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).