Megan Again: February Fatigue
By Megan Wirts
I’ve grown weary of so many things and I’m just plain physically tired. I’m tired of the arguing, the name calling and the pushing and shoving. No, I’m not talking about my kids fighting with each other over winter break. They actually had fun hanging out together, telling silly jokes, doing art/building projects and watching some of our favorite movies. Hello, Harry Potter Marathon! I’m talking about grown adults. There are adults all over the world arguing about everything. Not just debating, a good healthy debate is great and much needed sometimes, these are full on hissy fit inducing, immature, whiny baby fights. Except it’s fully grown men and women. You see it all over your Facebook newsfeed. It’s usually at the highest after a great tragedy, or an election, or a big sporting event, or a new law is passed, or an old law is challenged, or there is a dress that looks blue to some people and white to others, or there are dogs lost in your neighborhood, or a new restaurant or store is opening up, or the weather is sunny, cloudy, rainy or snowy and I’m just so tired of it.
I’m tired of having to talk to my children about horrific events. I’m tired of them asking me if their school is safe. I’m tired of feeling like I’m lying to them when I tell them that it is. I’m tired of wondering if I am preparing them enough for the world or if the world will be too cruel to them. I’m tired of people blaming everyone else but not accepting responsibility for their own actions.
I’m tired of winter. I’m tired of being cold. I’m tired of worrying about my kids getting the flu. I’m tired of cleaning up after everyone.
I’m tired of not being able to get my eyebrows threaded as often as I want to and having to wait for someone to find time to take me. I’m tired of friends cancelling plans and never making new ones. I’m tired of the color of my walls. I’m tired of thinking about how much work it would be to paint that wall (it’s a very tall wall).
I’m tired of missing out on things because of having dystonia. I’m tired of feeling anxious every time I swallow. I’m tired of feeling like I can’t breathe sometimes. I’m tired of not being able to reach out with my right arm. I’m tired of my hands cramping up when I’m decorating cheesecakes. I’m tired of my back aching and my neck feeling like hot needles are stabbing it. I’m tired of feeling dizzy. I’m tired of not being able to hear and asking, “what did you say?”, or just smiling and nodding because I didn’t hear a darn thing anyone just said.
I’m tired of asking people for help. I’m tired of asking for help and being told no. I’m tired of feeling resentment. I’m tired of being hungry. I’m tired of feeling like I eat too much. I’m tired of thinking I’m not good enough. I’m tired of wondering if I will ever be cured. I’m tired of people asking me for things. I’m tired of people not asking me enough. I’m tired of feeling left out. I’m tired of having to say no to things. I’m tired of saying yes too often.
I’m tired, but I will never give up. I will always push forward.
I am still here. I am still able to love, to care and to feel. I am not broken, I am just bent because those that cannot bend will break. When I feel the weight of the world and my body grows weary from the pain, I take a moment to be still. I take a deep breath, and I think about my amazing children, husband and friends that surround me. I think about beautiful sunny days spent on the shores of Lake Michigan. I think of the hilarious story my 10-year-old boy told me the other day. I think of the melody that my daughter sang to me last night and how she has the most amazing gravelly voice. I think of how much I love it when I see someone take that first bite of a cheesecake that I made and the way their face lights up and they are filled with instant joy.
I think about how my sweet friends will bring me giant bottles of vanilla from Mexico. I think about how much I love to hear the sound of rain on my roof and how much I love to feel the sun on my skin. I think about how I saw a sweet man carry groceries to a woman’s car just because it was the nice thing to do. I remember that time that I was trying to get down some steps at a basketball game and boy I didn’t know reached out his hand for me to steady myself. I think about when I was getting coffee and the women ahead of me paid for all the people behind her. I think about when I was waitressing and a customer forgot their wallet and was so embarrassed, but my boss just let them have their meal for free. I think about how my UPS person brings treats for my dog. I remember what a cute puppy my big hairy dog was and how he will lay his head on my leg when I am feeling extra anxious.
I remember the butterflies I felt in my stomach that first time my husband kissed me and how I knew right then I was going to marry him. I remember what it was like to look at my sweet brown eyed girl when she was brand new and wonder, “how did I get this lucky?”. I think about all the people that rallied around me and my family when I first became ill. I think about my friends that love my children as if they are their own. I think about how my husband has had to work so much harder and never complains. All of those reasons and so many more are why when I get this tired, I will never just lay down. I will keep moving as long as my body allows it and I will keep pushing forward. I will keep trying to make this world a brighter place and I will keep looking at the innocent faces of our children and know that is where our hope lies.
When tragedy occurs, we must remember that there are still good people in the world and that we have to keep trying to make the world a better place for our children.
Even when we are tired.
The Great American Road Trip
By Mark Mathis
I enjoy a road trip.
I generally meet family and friends at some far off airport to start the real vacation a bit later, but as we all know 49% of the fun is in the getting there. During my solo time I listen to a whole bunch of podcasts about “stuff you should know”, Miranda Lambert, and Dr. Laura. I also look for places most others wouldn’t seek out. Here is a review of one of those places won’t have on your bucket list, the “Mountain Inn” in Mt. Eagle, TN.
If you leave Newaygo right this minute in a measly 10 hours you can reach the oasis of the Mountain Inn. In real terms that’s half way to Orlando. I found it by grabbing one of those hotel magazines at a rest area at 4am when I was getting tired. I flipped through until I found the cheapest place, $34.95. The price included breakfast and a mountain view! Sounded almost too good to be true.
One thing I’ve found about the cheapest place, they make for some great stories. Another thing I’ve discovered is that my wife doesn’t appreciate them the same way. (That’s where the alone part comes in handy.)
I called ahead to make sure they took 5am guests. I apparently got the owner out of bed. His limited English was worse upon just waking up. I thought we were haggling over price and was able to get him down to $30 cash. Turns out we were talking about an additional deposit that would be needed if I insisted upon paying cash. I think he also told me three times I had to get out by 11am.
You can count me as a tad wary of hotels that are not affiliated with any chain and run by “limited” English speakers. My police days in Grand Rapids allowed me to visit these establishments often. The Rainbow Motel used to rent rooms by the hour to all the working ladies, or by the month to drug addicts. Landmark Lodging on 28th street was full of both crime and pests. The smells from all stuff the monthly renters cooked, and never cleaned up, in their rooms was overpowering. When it shut down for good it was a great place to train police dogs and for bums to sleep.
Given these concerns, I did a quick flip over to Yelp to look at the Mountain Inn, and was assured I would most likely live to tell the story.
I arrived at 5am to a sign warning me to watch my “steap” on my way up the broken steps to the office. The place looked like a hotel that the 1970’s had forgotten as the decades passed. A freshly painted cinder block exterior greeted the motorists that navigated the quarter mile through the lots of two newer chain hotels to reach the area’s price king.
I could easily see that each unit had one of those great big windows overlooking the parking lot. The second floor rooms would get the added luxury of being able to see who had sunroofs. The office was a 10’ x 10’ closet with a check in desk, rows of travel pamphlets, and the owners attached sleeping quarters.
I got the owner out of bed. I discovered he was really firm on his $34.95 price. I got my room key and moved on. Being a late arriver I didn’t have to go very far. I watched my “steap” and walked to the first floor unit right next to the office.
I’m no fan of bedbugs and I travel with a flashlight. No matter the price of accommodations, I do an inspection that would make the Orkin man proud. I tossed my suitcase in the bug free tub and went to work. My inspection includes stripping off the bedding, looking behind picture frames, checking baseboards, inspecting mattress piping, etc. I’ve found all kinds of neat stuff, including money, during these inspections. Mountain Garden Inn passed with flying colors.
If I had to guess the hotel was built in 1973 as a Days Inn and hadn’t been updated in a couple decades. But it had a bed, sink, and shower. The old heater/cooler in the room doubled as a white noise machine. I caught a glorious four hours of sleep, took a shower, and headed off to breakfast.
The breakfast was in the same small office I visited for check in a few hours before. There was a basket with five Dolly Madison mini-muffins still in their wrappers. A gallon jug of Sunny D, coffee pot, and stack of Styrofoam cups rounded out “breakfast”.
Never wanting to waste good calories on bad food I walked to nearby Waffle House instead. There I sat at the counter, talked to some great waitresses as they did dishes, ate the best food in the world, and watched my tea “steap.”
America is a great patchwork of $34.95 hotels and Waffle Houses, to be discovered one at time…
Keep The Faith!
Pondering about life, spiritual matters, and where we fit in today’s crazy world…
by Mark Mathis
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, though prayer and petition, with Thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4: 6-7
This is amongst my favorite verses. Our church was surveyed recently to see what major problems they were dealing with. The number one problem parishioners noted struggling with was fear and anxiety. We live in a culture full of both.
I can see the evidence all around. Massive increases in prescription drugs for anxiety, burgeoning teen suicide rates, and pleas for help aired on social media would indicate this problem is growing.
However, the problem isn’t exactly new. I love this verse in Philippians. When reading it I’ve often wondered why Paul jammed the concept of THANKSGIVING into a passage about turning anxiety over to God?
It makes complete sense without this add on, right? Can’t we just cast our cares upon God and receive peace? Paul added an action item for us to this equation — “with thanksgiving.” When I cover up the “with thanksgiving” part it reads easier. Why the add on?
Paul was wise. He knew that thankfulness is incompatible with self-pity, envy, and anxiety. It’s near impossible to feel bad for myself when being thankful.
Thankfulness requires an outward focus, instead of our too often default focus on ourselves.
The last several months I’ve started my days by keeping my phone off. Instead, I journal three things I’m thankful for. (Today it was productive mornings, a warm electric blanket in a 55 degree room, and the bounding joy of a Vizsla visitor.) Just a few months of the journal habit and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s really hard to be anxious and thankful at the same time.
Of course, there is more to Paul’s equation. He also encourages looking to God in “every situation," and to not be anxious about “anything”. Both pretty tall orders.
I think Paul was onto something… these two verses are a pretty good blueprint for dealing with the daily worries of life.
Cultivate a spirit of thankfulness and reap great peace.
By Ken DeLaat
One of the many advantages of age beyond discovering the plethora of ‘senior specials’ available simply by asking ( no, not even a shred of pride) is having a sense of history born out of pure experience. Nothing quite measures up to it since newsreels or other accounts only allow a vicarious vision of events.
During the 50’s and early 60’s if you were young and even mildly impressionable the spectre of the Atom Bomb loomed over your very existence. There were always reports of the Soviets testing bigger and more powerful bombs. China wasn’t in yet but thought to be not far away and Britain and France were either armed or nearly so. The US tested as well and fortified against what sometimes seemed like an imminent threat.
It was the height of the Cold War and we had drills, though I’m unsure who called them or organized them. During these events we were told to kneel under our desks or simply ‘duck and cover.
Yeah, really. We practiced it.
Even at that tender age I recall us kids looking at each other and collectively thinking “This might help if we were getting bombed by paper wads or even tennis balls but that desk wasn’t going to do squat against an Atom Bomb.”
But drill we did until someone figured out that should a nuclear attack occur there would be no safe place including the well meaning homemade fallout shelters that could be found popping up (or rather, down.) here and there.
My point (and I do have one) has to do with the current nuclear climate and the recent snafu in Hawaii when the call went out to prepare for incoming missiles. Thankfully it was an erroneous warning occuring when that old bugaboo called communication went awry but also calling out some questions about who in effect runs the show when it comes to warning the citizenry these days. I know there’s still that test signal that goes over the radio and tv on occasion. A signal, by the way, that is forbidden by law to replicate in a non drill or non emergency though I knew a young woman in my college years whose laugh came dangerously close to that particular sound. When she let go of one of her signature outbursts in public or among strangers the results were wildly entertaining.
But I digress.
A recent segment on NPR stated that the responsibility to warn often falls on local jurisdiction but this depends on the state which to me seems a bit slipshod since it involves a matter of somewhat substantial importance like impending apocalyptic outcomes and whatnot.
Being the inquisitive type (some might say nosy) contact was made with Abby Watkins the Emergency Services Director for Newaygo County.
You may have encountered Ms. Watkins at any number of exercises in the county preparing communities for events we all hope will never occur. She is a master at her trade and in years of covering county business my respect for her work has continued to grow.
Ms, W. is all about preparation and communication and advocates for citizens to be aware of how to access information from one of the multiple methods the county provides.
Her response provided the answers we sought and, without naming incoming warheads as an example, it seems pretty clear they would come in at Level III, a response we hope to never see from any source.
The important piece seems to be knowing there exists a multitude of organized systematic approaches aimed at getting people the information they need.
There is no way to predict what catastrophies might befall us.
But those aforementioned events Emergency Services organizes throughout the county to simulate disasters or crises?
They have allowed for the formation of a community of people ready to respond. A multi-agency, collaborative group who know how to work together and know how to react quickly and efficiently.
Seems we’ve come a long way since ‘duck and cover’.
From Abby Watkins:
Newaygo County Emergency Services is the designated warning communications point for Newaygo County. We partner with Newaygo County Central Dispatch and utilize a leveled warning system which allows officials to appropriately select and utilize available warning mechanisms to alert and notify targeted audiences of emergency conditions. The goal is to quickly make the information common knowledge and current.
Level I notifications are targeted notifications including Nixle alerts, calling trees, pagers, sirens, and personal notifications. These types of notifications are utilized to alert and notify a local, defined location or identified population of emergency events and/or hazardous situations. This level of notification is activated through local system users.
Level II notifications are comprehensive notifications are comprehensive notifications including NOAA weather radios, Nixle Rebroadcasts, social media, TV, Radio, and Print Media. These types of alerts are utilized for rapid dissemination of alerts and public information to a variety of public warning systems to make the alert and information common knowledge. They will reach a large audience regardless of location. In most cases, the system is activated through the Grand Rapids National Weather Service Office. Warning messages can range from weather related events to civil emergency message, law enforcement warnings, hazardous materials warnings, and local area emergencies.
Level III notifications are IPAWS alerts. These notifications are the highest level of notification possible and are designed for issuance of critical public alerts and warnings of severe urgency dissemination through all available warnings systems and the widest range of audience. IPAWS alerts will trigger the Emergency Alert System, Wireless Emergency Alerts, NOAA Weather Radio Alerts, NIXLE, media, and social media. Newaygo County Emergency Services can trigger IPAWS alerts locally or they can be triggered by the State Emergency Operations Center. We have training along with policies and procedures to set this level of notification off locally.
When an emergency occurs, it is important for the general public to know how to get accurate, timely, and up to date information about what to do to keep them safe. The public should know Newaygo County uses multiple methods to disseminate emergency information in order to reach the largest number of people possible. Our comprehensive warning system is designed for rapid dissemination of alerts and public information through a variety of public mechanisms. The goal is to quickly make the alert and information common knowledge. It is up to the individual to choose which notification method(s) work best for them to receive the emergency information.
Thank you Ms. W. Well put as always.
Guest Article: Tax Foreclosure
By Holly Moon, Newaygo County Treasurer
After all the official notifications and processes to notify property owners that are in jeopardy of tax foreclosure have been exhausted, County Treasurers across the State are now left with the daunting task of foreclosing on March 31, 2018 as required by law. The properties in jeopardy of foreclosure this year are those with unpaid 2015 taxes. Thankfully, the number of parcels you saw in the December publication is dramatically lower by the final foreclosure date of March 31, 2018. Last year we had the lowest number of foreclosed parcels ever in Newaygo County.
Some of your readers might be curious how this happens. Each year approximately 6,000 parcels are returned delinquent (unpaid) from the local townships, cities, and village to the Newaygo County Treasurer. In Newaygo County the Treasurer purchases these delinquent taxes from the local townships, cities, and village using the Delinquent Tax Revolving Fund and subsequently begins the task of collecting them. The property owners of parcels advertised in December last year have missed tax payments dating from 2015 forward, prompting the foreclosure process mandated by the State and ordered by the court.
Last year the Circuit Court Judge ruled to give 56 property owners extensions beyond the March 31 deadline. County Treasurers do not want to take anyone’s property, but taxes must be paid. If you or someone you know needs an extension, please contact my Office immediately. The Circuit Court hearing with Judge Springstead is February 27 to grant extensions. There’s no time to waste….requests must be received prior to this date! Of the 56 extensions awarded last year, 90+% were paid and saved from foreclosure. This is a wonderful example of our success in working together with our taxpayers in Newaygo County.
The problem of foreclosure continues to demand urgent attention, and we recognize the need to help families struggling with this issue. As County Treasurer I have partnered with StepForward Michigan (Stepforwardmichigan.org), TrueNorth’s Center for Non-profit Housing, (CNH), LOVE, Inc., the Newaygo County Department of Human Services, Five Cap, Inc., and the County’s Veteran’s Affairs Officer to help those eligible for assistance through their programs. Our overarching goal is to help families understand the tax foreclosure process and to assist citizens in developing a solution to save their property.
We include information sheets with our delinquent tax notices to encourage taxpayers to set up a payment plan early. We also provide them with information about the programs and services available in our County and contact phone numbers. We educate taxpayers to be sure they have a Principal Residence Exemption, and provide information on how to request a Hardship Exemption from the local units. Tax foreclosure is final…there is no redemption period after March 31!
If you are reading this and need assistance, or know someone who would benefit from a payment plan, please call us at the Newaygo County Treasurer’s Office: (231) 689-7230. My staff and I would be happy to help. If you would like to review the timelines for tax foreclosure and read our Frequently Asked Questions, please visit: www.countyofnewaygo.com/countytreasurer.aspx for additional tax foreclosure information.
By Joni Erlewein, Nurse Practitioner, Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial
February is heart health month. At Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial, our staff is committed to sharing as much information during this month and year-round about the things we can do to keep our hearts healthy and reduce diseases for ourselves and our loved ones.
Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. They happen frequently, striking often out of the blue. In fact, a person in the United States suffers a heart attack every 42 seconds. In less than the amount of time it takes to heat a cup of water in the microwave, someone in America is suffering a heart attack.
Women account for nearly half of all heart attacks and over a lifetime, heart disease kills five times as many women as breast cancer.
Women’s experience with heart disease can differ in important ways from men’s. Women tend to get heart attacks about 10 years later in life than men and women are twice as likely to die within the first few weeks after suffering from a heart attack.
While chest pain or discomfort are common in men and women, women are more likely than men to experience other more common symptoms that include:
By being proactive, we can prevent heart disease. Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to learn about your personal risk for heart disease.
If you smoke, stop. In just one year after quitting cigarettes, a person can cut the risk of heart disease by 50 percent. And those who want to quit tobacco but find it a challenge, Gerber Memorial has some free programs that can help people begin the journey toward being tobacco-free.
Start an exercise program. Just walking 30 minutes a day can lower your risk for heart attack and stroke.
Modify your family’s diet if needed. Gerber Memorial has registered dietitians and healthy eating programs that aim to provide information about heart-smart substitutes, healthy snacks and for prep and cooking methods that can help promote wellness and health.
Join Gerber Memorial for “Your Heart Matters,” a special heart health event designed to empower you and provide proactive tips and information on heart disease, from health screenings to nutrition, on Saturday, February 17, 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Tamarac, 1401, West Main, Fremont.
Off The Mark: Sick Fest 2018
By Mark Mathis
Like many others in the area I think I’m finally hitting the off ramp from Sick Fest 2018. It was a long week, but what a great time!
I think it started one glorious day in Elementary School when I got sick and had to stay home. By the time the Price is Right’s Bob Barker had reached that celebrated spinning wheel I came to the realization that there were worse things in life than being sick. Toss in perfect spin and a showcase win and the deal was sealed. Pure daytime TV magic.
As an adult I’ve had the good fortune of being healthy. So healthy that I generally skip flu shots with the hope of getting sick every couple years or so. I guess great luck visited my doorstep recently when my daughter got the flu.
I got ill too. I was functional enough to make some great homemade chicken noodle soup, clean the house, and take the dog around the woods. I managed to sleep what appeared to be random hours. Nothing like an afternoon nap that lasts 4 hours.
I’m a “collector," squirreling away items on my DVR with the hopes of someday watching them. The same for my email inbox. And my book collection. And the recipes I need to try. Sick Fest 2018 beckoned for some progress on these fronts.
So I cleared my calendar and went to work on stuff of very little importance. I started out with the high-brow stuff. I watched “Sully," “42," and “To Joey with Love.” (The latter was the most inspirational story of faith, love, and loss I’ve ever seen.)
I digressed to nearly a half season of season of WWE’s Total Divas, Amy Poehler’s Spring Breakdown, Rocky IV, some episodes of the Family Feud, and talking heads discussing the State of the Union. By this point I knew I needed to get better quickly.
I felt a bit like Rocky at the end of one of those training scenes — letting out a big guttural yell when I had to move across the room and grab the remote. But I overcame. I started working on things of greater importance than my DVR.
I’m proud to say my multi-year streak of 10,000+ steps daily survived intact, even if my workout streak took a beating. I’ve got the official “not contagious” blessing and have headed back into the real world.
Right after wiping every surface down in the house 3x.
I’m not sure the flu this year was quite as fun as that magical two days when I was a kid. Next year I’m getting a flu shot and planning the weekend of January 11-13 as Health Fest 2019… a very special time to do all kinds of “sick stuff” while healthy.
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