Posted February 17, 2022
Revised (Renovations and Deaths) March 8, 2022
During the long hiatus on updating this website, a number of events have occurred. This is my attempt to catch up; more posts will follow.
Our son, Joe, and his wife and daughter came to live with us for a time, along with their three cats*, from October 7, 2018 until June 13, 2019 (Joe stayed here to finish work, then took the cats on July 12). The place was very crowded and life got crazy, but we all managed to survive it. Joe worked a security job while living here; his boss and fellow employees treated him very well, but the hours were demanding and there were some scary moments on the job. They are now living in Minnesota.
(*See more on the cats at Meet Olivia.)
I (Charlie) retired from my job at Woodman’s Food Market on September 28, 2019, after 22 years of service… (read the rest of this article in Writings 2019)
Soon after I retired from work, we “cut the cable,” stopping the TV portion of our Spectrum bill which ran us well over $100 per month. We now subscribe to Philo TV, which gives us over 60 streaming channels for $20 per month plus tax, and Paramount+ which costs $6 per month. Everything else we get over-the-air, using four homemade indoor antennas: two UHF and two VHF. An intricate system of coaxial cables, amplifiers, combiners, and switches feeds three TV sets with signal from 12 stations, yielding 62 channels from Madison, Wisconsin and Rockford, Illinois.
Our home is an historic home (built about 1880) but was in dire need of extensive repairs… (read the rest of this article in Writings 2020)
During 2021, we bought two new appliances on our own: a new Amana oven (delivered April 16) and a new Whirlpool refrigerator (delivered June 8). Both were desperately needed: the oven had a broken door, and the refrigerator quit working on May 28. When the new one arrived, we had the old one hauled away.
I (Charlie), using the stage name Kharlie M (with a silent “h”), released two albums: Come On, Kharlie M on July 13, 2018 and The Child in You on June 14, 2021. The latter includes songs dedicated to our granddaughter, Patricia, who was stillborn, and our living granddaughter, Asha, who was born exactly one year later. My older album entitled Umm… was re-issued as recently as February 19, 2021.
Just during 2021, we lost several members of our church, including two that we knew personally; one was a close friend. The neighbor kitty-corner behind us died in May. Wendi’s younger brother passed away on July 25; we attended a memorial for him on September 5. I lost a childhood friend in September, as well as a friend from a church we used to attend years ago. In December, Wendi lost a cousin and an ex-brother-in-law; another childhood friend lost his dear wife to cancer.
In addition, Joe and Elizabeth (our son and his wife) lost their cat, Aurora, on July 7; our sweet Stormy faded away on November 8, leaving us with no cat for the first time since 2003.
So far in January, 2022, Wendi has lost another cousin; one of her teachers from elementary school also passed away.
I (Charlie) have been working on music recordings off-and-on (lately my attention has been on this website). A remake of the Wedding Day album is in the works; the original four songs from 2011 have already been remixed and remastered, and I plan to add three more tracks. (See my music website for more info on the music.)
I was interested in astronomy when I was much younger but never owned a good telescope. After Christmas in 2021, I bought a 70 mm refractor that has already given me a nice view of Jupiter and three of its moons. I plan to use it more, especially when the weather warms up. I was able to spot the planet Mercury with the naked eye on the evening of January 9, which was exciting because I had never been able to find it before.
I’ve been lifting weights more this winter, especially working the legs and hips because my right hip has been giving me trouble since last June; the doctor said it was an impingement. It’s getting better, though it’s taking its sweet time. Once the range of motion is normal in the hip, I plan to slowly re-introduce running into my walks like I did back in 2012.
My wife suffers from Huntington’s Disease, which is a genetic neurological disease and movement disorder. She is in early to middle stages of the disease, having become symptomatic in early 2014. At this point, her speech comes and goes, sometimes perfectly clear but often slurred; sometimes she cannot speak at all. She has tremors and sometimes jerky movements known as chorea, which are characteristic of the disease. Sometimes she will have trouble swallowing and may choke on food. In addition, her memory is slowly failing: she often remembers what role an actor played in a certain show years ago but will forget what she had for breakfast that morning. Her greatest challenge is mobility: she can only walk a few steps anymore and has a risk of falling. On February 27, 2021, she fell at home and broke her nose.
Despite all of these challenges, much of the time Wendi remains upbeat. The TV and her phone are her mainstays: she enjoys watching murder mysteries and chatting with friends. Our cat, Stormy, kept her company by sitting on her chest and purring, but she passed away on November 8, 2021 at the age of 17; this was a tough loss for Wendi. Our new cat, Olivia, hasn’t paid much attention to her so far.
Wendi still enjoys crafts, especially making homemade greeting cards. Occasionally she and I will play the Wii, or just watch TV and talk. She always has something witty to say, and this is fun! She is also very good at suggesting what to cook for meals. Though she requires more personal care now, I still enjoy her company and hope to do so for quite a few years to come.