I know, it’s been ages since I’ve posted a blog post.  BUT, there has been a really good reason for it (in my mind, anyway!).

A few months ago Russ decided he/we needed to make some changes in our life; the biggest change involved his job.  Over the last 15 years of working for his employer, which is located in North-Central Arkansas, his monthly income has steadily DECREASED.  Due to financial issues, the company cut hours and so forth and it became (literally) a money-losing situation for him to work there.  Since there is 150 miles between our Missouri house and the job, we HAD to have a home there (which we were renting) – and having a home there also involved other expenses (utilities, food, gas driving back and forth, etc.).  We were spending over $1000 a month for that, which was completely eating up a full paycheck.  Because of credit card debt, expenses for the Missouri house, etc. we never seemed to have enough money to cover the monthly bills.

SO… he decided that with a new year, changes should happen.  On December 18th he went to his employer and told him that he either got to work full-time from the Missouri house, or he was gone at the end of the day on the 31st.  He had been preparing for that moment for a month, and assumed that the boss would say, “Okay, have a nice life”.  Instead the boss said, “I think we can make this happen.  Let me think about it”.  To be honest, that was a relief for me, as I was trying to figure out how to spread my income thin enough to make it work… and it just wouldn’t happen, no matter how much I worked on monthly expenses.

SO, the comment made me hopeful, but that still meant we had to get moved out of the house in Arkansas.  One has no clue how much crap they collect over 15 years, honestly, and Russ has never been the one to pack up the house and move (every time we’ve moved, I’ve handled ALL of the packing; in one instance of moving, he was gone on a trip so when we left we were at House A, which was perfectly functioning and hadn’t had a single thing packed, and when he returned we were completely moved into House B, and everything was put away except for hanging pictures (which is rough to do from a wheelchair!), so after him having the chance to get everything packed up, he admitted he really hadn’t done very much… so I gathered up some friends (Ryan, Marica, Dennis) and we headed out to Arkansas early one morning and got 95% of the house packed up AND moved back to Mt. Vernon.  The next week I took Angie and Ryan (AND,  as I was going out the door that morning, which was the 29th, Russ called to let me know he had just gotten an email from the boss with the thumbs up from working from home.  Yay!) – Ryan finished up loading the last little bit, and Angie got the house cleaned up.  I brought that trailer load home (Russ stayed in Arkansas to work), Ryan unloaded it the next day… and I headed back to Arkansas on the 31st with the trailer to get the few items of furniture that were left that Russ had been using until that morning, and we turned the keys in and we were officially done.

It’s been nice to have Russ home, but now we get to learn how to live together again.  Over the last 15 years, we’ve spent 2/3 of the month apart (we only got to see each other on weekends, and sometimes that didn’t even happen when Russ was traveling for work, which would typically have him gone for a weekend, the next week and the following weekend).  A few folks have already “placed bets” on whether or not we can do it… I think June 1st is the average of when our relationship will come to an end.  BUT, so far, so good.  Positive thoughts are needed, though, as this IS a major change for both of us… and it’s going to take some time to get used to.

 

 

In other news, we had our Christmas party, which involved a White Elephant party (booze swap – the gifts we contributed to the swap was homemade Kahlua (aka “BlueCow-lua” and homemade Amaretto (“Am-Moo-Retto”).  My godson got the Amaretto, and I imagine he’s tried it by now (he JUST turned 21 in October); I don’t remember who got the coffee liquor, though.  We did have extra of the amaretto and I’ve used it in several things and it’s quite tasty… and now I really question WHY I’ve spent $$$ on buying it when it’s MUCH cheaper to make it?  Oh well, from now on we’ll do the homemade stuff.  🙂

That same evening we also had a “game night”, and we had a group of about 12 people playing “Cards Against Humanity”.  If you’ve played it, you know how so politically (and morally) incorrect it is – but how much fun it can be.  If you’ve not played it, it’s a lot like “Apples to Apples” – here is an example from the game we played Christmas evening:

cah

Needless to say, everyone (ages 21-75) had a blast… one player was the grandmother (and grandmother-in-law) of some of our regular game night folks (Dennis and Marica).  While I think she knew how twisted her grandchildren were, I think this opened her eyes to exactly HOW twisted they were.  But, I’ve got to say, while I’ve known Anne (the grandmother) for 20ish years, I must admit that even I was humored by her “level of darkness” regarding the cards she played.  🙂

Christmas day was quiet; we actually opened up our presents BEFORE we went to bed; Russ got a bottle of scotch, some clothes since he’s lost quite-a-bit of weight, a few board games, a drinking game (Battleship shots), a plate that I had decorated (thanks to Pinterest!) that had homemade chocolate chip cookies on it, and a coffee mug to match (with a bag of coffee that he likes), some chocolate covered coffee beans, some bowling towels (that Alice and Aimee embroidered with his name and some bowling designs) – and tickets to “Whiskey Fest”, which is a booze paradise that is held on or near my birthday each year (it’s actually going to be on the 17th of January).  I got a nice camera (which Russ has now claimed as his own, and used to record a YouTube video last night; I’ve not even got to touch the camera yet… so I think Russ bought himself a camera with the guise that it would be my gift!), a coffee and espresso maker, an “icing pen” (I’ve not tried it out, but I’m looking forward to it!  Cake decorating is hard work!), I got a gingerbread house bundt pan, 2 pair of Nike tennis shoes (one pair is HOT PINK… my favorite color!), a Mickey Mouse coffee mug (because I love Mickey Mouse, and cows) along with a small stuffed Sorcerers Apprentice Mickey and a cute Mickey Mouse ink pen, 3 bottles of “Tippy Cow” booze (rum with milk added to it.  I got chocolate flavor, vanilla soft serve flavor and shamrock mint flavor; when you mix equal parts of the chocolate and mint, it tastes like an Andes Mint!) and a very lovely bottle of Laphroaig Scotch (which I am now rationing).  To be honest, I am not a big fan of whiskey or scotch (it’s okay, but I much prefer vodka, with rum coming in 2nd), but a few years ago at the first Whiskey Fest held here, I was in a class learning about whiskey and the presenter asked my preferences on booze; I stated what they were, and he said, “You might very well like this”… and he was right.  Very smoky, very peaty, and very tasty.  But it’s not something you’d want to drink a lot of (you’d go broke if you did, as it’s quite expensive).  For some reason I think I am forgetting something (I got a lot more from Russ than I got FOR Russ), but sometimes I have massive headaches that blank out chunks of my memory… and it has taken me quite-a-while to remember the above items.  I’m sure Russ will tell me if I’ve forgotten something and I can go in and edit the post later.

After we crawled out of bed on Christmas morning, I set out getting dinner prepared (Aimee and Spenser were coming out to eat with us).  We had originally planned on going to see a few movies at the Branson, MO IMAX (they were showing Interstellar and Hobbit), but time got away from us and we opted to stay home and play “Cards Against Humanity” with Aimee and Spenser (the above picture was taken that evening).

We got the house packed up on the 31st, and busted our butts to get home in time for a NYE Party put on by our friends Joe, Steve and Lisa at the local coffee shop.  Before I left that morning, I put some of my buffalo meatballs in the crockpot so they’d be nice and hot when we got there, and whipped up some homemade blue cheese dip for them (YUM!).  Lorrie, Shawn and Scott joined us there, as did Aimee and Spenser, and we had “Cards Against Humanity” with us.  SO, needless to say, we had fun playing more cards.  Lorrie dressed up for the occasion… and then Russ borrowed her glasses.  🙂

lorrieNYE russNYE

 

On January 1st we headed out to Rogers, Arkansas for a late lunch “date”, and since Melinda Torbett was in the area for work, I snagged her and my step-nephew (Eric) and we went to PF Chang’s (which, I learned during the meal, Eric had NEVER had before.  Poor thing!).  We ate (way too much!), we laughed and then we all went our separate ways.  On the way home we stopped in Monett, MO to drive through their city park (which is huge) and look at all of the light displays they had set up.  My favorite, of course, is the cow.  🙂
  changs ericmelinda 10885367_10204737139961333_4034884858240431949_n

 

So, our world is starting to calm down.  Right now it’s figuring out what to do with all the excess stuff from the other house and learning how to live together.  This weekend (10th) we’re having a poker game to start my week-long birthday celebration and from there (except the Whiskey Fest on the 17th), I have no idea what is going on.  I guess we’ll see.  🙂

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

More posts after my birthday, I’m sure!  🙂