Monthly Archives: September 2013

Canning Food – A Neophyte’s Perspective

My first exposure to canning came early in my relationship with Dave.  He’s from Michigan, and every fall we took the kids apple picking in his home state.  (He was still living there until early 2000 so originally we’d go to his apartment in Buchanan and travel to local orchards from there.)  The kids were always enthusiastic and we’d bring back huge quantities of apples.

The first year, as we stood in the kitchen surrounded by sacks and boxes of apples, I realized we could not possibly eat enough fresh apples, apple pie or apple crisp to get through them all before they went bad.  Dave, however, didn’t even blink an eye.  The next day he put us all to work, peeling and slicing apples.  Then he made applesauce.

Up ’til then, I was a Motts girl.  It really never occurred to me that you could make your own applesauce; why would you, when you could buy it in the store?  Then we tasted Dave’s applesauce.  The kids went NUTS and I was just stunned into silence, it was that good.  We probably could have finished all his applesauce between the four of us, but he took it a step further and brought up canning jars from our candle workshop.  (Clean jars, not ones we’d made candles in!)  He set to work canning all but one quart of applesauce, and at the end of the weekend we had enough applesauce and apple slices canned to last us until the following autumn.

I didn’t participate in the canning; he kind of shooed me out of the kitchen and I was only too happy to oblige.  Like gardening, I figured this was his domain.  It felt a little like witchcraft, with the boiling cauldron and possibility of grave bodily harm if done incorrectly.  Better him than me!

Canning wasn’t something he did every fall, but he’d pull the equipment out every few years and can some goodies.  Once we started gardening more (a few years ago) he started canning tomatoes every year in late August or September.  The tomatoes were really a godsend – the flavor was incredible, and we use store-bought canned tomatoes ALL the time so we went through our home-canned tomatoes fairly quickly.

Around the start of August this year, Dave got that gleam in his eye and started talking about all the things he wanted to make with our tomatoes, canning-wise.  I had tried to get more involved with the garden this year, but it just isn’t my thing; my participation pretty much involved helping pick out the seeds we ordered, and helping with the initial seed planting in little peat pots.  Dave took over from there and I, having lost interest at that point, was only too happy to let him.

But canning … canning is more on the cooking spectrum, and I love to cook.  I realized this might be something we could do together, something I wouldn’t wimp out on less than halfway through.  So I told Dave I wanted him to teach me all about canning this year.  No shooing me out of the kitchen!

We stopped at Goodwill and I was lucky enough to find a great book for just 89 cents –Blue Ribbon Preserves by Linda Amendt.  I sat down and read the whole first section, before the recipes, so I could really understand what was involved and why certain procedures were followed.  I started learning the lingo (Headspace!  Hot and cold pack!  Boiling water and pressure canners!) and as I read, I realized it wasn’t as hard as I originally thought.

Speaking as a complete neophyte, here are some of the things I learned:

The lids, those round things with the red rubber around the bottom, don’t get reused.

The rings, the part that screws on, come off after processing is done and you can reuse them on your next batch of jars (after you clean them, of course).

Confession:  I keep calling everything ‘lids’ and confusing Dave.  I’ll say, “Hon, can you get me some lids from the dishwasher?” when I really mean rings.  (The lids stay in a little pot of water on the stove, simmering, and get pulled out one at a time as you need them.)

When we went shopping for our canning supplies this year, I laughed at the idea of using a lid wand (a plastic stick with a magnet at the end).  It was only 97 cents but I thought that was ridiculous.  (Even funnier considering we were buying a pressure canner at the time … 97 cents was a pittance compared to what that cost!)  After our first canning session, I turned to Dave and pleaded, “PLEASE can we go back and buy a lid wand?!”  Ugh, trying to get those slippery lids out with tongs is a huge pain.  Pay the 97 cents and get the lid wand!

You can’t just can your own recipes.  I had no idea how this all worked, but recipes need to be tested for a certain acidity to determine their safety when canning.  It’s worth it to buy a specific book with canning recipes (check Goodwill).  Another great recipe resource is the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving.  We got our (current) copy when we bought our canning supplies at Wal-Mart; it was less than seven bucks.  Don’t try to mess with the recipes!  You can add dry spices fairly safely, but anything else is playing with fire.  This is not the time to get creative; follow the recipe as it’s written so you don’t mess with the acidity level and accidentally serve a big batch o’ botulism to your dinner guests.

Canning is NOT hard.  I mean, seriously – not rocket science.  You just have to follow the rules; there’s not that many of them and they aren’t hard to remember.  Follow your recipe and you’re good to go – it will tell you everything you need to know, and the best method for processing your food, so there’s no guesswork.

It’s not hard, but it is time-consuming.  More than once so far we’ve had grand plans for the day (we’ll can glazed carrots AND apple slices AND apple jelly AND caramel apple butter wheeee!!) and then after one batch is done, we realize it’s halfway through the afternoon and Dave’s eyes are shutting.  (He’s a morning person and prefers to do all of this earlier in the day; by 2 pm he’s ready for a nap.)

If the recipe says you have to pressure can the jars, you can’t use a boiling water canner.  You also can’t use a regular pressure cooker; it has to specifically be a pressure CANNER.  (The pressure canner, however, can do triple duty:  it serves as a canner, pressure cooker, and boiling water canner.)  Pressure canning is not scary for us; I use a pressure cooker fairly regularly so I’m used to how they work.  It’s just on a bigger scale.

You don’t need fancy equipment to can, so it’s budget-friendly after the first big expenditure to buy what you need.  Since we wanted to can veggies, we did buy the pressure canner (you need that for low-acid foods) and that was our biggest expense, at less than 70 bucks.  We already had a lot of jars and lids/rings, a jar lifter, funnel, food mill, sieve and a water bath canner with rack (found that at Goodwill).  We did buy the bubble remover/headspace measuring tool (we use that ALL the time, and it was only 97 cents) and, eventually, the lid wand.  We picked up some liquid pectin for when we do jams/jellies, and some Fruit Fresh.  Next year all we’ll have to do is buy replacement lids, basically, since we can’t reuse those.

Everyone wants to know how hard it is and I’m here to tell you, it’s so easy to can your own food.  If you can set aside a block of time on a weekend, you’re good to go.  Give yourself 30 minutes to read up on how it’s done (the Ball Blue Book, again, has all of that info plus the recipes), get some basic supplies and give it a shot!  It’s a great feeling to see all those jars when you’re done, to know exactly what’s gone into each one; even better if it’s food you grew in your own garden, but we’ve taken advantage of great prices on bulk local produce when it’s in season and canned that as well.

And homemade ketchup?  OMG.  It tastes SO good.  We made that last weekend and I was kind of thinking I probably wouldn’t like the way it tasted, with my picky tendencies.  I sampled some after we were done filling the jars and I couldn’t get over how delicious it was.  (I’m deliberately adding roasted potatoes to our dinner menu tonight so we can have ketchup with them!)  Also, the faux pineapple recipe, where you peel and dice zucchini and then can it in pineapple juice and lemon juice?  Tastes exactly like pineapple.  It even feels like pineapple when you’re chewing.  We highly recommend that if you’re drowning in zucchini and want to put some up for the winter months.  It’s delicious!

Today we made glazed carrots; our apple plans got pushed to tomorrow (Dave is napping as I type this).  So far in the past few weeks we’ve canned applesauce, green beans, tomatoes, ketchup, faux pineapple and glazed carrots.  We’re canning barbeque sauce tomorrow morning, then moving on to the apples:  slices (for pies and crumbles and such), jelly and caramel apple butter.  Next weekend we should have more tomatoes so we’re going to try a hot pack with those, since they’re paste/roma tomatoes and should hold their shape okay.

The fruits of last weekend's labor:  Ketchup (three pint jars in front, still with lids because they'd just come out of the canner); faux pineapple; tomatoes (lurking in the back)

The fruits of last weekend’s labor: Ketchup (three pint jars in front, with rings still on because they’d just come out of the canner); faux pineapple; tomatoes (lurking in the back).

Ironically, most places recommend starting with a basic jam (strawberry is popular) and I have yet to make jam of any kind!

If you’re like me and really like to study up on something before you start, the National Center for Home Food Preservation has a great, FREE online course called ‘Preserving Food at Home:  A Self- Study.’  Sign up at https://www.fcs.uga.edu/ext/food/nchfp_elc/ and then wait a few days; they’ll send you an email with login information.  I’m on the third section right now and I love it!

Advertisements

Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down

I’ve noticed a distressing new trend in banner ads lately.  The first place to display this was the Accuweather app on my tablet.  At the very top, a text banner ad was displayed … and a very, VERY realistic-looking spider was moving across the text at a healthy pace.  I get it – I know the movement is supposed to catch my eye and make me pay attention to the ad.  But a freaking SPIDER?!  Nothing will give me a negative association faster than seeing a spider.  I don’t care if the ad is for bacon, or kittens, or a hot fudge sundae … make a spider crawl across those things and I am instantly grossed out and turned off.

Then this tactic started showing up in my Words With Friends app.  NOT COOL.  I don’t spend all that much time on Accuweather – just a quick check to see what I can expect weather-wise for the coming week.  But I can spend a good 20 minutes catching up with my Words With Friends games, and having a damn spider crawling across my screen … a real-looking spider, not a cartoon-funny spider … is making me want to never open the app again.  As it is, I cover that side of the screen now, either with a piece of paper or my hand.  I can’t stand to look at it; it seriously makes my skin crawl.  (I’ll confess – I usually do the piece of paper because putting my hand over it, even though it’s not real, is just too close for comfort.)

I know they can achieve this stupid trick with other images; I’ve see a bouncing red ball and a swimming fish (shark?) in the past.  But lately, all I ever see is the spider.  BAD MARKETING MOVE.

* * *

There’s this new 30 minute comedy on Fox called Brooklyn Nine-Nine; it just started on Tuesday.  We’ve been seeing promos for it for a couple of weeks on TV, and Entertainment Weekly magazine gave it rave reviews.  Every time we saw a promo, though, Dave and I would just look at each other, grimace and say, “No way.”  It just looked so, so stupid and sophomoric.  We usually don’t go for that kind of humor; I’m more of a deadpan, dry, witty humor kind of gal.  I don’t go in much for sight gags and really immature stuff.

Even with the thumbs up from EW, I wasn’t convinced.  They have a hard-on for Scandal; when we watched the pilot, we couldn’t even finish the episode.  It just seemed ridiculous and like it was trying too hard.  On the other hand, they seem to have nothing but hate for The Newsroom, and that is seriously one of our absolute favorite shows.  Because of that, I take their recommendations and disparagement with a grain of salt; usually I give a show at least one chance so I can form my own opinion.

Then I started seeing good reviews from other sources, including entertainment sites and just regular folks watching at home.  It was compared to Barney Miller, which I enjoyed back in the day.  So I told Dave, wincing and waiting for his wrath, that I was going to just put the pilot episode on TiVo so we could see what the fuss was about.  He laughed and said he’d been reading about it in EW earlier that day, and agreed it was worth a shot.  They replayed the pilot episode on Thursday and darned if it wasn’t terrific!  It comes off much better than it looks in the promos, trust me.  Usually a new comedy needs a few episodes (or a whole season) to really come together and gel, but this one seems to be well-seasoned already.  If you were turned off, like we were, from the early ads on TV, I would give it a shot.  You might be pleasantly surprised.

* * *

I’ll probably write a full blog entry on this at some point, but I’m learning how to can food and holy cow, I’m hooked.  Dave has repeatedly had to gently lay his hand on my arm, while I breathlessly obsess over all the things I want to make, and soothingly say, “Just take it easy … we don’t have time to do all of this stuff at once.  Pace yourself.”

Last weekend we started with green beans, tomatoes and applesauce.  Tomorrow we’re doing a whole bunch more tomatoes, plus KETCHUP OMG (I am v. v. excited about this!!) and faux pineapple, made from … wait for it … zucchini.  Yes, zucchini.  Earlier in the week when I was freaking out on Facebook about the things we’ve canned, one of my friends jokingly asked, “What, no zucchini?”  And seriously, I had been looking for a canned zucchini recipe!  Our zucchini plants are all pulled up for the season (may they rest in peace) but I still have five zucchini left, including one monster that was taking up a quarter of my produce drawer.  All the zucchini recipes I found were for pickled zucchini, and ewwww.  I hate pickles.  The consensus (from NCHFP, National Center for Home Food Preservation) seemed to be that it’s too hard to determine processing times for plain old zucchini so they recommend freezing instead.

Then I happened across a recipe, from the NCHFP no less, for faux pineapple.  And it got good reviews from enough people that I couldn’t resist; I just have to try it.  I already know zucchini is a master at mimicking other things, like apples in the zucchini apple pie I made.  In this case, you peel and dice the zucchini and then can it in pineapple juice.  It’s genius, really.  I probably wouldn’t just snack on it (maybe I would, who knows) but my goal is to use it in stir fries and other savory dishes.  We make a grilled chicken, peppers and pineapple quesadilla that kicks ass, and, well, chicken and peppers and pineapple go well together in general.

I may take pictures as we go along, we’ll see.  Just know that tomorrow I will be quivering with excitement, clucking like a proud mother hen over my pint and quart jars full of goodies.

* * *

Last night we watched This is the End and, well, I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.  I had a general idea what it was about but it took a dark (and gory) turn that I wasn’t expecting, and that just pleased me to no end.  I thought it was going to be more talk and conversation, hanging out in this house while the world was ending outside, but it was much more action-packed and it was VERY funny.  Two big thumbs up from Wendi and Dave.

* * *

Finally, I had one thing I meant to write here, something that happened this morning during a conversation with Dave.  We both got such a kick out of it and I remember thinking it would be a cute anecdote for my blog, and now I can’t remember anything at all.  Not even the general subject of our conversation.  All I can remember is that I made a fool of myself and Dave was very kind when he pointed it out, and see?  This is why I need to write blog ideas down.

Over and out.

Happily Ever After

Earlier today on Facebook, my sister-in-law posted a picture of her husband.  He was taking clothes off the clothesline, and she captioned the photo thusly:  “To all you young gals out there……this is what a sexy man looks like after 37 years of marriage.  To all you gals my age…..you know what I’m talking about!”

Can we get an AMEN?!

I always tried to tell my kids to focus on more than just looks when it comes to a significant other.  I know they come into play a little bit as far as initial attraction goes, and that’s inevitable.  I suppose if Dave and I were really turned off by each other’s looks, we might not have become a couple.  I don’t know – I can’t test that theory because it isn’t the case (wink wink).

What I do know is that we originally had no idea what the other person looked like; this was in the earlier days of the internet when it was a little tougher to get a photo posted online.  We had been corresponding for a few months before I ever saw his picture; he snail-mailed me an envelope of photos to scan for him so I could post them on the Say What Club (SWC) photo page, which I maintained at the time.

Because we initially just corresponded via email (privately and through the SWC) we really got to know each other well.  We wrote long emails and eventually moved on to IRC chats, which were more real-time than email and better than a phone call since we both had hearing loss.

Although we originally met online 16 years ago this month, September 1997, we didn’t meet in person until the very end of March 1998.  We had a lot of time to talk and not be swayed by appearances.  I had seen his packet of photos when I scanned them, and I think he probably saw one or two photos of me that were on the SWC site.

When we met in person and he started coming to visit on a regular basis, one of the first things I noticed was how helpful he was around the house.  I’d come out of the shower and find him washing the kitchen floor; he did dishes and laundry, cooked and cleaned even in the early days of our relationship.  I actually figured it would wear off, that he was just trying to make a good impression on me.  As the years went on, I realized it was just the kind of person he was – and ever since, we’ve had this kind of unspoken partnership as far as housework was concerned.  If it needed to be done, one of us would do it – we didn’t divvy up chores or make a big deal out of it.  There was no resentment, no keeping track of how many times he emptied the dishwasher or that kind of thing.

We do have a couple things that are our exclusive domains – yard work and the garden for Dave, anything to do with money, bills and the checkbook for me.

Back to my first paragraph – seriously, nothing was sexier to me than seeing him pitch in like that from day one.  At the end of the day, I’m not falling into bed exhausted, angry and resentful because I did all the work while he sat around or whatever.  There was a mutual respect going on (still is) and that does wonders for your love life!  I imagine it goes both ways – if I was just lying around while he did all the work, I’m sure he’d be pretty irritated with me at the end of the day.

In the early days, I worked outside the home and Dave was here with the kids, but we’ve been working together from home since 2001.  We spend all day, every day together.  Even after being together for over 15 years, I still sometimes just stop and marvel at how much I enjoy being with Dave.  I love talking to him and just hanging out with him.  We talk and joke around all the time; I never run out of things to say to him.  It amazes me that we found each other the way we did, especially considering we lived in different states and have a nine year age difference.  Originally our hearing loss was the main thing that brought us together.  Who knew that we would just completely enjoy each other so much, so consistently, for all these years?!

Me and Dave in our younger days, probably the first year or two after we met

Me and Dave in our younger days, probably the first year or two after we met

I know I don’t look much like I did 15 years ago when we first met; we’ve both gotten older, put on some weight…time has begun taking its toll.  But when you have a strong friendship and respect for each other, all that physical stuff just falls away.  That’s what I kept trying to impress on the kids:  Looks don’t stick around.  Make sure this person is someone you totally love spending time with, talking to; make sure you respect them and they respect you.  That supersedes all the superficial looks stuff.  What’s sexy is not when your husband grabs your butt as you bend over to empty the dishwasher … it’s when they reach around you to help you empty the dishwasher.

It doesn’t hurt if the guy does laundry, too.  Hubba hubba!

On Getting Older – An Eyebrow Lament

I’ve been noticing a disturbing trend in my eyebrows lately.  I haven’t been plucking them as much – I’m trying to let them grow in after decades of overplucking – but I do keep an eye on them when I do my nightly pluck-my-chin-hairs routine.  (Seriously…where did all the chin hairs come from?  Will I grow a beard if I become incapacitated and can’t pluck them?!)

So anyway, my eyebrows.  As I watch the new hairs grow in to fill in the previously-sparse areas, I’m realizing that most of these new hairs are gray.  And that looks really obvious against my very-dark-brown eyebrows.  I try to tame down the bright, shining white hairs with eyebrow powder or pencil; sometimes I just lose my mind and pluck them.

On one of my mom’s recent visits, I asked her.  “What did you do when your eyebrows started turning gray, Mom?  I was originally plucking them but if I keep doing that, I won’t have any eyebrows left!”  She laughed and answered without hesitation, “Oh, I dye them.  When I dye my hair, I dye my eyebrows too.”

Now, my mom’s been a hairdresser (hair sylist?) since the 70s and I totally trust her recommendations.  Of course, on the hair dye package they always warn not to use it to dye your eyebrows because it can cause blindness.  But they also tell you to always do a patch test and seriously, I’ve never done that.  So I figured I’d be a full-fledged rebel and ignore both of those warnings when I next dyed my hair.

I did a quick search online to make sure there wasn’t anything I needed to know besides the obvious:  Don’t get it in my eyes.  Basically the advice was to dab it on with a cotton swab and to go lightly with application so you don’t also dye your skin.

Today I decided to touch up my roots, and I went ahead and dyed my eyebrows after I got all the dye on my hair.  It went fine – my eyesight is intact and I used so little dye that my eyebrows pretty much still look very dark brown (the dye I use is Naturtint 6G, dark golden blonde – it lightens my dark brown hair to a bit more of a medium brown shade and makes the gray hairs look light brown with a golden shine).  My gray eyebrow hairs look more like dark blonde/very light brown hairs now though.  So it’s a modest success – maybe next time I’ll leave the dye on longer, who knows.

For the record, this is why it’s bad to brush curly hair:

Yes, it's frightening...no makeup and brushed curly hair.  AAIIEEEE

Yes, it’s frightening…no makeup and brushed curly hair. AAIIEEEE

I usually use my (very) wide tooth Denman to brush through my hair before I dye it, just to distribute oils from my scalp and kind of brush out any product from the day before.  My hair instantly becomes about three feet wide.  It looks so much more dramatic in person; the photo doesn’t do it justice.  Holy frizz, Batman!

There’s A First Time for Everything

I’ve never been particularly adventuresome.  Every now and then I’ll do something spontaneous and unplanned, but my general MO is to stay within my comfort zone.  I’ll stay with a fairly boring job (file clerk, anyone?) for years rather than deal with the stress and uncertainty of job hunting, interviewing and learning the ropes at a new place of business.  I’ll drive a tried and true route rather than experiment with a possibly-faster set of directions that might get me lost.

Sometimes, though, you just gotta do it – experience that first time doing something that kind of scares the crap out of you.  You start a new job and not only do you have to learn how to DO that job, you have to meet all new people, find out where the bathrooms are, where people go for lunch.  You have to drive to a brand new place and hope you don’t get stuck going the wrong way down a one-way street.

I still remember how nervous I was the first time we packaged orders for each type of candle we sold in our business.  We had spent months perfecting the actual candles – the wax, scent, color and wick.  But it wasn’t until those first orders came in that I realized I had to package them somehow, in a way that would be attractive and survive the rigors of shipping.  The first party favor order was especially terrifying, because a screw-up on our part could mean a ruined shower for our customer.  I fussed and played with tulle and tags for the favors, bags and labels for the pillars, boxes for tealights … and how the heck would we package votives?!  It was nerve-wracking … but also kind of fun.  I got through those early jitters, figured out what worked and what was a mistake, and eventually I whipped through the packaging of each item without even thinking twice.

The first time I gave Eric a bath, after I brought him home as a newborn?  I was a wreck.  It’s funny now, looking back, but at the time I was just sure I would either drown him or make his body temperature drop dangerously (thanks to the too-cold water I was afraid I’d use).  I made his father do the actual work while I held a book and read from it, telling him what to do.  Watching me then, you’d never think I’d be able to one day give my own child a bath using *gasp* common sense and instinct.

I don’t go through life terrified of everything, thank God.  In fact, there’s been plenty of times I should have been scared and wasn’t.  But every now and then something just gets to me and I’m seized with fear, afraid that I’m going to do it wrong and completely mess things up.

As pretty much everyone knows, it’s pushing through that fear of the unknown that brings a lot of satisfaction.  Well, usually.  There’s always times when all the things I’ve worried about actually come to pass, like the time I drove to a new doctor’s office, unsure of where I was going and not familiar with the town.  In addition to trying to follow new-to-me directions, I also encountered a detour that set me so completely off course that I drove around for an hour before admitting defeat and going home.  (Darn, no pap smear for me that day!)  How mortifying it was, though, to call and admit I’d tried to make the appointment and just couldn’t manage to get there.

For most of my blog entries, I sit and agonize over that first sentence.  It’s better now, better than when I was only writing once a month or so, but I still have moments where I just freeze.  I sit and stare at that blank Word document and think, How do I start this?  What do I say?  People will tell me that I need to write a book, and I’ll think, I don’t know how to start it!  So the other day I sat down and forced myself to write something, to get past that experience of doing something for the first time that tends to freeze me up.  Who knows if anything will come of it … but at least I did it; I got those first sentences written.

We won’t talk about my problem with ending blog entries and, I’m sure, manuscripts.  We’ll focus on the positive for now.

Tomatoes, Fambly, Cochlear Implants

1.  Our tomatoes are starting to ripen, so I took a photo of the four types of heirloom tomatoes we appear to have in our garden.  The small plum-shaped tomatoes are Amish Paste; the larger plum-shaped tomatoes (with kind of an indent in the center) are San Marzano.  (Confession time:  We had these mixed up, and it was only when I referred back to the catalog for this blog entry that I realized this.)

Four types of tomatoes from our garden - 2013

Four types of tomatoes from our garden – 2013

The two types of mystery tomatoes are round, and one is no longer a mystery now that they’ve ripened up.  We confirmed that one type is from Russia, called Nature’s Riddle.  We originally thought it was a pink variety, and then we realized the top was actually yellow.  We ended up finding them in the Striped section of the catalog – the top ripens to golden yellow and the bottom becomes a salmon-pink color.  Pretty cool!  The others are still a mystery … but they are very pretty, we have a lot of them and, luckily, they are delicious.

2.  The family is doing well:  Dave is starting to feel better – his graft versus host issues seem to be letting up a bit.  Paige set out on her own and has moved in with some friends, so we are wishing her well as she moves on to this next stage of her life.  Eric came out for a visit over the weekend and is still enjoying his life in the big city; we had a great visit and got to watch the first two episodes of The Heroes of Cosplay with him.

3.  When I originally got my cochlear implants, I worried for a while over whether I should just get one or do both ears at the same time.  One of my concerns was that having two CIs would double my costs.  So far that hasn’t been much of an issue, but now I’m considering an upgrade and that money thing is coming into play.  Advanced Bionics has a new, just-approved-by-the-FDA processor called the Naida CI Q70.  It is VERY COOL and has lots of new capabilities that I would love to have; it’s also smaller, has an option to wear it off the ear and also to use regular batteries if I want (instead of the AB rechargeables).  I’ve had my CIs for just over five years now, so I qualify for an upgrade through insurance (not sure though if they will pay for one or both – I’m waiting to find that out).  I would still have to pay 20% out of pocket, though, and that comes to a few thousand dollars that I don’t have.

Luckily, I don’t NEED an upgrade – my Harmonies work just fine.  Since there’s no urgency, I can save some money and wait a while before I upgrade.  (We don’t use credit cards, remember, so no slapping down the plastic to pay for these babies!)  I won’t be able to even consider an upgrade until 2014 sometime.  So it’s exciting and a little agonizing (the wait, that is) but ultimately I’m pleased that they aren’t out of reach for me.  In the meantime, I’m paying attention to all the feedback from those who do upgrade right away…by the time I get them, I should be pretty well-versed in everything they can do!

%d bloggers like this: