Fritz and Feathers

This was a lovely weekend full of snow and scenes of beauty. I made a fairly large snow person and named him Fritz. He just looked like a Fritz! I also discovered he’s not as tall as I thought. After working on him in late Saturday afternoon, I thought he might be about 5 feet tall. He’s under that, but it also rained part of Sunday! When I go the paper, I stopped by the bird feeder. I managed to get this very close up shot of a lady grosbeak. She was incredibly brave, I took three photos and got closer and closer til she finally flew off. Her mate was in a tree above her whistling a warning. They have gorgeous tones in their song. I ended the weekend by going out for a walk in the moonlight. I even found a ‘bench’ of snow to sit on! (the plow made it last night.)

It is fun to find amazing fun things in the world around us. It’s even more fun to be in those things experiencing them!

Financial Thanks

Many of the problems I encounter are fixable or at least manageable. Unfortunately, I tend to get lost in the murky waters of medical finances. My navigation system doesn’t always work in that area as I’d prefer to take a bill, pay it, and be done. Mum recently received a bill from the local hospital that confused me. It was larger than I’d expected and I couldn’t just ‘pay’ it. I asked for help in figuring out what all the amounts stood for and was told it didn’t make sense and to ‘take it to the hospital’. So, I did. The cashier in the financial assistance hallway was surprised. She, in turn, made a phone call to someone else. Asking for help. The person she called was also surprised. Eventually, the woman hung up the phone, turned to me, and told me it had been adjusted. She followed those words with a most astonishing announcement. When I was told it was adjusted, she seemed almost hesitant about telling me the remainder due, as if I might not pay it. Eventually, I learned mom’s bill had been dropped from 4 figures to $56.

I was shocked and paid it on the spot.

When people are knowledgeable about a task you need help with, ask for help. It really does save a great deal of time and sometimes it can save you money!  Blessings all around.

Chimes

I love wind chimes. I like different sizes and shapes and their varied tones when the breeze moves them. I find enjoyment when I listen to something musical in things a bit out of the norm. Earrings also charm me when they ding as they dangle. I have tiny cowbells as well as itty jingle bells for the holidays. One of my favorite sweatshirts was a gift and also makes music. The hard plastic ends on the string are bell like when they clink together, making me smile. Today, I was given another blessing of sound. One of the wonderful women at our local post office saw some earrings and bought them for me, to help me remember I’m being thought of and cared for. I was humbled by the gift and fell in love when I put them on. The long little silver beads (which kind of look like halves of a bitty pair of scissors!) faintly chime when I move! They sound like an echo of fairy bells, reminding me of joy.

Winter blessings!

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More than the lovely day full of snow, I am grateful for my gloves. Simple small blessings from a friend several summers back. It was June and Kelly handed me a pair of North Face  gloves. I’d never owned a pair like them, shoot I’d never owned a pair of any name brand glove or mitten! I took them back to Oregon and wore them. I decided they needed to come back to AK with me. I wasn’t sure I’d need them in the summer, but well….You never know!

When I came home last November, they were with me again.  I’ve used them quite a bit in the last year. Driving, moving snow, walking, and making snowmen. Every time I put them on, I thank my friend who had no idea how important this simple pair of black gloves would be.

For Want of a Staple..

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Sometimes a simple project can escalate and help is the only solution. With the recent winds and cold, the plastic sheeting (commonly called visqueen up north) I put on the opening of the tiny ‘wood shed’ the boys built for mum was shredding off. I had split and stacked the dry wood inside and didn’t want it to get covered in snow. Or rain!

Since I needed to go to town, I added a tarp to the the things on my list. Back at the house, I merrily stapled the grey plastic over the ‘doorway’. About 6 staples in, the stapler stopped. I took it apart, reloaded it, shook it, and nothing seemed to work. Since I had to check the mail, I took the thing with me. The post office ladies can solve almost any problem!

Alas, it was determined it was finally broken. The Nikiski Hardware has been closed since the owner’s death and I didn’t want to go clear to Kenai again. I wasn’t sure the local grocery store would have one and I’d just been there. I was sad and when one is sad one finds good things to enjoy. Good things like fresh popcorn. I needed to go the direction of the popcorn anyway, so I heeded the call.

While I was getting my popcorn, I asked one of my friends (Bill, an employee there, who has also been featured elsewhere in this blog with his wife, Rose..but, I digress!) if they sold staple guns.  He laughed, made a phone call, and sent me next door to another small business. They had what I needed! I was in a haze of thankful!

I got back to the house, finished my project before it got chilly, and was entirely grateful for each of the hands who helped me along my way. I’m still dazed by how many people assisted me in completing this small silly thing!

Overabundance of blessings!

Unexpected

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The last couple of days have been difficult. The drains in mum’s house backed up again. At first, it was just bad. Then, it got much worse. I called in one of my professional friends and he showed up in the latter part of the morning.  Once again, there was grease coating the lines. It was  as if he and the other company had not visited in September. Travis got them clean and told me I needed to call the other company before we used the water. So, I did. That service got to the house about 6 hours later. They were going to wait til next week, but decided to add us in before the weekend. The pumping company cleaned absolutely everything out from the house to the field. Everything works perfectly now.

Being able to call a professional for help is a huge blessing. I know many people get grumpy they have to pay for services on cars or houses or whatever. Sometimes those professionals are not very professional and it is easy to get annoyed. Most of them, however, know what they are doing and do their work well. We’ve had a bad experience with the second company before, but since they are pretty much the only one around, we have to use them. They have gone above and beyond the first incident, as traumatic as it was, over and over. I have great respect for that company today. The first company, well, they are friends. I reckon when you call a person for services 4 times a year, was babysat by the boss eons back, and  work together, friendship happens.

On Friday, I was absolutely expecting to fork out a wad of cash for the services rendered. Septic systems are spendy things to maintain and to replace. Before Travis left, he told me there was no charge. I almost cried. He spent ages at the house and the laundry room flooded again and it was horrible before we got it all cleaned up. Both of us contacted the second company and I chatted with one of the receptionists for quite some time. There should be no reason for this sort of grease buildup with two individuals and minimal cooking. It has been determined it is a health/medical issue. Dustin arrived much later and after a great deal of work, was finally done, I had a check ready. I knew it would be at least 500$. It only needed the amount written in. He discussed what he’d done, gave me some pointers on how to perhaps catch it before overflow the next time, and gave me the bill. There was no charge.

I cried. Dustin got tears in his eyes, too. Blessings found at the bottom of the barrel are the best kind. Because they are so completely unexpected.

Before 6 AM

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I was on FB and a note from my sister made me slip into my winter boots and zip up my jacket. She had written the northerns were out. They were! She mentioned they were showing in all her windows. When I got outside, they were over the lake. The entire lake! They were in their white mode with a tiny tinge of green and spiked and streaked all across the sky.

I finally had to go back inside cuz my cheeks and nose were numb and as I climbed the hill, I slipped and fell in the snow in my jammies.  Next time, I’ll remember to put on warmer clothes and maybe the moon won’t be quite so bright! On another good note, with the moonlight, I didn’t need to use a flash to see where I was walking!