Saturday, December 31, 2022
The Final Countdown
Friday, December 30, 2022
Counting my Blessings.
Tomorrow is the last day of the year. 2022 ended with a bit of heart break and tomorrow Colin and Cara will be headed home and I did not get to see them, but 2022 started with a trip to England to visit them. I can't really complain now, can I? I spent a whole month with the two of them, a perfect blend of extraordinary and ordinary days.
I retired in 2022, and that has been wonderful. I was able to take regular trips to see my grandaughter, which was wonderful, and I got to stay with her while her mother and father brought the new grandaughter in to the world. The time was just perfect. So was the brand grandaughter.
William lives much closer, and we have had more perfect days with him that most any grandparents I know.
It all balances out, really. I've been pretty blessed this year.
Thursday, December 29, 2022
Today, I ran out to get some sausage to make calzones. I had a lot of stuff left over from making a lasagna that needed to be used up and I figured that making dough was easy enough.
So, William and I took a run to the local big box store. He wanted to take a look around and see if there was anything he wanted to buy. So...he wandered off to the toy section, and I wandered off to the grocery aisle, with the agreement to meet up front.
Anyways, he was waiting for me. His hands were empty.
"Didn't see anything you wanted?"
"No," he said. "The shelves are pretty bare. You should have seen the Lego aisle."
"Well, it is just a few days past Christmas, and anyway, you have a lego set upstairs on your desk that you're in the middle of."
"I know," he said.
And we headed to the check out.
This might seem like a very unimportant conversation, but I'm here to tell you that inside, I was flipping cartwheels. Know why? If William has a dollar, he spends a dollar. The idea of just hanging on to your money, that you don't need to spend it as soon as it crosses your palm is an idea we have tried to get across to him for months now. Just last fall, we set him up with a bank account. When he earns money, he has to put some of it in his savings account. He gets to choose how much. It's a personal choice, but whatever he puts in, we match, which is quite an incentrive for him.
We've really hammered hard on financial responsibility, the importance of being sensible with your money, how to be thrifty, all of that, and sometimes it feels as if it is falling on deaf ears. Still. We feel like it is important to say it, important to model the behavior.
Today, William went to the store and could not find anything he wanted. He walked out of the store with the same $12 he walked in with. It is a first.
When we got to the car, I commented on it. "You know, just a few months ago, you'd have bought something, anything, just because you had money."
"Yeah," he said, "but if I don't spend it, I'll have more to spend next week."
I started the car. "I'm really proud of you. That was a mature thought process. Make sure you tell Grandpa, okay?"
Wednesday, December 28, 2022
Turning a corner.
Tuesday, December 27, 2022
A Good Sign
Houdini was eating supper when Tim walked into the kitchen today. A first. Usually, he waits until the middle of the night. Later Tim was polishing a board. Houdini watched him curiously from under the Hoosier, his little head peering out.
The doctor's wife called yesterday that the doctor would have to speak with Tim about his results. He was out of office at a local nursing home doing his rounds.
Last night was another sleepless night. I've got the cough now, and I am going to assume it is the same thing, but being a practical idiot, I was waiting to hear what Tim was dealing with to see if I needed to make an appointment with my own doctor. I was up until one. Tim didn't come to bed until after three. Lying down aggravates the coughing.
We did not hear from the doctor this morning. Just before lunch time, once again, I called the office. I was told that she herself had spoken with my husband about his test results yesterday. "You did," I said, but I pointed out that the only information that he'd received was that she said the doctor would have to speak with him.
*Long pause.* "Did I? Well, let me check. I just told the doctor that I'd taken care of the call." I went on hold and she came back and said, "Well the results are kind of confusing." And she mde made impatient sounds about the lab. She said she would call them to straighten it out. "What's a good number to reach ou at?"
My snarky self did not reply, "Just use the number that you haven't been calling since last week." I gave her the number which I know they have right on the form she was looking at.
The doctor did call back and said that there was some abnormality. Indicative of upper respiratory infection. Keep on keeping on.
I said to Tim, "Really, you should think about getting a different doctor." He snapped at me, and I dropped the subject. Again.
(He is a old school doctor who objects to the local medical group, operates independently, and as such does not have access to the on-line medical portal.)
Monday, December 26, 2022
It was a good Christmas. I expected today to be a bit sad. I should have been somewhere else, surrounded by my children and grandchildren and I would be a liar if I said that I wasn't just the tiniest bit sad. But...I had a great Christmas eve. We enjoyed our Christmas day. Quiet. Low key.
William received some posters for Christmas that he wanted to hang in his room. We helped him. Two of them were from "Stranger Things".
I said, "Do you like that show?" He said that he'd never seen it but that he'd heard about it from his friends and that he'd always wanted to see it.
This morning, I slept in. I had an upset stomach in the middle of the night and could not get warm to save my soul. I finally fell asleep quite late. Tim was helping his son with a home repair this morning and had already left. William was making his breakfast.
We worked together, doing our morning things, and then doing our chores. After lunch, I casually turned on Netflix and cued up Stranger Things.
The look on that boy's face!
It is cold outside. He watched two episodes this afternoon. He watched two more episodes this evening.
Tim's still coughing up a lung. He called his doctor's office on Thursday, before lunch to check on his lab work. He knew that the office is closed on Fridays. He was assured that the biller was working Friday, and that she would call him with his lab results.
I said to him, "They will not call. Bet me."
He called and left a message for the biller, that he had been told she would call.
Today, he got a call from the office, assuring him that his labs were there, but the doctor needed to discuss them with him. He was working at a local nursing home.
I said, "He will not call. Bet me."
This is getting frustrating. We need to find out what is going on.
Friday, December 23, 2022
We woke up this morning and were surprised that the forecasted winter storm had already started. Things were not predicted to get ugly until the afternoon.
It is windy and snowy and dark. The wind kicks up the snow, making visibility an issue. The temperatures are in the single digits. They claim that with the windchill the temperature was -27F, which is -32C. Nothing at all to folks like Red or Anvil Cloud, living up there in the great white north. To us, it's pretty extreme stuff. It's supposed to be even colder tomorrow.
It is two days before Christmas.By the time that you read this, it will be Christmas eve. My daughter and son and their spouses called today to chat with William. He opened their presents. I'm grateful for the video chat, but it is certainly not the holiday that I've been planning in my mind for months. We were to leave the day after Christmas to travel east, to be with all of my kids and their families, everyone under the same roof for the first time in years. We bought a smoked ham from a traditional old time butcher. I have made Grandma Violet's fruitcake. We're all being practical and we're all being sensible, but it is not what a one of us wanted, not at all, and I've been really down in the dumps about it.
I had a hairdresser's appointment today at 4. I'd scheduled it back at the beginning of the month. We were going to have family pictures done to celebrate us all together for the holiday, and I wanted my hair to look nice. In the hubbub of the unraveling of all those plans, I forgot about it. She called to let me know that she'd had many cancellations and my appointment could be moved ahead if I was interested. She's not more than five minutes from the house, and I wavered a bit, but decided to get the hair cut. I needed it. At least I'd look nice for the video chat.
I started out. Traffic was sparse, and the snow was blowing badly on one stretch past the river. On a slight bend, I felt the rear of my car slide. I was going very slowly, the car took corrective action and I steered slightly into it. The car straightened out quickly. A big rush of gratitude and relief washed over me.
In that moment, I realized that things could be so much worse. Disappointment can be borne. Plans change on a dime all the time. It happens to everyone, everywhere. We will all be having another video chat Christmas afternoon. I have all the makings for a very nice dinner. We have company coming Christmas eve and then another round of activity again on Christmas day. Tim is about nuts to give William his Christmas present and I think that we've got a nice batch of gifts for his kids and grands.
It didn't come out exactly how we planned, but plenty of people would be happy with this. I can be happy with this too.
Merry Christmas, everyone!
Thursday, December 22, 2022
Wednesday, December 21, 2022
In Sickness and In Health
Tim has been sick with some respiratory thing since just before Thanksgiving. The coughing pretty much did his hunting season in before it even started. We argued about it, and finally, I argued hard enough to get him in to see his doctor.
He was presribed an antibiotic. He took every last dose, but the cough was still there. The coughing started about as soon as he laid down and no one was sleeping well, that's for sure. He was up and down all night. I was up and down all night. I cannot tell you the number of times I woke up to a not fully awake man coughing a lung up directly in my face.
I went out and bought a vaporiser. Didn't help. Vicks didn't help. Mucinex helped a lot, but he still will have a couple coughing fits in the night.
I noticed wheezing and started getting alarmed. He ignored me. Last night, he coughed for 20 minutes straight. It was a productive cough.
This morning, he was exhausted and slept in. I got up early to do the school stuff. When I returned, he was still asleep. I made my coffee and carried it out to the office. I am worried about things. I honestly think this is the sickest that Tim's ever been. It certainly is the longest he's ever been sick.
Reaching a decision, I called his doctor's office. I explained the situation.
"Do you want us to call in another prescription?"
"No," I said. "I really think he needs to be seen." I explained about the rales and the wheezing.
"Can he be here at 9:45?" she asked.
I looked at the clock. It was 8:55. "Yes, he can."
I hung up the phone and went upstairs. "Hey!" I said.
"What?" he mumbled.
"Get up! You've got a doctor's appointment at 9:45. He looked over at the clock and sat up abruptly. I left the room before he woke up enough to speak coherently.
He came down the stairs shortly after me. Bless his heart, he did not argue with me.
He has a stronger antibiotic and a bottle of Tessalon Pearls (which unfortunately do not work for him). Most importantly, he has lab work ordered to figure out exactly what they are dealing with. We should have some answers by the end of the day tomorrow.
Tuesday, December 20, 2022
'Twas six days before Christmas...
William has always slept over at our house on a regular basis. When he was small, he was afraid to sleep alone. Our house is big and he worried about fires and people coming to get him in the night.
As he got older, the rollaway bed in the corner of our bedroom was done away with. We have plenty of bedrooms upstairs, but he wanted to be on the same floor as we were, so he slept on the couch in the living room.
Upstairs, there is a guest room that is set up with Cara's bedroom furniture, a sturdy wooden loft bed, matching dresser and desk. William knows that is 'his' room. His 'cabinet of curiosities' is up there, an old ornate china closet. He goes up there sometimes, with his latest find to tuck in his cabinet, but he's not really much on spending any amount of time up there.
Tim and I got to thinking that perhaps if we slept up there as well, he might be more comfortable. The room we moved into has a door between the two rooms if he needs us in a hurry.
We tried it out, and it was successful, so today Tim and I decided to make over the room that would be his. It was just small things, really. His curtains are made out of the same material as his curtains at his house, for a touch of the familiar. Tim installed a gas heater in the fireplace to make the room nice and cozy. We mounted a large mirror above it. I set framed family pictures across the top of it, on top of his bookshelf, on his dresser. Cara had a shelf she hung on the wall beside her bed, We pulled that out and mounted it on the wall. We fit it with a reading light, and set up a charging station for his tablet and phone. We tossed a nice rug on the floor. I dusted and polished and vacuumed while Tim did his things. William had picked out a floor lamp the day before. We set it up along side the desk and Tim stocked the desk with a pack of printer paper and pencils and black ink pens. William likes to cartoon.
I went through the book shelf removing all the books that were too young for him and pulled out some of young adult mysteries and fantasies that Cara had loved. We hung a ticking clock over the book shelf and set a chair beside it to hold his back pack. Tim hung the posters he had picked out.
Most of the things were just moved from one place in the house to another, with a smattering of new things ~ posters, the lamp he picked out, things to stuff his desk drawers with.
I picked him up from school today. He asked what Grandpa and I did that day. "Oh, we've been pretty busy," I said.
When we got home, he started divesting himself of his things. "There's a new place for your backpack and your laptop case. Go upstairs and put in on the chair in your room." He looked confused. "I have a chair in my room?" But he went upstairs. Tim jumped right up to follow. So did I.
He walked in the door and stopped right there. He said, "Wow." That's all. He walked into the middle of the room and stood there, holding his backpack and turned around slowly taking it all in. His grandfather had bought a magazine that he loved and set it on the tidy desk. He noticed that right away, when he turned on the floor lamp. "Thank you for the magazine." He looked at the Regulator on the wall. "I have my own clock." Tim showed him the charging station. He immediately took two books from his back pack and set them on that shelf by the bed. He switched on the reading light. "This is sure a bright light."
These comments were all quietly said in a very matter of fact voice. He set his back pack and laptop on the chair, still quietly taking it all in.
Suddenly, he threw out both arms and twirled in a circle in the middle of the room. "This is my new happy place!" he declared. "I love it!"
And all three of us stood in that happy place, just being happy.
Monday, December 19, 2022
Saturday, December 17, 2022
The Small Miracle
We had to get Houdini, the feral cat, out of the basement. That was simply a must. Tim and I tried to capture him gently, but it was not to be done. In the end, in fear, he dashed up the stairs to the kitchen. We came upstairs and closed the door to the basement. That was that. He was upstairs.
He had shot out of the kitchen and gone to God knows where, but after two days of not eating, we found him tucked up behind the antique floor model radio. (Still works, if you're curious). We herded him to the kitchen where his food was and his litter pan tucked away.
He stayed hidden. He ignored the chicken which was simmered until it fell off the bone and was turned in tortilla soup. He ignored his spoonful of beef cutlets in gravy. He ignored the tuna fish oil water which he normally laps right up. He did pick at his dry food and drank half a bowl of water, waiting of course until after we had gone to bed and the house was dark and quiet.
He was no where to be seen in the morning.
William and Tim headed out today. William needed a hair cut. They were also going to play Santa Claus, delivering our small gifts and thank yous to the tenants. Tim and William were also doing some whispering which I did not quite understand.
But I was on my 8th or 9th load of laundry and folding to do. I had a list of other chores to tick off my list. I stayed home to get things accomplished.
When they returned home, guess who was curled up in his cozy heated bed? Guess who looked up at William as he spoke gently to him, and even allowed him a tentative stroke down his back?
I am feeling a bit more hopeful about that cat.
Friday, December 16, 2022
Thursday, December 15, 2022
I had to make a decision today. It was the hardest decision of my life. I can't talk about it and I cannot even begin to tell you how awful I feel about it.
It hurts so badly that I cannot even cry. There is just this sick feeling, the knowledge that we couldn't have done things any differently and lived with ourselves.
Knowing it is the right decision does not make it any less painful.
The Birthday Party
Yesterday morning, I picked up Mattie so she could get some shopping done. She mentioned that she wanted to pick up some pepperoni pizzas for Levi. The following day was his birthday. I got to thinking on it as we drove.
"Listen," I said, "If you want to order the pizzas, we'll pick them up and deliver them. Our contribution will be rootbeer floats and a birthday cake."
She thought that was a great idea and we conspired together. In the end, we agreed that Levi shouldn't know anything was going on until we actually showed up at their door. "Oh, this will be so much fun," she said.
We plotted our plots while shopping. When the Amish get a ride, they make the most of it. She introduced me to an Amish bulk store. I introduced her to a new discount grocery. We also hit the GoodWill (she likes to pick up jigsaw puzzles to do at night with the children.) I found three pair of pants for myself.
We went to Walmart. The Dollar Tree. The trunk and back seat began to fill up with bags.
So I dropped Mattie off about lunch time. The three children at home efficiently began to unpack the car. Levi came said, "How's the millionaire doing?"
I said, "Actually, he's been under the weather..."
He said, "Oh, I meant you."
I laughed. "I'd like to know who is telling you stories..." Levi's a big kidder, and he gets a kick out of people handing it right back to him. "I am here to tell you the bad news that YOU used to be a millionaire. Mattie and I went shopping, though.
He laughed. He said, "I'm working on my second million, you know."
"Is that a fact?" I said, waiting for the punchline.
Sure enough, there was one. "Yeah. I gave up on der first million,.."
At 5:00, we picked up the pizzas, grabbed the gallon of vanilla ice cream from the freezer and the cake off the table. 4 big bottles of rootbeer were already chilling in the trunk. We headed back up on the hill.
Levi was very surprised to see our car pulling up to his house yet again as he walked home from the saw mill next door in the dark.
What a fun time we had by kerosene lantern light, with the kids all around the table. They'd never had rootbeer floats before and were very interested to see what that was all about. After supper, the girls scooted the dishes off to be washed, and there was much giggling and carrying on. The boys disappeared out the door to take care of the evening barn chores. Levi pulled his chair over to the big kitchen woodstove and we sat around shooting the breeze.
Over the course of the evening, we discovered, appropos to absolutely nothing, that one of Levi's favorite things was Beetle Bailey. It just made me laugh.
We left at 8, because children were beginning to nod off, one by one. The two of the youngest girls dozed off on a blanket in front of the warm stove. The youngest boy was asleep on Mattie's lap.
When, I got home, we looked on line and found a lot of five Beetle Bailey collections for $10. Tim said, "Order those..." and so I did. I put a note to the seller: 'Don't put any billing information in with these please. Just a note "From Santy Claus" and gave him Levi's address.
Tuesday, December 13, 2022
Cats, Colds, Christmas.
The tree is up, which makes me happy. One more thing checked off the list. The stars are lit in the front window, and Tim's beloved bubble lights are bubbling away.
I'll try to snap a picture of our tree tomorrow night.
The cat is out of the basement and is somewhere on the first floor. It wasn't pretty, and I know that I did not make him any less fearful, but he needed to be out of that basement. I think he's in the library. The good news is that there's a nice crackling fire going in there. I fixed his dinner dishes and set them right where they've always been. He no longer has access to the basement.
William had covid last week. His mother came down with it Sunday. Her significant other tested positive today.
Tim does NOT have covid. He is nearly done with his antibiotic but still has a horrible cough. This is worrisome to me. It's been days since either one of us has slept through the night. I also cannot tell you the times that I've been awakened by him coughing in my face.
The OTC cough remedies we had on hand don't seem to do a thing. My go-to is ginger tea with a nice dollop of honey. (He does not like ginger.) Mentholated chest rubs. (He doesn't like the way they feel.) I suggested a vaporizer. (He argued.)
I mean, this is exactly the sort of thing that you read about...colds that don't go away, turn into pneumonia, hospitalizations, people die. So, I AM worried, I finally lost all patience over the weekend and put my foot down. I went out and bought that vaporizer. I turn it on and if he wants to sleep in our bed, I guess he'll just have to suck it up and deal with it. I also bitched until he used the chest rub. Turns out he thinks it helps.
I think he has given up on OTCs, to be honest. but last night I went out and read labels for a half hour. finally settling on Maximum Strength Mucinex DM 12 Hour. I brought the box home and he read the label and for once he didn't argue with me. He just took it. There was some coughing in the night, but he woke up this morning and said, "Man. I feel great. I slept all night long!"
Hallelujah. It's a start. Everybody needs to get healthy and STAY healthy. My youngest daughter and son-in-law flew into NYC today. I cannot think of anything more hearthbreaking that someone getting sick and suddenly our family Christmas is not happening.
The Christmas Gift
Tim and I are pretty much finished with our Christmas shopping for the year, which is a record. We just needed to buy our gifts for each other.
Tim is the sort of person who gives you a list of things that he wants and lets you pick what you're going to buy him. He expects the same from me. I'm one of those sappy beings who loves to be surprised. Tim does not like surprises. Over the course of 25 years, I've made my peace with it. He is what he is and it is silly to be upset with what he isn't. It's also easier now that the kids are grown. I do get my surprises at Christmas.
He was watching his Sunday football and during a commercial, he said "So what do you want for Christmas?" and he waited, like he always does.
I said, "I don't know."
Really, we sort of exchanged presents at the beginning of the month. (Me: Home electrolysis unit, him: a pair of sitka hunting pants) I had said, "I'm so tired of these random hairs on my chin...this is what I want for Christmas," and he said, "I need something that keeps me warm in the blind. These are marked down $100, so this is what I want for Christmas" and voila. Christmas for two old hairy, cold folks.
And now here he was asking me what I wanted for Christmas. I thought about it and could not think of anything. He thought of it and he couldn't think of anything he wanted either. His commercials ended and he went back to his football.
I sat there thinking about it for a while and suddenly I got an idea. The next time a commercial came on, I said, "You have wanted a nice camera since you saw the river pictures that Jim's posting on facebook."
He looked thoughtful.
I said, "You want to go to Florida this spring. Cara and Colin will be home for Christmas and we will have all three of them under one roof for the first time in a lot of years. We'll probably go to England again at some point this summer. Maybe we should just bite the bullet and get ourselves a good camera and learn how to use it."
He said, "That's an idea..."
And so we looked at ad after ad, and we bounced ideas around with my son who has a nice camera. Lucky for the photobloggers that I follow that I didn't have you on speed dial.
In the end, we went with this:
Monday, December 12, 2022
Calling all cat whisperers.
So. We have Houdini, the feral cat. We brought him home from the vet on November 17th. He escaped down to the basement within two days and has been living/hiding down there ever since. I put his litter box down there, and his nice cozy bed. I refused from the beginning to feed him down there. He has to come to the landing at the top of the stairs. He comes up to eat once the house is quiet. But he seems almost to have gotten more reclusive in the weeks that we have had him. He runs and hides as soon as there is a step at the top of the basement stairs. He has not been touched for 3 weeks. I thought that he'd get accustomed to us, but he isn't/won't.
My thought is that he needs to come out of the basement. He can hide under furniture up here, but he'd still be getting used to us, which would be the first step in taming him
I do not want to live trap him. So I got the bright idea to move his food dishes from the top of the basement steps to the door of the basement. This is a move of about 2 feet, but it is just inside the kitchen. He can see his food from his old feeding spot.
He has not come up to eat at all today.
I feel like the worst person in the world knowing he's hungry down there.
Sunday, December 11, 2022
Saturday, December 10, 2022
This and That
My cold seems like a minor one. Tim is on an antibiotic for whatever version of the 'creeping crud' that he got well over two weeks ago. He seems to be doing better, although he missed most of hunting season. William has minimal symptoms of covid, and we are hoping that we've taken a miss on that. He hadn't been here for four days when he tested positive. It will be a close one.
Did you hear about the thirteen people who were stuck at an airport after their flight was canceled?
And curses to that huge heartless behemoth of a company who made what is arguably the sweetest commercial ever.
I carried Grandma Violet's recipe through the grocery store yesterday, collecting the things for her fruitcake. Tim had been pushing the cart, and had headed over to the next aisle to pick up his Raisin Bran. I grabbed a bag of walnuts off the shelf and turned in an absent minded way, looking at my list. I set the walnuts in the cart and proceeded to push off before realizing that (number one): it was NOT my cart and (number two) it had someone's purse in it. I burst out laughing at my stupid self and a masked woman nearby looked back at me.
"I nearly stole your cart!" I said.
Her answer: "if you're paying for it, go right ahead."
"Sure," I said. "No problem. I'll have your purse. I'm golden!"
She got a befuddled look on her face, and I recognized it right away, although most generally, I am behind the face with that look.
Anyways, she said, "Do you bake a lot?"
I admitted that I did.
She held out two cans of baking power, one Clabber Girl brand, the other Rumford. "So what is the difference between regular baking powder and double acting? Which should I get?"
I told her that she could use them interchangeably, that it made no difference at all. I offered up that I buy Clabber Girl although I had no real reason why. She said, "I was leaning that way myself. I remember the picture from the can when I was a little girl."
I stood there holding my grandmother's recipe with a $30 list of ingredients. She stood there with a shopping list, waxing nostalgic about a picture on a can of baking powder. Two old ladies trying to create the Christmas yet to be while mentally roaming through the memories of Christmas past. It was a sweet moment.
"Merry Christmas!" I said to her, and she returned the greeting. I headed down to the end of the aisle where Tim and my cart were. He had run into someone we used to work with years ago. He and 'Goof' were finishing up their chat as I headed up.
"Who were you talking to?" Tim asked curiously.
"Not a clue," I answered.
I didn't know her name, but she was familiar to me.
Thursday, December 8, 2022
Home Again, Home Again
Just got back from a quick trip east. It was my daughter in law's cousin's birthday. I went to babysit so that she would not have to miss it.
The baby is a happy little chunker. She is bursting out with random little noises that sound a great deal like chuckles. She coos and she is a sneeze away from rolling over.
A 'sneeze' is the right word too. The oldest brought home yet another cold. The baby caught it too. Poor mama! Covid, RSV, and cold after cold has cycled through their house from pretty much the beginning of October. Not a fun time.
Brittani worried if I should come out. "It's a crap shoot," I told her. It is. Everyone is sick. Tim has been sick with a cold that turned into a bacterial infection. He is on antibiotics right now, but still has the cough. He missed a great deal of hunting season because of it. I was braced to get that, but it had been a week and a half, and I had no symptoms at all. I mean, really, I could get sick running to the grocery store at this point. The 'creeping crud' is everywhere.
So my little grandaughter called me to tell me that she had bravely taken a covid test and it was negative. "Hurray!" I said. "I will see you tomorrow."
And I did.
It is hard to entertain a little peanut when she's not feeling the best, so when she asked me to come and play with her in her room, I said, "What shall we play?" She thought about it and finally came up with the idea that her bunny was having a birthday party. I ran with the idea, running out to get a balloon, a little stuffed unicorn and a small gift bag. We had little unicorn cake plates with brownies. It was a wonderful party, and over much sooner than I expected, but I'm a go with the flow sort of grandma.
We read books, we watched Rudolph and Frosty. She was fascinated with the idea that I had watched the very same programs when I was just her age.
We were having supper Tuesday night and Dylan said, "Tell Grandma about your dream," and she told me that she had a dream that she lived right across the road from me. I said how wonderful it would be that we could see each other every single day. What a sweet, sweet moment. That little girl loves her grandma. How lucky I am!
I had an open ended visit planned and had tentatively thought to stay until Saturday, but I woke up in the middle of Wednesday night with a headache and a runny nose. I evidently got what the girls had. I decided to head for home before it hit big time, so I left today. A bit of a heart breaker.
I ran to the dollar store one more time before I left and got five unicorn balloons to hide around the house for a unicorn hunt. I got one for the baby too. A bright red one. She was fascinated with the way that it floated when she kicked and wiggled.
And then I drove home. I had to stop for tylenol. As bad as I felt about leaving early, the cold made me feel bad enough to know it was the right decision.
On the 26th, we are headed back once again. This time though, it will be Christmas, and all my children will be there. All my grandkids will be there.
It would be nice if nobody had a cold.
Late Edit: William tested positive for covid today.
Monday, December 5, 2022
Who Wants To Know?
I had my 'medicare appointment' today. I mean, I thought I was going there to get my prescriptions for another year, but they informed me that it was my medicare appointment.
I am still learning my way around the medicare system, so I just took them at their word. It was my medicare appointment.
I went there with my book, but there was no time to read it. They had four pages that I needed to fill out because this was my 'medicare appointment'.
It started out innocuously enough, but by the second page, the questions wanted to know whether I needed a walker, a cane, a wheelchair to get around. What adaptive equipment did I need in my home. I was a little surprised to see that I was being asked about my ADLs. Could I do my own housework independently? Cook for myself? Do my own laundry? Could I make phone calls by myself? Could I toilet myself? Shower myself? Stuff like that.
WTH?!!! Of course I can do those things.
I drew an impatient line and wrote N/A. This is my family doctor, for heaven's sake, and there would be no reason for her to have any questions about whether I could do these things or not.
I continued on, and it moved into my mental state. How often did I socialize? I stopped ticking boxes and read ahead. Eventually, I got to 'Did I feel that everyone would be better off without me?'
You know, about 12 years ago, or so, my mother was hospitalized. The doctor sat us all down and explained that my mother was going to die and that nothing could be done about that unfortunate fact. She was sent from the hospital to a nursing home while her home care situation was being figured out.
She had to fill out a form too, a lengthy thing, and part of it was a self assessment of her mental health. One of the questions was 'Do you think about death a lot?' My mother answered yes. After all, she was still processing the news that she had a terminal illness.
The nursing home's response to that was to put her under a suicide watch. Let me tell you she. Was. Livid. If anyone had bothered to talk to her, they'd have figured out that she was grappling with her own mortality for the soundest of reasons: she was dying. But no one bothered to talk to her.
Now, all these years later, I sat there staring at the same questions. I don't go to the doctor often, but when I do, we always chat cordially. We always find something that strikes us as hilarious. She's never had a reason to ask questions about my mental state or what adaptive equipment I need, or whether I can still dial the phone and carry on a conversation.
So what was up with this form? This was my 'medicare appointment'. So who was asking me the questions, because it sure wasn't my doctor.
I drew a big line across the rest of the questions and wrote, "I can assess my own mental state."
I took the clip boord back to the window and politely said, "I am not filling this out. I turned 65 but this is simply the worst case stereotyping. Very little of this applies to me. Lyndsey would never have a reason to ask these questions, so who is asking them?"
She said, "It's okay. Don't worry about it."
I'm still curious why a 65 year old woman, just retired, walking into the office on her own two legs (slight limp: arthritic knee), carrying on a perfectly appropriate conversation, arriving 15 minutes early for her 2PM appointment would warrant that questionare? Did I mention it was four freaking pages?
Sunday, December 4, 2022
Origami is Beyond Me.
William's friend made him a flapping wing crane. It was quite clever and I got the idea to try to make one of my own. I am headed east next week and I thought it would be amusing for Iris. I began to unfold the crane carefully to see how he was constructed.
William flipped. "You're ruining it!"
"I'm not," I said. "I'm carefully unfolding it..." and I refolded it to show him that the seams would make it easy.
Unfortunately, his shorts were well and truly in a twist at that point. He took the paper from me. I had a you-tube video up and watching the demonstration, step by step, and didn't realize right away that William was smoothing out the creases in his paper.
"Don't do THAT?" I gasped. "I need those creases to reassemble everything!"
Oh dear, he was good and mad at me at that point and there was quite a bit of drama over this. "William," I said reasonably, "is making an origami crane possible or impossible?"
He began to protest that it was impossible.
"But it's not," I said. "You're approaching it as if it cannot be done but you had the evidence that it can be done right in your hands. If your friend made one, you KNOW it is possible. There are all kinds of instructions and videos. We just need to sit down and teach ourselves."
But he was so mad by that point, I figured that it was better that I simply teach myself and once I had the technique down, to go ahead and teach him. 3 hours later...2 different videos...I can make a perfect crane, but damn if I can get his wings to flap.
William is right. It's impossible.
Saturday, December 3, 2022
We ordered a gift on line for Tim's son. It was a big thing and we tracked the package's progress, because we wanted someone to be home when it was delivered. Tim went hunting and I was resting my knee, so I was the obvious choice.
I was home all that day and nothing was delivered. When Tim got home from hunting, he was surprised to find that it hadn't been, so he got on line to see if they'd changed the date. It's a busy time of the year and it happens. Except that he came out of the office saying, "It was delivered at 1:22."
"Really? Did they set it out back maybe? I don't understand that. I was right here all day, unless they showed up while I was in the bathroom or something."
He looked out back. Nothing. I mean, it would have been impossible to miss. It was big.
I messaged FedEx and let them know it had not been delivered. I received no response.
I guess that I'm a bit of a wierdo, because my worry is always that they will think that WE are the dishonest people, that we are scamming them. After an hour with no reply from FedEx, I called Cabela's.
I had to wait forever to speak to a customer service rep, but 'tis the season. I waited. When the representative finally came on the line, I explained things.
She said, "It was delivered at 1:22."
I said, "It is not here and I was home all day waiting for it. I'm not sure what to tell you."
She said, "I'm looking at the picture. It's out on the patio behind a metal chair with a white cushion. The house is white, the foundation is gray and the patio pad is gray."
I said, "Well, that's a problem then. Our house is yellow and we haven't got a patio OR patio furniture."
Long pause. "Well, they must have delivered it to the wrong address. Does the house sound familiar?" I hated to tell her that we live across the street from a block of rental houses owned by the same man. They are ALL gray and white. I was pretty sure none of them had a patio though.
"It's a big box," she said helpfully. "And it was shipped right in the original packaging so it will be pretty obvious."
Tim was standing there in his flannel pj bottoms and t-shirt. I covered the receiver and said, "The last time that we had a package mis-delivered, it was the bull-float. It went to that house there", and pointed across the driveway to a neighbor off the main drag and up a side alley. He said, "Well, if he would have gotten it, he'd have run it right over."
He pulled on his muck boots anyways and stepped around the stockade fence to head over. I said to the woman, "Do you want to hold on, or do you want to help someone else and call me back?" She said she'd wait and so we talked about Christmas and packages and it wasn't long before Tim was stepping around the fence, wrestling with the box.
She was happy, I was happy, Tim was happy. Happy, happy, happy.
Later, I said, "That's kind of strange he didn't let us know it was there." Tim said, "He couldn't find a label. Neither could I. He didn't know where it belonged. He didn't even know who left it. He was very glad to see me."
I looked at the waist high box curiously, turning it this way and that, examining all four sides. How strange. There wasn't a label.
I found it later while I was trying to wrap it. The label was on the bottom of the box.
Friday, December 2, 2022
Thursday, December 1, 2022
I have a strange mind. Very often, things just pop into my head. For instance, I saw a feed for Eagleton Notes, and Graham used the term 'anti clockwise' to describe his walk. 'Widdershins!' popped into my head. I mean, really, It is not a word I use. Furthermore, it is not a word anyone I know uses. As a matter of fact, I had to look it up to see if it meant 'counter clockwise'. (It did.) I can't remember where I came across it,. but I must have.
It's happened to me before. Once, when I worked at a Tractor Supply, a customer was trying to describe a tool he needed. It popped into my head immediately. "Oh! I know. You're looking for a mattock." I headed off to see if we sold such a thing. We did. It was what he wanted. Understand this tool was part of tool display. The name of the maker and the barcode was on it, but the name of the tool was not provided.
The customer was pleased as punch because it was exactly what he was looking for. I spent the rest of my shift puzzling over it. 'Mattock'? Where had THAT come from? Was it even right? As soon as I got home, I headed straight for the computer. I typed in mattock and the picture was exactly the tool I had sold. I couldn't tell you where that word came from, but obviously I had heard it somewhere.
Funny how things pop into my head sometimes. Today, it was a phrase. "This could make a preacher cuss." No mystery about where the phrase came from though. My father said it all the time, and usually he was applying it to me. I was the one who could make a preacher cuss. I sure made him cuss. He cussed all the time though. Probably I made him cuss more than usual. Dunno.
Funny the things that pop into my head sometimes.
This morning, I got up and had my coffee reading blogs. I have been staying off my feet, which frustrates Tim a little. He can't abide laziness, yet here I am, stretched out on the couch. For two days even.
Staying off my knee has helped. It still hurts if I spend any time on it, but today I was going out for the first time in probably 4 days. I wanted to get my covid booster and my flu shot. I went to retrieve my covid card from my passport wallet. That was the last time I'd actually carried it, when I went to England to visit Cara and Colin.
Except it wasn't there. Everything else was. I checked inside the passport. Nope. I checked the eight pockets and the zippered compartment, pulling out every piece of paper in that wallet.I emptied out the wallet. The debit and credit cards I used while I traveled. The itinerary. The boarding passes, Wet wipes. My insurance cards (which are now undated and useless.) Receipts. All manner of ephemera. I sorted through the papers carefully. No covid card. I threw away the stuff I didn't need. It wasn't there.
That was a bit of a surprise, because really, I haven't carried it anywhere. I cannot think of anywhere that I would have needed proof of vaccination except boarding that plane back in February.
Isn't this frustrating? Why it is enough to make a preacher cuss. It was not the last time that thought ran through my mind this long morning.
I came out to the computer desk. Maybe I needed it for something I was completing online. I went through the omputer desk and found a whole mess of stuff that I could get rid of there as well. More outdated insurance cards, gift cards, envelopes, phone books, notes to myself, out dated bills and reminders and receipts.
I searched three dresser tops and dumped out a drawer. I went through the stack of souvenir books from my trip that I keep on my bedside table. I went upstairs to check two lockboxes of important papers. I even checked an old purse that I'd meant to get rid of, but hadn't. Today was the day for that, too. No covid card was found, but I wound up with a full garbage bag of things to take to the trash, embarrassingly enough.
It really was enough to make a preacher cuss.
I came out to call the doctor's office. I mean, really, I couln't be the first person in the world to lose a covid card. Maybe they could issue me a new one. It just made me so frustrated though, because quite honestly, I was almost certain that I had no need to take that card out of my passport wallet. It should have been there.
The office was closed for lunch and so I headed back to the bedroom. I picked up my travel credit cards and my passport, and the much smaller pile of papers and began to tuck them back into the various pockets of the passport wallet. I went to push the passport into the biggest, deepest pocket and it caught on something.
You guessed it. It was my covid vax card! I know that I checked the pockets of the thing multiple times. I was so sure that my covid card was in there. I never found it. It was the strangest thing. Really. It was enough to make a preacher cuss, although for all this frustrating morning, I don't believe I swore at all looking for that card.
There was a frustrated oath when I found it though.