31 March 2011

The middle of the road

Time for a post that's not so depressing. I shouldn't write when I'm feeling bad, though I tried really hard to make it a little happy. I shouldn't write the day after, either, which was the case with my last post. I got a call very early Monday morning from the paramedics. My mom had fallen and they wanted to take her to the hospital. It was her 3rd fall in 6 days. Poor banged-up and battered Mom. She was sitting on the edge of her bed trying to lean over and pick up a roll of toilet paper that fell off the brass free-standing toilet paper holder beside the portable commode beside her bed. She slipped off the bed and fell face-first into the tipped-over brass stand. The life-alert necklace she wears alerted help, and they came right away. For the third time that week. This time she decided to go to the hospital, and I met her there. Her injuries are superficial, but she looks awful. She's on Plavix, which makes any bruises that much worse. Between the three falls, she has bruises everywhere. When we got home from the hospital I found evidence of a medical problem with my dad, all around his toilet. I know...too much info. That meant a trip to the doctor's office where he was diagnosed with a UTI. I'm glad I was there to take him. It was a sad day. I went to Panera's for coffee and home to make lunch in-between the ER and the doctors. Then I had to cancel my day of work on Tuesday to be with my parents because Amanda couldn't be there. And I had to stay late. That's why my Tuesday post was so depressing.

It dawned on me Monday (what took so long?) that my parents aren't living independently; they're already in assisted living. They're only able to be in their own home because of Amanda and me and my siblings and keeping them there is taking it's toll on all of us. They had gotten used to having people around them when they were in the rehab center, and they miss that. Since they've been home I've watched my mom become sadder and sadder. We kids made the plans for them to stay at home, but now their home is no longer the home they were used to. Yes they have new floors, but all the things that made their home their home are packed up or in the garage. There's no clutter, no things. And the changes? They're no safer in their home now than they were before.

It's time for a change, and now we start the quest to find an assisted living facility for them. My mom says she's more than ready. My dad either says yes, he understands my mom needs it, or says, we'll see. He's been adamant his whole life that 'they're going to have to carry me out of here'. I've seen him in hospitals and rehab centers, and he's been very content in them. I think he'll be content wherever he goes. I think it will be harder for my mother. I'm mourning the loss of the house already. We all grew up there. It's been the family home for 49 years. I'm really not ready to see it go.

So now we deal with the maze of facilities, finances, and legalities. Then the contents of closing up a home. Much work is ahead, and many changes. It's time, and it will be oh, so nice to just be able to visit.

I had a short day at work today. I visited two assisted living homes. Then I came home to my own house, in the daylight! It's been a while since that happened. I made dinner for the family for the first time in ages. I'm writing a real blog post, and sitting on the couch, and soon I'm going to watch TV. It's been a good day. I'm hoping not to get any bad phone calls.

Thanks for standing by me. This is the middle of the road. It's going to be a journey.

29 March 2011

Less stress and happiness

I can't wait for my summer vacation. Well, first I want spring. And lots of warm weather. And vacation. I want to swim in my pool. I want flowers in my garden. I want less stress. And for everyone to be happy.

I've been under a lot of stress. And sadness. I actually feel wounded. I want less-stress. I want everyone to have less-stress. And more happiness.

27 March 2011

I've had my coffee...time to get the day on

I'm taking a little time out at Caribou Coffee before heading to the folks. My sister is coming over and we're going to try to get a lot done. There's still a lot of heavy lifting that we can't do that will have to wait. Lisa suggested we go to Lemongrass for lunch. I said I'd love that, but we should bring Mom and take her to Haverty's afterward for some furniture shopping. Mom seemed to like that idea. Later I said to my mom, you'd probably prefer us to stay in the house and work, than to go out and have fun. She said yes, just as I knew she would. Well, we're going out anyway. Here's a story I'll always remember. My Cousin Myra and my mom were (and are) friends and way back when, they both had 3 or 4 little kids. They would take turns watching each others kids to give the other an afternoon off. Cousin Myra would go out to lunch and a movie with her friends. My mom would stay home and scrub the house. Years later I asked my mother if she had any regrets about how she spent her time. She had none whatsoever. She was doing what made her happy. That's a big part of her unhappiness now: she sees a million things around the house she wants done, and she can't do any of it. She would rather us work at her house than do anything else. The house will be put back together soon and all the work will be done. Then my mom and I can go to Old Country Buffet and hang with the Seniors. Much more fun, right?

Floors torn out

New floors in

The house is so cleaned out of 'stuff' that all you see is wide expanses of floor. It echos. It's beautiful. It needs more 'stuff' in it! It needs some carpet, but no carpet is one of the main reasons for the new floors.

Speaking of floors, I found some pieces of the lime green shag carpet I had in my bedroom in the 70's. I loved that carpet!

It's cold but the sun is shining and I've had a caramel latte. I'm ready to take on the day!

24 March 2011

Sometimes sad can't be avoided

It's Thursday night and it feels like I'm at the end of a long weekend. I'm not...I worked yesterday. Maybe it's because Rob's been around. He's on Spring Break and came down on Tuesday night and left this morning, Thursday. We haven't had this much time together in ages. I really miss our weekends together.

I spent the day...are you ready? At my parents!! At my second home. I thought it was going to be an easy day there since all the flooring was installed Tuesday and Wednesday. I thought I'd just be putting things away. Wrong. Dust covers every surface and I should have anticipated that. At first I was so frustrated and depressed about it. My sister Lisa texted that she'd be at the house Friday night and Saturday and she'd be working on it too. My brother said it took more than a day to take everything out of the house and it would take more than one to put it back in. I wound up staying 7 hours and got a whole lot done. The floors look fabulous. My mother's very depressed. I spoke to her on the phone this morning. She complained that she was cold and that the carpet had probably kept the house warm. I said it was also a fall hazard. She told me she didn't call for a speech, just to tell me what to get from the grocery store. That shut me up. My mom fell yesterday and got a lecture from everyone. She was speeched-out. Yes, another fall, but she's OK. My brother stopped by today while I was there and he and my mom were in the garage for a while. When they walked into the house my brother said, Mom says she's depressed. He said, Mom, you have nothing to be depressed about. I said, to her ear, I'd be depressed if I were you and it's OK, and I hugged her. She cried. It's all very sad. As she went to bed I hugged her and told her I'd never leave her. And I mean it. The stroke really stole my mother's life, and every year since then has been downhill. I wouldn't want to live her life. That's why I want to help so much...because I love her and her life is so hard. And so sad. I'm hoping she'll feel better as her house gets put back together. Life has been hard on all of us since my parent's last hospitalization and inpatient rehab. It's been especially hard on my mother since she's been home (my dad seems fine). I'm hoping tomorrow is a better day for her. She has Amanda overnight and all day tomorrow. My nephew and his friend are stopping by to hook up the big TV and sound system, so there will be people and activity in the house. My sister will spend the night. Maybe the sun will shine.

21 March 2011

Working, together

Another very long 'weekend' at my parent's house. We've moved all the furniture, emptied the floor of every closet in the house. Filled the garage with every bit of furniture that could be moved. Left yet another mountain of trash at the curb.

My nephews tore out all the carpet and laminate flooring yesterday while my brother, sister and I moved furniture, cleaned out closets, and threw stuff away. I'm so glad we're working together. The old asbestos flooring is exposed, which is scary, but I don't think anything can happen in two days of exposure. Tomorrow it gets covered up with brand new flooring throughout. Then the furniture goes back. A lot more work, but that part will be so much better than what we've been doing. We've done major work. Work that we won't have to do later. If this experience hasn't convinced me to clean out my stuff now, shame on me.

So glad I was able to spend a few hours outside tonight. It was wonderful and I feel renewed. Thank you, Spring.

18 March 2011

Spring is in the air

Who doesn't love spring? It's going to be warm today...I wish I could be outside enjoying it, but I'll be in, working. That's OK...there's lots more warm weather to come. Just seeing spring around me makes me happy.

I cooked corned beef and cabbage for the first time yesterday. It's what my mom requested. She wanted me to have dinner with them but I said I'd be long-gone by then. Not. I was there late. It really was a great day. As you know, I'm a 'person of action'. I got so much done at their house! I threw away a lot of stuff. Cleaned out shelves and surfaces that hadn't been looked at in years. It was fun, and there's nothing better than being able to see results. I'm really so glad I can help my parents, plus, I didn't have anything else to do. It was good for me to be busy.

I have a full day of work ahead. Another good thing. I'm going to sit outside now and enjoy the sun and the sound of the birds. I'm SO glad winter's over!

17 March 2011

Coffee is my drug

I really don't understand how people drink coffee everyday, with little effect. Really. I'm drinking a cup of strong Colombian coffee right now and I feel like I'm on drugs. There's no way I could work feeling like I do. Way too speedy! I love the feeling...on my days off.

I've been home alone since Monday with Em and her BF gone. It's been quiet and I miss them. It turns out I'm glad Emily will be living at home instead of going away to college. I'm not ready for her to be gone. How do parents of 'onlys' do it? I was the second one in my family to leave the nest. I actually left as soon as I graduated from high school, at 17. I went on a cross-country trip with 3 other friends. In a Pinto! We camped the whole time, were gone for 2 months, and went to 32 states plus Mexico and Canada. I left for college two days after I got back. How in the world did my parents let me do it? Thank goodness my parents let me do it.

I'm going to get busy now. Don't want to let this energy go to waste.

14 March 2011

Goodnight moon

I'm tempted to get into bed right now, at 7:30, because this day has been long enough.

Emily and Phil left at 4:40 this morning to fly to San Luis Obisto, CA. I set my alarm for 4:05 to make sure she was awake and ready when her father got here. Unfortunately, the phone rang at 3:44 AM. That's never a good thing. It was a wrong number and because of it I didn't need my alarm anymore. I'm so excited for Emily and her BF. They're visiting his uncle for their spring break.

I've spent most of my weekend with my parents. I was there till 9:30 on Saturday night. I was back from 7 AM to 5:30 PM on Sunday. I was there today from 8 AM to 2:30 PM. Whew. My mom could really use one of us there 24/7. It's so hard to see how hard her life is. How hard it is for her to walk. There's really not much quality there. I took her to her psychiatrist this morning and her Prozac was increased. There's not enough Prozac in the world to give her the happiness that her stroke took away. And my dad... he's something else. A little dementia. Selective hearing. Noncompliance with healthy eating to keep his diabetes in check. But enough of that. My parents are so happy to have us kids around. My sister and brother have done so much heavy work at the house. Emily and Phil have worked really hard there. The cleaning out and renovation continues.

Mom and I had breakfast at Paneras today. That made her really happy. My nephew Ryan was there and we got to eat together. And...drink coffee!!

I returned my rental car today. I loved that car...a Pontiac Vibe. I like it better than my own, much to my surprise. Emily's car is fixed and we're back to two silver Honda's in the garage.

I planted many pansies in my garden when I got home. I can't wait till all the spring plants come to life. I love a spring garden. I'll post pictures soon, I hope.

I have a double batch of Cauliflower Curry Bean soup ready to be pureed. I wish I was already done. My bed is calling.

11 March 2011

Tiny Wings Time

I'm home from what seemed like a real quick day at work. It was a good day! I did two new clients. The first had straight, short, silver hair. She'd been with the same hairdresser for 25 years till he moved away. She's tried a few stylists in search of a good haircut without any luck. It was easy to get it right. There's really no excuse for letting someone leave with a bad haircut. She loved her hair. My second new client had long curly hair. She was recommended to another stylist by her friend but chose me when she saw my picture and read my bio on our web page. She loved her hair. Yea! Two new really nice new clients. New clients are a necessity.

I finished the last of the Cauliflower Curry and Bean Soup I made a few days ago. The recipe is from Wegman's, and it's simple and delicious. (I changed it just a bit...used a head of cauliflower, didn't use name brand ingredients, didn't top it with onions, and used a blender). Since the soup is pureed, you'd never know what was in it. Try it if you love curry. I had it with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cilantro. I wish I had much more.

We made our Myrtle Beach reservations for our summer vacation. I'm so excited. I love going back to the same place year after year. I love driving the same roads and reliving the same memories. I love being away for my birthday.

Tomorrow's jam-packed with clients. I'm heading up to bed early with my new game addiction...Tiny Wings. It's better than a book, though not intellectually.

10 March 2011

Energized Me

If you know me, you know that Thursday is automatically a happy day 'cause I get to drink COFFEE! I have many different Starbucks mugs, all in this favorite shape.

I can't wait to wake up on a day off that's warm and sunny. Today is rainy, rainy, rainy. I had plans to do one thing, but the rain's changed that. My only plan for the day is to clean my floors. That won't take too long. I have a few DVR'd shows to watch. I have a bunch of DVD's I could watch, but I don't have much patience for movies, unfortunately. Maybe I'll take a stab at cleaning out my close. It's a mess. I could set a timer and work there for an hour. Or 15 minutes. I could do any number of things. I wonder what this day will hold? Time will tell. What ever I do will be fueled by caffeine.

07 March 2011

Pretty good times

It feels like 20 weeks since I've updated this blog. Or read your blogs. Life gets in the way. I've been busy.

Emily was hit by a hit and run driver on Friday. She and Phil weren't hurt, but she was very shaken up. A Mazda pick-up that was on the shoulder drove into the passenger side of her car, sideswiped it, made a u-turn in front of her, then sped away. No cars that witnessed it stopped. Thank goodness it wasn't worse. We brought the car to the auto body shop today, and I'm driving the rental, a spiffy white Pontiac Vibe. I like my car better.

Em's poor car

I spent Saturday night at my parent's house. That's my night. I stayed up late after they went to bed. I finished reading my book club book on my laptop. In all, I read it in hardback, on my iPhone, and then on my computer. I'm not sure which way was best. I spent the rest of the night, till the wee hours of the morning, looking at eBay auctions for some of the stuff my father has. Very interesting. Do you think I have time to be an eBay seller?

I spent all day Sunday with my parents. I didn't get out of my pj's till 4:00 when I got dressed for book club. I worked all day...not lounged. Our book was The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. It was great to be with my friends.

Have I mentioned the plan for my parent's house? All new floors. The carpet is a fall hazard for my mom, and the laminate they have is old. So, everything needs to come up off the floors. All the DVD's have been put in storage containers. Many of the closets have been cleaned out. The attic has been emptied. Ditto with the shed and many closets. Ceiling fans have been installed. Collections have been put in storage. Furniture has been trashed. The bathroom openings are being widened for bigger doors. The tub will come out of the main bathroom to be replaced with an accessible shower. Handrails will be installed throughout the house, etc... And hopefully my parents will be able to stay in their home for a while. My siblings and I are working well together. My parents are in a daze with all the activity and changes. My mother keeps saying, 'this isn't my house anymore'. We tell them they're going to love it when it's done. My father looks in the garage a lot.

There's been a few trash days like this.

My brother and his daughter Hannah, in the shed. The cases behind my brother are filled with collectible beer cans. Wah.

Emily and Phil, the hired help.

My parent's house is a rancher, and it has a walk-in closet near the front door. We moved in when I was 6. We recorded our height on the wall every year. We recorded the niece's and nephew's heights too. It's a wall of memories.

I spent today today with...my parents! I grocery shopped for them before I got there. I took my father to two banks. I went out to lunch with my mother and took her shoe shopping. It was a good day.

I've been busy, but it hasn't been stressful. Don't ask me why. I'm fine except for when I sleep. I'm working on that.

04 March 2011

Just a note

It's Friday morning but it feels like Tuesday. Hard to believe I was only off for one day. I packed a lot in. Rob came down on Wednesday night. We ate dinner here, instead of out. We're both trying to lose some weight and had wonderful and healthy salads. Instead of wonderful Chinese food. We watched a lot of TV. He's come to like all the shows that I DVR. We're also reading together...me my book club book and him his psychology. I downloaded my book to my iPhone from the library. It's a "novel" way to read! Yesterday was spent with...guess...my parents. Their helper had car problems so I took them to their 3 doctor's appointments. Luckily they were all in the same building. I'm glad I was there to talk to their primary care doctor. It's easy for us for Amanda, their aide, to take them, but really better for a family member to be there. At least to the important appointments. They're both doing fine and that should be it for the doctors for a while. Till the next crisis. I was home in the late afternoon and Rob and I went to the main branch of my bank so he could use their coin machine to cash the coins from his piggy bank. It's an old and stately bank and the people there were very nice. I noticed a vault door to the side and asked if they ever gave tours. The manager was very nice and gave me a tour! I asked if I could take pictures. I was fascinated by the complexity of the gears and mechanisms of the inside of the door. I asked if I could take pictures.

I loved the 'gate' too. I reached up to feel if the points were sharp. I scraped my finger.

They had this old vault on display; it was one of the originals, on wheels.

I have a little time before work to read my book, so, that's what's next on my agenda. Then it's off to a full day of making people beautiful!