Happy Spring! New Projects

Happy spring! 82 degrees on the last day of winter…whaaatt?! A harbinger of a hot summer, I’m afraid.

It’s time to plan projects for the next few months. And we have monkey wrenches already.

We had two major goals for this year: a bucket list vacation to celebrate our 25th anniversary, and addressing the retaining wall on the south side of the garage. Weeelll, wouldn’t you know it?

During a ROUTINE ANNUAL EXAM, a tumor was found, in my abdomen, which required major surgery to remove. I cannot stress enough the value of such exams. It had been two and a half years since I’d been to the doctor, and this thing developed during that time, with no symptoms! Sometimes we think since we’re feeling fine, our bodies are fine. But things happen when you don’t even know it, and the doctors’ jobs are to be aware and find these things while they can still be taken care of. It was ultimately benign, I thank God, but the size of a large, unripe pear. It and the obsolete organ it invaded were removed. There will be a scar, a very large scar. Which no one but my husband and me will see. I’m okay with that.

Without getting political, I have a pre-ACA health insurance policy, with excellent coverage, and my out of pocket cost will be quite manageable, although a big part of our savings. I know the dollar amount, and we are just waiting for the bills to roll in. I’m keeping track of the EOBs online. I have several weeks of recovery ahead of me, doing quite well, thank you. I am trying to learn to “be still.” I have more time to plan, less time to work, and less funds. Challenge accepted!

First of all, we’ve scratched the retaining wall project. My spidey sense is telling me it will cost much more than my marked up estimate. (I usually add 15% to what early research indicates.) While this does need to be done, there are also neighbor factors involved (they have their own issues this year), and more thoughtful planning required (electric supply lines run through the area). This is not something I want to tackle this year, especially since it would take several months from first calls to completion, and be angst-ridden the whole time.

My health issue brought to mind that our self-promised vacation should be a priority for us right now. Since we’ve already saved for it, even with the medical bills, we’re going for it. We may revise our itinerary a bit, but we’ve decided to go.

Meanwhile, the funds will grow for the retaining wall project, while this year we focus on more mundane and less costly maintenance. I will be using service professionals for most, if not all, of my projects this year. My body needs to heal, and the projects are very specific. Plus, I don’t have the equipment. Landscaping will probably not be a big thing this year, except for general cleanup. I’m still developing the list, and hope to get started implementing right after Easter. I’ll be back to share that.

What projects are you planning this year? How have financial surprises changed your list?


Having A Ball

I’m bouncing as I write this.  Literally.

Two years ago-ish, I had a “frozen shoulder,” which required visits to a very mean doc (whom I don’t visit anymore), and three months of “immediate” physical therapy.  I also purchased a yoga ball and other small items to help with my home efforts on the therapy front.

Physically, it was painful.  While the therapy was helpful, it was the constant work at home that I think really made a difference in my getting my shoulder back in working order quickly.  I would not have known what to do and what not to do if I had not gone to PT, that’s for sure, so it was mostly a good decision.  But financially, it was painful, too.  It was very expensive, which prices they would not disclose, saying my insurance would cover it.  I stopped the twice a week visits to Uber Expensive PT when I got the first shocking bill three months in, and paid off the thousands I owed (that was after my insurance coverage).  Meanwhile, I used the equipment I had to continue to work out both shoulders.

After the yoga ball had served its purpose, it sat in the corner of my room, all alone, getting dusted occasionally. When my folding desk chair broke again recently, the duct tape solution was pretty much worn out, and I needed another idea.  The yoga ball to the rescue!!

I’ve read over the years that sitting on one results in a good core workout, and can help posture.  I could use both of those assists.  The ball is now my new chair, and I can attest that balancing on it does provide a good core workout and does help my posture.  Another bonus is that because it is more of an effort to sit here at my desk, I sit here less often.  I’m up and moving, doing other things that need doing.  The ball doesn’t fold up, and certainly doesn’t fit my decor.  It is an awesome solution, though, and I’m keeping it.

The yoga ball I have is from Target two years ago and was on sale.  I’ve been told any yoga ball will do (mine is just the right height), and it should be inflated with an enclosed pump according to directions included with the ball.

DS#2 was not helpful in my thought process for this solution.  When I told him my idea, he said with genuine concern, “I hope you don’t pop it.”  Great.  For the record, it has not popped.

I’m so happy when a solution works out so well.  This might mean I look into exercise yoga.

How have you repurposed lately?