Monday, December 17, 2012

Sleep in Heavenly Peace

Today I got the phone call I knew was coming.  My FIL passed away around 2:00 pm with Hubby holding his hand and SIL and her husband with him.  Hubby reported that FIL went peacefully without undo stress beyond the suffering he was already in.  I know that FIL is in that big duck camp in the sky blasting away at green heads, Sonny Boy said he's hunting with Jesus, maybe he is.

I've been working on this video for a bit, it will get some final tweaking as more pictures have been found and there is some disagreement about the music so this is not the final cut, more the the director's version.  Probably ought to watch it quick cause I'm sure some copyright infringement is happening with the music and that will be blocked soon.  I hope they don't come after me.  Either way I likely won't leave it up too long.

FIL had a full and generous heart and lived life every moment he had, something all of us should try to do.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Not the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Hubby flew out Tuesday and got to his hometown by late afternoon.  FIL is still holding on but by a thread.  The pain is increasing as are the doses of morphine.  Hubby and his sister have rarely left FIL's side since early in the week, taking shifts to sleep.  Hubby did do a quick overnight run for work but was gone only around 24 hours.  While gone SIL reported that FIL stopped breathing for long bits several times in the night and then started breathing again.  I've jumped every time my phone has rang this week thinking that's it, but it's not.  It sounds terrible but now we are just waiting, and honestly I hope FIL can pass peacefully without undo pain.

In the meantime I've gotten all the Christmas shopping done, and just finished wrapping it.  Take a piece of advice DO NOT BUY GLITTER WRAPPING PAPER.  It looks gorgeous, but what a nightmare.  Tape doesn't stick to it, the glitter is EVERYWHERE.  I'm sure I'll be trying to get the red glitter up next September.

This week has been a whirlwind.  With normal holiday crazy, and making sure we are able to run out of town for a week or longer with only a day or so notice I've been exhausted.  Things I can normally spread out need to be done now.  I've been so preoccupied that Christmas has really snuck up on me.  In fact Mom was the one who pointed out to me that we needed to get the Christmas stuff wrapped and ready since we were planning Christmas with the in-laws long before FIL became hour to hour.  If we leave now we will likely be gone until Christmas break is over.  Hubby will be as surprised as the kids when they open their presents because he doesn't have a clue what's in the box either.  Granted I'm usually the one doing the shopping, but he does normally take a gander at what I pick up and sometimes picks up some stuff himself.

With hindsight being 20/20 I'm glad Hubby went ahead north and left the kids here.  A week of missed school, wrestling practices, swimming lessons and a "concert" at the senior center by Igor's class would have been sorely missed.  FIL is in a state now that it's not wise for the boys to see him anymore so we might as well keep their schedule as normal as possible in the meantime.

Well I gotta go tackle that glitter mess on the dining room table and put away the wrapping paraphernalia.  It's 1:30 am and I've been on "go" since about 11:00 am yesterday.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Nightmare Whirlwind

Geez where do I start?  I guess last Monday is likely the best starting point.

Monday, Hubby  had surgery on his nose to correct his deviated septum.  The surgery went fine with no problems.  The doctor did hold him for what seemed a LONG time after the surgery, but from what I gathered that was simply his normal procedure.  The evening was a little crazy as both the boys had activities at the same time, and of  course the need to run to the pharmacy and Hubby's request to have some movies on hand for his enforced bed sitting the next day.

Tuesday, Hubby was on ultra light duty so I brought him a stack of receipts, the computer and told him his job was to balance our check book.  I normally handle the bills and the mess of that but had somehow managed to get it all fouled up and frankly I stink at that kind of stuff.  It was good  project for him as the mess took him several hours and kept him still.  While Hubby was searching for lost dollars and cents I did laundry and generally kept busy cleaning up the disaster that passes for the house.  That evening Hubby got a phone call from his uncle.  Evidently another uncle had spent the day with FIL and was convinced that FIL would only live another couple of days.  We made the decision to send the kids to school in the morning and then leave for up north after running a couple of errands and getting packed.

Wednesday, we hauled the kids to school, ran a couple of errands, packed and hit the road.  We arrived in the "Northland" in the late evening with FIL requesting that Hubby come see him.  I unloaded the luggage - Hubby is not supposed to bend over or lift more than 10 lbs - and stayed at the house with the kids while Hubby went across town to see his father.  He came in a couple hours and was shaken by the condition of FIL as he had really declined since we saw him last just a couple of weeks ago.

Thursday and Friday was spent visiting family, sorting through pictures to make a slide show for the funeral, making decisions for the funeral and the like.  In the meantime FIL seemed to rally a little, certainly not up doing a dance but seemed somewhat better.

Saturday we decided to leave as a snowstorm was racing for the area  on Sunday and Hubby had to be back home for a post-surgical visit with his doctor on Monday.  In the normal ways of things like that we didn't leave town until near 2:00 for the nine hour drive home.  We dragged in our door near midnight and the kids took themselves to bed without even being told.

Sunday, I spent the day digging out of the laundry nightmare, working on a "to do" list that seemed to grow faster than I could mark things off of it.  We had planned on turning around again on Tuesday to go back north but with more discussion decided it would be best to fly Hubby there and the kids, Mom, and I follow behind when he thinks it prudent for us to come up.  Of course we don't know if that will be as soon as Wednesday or even into next week. 

Needless to say we've hit a new stress level.  Hubby, Sonny Boy and I rarely far from tears.  Igor is in toot mode, and Mom is in la la land asking the same questions repeatedly.

Calgon take me away....

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Yeah a week late but hey, I've been a little busy.

Last week Mom headed down to Arkansas to stay with her "boyfriend" for the holiday.  Frankly we were at each other's throats so it was a good idea.  She is planning on driving back up tomorrow, honestly Hubby and I could do with a couple of more weeks as with her gone our stress level has decreased significantly.  It's not only the lack of privacy we miss it's the constant explaining of things, because she is much like a kid - "why are you doing that?, What is that?  I don't like that.  (knowing she's never tried it before)"  Some of it is because she has tended to live a pretty sheltered life, some of it is because frankly she can't remember what you told her last week.  It gets old constantly explaining everything you do, and who everyone is with every conversation.  I worry about her driving the long trip back alone, but she made it down there.  The GPS always tries to route her through Chicago, and while it's possible that route is 5 miles shorter the traffic is always nightmarish and it ends up taking quite a bit longer time wise.  We shall see, I suppose if she can't figure out how to program the GPS to take her the correct route (which is highlighted on a map for her) she can fight Chicago traffic.  That's the hardest part for me, I realize the last thing she needs to do is drive three states away alone, but she is determined she is capable of such feats.  She has done it, but I wonder how stressed and lost she becomes when she gets off the interstate for gas and bathroom breaks.  The funniest thing is that she swears she doesn't go through any tolls for the trip when we know darn well she does.  I expect to find tickets in the mail after this trip since she has Wisconsin tags now.

The nuclear family went north to the in-laws for the holiday.  Hubby spent the weekend on his knees in his mother's bathroom repairing the bathroom floor.  Mother-in-Law is selling her house and moving into Grandma's house.  MIL has a good offer on her house but it was contingent on getting the soft flooring around the toilet fixed.  I hope it all goes smoothly for her, if so it will go down as one of the easiest house sales I've heard of in the last five years.  Of course while up north we visited with Father-in-Law.  He is going downhill pretty quickly now.  FIL has officially ended chemo and entered hospice care now.  It seems they have changed his pain meds and have given him some pretty tough stuff.  FIL declares it doesn't work too well, however I watched him take two doses on the day of our Thanksgiving meal and within 10 minutes he was sound asleep on the couch despite 6 kids running around, LOUD conversations (so Grandma can hear) and general chaos of a large gathering.  Currently they are managing his care from home, but when he needs full time care they have a facility in town he can go to.  Despite the pain and his obvious decline FIL is in good spirits and still his usual joking self.  FIL declares he will make it until Christmas but I worry a minor cold will be the end of him as he now weighs only 107 lbs.

Last week and this I've been babysitting 8 week old Miss K.  She's a sweet little thing, but OH BOY did I forget what it's like to have a tiny baby in the house.  Overall she's really a pretty easy child, even when she's fussy she is easily soothed and it's pretty easy to figure out why she's fussing.  It's certainly gotten me a baby fix.  The boys are enchanted with her as neither can recall ever being around newborns.  Next week Miss K will start attending her regular daycare, I had simply volunteered to watch her for a couple of weeks to help ease the transition and to protect her from colds and what-not a little longer.  I have given thought to being her full-time sitter but honestly I'm really enjoying having a few hours of child-free time a day while the boys are at school to get the shopping done, go exercise and do a few chores without having to stop and referee or with a baby feed and change and soothe.  Besides babies soon turn into toddlers and I'm not up to the major baby proofing that requires and the constant vigilance as an 18 month old moves around the house in a constant state of trying to commit suicide.  Don't get me wrong, if God puts a baby girl on my doorstep (are you reading the blog God?) I wouldn't return her, I'm just not going to sign up for somebody else's child.

For the most part things are moving along well.  This weekend we'll put out the Christmas paraphernalia.  I've picked up a few gifts for the kids here and there but still have tons of shopping to do and no ideas of what to buy.  Sonny Boy has started wrestling, Igor is in short swim lesson session so Monday and Wednesday nights are a little hectic as they are at the same time.  Monday Hubby has surgery on his nose to have a deviated septum corrected.  I'm sure it won't be a happy fizzy party for him but hopefully it will help with the constant sinus drainage he suffers in the dry winter months and the snoring I suffer with year round.  The doctor also wants to remove his uvula to reduce the snoring however after doing some research Hubby is opting out of that and honestly I don't blame him as that sounds horrid.  Either way the weekend will be busy and early next week I'll be playing nurse to a 6'2" 200 + lb baby.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Normal Crazy

Nothing new crazy to report.  Mom has had a flurry of doctor appointments yesterday and today.  Yesterday I took her to see her Primary care doc (which also happens to be Hubby's and mine as well).  The doctor told me that the shrink is going to write up that Mom is cognitively impaired and with that and another letter from another psychologist I had previously taken her to (more to see if I were imagining things or if she really wasn't all there) I'm pretty sure the disability will come through without having to battle it, now it's just a matter of time.

It's very frustrating living with a person who has such a hit or miss memory.   For instance this morning Mom had an appointment with the psychiatrist at 8:20 which is fairly early for her to get moving around.  Since it takes her FOREVER to get going, dress, smoke, coffee in the morning I told her to set her alarm so she would have enough time to do her dilly-dalling.  I told her this as I went up the stairs to my bed at 9:20.  "Mom, your doctor appointment is at 8:20 in the morning, you need to set your alarm so you have time for your piddling in the morning"  " OK, OK" she replies.  I finally peel myself out of bed about 7:30 to find her just getting up, still in pj's and making a pot of coffee.  She finishes getting the coffee going and proceeds to stand there waiting on the coffee pot which is notoriously slow.  I fuss at her "Go put on some clothes while that's going, you gotta get going!"  She mopes off and goes to get dressed, showing back up in the kitchen just a few minutes before 8:00 and pours a cup and sits at the table as I coordinate the kids getting out the door, go get her keys and start her car (it's remote start), the van (also remote), and generally manage the chaos.  At about 8:05 I tell her she better get going as it takes about 10 minutes to drive to the appointment and Mom tells me " I don't know why you're rushing me so much, the appointment isn't until 9:30!" Luckily I had the appointment card stuck to the master calendar and I pulled it out and showed it to her and that lit a fire under her and she got out the door.

Mom just walked back in and reported her meds will stay the same, and she goes back in January to the shrink. 

I will say I'm overly thankful for the little hospital and clinics here in our town.  They are affiliated with a large healthcare center in Milwaukee and have taken Mom in as a patient for gratis.  I don't know how we would have gotten the disability declared, and any sort of healthcare for her.  The bill for the shoulder fiasco was over 30K alone.  With no insurance, no medicare, no medicaid she would be destitute at this point.  I've looked into medicaid for her, and while she will qualify based on income after she gets her disability, her small amount of savings and the little nest egg she has from selling her house keeps her from qualifying.  When the disability kicks in she begins her wait time for Medicare which is something like 2 1/2 years.  I suppose we'll have to see about getting her some sort of major medical insurance, but with her health problems it's likely to become a nightmare.  Hopefully some of the Obamacare provisions will kick in and make it possible by then, I'm not real sure how all that works and when it kicks in.

Father-In-Law is really starting to decline now.  Hubby speaking with co-workers was advised to switch as much of his property as possible into his and his sister's names before FIL passes to avoid probate.  SIL checked with an attorney and he declared this a fantastic idea so SIL has hauled FIL into the lawyer and has  gotten power of attorney and is currently working on moving stuff into her name.  FIL has written up a will and the like, however it would be nice to just sell, and liquidate stuff and not have the nightmare dragged out for months on end.

Starting next week I will be babysitting a tiny little girl for a couple of weeks.  Some friends of ours had a baby a few weeks ago, the mom will be going back to work the week of Thanksgiving.  I offered to watch the baby for a couple of weeks to avoid putting her in daycare for a bit and avoid all the cold germs a little longer.  Not that my own kids are germ free - Igor had a touch of stomach bug last week - but at least the house is a little more isolated than room full of little ones.  I thought of  just offering to be her sitter full time, but honestly I'm totally enjoying being child free for several hours a day and I know that sweet little infant will soon turn into a handful of toddler that must be watched constantly and I can say I'm over toddler hood.  Don't get me wrong, if the stork delivered a little girl to the front door I'd be more than thrilled but I don't think I'm going to sign up for all the drama of toddler right now.  I have enough drama right now.

I've been pretty good about going to the gym lately.  It certainly helps keep my stress level down to some sort of reasonable level.  The plus of going to work out is that I've managed to drop about 8 lbs without really dieting, though I have tried to avoid the stash of Halloween candy and avoided eating like a hog at meals.  I haven't been this light in about 15 years.  I'd still like to loose about 5 more pounds, I know that's not major weight loss, but when you are only 5'1" it's several sizes in clothes.

Well, I suppose I should get off of my duff and get to said gym.  Hard to do when my nice warm bed upstairs is calling out to me and the only noise in the house is Mom surfing Pinterest (she clicks that button on the computer so hard I'm amazed it hasn't broken) and the fan on the humidifier.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Stuff Southern Women Say

I think you might have to sound like these gals to like it but it sure is funny.  If your young 'uns are around or your somewhere a few mild swear words might offend you should save this for later.

Saving my Money - Why we won't go the House of Mouse

I get the Disney World is the Mecca of amusement park destinations.  I understand the allure of taking your little children to see princesses and Mickey while they still believe that they are really seeing Mickey and Cinderella.  What I don't understand is the need to spend THOUSANDS of dollars for something your children will not remember without the help of snapshots and videos and tales oft repeated by mom and dad.

My parents & grandparents were of this breed.  I was bundled onto an airplane at the ripe old age of three to go see Mickey Mouse.  I guess I did, I have pictures of it happening but I have no real memories of it happening.

This weekend proved to me that not spending tons of money on stuff while the kids are still really young and will not remember, is money better saved.  Sunday was Sonny Boy's football team party, one of the team parents/coaches generously paid for the team to go a small local waterpark.  I tagged along and paid for myself and Igor as I figured it would get us out the house and stop a bunch of jealousy and be fun for the little guy.  What proves my Disney theory correct is that at about the age of three I had taken Sonny Boy to this exact water park and he had no memory of it all.  To further prove my theory I compared the place to the big family trip to The Dells we took a couple of years ago.  Igor did not remember it all, and Sonny Boy only had the foggiest memory of the place and thought the small waterpark we went to to was bigger when in fact the place at The Dells was at least 2/3 larger and contained more slides by far. 

Today I declared "Me" day.  On Saturday I had a minor meltdown when I couldn't get the leaf blower to restart and threw myself a cussing fit and honestly kicked the leaf blower a couple of times before I literally tossed it back into the garage.  I called Hubby who was on his way north and ranted and raved for a bit, not just about the leaf blower; that was simply the straw that broke the camel's back.  Hubby in order to keep me from running after that gallon of milk and never returning again called the local day spa as soon as he got off the phone with me and tried to book an appointment for me to get a massage that afternoon.   Alas, they were booked for the day, however he did make me an appointment for today.  I decided to take the opportunity to make a me day of it.  I got the kids off to school and came back and drank a little more coffee and got my gym bag together.  I went to the gym and literally worked my rear off.  The gym is pretty nice and has a sauna so I sat in that and let the heat sink into my tired muscles then took an extremely long shower (especially by gym standards).  By now it was about time to go to the spa and I realized as I was blow drying my hair my eyebrows looked similar to a caterpillar and there was the shadow of a girl mustache blooming so I called spa to see if I could get those taken care of and they wiggled me in.  I came out of the spa an hour before kid pick up, plucked and greased up like a Thanksgiving turkey that had rolled in a flower bed.  I'd thought I might grab groceries before kid pick-up, however with only an hour and a ton of groceries to buy I knew better than to attempt that so I wasted some time on Facebook and then picked up the kids and literally dropped them in the driveway with Mom and went to Wal-Mart for groceries. 

This evening has been a little calmer, or maybe I've been a little calmer.  I don't know which.  I cooked a spaghetti for supper - easy and the kids never complain about it.  I put away the leftovers and let the dishes sit on the counter.  I just sent Sonny Boy off to bed and I have a movie I'm going to snuggle up in bed and watch.

Maybe I'll fight the leaf blower tomorrow, or hell maybe I'll let the leaves stay there till they rot.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Yay (in the universally needed sarcasm font)

Last night Hubby called me upstairs to speak in private - even though the kids were already in bed.  That's one of the things you have to do when you have your mother living with you.  So we go upstairs and he tells me that Father-in-Law is discussing stopping his chemo.  If he does this the end is likely very near, frankly I've never heard of anyone living this long after a pancreatic cancer diagnosis.  Hubby is rightfully upset, but is handling about as well as one could expect.  In the wake of this news Hubby has decided he is going to go up and visit this weekend and camp and deer hunt and stay with his dad.

I can't say I'm excited about his weekend trip.  I'd be a selfish witch to throw a fit, but to be honest Hubby has been gone A LOT in the last two months.  Some of the trips work related, some  really cool but work related (France) and then the duck hunting trip and a quick stop-in up north to see his dad.   I feel as if the whole family rides on my back lately - I guess it does.  I have day dreams of going out to get a gallon of milk and not coming home for two or three days.  I'm pretty sure they'd still be out of milk when I decided to come home so I really wouldn't be escaping anything, just letting it pile up.  There's nothing I can do about it though, it just is.  I'll manage, I don't have a choice.

 In other news...  Sonny Boy was awarded the Sportsmanship Award for his team.  It's the only award given out by the league to an individual team member.  Hubby and  I knew about it roughly a week before the presentation and managed to keep it secret and told him a bunch of baloney about why we were attending the championship PeeWee game on a miserable cold Sunday morning.  Sonny Boy was pretty surprised.  I think in this picture he was just really cold.  I had on my biggest, warmest coat and was still not comfortable.  Late season football in Wisconsin is for the birds Packers.

Mom's shoulder is on the mend.  She still doesn't have a full range of motion of course but it's getting better.  Unfortunately she's back to smoking cigarettes which yanks my chain.  It's also been difficult getting her to do her PT on it as well.  Many days she's still not getting dressed.  I'm doing my best to ignore the crazy per Hubby's advice but often I loose my marbles.  Mom did go to the shrink last week and she changed her anti-depressants around, upped one, reduced another.  I can't see any difference.  The shrink seemed to think her lack of doing anything was because her blood counts and the like were off so she was sent for blood work which came back improved from the last numbers she had while in the hospital.  I don't, for one minute, think Mom's behavior is actually because she doesn't feel well.  Yesterday she managed to fall on her can while unloading the dishwasher.  Luckily no real damage done except to her ego.  Note she was only unloading the dishwasher as I had specifically asked her to.  Beginning to wonder if she'll even be able to function in her own place when her disability ever comes through.

Igor had an appointment with the orthopedic doctor yesterday at Children's Hospital.  He looked at his feet, looked as his back, looked at his chest.  We discussed his lack of specific diagnosis to his connective tissue disorder.  Igor has many of the attributes of Marfan's, but not enough to classify him (plus he's been genetically tested for it) so not Marfan's, other connective disorders have been ruled out as well.  It doesn't really matter I suppose, but it would be nice to give a good wrapped up name for it so doctors can run out of the room and google and pretend to know exactly what all the complications are.   I had the doc look at Igor's chest as sometimes in Marfan's -the closest seemingly to whatever he is - the chest cavity either has a sunken appearance or a bowed out appearance.  Sometimes this can become severe enough to require surgery.  Anyway I though Igor's chest was beginning to look a little odd, but honestly he's so skinny I couldn't decide if something was different or he's just so skinny.  The doctor seemed to think his sternum area was a little sunken but not enough to worry about.  So we watch and wait.  Igor goes back to the orthopedist in one year.  Now we are on a yearly rotation for all speciality doctors which is a good thing.  Hopefully the trend will continue and I can start smooshing all the appointments together to make one or two trips a year as opposed to spreading them all out because it sure is a PIA to drive for and hour to go to a 15 minute appointment.

I'm beginning to think my house will never be clean again.  I sure thought that with both kids off at school during the day I would start to make headway, but I can't say that's true.  If anything it's somewhat worse as now they drag home reams of paper daily, have projects strewn near and far and jackets hanging on all available surfaces.  Mom is no help.  She will do a chore if I specifically ask her to, however it's such a half-assed job.  Mom's version of cleaning the kitchen is loading the dishwasher, she doesn't hand wash the few knives and pots that can't go in the dishwasher, she doesn't wipe down the counters or clean off the kitchen table, she doesn't throw away many items of garbage that may have accumulated on the counter.  I clean the kitchen up takes 30 minutes, she cleans it takes 10 and she declares she's worn out and does nothing else the rest of the day.  Yeah thanks for all of your help.

Well, here it is, late again.  I'm going to go crawl in bed so I can look forward to four days in the nut house with no relief worker (Hubby). 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pumpkin Carving, Halloween & other Stuff

Jack-O-Lantern, Neil Armstrong, Harry Potter, Windy the Witch
We attended a Halloween party this weekend.  Can you guess who went all out and thought up his/her costume 10 minutes before the party started?  Nope, wasn't me, even though I'm dressed in some cheap garb from Wal-Mart.
A few weeks ago we stopped at a roadside pumpkin stand and picked out a few pumpkins for the front porch.  The road side stands are a staple around here, many folks out in the country plant a few pumpkins and put them out with a self-pay box to get a little cash.  The pumpkins are usually quite a bit cheaper than store bought if sometimes a little less than perfect.  Ever since we brought the pumpkins home the kids have been jumping up and down to carve them.  Well finally got around to doing it today and honestly the kids were less than enthusiastic after I set them to gutting the gourds.  In fact after they half cleaned them out only Igor stuck around for the actual carving of his pumpkin, Sonny Boy wandered off and didn't even take a look at his when I carried it back out to the front steps.  I had purchased on of those fancy white pumpkins to break up the all the orange on the porch, I figured I'd carve that - well did you know those do not smell anything like pumpkin?  Who knew, more of a cucumber / cantaloupe smell.  Weird.  Anyway my steps are glowing with jack-o-lanterns and a spooky grim reaper with a strobe light on him in the window.  The town has finally decided trick-or-treating should actually be ON Halloween night this year so it will be the first time many kids here have ever trick or treated in the dark, heck before you couldn't even see the if the pumpkins were lit.  I also plan on making few luminaries along my sidewalk as we have a bag of sand for some unknown purpose and  some paper sacks. 
Not much else going on, things are the same on all fronts and I keep hoping for some change.  Oh well, gotta go fold some underwear.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My boy's got moves!

Where one of my children can't find the beat in a piece of music if I tap it out on his head with a drumstick, the other has a little rhythm.  This spontaneous piece of footwork happened in the kitchen this evening without any prompting.  Turn your head/monitor, I can never work the phone correctly on the fly.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Why do I expect different?

I've hit a wall of absolute frustration lately with Mom.   Forgive the horrible writing, as my thoughts are even more scattered than usual today.  The last few days Mom has been even more difficult to deal with, more resistant to doing her PT excercises, been in pajamas more than she hasn't, barely eats a meal but goes after junk food like she's starving 10 minutes after a meal, and done even less than usual.  Mom is sneaking out smoking after she thinks we are in bed and not taking her iron pills for some unknown reason.

Hubby declared the other day he's going to start calling her "Moss" because all she does is sit and take up nutrients without even blowing in the wind.

I can't begin to explain the frustration of having her sit on her ass all day.  It's not that she's not helping with the house stuff, I've done that for years pretty much alone so it doesn't phase me.  What drives me nuts is everytime I go to take a break there she sits, in MY chair, with MY blanket, watching some banal TV show I would never even turn on.  If she's not watching TV she's reading without regard to the fact I'd like to sit without the lamp on in the middle of the day.  Her bedroom is as trashed as the kid's room, it only lacks Legos on the floor.

Last Friday I got up and showered, I called down to her that I would help her get in the tub ( she does need help with the bad shoulder) when I got my hair done.  I finish my hair, etc and come down and say "your turn"  , she wants to finish her coffee which she nurses for half an hour, then she wants to finish her damn TV show.   By this point I've done half a dozen other chores and it's 11:30.  By now I loose my temper and just grab my keys and purse and leave.  I leave for all afternoon, I go eat a hamburger, I go get a massage, I read magazines in the library until it's time to pick the kids up from school.  I go get the boys, bring them home, sort thru the backpacks, do homework, suit up Sonny Boy in football gear and take them to football practice.  Hubby gets home from work and we dump the kids with her and go out and eat, rent a movie and watch it in our bedroom.  I pretty much avoided her all weekend, as I was trying to follow Hubby's advice of just ignoring the crazy.  Am I to be run out of my own home because she's freakin' nuts?

Crazy is what it is.  I realize she's mentally ill.  Tomorrow she sees a shrink and hope a barrel full of anti-depressants is prescribed.  Since she's been here though the doctor has adjusted her meds twice and I can't see any difference in her daily behavior.  I think she has sunk her self so far down in this deep hole she can no longer find her way out or hear what anybody has to say to help her get out.  I've travelled this road before with my grandmother, throw in some Old Charter and we could call it "history repeating it's self".  I'm so tired of beating my head against the wall.  There is a quote somewhere that "Insanity it repeating the same thing over and over and expecting different results".  Right now I don't know if I'm the insane one, or if she is.

Anybody got advice, answers, prayers?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mute Monday

The duck hunting crew.  Sonny boy is behind the dog giving her a facelift along with his cousin.
 Boy's in the blind, Hubby & Sonny Boy

 Even tough football players need Mommas, and Momma needed a hat, hence the babushka scarf.
 Look at the camera!
 Sunday I raked / blew leaves ALL DAY LONG

Monday, October 15, 2012

Still Kickin'

Sorry for the long silence.  It's been a little nuts.  I actually had to go back to the last post to see at what point in the "Saga" I had left you hanging.

Wednesday morning Hubby and Sonny Boy got up early and loaded their stuff and headed to North Dakota for the big duck hunt.  Igor went to school and I went to the hospital to hang out with Mom.  I found Mom REALLY groggy, but not unreasonably so considering.   I hung out most of the day pushing fluids on her as the doctors had cleared her to leave as soon as she urinated (she'd had a Foley catheter for a couple of days)  ALL DAY LONG she did not pee.  She drank 4  or more big cups of ice water, a root bear, a cup of coffee and they hooked her back up the IV and gave her nice sized bolus of fluid that way, nyet, still nothing. The whole time all this is going on Mom is like a she is three sheets to wind, not making much sense, dozing off in the middle of a sentence and just generally out of it despite the fact she had only had tylenol since early morning.

When 2:00 rolled around I went to do my volunteer duty in Igor's classroom and spent a pleasant half hour outlining kindergarten kids on giant sheets of paper.  It was fun and nice break and I got to put some of the faces into Igor's classroom.  My duty was up just before school let out so I ran a quick errand to the post office and then back to the school to pick up Igor and go back to the hospital.

I took Igor to the hospital with me thinking that hopefully Mom had peed and we would simply be getting her dressed and out the door.  No such luck.  Mom was still way out of it, and was complaining that her chest hurt and got way overly winded when I walked her to the door of the hospital room.  The nurses called her doctor (who happened to be Russian - got a little story about him) who then decided to draw some blood and run and EKG.  Around this time I figure she's staying the night, the nurses are asking me if I want her home, or at the hospital as it's apparent I'm managing alone with a 6 year old who is sitting in the corner playing Angry Birds while Mom hallucinates that her brother is standing behind me.  I'm getting more than concerned at her altered state because by this point the only pain med she'd had was tylenol and the last narcotic was over  12 hours earlier.  I'm sure the nurses were having enough of me as well since I was on top of every odd thing.  The nurse that did Mom's intake on Sunday came in, unfortunately she was assigned down the hall but helped alleviate my fears that Mom wasn't having totally bizarre stuff, as she'd seen many older people respond to anesthesia like that (even the next day or two) and the lack of pee was likely due to her being behind on fluids since she was NPO for two days straight despite the fact she had an IV.  That nurse was very reassuring, and had her little angel wings on that day.

Well Igor and I stayed until the EKG was ran and there wasn't anything that made anyone go screaming for the doctor or pushing the code button on the wall and the phone battery went dead from hours of Angry Birds.    I got Mom settled in the bed, alerted the nurses I was leaving and drove through McDonald's to get us some supper and got us both of us into bed early.

The next morning after dropping Igor at school I find Mom much more coherent and the plan for the day is to give her a unit of blood (her blood counts were way off) and release her.  She had evidently started peeing in the middle of the night - every hour on the hour- according to her and the nurses.  Of course getting the blood started and the two hours it took to infuse, etc she was released at 2:15 on Thursday.

Since Thursday she's doing pretty well.  Her shoulder is sore of course, but she's doing surprisingly good about trying to use it and do the PT prescribed exercises sent home with her.  The first night home I gave her a percocet at bedtime and that wasn't the best of ideas as she told me she thought I was up gathering laundry out of her room in the middle of the night until she turned the light on and I disappeared.  Since then it's been Tylenol and really very little of that.  The color of bruising on the woman is impressive.  Not only is the shoulder bruised, but her whole chest and her breasts as well.  The most exciting thing is it's been 8 days since her last cigarette.  While in the hospital she couldn't smoke of course and when she got out I went and got her some patches and gum.  She's been changing the patches out daily but hasn't been smoking.  I think the success has a few degrees of help with it as her smoking had been cut back a lot when she moved here as we don't allow her to smoke indoors so she was down to about 1/2 a pack a day there, then when she was in the hospital for several days being nagged at by just about every health care worker through the door and realizing she had already gone four days without she's giving it a shot.  I hope she sticks with it.

Perhaps the most worrisome thing is that today I reminded her to change or orthopedic doctor appointment as it clashed with timing of her psychiatrist appointment and then went to pick up the kids from school and Igor to get his glasses fixed.  When I got home she had written the two down, Doctors and what for, times, etc had the phone number out but then told me she just couldn't do it, she was to anxiety filled to make the phone call.  She was really upset about it as she was concerned she wouldn't be able to function on her own (which I've been wondering for a while now) but things like appointments and such she has been able to handle on her own.   I don't know, I told her she definitely needs to tell the shrink that when she sees him next week.

In other news the boy's duck hunt was a success.  Sonny Boy had lots of fun.  Not too many ducks were killed, but Hubby proclaimed they let the boys do most of the shooting.  I've been busy selling stuff on E-bay trying to clean out some old kid's clothes and the like.  I've also been busy catching up with cub scout stuff - as in I was at cub scouts tonight and Sonny Boy was at football practice. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

and the Saga continues...

Well yesterday didn't quite go as planned.  Mom sat in her hospital bed in a fair amount of pain for the day not allowed to drink or eat since she was supposed to have surgery sometime around 4:00 pm.  Around 3:30 the nurse comes in and tells us that her surgery had been cancelled due to the OR's being booked up and some trauma cases etc etc.  I was BEYOND fit to be tied.  I get life threatening cases get priority, but don't people laid up in the hospital have priority over a surgery that was scheduled weeks out?  I don't know, I'd certainly had enough.  Anyway since there was nothing I could do I made sure they brought Mom some food, she was heavily medicated and went home for the evening.  I crawled into bed early, thoroughly worn out but try as I might I was too keyed up to sleep and ended up taking a benedryl around midnight.  The benedryl did the trick, but I paid for it this morning getting out of bed.

This morning Hubby agreed he'd go into work early and I would get the kids off to school and then come to the hospital since we knew surgery wouldn't happen until around noon anyway.  I get to the hospital about 9:00 or so and find out her blood counts are off and they are transfusing a pint of blood into her before surgery.  It was explained to me that this happens sometimes that there is bleeding from the bone.  WHAT?  Would this have even been an issue if you'd done surgery yesterday or even Sunday?  Anyhow they wheeled her upstairs for surgery around noon and I left the hospital armed with my cell phone.  I had to get some stuff shipped I'd sold on E-bay, and cripes sitting in the hospital is enough to make you go nuts!

The surgery went OK, I suppose, at least that's what the ortho doc told me when he called and I swear he was eating at the same time.  I made a point to be around when she came back from surgery and while the nurses have been really good Mom really needed somebody in the room with her as she was drugged pretty crazily and would sit straight up in the bed and declare it was time to go home!  Later she wasn't so sure as all the pain started REALLY kicking in and it took several rounds of pain meds to get it under control.   Right now Mom is finally zonked out after having enough narcotic pushed to down a horse.  I'm still at the hospital at 8:30 pm but I'm about to head home, I just wanted to make sure she was settled good before I left.

Tomorrow should prove interesting.  Nobody seems to know if she'll be released or not.  I'll get Igor off to school in the morning and I have volunteered to work in his classroom at 2:00-3:00 and he gets out of school at 3:20.  If they decide to discharge Mom during that time frame they'll just have to let her wait, and if they keep her she'll have to speak up for herself as certainly Igor won't be happy sitting around a hospital room any more than I am.

Well that's all the news.  Fun huh?  Now 6-8 weeks of her not having a right arm (she's right handed by the way) and the good Lord only knows on rehab.  I'm starting to feel like Job without the boils - give that time I suppose.

Monday, October 8, 2012

One Thing, after Another, after Another....

The end of last week wrapped up and frankly it was one I was glad to see behind me.  Hubby got home from France on Saturday afternoon, tired and jet lagged but happy to be home.  He enjoyed his trip.  Gosh wish I'd have been there.

Sunday morning we slept in.  I was cooking lunch/brunch/breakfast when I heard Mom yell, scream, swear and thud down the stairs.  Hubby and I went running and she was doubled over with her shoulder in pain.  We managed to wrap her arm to her body and took her into the ER.  I was suspecting it was dislocated, but alas nothing as simple, she broke the end of her humerous bone off and the rounded part of the bone that fits into the shoulder socket stayed.  Mom was admitted to the hospital last night for pain control and they will do surgery at 4:30 today.  I got her settled into her room last night and went over 10,000 questions with admitance and then went home for the night.  Luckily the hospital is only 5 blocks or so from the house.  The earliest I expect she'll be released is Tuesday and then who knows how long her recovery will be. 

If Mom isn't released on Tuesday we'll have a mess on our hands as Hubby and Sonny Boy plan on leaving Wed. morning for North Dakota and their hunting trip with Father-in-Law and cousins.  I don't know what the heck I'll do with Igor.  Thankfully he's in school through the day and if they keep Mom longer she may just have to be at the mercy of the nursing staff.

Currently I'm sitting in the hospital killing time waiting on Mom's surgery.  They are keeping her drugged but not too heavily.  Everytime she starts drifting off to sleep the bad shoulder will either spasm or most likely  relax a little from spasm and she'll yell.  Scares me out of my skin about every 4-8 minutes.  They cannot / will not give her more meds before surgery so it's a matter of riding it out.  I personally don't know how painful it is - I'm sure it hurts like hell - but I also know Mom has a low pain tolerance as well.  The nurses here are saints.  Frankly I'm surprised they haven't thrown Mom to the wolves yet.  I will say it's a whole world of difference than when she was in the hospital for months on end in Memphis years ago where I did a lot of the nursing duties because there wasn't a person available to help her.

I just got a FB message from my cousin that my aunt passed away this morning.  I'm sad to learn of her passing as I always thought her loads of fun as a kid.  I haven't seen her much in the last 20 years or so but we kept in touch.  I would plan on attending her funeral, but alas with Mom injured that won't happen.  With my aunt passing it will leave only one other aunt alive from my father and his siblings (there were 4 total) the one remaining aunt is her 80's, but I suppose she's in reasonable health.

Hubby's grandmother got moved into her assisted living facility last week.  By all reports she likes it so far and that's good to hear.  I honestly believe it will be good for her as she's been rather isolated the last year or two since she quit driving and now she's able to play cards and hang out with others when she feels like it and not depend on everyone to stop by and the like.

Well, I suppose that's that.  Nothing more to tell.  Roughly three hours till they take her back to surgery.  I wonder if the nurses will give me a bump of Mom's drugs?  ha!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Good Grief Charlie Brown

I don't even know where to start, so I'll just dive in.  I'm pretty sure if the kids were not in school and the camper were not in winter storage I would pack it up and disappear for a week or so until Hubby gets back from France.  If things get worse in the next week my in-laws may get a surprise visit.

Today Sonny Boy had a football game in about 30 minutes away.  Last night I declare what time we were leaving and that EVERYBODY (mainly meaning Mom) was going to go.  Alarms go off, I get kids up and fed, Mom up and coffee going.  Mom gets a cup of joe down and I proclaim she should hit the shower first as all her dressing stuff is in her room and she generally takes longer to get dressed than I do.  " I don't think I'm going, it's too cold"  I show her the forecast and current temp and wind speed - nobody can proclaim bad weather.  "I just don't want to go" this from the person who has spent not one but TWO entire days in her bathrobe this week.  I read her the riot act and then go get in the shower.  While in the shower I get even madder and I am determined her ass is going.  I come downstairs with a wet head, a robe and quite literally push her to the stairs to go get a shower.  She relents and goes up the stairs and gets dressed with me pushing her along because by this time we are running a bit late and I have Sonny Boy, a teammate of his, and Igor running through the house like a bunch of revved up dynamos.

We get to the ball field and the boys play a quite miserable game.  I honestly don't feel the other team was better, but if I hadn't known better I'd have guessed our kids had laid out all night drinking and were hung over this morning.   The coaches were more than a little disgusted and told the boys so, they were not mean about it, simply stated the fact not one kid played even close to their best game.  Sonny Boy wandered over to where Mom and I were packing up the chairs and he was hand dog and telling us the team was out of the play-offs.  I shrugged and told him "well that happens" having long ago determined I wasn't going to critique his sports attempts.  Mom perks up and starts telling him "Well ya'll played like a bunch of little girls dancing around out there"  "MOM, just HUSH" and she promptly shut-up.  To top that as we were walking out one of Sonny Boy's team-mates was being chewed on by his Grandma and she was saying "If you weren't gonna play football you should have come over here and sat in my lap and then at least you'd been doing something!"  Geez Louise, these are 9 yo boys, not grown men in the NFL!  Yes it's disappointing to go to a game and know your kid is consistently missing his blocks, and makes some bone-headed moves, but good grief.  I hope Mom got a decent picture of how unrealistic her reaction was because as soon as we got into the van Sonny Boy broke down into tears. 

Mom has been mad at me all afternoon and I really don't care.  I frankly told her how the cow eats the corn this morning and I was sick of her "woe is me"  attitude and her total lack of even trying to combat the depression.  Mom's doctor called and has her set up to see a shrink about the end of the month, mainly the doctor wants a better picture in order to fill out the paperwork for her disability.   The regular doctor added another anti-depressant to her present one and she's been on it roughly a week, hopefully we'll start to see some results soon, if not maybe the shrink we'll have a better idea of a med combination that can bring her back to the land of living.

My logical mind says "this is an illness, she can't help it"  but even so why is it so hard to do the things you know will make you better?  Mom is logical enough to see that getting dressed, going out and about running errands, going to the library, meeting people, getting some exercise will help at least to a degree with the depression but she doesn't do it.  It's like only taking half of the dose of medicine the doctor prescribes. 

I'm so tired of being everything to everyone right now.  On again/ off again single parent (not Hubby's fault just a fact of life) Maid, laundress, cook, secretary, bookkeeper, chauffeur, coach, teacher, mental health evaluator, life coach, football coach, referee ,nurse, medical researcher and gardener.  I know everybody dons a few of these hats at once every now and then but right now my head is heavy and my neck is about to go out.  When do I get a break?  1:00 am now and the kid's feet will hit the floor by 7:00 and it will be game on again.  When do I get a break, a vacation, a day in PJ's, a day to feel sorry for my self and do nothing?  When will somebody else take care of Halloween costumes, permission slips, and reading logs?  I'm now doomed to try to remember 5 people's medical histories when nobody can rember I'm allergic to sulfa drugs but me. 

Good Grief Charlie Brown, being a grown up sucks.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Little of This, a Little of That

Not much to report on, I suppose that's good because I can really use a break from drama lately.  Why I'm even bother to put up a blog post I don't know, I suppose the three people that faithfully read the blog might be interested in what's happening.

Last reported Mom and I both had nasty colds.  Mine is slowly abating, though I wish it would speed up a little.  Mom's morphed into some nasty chest congestion my guess bronchitis.  Mom had a doctor appointment scheduled on Friday for a simple check on everything which was good timing.  The doctor gave her some antibiotics and an inhaler for her cough and that's helped some.  The doctor also added another anti-depressant to her meds and I hope to see some improvement there in a few days.  The logical part of my mind understands that Mom doesn't really see that there is a problem with her behavior.  The rest of me lets it get under my skin and when I still see her in pajamas at 2:00 pm I'm ready to pin her down and dress her like I used to the boys when they were toddlers.  When I contrast Mom with Hubby's Grandma who is 92 it's like night and day.  Grandma has all the will and gumption to get up and go do stuff and her body won't let her, while Mom has no will and gumption and her body will let her do things.  I wish my mother would be more like Grandma.

Hubby is like a bad house guest this month.  Home for a few days, gone for a few days, home for few days.  Yuck, just long enough home to get his underwear washed, throw us out our "no dad routine" and then he's off to his next quest.  This week he leaves for France for a week.  Originally I had been planning to tag along on this trip (for years I had been planning on tagging along) but the lack of vacation time, Father-in-Law's illness and just general not knowing what to do about kid logistics, flights, and the whole thing we wrote off me going along.  To be honest I'm more than a little peeved, though it's nobody's fault.  When Hubby gets back from France, the next weekend he intends to load up Sonny Boy and meet Father-in-Law, Brother-in-Law and Nephew #1 in North Dakota for a few days of duck hunting.  Technically Sonny Boy is too young to hunt, however with FIL's illness he's going this year regardless.  Honestly we didn't think FIL would even be around this long, much less be up for going out to North Dakota.  I doubt FIL will do much hunting, though Hubby plans on putting him in a boat and dragging him around if needed.

Sonny Boy is probably the busiest person in the house.  Days at school, three evenings a week at football practice, mixed in with scout meetings, homework and Saturday football games and the kid's calendar is full.  I do my best not over schedule him but somehow things take on a life of their own.  Sonny Boy's football team did win their first game this Saturday 10-0.  Sonny Boy started out the game with a good solid tackle on the other team's running back.  I also taped one play on the phone and under further review we saw a really good block out of him on a kick return that allowed the ball carrier an extra 15 yards or so.  I wish it wasn't such a nightmare to actually film the games, we'd likely see more good things out of Sonny Boy but we often get so wrapped up in watching the ball and what's happening there we don't see the grunt work he's putting in on the line.  Either way he's having fun and learning football.  I don't see NFL in the future but maybe he'll get to play varsity HS some day.

Igor is trucking along.  He is really liking kindergarten (and so am I)  Igor's attitude has been a little nasty lately though but I'm chalking it up to all the changes with school and the like.  It's not horrible, just enough to get on everybody's nerves.  Soon I hope to sign him up for some swim lessons at the indoor pool.  I decided to skip the fall sessions in hopes of life settling down - yeah right - but in all fairness he should be able to pursue something outside of school too and since swimming is about the only sport he'll ever be able to compete in we should get him swimming like a person and not a tadpole.

As for me, busy, busy, being nurse, maid, driver, cook and every other hat you can imagine.  This weekend I put on my gardener hat and mowed the lawn, weed-eated, weeded flower beds that were woefully neglected the last month or two and generally started getting things ready for fall.  The leaves will soon start falling and I'll have that task to tackle but for now I'm going to pretend they will stay on the trees forever.  Mowing didn't do me any good though as I discovered that bum foot is not happy when forced to trod over our sloping yard over and over again.  This is the first time I've mown since I sprained that foot and I wish I hadn't pushed it now, should have made Hubby do it and I will likely for the final mow of the season. 

A little of this, a little of that.  Nothing earth shattering, just dull life.  Not a problem with it at all, I'll take it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Pick-Up Line

One of my favorite activities in life is people watching.  Particularly when you can people watch the same folks day after day you kind of get to know them a little bit.  Currently my favorite place to people watch is the pick-up area at the school.  The boy's elementary school doesn't have the best system in place for picking up the kids.  It's a neighborhood school built at time when I'm sure they simply opened the doors and told the kids "go home" without a thought of pedophiles prowling around.  Now days most of the moms drive or walk to the school to pick up their rugrats giving me a good opportunity to watch the kids and moms.

By far the vast majority of parents picking up kids are moms in mini-vans or SUV's.  Most of the moms - myself included - are dressed pretty simply, jeans, t-shirts, sweaters.  A few mom's are evidently just getting off of work and dressed a little better but for the most part it's a pretty casual bunch in pony tails and headbands.

The exception to the rule is a woman I'll call Ms. Lexus.  Ms. Lexus of course drives one, probably the most expensive vehicle in the pick-up line where an exotic vehicle is a newer mini-van.  Ms. Lexus's nice car isn't the most outstanding thing about her.  Ms. Lexus is dressed to the nines almost daily.  Last year I would see her picking up her son who evidently was in kindergarten (kindergartners must be handed over to parent or older sibling) as she would dart out of her car and come back with a little boy in tow.  Ms. Lexus would be dressed well, like VERY nice office well.  My first thought was that she must make a load of money and set her own hours to have such an expensive car and fancy clothes and be there to pick up her kid at 3:15.  I later changed my mind because last spring she pops out of her car in a strapless sundress.  Nothing wrong with that sundress, in fact it was very nice, just not something you'd wear to work and certainly looked odd picking up a kid from kindergarten.  This year school starts back up and I pull up behind Ms. Lexus and park the other day.  Ms. Lexus gets out to go greet her son and again is dressed up.  Whatever.  Monday, I notice Ms. Lexus was parked behind me and she walks past me again way dressed up but what caught my attention when she walked back to her car her son was sporting a Cub Scout Uniform for 1st graders.  A-HA, she'll be at the Pack meeting that night so I make a silent note of her clothes, again she is very nicely dressed.  That night at the pack meeting she brings her son and she had changed clothes from the afternoon.  Not to a more comfortable outfit, in fact she had donned another quite dressy outfit that consisted of a skirt just a tad short to sit comfortable on the bleachers in.  I don't know her story, but I know she didn't offer to volunteer for the pack committee!  I'm kinda curious to find out something about her.  Maybe I'll take up her career?

By far my favorite is a new vehicle this year with the window decals of "Dance Mom" in one corner and "Bee-Otch" in the other.  Really, you have young children, should you place that on your SUV and propagate the stereotype of a "Dance Mom" that portrayed in the reality show?

Well, that's just some general musings lately.

Life has been busy without major calamities.  Hubby has been traveling a fair amount lately and still has some to go, he's been in and out so much lately he doesn't even bother to unpack his shaving kit.  Mom and I both have a nasty head cold so we have just sat around and blown our noses for a couple of days.  Sonny Boy has been so busy with football and scouts he really just enjoys the days nothing is planned - I guess he enjoys fighting with Igor.  Igor is happy as a clam at school and tells me non-stop all evening about things they did at school all day which is the complete opposite from Sonny Boy whom I must pump information out of daily.

Well, I must go find some nasal spray.  I hope the Mucinex I took will kick in shortly.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Why is it?

Today Mom was watching some animal rescue show on Animal Planet.  You know them, the over dramatic rescues of neglected animals who are then showered with the best veterinary care, behavior training and then given to more responsible pet owners.

Mom sits entranced by these shows (seems she didn't have Animal Planet on her old cable).  She's a sucker for animals, and I can remember a string of stray animals we took in when I was a child.  While I'm never one to say that animals should be mistreated, starved or otherwise abused the show made me ill.

It wasn't just the over dramatization of the animals situations, or the general production values of the show - frankly that's pretty bad.  What got to me was that at least several times a day shows such as these are on television, but for every dog that is rescued from a miserable existence, every cat that is removed from some "crazy cat lady" there is a child, a real life human child living is conditions similar or worse.

Why do we as Americans, and citizens of the world allow these abuses to happen?  Why do we tear up when we see sad doggy eyes in cage but don't reach out to help the least of these among us?  Why can we spend millions and billions of dollars to fight wars and inspect for illicit weapon caches in other countries but we don't say "LET US INTO YOUR ORPHANAGES AND INSTITUTIONS"  Is not a measure of a society how they treat their most helpless citizens?

I can't pretend to know all the answers to these questions.  I do know that the little faces I left behind in that orphanage in Ukraine haunt me.  Happily I know some of those children have been adopted and I follow their lives via blogs and facebook.  Some I do not know their fates.

I mentioned to Mom I don't care for the animal rescue shows because I know that for every dog that is nursed back to help there are 10 neglected and hungry children somewhere (not fact checked numbers, don't quote me on that).  While I'm not sure she got what I was saying, and how it relates to her own grandson I've been pondering the question all day.

This is my challenge to you.  The next time you are moved my an ASPCA ad, with teary music behind it, showing sad eyed animals in cages, imagine those animals as children.  It's not a hard leap for those of us who have seen it.  If your so moved to donate to the animals, donate to a human animal first.

One of the first charities that come to mind is Reeces Rainbow  Reeces Rainbow tends to work primarily with children with Down Syndrome and other special needs, some of the special needs are simply because the child is "old".   I always get sucked into the sight when I wander over there and found this little guy.


Ian #69-1

DOB: 2005
Marfan Syndrome
Ian was raised by his birth family until he was 19 months old. He was placed in a baby orphanage at that time. When he was 3 years old, he was transferred to an orphanage for older children, where he still lives.
Ian has Marfan syndrome, which is a hereditary condition passed to him through his birth mother’s side of the family. He has left-convex scoliosis, a prescription for glasses and is slightly anemic. He has no other physical symptoms associated with Marfan syndrome at this time. At 6 years old, he weighs 41 pounds and is 44 inches tall. Psychological testing does not indicate any significant delays or disabilities.
When he entered the orphanage, he had a very sad and depressed personality. After being transferred to the orphanage for older children, he began attending a mainstreamed daycare program in the local village and his mood and personality quickly improved. He is now much more confident and follows the directions of the staff. He enjoys being a helper and will assist the younger children with tasks. He enjoys helping out at the orphanage as well and will help pick up toys and set the table for meal time. He interacts well with other children at the orphanage and at the daycare. He loves to draw and has recently become interested in memorizing poems and songs. He likes to watch cartoons. He knows all his colors and can count to 10. He knows the seasons and the days of the week.

His diagnosis is not all that scary, In fact it is in the same family of connective tissue disorder that Igor has.  If Ian here piques your interest please contact Reece's Rainbow.  I would if our home circumstances were different.  Mind you I don't know what country Ian is in, Reece's Rainbow works in several Eastern European countries and in Asia as well.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Friendly Friday

Just a few pictures cause I'm really bad at putting pictures up so I do it all at once.

While up north a few weeks ago we went to the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary.  It was pretty cool.  We took three vehicles of family up so we had quite a crowd along.  Everyone liked it.  If your ever up in northern MN certainly worth a look-see.

Yeah, the quality stinks as for some reason our good camera has landed in the camper and never made it back out so we are reduced to camera phones lately.

The boys started school this week.  So far so good.  Sonny Boy, 1st day of 3rd grade.  He's working his new duds.  God help me as he has an opinion on his clothes now.

Igor's first day of Kindergarten.  I can never get a decent smile out of this kid.

Mom had a blood vessel burst in her eye.  Yucky isn't the word.  We did haul into the doctor and frankly there wasn't much to do since there wasn't any pain or anything involved.  The doc did prescribe some eye drops to the tune of $140, but they were just to help the irritated feeling she was having likely caused by those clots.  The eye is starting to look a little better but still pretty creepy so she's been calling her "evil eye" and pointing it at the kids a lot.

Found these at Wal-Mart the other day and thought them a hoot.  Dress shields for men.   The packaging was just as funny as the whole idea of them because I've teased Hubby for years he needs dress shields when he has a presentation to give.  Now I know where to buy them!

That's about all.  I gotta get off my rear and actually do something around here today.  The quite is so wonderful.  I don't know if I'll be able to fold a load of laundry without the constant chatter of Igor telling me whose underwear I have in my hand.

Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Heritage Denied

When I was about twelve my father stepped out of my life.  With the gift of hindsight and wisdom, and many discussions with relatives I have come to the conclusion that he must have suffered from some mental illness.  His own mother is quoted as saying that he "lacked morals".  Honestly the stories that arise from time to time make me wonder as to just what the hell my genetic code contains. 

Even though my father walked away from me, and denied me a father figure in my life that probably wasn't his worse sin against me ( some could argue it was better he was gone).  I hold a grudge that I missed growing up with cousins, knowing my aunts and uncles - and loosing a rich heritage that total strangers know more about than I.

Occasionally when boredom overtakes me and I can't get the the gumption do anything really productive I start googling my great-grandfather.  My great-grandfather was actually quite well known in folk music circles and there are over 35,000 hits on google for his name.  I can't claim I would I have known my great grandfather, he passed way about 10 years before I was born, but it irks me that total strangers know more about his professional life than I do and what I know is pieced together from bits and pieces gleaned from the Internet and snatches of conversations remembered as a child.  Probably the thing that angers me most is that as a child my father had my great-grandfather's instrument (or at least one of them) and he had always told me that it would be mine someday.  Rumor has it my father was hard up for cash and sold it away to one of his cousin's ex-husband who then sold it back to the cousin.  I don't know the route that instrument took, I hope it's in a family member's possession, but I believe it should be in mine.  Overall I know that's only a small thing but find that really irritating when I dwell on it.

In a way my plight parallels what Igor may feel as he ages.  A connection to a place, a draw to a culture but with no real connection of having lived it, spoke it's language, or it's traditions beyond a a textbook or passing conversation.  I can see where my plight might be more in tune with an older adoptee as opposed to a child who comes home at a very young age.  How does one bridge that urge to be both the person you are and the person you would have become if circumstances had been different.  Do you even want the insight?  I don't know.  I know in my case I can hunt down relatives, I can hunt down people versed in my great-grandfather's work, and know more but will that bring me closer to a long heritage that I didn't grow up with? 

I'm rambling, it's late.  Like I've said before the blog topics come to me as soon my head hits the pillow and with Hubby out of town this week I have decided to get out the laptop and get them down before they fly away like a bunch of elusive butterflies.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Yay! school starts Tuesday!

Happier words can't be uttered in my household lately.  The boys are driving me to the brink of insanity with the constant craziness, fighting and general sassiness.  The last couple of weeks I've gone into "Nazi Mamma" mode with a general crackdown on all electronics - code to the TV was changed as sneaky Sonny Boy had figured it out (no doubt by watching his grandma who never even bothers to cover the keypad) and after a session of playing Wii last week and not returning games and remotes to their proper places I went bonkers and completely unplugged the Wii from the TV and hid it in my bedroom closet under a pile of winter sweaters with the commandment it will not be unearthed for a week.  I have also gone beyond bonkers when smarted off to and the edict of "I don't want to hear it, go to your room" is uttered 10 times a day.

What really makes me sad is that kindergarten kids have a staggered start date (so they only have to deal with about 1/3 of clueless 5 year olds at a time) so Igor doesn't really start until Thursday, but after that it's game on.

Last few weeks have been more than a little busy.  After receiving news that Father-in-Law has lost 8 more lbs in about a three week span we decided a trip north was in order so we traveled up last weekend for a few days.  It was a nice little get away and Father-in-Law was able to snooze in the shade at the lake while the kids played and go along on an expedition to a wildlife preservation thing - I'll post more on that later.   Hubby is going to sneak up alone in a couple of weeks as it may coincide with a work trip. 

The family trips north will likely slow down a little with school starting and Sonny Boy playing football.  It's difficult to pull him from a game when the team only has a couple of extra kids, a couple of missing players and they'd have to forfeit which isn't fair for the other kids.  Of course if things are dire it won't matter and I've already spoken to Sonny Boy's coach about the situation and he's understanding of course.

I signed Mom and I up for the gym here in town.  After two trips I can tell this isn't going to work quite like I thought.  The first trip went fine, I walked her through how to use the machines, etiquette - wipe 'em down etc - and what she should be basically doing.  The second trip, I pushed her a little harder on the treadmill, showed her how to use some of the machines we had skipped over and she even upped the weights on her own.  The strange part is that she refuses to shower.  I kinda get she's not fond of the locker rooms, but frankly they are pretty nice.  The last trip on Saturday she said "I'll shower when I get home"  yeah right, she never did.  Today she didn't either.  So I know she hasn't showered or bathed since Friday.  REALLY?  The only excuse for not showering daily over the age of puberty is some sort of disability that makes bathing very difficult or dangerous to do on your own and she's not in that category.  Even is she were the showers at the gym are WAY easier to navigate than our old claw foot tub with the shower curtain ring around it.  Heck there is even a handicapped stall with a bench if she wants to use it.  I can't really decide if she's embarrassed to be nude in front of other women (which honestly she looks like a swimsuit model compared to most of them) or if there is some bizarre fear or laziness to actually bathing/showering and getting dressed daily like everyone else in the world.  I keep telling her when winter sets in she's not going to want to venture out in sweaty clothes and climb into a cold car, particularly when she hasn't an ounce of body fat for insulation.

I type this though in part as an example of the kind of stuff that drives me bats.  Some of it I realize is her depression, but honestly I think some of it is just plain old lazy.  Mom has another appointment with her doctor soon and I'll discuss another adjustment to her depression meds.  I don't know that Mom actually has an idea of what it feels like to live a normal life anymore and have an interest in anything.  The only thing she has expressed any interest for horseback riding which if I could afford it I would be doing myself.  Certainly she can come up with some sort of hobby that doesn't take a rich man's pocketbook to fund.  Cripes, scrap booking, knitting, crochet, sewing, cake decorating (even better on that one as I have much of the stuff) it seems she could find SOMETHING besides reading the freebie kindle downloads that are 99% drivel.  The only thing she seems interested in reading, which sure isn't bad, I read a lot too, but you gotta come up and enter the real world occasionally as well and I feel reading is her way to escape.

I plan on the new school year bringing lots of changes to the general running of the household.  How well it all pans out it yet to be seen.  The first few weeks I'm going to spend getting the house in order, closets cleaned out, some deep cleaning done, kids rooms thinned of junk - easier to do when they are not around- and that sort of thing.  I also have plans to curb the morning chaos by laying out the kids school outfits a week in advance and have a start on that project but I suspect Sonny Boy has specific plans for what he want to wear the first day of school, he's suddenly become fashion conscience on me.  Chore charts will have to the re-done as I don't see Sonny Boy having time to finish his more time consuming chores on days of football practice and scouts.  I'm debating making Mom a chore chart as well because frankly I'm tired of being the maid around here.  Honestly the boys do more chores than Mom does, and the ones Mom does do usually require a specific request and get done half assed even worse than the kids would have done them.

Gosh, just went back and read this and realized it's all a real bitch session.  Can you tell I'm in less than a good mood?  Ha!  Like Hubby's 92 year old Grandma told me the other day "Everybody's got problems, you just don't know what they are."  She's right, and sure some of my problems are beyond trivial, I get that and I get that this is just a crappy chapter in our lives we have to keep plugging away at.  This blog is my outlet, the place where I come to scream in words and thoughts, the place where I can unload the clutter of my mind so I can sleep without the crazy storm of worry that keeps me awake.  The place I can get stuff off of my chest and not burden Hubby with my craziness, because I figure with his father sick, a crazy mother-in-law living with him, and a job that requires smoothing over aggravated people and figuring out their problems he's stressed enough.

Well it's well after midnight, some thoughts are down, maybe I'll sleep.  Forgive the huge grammar mistakes or whatever.  I'll try to post some of the more interesting pictures of the last couple of weeks as soon as I can get them off of our phones - amazing never having a camera around anymore.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Who Are You? Who, Who (not a call for comments, just a snarky title)

Read the post, then the title will make more sense.

In the south it is common when a woman marries for her to start using her maiden name as a middle name and take the last name of her husband.  Not everyone does this of course, but a good number do as you may not want to completely lose your identity with your maiden name.

Forty years or so ago Mom got married.  When she married she went to the Social Security office (or what ever the procedure was then) with her freshly minted Marriage License and legally changed her name with the federal government.  When Mom did this she was angry with her father and decided that she no longer wanted to be a "Smith" anymore so she set up her legal name as "Jane Mary Doe".  Sometime within the next year or so Mom decided to start using her maiden name as her middle name and started using "Jane Smith Doe".  Years passed, Mom divorced but kept her married name  and has stayed "Jane Smith Doe" so all records, car titles, drivers license, deeds, etc have her listed as "Jane S. Doe"  My WHOLE life I've seen her sign EVERYTHING as "Jane S. Doe".  Do you see where I'm going with this?

Yesterday I sat down with Mom to fill out her Social Security Disability paperwork online.  Mom had plugged all the basic information in, name "Jane S. Doe" address, numbers etc.  I sat down and added the meat to grinder with all the doctor information, drugs, etc etc.  When we finished I had her e-mail the attorney we retained to help us through all this nightmare and there was an error message that said that the names did match what was on file.  You got it, Mom never went back to the Social Security Administration and changed her name to "Jane Smith Doe"   it was still "Jane Mary Doe".  My mother has been running around for 40 years without really knowing her legal name.  This in and of it's self wouldn't be so horrible except there is no way to go back and change the name on the disability application except to go the Social Security office with all the documents we can think of and hope they'll change the name on the application.  Great, my to do list is currently longer than my arm, and now a half day sitting around at the Social Security office is on it too.  I plan on making sure she has all the paperwork, my phone number and sending her alone.  Surely they are used to working with addled people there and can manage to figure something out.

In other news since we discovered the name fiasco I sent her to the DMV to get a WI driver's license and car tags.  Mom's car had to be emission tested which she went and took care of.  The bummer is that it didn't pass and that's one more chore for Hubby to puzzle out.  Mom luckily had no trouble at the DMV, however I filled out all the forms for her and we had to tear apart her files in order to find her car title.  She really needs the "Most unorganized" award.  The DMV was less trouble and she now has her federal legal name of "Jane M. Doe" on her car title and license.

The moral of the story.  Go check your Social Security Card.  I did.  I'm still amazed she's been walking around signing her name wrong without knowing it.  I can't imagine what kind of nightmare this may cause in the future.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Whole house mess.

Ever notice how doing one project simply takes over the house?  Do than in the kitchen and you might as well give up doing much of anything else until the project is over.

The before of our kitchen.  Please note we had already moved a lower cabinet and a small upper cabinet that was squeezed in between the range and chimney before we thought "Maybe we should take a picture".

In the process of the mess.   Remember we had already worked this chimney through the attic, an upstairs closet and over halfway down this room before getting to this point.

Of all the bragging I can do about my kids I am confident Igor will make it well in this world.  Not from some wonderful inborn talent (though that could still show up) but from the shear fact the kid is the hardest worker I have ever met.  He's always right in the middle of any project or chore wanting to know how he can help, how to do something and jumping in and working hard at any task you give him. 

Watch the video, ignore the title.  I can't type on my phone very well, and I forgot about the turning the  phone business so tilt your head or your monitor.

I swear the kid works harder than Hubby and I at anything.  Many times I have to tell him "Quit working and GO PLAY!"  While tearing bead board off the wall is a really cool task, he's as equally excited about running the shop vac, or cleaning the bathroom.  Go figure.

Anyway, I better get back to work before Hubby yells calls me again to help.  I kind of snuck out of work to post the video and pictures.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

...and the race is on...

and I'm not talking about anything in London.  Last night I attended our Cub Scout pack committee meeting to set the dates for the next school year.  Oy, makes my head spin.  Next week is going to be close to nightmarish with swim lessons, doctor appointments, school registrations, Hubby traveling and football practice starting.  I feel like I'm the director of a really crappy cruise ship seeing that everyone gets everything they need.  Yuck, sorry, just a little overwhelmed tonight when I started plugging in all the calendar stuff into my phone and the master calendar on the wall and trying to coordinate with Hubby.

Today I took Mom to visit a disability attorney and we'll get the ball rolling on filing for her disability.  The longer she lives with me the more I see she will not be able to hold down any kind of job where learning something new is a factor, and either her depression or shear laziness, or possibly some heart problem prevent her from doing anything mundane.  The attorney seemed to think she had a good shot at getting the disability and it's one of those deals where you don't have to pay him until he wins it for you.  Sure he gets a cut of any back pay, but that's more money than she would have gotten in the first place and I think it will take some of the load off of me not to have to try to deal with the Social Security Administration personally, because I really just don't have patience to try to deal with government BS along with everything else in life.  Hopefully she'll be approved quickly, and that will be at least 3-5 months, and we can get a ball moving to move her into her own place.  We've been getting along fine, but we'd all like some space.  I will say having a built in baby-sitter has been a boon.  I can go run errands during the day without it becoming a spectacle and go to the dentist and the like. 

This week and next the boys are in swim lessons daily.  Today they did pool-side instruction and never entered the water because when the pool staff arrived this morning they discovered that some pranksters threw a whole bunch of poo (hopefully animal) into the pool.  Nice huh?  Probably a good day for that because we had a cold front move through and I'm not sure it ever actually reached 70 degrees, amazing as it was in the 90's on Monday.  How's that for temp swing.  Nothing like the midwest to keep you guessing just which clothes to put on.  This will likely be Sonny Boy's last swimming lesson session.  He can really already swim, however his form lacks any grace or stamina and I'm hoping he learns some of that.  Igor is doing what I call a "tadpole" swim.  He'll put his face down in the water, arms to his side and kick.  He goes pretty well like this, but he'd certainly do a little better with some arm action in there.

The last weekend in July we had our big family reunion.  I set the date almost a year ago thinking we'd do a smaller get together, just something with Hubby's uncles, aunt and all of their offspring from Father-In-Law's side.  FIL invited every outlying cousin, in-law, out-law and even a few biker buddies and it became quite a large event.  Long ago I gave up planning control and fretted what kind of a mess would happen, however I will say it went pretty smoothly with only a few glitches, mostly from people just not listening.  Many expressed shock at seeing FIL condition as he's skinny as post, and weak, it was no secret he is ill, however I think many expected to find a robust full of energy FIL that they typically knew, not the frail, tired man in his shoes.  What many don't know is that in June we were all questioning if FIL would live long enough to even have the reunion, but I think he's been pushing for it for many months now and was determined to see it through.  I wonder how things will go with him now that that milestone has passed?  I do worry how Sonny Boy is going to take FIL's passing as he sees his grandpa as super cool, crazy dude and can't believe that after surviving Vietnam, several car accidents, several motorcycle accidents that something will kill him.  Sonny Boy tells me he believes FIL will survive the cancer.  I pray he's right, but I'm also realistic and try to prepare him that most people don't beat pancreatic cancer.

Chimney tear down has stalled the last couple of days due to schedules and exhaustion.  Even Igor who is one heck of a worker, has given up on picking bricks up out the flower bed and moving them to the dumpster.  We'll have to get back into the swing this weekend I know, but for now we watch the Olympics and ponder how the divers do that.

Black Boogers

A couple of months ago a friend started remodeling his bathroom.  Unfortunately for our friend he had more ambition than mechanical knowledge in the plumbing and electrical trades.  Friend and hubby worked out a deal if Hubby would help him with the mechanicals of the bathroom and teach him some basics along the way, Friend's father-in-law, who is a roofing and siding contractor, (and actually  did our roof last summer) would come help and teach Hubby how to roof on our little garage.

Anyway, Hubby spent several evenings and a few weekend days teaching Friend basic wiring and plumbing while working on his new bathroom.  This last weekend while we were away for the "Kamporee" - have to write a post on that later - roofing contractor father-in-law decided this would be the weekend to tackle our garage roof and had a small dumpster delivered to our yard.

This weekend the guys crawled on the roof, stripped a layer of shingles and put up new.  A huge improvement over the old which were peeling off at an alarming rate every time we had strong winds.

Sunday evening as we were admiring the new roof the discussion that we only had a 1/4 full construction dumpster that is paid the same if it's full or empty arose.  Hubby and I in penny pinching ways decided to start tearing out the old cookstove chimney in the kitchen.  The top had been removed during the re-roof but we still had bring going to the foundation.  Why you may ask would be crazy enough to take on three stories of chimney?  Well the answer is two fold 1) It will free up about 4 sq feet of  closet space and in a 120 year old house that's gold 2) it will allow me to move the refrigerator  from the far wall in the kitchen closer to the actual work area saving numerous steps around the kitchen per meal.

After all our roofing help left Sunday evening we fed the kids peanut butter and Jelly, told mom to fend for herself and got to work in the attic.  What a hot and nasty job it proved to be.  We started off gently lowering the bricks in a five gallon bucket from an attic window, but after about 5 hauls down decided to sacrifice the flowerbed.  With a sickening thud we watched my struggling impatiens (they never looked like much this year)  literally explode as three pound cream city bricks were dropped three stories from the attic window.

Sunday we made good progress as there was room in the attic to swing a large, heavy hammer and we reached the ceiling of the second floor pretty quickly and called it quits.  Monday, Hubby asked me to try to pull the plaster and lath from the chimney in the closet so he could get a good start after work.  This is wear things got interesting, since it appears when you plaster over brick, lath is not needed as plaster sticks really well to brick.

I chipped and chiseled a good part of the afternoon and removed a few rows of brick in between doing loads of laundry.  This process stirs up an enormous amount of dust, both from the chipping plaster but 120 year old mortar and soot from coal cooking fires of yesteryear.  Miserable and after a while forces you wash hands and clear nasal passages frequently - black boogers.

Hubby came home from work and real progress was made just simply because he's about ten times stronger than I and we got about 2/3 of the chimney removed from the second floor.  Tuesday, I again entered the the dust pit and inflicted damaged on the old chimney with Hubby coming home to work it down to the floor / ceiling of the first floor.  This is where we are stalled now as that will create a HUGE mess in the kitchen which will impact just about everything in the household. 

Sometime on Tuesday evening Hubby and I were pointing fingers at just who's wise idea tackling this project was.  Now, I'm beginning to wonder if that little bit of closet space and the ability to move the fridge is worth it.

Do you reckon you can get black lung from tearing down on sooty chimney?