Thursday, April 30, 2020

I can see the Blessings

This blog post started out being named, "I think 2020 needs a little electricity" - you know, a little jump to restart it!  But as I have reflected I have seen the blessings in our lives.  2020 started out with us in Las Vegas.  We have never done a trip during New Years before and so we were super excited.  We met up with Emma and Clayten and some other family for a day or two while there.  
We enjoyed the 2020 festivities, although we didn't do anything fancy as we had the kids with us, but just being there with all the people and the fireworks was fun.
Trial:  Rob and I had a flight  (leftover for when we were going to take a job in Vegas and were going to find a house), but the boys took the van to Vegas as a boys' road trip.  As we were preparing to take off for our return flight, the boys texted us telling us the van had broken down.  It was the second time in a few months.  They were in the middle of the Arizona desert!   I did a quick google search and found them a place they could take the van to get it fixed and called my brother Karl asking if he could pick them up if need be. We planned on landing and immediately getting in our car to head to Phoenix.  What a way to start 2020- right?  
Blessing:: The boys were able to go 30 miles an hour back to a small town, on the advice of Karl, and there was a garage that fixed them up for just around $300.  Luckily Rob had thought to give Sam a credit card for anything they might need.  They made it the rest of the way home safely.

We decided we were done with our beloved van forever after that.  You can't strand my babies in the middle of the Arizona desert and think I'm going to keep you around!  It was still hard to let it go.  We have so many memories with this van.  It has been with us 11 years.  We've driven it across the entire United States and all over Europe.  Max was just 3 when we bought it. It was the first car we bought straight out and since then we  haven't had a single car payment.  We have saved money and paid outright for cars.  We bought Rob's, Emma's and Sam's cars all without a loan.  I stewed over which car to get knowing we would be in debt again.  I finally decided since we didn't have the money to pay for any of them right now, that I might as well get the one I really wanted.   Behold the 300 horse power Mini John Cooper Works Countryman.  It's actually a medium size car.  There is plenty of room in the back for the boys (the two that are left anyway!)  We can never go on a trip all together again without taking two cars, but I figured we were only a year or so away from not ever doing that again anyway.
Trial: At the end of January we started working on Samuel's paperwork to go on a mission.  We had everything except his physical done (including getting all the boys new passports.)  He went for his physical and fainted when they took blood.  He always looks like he is seizing a little when he faints. They did an EKG and he sent it to me.  That's when I intervened.  They sent him home with an EKG that said he was actively having a heart attack.  We got him another appointment and did another EKG that wasn't a whole lot better, so the doctor said she wouldn't sign his paperwork until he saw a cardiologist and a neurologist.  He couldn't get an appointment to see either until August.   When he came over for Sunday dinner he said he probably wouldn't go on a mission if he couldn't be seen until August and then had to submit paperwork in the fall and maybe not go until winter.  And I can't say I blamed him, but I went into panic mode.  I found someone who was willing to see him in Utah in a couple of weeks, but we were worried about insurance.  
Blessing:  His doctor was able to talk to the cardiologist and he was seen within a couple weeks.  The initial EKG was better and the Echo and stress test showed nothing wrong except a slight leak in his tricuspid and pulmonic valves.  No heart damage and no ventricular hypertrophy!  Also the neurologist had so many cancelations due to the pandemic that they talked to him via Skype in between his cardiology appointments and passed him with flying colors.  (He did have an MRI already.)  So he now he just has to pick up the papers soon after he talks to his doctor on the 5th of May. We wanted those papers in by the end of March, but with the mess that is going on now, it's probably a good thing to have waited a little.

At the beginning of February, Rob had surgery on his knee.  
Trial:  He had the same problem as before and couldn't pee after the surgery.
Blessing: He had told the nurses that I was a nurse and so after we stayed waiting until almost the end of the entire day, they gave us a couple foley catheter kits for me to insert if needed.  And most thankfully, it was not needed!

Trial:  Middle of February we had two big and one tiny trial.  The tiny one- my foot!  A blood vessel just decided to pop and the foot got huge and painful.  Thankful it did that while I was on administrative leave.  See my boss was forwarded a picture I put on Facebook that showed the logo of the hospital on the uniform.  A month and a half later I was complaining about how stressed I was and included people going all crazy and rude at the hospital as one of the things stressing me out.  That was also forwarded to him.  Apparently that's enough to get thrown into administrative hell, lose a weeks worth of pay and a decrease in my position.  I now make $2 less an hour.  I almost lost my job over that, because I was about to write my boss and tell him exactly what he could do with that job.  My husband stopped me and wrote a very humble text back instead.  Thank goodness for husbands.  Of course I have no need of this job and can quit anytime, which I still think about, occasionally.  The other big trial was finding out we owed almost $8000 in taxes.  Something slipped through the cracks there- even though I claimed no exemptions and Rob only claimed one!
Blessings:  I still have my job, the foot healed without too much pressure on it that week, since I wasn't on my feet 12 hours a day and we actually had the money to pay off the taxes.  Who has $8000 just lying around.  We did, thankfully!
Trial:  Ah March, the start of "everyone is in jail!"  The official quarantines hit, churches, temples, schools, everything shut down.  But I still went to work, just with a lot more PPE!
 Blessings:  The boys have been doing their school work online, which we have no problem with.  Rob works from home and I still go to work.  Neither one of us lost a job or income.  We have been given the right to do sacrament in our own home and I have 4 priesthood holders that can do that for us.  Max prepares and passes the sacrament, Joe and Sam bless each week.  With the Come Follow Me program we have been prepared to teach in our homes already.  I have had some amazing experience as we have prepared for and given lessons to the family, as I have tried playing the hymns again, as we have sat around and discussed scriptures with Yvette, Sam's non-member girlfriend.  I have felt the spirit more than I have at church for a long time.  I feel part of the process, again, finally.  
 Trial:  That brings us the April.  In April our garage freezer decided it was done working.  We noticed the mess of fruit juice all over the concrete and realized what was happening.  Looking for a freezer to replace it was disheartening, however, as it seemed to be one of the many things people were hoarding.  Who hoards freezers?  We finally found one- it was the last one left; a floor model and big enough to hold a 7 foot linebacker or three regular bodies.  By the end of the day we had the mess cleaned up except for the stains on the concrete, but then realized the fridge had quit too. AAAHHHH!  It took us a couple days to find a fridge, because people who were hoarding freezers moved on to fridges.

 Blessings:  We now have a chest freezer and an "apartment fridge."  I have always wanted a chest freezer.  We eventually found both and saved some stuff, although the meat had to be thrown away- no one trusted it.  We also amazingly had the money to pay for both!

 I am not super excited to see what May brings.  We are still in quarantine.  I hope that will be lifted by the middle of May, because I need a break from the same every day!  There have been plenty of trials this year already, but thankfully we have had lots of blessings too!  

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

I'm having my own issue

I know that the zombie apocalypse is in full swing but I'm in the middle of a flowmagedon myself (during the pre-menopausal wars.)  It makes me think of the woman who touched the hem of Jesus's clothing who had an issue of blood for 12 year.  The other day was the first time since high school when I had to ask someone to go get me another pair of pants.  I peaked my head into our break room and motioned for another female nurse to follow me.  The male nurse who was just getting on, said, "ooh, this must be bad.  I want to see too."  "No Daniel, you don't need to see too."  "Why not?" and he looked at me like I had greatly offended him.  Talk about issues.  I have an issue!  Of course my issue has only lasted 4 days.  I have gone through a whole lot of underwear and pants in 4 days.  If I had to go 12 years with an issue, I would have lost my mind on day 14!  Some people can handle thing a lot better than others.  The Lord knew we would be weak in these days, that's why he has blessed us eternally with cautery tools and Gynecologists.  After just 4 days I'm ready to say let's take that puppy out!  But that would be elective surgery and there are no elective surgeries in the time of the apocalypse, so I will have to continue braving the world, with extra pants in tow and thankfulness in my heart for washing machines.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Interrupting Quarantines

I wanted to update this blog and you would think I could have done it by now.  I have only chronicled up to September of last year. But instead we are interrupting this regularly scheduled procrastination session to let you know about all the current happenings.


So whew, yeah- it's crazy out there.  It's not the zombie apocalypse yet, thank goodness, but we did see a guy taking a walk with his family carrying a rather large wrench!  Toilet paper- gone (we have enough to get us through the end of the year, however, because we are LDS.  Come on, we prepare!) Hand sanitizer- gone (we have lots of little bottles from Christmas when we bought out Bath and Body works), Clorox wipes- gone (we have a few stashed away), at one point meat, eggs and bread were gone too, Vitamin C- can't find it under $30 a small bottle, bleach- gone, hydrogen peroxide- gone, rubbing alcohol- gone, N95 mask that we need in the hospital- severe shortage, ventilators in the hospital- supply is strained, anything we need in the hospitals- severely strained.  People be crazy!

The culprit- a little virus that goes by the name of Covid-19.  I had my first known (that I know) positive case on Sunday.  He is currently in the ICU on a ventilator.  Hopefully my mask and goggles and gloves did their jobs.  The peak of the infection is supposed to hit in 2 weeks time so I am sure there will be more to come.

My team one day.  You can't tell who anyone is because we are all in blue scrubs and have masks on.    It gets pretty confusing some days.  There is a doctor, 2 techs, our secretary and 6 nurses in this picture.  We have been training the floor nurses in case we need them to come down and start helping in the ED.  The two that came down this day did super well!

Since the culprit is highly contagious everyone has been told to stay at home unless they are "essential personnel."  I am essential.  Rob stays at home and works from here.  All stores and restaurants are closed except grocery stores and take-out or drive-thrus.  Schools are closed and will not reopen for the rest of the year.  The boys will start online school in a couple weeks.  This week is officially spring break.  The poor seniors won't get a graduation ceremony or Prom or anything.  Church is at home.  We have had some really good discussions.  

Sam's girlfriend, Yvette, has been joining us for our church at home.  This is her drawing of Jacob 5.
The church was preparing us for this time for the last half a year when they went to 2 hour church and wanted us to have our own discussions at home with the Come Follow Me program.  
Life has slowed wayyyy down. 

Some of things we have been doing to pass the time:
After living in one place for almost 4 years, I was getting agitated with all the mess and the piles of stuff we don't use.  Until now, I have to go through that every 3 years as we move.  So we have been moving slowly through a deep clean of the house.  Currently we have these two closets done, the boys closets and chest of drawers, the baseboards, vents, yard, and game closet cleaned out.

We have done a little bit of homework.  The boys are going through an easy Sudoku puzzle in this picture for their math.
I made a mask, for just in case.  It's not nearly as beautiful as all the ones being made by tons of people to hand out to EMS, grocery store workers, Postal workers, etc.
I helped a local business.  They had to bring all their inventory home, so now they can only sell online.  It was a win-win situation, especially since they delivered straight to my door!
Lots of relaxing time is going on.  Doesn't this water look eerie?  It turned that color from one of the bath bombs Emma gave me for Christmas.
We take a walk every day.  We call it "our constitution."  The dog is especially grateful after a long winter when I refused to take a walk. Long being a relative term, because this is the desert so December through February.
We made a golf target with an amazon box and played each other to 200 points.  The biggest hole at the far end was negative 10 points, so Rob was winning, but then ended up not.

Yvette and Joseph won instead.
We also played a game of greed that night.  Sam won- we never did finish that game.
Max still has piano lessons- just virtually.

We try to go play tennis most days too.   And then there is the mind numbing hours we are on our phones and playing games on the playstation.  There is plenty of that happening!  And the amount of times someone wants to eat!  Why do they eat soooo  much food?  Rob always wants it cooked too.  Can't we just eat a salad or a peanut butter sandwich?  Nope.  Exercise, exercise, exercise.  It's the only thing that is going to save me.  Good thing we have a treadmill and weights, since all the gyms are closed!

Some of my favorite things right now: 

My gym- when it's open.  Love Chuze gym and their team training.  
Don't Miss This on Youtube and dontmissthisstudy on Instagram.  Love the way they teach and the points they bring out in the Book of Mormon
comefollowmestudy on instagram.  Great thought for the day 
Bedsideroundz and eddyjoemd and zdoggmd on instagram.  I learn something medical most days from these three.  
the Babylon Bee- best satyrical website ever.
codebluememes on instagram.  Nursing humor at it's best.  You won't get most of these or appreciate them at all if you aren't a nurse.
Mental Floss on the web or on instagram.  Fun facts.  I used to love their magazine when they put one out. 
My new car.  I love it!
It's a John Cooper Works Mini Countrymen.  It actually has tons of room in the back for the boys and it has 300 horse power.  I have already gotten my first ticket in it.  It's so zippy and fun!
Elantris by Brandon Sanderson (We actually just finished it.)
Schitt's Creek on Netflix.  I kept getting it recommended to me, but I wouldn't watch it, because of the name.  I finally broke down and tried it.  I love it.  There is some language and sexual content that a lot of my friends and family wouldn't enjoy, but I think it's witty and fun and heart warming at times.
Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist on Hulu.   Super heart warming, fun and great singing to boot!
Words with Friends 2 and Boggle on my phone.  Look me up if you want to play.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

The One Where We Meet the GUY!

I really felt like I needed to go see my Grandma Keck.  Don't know why, but felt the need and so I convinced Rob to take a road trip with me to see Grandma and then go on up and see Emma, too!

The first picture we took, made me look fat-seriously fat, so I made Grandma take another picture.  There were none that turned out well with Rob and I in them
but the one with Dad and me and Grandma looks good.

 After a visit with Mom and Dad and Grandma Keck we went to go meet Emma Elizabeth (Grandma Delta Elizabeth's namesake) at the Eastern Idaho State Fair.  A whole lot of Kress's came too.  In fact I think all the siblings were accounted for!  Emma brought the boy she had been dating since April.  We were finally meeting "The Guy"!  It was  a fun trip and we enjoyed watching the "Git 'er Done guy" who we didn't actually want to see, but Emma and Clayten wanted to so we went.  And it was actually pretty funny.  No guy is going to ever be good enough for Emma in our opinion but, she was happy and seemed to really like him.  And that's all I have to say about that.
 The other awesome thing was that on the way home, we got to stop and see our friends from Colorado- The Bishop's.  Their son Ben was getting married.  Ben was Emma's age when they babysat for us in Colorado.  For some reason I never got a picture of them, but they were so friendly and talked with us like we had never left and we were still the best of friends. Love friends like that!  While we were waiting for the reception to start at Thanksgiving point we went into this art studio.  They were working on the stain glass window for the Rome temple.  We weren't allowed to take a picture of it, but we could of the mock up.  It was really very cool!
 Wonderful, wonderful trip!  So glad we took it!

The rest of the Summer

And the rest of the summer...
We had Emma a little longer and loved having her down with us.  We played games
 Who's the Dalmuti now?
 Celebrated Sam's birthday
 And made some fun Independence day cookies before she had to leave again. 

We got toilet papered
 And Max went to scout camp
 Joe became legal!
 Don't worry-he didn't just get Hostess cupcakes for his birthday.  I also made him this cool death by chocolate cake which was super yummy!
 And we celebrated Angus's birthday!

 And that's all folks!  
Now it's time to get back to school!
Max 7th, Joe 10th
 Sam 13th- College- for this one!  In the summer they made all the freshman come down and do an overnighter.  They showed them around campus and had talks and presentations.  They set them up with a councilor that talked to them about what they wanted to major in and then set them up with the classes and the schedules they would need to keep for the years ahead to get that degree.  They also had Sam do some testing and got him enrolled with the honors college.  He skipped ahead in math and went to the honors Chemistry.  

Emma was finishing up her 16th year- 13 hours away, so no picture of her!
They are all getting so big!!

A Different Kind of Cruise

For Sam's graduation he wanted to go on a cruise to Antartica.  Not that that isn't totally cool and I would totally be up for it if I was a millionaire, but since we aren't and we wanted everyone to go on the cruise with us, we made him make another choice.  His choice:  Alaska!

We started out in Vancouver.  And to show you how memorable this was, in August we played a game in Relief society- Never have I ever and I said, "never have I ever been to Canada."  Right!  Ya I just blocked it out of my mind, because this was June and it was freaking cold and rainy and cloudy.  The hotel room we rented was a joke, the owners were super rude and we ended up having to get another room for the two days we were there, but also paying for that one.  Super expensive.  I don't hold Canada as a country responsible for this terrible holiday experience consciously, but obviously I do unconsciously!

 We got donuts because that's what you are supposed to do in Canada, right?
 Walking in the rain, after we bought umbrellas.  We were still soaking wet and Rob had to change socks with Emma who wore a hole in her heel.

 We saw some cool things at Stanley park in the pouring rain at 54 degrees in June!
 Finally on the boat and ready to head out of Vancouver- yeah!
 We didn't do a ton on the boat.  We did a lot of sight seeing and stopping at different towns.  Our first stop Ketchikan.

 I believe in Juneau we took a kayak ride.  

 Emma was my partner and our kayak was broke.  It wouldn't go like the other kayaks.  The instructor even came over and told us to do certain things and we would do them and the boat wouldn't go the way it was supposed to.  Rob said it was operator malfunction, but I'm telling you it was lopsided or something!  In the end we figured out how to compensate for it's short comings as a kayak and made it go with the rest of the group.

 At the end of the kayak trip, Sam had to jump into the water.  He went to the end of the pier and did a back flip into the water.  They made us do an incident report, because it was the rules if anyone "fell" in the water!  
We also found the Alaskan Fudge company in Juneau.  It was soooo delicious!
 Cool black flowers.  Now you know there is such a thing!  I think they were just really deep purple, but I'm going with black flowers!
 In Skagway (I think- see what happens when you wait a year and a half to update your blog!) We saw a variety show and panned for gold. 

 Everyone got a little gold!
 Outtakes of us all trying to jump in front of the Welcome to Alaska sign!

 The storefront is made up of driftwood
 Glaciers and more Glaciers.  And yes, everyone recorded and whooped as they fell apart.  Cheering for global warming- I don't know about us!
 When we reached Whittier, I took the bus up to Anchorage, rented a car, drove back down and got the family and then we headed to the military resort in Seward.  Another horribly cold, raining not awesome stay.  But Sam got to try and snag some Salmon.  He didn't get any, even though he tried for several hours.  It was the very start of the season.
 Then we headed up to Anchorage to stay a day with our friends from Ohio and Germany- The Bedell's.  They are totally amazing people.
 From there we took our rental up to Denali for a couple days.  
 Sled dogs!  Actual working sled dogs.  They work hard in the winter months and show off for us in the summer months

 Mt. McKinley which is now again called Denali (but I'm old and learned the name the other way, so i keep forgetting!)  Sam really wanted to walk on it a little, but it is in the middle of the park with no roads to it.  You have to plan way in advance to get flown there or have some good money.  We just settled for looking at it from afar.
 We saw bears and moose and mountain sheep and antelope and caribou and lots of eagles.  
 These things are super heavy!

 We stopped in at Iditarod museum.  They had brand new sled dog puppies that they want visitors to hold and cuddle.  Apparently that makes them better sled dogs.

 In Ketchikan we also watched the lumber jack show.  It was super fun.  

 Look at those mountains!
 Icebergs- kind of disappointing, I'm not going to lie.

 More glaciers.  Joe brought Grandpa Kresses hunting goggles to see things closer.

Not your every day fun on the boat, beach, food, beach, fun on the boat kind of cruise, but definitely an adventure.  Something we will never forget.  Thanks Sam for choosing Alaska to explore!