Surviving

Sitting down for the first time in months in our hotel room in Vegas. Have a few minutes before we head to the airport.

It has been a whirlwind couple of months. Shane quit his job end of Jan. which sucks money wise but has kept us from drowning. We have been spending a lot of time at the toy store working on making it our store, ordering, and bookkeeping.

The vacation rental is pretty much booked through the summer so lots of cleaning of houses that are not my house plus getting my business taxes in to the IRS.

We got a puppy in Jan. from the animal shelter so back up to three dogs. It has been nice being able to take the dogs to the store with us. Nova puppy runs with the big dogs even though she is so tiny still. She is finally bigger than the cat. We got to squeeze in some puppy classes here too.

We lost two ducks this winter – the goose got overly broody and killed them. That was pretty traumatizing. So then we had a goose in rehab in our garage for awhile. I’ve now relented and Shane will be hatching more ducks this spring.

Shane has several medic classes he is teaching and I have some science ones all starting next week.

My computer died died about five days before this trip. Couldn’t pull anything off of it but luckily I had the most important crap backed up.

This past week was spent glamping in Zion with a good friend followed by a toy show in Vegas. We bought a ton of cool new toys for the toy store. Now to head home and sell it. Not sure when my next day off is so I’ve been enjoying this lazy morning.

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Two months later…

Well, we finished up 3 weeks in Germany. We took very few photos and lived in the moment. We slept in, we wandered around Christmas markets, ate way too much, Shane drank way too much, and we enjoyed being away from reality.

Upon our return to reality, the realization that we were about two weeks out from owning my family’s toy store hit. We began on that while also working our other day jobs. We have officially owned my folk’s toy store for 13 days, but it feels like a lifetime. We have been busy reordering after the Christmas rush. Cleaning out years of my dad’s treasures that he should have been doing over the past year but hasn’t. The part-time employee found a full-time job, and we have opted not to rehire to save some money, so that leaves us filling in those times. Our full-time employee has had the crud and been out sick, so we are filling in those times as well. We both currently have our day jobs though my husband gave his notice at his last week. I’ll continue my day job because we need the paycheck and the health benefits.

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Besides the toy store, my museum gig, my husband’s fire/paramedic gig – we have two border collie mixes, 17 chickens, a cat, the ducks and a goose that need to be tended to. Trying to find times for dog walks has been hard, but we’ve managed though they haven’t been as long as needed to take the edge off for Ade. We have resorted to dog puzzle toys. She is currently bashing the toy into my walls downstairs, but I don’t care because she is entertained and I can sit for a few minutes.

The cat has cabin fever. At 6 am he felt the need to tell me how much he hated winter. I thought he might be out of water or food but nope. He was just vocalizing his distaste for winter.

The chickens are laying about 12-15 eggs per day. We have options to sell them but haven’t gotten our act together. Until we get our act together, we have been gifting them to our friends and family. The ducks are slowly starting to lay again as our days gradually lengthen. I’m pretty sure everyone is ready for spring, but it is still ways off.

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I have begun to think about getting starts for the garden going, but they will wait till after our Hawaii trip in a week (we seem to never stop going). The pepper plants I dragged inside have been producing peppers all winter so I may pull in a few more different plants next winter and see how they fair. I did have tomatoes all the way into November!

Our woodstove crapped out two days before our Germany trip. It cost an arm and a leg to fix it, so we opted to trade in two arms and two legs for a new one. I was a sucker for the bells and whistles on the new beast, but it hasn’t disappointed me yet! More efficient and keeps our house at a more even temperature. Worth every body part I lost!

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The vacation rental is surprisingly busy for winter and our off-season which means my time is spent cleaning that place instead of my own home. Everyone wants to see the Northern Lights and it has not disappointed the last few years. Though this is the time of year, I’d prefer to leave Alaska.

I’m officially well into my 2nd trimester. My energy has returned, and it couldn’t have happened at a better time because we have a lot going on right now. We found out right before Christmas that it was a boy and told our parents on Christmas Eve. My mother-in-law has been adamant for years that we are going to have a boy, so she was pretty excited that she was right.

Heading to Hawaii next Sunday for a week of Anniversary celebrations! My aunt and uncle are celebrating their 50th Anniversary, my parents 40th Anniversary and our big 5 years! I’m mostly looking forward to the warmth and being away from reality again for a bit. And sleep. I look forward to sleep.

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Day one: Rothenburg

After months of planning and weeks of preparing, we are in Germany. It is 1 am and I’m wide awake while husband is sound asleep. I’m going pay for this insomnia tomorrow but my internal clock is a strong force to reckon with.

Car, plane, and train, and we are in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. We got in yesterday afternoon, took a quick nap (wasn’t going to make it) then headed into the old city. I was here 17 years ago with my mother. My mom and I backpacked around Germany together. My 18 year old self made the reservations so we stayed in youth hostels – it was how I knew to travel. I laugh at that now in my nice single room in a guesthouse. My mom was a trooper because I became too old for hostels toward the end of my 20s and my mom was far from her 20s at that point.

Things in Germany have changed yet stayed the same since my last time in Germany (15 years ago). The trains look the same as I remember them. Same bakeries and rolls. Recycling is still huge here. Things that have changed- solar panels everywhere. At least 1/2 of the buildings in every town we passed in the train had solar panels. There were fields of solar panels. There were wind turbines everywhere. It made my heart happy but also made me think: America get your shit together.

Tomorrow I plan on taking photos. Yesterday was about needs: sleep and food. Though after one evening of wandering around the old city where Christmas has vomited everywhere on (this is a very Christmas town – they have a Christmas museum), Shane is so far impressed about Germany. And perhaps one day, I’ll be able to move back here for awhile. Until that day, we must make more time to come visit. Now to take a shower and then hopefully fall back to sleep for a few hours.

Overwintering Honey Bees in Alaska

My husband took over most all of bee care this summer. This included overwintering. I offered encouragement (yeah, let’s overwinter them!) and suggestions (you sure that is a good idea?) here and there but the actual physical side of it was all him. In my defense, I have a bad back, and those hives are HEAVY. We have a FB farm page that my husband posted about overwintering the bees which I’ll share here.


Sure, Let’s winter the bees! How hard can it be with only two steps to the process; Step 1: Have bees Step 2: Winter the bees? I mean really what else is there?
Nevermind…I may need to clarify all the steps.
Step 1A: wait until the bee boxes weigh more than a baby giraffe to move.
Step 1B: Carry said boxes down the power line to your pick up while being stung through the suit…30-40 stings should be enough. Make sure several bees get inside your suit and find your ear and neck.
Step 1C: Drive the truck around the property to the unfinished chicken coop, but make sure the clutch goes out first.
Step 1D: Dolly the stinging mess into the coop.


Step 1E: Forget to completely empty the sugar water containers in the hive. Almost empty is just as good, right?

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Step 1F: Spill the sugar water all over the floor. Slip and fall then slip and fall again as you try to get up
Step 1G: Start laughing as you remember the scene from “Old School” with Will Ferrell. Giggle “you’re my boy Blue” as you continued to get stung while covered in heavy sugar syrup.
Step 2: Insulate and winter bees.

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Step 2A: Sit on the couch and watch “Old School” while high on Benedryl.
Simple as that and only two easy steps!!!

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Winter on the Farm

After a week of freezing rain, we finally have snow. Not a lot but a start. Temperatures continue to hover around freezing which is perfect for a romp in the snow.

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The dogs and I are not the only ones that like to romp.

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The duck coop still overflows with chickens. About three weeks ago, our freezer failed. Luckily, it was discovered before we lost all of our moose, fish, and poultry. Our meat is now secure over at my in-laws as we wait for our new freezer to arrive. We finally managed to get it ordered yesterday, and it won’t be in till we get back from Germany in December. That leaves 17 chickens and no freezer. Plus the energy and enthusiasm we had at the start of the summer in regards to meat birds have faded with the summer. These lucky 17 are now layers. Shane is quickly finishing the partially done chicken coop, so they have a home for the winter. The duck coop merely is too small for everyone all winter long. The bees were moved in the un-finished chicken coop over a month ago (I’ll share that story in another post) so Shane has also been chicken proofing the beehive. They should keep each other warm though. And man, these chickens are earning their keep!

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The garden is long gone, I have my little spot of green inside. We have been enjoying all the pickles and dehydrated veggies we put up. Dehydrated kale is amazing! We have been using it in omelets (go figure), stews, and stir-frys. Works great and doesn’t take up any freezer space (which is great because we don’t have a freezer). We have a few pepper plants that I dragged inside still going. I’ve started a small herb garden. We fed the last of the tomato plants that were inside to the birds this weekend.

 

 

Sigh of Relief

I was about to respond to all the comments on the last blog post, but I figured I’d give a quick update here. The evening of the bleeding, I sent my ob/gyn a message on our portal. The fertility clinic has already passed it over to them since I live 4,000 miles away from the fertility clinic. I figured I would just have to wait and see how things looked at our ultrasound appointment on the 30th. The next morning, my clinic called and had me come in. The nurse practitioner that did the ultrasound (he’s done a follicle scan for me before) was excited we were pregnant but concerned about the bleeding. He mentioned that his son had to do IVF and he saw how nerve-racking it can be.

So we went ahead with the ultrasound. Right away, we saw a heartbeat. Shane and I started to cry, it was so real. The nurse said he was so relieved to be able to give us good news because he was worried it wouldn’t be good news. He also said that we can come in anytime we need to get some reassurance and to see the baby. Our next appointment though is the day before Thanksgiving – unless we have another scare, then I’ll be hauling my butt in.

After that, I went home and was able to finally sleep. This is going to be a long few months.

Begining of the End?

We are a full six weeks and five days into this pregnancy, and I started bleeding yesterday. Not spotting but bleeding. It has slowed and stopped with no clots passing; I’m acutely aware that some women naturally bleed during pregnancy, but this is also a sign of a miscarriage. And there is nothing we can do but wait.

Last week I bought some science onesies. Shane and I talked about baby names. I started to dare to dream about the future as parents. It was like the universe needed to remind me of my place in this world, that I’m not allowed to have hopes and dreams like the rest of humanity. Our hill is always a bit steeper than the next guys.

I’ve been awake since 3 am, writing this blog post over and over in my head. Amazed how the possible impending miscarriage is easier to write about then the exciting news that we have finally got a positive pregnancy test. Or that we have been optimistic and happy. Truly happy.

I then had the realization that I had another fuck up. There have been too many fuck ups this week. On Monday, my car wouldn’t start – nothing, wouldn’t even try. Frustrated that I had just had it in the shop, I woke my husband and let him deal with it while I took his car. I called him later to see if he needed a ride or if he fixed my car. He had fixed it. It turns out it was in drive, not park and therefore wouldn’t start. That is a funny fuck up. My work fuck ups have me a bit more stressed. Also on Monday, I got my DNA sequences back when I realized that two of my sample plates were short sequences. I had forgotten to finish out the computer templates I had sent the lab, so those samples were not run. Luckily for me, they were able to run the samples yesterday. I felt so stupid and apologized profusely.

Well, this morning as my brain thought about the bleeding and each twinge sent me to the bathroom to see if the bleeding had picked up again, I thought of the pretty rare samples I sent out on Monday to Canada and how I need to check today to ensure they made it. All international loans (up until this one) are sent in a buffer, so they are temperature stable for the times when they get held up at customs. Doesn’t usually happen because I have all the permits and paperwork in line. I’m good at my job, and I do this often. The FedEx people love me; the customs folks love me. The loan that I sent on Monday was on dry ice since the samples couldn’t be put in a buffer. This alone has made me a bit nervous (thawing = very bad) but should be fine since I had all the paperwork and permits in order. This morning I realized that I forgot to include one of the permits in the customs paperwork envelope with the loan. I’m beyond frustrated with myself. I don’t make these kind of fuck-ups. Right now, I don’t trust myself to do my job which is a pretty low feeling. I cannot do my job, and I cannot hold onto this baby.

I knew that I needed to reserve my blog space for my dark and angry place. Someplace where I could ramble at 4 am and let it out into the world. I feel as I can’t go into work today, I don’t trust myself to do my job. I also feel as if I need to go into work today to deal with customs if the samples get held up. I’m crying over the bleeding. I’m crying that I cannot do my damn job. I’m crying because I can’t fucking sleep. I honestly thought life was getting easier for us. That it was going to be smooth sailing and we’d welcome home our baby in June. I just wanted for us to catch a break this once.