Monday, April 23, 2018

Coming Soon!

Pictures and commentary from the Bridal Shower, the last few days leading up to the wedding, and the Wedding itself. I just flat out have not had a moment to post until today. I'll leave this preview photo from the photographer here until I can make a proper post.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Six Days to Go...

Today was my girl's last Saturday as a single lady!

So we went shopping lol.  I finally found my shoes for the wedding. I'd been putting it off and putting it off. I've given up looking for the "perfect" dress. I like the one I bought fine, and Eler Beth likes it, which is what matters. It fits and is comfortable. It will do. I've shopped in every department store and designer boutique in Southern Indiana and Kentucky -- well, at least in a 20-or-so-mile radius of my house. It IS possible to be TOO picky, after all.

Thomas has spent the past week dealing with some major plumbing issues at our house -- this is not the time we need to be dealing with plumbing issues!! So my brother-in-law Bill (P.J.'s husband) and my nephew Brad came up yesterday AND today to help him get it all sorted out. It was so extremely nice of them, and they wouldn't accept payment for any of the hard work they did. Bradley, especially is rather adept at figuring out plumbing problems. I'm not sure how we'll ever repay them. We didn't need to be dealing with it right now, and we certainly didn't need to be paying a big plumber's bill. They fixed the issues we had AND replaced a LOT of pipe AND installed an extra clean out under the house. I love my family!

So, six days and counting!

~~ Lori

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Things Besides Wedding Planning Have Been Going On

But First...NINE MORE DAYS!!

It's getting really real!

Melissa (Anthony's mom) and I have been burning up the phone and Internet lines between us this week. Everything is coming together. 

I can't wait to get these two hitched!!

Other things...

We've had a lot of other things going on this year that I haven't written about here or on Facebook. Of course, there was Thomas' knee replacement, which I DID write about. But being pain-free and able to walk Eler Beth down the aisle without limping wasn't the only reason Thomas decided to have the surgery when he did. He knew he might get laid off in the Spring.

Thomas has always had this uncanny knack for knowing when something big was going to happen at work. He has been with this company for a total of 21 years and over those years he has dealt with contract negotiations every three or four years and the occasional strike or lay off. He has always seen it coming and never have we had to deal with his being off work for very long. One year I can remember him telling me that he had a feeling there was going to be a strike and that it would probably last for quite a while. He had a job lined up before they even voted on the contract. Sure enough, the vote was to strike and the union and company didn't come to terms for four whole months.  But Thomas had us covered.

So last summer he told me that he was getting vibes throughout "the yard" that something was going on with the company and that since 2018 was a contract year he was expecting it to be a difficult contract -- "If it even comes to that," he said. As the year went on he said he had a feeling that it was more than that and that the company was in financial trouble. By December he was talking to a friend of a friend who had offered him a job in the past, just "keeping my options open."  By the end of December we had sat down, done our finances, figured out what Eler Beth's wedding was going to cost (!!!!!), and made sure that if he was off for several weeks recuperating from knee surgery, that we could manage on his short-term disability. "They're going to be laying off, and it would take a lot for them to reach me, but I have a feeling they're going to actually close the doors before contract time in April," is what he told me.

So he made the appointment for the knee surgery, we were kept apprised of what was happening at work by friends, and about every two weeks a group of salaried and hourly employees got their lay off notices. "It'll hit me about the middle of March," he told me.

Sure enough, as of March 12 he was laid off. By that time he had applied to about a dozen companies and had taken interviews with three of them. The company announced before the end of March that it would be closing down completely by May.  Two weeks ago he had five job offers and just had to decide which was going to work best for us, hour-wise and money-wise. Last week he accepted the best offer, we moved his 401k to a different investment firm, and Monday the 9th he will start with a new company.

His former company may regroup and come back in a year or two with new investors/owners, probably non-union, and perhaps not doing the same type of work as before, or it may never come back. But either way Thomas will never work for them again. He gave them a lot of years of his life, a lot of really hard physical labor, and a lot of skill and experience, for which he has vested pension with them. He'll take the hard work, skill, and experience somewhere else now until time to retire, and the work he'll be doing won't be as physically demanding.

I'm glad he had the foresight to see this coming and make the arrangements he did. And I'm glad I had the foresight two years ago to elect a supplemental critical illness insurance through his company because when he got prostate cancer last year, it paid off well. Not that we're glad he got the cancer, but the insurance payment took care of us while he was home recuperating from the knee surgery, paid for Eler Beth's wedding (!!!!! I can't believe how expensive nice -- not extravagant -- weddings are now !!!!!) and kept us from having to really worry about the possibility of his being laid off for a while before finding the right job.

So, yeah, we've been pretty busy and preoccupied the past nine months or so, and not just from wedding planning. So far things are working out okay, and I hope they continue to do so. But if they don't, we'll deal with it. We're resilient and creative, and so far we've faced everything with the right attitude.  Life can throw some wicked curve balls, and things don't always turn out the way we need them to. Sometimes those silver linings are there, and sometimes they aren't. But we're determined to make the most of them when they are there and just plow on when they aren't.

More later...

~~ Lori

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Last Few Details

Tomorrow I'm getting the finalized head count and the menu choices to the caterer. And since I have the day off, I'll be going over all my lists to see what still needs to be done.

I have bought a dress, but I'm not extremely happy with it. I still have a place or two I'm going to look this week. If I don't find something I like better, then I'll go with this one. It looks decent on me, and Eler Beth likes it, but it just wasn't exactly what I wanted.

Thomas and I had dinner tonight at Texas Roadhouse with Andrew and Alexandria AND Eler Beth and Anthony. It is hard to get our schedules to mesh right for us to get to be with all the kids at once like that, so today was very nice. I'm so proud of Andrew and Eler Beth and I love their choices in marriage so much.

It's getting exciting at the Helms house!

~~ Lori

Saturday, March 31, 2018

And the Countdown Begins!!

Two more weeks until the wedding!!!

We've had so much busy-ness the past few weeks. I have a lot to write about!

But not today lol!

~~ Lori

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A New Knee in the New Year

Thomas has needed to have surgery on his right knee for a long time now. He finally decided at the end of 2017 that he wanted to get it done now and be healed and ready to walk Eler Beth down the aisle in April. So he found a surgeon he really liked and plans were made. 

On Wednesday a week ago, we got to the hospital before 5:30 for his 8 am surgery.  Thomas is very cold-natured. Did you know they have these wonderful gowns that have a lining that hot air can be pumped into to keep you warm? We didn't. When they had him change into a gown during the prep, we found out. Here he is with that wonderful warm air encasing him AND a heated blanket. Look at that face. Yes, that man loves his heat!

We might have to get one of these for home.

They took him back earlier than 8, and I waited in the surgical waiting room and watched a movie on Netflix. They kept me informed on how things were going. At 9:50 they notified me that he had done great and was in recovery. The surgery was a bit longer than usual, but that was because he had gone so long on that bad knee that it had bowed out a lot and the doctor took his time straightening out the leg.

When I was able to go back to see him, he barely woke up to acknowledge I was there. At one point he opened his eyes, saw me, and slurred, "You need to go sit down and relax." I thought that was very sweet of him.


It took a while for them to get a room ready for him; the hospital was super busy that day, and they had done 40 surgeries. But soon he was settled, and he ate a few bites of a late lunch/early dinner. Physical Therapy came and got him up in a chair and on his feet that evening, and he walked with the aid of a walker to the bathroom and back to the chair. Then he stayed in the chair for a while. Andrew dropped by on his way home from work and visited with me for an hour, but Thomas didn't wake up the whole time he was there. I got documented proof that he was there, though!

Later Anthony and Eler Beth came to spend the rest of the evening with us. Eler Beth really wanted to spend the night there, but we convinced her to go on home. I stayed though, and soon was in my jammies and ready to stretch out on the little chair that pulled out into a bed.  I took a rare-for-us selfie before Thomas drifted off to sleep. I don't usually allow photos like this of me -- no make-up, sleep-deprived, and in my pajamas!

The next morning Dr. Bell came in around 6:30 to take a look at the knee, and I got my first look at the incision site.

He had his first and second sessions with the physio-therapist that day, and she was very impressed with how well he did. I was impressed and very surprised, although I guess I shouldn't have been. He has always been a very strong man and very active. 

Eler Beth and Anthony spent most of the afternoon with us, and Andrew came by again. This time Thomas was awake and could enjoy his visit. We enjoyed listening to the three kids visiting.

On Friday the doctor said he was keeping him one more day just to give it a little extra rest because it was such an extensive surgery, but that everything looked good. He had two more PT sessions. His appetite came back this day, and for the rest of his stay, he ate good nourishing meals.  

Saturday morning the doctor gave the okay, and I started packing and getting things carried down to the car. He had one more PT session that morning before we left and by early afternoon we were home and Thomas was ensconced in his recliner in the living room.  Before we left the hospital I noticed the board on the wall in his room. "Feel better" lol

Home Health came by on Monday to do Thomas' evaluation and some therapy. He told him he was much, much further along than he was expected to be, and that he was walking so well that he could switch from the walker to a cane. So we retired the walker.

On Tuesday Thomas started acting a bit more like himself. He didn't need the pain meds all throughout the day, and he didn't even use the polar pack (ice-thingy) very often.

Today the therapist came back, put Thomas through his paces, again told him how well he was doing and said that he didn't even have to use the cane if he didn't want to. He had been wandering all over the house with it, so I guess now he'll wander all over without it lol.  I hope he doesn't get TOO bored before he is cleared to go back to work.