Joining Forces Aims to Assist Military and Veteran Caregivers

Yesterday I was privileged to sit in on a conference call announcing great efforts by Joining Forces and RAND Corporation and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation.  


Office of the First Lady



April 11, 2014


Today, as part of their Joining Forces initiative, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden are hosting Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, Senator Elizabeth Dole, and military and veteran caregivers from across the nation to announce commitments that will strengthen the support provided to the friends and loved ones caring for our wounded warriors.  The event will be live streamed at


A fact sheet with information about today’s commitments can be found here.


These commitments follow the release of a RAND Corporation report commissioned by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation that calls attention to the challenges faced by America’s military and veteran caregivers. The report estimates that 5.5 million Americans care for service members and veterans, including 1.1 million caring for someone who served after September 11, 2001. These caregivers provide a tremendous service for our nation, often while enduring their own emotional, physical, and financial hardships.


The following op-ed by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden appeared this morning on the website of Military Spouse Magazine.


On June 7, 2012, Linda Mills received a phone call that changed her life forever: Linda’s husband, Army Staff Sergeant Andrew Mills, had been seriously injured when an IED exploded in Afghanistan.


Almost immediately, Linda quit her job to become Andrew’s full-time caregiver. In the weeks and months after the explosion, Andrew underwent more than 30 surgeries. The two of them moved from North Carolina to Virginia, so that Andrew can rehab at a state-of-the-art military hospital. And every single day, Linda has stood by her husband’s side, helping with physical therapy, assisting with daily personal care, and managing the family’s legal and financial responsibilities.


Today, after two years in her new role as a caregiver, Linda considers herself not just a military spouse, but a nurse, an advocate, a scheduler, and a coach. And as she often says, even a tragedy can lead to a new beginning – in a few weeks’ time, she and Andrew will welcome their first child into the world.


And Linda’s story of commitment and resilience isn’t unusual. There are an estimated 5.5 million military caregivers in our country, including 1.1 million who support our newest generation of post-9/11 veterans. According to a study commissioned by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, many of these caregivers don’t have much of a support network for themselves, and over time, the physical, logistical, and emotional demands of caregiving can take a serious toll. In fact, caregivers report more strains on their relationships at work and at home than non-caregivers. Often, their own health suffers, and they are at higher risk for depression. There are financial consequences too: military caregivers wind up missing as many as three or four days of work a month – and that means lost income as well.

The burden that these women and men bear for our country is real – and they shouldn’t have to shoulder it all alone.


That’s why, three years ago, the two of us started our Joining Forces initiative. We wanted to show our appreciation for the incredible families across America who do so much for our country. And we wanted to show our support not just with words, but with real, concrete action.


This month, we’re celebrating our third anniversary of Joining Forces and taking pride in the progress we have made with help from individuals across the country who’ve stepped up to answer our call. In just three years, hundreds of thousands of veterans and military spouses have been hired or trained by businesses nationwide; all but a few states have streamlined their professional licensing requirements to better meet the needs of veterans and military spouses; and so many schools, faith communities, community groups, and neighbors have found countless ways to make a difference for our military families.


But this month isn’t just about celebrating everything we’ve achieved – it’s about challenging ourselves to do even more for our military families. And that means reaching out to more and more of our military caregivers. We are thrilled to work with Senator Elizabeth Dole and Mrs. Rosalynn Carter to bring together leaders from across the country to make commitments on behalf of these courageous women and men. For instance, the Military Officers’ Association of America, USAA Bank, and the American Bar Association are working together to launch a new website to provide caregivers with legal and financial assistance. Easter Seals is expanding its caregiver training, so that thousands more caregivers can get the skills and resources they need to help their loved ones. And the Chamber of Commerce is expanding its Hiring Our Heroes program to help caregivers get more flexibility in the workplace, so that they can more easily balance their caregiving responsibilities with the demands of their jobs.


Plus, we know how important it is for caregivers to be able to connect with their peers so they can lean on – and learn from – someone who’s stood in their shoes. So we’re proud to announce that the Department of Defense is creating in-person caregiver peer forums at every military installation that serves wounded warriors and their caregivers around the world. They will also be creating online tools, so that caregivers who aren’t able to attend an in-person forum can connect to their peers as well. And on top of all that, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, and many other organizations are committing to train 10,000 caregiving peer mentors – a commitment that will reach 50,000 caregivers nationwide.


All of these new commitments are a big deal, but they’re really just the tip of the iceberg. Because they all come on top of the tremendous caregiver support offered by the military and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Four years ago, President Obama signed the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act, and since then, thousands of caregivers have received travel reimbursements and financial stipends of up to about $2,300 a month. Thousands more have received comprehensive caregiver training, health insurance through the VA, and mental health care and counseling. And through this law, caregivers are eligible for up to 30 days a year of respite care, which means they can relax and re-energize – or just find some time to clean the house and buy some groceries.


So we want to encourage all eligible caregivers to take advantage of these benefits and connect with a host of other resources by visiting and


In the end, that’s really what Joining Forces is all about – connecting military families with the resources available to them, and rallying our country to do even more. So we’ll be asking everyone across America – whether you’re a business owner, a faith leader, or simply a neighbor down the street – to ask yourself what more you can do to help these families that have done so much for us.


And most of all, we want all of our military spouses and caregivers – like Linda Mills and millions of others – to know how awed we are by their strength, determination and service to this country. We’re going to do everything we can to keep rallying people all across this country to step up in ways that make a real difference for them and them families. And we’re going to keep working until we have served them as well as they have served us.


Michelle Obama is First Lady of the U.S., and Dr. Jill Biden is Second Lady of the U.S.


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Guest Post: What happen When Your Autistic Child Ages out of Tricare? One Family’s journey:

I want to thank Erin for sharing her place in cyberspace with me today. She asked me to talk a little about our mildly autistic son after he graduated from high school.

Our son was identified with ADHD at age four through a military base, pre-school pilot program. We were stationed in the DC area at the time and he was sent through the most intensive medical and psychological testing I’ve ever seen. Tricare wouldn’t have covered hardly any of the costs but the program covered it all, thank goodness.

That diagnosis changed to mildly autistic with Asperger Syndrome when our son was 18. Raising a special child is a challenge ALL his life and it gets exponentially complicated once they reach the chronological age of 18. Technically, he’s an adult with all the rights of an adult. Unfortunately for our son, his maturity level was about three to five years behind.
I will say he took to driving very quickly and passed his test the first time. Although both Macho Marine and I have multiple degrees, they did not come with the patience to teach our children, so we hired specialists to teach him to drive. It saved the sanity of all involved.

We were fortunate to have had an excellent counselor who specialized in ADHD boys. He saw that our son’s strength and flexibility was perfect for wrestling and so he joined a wrestling club at age 11. By the time he entered high school, he had the skills to make the team and lettered every year. His junior and senior years he went to the state tournament and did well enough to be offered a college wrestling scholarship.

Moving several states away, dorm life and college didn’t work out for him and he was home before the end of the first semester…with failing grades. Gee, imagine, the professors expected him to do the homework—all of it—and turn it in. We quickly got him into the local community college and he lived at home where we could supervise the homework situation. That didn’t work out either. After numerous tries, we all agreed to abandon college.

In Tennessee, we are privileged to have one of only eight vocational rehabilitation centers in the USA specializing in students 18-25 who are higher-functioning yet still fall under the guidelines for VocRehab. Our son waited over a year after he was accepted into the self-paced program for a slot to open. In the meantime, he’d been hired as a construction helper so when he arrived for the construction program, he had a leg up on the others. It’s a residency program where they live in a dorm and attend classes all week but must earn privileges through good behavior. They are supervised 24/7 but treated as young adults.
When he graduated, the state VocRehab worked with him to find a job, but he found one on his own.

He now gets up every morning in time to drive to work and arrives early, works hard all day and comes home dirty and tired. Being construction, it’s on and off. He’s learned that filling the gas tank on his truck costs a lot and we’re working with him on making good decisions with his money. Since he’s technically self-employed, he has to save money for his taxes and the things he wants to buy, like a new laptop, the latest gaming station, etc.
He is now reimbursing us for his insurance which brings me to Tricare. As I said in the beginning, raising a special child is a challenge ALL his life. It had always been our hope that he would grow out of this…his maturity and age would merge…he would be able to become responsible for himself. That hasn’t happened, yet.

Last year, we went through the court process to become his legal guardians. This was the hardest decision Macho Marine and I ever had to make as parents. The older he got, the more necessary it became for us to legally bind him to us and to protect him and his future. Now, we are working through the process (aka paperwork) for Secondary Dependency where he’ll be changed from the Tricare Young Adult to a full dependent. That has to be completed by his 26th birthday.

Even though he is now a legal adult, working most of the time, his psychiatrist has warned us that it will be difficult for him to hold a job for any length of time because of his Asperger’s. Even though his boss is aware of his condition, co-workers aren’t and are sometimes less tolerant of his ways.

I still have to remind him of things that should have become habit years ago, such as brushing his teeth, putting on deodorant, taking his meds. Some days I get the “Mom, I’m not an eight-year-old,” but other days I get the “Oh” followed by a fast dash from the room.
Having a mildly autistic son has been a connecting point for me to many other romance writers. I am awed by the number of authors I meet who have an autistic child and most often it’s a boy. By the way, we never write about them but we are all still hoping for their Happily Ever After.

Another interesting thing I’ve discovered about romance authors is that most are happily married and have been for years and years. Macho Marine and I celebrated our 35th anniversary in December and one critique partner reached their 32nd and another hit 38th.

Speaking of my new profession, my debut romantic suspense, Explosive Combination, is now on sale. I was finally able to talk my publisher into 15% off Military Discount through the end of April.
NOTE: Explosive Combination is a romantic suspense written at the blaze/spicy level (3 out of 5 flames – that “grey” book is a 5)

For more information, check out my website at


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Making Progress

As the move date grows closer, the pressure mounts.  I feel the stress in the pit of my stomach nearly all day long and when I wake up during the night.  The medical, educational and travel paperwork seems to multiply every week.  We are making progress, though.

We took the boys and all applied for our passports last week.  We drove an hour to the military base and spent about two hours filling out paperwork and sitting for pictures.  Each of us needs two passports for this station:  diplomatic and tourist.  We have to pay for our tourist passports but because they are required for this posting, we might get reimbursed once we are on station.  The thing I found odd is that adult passports are valid for ten years and cost $110, while children’s passports are valid for five years and cost only $5 less.  Where’s the logic in that?  Expenses related to our many moves add up quickly.  $640 paid for the passports is the first of what will be a long tally, and tidy sum, by the time we are settled in our new location.

Dwight's passport picture from when we first moved overseas in 2006.

Dwight’s passport picture from when we first moved overseas in 2006.

I try to get a little of the house organizing done each day.  The basement is the largest of the tasks, with its toys, 1000s of legos and books, but every room holds jobs to be tackled.  These days, I walk into a room and get distracted by the organizing.  We have to sort everything before we pack out because we don’t want to pack things we no longer want or need.  Harold and Bob have colds, so I looked for medicine in the closet for them last night and ended up spending 45 minutes throwing out expired medications and other things in the closet.  This effort delayed Harold’s bedtime and I’ll pay for it today.  The other day, I gave Harold a five minute warning to come inside for dinner and end up spending 30 minutes cleaning things off of the deck and out of the garage.

Bob’s pajama shirt fell behind his bed and when we pulled the under-the-bed drawer out so he could crawl under the bed to retrieve the shirt, I could not keep myself from sorting through the clothes in the drawer, to pull out some warmer weather clothes and make a pile of clothes to donate.  I feel a compulsion to fill bags of things to throw out or donate in every room I enter.  This means two things: I am making progress, but I am also so distracted that I cannot focus on any one task.  I forget what I entered a room for, put off one task to do another, and even wear mismatched shoes because I have some sort of move related, situational ADHD!


I looked down at the doctor’s waiting room and saw I’d worn mismatched shoes

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Asbestos Awareness Week 2014

Heather Von St. James is a cancer survivor. Every year, 3000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma, and in 2005, she was one of them. At age 36, she was diagnosed with mesothelioma just a few months after her first and only child, Lily, was born. She was given just 15 months to live unless she underwent a drastic surgery to remove her left lung. Miraculously, she beat the odds and is still here eight years later.

Asbestos, the only known cause of mesothelioma, was used throughout the U.S. military in hundreds of applications. One third of diagnoses are members of the military due to the past use of asbestos in naval ships, military buildings, and vehicles.

Heather had never worked with asbestos, but her father did, and secondhand exposure as a child was enough to make her sick decades later. Due to that exposure she experienced the distress, agony, and anguish this disease can cause, but has found a positive and purposeful calling, fighting for victims of mesothelioma and other diseases caused by asbestos.

Because of that, Asbestos Awareness Week (April 1 – 7) is very close to her heart. We are dying to be heard, and this week creates a voice for the victims, and together we can work toward an end to mesothelioma and asbestos disease.

Check out her awareness page, and together we can help educate and protect people from this preventable disease!



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The Panic Ebbs and Flows

A household move, for any reason, places stress on every member of the family.  I’m pretty sure it is safe to say that an overseas move is more stressful than most.  I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again, but, each time, it only gets slightly less overwhelming, stressful, tiring… (need I go on?)

We decided that it would be worth the trouble to take Westley, our German Shorthaired Pointer, with us to Taiwan.  He has become a true member of our family and we cannot imagine life without him.  Our wheels-up date is mid July, but I learned two weeks ago that the dog needs a rabies titer blood test no less than 180 days before he is permitted entry into Taiwan.  For the mathematically challenged, that puts Westley’s wheels-up date approximately three months AFTER ours.  This is why I am having a panic attack, right now!

Harold and Wes

One should not dismiss the physical toll stress like this takes on the body.  My heart is racing, my stomach feels like it wants to turn inside out, and I’d like to dive into a pint of ice cream right now; but I’ve worked too hard getting healthy to do that, so I’m going to run on the treadmill instead, and hope that helps.

I’m trying to figure out how to get Westley cared for in the time he is in limbo, while not inconveniencing anyone…  too much.  However I plan the logistics, it will be complicated and inconvenient, I am just trying to figure out how to minimize the effects.

There are pet relocation facilitators out there, and we may resort to that, but the costs are not insignificant.  I’ll figure it out, but the process is complicated and tiring.

And now for the helpful bit for other military spouses dealing with a stressful PCS move right now…

In order to get through moments like this, in addition to exercise or snacking, I try very hard to remind myself that while the anxiety is high now and the tasks at hand seem insurmountable, it will all get done and in a few short months the stress will all be behind me.  In August, we will be getting settled in Taipei. (OK, still stressful, but a different sort of stress.)  I will have figured out all of the details of reuniting with our sweet pup, and the panic attacks will be but a memory.

Perspective is key to getting through any stressful time in life and there’s always a way to find it, you just have to look for it.

Oh, and did I mention we will be out of the country for five years, instead of three?  Home is where the Navy sends us…




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Is it Bigotry or Ignorance?

One of my boys is hurting and I can’t do anything about it except support and be present for him.  Maybe my readers can make suggestions of how I can handle this dilemma.

Dwight’s “friends” enjoy cracking Jewish jokes.  It seems that they REALLY enjoy it.  They do it in his presence and when he’s not around.  They say them to him and to each other, and they text them and instagram them.  They have been doing it, off and on, for a few months, but the tempo is increasing.  The girls on his bus are tormenting him, telling jokes back and forth during the 15 minute ride home.  His friends even sometimes break out in a session of bigotry when they are all hanging out.  Yesterday, when they were shooting hoops, they ended up circling around him, telling jokes in rapid fire.  I think that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  Dwight is losing his patience.  He is tired of waiting for them to get over their bigotry and leave him alone.  He only feels truly “safe” when his one Jewish friend is with him.  He likes his friends, though, and wants them to knock it off and realize that what they are doing is “not cool” and not ok.  He wants to be friends with them but does not want to be a target.

At first, when he initially told me what was going on, Dwight said they were just trying to be funny and he didn’t mind it.  He said he “could handle it.”  I explained to him that whether he minded or not, it’s not ok for people to make those jokes and that it means they are either bigoted or racist or ignorant, if not all three.  I know many of the boys’ parents and I think that if they knew this was going on, they’d be mortified and attempt to put a stop to it, but Dwight has sworn me to secrecy.  I understand his reluctance to rat out his friends to their parents and to name names at school.  No one wants to be seen as a snitch and it would likely make him more of a target.  His school is good in these situations, though, and I explained that there is a way they can help him without singling him out.  Teachers will say they overheard the jokes and work around having to say they heard it from him or me.  He asked me to wait, though.  He thinks if he spends more time with them and continues to tell them that what they are doing is racist and rude they will stop.  I told him I would respect his wishes but assured him that there are people who could work with us to make it stop.

I was happy to hear that there are a few standouts amongst the group who stand up for Dwight.  It nearly came to blows yesterday.  I encouraged Dwight to focus on spending time with those boys, rather than the others.  He said that he won’t be able to change the other guys’ behavior if he doesn’t spend time with them, so he wants to keep trying.  I really admire him for his persistence because I could see he was shaken when he got home from school today.

Do these kids truly believe the stereotypes they spout?  Do they really think what Hitler did is funny?  Or, are they just ignorant to the depth of what they are saying?  Will they realize their words do hurt as much as a fist?

Part of me is comforted by the fact that we are literally leaving the country and will put an ocean and continent between Dwight and his tormenters, I mean friends.  Horatio, though, wonders if we should not tell people we are Jewish.  He wants to protect the boys from the ignorance in the world.  I really don’t think that’s the answer or solution to the problem.  Dwight and his brothers should be proud of who they are, just like anyone else in the world.  They know that differences do not make us, or anyone, better or worse than anyone else.  I hope Dwight continues to love being who he is and that the bullying ends… before we flee the country.

Any insight, dear readers?


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Teach Your Toddler Safe Driving Habits Now!

It feels like yesterday my oldest son, Zack, was a five year old kindergartener and I was busy taking care of him and his two younger brothers.  Now, seemingly suddenly, he is nearly 16 years old and the youngest of his three younger brothers is now in kindergarten.

Monday night, Zack, Horatio and I attended a mandatory driver education lesson for parents and kids.  The issue that was most stressed during the lesson is that parents are the biggest influence on teen driving habits.

I believe this theory 100%.  It’s like everything else we do as parents.  We have to model the behavior we want to see in our kids.  It’s as simple as having good eating habits, not yelling and losing our temper when we get upset, and making our bed when we get up in the morning.  If we want our kids to have positive behaviors, we have to show them how to do it.

As our kids get older, the modeling we did when they were younger, good or bad, will become evident.  The thing is, you can’t model bad behavior and then suddenly tell your child: toddler or teen, to do as you say and not as you do.  Our kids are watching our every move.  We are their biggest influence.  We can’t drink to excess in front of our kids and then expect them to listen when we tell them alcohol and drugs are bad for them, just like we can’t practice poor driving habits and expect them to follow the rules.  We have to start when our kids are small.  It’s hard to imagine the adorable two year old as a teenager, but it happens before you know it.

At Monday’s driver’s education class, the teacher and school police officer both stressed the terrible influences of distractions on drivers, especially young drivers.  Among the most dangerous distractions, is a cell phone.  Drivers talking on the phone are four times more likely to crash (whether they are talking hands free, or not) and drivers texting are 23 times more likely to crash!  Driving while talking is equivalent to driving while intoxicated.  It doesn’t feel like we are distracted by talking on a cell phone, but studies have proven otherwise.  If a call is important enough to take, it’s important enough to pull off of the road to take it.  It is easy to spot the drivers who are talking or texting.  They are slowing down and speeding up erratically, they are weaving over the lane boundaries, making sudden stops and missing their highway exits.

See this video of a study showing how truly distracting the phone can be.

The evidence is clear.  Turn your cell phones off in the car.  Parents can download apps to disable their children’s phones in moving cars: and are two good ones.

Texting and driving is severely disabling to a driver.  Texting takes the eyes off of the road for 30 seconds, or more, at times, during which a car can travel hundreds of feet, basically making the speeding car driverless!

Please watch this moving video about the real life effects of texting and driving.  Do not let yourself or loved ones be affected by tragedies like these.

Start teaching your toddlers/elementary schoolers/all children safe driving habits now.  It’s not too late!

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MilitaryOneClick Survey- Earn an Amazon gift card!

Whether you are a military mom, military dad, military spouse, or active duty service member, your military status often impacts the choices you make for your family. Every day, brands are interacting with you to foster a relationship as well as earn your trust as a consumer. Brands’ affiliations with the military add an interesting layer to this relationship and we at MilitaryOneClick have partnered with Mom Central Consulting to find out how brands are capturing your loyalty through this 15-minute survey.

We’ll ask questions about the brands you love and how the decisions you make are impacted by your status as a military family. And as a thank you for taking our survey, Mom Central will randomly selected ten winners to receive a $25 Amazon gift code.

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Please feel free to contact us at, or Mom Central at, with any questions.

Thanks for your participation,

the MilitaryOneClick team

All information obtained through this survey will be kept completely confidential and used only to better understand general trends in the larger community. Mom Central promises to never share or distribute your personal information with any outside parties.

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Gannett Survey Opportunity

Gannett is conducting qualitative research with military families. They are looking to interview spouses in Washington, DC; Norfolk, VA; San Diego, CA; Fayetteville, N.C.; Jacksonville, N.C.; and Fort Hood, TX about being a military family.

Interviews will be in person and last between 60-90 minutes. They are compensating participants with $50 in cash. The research is for internal purposes only, nothing will be published. The goal is to better understand the experience of military families.

Here is the recruit form.

Good luck!

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The B&*$# is Back

Freezing rain forced at two hour delay of the school day, so the kids had time to hang out and relax before leaving the house this morning.  As I was making breakfast, nine year old Bob wondered aloud about why the kitchen was so cold.  My first reaction was to say that it is always colder in the kitchen and family room, especially in the morning, because that section of the house is an addition and the heat doesn’t reach it as well as it does the rest of the house.

As I headed upstairs to fold some laundry, though, I noticed that it was colder than usual in the rest of the house as well.  A quick check of the thermostat revealed a problem.  The temperature is set at 69 degrees and the thermostat read 63 degrees.  I hurried down to the basement and checked the furnace.  It was silent.  Not good news.  I knew right away that the B$*&%, Mrs. Murphy, was back.  I don’t know why she is picking on me.


Horatio was shaking his head in dismay when his image came up on Facetime after he read my email letting him know about the events at home.

I know enough to know that my mom couldn’t help me with this one, so I first called the heating and cooling company with whom we have a service contract.  We’ve had a contract with them since 2004, so I knew they’d be quick to help.  The gate keeper/receptionist told me that a technician named Marco would be out between 9:00 and 12:00 and, sure enough, he showed up at 9:40.

Meanwhile, I remembered that we have a home warranty that would cover the problem.  As the issue is that we had no heat and getting heat back on was top priority, I decided to hear what Marco diagnosed the problem as and go from there.  If the problem was a quick fix and not expensive, I’d just let him do it.  Otherwise, I’d call the warranty company.  On a military salary we always have to watch our expensive closely.  So, when Marco told me the problem was a broken power switch that he had to drive an hour to retrieve and the part would cost $316 + labor, in addition to the $40 service call fee to diagnose the problem, I explained the home warranty situation.  I told him I’d find out if we could get it fixed through the warranty company, where it would cost me only $75.  He understood why I needed to do that.  So, he made some notes for me so that I could tell the warranty company exactly what we need, and left in time for me to take the boys, and two of our neighbor’s children, to school.

I got home and immediately went online to fill out the warranty company’s service request form.  I will skip the tedious and annoying details of sitting on hold for 45 minutes and talking with a grouchy technician who refused to just get the part and come to fix the problem the other guy found, without first coming to diagnose the problem himself.  When he finally did come out, he found the pressure switch to be in perfectly fine condition.  He could get the heat to come on numerous times.  He replaced the switch nonetheless and now our house is gradually warming up. Total cost, including $40 to the first company and $75 to the second, $115- much better than $400+.

The coldest the house got was in the high 50s in the basement and around 60 in the rest of the house.  I have space heaters, used earlier in the week to defrost our frozen pipes, so I was toasty warm most of the day.  I kept busy to keep warm and sat in front of the heater when I wasn’t busy.

I didn’t post on facebook about our heat dying, like I did about our pipes.  I needed advice about how to fix the pipe problem, but today there was no advice to be sought.  It wasn’t a problem I could solve without professional help.  Posting on facebook would have brought offers of help, shelter and more, from my great friends.  I find it hard to accept help.  I like to just get through things on my own.  Of course, if it had gotten terribly cold I would have reached out to a friend or taken the kids to a hotel, but it didn’t get that far.  For that, I am grateful.  I love my friends and know they support me and would be happy to help, but I really hate to take it.  I guess I’m stubborn.

All’s well that ends well.  I just hope Mrs. Murphy takes her leave now.  I really don’t want to see her again any time soon.  Horatio won’t be back for four more days, she is not welcome back.


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