Archive for November, 2012

I have No Idea For A Title

November 29, 2012

I planned to write sooner but all I’ve wanted to do is whinge and I promised I wouldn’t/  I suddenly was so tired on Monday that after I saw my chiropractor, I came home and went to bed.  I slept well that night but was still finding it hard to wake up in the morning and stay awake.  Maybe there are layers of fatigue and exhaustion.  In that case, I may be getting into deeper layers that I have had for a very long time.  I will admit, I am fed up with being tired – I didn’t get this exhausted all in one day, so I need to remember it will take a while to release it, unfortunately I am not very patient at times.

I meant to put this post up yesterday afternoon – suddenly time slipped away because we had to go to both banks for check copies for DSHS.  Then to shop because we invited Kathy to dinner, I haven’t seen or really talked to her in quite a while.  I had also been to Breakfast Club – it has only been 2 weeks since we met – we took Thanksgiving week off – but it feels a lot longer.  Then it was over to Apple for my One to One.  I needed to get my iPad working and learn how to actually use it.  When I saw Mom on Tuesday I was going to take it and play some Al Bowlly things on YouTube – but I wasn’t sure I would have WiFi.  However, I took her chocolate and more Werthers.

I feel so much better after my One to One, I feel I have accomplished something and will see how things work on the iPad on Friday when I see Mom.  Then it was over to see Debye and my massage, I have really missed that!  I have been feeling a bit out of kilter the past few days, not sure what has been going on.  It felt as if something or more than one was welling up in my chest and almost choking me.  We had a great session and I feel so much lighter.  I was able to release and clear this program of feeling responsible for the world.  I now declare I am NOT responsible for anyone’s happiness or contentment, nor am I responsible for fixing things and making it better.  That’s NOT my job!  (NOTE to Self – do you read it loud and clear?)   Finally Debye helped me see things in a different perspective.  Each of us came here with a purpose and contract to experience something, everyone’s is different.  That each thing, event and experience is a gift and I need to allow each one to have their experience without thinking it’s bad or unhappy and I have to fix it.  I need to let go and allow each person their experience without judgment.   I also have to be non-judging about my own.  A couple of times over night I was feeling uncomfortable and found myself seeing it more with curiosity than with “What can I do or take to get rid of it”.  A rather different experience for me.  It is finally sinking in that each experience is a gift, one only has to see it in a different perspective than how we were programmed to see it.   My dim bulb of understanding it getting brighter and brighter.

When I left Debye’s it was raining, we have had some lovely sunny days, though chilly, lately and now the rain has moved in.  It got me to thinking about cats and I found some pictures that really illustrated how I was feeling.

Thanks to for these photos.  They have some really great photos of all kinds of cats.

Fortunately it isn’t raining as hard at the moment, but I am not all that anxious to go out.  But I have more stuff to do for Mom and it isn’t getting done staying home, warm and dry.

Life Has Its Moments

November 24, 2012

The last time I wrote was Thanksgiving, we were about to leave to visit Mom and then go to Vickie’s for Thanksgiving dinner.  Fortunately the weather held off that day – I won’t say it was sunny but it was dry.  So we went over to see Mom and wish her a Happy Thanksgiving around 1:45 or so – their dinner was cooking in the oven at that point.  Eddie and I sat with Mom in her room for a bit visiting, she tells Eddie she is doing fine, told Ellen she is doing well and likes it there during their call the night before – she gives me the crap!  She is having a rotten time and when I asked her to tell me about it, she had a hard time being specific.  I asked if it was anything to do with the people there, and yes, it is the people.   The men take up too much room – that was about all she could talk about.  Guilt trip coming – just passed by without stopping.  No way was I going to flag down that bus!  Then she says the people there are like family and Judy tells me that every one of the 5 people who live there love Mom and would do anything for her.  I think it is just part of Mom, the dementia and being 94.  Her one comment is “If I could be in my Mother’s home, I’d be all right”.  Maybe she tells me the bad bits because we have spent a lot of time together in the past 10 years and certainly the past 2 or 3 on the dementia journey.  When she talks about wanting to go home, I tell her “This is your home now, where you wait for the train”.  I have to remind myself I can’t and won’t board that bus any more.

I am getting better at shaking it off and put my focus and attention on other things – like an enjoyable time at Vickie’s house. We had flowers for Vickie since the cake broke apart, not  much to choose from on Thanksgiving Day.  She said to come around 3 and dinner was at 4.  We were there just before 3 and the drive was full of cars – we are usually the first ones.  Seems they have friends from California, so they had 2 cars, plus Vickie and Rich’s daughter Melissa and her husband James were there as well.  We had a great time and enjoyed meeting their friends Jane and Bryan from California – they also have lived here in Seattle as well.  We laughed a lot and had fun, the dinner was great – enough to feed the whole neighborhood.  Vickie made the most delicious pumpkin pie, not one of those thin filled ones, this was substantial!  We talked about all kinds of things and found a lot we all thought funny.  When we left, it felt as if it was around 8 or 9 – what a surprise to find it was only 6:30 or 7.  Even so, it was nice to come back after a great evening and just relax.

Yesterday felt like Saturday, but also didn’t, we couldn’t quite figure out how it felt.  It was pouring rain while we drove over to the dealership for Eddie to service his car.  We both brought books and read in the waiting room rather than go sloshing around University Village with the crowds.  We were surprised to find the roads were nearly empty at 9 a.m. and we didn’t see a lot of cars in the parking lot as we went through.  So we arrived sooner than we planned.  It was quite pleasant to sit and read where it was warm, dry and comfortable.  After the car was done, we went over to Whole Foods for some things – that too was quiet and then down the hill for coffee.  We had sparking space right close and there were cars around but not horrendous.  Maybe everyone was at the mall.

We came home, had a cup of tea and took it easy, glad to be out of the rain.  Also feeling more comfortable now that the drain is clear.  I will say, the cake has not gone to waste, more gone to waist.  We have had it for dessert, each had a piece before we went to Mom’s and Vickie’s.  There still is some left, we had it last night but we aren’t having humongous pieces.  Today we had bagels at Panera before stopping at See’s to buy Mom a small box of chocolates.  We drove over and spent time with her, talked to John about his cat and even Ginger Boy came out for a visit.  He spends most of his time in John’s room and was tentative about coming out to visit.  He seemed to take to Eddie quite easily, though he is skittish with unfamiliar territory and people.  Then we gave Mom her chocolates – her face lit up when she took one out to eat.  We noticed she took small bites to savor it, she definitely enjoyed it.  I also filled her jar with more Werther’s – I am looking for something different to fill next time.

We came home and had lunch, Eddie is working on the laundry and of course had to go clean the cars.  The Allens next door have a house full this weekend, they started arriving on Wednesday.  Not sure what John and Luzma are doing for the holiday, no doubt went to one of her sisters for Thanksgiving.  She called Wednesday just before we left to ask about Mom, so we said we would give Mom her good wishes.  Tomorrow I am going up  north with Eddie because he is Manager of the Day from around noon to closing.  Not sure what I am going to be doing, maybe wander around a bit.

It’s Thanksgiving!

November 22, 2012

This day has sneaked up on me before I knew it – it is supposed to be next week.  Well, if the 1st comes on a Thursday then I shouldn’t be surprised.

First an update on the cake – it is lovely and tastes great, except for one small detail, it is in pieces now.  I got it safely out of the pan and peels off the parchment paper on the bottom of the cake, but in putting it on the plate it cracked and broke into several large pieces.  My bad.  What a disappointment because we wanted to surprise Vickie with something different.  I think we both felt deflated after that, especially since we worked together quite well making it.    I can’t bring her a cake in pieces.  I had wondered how it tasted but didn’t think it right to take a piece and have an empty space, so in the end I got my wish.  We tasted it but now it is ours to eat.  The one ingredient we had trouble getting was brandy – I’m sure we have a bottle downstairs in one of our boxes – somewhere.  We didn’t want to buy a large bottle for some unreal price, so we ended up going to the liquor store.  Eddie told the man what we wanted and he knew exactly – he came up with peach brandy that people use for cooking.  It was more reasonable.  Then we had all the ingredients.  We will probably buy her some flowers to go with the bottle of wine.

I had another bout with technology on Sunday, a new phone.  I wanted a simple phone with an answering machine – nothing simple any more.  This has an extra cordless phone so I can take it around the house and not have to run for the phone.  Too bad I forgot to take it to the kitchen while we were cooking – just another new habit to acquire.  I hooked it up, followed the instructions and had most of it working, except that when one calls in, it has a message it is restricted and you have to do certain things  for this one time only call.  Then it was just a busy signal.  I went through the menu and thought I had everything working – nope.  After two hours I was done for the day – I had no idea what the problems was or how to fix it.

Monday I had some time in the morning and  was still having trouble with it, so I plugged in the old phone I had been using and sudden;ly the little bugger worked.  I have no idea what happened and since everything is now finally working, I am going to leave well enough alone.  That leaves one more things on my list to have work – the fax part of my printer.  It isn’t happy with the phone line and it has me buffaloed. I will NOT let it stay that way, I  will find out what it takes to get it working as well.

We aren’t supposed to have rain until tonight – how nice to have a break from very heavy rain.  Monday was the worst, I was coming back from Kent and it rained so hard I couldn’t really see the road.  I was ready to pull off to the side and wait for it to end when it got better.  I was wondering how it would be on the freeway, turned out well and by the time I got to Burien, it was sunny.  I knew that wouldn’t last but I would enjoy it for as long as it lasted.  I was meeting my Caregiver Counselor for the last time – this is the 6th visit since January.  When I first saw her I was a wet, drippy mess at the end of my rope; Monday she was comparing how I am to then and is amazed I went from the bottom of the scale to the top, in some areas.  We laughed about the time she came to see me in rehab – I was on Percocet at the time and was not really with it.  I remember telling her that if I closed my eyes, it was as if I was on a little raft in a quiet pond and I was undulating backwards on the water, then at a certain point, I would go forward.  I didn’t spend too much time with my eyes closed because I wasn’t quite comfortable with it.  Guess I wasn’t sure what would happen.  I also decided I did not want that for the rest of my life – I got off Percocet as soon as I could.

I really appreciate Kathryn so much, she is a tell it like it is person but also very understanding because she has such a wide experience with dementia and all its ramifications.  She really helped me see that I was overdoing things, that I can’t make it better for Mom or for anyone else.  I have been a perfectionist my whole life, yet I didn’t think so.  I am harder on myself than anyone else and expect me to live up to the standards of perfect – it’s impossible!  I learning that good is good enough.  I do have to catch myself and be aware of when it is happening – so true of so many other old programs I have.  Sometimes I think I need a scorecard to keep track.  End of subject for now.

Life Happens While I am Planning

November 21, 2012

I planned to write a quick post yesterday – until I remembered I needed to check the drain at the bottom of the outside steps because water came in the day before.  I was checking it, getting the leaves out and found it was more than just leaves – it was stopped up with dirt – no wonder the water didn’t drain!  I called Mr. Rooter this time because they are 24 hours and it is the same price whatever the time of day.  I called about 4 int he afternoon and it was almost dark – not so good for working there because we don’t have any lights around the outside by the stairs.  I was told Don would be there in about 45 minutes or so – after an hour and a half I called to make sure everything was all right.  He finally arrived about 40 minutes later – he was stuck in terrible traffic.  He said it would cost $310, but since we are seniors, he had a coupon for $50 and he would give us 10% off.  So with tax it was about $278.  He was a really friendly guy and it didn’t take him that long, snaked through 3 feet of junk and now I don’t have to worry when we have hard rains the way it has been the past week or more.

This is one of the photos I wanted to put in the post yesterday – was in need of a chuckle, giggle and laugh – cats really make me laugh.   This is another one – I have found these through a site from Facebook.

Today I was up at Swedish Hospital in Edmonds by 7:45 and spent a good part of the day there for my friend Charlotte – her husband was having surgery to reverse his colostomy and she has been very worried about it.  He is almost 80 and there are so many risks to the surgery, she was glad both Joyce and I were there to keep her company.  Finally about 12:30 or so the surgeon came down to tell her the surgery went very well and he was very pleased with the results.  That was such a relief for her – I am glad I was there for her.  After that we went to the cafeteria and had lunch, then it was time for me to head home before the holiday traffic got too bad.

I just talked to Charlotte tonight to see how she is doing.  She had a nap for about an hour at home and saw Ron when he got to his room.  He is doing well and now she can finally have a good night’s sleep knowing everything went so well.  Also, after dinner Eddie and I made a cake from scratch to take to Vickie’s tomorrow – we are experimenting on her.  Smells good and looks good – I think it will be delicious.

I will admit to being a little hesitant to put this last one on – not everyone may think it funny – it just hit at the right time and I laughed out loud for a while at it.

I warned you!!!                Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, may it be filled with love, laughter and joy.

The Guilt Trip Bus Is Pulling Out of The Station

November 18, 2012

It has been an enlightening week, especially with the help of friends who know and understand what it is like to have family going through dementia.  (I don’t capitalize it because I don’t want to give it importance – well, it makes sense to me!)  I have been to see Mom three times this week – she must have been very surprised when both Eddie and I showed up yesterday bearing chocolates.  Mom is talking a lot about how much she would like to come and live with us – I have told her “This is where you need to be, this is where you wait for the train”.  She has said it several times in a visit and that she wants to get out of there.  But she wasn’t really happy here either – strangely enough, one friend asked if she is just doing what she has always done all my life?  It didn’t take being a rocket scientist (and I happen to know one) to think about that.

I’m sure a lot of  Mom’s depression is that she misses my Dad – he has been gone for 12 years and she is lonely.  She has always looked at the negative of everything for as long as I can remember.  I don’t know where it comes from, is it childhood, one or more experiences that really left and impact on her?  I haven’t clue.  Since we came to live with Mom, I began to say something positive when something negative comes from her.  We were going down the steep hill in front of the house and she talked about how easily we could over the side and crash.  I just said we could go down with no problem and make it to where we plan to go with no problems.  I realized that all my life I have bought into her negativity and gone along with it, even accepted it.  But that day I couldn’t deal with it any more and decided to turn things around for a change.

As for wanting to leave, I have talked to several people who have dealt with parents and dementia and they tell very similar if not the same story.  My friend Charlotte, whom I have known since 9th grade, went through it with her mother for many years.  She wrote me the other day and what she said really helped:

The reason your mom gripes to you about things is that You were her primary caregiver for quite a while, and she feels “safe” spouting off to you, I think.  You are right to change the subject or just ignore it.  If she presses the issue, you can always say, “thank you for telling me that” or “I’m sorry you feel that way”, and then move on.  Eventually I think it will pass, particularly as the disease progresses.  You are so fortunate she can still talk, even if she doesn’t always say what you want to hear, or even make sense sometimes.  That was the thing we missed most about mom’s dementia–she lost her speech completely, at the end, and for several years had an extremely limited vocabulary, so communication of any kind was difficult at best.  (And last night I had a little meltdown when I suddenly couldn’t think what her voice sounded like; that really bothered me.)

I think the things you are doing for/with the group home are very good, and makes a nice break for everyone.  It’s really very thoughtful of you.  I never thought to do anything like that for my mom when she was in the group home.  And, yes, I’m sure some of the others do have visitors, too, but you might ask and if there’s someone who is really alone, maybe pay a little extra attention to that one, or bring a special treat once in a great while just for that person. 

What she is referring to was my Friday visit,  I took two rolls of refrigerated cookie dough – chocolate ship and sugar cookie – and baked them there at the house.  It ended up that Judy the caregiver did a lot of it because I am not familiar with how their oven works.  We had a good time and the smell of baking cookies filled the house, part of the plan.  We did a cookie of each for every one, so there is still a half roll of each for another time.  It felt very good when they said I had made their afternoon.  It was surprising when Eddie suggested that he would come and we would all do it again, making sure that the owner Didi is there as well.

I have met all the other residents, including Ginger Boy who is John’s cat, except for Wendell.  He is usually in his room because he needs a wheelchair.  I asked Judy if I could meet him and bring some cookies, so we did.  His room is next to Mom’s and he is  very friendly,  he really enjoyed the cookies, especially the chocolate chip one.  Yesterday I went in to say Hello to him – now that I have met him, I want to be sure to visit him whenever I come to see Mom.

So I didn’t board the guilt trip bus this week, I am more comfortable with Mom when she talks about wanting to leave – it is not unusual.  Nor do I have to fix it and make everything better. I only have control over my own thoughts, not anyone else (as I keep saying to myself over and over). As a friend told me, she has chosen to have this experience for her own reasons, just as I have probably chosen to go through it with her as well.

Move Over Robin Hood!

November 16, 2012

A few weeks ago our plumber, John gave his 15 minute presentation.  When he usually does it, he brings all kinds of interesting things and stories about the jobs he has done and the people  who called him.  This time he did something very unrelated to plumber as possible – he talked about duck hunting and how he does it.  He hunts ducks with a bow and arrow – give the duck a sporting chance.  He had several bows and he took one of them and asked me to see if I could pull it – barely moved it but it had a very interesting feel.  He makes his own arrows with different kinds of feathers – depends on kind  of duck, weight of the arrow and swiftness.

Afterwards I went up to ask some questions and had a chance to see the different bows, how they feel and where one puts each hand.  I was interested in the string, it is several string with an outer wire coiled all the way from top to bottom.  I had a chance to also see the arrows close up as well.   (for Halloween we did costumes and John came as a duck hunter – everything covered in camouflage )

A couple of weeks later he showed me another bow to see if I could pull that one – a little better but still not enough.  I was rather surprised but pleased he thought about it.  A few days later he came over to check on the outside faucet by the garage for me.  When John and his crew came the last time and cleared out everything, it was more exposed than usual.  So John insulated it with 3/8″ foam as well as making sure there was no air in the styrofoam box we have been using.  He said he would have it done before the first frost – that was Thursday and Saturday morning we woke up to our first frost.  It was gorgeous, plus I knew the faucet was fine.

He came back in to the house with a bow – he had made one for me with PVC pipe and I am not sure what the string is.  He had me try it out and I can pull it far enough to actually shoot an arrow.  He said he would make me some arrows and teach me to shoot it – never in my life did I ever think about trying a bow and arrow.   Suddenly here is the opportunity.  How amazing is that?  I will report back what happens when I have arrows, the hand hold on my bow and a few trial shots.  Watch out world!

Perception is Everything

November 14, 2012

These days I am not sure what is going on with my Mom.  Friday afternoon I went to see her and we talked, but she said the food wasn’t very good and “Do I have to stay here?”  I feel I am on a roller coaster at times, I am not sure what the real story it any more.  I saw her this morning and brought her some flowers since it is a cloudy, rainy, dreary day.  I thought she would like some color for a bit since the leaves are mostly gone from the trees.  She told me she was ready to leave and go somewhere else, where I don’t know, though Friday she said if she could go to her parents house she would be all right.  She asks about her parents, then says “They are dead, aren’t they?”.  I say they are watching over her and preparing a place for her when her time comes – of course she is ready to go now, right this minute.   She wants to know when she will go and the only answer I have for her is that no one has come back from the other side to tell us how it all works.  Today I said that sometimes people have to go to a different place to catch the train, not sure if that helped or not.  Am I just looking for logic when she talks about things?  Is there logic in it or is there a thought process I don’t understand?

Is she putting me on a guilt trip? I have been really good and proficient at boarding that bus all by myself.  Does anyone have any good answers?  Or is this one of those I play by ear.  I hadn’t realized I had forgotten something I learned in Ike Pono – “I care but not so much”.  I realize I have been tying myself up in knots thinking I can “make it better”, but I don’t think that is possible.  I also thought I had finally understood and accepted that I am not responsible for the world and it is up to me to fix it.  Maybe it is because she looks so lost and confused as well as unhappy about the situation.  She will say that everyone is very nice and good to her, she likes the people, so it can’t be terrible.  Maybe it is just her perception and that changes with her awareness.

Now contrast that with what my sister Candy wrote about her phone call to Mom on Sunday.

Just wanted to touch base and let you know I talked to Mom today. She
sounded pretty confused, but still knew who I was, with a little
reminder or two thrown in during the conversation. She was asking if
her mother was all right (I told her she was fine and waiting for her
on the other side). And she said twice that she was looking forward to
seeing everybody. I told her she was where she was so she could wait
for the train there, and she seems to think it’s okay, even though
it’s not where she wants to be, which is on the other side. She likes
the food, says the people are nice, and the bed is comfortable. She
says the cat is kept out back and she doesn’t see it often, but she
has a bear to hold (I’m assuming the bear Elizabeth was talking
about). She didn’t sound depressed, just bewildered and wanting the
waiting to be over. I felt like the energy was good and that Mom feels
safe and as comfortable as she’ll allow herself to be.

That reminds me, I did bring her a cuddly bear shortly after she moved in there.  She was pleased with it and it seems she sleeps with him and also will hold him while watching television.  I asked her two or three times if he had a name, not yet.  then the next time I asked, she said his name was James.  There is a second smaller bear she said he was James too.  So we have James the First and James the Second.  I tell her I am sleeping with Bunny too – she gives me a lot of comfort.  I had asked her what her name is and I think it is Sweet Pea because I have called her that without thinking.  I am thinking of getting her a little stuffed furry cat so she has a cat of her own.  Not sure when, maybe wait until it feels like the right time.

I talked to Didi about Mom and she said she spends time with the others, eats very well and is enjoyable to be around.  Didi doesn’t think Mom is unhappy, she would certainly let me know if there is a problem or situation.  One day at a time and not allow myself to ride the roller coaster.

Technology Will Not Defeat Me!

November 13, 2012

I do all right with technology for my computer but every once in a while, I get stymied.  Sunday we decided it was time to set up the new printer and get it working.  We had an Epson that continually printed red lines all through the page and my HP needs more ink.  We bought and All-In-One that copies, prints, faxes and scans and we can use it for both the Mac and the PC.  Eddie got the box for the Epson up from the basement and put the printer back in – we found out GoodWill will take the printers, the old tv and some other things.  Then we looked at the directions for putting it together – I had already cleared off a space on top of the bookshelf by the window to put it – no more bending over under the desk for Eddie.  We had a hard time figuring out where the paper tray went, the picture showed a different place than where it actually goes.

So we turned it on to see about programming it and it showed the tray went above where the paper is stored – then it made sense.  Then I put in the disk to install the printer software on my computer – at least that was the intention.  Unfortunately it gave me a little note saying it wasn’t supported to do the printer.  I tried all kinds of things and when I saw something for software download, I checked it out.  I downloaded three things and thought that would do it – no way Jose!  By then I had been working on the thing for 2 hours and I was done.  I needed a break.  So we went out for coffee and bagel at Panera, then came home because it was cold and raw out – no fun wandering around in that weather.

For some reason I woke up tired and dragging as well as cranky and irritable – never have figured out what caused it.  I decided to have a lie down, maybe even a nap when we came home.  I asked God to help me figure the printer out, I was clueless at that point.  So Bunny and I went to bed for a nap – although it didn’t seem as if I really slept, it was 3 hours later when Eddie called me – he didn’t want me to sleep past 5 or I would not sleep that night.

I went back to computer to make sure I had the right USB cable – I did.  Then I decided to check my downloads only to find they were not listed on the computer – they had not been installed, so I clicked and made sure they were installed.  Then I ran the disk again – how lovely to see all the right windows come up to install and program the printer.  I clicked at the right prompts and suddenly the printer was printing for me.  Next I went to Eddie’s PC, loaded the disk and it went like clockwork – no hangups or glitches.  Soon I had the printer working with his PC and had it print something.  What a feeling of accomplishment!

However, that is not the end of the story. Yesterday I took a very small order for little calendars and tried to fax it this morning. For some reason it wasn’t working at their end  so I emailed to let them know.  Okay, I figured I would scan it and then attach it to an email.  That was the plan but when I clicked on Scan, it told me it couldn’t scan because it wasn’t configured.  At that point I was stymied, ready to just send the whole shebang by snail mail.  So I had to go back to the printer and push a button – I honestly don’t know which one or how I found it.  It configured itself and then by George, it scanned.  So I was able to send it and it was just the check that went snail mail.

I have this thing with technology, I am going to get it to work if it kills me.  I remember in Atlanta when Eddie was negotiating for a job in Saudi Arabia and they wanted to fax things.  This was 1991 and the fax machine we bought had thermal paper rolls.  I worked on programing and setting up that little bugger for several days, some things would work and other wouldn’t.  However, I finally managed to have it up and functioning properly.  There was only one drawback, it was downstairs and one had to push the button to receive a fax – fine when I was downstairs but I wasn’t able to race downstairs when I was in our bedroom or the spare bedroom.  I haven’t raced up or downstairs for decades.  Most often they sent them in the middle of the night, usually when Eddie was out traveling.  We managed to get all their faxes in spite of the obstacles – then he decided not to take the job because he didn’t know who he would be working for – Saab in Sweden or the Sheik who owned the distributorship.

You might say I have a love/hate relationship with technology – great when it works and frustrating as all get out when it doesn’t.  Often it is getting one machine to talk to the other and be able to receive an answer from the other.  Of course you know who was out reading or doing something else while I struggled – but he also cooked a delightful dinner for us.  He does so much for me, he is such a sweetheart!

The Mystery Leak

November 7, 2012

It’s really nice to have a house with no neighbors on the other side of the walls.  It also means that when something happens, guess who takes care of it.  Monday night we had had dinner and Eddie went down to have his shower.  All was well when he came back upstairs.  Later he went down to brush his teeth and there was a leak right by the stairs – except there are no pipes there.  He quickly got a bucket, then took the flashlight to see if he could see anything – nothing but a slanted piece of wood.  It was doing drip  drip  drip  drip  drip.  He felt around with his finger and suddenly it was drip drip drip drip dripdripdripdripdrip.  Then a second drip started right beside it, so another something to catch the water.  It seemed to be coming from upstairs but there are no pipes in the corner where the bookshelves are – what was going on?   He kept going to check it and it was down to one drip – then later before we went to bed the drip stopped.  We could not figure out what it was.  We thought maybe it was because of the rain – it wasn’t raining.  Eddie thought it was a leak in the roof – then why didn’t it drip when we had all the rain, some really hard rain?  It was a puzzle for both of us.  We went to bed but neither of us slept that well – some was being uncomfortable and another part was wondering and concern about the leak.

I know Eddie was worried but I chose not to – two worrying wouldn’t make any difference (ask me how I know) and I have spent too many nights worrying.  I decided to bring my golden bubble of love all around me so I didn’t absorb his negative energy.  I put it in God’s hands and ask for help with the situation, then let it go because I knew the solution was already created.  My trouble sleeping was more physical discomfort – must be that housework I overdid on Sunday.

The last two days it hasn’t dripped and yesterday when I talked to Brad, I asked if he had time to check out this mysterious leak for us.  I explained what had happened and he had never heard of anything like, so he had no idea what the cause was.  It has not leaked since, yet we wondered if it would suddenly start again.  He came this afternoon and Eddie showed him exactly where it was leaking and what had happened.  So he and Eddie looked all around the basement and then came upstairs to see if something from the upstairs bathroom was leaking – if so, it should leak every time I have a shower or use the john or faucets.  But it hasn’t.

The next thing I know, they are looking in the hall closet – they found the floor had been wet.  I wondered if was from when we came to live here and the roof needed replacing – I could see daylight when I looked up towards the crawl space.  But no, that wasn’t it.  Finally the mystery was solved!  My mother always liked to be prepared in case the power went out or any kind of difficulty – she had put away an unopened gallon jug of water in the hall closet in case of earthquake or no electricity.  The jug sprung a leak and that was what dripped down by the basement stairs.  No more mystery, no more leak.

This squirreling of things has been going on as long as I can remember.  My Mom liked to be prepared in case of any emergency, so she had extra food downstairs in the big cupboard, a Sterno stove that we have used for hot water or soup when the electricity was out, lots of candles, flashlights and jugs of water in different places.  I realized I am not really prepared if there is an emergency, even when it is having no electricity or we are snowed in.  As we clean out the house, it is amazing what we have come across – both my Mom and Dad were packrats and I definitely come by my tendencies honestly.  No doubt since both of them went through the Depression, there is a lot of stored memories deep inside them.   Plus they didn’t have a whole lot of money when they were first married.  Dad always told the story about Mom making out the shopping list with the most important things at the top.  Then Dad would go shopping – Mom was home with one or two of us – and when the money ran out, he came home.  My Mother was good at making things stretch and made a lot of our clothes as we were growing up.  She canned fruit and vegetables for winter and froze things in the freezer.

It will be interesting to see what else turns up as we slowly clean out and throw away or give away things – there is no telling what we will find.

Life Post Mom

November 4, 2012

I am so happy to hear from my older sister, she wrote two emails and sent some pictures of Ocean Grove.  They were very lucky, not a lot of damage and the sound of the furnace coming on was a sweet sound.

     We saw Mom yesterday and I saw her on Tuesday but haven’t told her anything, I think she would just be worried.  Actually, there isn’t a lot to talk to her about, so I am resorting to things in the past.  Some she remembers, much she doesn’t.  Keeps asking where her parents are, if they are dead and when I say yes, I tell her they are watching over her and preparing a place.  One thing, Didi, the owner, is amazed at how well and easily she has begun to settle in. Didi has adopted her and the other residents really like having her..  She thought there would be a lot of resistance because she had been in her house for so long, what a delight to find Mom is adjusting well.  Mom keeps saying they are very nice to her and she likes it there.  Apparently we moved her just at the right time.  I am still tired and there doesn’t seem to be much let up in having to do things for her.  This is a whole new learning experience for me as well as Mom.
I sent in the forms and papers to DSHS for Medicaid on Friday and now have to round up some other things I know I will need.    Funny, it still hasn’t really sunk in that Mom is not living here any more.  We have her bedroom door closed but sometimes when I get up in the night, I expect her to come out and want the bathroom at the same time.  I have to tell myself consciously I can make a late or early appointment, or come home later than I planned – I don’t have to fit into caregiver hours or Center hours.  Trying to live between 9 and 3 when the rest of the world doesn’t is very confining.  I wonder when “I know that I know” it is just Eddie and me?
Our eating habits are different now, we can make things with tomatoes – they really bothered Mom even though she loves them – as well as not having as much meat.  We are eating lighter and our food bills are probably lower.  Things last longer as well, Mom still has a good appetite and enjoys her food.  I think that makes it easier for Didi as well.  Didi said yesterday her blood pressure is good and she is doing very well, plus they check her out when she is at the Center.  Sometimes Mom tells me things but no one else, so I talked to Didi about it.  She wants to know so she can check it out and see what might be going on.  Tuesday Mom said she had been getting dizzy, so I told Judy the caregiver and then also the nurse at the Center – no idea what it is.  Mom has also been known not to tell anyone when something is hurting or bothering her – that doesn’t help.  Must be the stoic Yankee New Englander in her.
I must admit, it is so nice to get up when I want to, take a shower when I want to – before I had to either get up before 7 a.m. to have it or wait until after 9.  I can stand and enjoy the hot water for a long time as well, I do enjoy the new bathroom – the best room in the house.  I can also play my iTunes radio stations all the time and as loud as I want – Mom tended to find tv too much noise and would go along with the iTunes radio for a while.  I remember growing up and there came a time when we were watching tv Mom would ask for a little peace and quiet.  I have plenty of time while Eddie’s gone, he isn’t that fond of opera as I am.  Puccini is my main man!
We have also been slowly cleaning out some of the stuff that has been sitting in the basement for decades, my Dad couldn’t throw things away and neither could my Mom.  The recycle wheely bin gets filled up quite fast these days.  I am trying to clean out the office but it is slow going, seems to all come back very quickly.  There is so much to go through, I don’t know where to start.  All I know is it is one section at a time – now which section is first?  Then I need to decide what to with things that shouldn’t be thrown away.  I need to check with my sisters to see what they would like – they have first choice.  There’s no doubt about it, I won’t sitting twittaling my thumbs wondering what to do.


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