Tuesday, July 31, 2007

pleesse drove on cement

My father put this up in his driveway. What else can I say?

Friday, July 27, 2007

road trip

I decided to take a day and go to my sisters house . She lives about 1 and 1/2 hours from me. She is always the one to come here and I rarely go there. Of course it is logical because she gets to see our parents when she comes for the day.

I waited to decide if I was going yesterday until the last minute. Parents and children and grandchildren have a way of changing your plans. I called to make sure she wasn't busy and left. Only my husband knew that I might go. I called my parents on the drive to let them know I was gone.

It was a good day! We went to a quilt show of art quilts with both local and national quilts, and did quick stops in a couple of fabric shops.

We went to a series of 3 furniture and lighting stores, all owned by the same woman, but with a different theme in each one. I got some ideas for a new light fixture for the dining room. I need to measure and really decide on style and size. My sister bought the new dining table that she had been thinking about. She purchased chairs a few weeks ago from the 'modern' store and found the table at the traditional store. They brought a chair from one store to the other for her to see it with the table. You got to love small towns! So when we stopped yesterday she paid and set up delivery for today.

We went back to her house and re-hung pictures that her husband hung for her. Let me just say that some men shouldn't be given that job. We did one wall in her living room and came up with a plan for another. I had to leave because it was getting late. She emailed pictures this morning of the finished the living room and the gallery in the back hall. It looks great! She wonders how long it will take her husband to notice. If he ever will.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

commodities for seniors

The best thing I ever did for my parents was to leave town for a month. A few years ago, when my oldest daughter and her future husband bought their home, I went to stay with them for a month to help them get settled.

At that point in time my parents were becoming increasingly dependant on me. They were coming to my house every day. They were so accustomed to stopping by, that when I talked about my upcoming trip I could see the slight fear in their eyes. They did not know what they were going to do without me being here.

I suggested that they stop by the local Senior Center and see what they had to offer. I knew they could have lunches, play games, do crafts, go on bus trips with other seniors and much more for either free or at a reasonable cost. What I did not realize was that there was a Social Worker on staff that was available every day. My parent are on a very low fixed income. They met with the social worker and she was able to get them help with their grocery bill. They each get a box of commodities every month. She has helped them with the new prescription drug coverage to get the best plan. She has gotten them safety bars for the bathrooms and other things that they should have. She has also set them up with a cleaning lady twice a month at no cost to them. I am sure that there is much more that I haven't mentioned.

I suggest that everyone should check out their local senior center to see what programs they offer, especially if your parents are on a fixed income.

Monday, July 23, 2007

alzheimer's for dummies

My sister and I laugh that what is needed is a book called Alzheimer's for Dummies. Or maybe we should just write one. Unfortunately we can not let my mother read the book. The last time she read some of the literature on Alzheimer's, she panicked and set off a chain reaction that caused my father to have a setback. I guess in truth my nightly visits are more about keeping my mother calm.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

stroke update

My father has announced he has never felt better!!

"Look how good I can raise both arms"

Of course he has no idea what was exactly wrong with his left arm. Depending on the day it has been his caused by his pillow, a pinched nerve, it was bruised, the girls (home health care) that came and had him do exercises with a pulley system or a million other reasons or just no idea why.

He has forgotten about the stroke. Part of me thinks that's OK, and part of me wishes he could remember. I worry that he doesn't remember that he can't drive.

Friday, July 20, 2007

where did my prince charming go

Last Saturday night ended the annual week long community festival celebrating the community's heritage. It was a fun filled week with a children's parade mid week and the large parade on Saturday afternoon. The week is consists of community picnics, fish boils, princess pageants, social night on the town, and this is the week of class reunions. It ended on Saturday night with a huge fireworks display over the lake.

We, meaning myself, husband, daughter and son-in-law and their two sons walked back to our house to wait for the traffic to clear so they could drive home. Kicked back in the family room, the little guys (6 and almost 3) and I were talking about the fireworks display, remembering all of our favorites.

I told the boys that when I turn into a fairy princess and we live in a magical fairy princess kingdom I will decree that there will be fireworks every night. That's how much I love fireworks!!

I have a rule here that if I have to play superhero with the boys, I get to be a princess with a sparkly dress. Sometimes my dress is pink, usually it is purple and if I get very lucky it can be lime green.

So anyway, the reaction to my proclamation from the smarty pants 6 year old, who now that he has finished kindergarten knows all he needs to know.....

He rolled his eyes, looked to his mom and said............" yeah, like that's going to happen."

why do i feel guilty mowing my own lawn

We bought this house a little over 2 years ago and have been living in it for a little over a year. The story is the stuff soap operas are made of and I don't care to rehash that whole thing again. This move was a slight downsize for us and we really need to do another downsize in the future. The original plan was to live here for two years and then sell. We have not changed that plan, but then again we may not be as committed as we once were. Anyway, shortly after we bought it we found out that the lot next to us was going to be for sale. It was owned by a cousin of my husbands. The thought was since we may want to build in the near future it would be a nice lot to have. Also we needed the room to park the boat and have a spot for some temporary parking during the remodel. We were able to purchase it before it went on the market so no one really knew it changed hands.

The empty lot is grassy with a few trees, nothing special, just a building lot on your average community street. Over the years before we moved here some of the neighbors have, lets find a kind word to put here,.....ADOPTED the empty lot to park campers, an occasional car, boats, oh yes and to put some yard waste. In return, the lot was mowed on a semi regular basis. The mowing kept the city from contacting the owner who lived away from here about weed control.

In fairness, one of the neighbors had a connection with the original owner of the lot. He is in his eighties and his mother was a school friend of the original owner. He didn't know the people who inherited the lot. The ones who owned it before us. He thought he was doing the cleanup duty as a favor and in return he could park his camper trailer. The people who owned our house before us also thought they were taking care of the lot. It was a very strange situation.

Last summer, my first discussion with my neighbor, lets call him mower guy, was the day he saw me mowing the lawn. He was very quick to come out to tell me I didn't have to cut the grass, he took care of it. I tried to tell him that I now owned the lot but he didn't listen. He was nice enough. He just wanted me to know that he took care of it and I shouldn't worry.

I have for the most part let him think that he mows the lawn. But he finally got a clue about the ownership. Oh, here is the part of the story that is the most important!! He has a riding mower and cuts the grass in circles, zig-zags and figure 8's. He also stays far, far away from the trees and he misses patches of grass everywhere. I usually sneak when he is not home and clean up the job a couple times during the summer.

We, like many parts of the country, have not had much rain. There is not much need to mow this summer. When I was mowing my lawn this morning, I decided to do the lot too. The weeds needed to be cut down. I thought the mower guy was not at home. Wrong!! It didn't take him long to be outside telling me he was bringing the big riding mower home next week. And, of course he had to add that he didn't think the grass needed mowing. I found myself trying to justify to him why I was mowing. When I started the mower up again and continued on my mission, I started to wonder why I felt the need to explain my actions and feel as if I need to sneak around. But man, does the lot look great!! The mowing lines match my lawn mowing lines and it flows seamlessly from my house to the lot.

I would take a picture to show you but I'm sure I would have to explain that to mower guy too!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

girls nite out

It started as a simple shopping trip for bathroom tile. My best friend "C" called me early in the afternoon and asked if I would go to the tile store with her. Since I had spent a lot of time and of course money there when we moved into this house last year, I was almost as knowledgeable as the salesperson. We looked at tile for one of her bathroom renovation projects and rugs for her foyer and stairway. It was fun.

We pretty much spent the whole afternoon looking at samples and having fun. We came back to my house and relaxed on the deck and had a few Parrot Bay rum drinks. The first time I tried one of these, it reminded me of our trips to Jamaica. The four of us," C" and her husband and me with mine, have gone to Jamaica twice together and we are planning a trip for next winter.

Now, I am not saying that we had too many of these, because we did not. But we started talking about her cottage on the river and before too long we decided to have an impromptu girls night. It didn't hurt that she had a case of assorted flavors in the refrigerator at the cottage already chilled.

I very quickly packed my pajamas, a change of clothes and a toothbrush and we were on our way! I made a quick phone call to my husband. He was so sweet. He told us to have fun and not to worry he would check in on my parents that night. We got there and relaxed on the upper deck while waiting for our dinner to cook. We were so laid back that we decided blazin' hot chicken wings sounded great. We did not even bother with crackers, just wings.
It was so relaxing. The river was quiet and peaceful. The water is down this year. The pontoon boat is beached again and the dock barely makes it into the water. We both needed a getaway, if only for one night. We had a great time, stayed up much too late and woke up early in the morning. We both had to get back into town to babysit grandchildren.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

where is it?

Typical conversation at our house....

Is my camera still your purse?
Where did you put it.
I don't know.
Do you remember taking it out of your purse?
Is it still in your purse?
I haven't seen it in there.

You can substitute the word camera with checkbook, keys or any number of things. It will usually end the same. We all know where he finds it. Right in my purse.


Let me give some background on my father and his Alzheimer's. You have to understand he is in denial and we have chosen to allow that. He thinks he is just forgetting things as a natural part of aging. His father had Alzheimer's and had to go into a nursing home. On a regular basis he tells us he would rather die than have that happen to him. He has convinced himself the Alzheimer's testing was a routine memory test to find the right vitamins and drugs to help his memory. He has had some rough times, his first attempt at taking an Alzheimer's drug made him paranoid and he started having panic attacks. He was sure that the drug was giving him heart attacks to kill him, and he was accusing my mother of trying to get rid of him. That medication lasted 2 days.

A year later and a second attempt with a different medication lasted 3 days. He became totally delusional. He was somewhat argumentative, slightly combative, he had times of not knowing my mother, and he was seeing things and people that were not there. He ended up in the hospital to get back on track and do the evaluation if he needed nursing home care. All of the experts recommended admission but there were no openings until possibly the following week. We took him home from the hospital and that started my at least once a day visits. Back at home and with the latest drug out of his system he turned back into a man who was able to live at home for some time longer. As a matter of fact, he is better now than he has been for at least a year or more.

This is not to say the the new drugs for Alzheimer's patients are bad. Only an observation that not everyone responds to medication, nor can everyone take the drugs. He also can not take penicillin, but millions of people can and are helped everyday.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

car repair

I am hoping that my parents car will be out of the body shop today. My father was in a minor accident over a month ago and the car finally went to get repaired. After waiting for the insurance check they had to wait for an opening in the body shop. It happened when he turned into the street without looking and another car was coming. Luckily speed was not a factor and no one was injured.

We had been trying to come up with a way to get him to stop driving but our gentle suggestions were not working. The day of the accident everything went right for him, and not so much for us.

First, he wanted to leave the scene of the accident because he needed to get in line for senior commodities. My mother convinced him he needed to stay put. If she would have allowed him to drive over the half of block and get in line maybe the officer would have viewed the accident differently. Missed opportunity #1

After handing the officer his registration and licence, he was going to leave again. He thought he was done. Again mom stopped him. According to her, both times took a lot of convincing. This makes missed opportunity #2

We live in a small town so of course everyone knows everyone. The "helpful" Police Officer did not give him a ticket even though it was clearly his fault. Missed opportunity #3

The car has been in the shop for almost two weeks. The original estimate was wrong. They thought it was mainly cosmetic damage, but when they started the work they found the frame was damaged and they needed to order more parts. It has actually been helpful to have the car gone for so long. He has gotten accustomed to me being the chauffeur for Doctor appointments and for grocery shopping. He does get upset thinking the car has been gone for much longer than it should. The Alzheimer's has made time one of the things he has trouble with. Seasons and anything past tomorrow confuse him.

Lets hope when they get the car back he won't argue with my mom about her driving. We have reminded him that he promised his doctor he won't drive since the stroke. He thinks, or in his case he knows, he is invincible.

Monday, July 9, 2007

lucky sevens

It was reported that 7/07/07 was a big day for weddings. Chances are that you know someone who got married this past weekend. We did. No we weren't in Paris for the Eva Longoria and Tony Parker wedding, but instead at a family wedding. My husbands cousin and husband are the parents of the groom. It was extremely hot and the reception was held in a hall with no air, but it was very nice to see family that we hadn't seen in a long time. The cousins talked about reviving the tradition of the earlier generation having cousins lunch. I remember my in-laws going out with my father-in-laws brother and sisters and all of the cousins. It hit me later. How did we turn into the older responsible members of the family? I don't like it!

Friday, July 6, 2007

89 bottles of what on the wall?

What started out as not driving 90 miles to pick strawberries but instead going to the fruit market 3 miles from home so we could go and spend the afternoon at the lake turned into this.

2 batches of strawberry jam

4 batches of strawberry rhubarb jam

5 batches of raspberry jam

The rhubarb was from the backyard, and the raspberries were last years in the freezer. The raspberries in the backyard are starting to ripen. I didn't want to have two years worth to sort through.

Once we got the strawberries there was no going back. It started the chain reaction and this is the outcome.

an assortment of 28 pints and 55 half pints and 6 quarter pints of jam .

Thursday, July 5, 2007

companys coming

I get a night off tonight. I do not have to watch a baseball game. I do not have to listen to the same stories. I do not have to carry on two conversations at once.

Every evening I get into my car and drive to my parents house and my husband gets into his truck and goes to his mothers. We meet back at home a few hours later to relax and talk about our day. This is our life. He has been on this schedule for a number of years and mine is a recent thing. My dad is in the early stages of Alzheimers, and last week had another mini stroke.

But tonight, my mothers second cousin and husband are in town and are going to see them. This couple normally spend the entire day and into the night, but surprisingly mom told them to come after dinner for dessert. During last years visit, the cousin asked if my parents minded if she went to lay down for a nap, when she woke up he went into the bedroom and took his nap. You need to realize that they are at least 20 years younger than my parents. My parents didn't get their afternoon nap that day.

So I'm going over now to drop a few things off that they need and then come home and not leave the house for the entire night! Unfortunately it is sleep over night for my husband at his mothers.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

day at the lake

Happy 4th of July to all. It was a beautiful day at the lake! There were only 25 of us today, some had to work or made other plans. I took this picture along side of our dock before the rest of the gang got there. I missed the real photo op. My husband and I were taking a ride in my new paddle boat when we were asked by a fisherman if we could tow him to the public access site on the lake. We must have been a real sight!! Us, towing an aluminum fishing boat with our little paddle boat as the jet skis, motor boats, and pontoon boats passed us by.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


Sitting in the waiting room today at my fathers doctors appointment, I had plenty of time to come up with what I thought were a few good ideas for a name for my new blog. Tonight during my almost nightly phone call from my daughter, she came up with what is the perfect new title. We have been talking about doing a blog for months, but neither one of us has taken that first step. She sent me a link to a blog that she read yesterday and called to see what I thought of it. Not knowing that I had decided to start this tonight, or that I had come up with what I thought was a great name, she said "when you start blogging you could call your blog I'm No Edith Bunker"

Here is the back story to this... A few months ago, during one of our phone calls she asked me how old I thought Edith Bunker was? She had just watched an episode of All in the Family on one of the cable networks. After a few seconds of thought, I realized I wasn't going to like the answer. All in the Family ran from January 12, 1971 through April 8, 1979. The Edith Bunker character bio lists her birth date as 1925. That makes her character 46 years old when the show began and 54 years old when it ended. As much as I hate to admit it, Edith was younger than I am now for most of that shows run. It was a chilling thought, but my daughter did reassure me that I am much younger than Edith ever was.