Saturday, January 12, 2019

2019: Yearly Goals

Okay, so first I'm sure a lot of people are saying, "Hey, you forgot your 'Year in Review' post" when it comes to 2018.  Well, I tried.  Really I did!  I have worked and reworked a post about 2018 about fifteen times in my head over the last week and a half and I finally came to the conclusion that writing about it at the moment is just depressing as all get out and honestly?  I just plain don't want to relive last year, even through a blog post.  There was a lot of cruddy to muck through to get to some nice things that happened last year and I just didn't want to go through it all again. 

So, instead, I decided that the best thing to do was to just plain close the door on last year and just move on as well as I'm able to work up from this point on.  It just seemed more productive somehow.

Ironically, after saying all of that about not wanting to relive 2018, the one huge goal I have for 2019 is this...
After.  One step at a time.
Recover from 2018. 

I have a lot to recover from due to everything that happened last year and that is what is taking up my time, my energy and my resources until...who knows when, so it seemed like the best goal I could come up with.

The disaster assistance inspectors came and inspected the house this week, which was definitely a good thing and got us moving in a forward direction when it came to getting some assistance in fixing the house.  I looked at the paperwork they handed me and I found that the grant everyone can get is only up to about 17,000.00 per household, which works for us as my husband is pretty confident we can get the chimney replaced for that much, but it makes me sad for so many others who lost their homes to the earthquake and realizing that 17,000.00 isn't going to go very far at all for those poor folks. 

I also just wanted to say, "Thank you" one more time because it truly needs to be said.  Due to the generosity of others I have a working kitchen and appliances (well mixer should be here tomorrow :), a working spice cabinet, a working laundry, children who were able to get their lives back to as close to normal as we can get at the moment (thanks to new DVD's that their partners got destroyed in the quake and familiar and loved snacks), the ability to can food for next winter and was able to see a doctor without freaking out how I was going to be able to pay for it.  I feel really and truly blessed in so many ways in the middle of so much loss and struggle.  So, thank you once again! 

So, right, onto the other goals for 2019!

1.  Repair the damages from the earthquake.

This one is going to be ongoing and rough I'm sure.  I'm still not sure what condition things are going to be in come break up because the ground is going to defrost and then we'll see what kind of damage that might reveal and goodness knows what condition the outbuildings will be in when that happens, or the road, or our's a big ol question mark until that happens.

Th first priority is getting the chimney ripped down, the roof capped properly and a new chimney put in.  Hopefully the disaster assistance will pay for that...we should know in about 2 to 3 weeks what we're looking at in the way of assistance.  Along with the chimney getting replaced I'm also going to have to figure out our electric bills and how to get that all back under control as the disaster assistance isn't going to help us pay that it looks like, but I have faith it'll work out somehow.  We've had some nasty aftershocks the past couple of weeks with the 5.0 last week and we've had at least three over a 4.0 this week (one a 4.7 that went on for too long from what people were saying...we were actually at the pool with the kid's swimming lessons so we didn't feel that one thank goodness), so I'm worried about what damage might still occur from the aftershocks, so we're just taking it one step at a time around here.  Nails are popping out of the walls more and more everyday, cracks get larger, the kid's bathroom the vanity separated completely from the wall and needs to be completely reattached to everything...the list goes on.

But yeah, the earthquake and recovering from it are the main priority bar none.

2.  Pump up the food storage/Recover the Food Stores

I lost so much food storage last year.  Between the mice, the earthquake and the larder beetles and the fact that I couldn't put in a was rough on my food stores.  So, this year I'm hoping to start to rebuild my food storage to a decent amount.

I thought about it and a lot of what I'd like to put up is canned/tinned foods that are good for 10 to 30 years at a time.  This will allow me time to rotate out my food storage without worrying about rotating it as often as home canned foods and with them being in metal cans I don't have to worry about mice eating into them or bugs or earthquakes breaking them.  So, my goal is to hopefully take out 25.00 a month and to buy a few cans of food storage with that 25.00.  This money will come out of my normal food budget as that's the only place I'm going to have money to use toward that goal. 

I am also hoping to find some money, or if I can route out the materials around here to build with materials I have on hand, and make some shelves for my master bedroom closet.  The main purpose of these shelves is to, hopefully, work to hold the cans of food storage in a nice, and organized, fashion (since my main pantry is pretty tiny and I kind of need it for other things) to make it easier to rotate my food storage around as needed.  I'm figuring I don't need a HUGE area or anything, but I definitely want to get more organized when it comes to my food storage and things this year.  The earthquake really hammered home to us how much we needed to focus more on getting the whole situation with the loss of food stores last year resolved and in a way that was safe from vermin and aftershocks as much as possible.

Hopefully this will work out. 

3.  Prep for Success in the Kitchen

I have thought and thought about how to make things a bit easier for me in the kitchen as I find I get behind on the menu planning and things with how hectic life gets and I'm scrambling, again, to get food on the table and make things that the family actually want to eat.  So, I have worked really hard the last month to figure out how to make things work better and more efficiently, especially since time being a precious commodity has taken on whole new levels of meaning with everything I've found myself juggling of late..

I'm hoping to cook with beans more this coming year to add more protein to our diet, which means pressure cooking as making beans in a pressure cooker is SO much easier than in like a crock pot or something.  My sister bought me a electric pressure cooker for a late birthday gift and it should be in by Friday.  It's a Gourmia pressure cooker versus an Instant Pot, but it got good reviews, so I think it'll be fine for me (she was all worried as she couldn't really afford to get me an Instant Pot and I had to assure her that I had a Crockpot Express before because I didn't want to pay for an Instant Pot either *laugh*).  I did love having an electric pressure cooker for things like beans and making meat super fast on nights that just everything was conspiring to make you have to eat out, so I was really touched and thrilled when she told me that. 

In other news, so many things broke or have broken since the quake I feel weird as it seems every time I turn around I find myself facing a new appliance or having to order a new appliance.  The latest one I'm having to replace is the blender attachment for my Viking mixer *sigh*.  It seems in one of the aftershocks we've had of late the blender jar hit something in my sideboard just right and started to crack...or the main quake did it and I just didn't notice at the time...I'm not sure.  It's working still, but it's got a slow leak in it and I don't know how much longer it will last, so I wanted to make sure I had a back up plan.  I have a spare blender jar for my Viking around here SOMEWHERE, but I honestly am not sure if it is in the house or the storage van...I suspect the later, which means I'll find it in one piece or broken sometime this year hopefully, so yeah...a second blender it is.  Luckily I had some Amazon credit and I used some of that to order a new Oster blender that was decently inexpensive and got good reviews, so here's hoping it does everything I need it to do until we can afford to buy the type of blender my husband would like me to own (he wants to get a nice commercial grade one that parts are readily available for and is able to be worked on, and fixed, easily, but those are outside of my price range at the moment). 

Anyway, with all the new appliances and things that I'm going to be getting used to in the kitchen this year I can safely say it'll be a year of experimentation for sure.

4.  Reorganize, Reorganize, Reorganize!

This is one that I've actually been doing as I clean up things after the quake, but I'm still hoping to expand it as I go along.  I'm trying to see the silver lining in losing so much stuff and so I'm really trying to think of this as an opportunity to streamline how I organize things around the kitchen and elsewhere.

Some of these things are having to get done out of necessity.  Like I want to put any casserole dishes or other breakable baking things that are left down LOW, like in lower cabinets, so that they are way less likely to get broken during aftershocks and things, so that means completely redoing the kitchen make stuff as earthquake "friendly" as possible.  This will hopefully reduce damage during the coming months as we continue to get aftershocks. 

I'm also hoping to keep things like my new canner in boxes and packaging as much as possible until I need to use them for something to help protect them as much as I can during the coming months as well, which means that I am going to have to find room to do that as well.  I'm hoping to find room in the hallway closet for both food and appliances, which means other things need to get put somewhere else or otherwise get taken care of.  I'm determined to figure it all out, get some type of "system" going and move forward from there.  Things have been so chaotic that I'm seriously craving organization, order and stability.  I might not be able to control the "stability" aspect in things, but I can try to wrestle some sense of control out of a pretty uncontrollable situation.  So, I'll be working on that in the coming months.

5.  Move Forward.

I'm determined, somehow, to move forward this year.  Finances are uncertain, we have a bunch of new debt to juggle and other things to worry about, but I'm determined to somehow work it out, get it figured and start to work our way out of the hole we are in, again.  Luckily with my husband and family behind me I have a great team at my back, so I'm sure we'll find new ways to save money and get done what needs to be done while doing it, somehow.  I'm praying with every molecule that makes up every fiber of my being that we have a good year, financially and otherwise.  I desperately need it to be.  I have hope. 

One way I'm hoping to move forward this year is to start up my monthly goals again.  I find that I get more done when things are written down, so with the ever expanding list of things to get done around here I'm figuring that doing goal lists can not hurt to get those list of things accomplished.  So, be on the lookout for that.

I know this list isn't really all that long in the goals department, but man I feel like I'm staring down a very long, twisty highway and the weather is uncertain, visibility is poor and I'm worried about what could be in the road ahead as I start out on the journey this year.  I actually feel gun shy to even step up and tackle the year at this point as I feel kind of beaten down at this point.  Last year gave me a lot of grey hairs, for sure.  A good portion of myself wants to find some well entrenched fox hole, slap a helmet on my head and just take cover and pray that things pass over, but I know that things don't get done that way and it wouldn't be any better once I finally climbed out of my hole. 

So, as I climb into my spiritual tank and start off down the road ahead, may God watch over us, may the visibility be good, the road clear, the view nice and the missles getting launched in our general direction be few and not devastating. 



  1. God bless you and may 2019 be a great year for you and your family.

  2. Do you stack your glassware like the pyrex bowls and baking dishes (I never thought about this until your earthquake description!)? Would rubber shelf liner between them help at all? Or if it's under them would it help keep them in place? We have it in rolls at the $1 store here and it works great on our boat but I don't have any idea about if it'd help in an earthquake as I've never experienced one. {hugs} I pray this year is better for you! Melissa V

  3. I hope 2019,is better for you. You went through so much. You are absolutely right...17,000 per family isn't enough to do repairs,or replace many people in terrible shape! I know a while back, when that drug rehab I think it was, place was opening practically in your back yard, you had wondered about moving,,is that still a thought? I know you have got some great help for your son right now, and your daughter has a hoyfriend, so maybe not! Those aftershocks sound SO severe!

  4. Am I understanding correctly that you have to use electric heat? What has to be done to go back to using gas (or propane)? It seems like that would be a higher priority than the chimney, so I’m sure I’m missing a piece. :). I have never lived in a place where so many homes received damage at once. I can’t imagine the backup on getting things done and that has to be so frustrating and discouraging. :( I have wondered about the moving too, as it seems like it is just so difficult to live there and your husband’s skills would be in demand in other places.

    1. The chimney is for the gas/propane heater.

    2. Sheila,I think the gas furnace is vented through the chimney. So the chimney has to be repaired first, before the new furnace can be installed.

    3. The chimney vents our natural gas furnace, so until we can get it replaced we can't run it without filling the house with carbon monoxide. So, it is definitely priority #1 around here. We have electric baseboard heaters as natural gas didn't come into this area until the 90's so the previous owners used electric heat until the gas moved into the area. They also had a large wood stove, which they ripped out and put in the gas furnace, so they repurposed the chimney when they put it in, so the inner core of the chimney was ceramic, which helped lead to its destruction in the quake.

      As for moving, unfortunately it isn't in the cards for now. We are trying to tough it out until at least my husband's retirement account gets vested at the five year employment mark so he doesn't lose that. For now Alva h has good therapy in place and Armina loves the school she's in. So, as much as I want to move to whatever area I the U.S. has the least amount of natural disasters at the moment, we are (for now) going to try and tough it out. That might change, mind you, but for now that's the plan.

  5. Good luck with everything - I hope the money comes through quickly so that the chimney can be repaired - I shudder to think what electric heating must cost during an Alaska winer!
    You certainly have a lot on your plate and my only suggestion would be to take one thing at a time and try not to let it overwhelm you and to remember to take care of yourself.

  6. Ericka, first off big (((((Hugs))))) praying for a beautiful and successful 2019.

    I am thankful to hear you have the electric baseboard heat as a back up. I'm sure many impacted by your earthquakes would rejoice at having that blessing. You are such a strong amazing woman praying for you dear!

  7. Don't look back; you're not going that direction, as the saying goes.

    I think you've got the right idea. You've got a plan, and you've got the right attitude. Your determination is seriously something to be admired, as is your creativity and ingenuity. Wishing you nothing but love and amazing happenings in 2019!