Backbreaking Day, 10-14-21

Remember all the rest of those plants that were still outside? The nights are getting down into the low 40’s and high 30’s and even though the succulents WOULD probably survive, they wouldn’t be happy so yesterday was the day they came inside. And I must say, this is ridiculous and I’m too old for this backbreaking work! I’m going to count the plants but I’m guessing over 100 and they needed to go to the basement!!!

After I got them to the basement, only one set of lights would work so I tried buying new 4’ light fixtures locally. None to be had – every store said they were having a hard time getting bulbs as well as fixtures. So Amazon to the rescue – but lights won’t come till Monday leaving my plants in the dark for nearly 4 days.

I should have bought a greenhouse instead of Little Red!

Hauling the plants in exhausted my anger after driving to Wuerflein Chevy in Albert Lea, MN to keep my appointment to put on a front license plate bracket. When I got there they knew nothing about my phone call which was on October 4. The receptionist put me through to the parts department who said they’d order the bracket and made me an appointment for yesterday to put it on.

I lost my temper – I was told that most owners considered this a sports car and chose not to put a license plate in the front. I yelled “I live in Iowa! It’s the law!”

I had taken Hazel with me and we had walked around the area for 20-30 minutes before they came out and we had this conversation. I left in a very bad mood and assured them I’d never be back.

As I told Rick the story, I added that Little Red has been nothing but trouble and this is what he said, “But it’s so cute!” Haha! I had to agree. But I think a greenhouse would have been less trouble – maybe, maybe not.

So that’s why I had too much angry energy and could carry all those plants to the basement. I checked my step counter and it was over 4.6 miles – down the steps carrying heavy plants and back up again to get another one.

Today I am feeling the pain – lower back, calves, arms and my hands are simply in agony – not only from holding on to the pots but because the ends of several fingers are cracked wide open. I have tried everything you all suggested the last time I mentioned this and my dermatologist says it’s because I use my hands so much. Well, what are hands for????

I will be wearing my white cotton gloves all day every day for awhile. Today I will be doing nothing.

I should have bought a greenhouse.

66 thoughts on “Backbreaking Day, 10-14-21

  1. Judy A.

    Ugh. I share your sentiments 🙁 I usually have an Aleve chaser after breakfast, and more for a bedtime snack.
    And yes, Little Red is cute as the dickens!

  2. Rhoda

    You still can buy a greenhouse
    Sell some plants. Sell Little Red which you may not want to do.
    Aloe Vera lotion and gloves in cold weather.
    Yes why are phone calls ignored in today’s world is my question?
    Hire kids to move those plants if you can find the kids.

    Prayers for your sore muscles

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Rhoda – and therein lies the problem – I don’t know of one kid willing to do physical work, do you?

  3. Kathy Hanson

    I hope that you are resting with your feet up and your hands quiet and your Aleve, or whatever you usually take, taken and Hazel on your lap! WOW! I hear you though, being angry does make you get a lot done but… you have SO MUCH work that you do! Whew! I wouldn’t be able to tackle all of that….you are amazing! I am sure that you are enjoying “little red” and that is good. Maybe a greenhouse will be in your future! Thinking of you and hoping you are enjoying your “Day Off!!!” Sending hugs and love!

  4. Debbie G

    Passing along the best thing that I have found for cracks in my fingers. Gold Bond Cracked Skin Fill & Protect. I use it mostly at night when I am sitting in my chair. While it may not be 100%, it is the product that has made the biggest improvement for me. I have a tube in my stitching basket by my chair in my living room, one tube in my purse, and of course one in the top drawer of my sewing machine cabinet! And tell me again why excellent customer service is so hard for companies to provide!!! Ugh! I feel your pain.

  5. Carmen

    Mary, there is a product called No-Crack that is wonderful for cracked hands and fingers. There are several formulas, but for you, I think the night would be best. Of course you can combine the different formulas. Duluth Trading does carry some, and probably amazon. The website used to have a where to buy, but it’s not there now. Good luck, I personally know how painful cracked fingers are.

  6. Tanya T. in Houston

    Just wait until we get photos of you and Connie toodling around in Little Red! That will make all the license plate snafu long forgotten. ! Sorry for all your plant exercise, but those plants will be beautiful again! Hang in there…and take care of those hands!!

  7. Angie from Baltimore

    BUT Little Red must make you happy when you drive her? You need a day of rest enjoy it.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Angie from Baltimore- Little Red really is so fun to drive but I can only take Hazel so I don’t get to drive it very often – I feel too sorry for Telly having to stay home.

  8. Louverna

    My uncle always used Cornhuskers lotion on the farm.
    My son had an open wound and the hospital nurse said ‘Bag Balm’ (used on sore cow udders) was the best for lots of things. She was right. Drug stores sell it now – not just farm and feed stores.
    I bet you and Hazel looked pretty cute tooling down the road in Little Red.
    Take care,

    1. Marj in Western Wisconsin

      I agree on the bag balm. My husband and I have found that we put it on at night quite thick, put on rubber gloves while we sleep and in a day or two, feeling much better.

  9. Lois Ann Johnson

    What a totally frustrating day for you, Mary! Yes–I could “feel” your pain clear over here in Humboldt! I am sure all of us have experienced days like that and we just have to take a deep breath and get on with our day when that happens. I tis a beautiful, cool day here. I am driving over to the Ft. Dodge apple orchard with a couple of friends. We will have lunch, do some shopping and enjoy our “girls day out.” I hope your mood is better today and I also pray your hands are healing.

  10. Deb E

    Been there myself – when you have cracked skin it hurts & stops you from doing things you want to! I love your truck, though! I’d recommend “Urea Cream 40% Plus Salicylic Acid 4.6 Oz” – we bought it on Amazon but you can get it at Walmart, too. Its made for cracked skin – it really helps soften up skin so it doesn’t crack and helps with healing. We use it for our heels, especially, but you do lots of work with your hands & its made for that, too.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Deb E – I have Urea Cream 40% by prescription and 20% over the counter – I’d better give it another try.

  11. Terri Mulinix

    Dearest Mary, your car is way cute. My dad wanted one but never would break over and buy one. I too am so tried for dealing with people at businesses that can’t seem to even do their jobs. My daughter keeps telling me to stress about the things I can change not the ones I can’t. Easier said than done.
    Enjoy your car, you’ll find another place to put the tag bracket on.
    But to your hands with washing mine so many time trying to keep everyone health and hand sanitizer I had mine cracked everywhere, my dermatologist had gave me Aveeno (cracked skin relief) to try. It worked miracles on my hands and it’s over the counter. But like you I have trouble finding things in rural Oklahoma so I ordered mine on Amazon. Life will seem better once you rest for a day and go out and look at some fabric. Blessing to you and your family. Terri

  12. Karel

    Hi Mary,

    Sorry to hear about your sore body after moving plants! I have some to move also, but not that many! I winter over geraniums in my garage, off the floor, and we keep it just above freezing. I have a suggestion for your hands….Magnesium lotion ( Life-flo) which I order off Amazon. I noticed the difference on my hands by accident…I was using the lotion for tight muscles on my legs and used the extra on my hands. It really helped this summer from drying them out while gardening and I always wear gloves. I make sure I use on regular basis, mostly at night. It helped during winter also with dry, cracked hands. It’s very reasonable to buy. Good luck!

  13. Mary

    Hi Mary!
    The miracle moisturizing cream my husband uses on his hands is CeraVe. He had terrible cracks for entire seasons and this stuff healed them. He uses it regularly now.

  14. Carla

    Mary~ I should have bought a greenhouse 😑 Me~ 🤣🤣🤣. Seriously though, I hope you feel better in all ways soon.

  15. Gloria Frerichs

    You made my day with the greenhouse vs little red truck comments. When I bought my Corvette several years ago it only had a rear license plate bracket. The first time I drove it I got picked up!! When the highway patrolman walked up to my window I protested that I hadn’t been speeding. He smiled and said you don’t have a license plate on the front. I told him the dealer told me a sports car doesn’t need one. He said in Iowa you do. Gave me a ticket and I had 5 days to put the plate on. As he walked away he said “nice car!” Needless to say the dealer paid the fine and installed the license plate bracket.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Gloria F – I should send your email to the dealer! The people who traded Little Red in bought a new Corvette – they are such valued customers that their picture is up on a huge billboard as you come into town! They obviously do not value me as a customer as Little Red cost 1/3 of their new Corvette.

  16. Mary Says Sew!

    Mary, on the Greenhouse vs. Little Red decision, I have two points to consider:
    1. Greenhouses need plumbing.
    2. Greenhouses need electricity.
    Both come with inherent troubles.
    Also, you can’t drive a greenhouse.

    I wholeheartedly agree about the lack of service, especially when you contact a business by phone. Nobody wants to write anything down these days! Instead they want to make appointments, pay bills and do all communication online. Often that’s the easiest and quickest way, but there are circumstances when that just doesn’t work and you need to talk to a responsible person.

    Gloria, I loved your story about your Corvette. I think you are very lucky the dealer paid your ticket and put on the bracket. OTOH, the dealer should have known you needed the license plate in front!

    1. Gloria Frerichs

      Absolutely he should have known that. The dealer was in Clear Lake, Iowa which is about 40 minutes from Charles City. Side note – he is no longer in business.

  17. Mary K Hearn

    It seems to me that you are in pain due to the plants, not from driving Little Red. There fore I would keep driving her and forget the greenhouse because it will cause you more work and more pain. Time to enjoy ” the ride.”

  18. Jo in Wyoming

    Little Red is way cute’r than a green house. Where is company when you need them?
    Our letter carrier was finishing his basement and between the drywall dust and handling paper plus the elements his hands became so cracked. Even his palms were cracked open and bleeding. The dermatologist prescribed some salve that healed him up in about 3 days. I don’t know what it was, but it was a miracle. O’Keefes, bag balm, Gold Bond, all those products are good for OTC.
    In many cases I think “service” needs to be redefined. Or a more realistic term used. It is odd that we can order from Amazon and get products fairly fast. Brick and Mortar won’t have the product for weeks!!! I’m still searching for an acceptable explanation for that.
    I do have some fantastic news to share…I had my hip replaced last week, the 6th. 3 years of torture. But, I did do a lot of strength training and exercises before. I went to my first PT Wednesday, they graduated me from the walker to the cane. She said I can do all the stairs now and next week may graduate off the cane!! I’m so excited, my sewing machine, iron, fabric is all stair steps away. My quilting playground is 13 stair steps away.
    I will still use the walker and cane at night to go to the bathroom, for safety reasons. I almost shed a tear at this news. I know you all are as happy as me .
    This weekend, as every weekend, I’m going to win the lottery. Mary, I get you a sparkly new green house.
    Cheers to all

    1. Betty Klosterman

      Absolutely wonderful! The pre-surgery strength training is a great idea. Makes recovery so much easier. Congratulations. Have fun in your quilting playground!!! Just be careful. Nothing wrong with the walker!
      Betty in Rapid City

    2. Janice Hebert

      Such good news, Jo! You must be so excited to get to sew again! I hope you do win the lottery, lol! Jan in MA

  19. Amy M

    I think we are seeing the effects of the pandemic every where. You wouldn’t think a car dealership would be impacted but not getting parts, not having cars to sell because the computer chips are on a boat somewhere, etc. they probably don’t enjoy work these days. It is very hard but someone posted the message “The world is short-handed right now, so be kind to those that do show up”. I think it was meant more for restaurants, grocery stores etc but I’ve been trying to tell myself that because it seems I do have a daily list of phone calls to make to follow up on action not taken by others (ie doctor’s office sending in prescription refill).

    I agree you should be able to find a dealer that will put it on for you. They can order almost any part, if not I bet you could order it from AutoZone or O’Reilly etc.

    Do you have a big work light maybe you could plug in for the plants until the bulbs arrive?

    Agree with others on your day off but I’m going to suggest two days off!! : )

  20. Sue in Oregon

    Do I dare say this?….Maybe a few less plants?
    I do not blame you at all for getting mad. I have always thought that (some) car mechanics treat women very badly.

    Red is so-o-o cute!

  21. Launa

    I ALWAYS ASK THE PHONE PERSON’s NAME and write It down and date!
    Poor Little Red!
    Cold 32o up here! Elk hunters are out in force! We are posted..NO TRESPASSING, No Hunting nor fishing and our metal gates are closed..need code to enter!

    Sometimes I think whatever leather gloves are treated with causes the split fingers. I’ve used Bag Balm with good results and switched to Dawn for dishwashing.

    I have good luck with 500 mg. Tylenol for my arthritis…some days are worse than others! My doctor recommended it.

    Hope you have a better day!

  22. Helen

    Sounds like you are getting lots of advice for healing your hands. The best I’ve found is Aquaphor ointment. Put it on at night, wear your clean, white gloves, healed in the morning. Hope you find a solution. I don’t have any advice for keeping Big Red. I do agree, greenhouses do require some work!! Better keep Red! I would probably just leave the plants outside and buy new ones in the spring! just me! hah!

  23. Diane Cannon

    Oh my–I am right there with you–I should of bought—–!! Though my purchases are much smaller than a vehicle!!! But I have said those words myself–more than once–so you have some company–but then again Rick is right–it is a happy looking–fun–vehicle!!! So just go out and get in it and go shopping–get some more pumpkins or mums–oh and maybe Hazel would like to go with you again!!
    hugs, from Florida

  24. Kathy in western NY

    Wonderful news from Jo!!! I am glad to hear she is on the mend and will be back to her sewing sanctuary very soon. Hurrah for PT and keep on moving, friend!!

    I always say my happiest ride was when I had a white Chevy van. I loved driving that vehicle. And the animals had the best ride anywhere we went. The benefit was we could open up the back doors and have a picnic any time we wanted to.
    I then went to a smaller car and as cute and fast as it was (Daytona), I missed my Chevy van so much. I think they are making them again with the windows. I have seen more families in our area put up greenhouses so I figured it was to grow their own foods longer.

    We went to Lowe’s last week for some bathroom hand rails ( yup getting older and unstable at night) and decided on some other things and a young man was so kind to offer to help us get them out to our vehicle. I was so happy that we chatted for awhile and he also was a local firemen. I chased him back into the stores with a $5 bill and said to get a cup of coffee on his way home. Both my husband and I said we couldn’t have found nicer people waiting on us too as another man climbed a ladder to get something high up for me and was so pleasant. We looked at replacement long tubes for some lights in our basement but they didn’t have his size needed and they are all LED now. The man said they will come in eventually. I think we all have to reduce our expectations for awhile due to staffing shortages everywhere as hard as it is cause we are use to immediate results. Life sure has changed.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Kathy in NY – I ordered some LED lights from Amazon which should last the rest of my life – ha! I won’t get rid of my van – it’s too easy to take the dogs but Little Red is pretty fun!

  25. Lee Bowers

    Mary, Mary, Mary. Wish I had a nickle for everytime I have made that same remark…”should have”!!
    I have a friend in Va. who has a huge garden and lots of large indoor plants. Greenhouse is the way to go.
    Her husband even put hers together…pretty easy. She has had hers for probably five years. Her husband offered to buy her a new one but she says its got a few more years. Great for starting seedlings and housing your plants.
    But, with over a hundred succulents you would need a huge greenhouse. Maybe little red truck was a good idea.
    Waiting for a ride in North Carolina….Lee Bowers

  26. Bonnie in Az.

    Mary, I read your blog post to myself and then out loud to my husband. We both enjoyed it and got a few laughs. Glad you still have a sense of humor even though some things aren’t going too well lately.

    We have trouble with cracked, bleeding fingers and our heels. We use Vitamin E oil and cover with band aids. It works in a couple days. The oil seems to take the pain away rather quickly. As an aside, it is especially helpful for burns.

    Remember, this too shall pass. Meanwhile, enjoy some much deserved rest!! Maybe it’s time to read a good book.

  27. SueAnn Boitnott

    I have been using Lotil Cream for many years. I believe it is made in England. Nothing works better for me. My fingers used to crack and be so painful. Now I can get it from my health food store. I first ordered it from The Vermont Country Store online. I hope this helps.

  28. Janet S

    NO!! You CANNOT sell Little Red.
    You may have to face cutting down on the number of plants – not getting any younger etc. Someday you may have to leave the farm and leave plants behind but you could still take Little Red. Just think how happy you will be then.
    In the meantime, have a good rest with your feet up and relax. Everything will work out.

  29. Ellen Franzen

    My mom lives at Prairie View and she really enjoyed your visit a couple weeks ago. She even commented on your new ride!!!!!! She thought it was soooo cute!

    1. Jeanne Fee

      I have heard udder balm is good for your cracked fingers. I just love and look forward to your daily messages! Last Summer I was at Clear Lake three different times and I wanted to find you and meet you. My mother was from Garner and I still have family in the area! Have a great weekend!

      1. Mary Etherington Post author

        Jeanne Fee – well, come and see me next summer! I’m so easy to find – on Hwy 18 west of Garner

      1. Anonymous

        My Grandma Olson lived at Prairie View! It was such a nice place and always had great programs!

  30. Rosalie

    Mary, I know that had to be so frustrating. And it’s not like you live in the same town. We have to drive an hour each way to service our vehicles.
    Perhaps next year plan to give away some of the bigger pots in the fall (and keep a small start for a new plant) – it might be time to have a smaller garden. I only have 1 plant to carry in before it freezes here in Texas. I don’t recommend a greenhouse as the cost to heat it can be outrageously expensive even here in Texas and I can’t imagine what it would cost in Iowa. A blogger I read (Judy Laquidera of Patchwork Times) had one in central Texas and they went through hundreds of gallons of propane to heat it.
    Have a great day (or two) off.

  31. Frances E

    Ooh, so sorry for your hands. Since we are close to the same age, I can recommend that you reduce the number of your plants. I’ve done that, and the ones I kept STILL require work! Little Red is worth keeping. You would be sorry if you sell her. You have so many other interests. I’m busy finishing your Shirt pattern. As soon as I get it back from the quilter, I will send a picture of it. Mine looks different than yours. Rest!

  32. Dee

    I had problems with my hands. The doctor gave me steroids to clear it up but said I would need to go to a dermatolgist and would have problems the rest of my life. I took the steriods until it clear and it started to come back so I rub coconut oil on my hands and wear rubber beds to bed with the oil on. So far it has worked.

  33. Betty Klosterman

    Lots of sympathy and suggestions. Plants multiply like rabbits. I, too, have cut way back on plants as my house doesn’t have room or good windows. When I trim them back, I just have to shut my eyes and throw the trimmings in the garbage. It hurts!! A greenhouse isn’t the answer as it is another full time job.
    Just think what you could do with a big “PLANT SALE?” I know, like selling the children.

    Do you wear leather gloves when working with the pots and other outside work? I couldn’t do any outside work with out them. There are so many new products for battered skin. My choice would be CereVe or the suggestion of a pharmacist in Grandby, Co, about 55 years ago — Chapstick! Bag Balm, too. My SIL put that on EVERYTHING.

    My 4 pots of petunias haven’t froze yet, but the wind and heavy rain beat them up. We got at least 2″ of moisture. I had forgotten what it was like to drive in wind driven rain. We got about 2″ snow at my house, but not sure what the west side of town got. Our snow has melted. Supposed to be in the 60’s this weekend. Deadwood and Lead are about 30-40 miles from RC and higher. They get LOTS of snow. They have ski slopes.

    Your little red pickup convertible is cute. Go for it. Who cares. Maybe it will be a real collectible in the years to come? Not many were made.

    Everybody, take care. The best is yet to come?
    Betty in Rapid City

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Betty – I am making a big sign for my Aunt Blanche in the care center that says “the best is yet to come”! I love it. No rain here except a drizzle the other day. I had a piece of a plant and said to Rick – “watch this!” I threw it in the garbage but it hurt me to do it. I love the challenge if starting a new plant from a small cutting but that’s what has gotten me into this predicament. Yes, a greenhouse is work, too, and I’d love to give away some of my plants but the older, bigger ones are like children to me! I’ve had some for 25+ years! Yes, I have tried Chapstick – guess I need to try it again. I wear gloves but not leather – good gloves however. Thanks, Betty!

  34. Linda Baker

    Bacitracin ointment and old-fashioned adhesive tape. That’s all I have to say, except the Respiratory Therapists used to swear by it.

    1. Meredith

      We are all living vicariously through you and Little Red, and can’t wait for you and Connie to start road tripping! Hope your poor hands are feeling better. I think Irish whiskey would help your pain; taken liberally and internally.

  35. Pamela Dempsey

    I feel your pain Miss Mary. My fingers tend to crack and bleed in the winter time, a good hand cream with glycerin held in healing, applied liberally and again at bedtime. And don’t forget some Barefoot sweet red moscato wine, also taken liberally and the day’s cares get easier.😉 I love Miss Blanche and you for taking her in, blessings!

  36. Candy

    I can tell winter’s coming when my knuckles start to crack … it’s that time! I’ve tried all the remedies suggested above, without a lot of success. I usually end up putting Polysporin and bandaids on them all, then I wash my hands and they all get wet! I wonder if your local body shop could help you out with the license plate problem? Good luck … she’s worth it!

  37. Joy Van den top

    Oooofdah! Sorry about the customer service you received. Little red is really cute! Cut back in the flowers. Heehee. It’s going to be freezing here in NW Iowa. I brought in my geranium. Jay covered his tomatoes!

  38. Shirley

    Try this for hands or feet. DR. Scolls hot wax bath. Like a spa treatment. By the way, you deserve one.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Shirley – I have one and use it very often – doesn’t it just feel heavenly?

  39. Kate

    I had cracked and sore hands every Winter until I started rubbing them with vaseline and wearing white gloves to bed each night. I always joke with my husband that I’m getting dressed for bed. But it works and my hands stay nice and soft and no cracks. I can’t imagine carrying 100 plants down to our basement. You are a better woman than I am. Good exercise, I guess.

  40. Pat Mosley

    If I had seen Little Red before you, there would be a green house with your name on it. How I would love to gift my husband with a truck like that. Never heard of them before. This 77yr old man of mine would even be happier than that day they delivered his zero turn mower I bought for him. Maybe one day.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Pat Mosley – Chevy didn’t make many like Little Red but they’re out there – go online and look for Chevy SSR – Supersport Roadster. I absolutely love my zero turn mower, too!

  41. Rosemary W

    Oh, Mary…I went to Mason City yesterday and seen “a little red truck” like yours sitting in the Chevy dealership on the East side of I-35 and thought of you….I hoped you hadn’t got disgusted with it – ha – little did I know – just not enough to trade it off!! Maybe they could help you over there with a license plate holder!
    I thought of you when I was bringing in my succulents the other day, too…..I brought everyone of them in, but some had grown since last year and they filled up my space more than last year. Love them, though!! I was able to let the babies that fell off, stay outside though…. Hope you’ve recovered…..wish I could have helped but we are deep into harvest and I’m running, behind too.
    Take care….

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Rosemary W – really? In Clear Lake? I may have to go see them about the license plate bracket problem. Thanks so much! It really is such fun to drive but truly, it has created more problems than I ever expected. I never once gave the garage space a thought.

  42. Brenda Furlong

    Regarding your hands – I read the comments and didn’t see a mention of this – so – For many years I worked in a lab setting in a hospital and at some point began having cracking and bleeding of my hands. To make a long story short, after many consults with doctors, employers, etc., I discovered that I am sensitive to sodium lauryl sulfate, which is in everything, including toothpaste and soaps, dish washing soaps, etc. If you can see to read the ingredients you will find it there. Trying to find hand washing soap and toothpaste without it is not easy. I was having cracks in the corners of my mouth, as well as my hands. As soon as I found products without this ingredient all of my symptoms went away. I don’t know how many people have this sensitivity, but it might be something to consider. I don’t have to use any special creams, etc. anymore. Apparently anyone can become sensitized to anything, even if you have been using it for years with no problem. Anyway, perhaps you could check into this to see if your are affected.

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