talk about it. 

At any rate, I can load my music now. 

I'm a backup freak.  I had everything backed up, video, music, photos, everything except "500 Miles" by the Proclaimers - I hadn't gotten around to backing that up, but it's on the Amazon Cloud when I want it. 


Of course, I might be learning yet another operating system, media player, etc.  I do like the settings on this - I have to relog in everytime I get online. 

When I realized my old computer was gone, I WISHED so hard that I had set it up that way - instead I had cookies so people could run around wherever they wanted.  Until I changed the passwords - another new thing! 

I am NOT complaining, but I feel a little dizzy.  This month has been incredibly hectic.  I had an Acres Homes Bible handout - 108.  Then I got robbed.  Door fixed.  Borrow Ron's computer, which was reconditioned when we got it 4 years ago.  No wonder the crackheads didn't bother. 

After the robbery, the Sandy Hook shooting.  Bad memories for me of that psycho shooting up Dad's office.  Waiting and watching TV, wondering if he was coming home.  Depression (not a surprise in the context). 

Yet another Bible Handout, 65 this time.  After I got home did up 30-some bags of candy with a New Testament.  I only have a few left.  So, that's about 200 Bibles distributed just this month, in spite of the robbery. 

It was funny, at work today.  Someone moved some of our vending machines and accidentally unplugged my snack machine.  I was very, very, angry.  It was clear I was restraining myself, but very upset. 

I told Russell "I'm more upset about this than I was about being robbed!"  At any rate, I got everything fixed up, it looks good now.  Since the machine was off, it's still full, so it looks really good. 

Ron and I went into work today and stocked what we could, but this is the worst year ever for sales. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

I have Bubba

I thought of you as I sat on the edge of the bed, stroking his silky black hair.  "You're a rock star" I crooned "Everyone loves you, and you picked me!  I'm so blessed to have you in my life."  My love rubbed his head against me in agreement. 

I scooted over in bed.  "Come here".  Beautiful green eyes considered me and he leapt up on the edge of the bed, purring, and lay down next to me. 

"Bub-ba!" I crooned.  "I love you so.  You're my first kitty, you know that?  I loved you from the very first moment I met you, a tiny little black thing with blue eyes, hiding under a car."  I did. 

Envy is a sin, and boy I sinned a lot the first year of his life, wishing Bubba lived with me.  His first human was a cat collector and had about 8, total.  The rest were all striped brown tabbies, he was the only black cat, and a likely offspring of my own cat, Midi. 

Midi had to go away after developing a dangerous biting habit (particularly bad around Ron), and I was catless.  Then she moved, about 9 years ago, 'and took even the bird feeder. 

Naturally I assumed she'd taken the cats, including Bubba.  Imagine my horror when he ran up to me, starving.  I checked, his human wasn't coming back and cared less if the cats lived or died. 

He's MINE now, I defiantly told the landlord. 

He had been very cautious around people - because he was solid black the kids used to brag about trying to kill him, run him over, throw rocks at him, etc.  I saw this.  Bubba was very careful.  Most of my experiences were looking under a car at his beautiful green eyes, looking back, as he sadly wondered if I'd hurt him, too. 

"Why don't you feed him?" Ron suggested.  Bubba was well fed, but it was a good idea.  I brought a small handful of food on my next run.  He came over, sniffed at the food, and allowed me to pet him for the first time.  After that, I'd always take him a little food or treat.  He'd come over, sniff it, and allow a little petting before he went back under his car. 

Now I was the only food around - thank God he did know I'd feed him.  I told Bubba he could move in if he sold Ron, and boy did he.  Bubba's been a valued freind ever since. 

Bubba likes to walk on Ron and sit by his head, as Ron lies in bed, for treats and petting.  For me, Bubba just climbs into my bed and sleeps either near my feet or my right shoulder.  Bubba knows I'm a restless sleeper and I'll squash him otherwise. 

I find it endearing, Bubba allows Baby Girl access anywhere in the house.  Save one place - my bed.  She is forbidden.  That's Bubba's spot.  He likes to sleep in my bed when I'm gone, right smack in the middle.  In fact, I know it's time to wash the sheets when I can see the cat hair.  If Baby Girl goes anywhere near the bed he growls at her like a junkyard dog. 

What a sweet boy.  He likes my cuddles, too. 

I woke up with him.  We took a nap together.  So what if I have a horrible depression? 

I have BUBBA. 

Video Blogs are back

I'm not saying anything, but "Ron's old computer" can do some amazing things. If I had a new-to-me computer I wouldn't talk about it, would I? Especially since my blog is bookmarked in the old computer. I really, really, doubt they would be reading me, though.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Distributed and eaten

I'm still battling depression. 

Ron and I went to Foodtown this morning and I got some ground beef at the sell by date, cooked that up, gave some unseasoned meat to the cats, and froze the rest.  I also got milk and didn't realize they were having a REALLY good sale on Diet Dr Pepper 6 pack bottles - so I got some. 

I am happy that, this time, I got smart.  I have plenty of really easy to cook food.  All I have to do is warm it up.  No more staring at a pantry full of things that require hours of cooking, or raw, frozen, meat in the freezer.  I also got staples like eggs. 

I spent more of my budget than I planned, but I figured it was worth it to be stocked up.  Everytime I go out in public I hear a lot of very nasty coughing.  We're not wet so it's not mold allergy - the usual winter time offender.  It's some nasty virus.  One I don't want. 

If Ron got sick it would be inconvenient for me.  If I got sick it would be devastating for Ron.  I really want to stay home as much as possible for the next week or so. 

I should be able to do that, after tonight, work, and church on Sunday of course.  Other than that - I plan to stay home. 

I'm not a big fan of the holiday madness.  Happily I have given away most of the Bibles with Christmas candy I had done up.  I should have them all distributed and eaten, respectively, by Monday. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Not that depressed

My aunt recently mentioned they were passing a funeral processsion.  I never really saw them until I got to Houston, and then I thought "What a waste of money". 

After Ron's accident, his brother planned Ron's funeral aloud (2 limos, but I don't think they were saving me a seat!), as I told him, "Ron's not dead!".  The guy wanted a theatrical production. 

Happily, I will be planning Ron's funeral now, when he has one, assuming we don't get raptured.  Ron's easy.  I'll have it at the church, invite all our drivers, punch bowl, food, and a slide show to "One More Child" by Earth Wind and Fire (as requested).  Pastor will preach a salvation message and I'll hand out Bibles.  Then I'll donate his body to science, if they want it.  If they don't I'll cremate him. 

I'm pretty much the same, except "Built 4 This" by Thi'sl, and they'll have to get their own Bibles off the table.  Body goes to science, if they want it.  If not, cremate. 

I don't want a big, wasteful, circus.  My loved ones can celebrate me by sharing my Bibles and evangelism. Save the procession, people have to get to work. 

I'll be in Heaven anyway.  I won't care. 

[no, I'm not THAT depressed, just thinking about this lately]


I've seen a lot of pretty strident posts in the last week: "tragedy will ensue when God is taken out of school."  "How can someone grieve for 20 dead children, without caring about the thousands aborted daily?"

You know what?  The last place you should bring that up is on the graves of over 20 dead.  In my mind, it's right up there with the Westboro gang. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

When I'm battlign depression

As I stared into the jar, sadly gazing on the fossilized chunk of former iced tea, I thought, today has been hard. 

From an outward standpoint, it was a fine day.  We got up, went to the warehouse, got our supplies.  We run a "just in time" inventory.  I brought it in and stocked it.  Business was a little better, but nowhere near our past holiday sales. 

Unfortunate, especially with the property tax due.  This year, I intend to put aside some money every month, even though Ron always tolds me no.  We have about $3K in insurance and taxes every year - peanuts compared to many, I'm sure. 

When you make what we do, it's a bit more formidable! 

I have some regrets, mostly wishing I had been medicated earlier so I could have been a better employee, helped Ron make more money, and saved more money for hard times like now.  Sigh.  But I can't look in the rearview mirror.  Not for long.   I can't say "I wish I had saved $200 a month back when I made more money".    I can say "I can save $100 a month for taxes and insurance, from now on." 

I hope that makes sense.  I always find it hard to think when I'm battling depression. 

It's wierd, though.  In the morning I tend to have a hard time getting up, but when I do, I get a little manic.  If you look at the time on some of my recent posts they are morning.  I do my God Time, play with the cat, talk to Ron, etc. 

So, after work we came home.  I wanted something to eat, something easy.  I didn't have any "quick foods" and had no energy or motivation.  So, I cooked up some pasta, drizzled olive oil, and sprinkled a handful of sesame seeds on top.  It was a lot better than I expected.  I drank some whey protien (I get the powder from Walmart) and took my pills.  

Then I took a nap.  I slept pretty well considering the depression but I had nightmares.  Ron was yelling at the TV and woke me up.  I was relieved, actually. 

So, I'm sitting here in my oversized t-shirt and shorts (it's warm today), thinking about some more whey and a little snack before I go to bed. 

I figure I can go about 36 hours in the winter between showers and still have presentable hair.  I skipped my morning shower but I need to take one tonight, which means I need to get up the motivation to take a shower. 

I love my shower, I love my hot water.  I'm just not "feeling" it.   The shower seems like a huge, difficult, task. 

Happily, I did get rid of two huge boxes of stuff for the Salvation Army.  If I ever win the lotto, though, I will hire a professional organizer to help me organize the Bibles and evangelism stuff.  I'm OK with cases of Bibles, etc. in the front room. 

I took out the trash, all of it.  Ron will clean the litter boxes later.  He's very good that way. 

I just need to move the laundry along, hang it up, and get Ron's load going. 

Full of play

So, what did I do yesterday? 

We went to work, stocked, got the sandwiches.  Ron changed our schedule to better match the delivery.  Everyone's happy now. 

After work, we came home for a little bit (it's still a little wierd, coming home, wondering if someone broke in again), and left again. 

I had printed up a one page testimony "Why I hand out Bibles".  I took that, and Ron's latest tract, and we went to the copy shop.  I got a lot of copies run off, got Ron to Subway, and left him at Starbucks.  Then I went to the pet store. 

I wanted the "Good" cat treats.  Innova, in the red bag.  They have probiotics, no corn, wheat, or soy.  They do have real meat and veggies.  The cats adore them and they are a lot better than the old treats.  Corn meal and corn syrup?  For MY babies?  No way. 

Even if it means I get pinched a little, financially, they are getting quality stuff.  So, I got a couple bags of the Innova, and some all-meat treats for the kitten.  She loves the all-meat treats, Bubba spit them out.  I didn't know a cat could do that! 

I looked around at cat toys.  Baby Girl is full of play.  I didn't see anything I felt was a good value. 

Value is very important to me.  Very important. 

However, on my way out I saw clearance Christmas themed cat toys, various teaser wands.  Oh, boy.  I knew she would love them, so I got one of each.  People kept smiling at me as they saw me walking around with a teaser cat toy sticking out of my bag! 

I'm a proud cat mom.  Bubba could care less about toys.  He has the storm drain.  (shudder)   But I wedged a toy in Ron's mattress - it was a long stick with a spring and some feathery mess at the end -  Baby Girl is still tearing it up.  I heard Ron giggling through my entire nap. 

Bubba even came home.  I put a bag of treats on top of the CPU because he comes to visit me on the computer.  Now I can give him petting and treats, and these treats are incredibly good for him. 

But I won't tell Bubba. 

Ready to fight

Ron decided, on his own, to swear off the hard stuff.  He hates blackouts.  After making the decision he found some Everclear in a flask in his cabinet.  He smelled the bottle (probably trying to see if it was the whiskey), considered a moment, shuddered, and put it back in the cabinet.  I told him it would make a great molotov cocktail or disinfectant.  He shuddered again and said yeah. 

Someone asked a good question: does he vomit?  Does he have hangoves?  Never, to both.  Well, he did back in 1993 when he got laid off.  Other than that, no. 

So, what does he do when he has a blackout?  Generally he just stays in one location, I don't realize he's having a problem until he starts making grunting noises.  When I hear them I know we have entered the land of the blackout.  When he tries to get up to the bathroom, he falls a lot, might crawl, or just lay there on the floor.  He will probably pass out - which looks a lot like falling asleep to me because he is already lying down.  He has a lot of trouble getting up and I don't help him because he can get belligerent.   So, I just leave him there. 

If I need to, I step over him. 

8 to 12 hours, or even longer on one occasion, he will wake up and want to know what he did.  He realizes, from the time, he must have had a blackout - but he prefers "fugue state" - I guess that sounds more elegant.  I'm not hating, just stating. 

Unfortunately, head injuries aggravate drinking.  So, where he could drink a lot without any problems, he gets into trouble a lot faster now. 

OK, all that said, Ron is back to drinking only beer ane wine.  While he likes to "turn down the volume knob", he doesn't want to turn off entirely.  He doesn't want to deal with me describing what he did. 

For a very long time, when he'd ask, I'd alternate between playing the victim and playing the persecutor.  "How could you do this to me?" being the cfy in either case.  AGH.  God has shown me He doesn't want me playing games. 

I can't fix this.  Ron can't fix this.  Only God can fix this, when Ron is willing to get help. 

So, I leave it with God, refuse to buy him alcohol, and try to be very matter of fact when describing blackout stuff.  "You passed out in the kitchen, I gave you a pillow and went to bed.  You have an illness, when you're ready to get help you will.  I know you can beat this when you're ready to fight." 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Handout Insert

I'm going to put one of these in each Bible.  I feel like God wants me to share a little more with the recipients.  My life in a page, ha ha: 

Why I hand out Bibles

by Heather B.

My mother was a bipolar alcoholic. She drank hard liquor every day she was carrying me, messing up my brain for life. I was disabled before I was even born. I'll never drive, or hold the "smart" job my Dad always wanted for me. Instead, I stock, and take care of my very disabled husband. How did I end up where you found me, on the street corner with the Free Bibles sign?

My early childhood was really, really bad. Child protective services had to get involved. My mother lost custody. My parents divorced. I started seeing things that weren't there, which scared everyone so much I stopped talking about it. Growing up was really hard. I was bullied, a lot, because I was different and no one understood I had brain damage (I was diagnosed at 17). I felt like no one understood me or cared if I lived or died.

My Dad always took us to church. One day, I was about 7, he gave me the Bible to read during the sermon. I was hooked. I loved the Bible. God had done so much! He came to Earth and died for me! Me! He loved me! I asked Jesus into my heart when I was 8.

Some of the worst things that ever happened to me after that involved my Bible - one time group of bullies played keep away with my Bible at camp. Another time, a bully stole my Bible and started ripping it up in front of me. A third time, someone stole a little Bible I had. Everytime, I was heartbroken.

I started having severe depression. People said it was due to my beginning, but I didn't believe it. I was right. They kept telling my parents I didn't have bipolar disorder, until I was 32 and all of a sudden I did have bipolar disorder. I had a lot of pain as a result of that - horrible depressions that lasted for months. Manias - "up" times where I felt like someone had given me crank. I never did any drugs but I felt like someone was giving them to me! I was paranoid, miserable, and wanted to die for years. The only thing that kept me holding on was my Bible - my Bible told me Jesus knew my pain, cried with me, and all this was working for good (Romans 8:28). I might not see it at the time, but God was going to use me for something wonderful.

When things were very bad, I couldn't even read the Bible. I'd just sleep with it, knowing God loved me and He'd pull me through this like He had all the other times.

When I finally found out I had bipolar disorder I immediately took all my medicine as directed - I don't drink, party, or do drugs. My doctor says I'm doing very well. I still have depressions but at least the manias are gone.

My husband was already blind when he was hit by a pickup truck, walking to work. He was in ICU at Hermann for a month. I brought my Bible with me, but no one else in the waiting room had a Bible! They were all hurting just as bad but no one had a Bible! That really bothered me, so I snuck in some Bibles when the room was empty (they make everyone leave for lunch). When I got back (I had to eat, too) everyone had a Bible. I was hooked.

God did amazing things. My husband should have died. If he lived, he shouldn't have been able to think. Instead, he is partly paralyzed on one side, a little brain damage (he's in good company), and that's it. He does our checkbook and everything. All the credit goes to God. The doctors even used the word miracle.

As I told people about this, and he got better, I found myself giving away more and more Bibles. My Bibles. Finally, I started buying Bibles to give away. I gave them to everyone I met. One day, in March, 2010, I had a picture in my head: me, on the corner, with a Free Bibles sign. If I have a thought in my head that matches the Bible, I go and do it. So, I did.

My first Bible Handout was me with a bad cardboard sign no one could read. I still gave them all away. A friend helped me make a better sign, and I bought more and more Bibles. My husband and I are self-employed, and about the same time business got really bad my friends started buying me Bibles to hand out. I guess I'm the only one "crazy" enough to do it! I'm just glad God can use me to share Bibles with you.

I want you to know I pray for you every day, I have been, and I will continue to do so. I care for you, and I hope you find the peace in God that I have found.

A quiet day at home

As I assumed, Ron woke up.  Around midnight, after I went to bed, I was awakened by him shouting for me. 

I had planned to be pretty nice when he woke up.  Instead, I got pretty cranky and told him I was trying to sleep. 

He felt around, figured out he was in the kitchen.  He freaked out when he felt the sheet.  I'm not sure why.  He started yelling about missing church, I told him it was MIDNIGHT and CHECK YOUR WATCH before talking to me when you wake up.  He apologized. 

He called our friend Justin (at midnight) to cancel church and Justin prayed with him.  Thank you, Justin.  Ron was very touched. 

I woke up, later, to go to the bathroom.  Ron was lying across my doorway.  It was dark, I couldn't tell if he was awake. 

"I'll sleep on your doorstep, all night and day, just to keep you from walking away" I sang as I stepped over him (Song - Ain't too proud to beg).  He snickered. 

After I used the bathroom he wanted to know what had happened.  He lost a whole day.  I told him, you threw portion control out the window, laughed at me when I tried to warn you, and passed out in the kitchen.  He asked about the sheet.  I told him "I put a folded towel under your head and a sheet over you"  He thanked me.  I said I'd do it for Jesus. 

Between you and me, not that Jesus would pass out in my kitchen.  Ron got a laugh when I told him he was in front of the fridge, and I got hungry, so I just grabbed his legs and hauled him out of the way to gain access.  Why get angry and resentful?  Why hate? 

I am really trying to look at the alcoholism as an illness.  I told him I was scared for him, and sad he was hurting.  He didn't remember crying for the children, but he did.  Boy, did he. 

You could say that horrible terror attack (and it was a terror attack) hurt Ron, too.  Deeply. 

I had a nice hot bath and enjoyed my alone time as Ron snored on the floor.  That's all I can do, other than pray for him, which of course I did. 

He's fine and perky today.  Listening to talk radio comedy and having a good time.  It's raining, thank God it didn't rain during the handout, so it's just a quiet day at home. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A little more comfortable.

Ron's still out in the kitchen.  After some internal debate, I picked up his head and put a folded towel underneath, and placed a sheet over his body.  I wouldn't want someone to leave me on the cold tile floor.  I can't get him back to bed and I don't think I should. 

At least he'll be a little more comfortable.  Even my Al-anon book says to put a blanket on the  loved one. 

And, another handout

Ron was still intoxicated this morning, when I left. I was glad I had left him home.

I had strapped 3 cases of "done up" Bibles into my hand cart. It weighed about 50 pounds. I dragged the hand cart about half a mile to the bus stop.

I had strapped the sign to the cart, on top. I didn't think about the fact that people could see the Free Bibles part until cars started pulling over at the bus stop! I thought that was really cool. I handed out 4 Bibles total even before I got on the bus.

When I got to the corner, it appeared empty. I got off with the cart. As it turns out, the guy begging had just sat down for a minute, and I didn't see him. Ooops.

It's a good intersection for begging, I guess. It's sure good for Bible Handouts.  I looked across the street, I've done handouts there, but nope, it was taken.

I decided, if two people can beg on the same corner I can do a handout at the tail end while he begs at the "head". That's what I did.

At first things started off so slowly I asked God if He even wanted me there. About that time a young man drove by very slowly yelling "Bible! Bible!" with his hand out. I chased him down and got him. OK, God wants me here.

After that things got insane. I had whole families. Groups of friends all going out. Several people commented they really liked my timing (after the tragedy yesterday). People kept trying to pay for the Bibles, and I kept telling them "I'm crazy enough to do this, so friends buy me Bibles." They liked that.

One recipient asked for my name - that's a first. She repeated it "Heather" and she and her husband drove off. I think the most fun was the guy with 9 kids. He pulled up and I gave him one. I asked him if he would like any more. He said "You can't give me all the Bibles I need" chuckling. I said "Try me" and he said "I have nine kids". I started pulling them out of the bag. "Wait, I only need 7!" He rode off with 8 total. It was just the day for his family.

I got most of them done before the second bus came by (35 minutes). The begging guy came over and I gave him one, and he left the median altogether. I told him I'd be praying.

I pray for all the recipients of course.

I waited and waited. I knew the recipient was out there. God asked me how long I'd wait to get someone saved, and of course I said "Quite a while". I figured they would get to me eventually. About a half hour later, a family drove by very slowly and stopped about halfway down. I ran over to them, and a car stopped so I could access them. I waved at them and gave 3 to the family (Mom, Dad, and son). I thought, only 2 left. Wait, the car that stopped TWO guys, and they are looking interested. I told them "You get the last of them!" and they took the Bibles.

All done.  I rolled up the sign, taking off my hat and vest. 

Last night Ron kept raving about the weather forecast, cold and rain. I have found the recipients DO NOT roll down a window in the rain so a rain handout is only good for getting me wet. I told Ron, if God wants me to do this He can make the corner nice and sunny, and rain everywhere else.

Guess what happened? Warm and sunny on my corner, rain a block away.

I ran a few errands and came home. Ron is still in pretty bad shape. I'm glad I can turn him over to God. I don't see how the unreached deal with alcoholism in a loved one.

I don't mind the pain - because God has used me and continues to use me, in amazing ways. I'm just happy He wants to use me.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Planning the handouts

Tomorrow, I'm doing a Bible Handout. 

I think it might give you a perspective on my life if I share what happened tonight.  Ron was drinking grain alcohol, the 100% alcohol stuff. 

He was very gloomy and distraught.  I realized, so many people are hurting tonight. 

God just put it in my head "Do the Handout".  So, I will.  On the bus.  Probably a good thing. 

Ron became very derisive.  He accused me of doing it as a "works" thing.  Saying I was trying to earn my way into heaven.  I can't do that - even if I wanted to.  I don't care about rewards.  I care about hurting people out there tonight, who need Jesus. 

I told Ron the truth, the same thing I tell people who ask:  I'm doing this so people have what I do, faith in God, and comfort in knowing He loves us. 

Ron then began calling my faith a "crutch" and worse, implying I only loved God because I have mental illness.  I don't have to defend myself to Ron, especially when he's drinking.  So, I didn't.  He went on and on, running my faith down, running God down. 

My favorite "God's going to let you die, and I'll end up in assisted living".    Then he added he loved me and didn't want to lose me, but I had to wonder if he'd still say that if I couldn't move or see.  "How many Tylenol would it take to kill myself? [I told him the truth, I didn't know] No, I won't do it, I just wonder."  Stuff designed to scare me, like that.  It makes me want to go slap him.  God will deal with him. 

If he does anything stupid of course I'm calling 911.  He's just angry he "has to live".  God won't answer all his existential questions - I guess he didn't grasp the whole faith concept.  So God is this, and that, and the other, and your dog too while I'm at it. 

If Ron didn't drink, I think antidepressants would be hugely helpful.  He has been clinically depressed for pretty much the entire time I've known him. 

I call it "The usual".  This is one thing the devil uses to try to drag me down.  Happily I am running a little manic tonight so it doesn't faze me but who needs that stuff - ever?   He doesn't want help.  He doesn't want comfort.  He just wants to dump dump dump on me until I tell him to stop, then he yells at God because I don't "love" him. 

So, I put on my headphones.  He can talk all he wants but I can't hear him. 

So, something like that goes into pretty much every Bible Handout.  Hassles - grief- aggravation - verbal abuse - thefts at work - thefts at home - illness - exacerbations of the bipolar - house problems - cat problems. 

I'm not sitting on my rose petal pillow in sunshine land planning the handouts. 


Ron was very distraught today, like 99% of America.  I wasn't. 

I got to thinking why.  Of course we have 'the usual" - Dad's office shot up when I was 13, I didn't know if Dad was alive for hours. 

Here's the original:  ESL shooting.  I was already extremely depressed, this put me into the hospital about a month later.  So, it's pretty safe to say old "Dick" nearly killed me, too.  I still have a grudge on that.  I still remember what it was like, watching the TV (Dad was away from work, meeting with the my doctor about my depression - if I hadn't been bipolar he would have been in the middle of the shooting), waiting and waiting to see if Dad was coming home.  The relief when he did, and the sight of Mom hugging him as she told him what happened.   Since he's still alive, the shooter, I pray for him, grudgingly, every day. 

I also thought of another incident:  Serial killer shot up my hometown when I was 5.  "August 18, 1979: Franklin shot and killed a black man seated in a Burger King in Falls Church, Virginia. Franklin confessed to the murder on videotape."  Boy, he really wouldn't like Ron and I, would he? 

I think the 1988 incident really seared my heart.  After that, no shooting incident could shock me.  If my Daddy wasn't safe at work, no one was safe anywhere.  I also recall the McDonald's shooting in the 80's as well - how many of us thought "If you're not safe at McDonald's, where are you safe?" 

I think, after that, I developed such a thick layer of scar tissue nothing could shock me.  A constant diet of workplace and school shootings has rendered me numb. 

I can't wait to get off this planet on the Rapture Express.  Every now and then, people ask me, "Why do you think we're in the end times?  Things have been going on like this for milennia." 

Have they?  Really? 

What about what happened?

Are mentally ill people evil? NO. Can they be? Yes. Can a normal person commit a horrible, evil, act? Absolutely.

What happened today was an evil problem.

With the things that happened to me, in my life, plus having mental illness and brain damage, I could have very well ended up killing someone. But I didn't because I have Jesus in my life - guiding me, encouraging me to forgive those who harmed me, loving and praying for everyone, friends and otherwise.

Instead of bringing harm, I bring care to my husband and cats, affection and interest to my friends and customers, love to my family and friends. But that's not me, that's God in me.

Getting God in your life fills that life up with hope and potential. The slain are with Jesus - Revelation 21:4 "4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Right now the shooter is screaming in hell - Matthew 10:28

"And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

Revelation 21:5 "Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”


I'm praying for the victims. I hope you know I pray for you daily.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

My husband the Christmas tree

I had a thought today, which I shared on Facebook:  "Something funny. I had written out the first 18 years of my life, in detailt.  I hought I might publish it [someday]. Guess what was on the computer that got stolen? Along with video blogs with my testimony, Gospel Rap and Gospel metal, etc. Whoever got the computer has a virtual Heather witnessing to them wherever they go. LOL"

True.  I had a couple of sudden system crashes over the years, and I have learned to back up everything.  So, "my story" is backed up.  I only had 2 songs I hadn't backed up, but I'm sure I can re-download the one I really want from Amazon when I get my "new" computer. 

Speaking of, it's on the way.  It is a few years old.  Better than this one.  I can't even listen to music and get online!  I can post, however, and I used it to change all my passwords.  Good boy.  Saved my butt.  It's a good little workhorse, and I have spent many happy hours in front of it over the years, but it's time to retire from the online life and become Ron's boom box. 

Several people, upon hearing of the burglary, offered me their "old" computers.  I find that deeply touching - I have good friends and family. 

I have had a much easier time falling asleep at night.  I think I just needed a few days to adjust. 

I was lying in bed last night, under many layers.  Let me see, 2 fleece blankets; a quilt; 2 afghans, one knit, one crochet, both made by me in bright colors; that's it for what I have right now.  I have a couple more layers I could use.  I love my covers.  I love the colors, even though they clash, and the textures on the quiltt I bought at Walmart 10 years ago.  It's my bed, with my three pillows stacked in a pyramid formation, with mismatched covers.  My mattress, even though they threw it against the wall; and I sleep great.  Especially if I have a Bubba (which I didn't, last night). 

Ron and I love our new door.  It has a very tight seal, and it looks so much better than the old door.  The old door was originally brown, and the guy here before us coated it, badly, with some burgundy wood stain.  It looked pretty awful.  I wasn't sorry to see it go, but I did say goodbye to it before they carried it off.   We couldn't have afforded a new door on our own. 

I can only guess what the labor would have run to install it.  It took the guys nearly 2 days. 

We got some drinks for work at the warehouse and went in to stock.  While there, I saw the guy who ran over Ron, standing pretty close to Ron, who was sitting in his wheelchair.  The wheelchair is decorated with a tinsel garland, battery operated LED lights, a toy reindeer on the back, and some jingle bells.  He wears an elf hat with a jingle bell.  I like to do him up for the holidays - my husband the Christmas tree. 

I should interject something right now.  Every day I pray for people who "done us wrong" including everyone who robbed us (a rather long list these days), and this guy in particular.  I also take my medication faithfully, in spite of some pretty harsh side effects, and also ask God to "Put Your love in my heart". 

I was overcome with a feeling of goodwill (when my meds aren't right I get pretty snarly - but I keep it bottled up, I hope) when I saw him.  I waved at him as I went by and he nodded.  I went over and spoke to Ron, and when the guy hung up I noticed Ron was about to propel his wheelchair right into the guy. 

I told Ron to wait a minute "We don't want [name] in a knee brace for the holidays!" and we all chuckled.  He spoke briefly to Ron and I asked about his kids.  He was shocked, but said they were all doing great.  He wished us a Merry Christmas and then left. 

That is all God.  Me?  I'd go get something heavy and bludgeon HIM into a coma.  I watch Ron suffer every day due to his negligence as a driver.  But God enabled me to overlook that and see him as a person, instead.   He will never drive anything other than a motorcycle, his wife has to drive him anywhere.  His insurance rates would be astronomical because he ran a red light and ran over a blind man. 

Besides, it has got to suck, looking at Ron in the wheelchair and knowing he put Ron there.  I think that's one reason he tends to avoid us. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Good Luck with that.

I get frustrated when my drivers imply I am a racist, when I refer to the burglars as "Crackheads". 

What, only a young black man gets addicted to crack?  That's not what I see on cable. 

I'll tell you what I do know.  I saw, with my very own eyes, a young black man stealing my lawnmower back in 2004.  Naked Wife  I saw, with my very own eyes, 2 black men robbing me at the bus stop in 2009  Mugging Fail.  My neighbor, in 2012, saw with his very own eyes, two black men robbing my house.  Robbed

What would you think? 

Personally, I think this: the devil wants to use youg black men to hurt me, because they are part of the group I am called to reach.  I have handed out countless Bibles to eager, young, black, men. 

The devil wants me to hate them so I'll stop. 

Good luck with that. 

A very sad Christmas story with a happy ending

The year was 1997. 

I lived in California.  I used to love buying things online, I could hit "C" and California came right up.  This, however, was before I got online. 

I was working for a small business contractor.  He wasn't paying me on time.  I got tired of it and found another job working for a big company. 

I was well qualified to do the work.  I was hired a week or two before Halloween.  I remember on Halloween, the division manager (we had about 10 people total, the office manager and her boss, the division manager) was angry at me because she didn't like my "gypsy" costume.  I wore a few flowing silk shirts layered over a silk skirt and sandals.  I had tied a scarf around my hair.  Everyone had said looked "cute" and "pretty" but for some reason she hated it. 

Fast forward a few weeks.  I am doing my job.  I desperately want to move to Texas (forever praising you on that one, Lord).  I had a small radio I kept at the desk.  One day Ron loaned me his Jerry Jeff Walker CD.  The division boss hated it and made me turn it off.  OK.  I turned it to classic rock, instead, everyone liked it. 

No more problems, right?  Except one day she came and said I couldn't yell at the other employees.  I said, what are you talking about?  You yelled at someone for using "your" coffee cup.   No, I didn't.  I could care less what mug I use.  I don't know what you're referencing.  Oh, maybe it was someone else.  But don't do it again. 

Whatever, I thought. 

Now, Ron and I use public transit, and we're poor.  Both facts remain.  I liked to decorate a little 2 foot Christmas tree at home.  I thought it would be fun to bring one to work, so I did, the day after Thanksgiving. 

The boss came by "Are you upset you can't go shopping?"  No, I never went out anyway.  "Oh, you didn't?  What do you do for presents?"  Normally, I make them.  "Oh!"  She left in a huff. 

I set up the tree, string some lights, and hung some basic colored balls as ornaments.  They looked very pretty.  People started stopping by and complimenting it.  I noticed people from other parts of the building were coming by and talking, standing next to the tree. 

She came out, furious.  I had to get rid of the tree?  Why?  It's religious.  No it isn't, I don't have anything religious on the tree.  The owner of the building is Jewish!   He'll be mad!  I said, oh, that guy?  Pointed.  He just told me he liked it.  She stomped off again. 

She came back later.  I had to get rid of the tree, it was too early to put up a tree.  It's the day after Thanksgiving.  What's the problem? 

A few days later I was robbed at the ATM and my debit card stolen.  Thieves got $240.  I was very upset.  She told me I was "an idiot" and "stupid".  I hadn't even told her.  [The bank checked the camera and I got my money back a few weeks later]

She started writing me up for little things, like not rinsing out my coffee cup the minute I finished drinking it, etc.  I didn't realize where this was headed. 

Finally, the final straw.  They had a Christmas party.  The division manager, the office manager, all of them, downstairs in the lobby with music and fun.  No problem with that.  They even "let" me off the phones for a few minutes so I could grab a few cookies.  I did, and headed upstairs.  It was about 1PM. 

About 1:30 the director called.  Could he talk to Susan?  She's not in her office, they're having a little Christmas party.  I know she'd want me to get her for you.

No, that's OK.  I'll call back. 

He called back 45 minutes later - is she back yet?  No.  I was starting to get a little nervous.  Please let me put you on hold while I get her.  NO he said.   I'll talk to her later.  He hung up. 

You get the idea - when the party wound down over 2 hours later I told her Walter called.  She got very angry, but I told her he ORDERED me not to get you, and he's my boss too.  She went in her office and slammed the door.  When Walter called, I put him through. 

She started taking calls from someone who only used a first name (a temp agency) and, two weeks before Christmas, fired me and my Christmas tree. 

We stood so sadly at the bus stop waiting to go home and tell Ron.  When I told Ron, I cried all over him.  He was wonderful.  Don't worry, he said, there's a better job.  Take a couple weeks off before you go hunting. 

I did, and applied for so many jobs every week I ran out of room on the unemployment form.  I only got 2 checks before I got another job - then I got the last check for the previous week. 

I found a wonderful job at a non profit agency used to dealing with different people, and did well there for years before we moved. 

"I've got mine"

Baby Girl came and gave me a "visit".  She stole the cushion off my chair so I gave it to her.  She looks good on it. 

I had a pretty busy day.  My sister had moved, so I got her new address last night.  She has an amazing ability to make the most awful medical stories incredibly funny.  She could use a prayer or two, if you pray. 

I had her goodie box, so I put it in my tote bag and went to the Post Office with Ron.  We went to the fast food restaurant around the corner, and Ron waited.  He had plenty of food, drink, and bathroom.  I went to the Post office.  A bit of a line, but not bad, really. 

I wanted to mail her gift while it was still pretty cold.  Enough about that.  I know it is something she likes. 

I was a little nervous about leaving.  The last time we went to the Post Office someone robbed us! 

By the way, I figured it out.  Most of the neighbors had at least one person home, the day we were robbed.  The guy down the street is retired and never leaves home.   I guess we were the only ones gone.  Humph. 

We had a good ride to get there.  Ron ate, I left, mailed my stuff. 

The window clerk at the Post Office (she knows me) said that they have had a lot of car break ins while people are mailing their packages.  She warned me to hide my purse.  I told her I don't carry a purse, and I don't drive! 

Coming home was a little less pleasant.  It was a driver we used to like a lot, but he got very aggressive and ugly regardling politics.  He told me "I don't care if you have money troubles, I'm fine."  Meaning, y'all can go to hell, I've got mine. 

I haven't yet forgiven him for that.  I have only been nice to him.  We bought him lunch several times, I have given him lots of candy, and to coldly say "I don't care about you" really hurt.   I always try to be kind to drivers, too. 

I am certain I am not the only person who "lost" someone she had liked and trusted to the political battles. 

It ia always awkward riding with the guy, now. 

So, he showed up, we got in, and we told him about the break-in.  He got all mad at me "How do you know it was crackheads?"  I told him, only a crackhead would be dumb enough to rob our house.  We don't have anything.  He told me I could get a new computer.  I told him I couldn't.  I can't afford a used one, much less a new one.  He kept telling me I could get a new computer if I wanted. 

[This is the same guy we told we are only taking home about $400 a month profit on the business every month, right before he told us he didn't care.] 

I told him "I don't have $40 to spend on a computer.  Please stop telling me what I can afford".  He then made a snide comment about layaway. 

We told him "friends" fixed the front door, and when he saw the door he said "I wish I had friends like that".  I thought, maybe you need to look at your life and how you are living it.   I am not going to report him, even though I could, because God will deal with him. 

I did not tell him a family member is sending me a reconditioned computer, it wasn't his business.  Besides, by this point, we had picked up another woman. 

Ron and I were talking amongst ourselves and she kept interrupting us.  She wanted the address of the wholesale club.  Ron gave it to her.  She kept telling him it was wrong, they didn't have a store over there.  We told her "We've been going there for 10 years" and she finally shut up, for a minute, and then began demanding the phone number and zip code.  Ron is the yellow pages?   He was more gracious than I. 

I didn't want her to know any of my business as it was apparent she was a huge gossip. 

I've been taking my lithium as directed, but I was a little irritable today.  I guess that's the depression.  I didn't say anything to either of them, I just got out.  Ugh. 

I had enough adrenaline to paint the garage trim, so I did that.  It looks great.  I thought it might need another coat but it looks fine.  Hopefully that will make the homeowner's association happy. 

After that, I did some laundry and took a nap.  I have learned something interesting. 

They are doing a lot of remodeling next door.  That's not it: they make a lot of noise during the day with the powertools, compressors, etc, and I sleep fine.  That's a good thing to know - if I'm really tired I can sleep through just about anything. 

Does anyone else get cold during a nap?   I do. 

I had to sleep all alone.  No Bubba.  I might see him tonight. 

I had a dream about a big pot of brown rice.  So, I made one.  I'll have a little later, the rest can go for breakfast tomorrow. 

I need to eat when I take my Wellbutrin or I get really queasy, and it's apparent I need to go back up to my prescribed dose tomorrow. 

Happy Ending

I looked all over and couldn't find Baby Girl.  I had called her and called her. 

Bubba, my big black cat, and Momma's boy, didn't have any answers either.  He's been sleeping with me the last couple night, which I love.  He may not be conventionally cuddly but I'd rather sleep with him - reach over in the middle of the night and pet him, go back to sleep, wake up when he braces a leg against my back for some grooming, etc. 

It was fairly late and I've noticed Bubba likes to sleep on the front porch.  On the doormat, actually.  So, I told Ron, "Go get Bubba".  Ron went out with a bag of treats and Baby Girl ran up to him. 

He came in, totally shocked.  He had completely given up. 

[Here is a good point to mention that, due to the brain damage Ron suffered, he feels emotions very intensely and has no "filter" to block expression..]  He was in shock. 

I looked.  Yup, it's Baby Girl.  I hugged her and gave her some treats.  Ron petted her, sobbing, as she sat in his lap.  Oh, my poor husband.  He's given his heart to her. 

Once he finished, he began scolding her as she went after something under the bed.   It was pretty cute to watch Ron lecturing her.  I should have made a video.  Sorry. 

He held up a toy we tied to a doorknob in the hall, tearing up again...."I thought she'd never play with this again!" 

He turned to her, fiercely:

"You're getting a microchip!"   

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A piece of Ron, missing.

Daddy's Girl is missing (the tabby).  Ron is VERY upset.  "Don't you get between me and God" he warned.  "I'm not about to do that" I replied.  So, Ron is shouting tirades at God and threatening black masses (do I need to capitalize that?).

We don't know what happened.  She tried to eat Ron's TV dinner and he roared at her, she ran off.  We haven't seen her since last night, and it was "very" cold for Houston (freezing). 

"Ron" I told him bitterly "We shouldn't have kept saying we didn't care about the robbery, the cats were OK."  Now we don't know what happened. 

We had two trips from home today, and both drivers took a different route out of the subdivision.  I didn't see any road kill.  I didn't see Baby Girl, either. 

As you know, my neighbor is doing remodel work on his house.  He keeps two windows open during the day, while working, and shuts them at night.  I waited for him to open them today, figuring she went exploring and got caught.  Nope. 

I hope maybe she got stuck in someone's garage, the cat has no respect for property lines, and pretty fearless.  She loves to explore strange places.  Everyone went to work (those who work, one guy is retired and a couple stay at home moms), nothing. 

I don't know where she is.  Ron is really upset, but I'm repeating myself. 

Now, I have to admit, I didn't want her.  Bubba doesn't like other cats.  Bubba (the big black one in my slideshow) is my boy.  We are pretty bonded.  He doesn't cuddle, doesn't snuggle.  His idea of intimacy is standing next to my computer chair so I can stop my work, pet him, and talk to him.  When it's very cold, or I'm very sick, he will sleep in my bed. 

Last night, he did that.  He did that during today's nap.  Like I said, he's more "my" cat if you had to pick. 

Of course I love Baby Girl.  She won me over with her cute little meows and her curious spirit.  She spent a couple times in my lap, loved to climb on the back of my chair, and loved to watch me clean the litterbox.  I loved her but she wasn't "my" cat, and that was fine.  I love my Bubba, even if he isn't very snuggly.   His love language is bringing me dead sparrows, live other birds, and dead rats (please make them dead, I beg him). 

Baby Girl's love language is lying on Ron's chest as he lies in bed, purring.  She'll do that for hours.  She adores Ron, he is her whole world, and she's his. 

Ron's got a piece of him missing tonight, and it hurts to watch. 

To answer some questions I've already gotten: she was a rescue.  Rescues don't convert to "inside" when they've been out.  They had a cat door. 

She is very friendly.  Someone very well could have taken her. 

She also likes to chew on Christimas light cords.  Not a good hobby when it's hooked up to 120 volts. 

As I said somewhere else, the hits keep coming. 

I'm glad I took the maximum dose of my antidepressant this morning.  I had a feeling I would need it. 

2 days in one, again

Yesterday was pretty uneventful.  We went to the warehouse, got our supplies, went to work and stocked.  Jack will be out of town next wee...