Tuesday, January 31, 2012

SO GOOD.  FIVE STARS. 

A QUICK READ, IN CLASSIC PATTERSON STYLE, BUT NOT MY FAVORITE.  NOT MY FAVORITE AT ALL.  ONE STAR. 

I ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY LOVED THIS BOOK.  IT WAS MY FIRST BY THIS AUTHOR AND I ZOOMED THROUGH IT LAUGHING ALL THE WAY.  HE HAS THE KIND OF HILARIOUS HUMOR THAT I WISH I WOULD HAVE MARRIED.  HIS WIFE IS A NURSE AND I SEE SO MUCH OF MYSELF IN HER.  IT'S ONLY A BUCK ON KINDLE.  GO GET IT.  THOROUGHLY ENJOYABLE READ.  FIVE STARS. 

FUNNY. NOT AS FUNNY AS THE DALE ALDERMAN BOOK, BUT STILL A QUICK READ. IT'S A SHORT STORY, SO IT WILL TAKE YOU ABOUT 20 MINUTES TO READ IT.   MY ADVICE:  SEE IF YOU CAN FIND IT FREE OR IN THE LENDING LIBRARY.  

Monday, January 30, 2012

Somthin' they don't tell ya . . .

This morning, right after the kids were all out the door, I was perched on the kitchen counter eating Greek yogurt when MOTH said, "What do you have going today?"

"I have to go pick up my dad," I said.

And he busted out laughing in gales of gut-wrenching giggles.   He said it was the "thought" and they "way I had phrased it."  This is what he usually says when he is laughing at unintended humor.  Still, I ate my yogurt and continued thinking, "It's not that funny."

I've been trying to steer clear of the post-death posts.  I've been trying to save those emotional pieces for private writings . . . . but I can't keep still about this one.  Remember, I tend to medicate my hurt with humor.

So, here's somethin' that nobody tells you . . .

IT doesn't stop with physical death.  Even as I'm writing this, I'm not certain what IT is.  I just know that death of a body brought some relief, but not the 'end.'   And IT also doesn't stop with a funeral.  Or a memorial.  By the way, I'm postponing Pop's memorial until July . . . . not to drag things out but because.  Just because.  I have lots of reasons.   IT doesn't stop with anniversaries or memories or cards that come in the mail.  IT goes on and on and on.

Today, I had a 10 o'clock meeting with my funeral director to pick up Pop's cremains.  Okay.  So, I went to the parlor.  (Is it still a funeral parlor?)   I checked in with a receptionist.  I sat by the fire for a minute.  I pocketed a mint for Middle.  And I got called into my 'viewing room' where I signed paperwork and they had Pop, in his urn, or course waiting for me in a dimly lit room with flowers on a table and comfortable couches (I guess for large families who have more emotional outburst.)  At any rate, I signed for Pop and the helper (See, what IS that title . . . a secretary?  An assistant mortician?  A mortuary aide?)  I dont' know . . point is, he explained some things to me about paperwork and tags.  Keep that.  Keep this.  Inside the box with be a magical ID tag; make sure you hang onto that, even if you scatter ashes.  It should be kept with this magical identification number and certificate.  Okay.   He packaged Pop up into the mack-daddy of all green-bags and handed him to me.  With the setting and the package, I kinda felt like I had won something.   They "presented him to me" . . . much more than they "released his cremains."  I took him to the car.  

And I stood there looking at all the doors wondering . . . where do I put him?

The back?  It felt kind of wrong and hearse-like and sort of disrespectful.  So I put him in the front seat with me. But that felt kind of funny, too, like I might be distracted and be an unsafe driver.  I bet folks that work inside the parlor watch people picking up cremains and trying to get them in the car and chuckle inside.  It might be kind of like trying to watch people pick up a quarter that is super glued to the sidewalk.   In the end, I tried a couple combinations before I ended up with this:


All through this thing, I've keep hearing my mom's voice in my head saying, "do what feels right".  So, yes, I buckled him in.  I didn't want him to spill . . . or for the fancy upgraded engraved urn to topple over and crack.   I snapped a picture mostly to make my husband chuckle.  And it worked.  He captioned it and called me back to make sure I was okay.

And another funny thing . . . . after I picked him up and buckled him in, I went to Costco and I carried on quite a conversation with a box of ashes.  All the way there.    In living form, I would not have hesitated to say, "Hey, Pop, I'm gonna run in quick . . you wanna wait in the car?"  So you know it . . . . I said to the mack-daddy green bag, "I'll be back, you can wait here."  And as I was tromping across the parking lot, it occurred to me how silly that must have sounded.  Of course you will wait here.  Cause I can't take you with me shopping for toilet paper and a new vacuum.  Imagine, what a sight if someone happened to think, "Hey, I've been contemplating buying a suburban . . wonder what they look like inside . . . hey, here's a silver one . . let's look in the window . . oh . . . my . . . God."

Anyway . . .
 . . . . that's my story today, and I'm stickin' to it.

Friday, January 27, 2012

It's been almost a week . . .

. . . will I get misty and think of him on Fridays at lunchtime forever?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Kinda Cool.

My first four words are "prey", "insecure", "pica" and "kind".  I threw "pica" out since I definitely don't have any addiction to eating non-food items.  I replaced it with a fifth word, "thoughtful".  I'm  not sure how I feel about this.  I don't really love "prey".  I'd take "pray" with an "ay", but the "ey" makes me picture a rabbit with my face running for it's life from a lion.  I'm not all that fond of insecure either, but from time to time, it's probably right.  It could just say "human." 

This felt good . . .

I started this morning with a bunch of things.  One of the feel-good things for me was this: 

This is my goodwill pile for the day.  Man, it felt good to thin that stuff down & clear some CRAP out. 



I also cleaned out the shoe bin.  All the extras and not-fitters are gone.  And that felt good.  Here's what I'm down to, minus, of course the 12 shoes that are on people's feet and the bin in the garage, which mostly houses flip-flops & snow boots at this time of year . . . . 





Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid. In the past, whenever I had fallen short in almost any undertaking, it was seldom because I had tried and failed. It was because I had let fear of failure stop me from trying at all.
Arthur Gordon

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I take it back . . . sort of . . . and much better . . . .

Okay . . . . at least two things:

I take it back.  Well, sort of.  In one of the last couple of posts,  I wrote about platitudes and said something to the effect that death makes everyone your best friend.  I take it back.  I probably was in a bad mood and over-reacted to something simple.  It happens.  Grief.  Good grief.  It was partially honest, though.  I am somewhat troubled by platitudes that try to lessen the blow and force me to see the bright side of things.  It hurts, plain and simple. And right now, Pop is still in refrigeration.  The physical act of dying doesn't make it "over".  Not by a long stretch.  In fact, this week has been rough.  Very rough.  HOWEVER, Pop's passing has caused the resurfacing of a couple of old names, from as far back as high school days  . . and I have found comfort in some of the cards, emails, wall posts and such that have come across.  So, thank you.  Thank you very much.  I didn't mean to be such an insensitive bitch.

Much better.  Today is Wednesday and I'm feeling much better.  In no particular order, I'm beginning to reign in the chaos.  Have you figured out that I'm a little bit of a control freak?  Well, I've reigned in the disarray and the things left undone.  I've caught up the laundry.  I've been to the grocery store.  I've planned a few meals.  I bought Little a few pairs of pants on clearance at Target.  My poor kid looked like he was waiting for a flood.  I threw out the yucky veggies.  I caught up my diet & exercise journal.  I wrote, wrote, wrote.  I set a date for a memorial service, talked to the reverend, have had several conversations with my Aunties, upgraded the urn, and finished the paperwork process.  I ordered copies of death certificates.  I took the volleyball jerseys in for screen printing.  I organized hotel accommodations for this weekend, and potluck food stuff for Sunday's volleyball tournament.  I bought a birthday present for Cora, a little girl that is having a birthday party this weekend.  I scanned my pile and got my desk AND for floor surrounding it into much better shape.  I'm feeling accomplished.  Go me.   I also booked a family vacation, rolled over points, and called all of our automatic payees to update credit card information.  Did I complain or whine about our major card being tagged for fraud and having to close everything.  Sheesh.    See, when it rains, it pours.  The week that dad was in hospice, I also had an ingrown toenail, a canker sore, my period and a fraud-tagged credit card.  Awesome.   I've run the vacuum, the steam mom and the broom a few times.  I've filled up the gas tank and spent some much needed quality time with each of my tiny darlings.

So, much better.  I'm keeping busy.  I like busy.

Monday, January 23, 2012

I've missed you.

Blogger-world, I've missed you.  I've been writing, so I don't feel like I'm fixin' to implode, but writing is my therapy and let's face it, the last few weeks have been a bit stressful.  So, an update is in order, but I'm still too discombobulated to do much more than make half-baked lists or ramble.  Fitting, then, for me to write a rambling list.

1.  I'm behind.  Tragically behind.  In every area.  Work, Thirty-One, bills, mail, school papers.  There is still a pile of Christmas cards on my desk.  The flex care thing is left undone, laundry is a heaping mound, the dishes are unfinished and I have to get some shirts down for screen printing for the volleyball team. That shouldn't surprise too many folks.  Things like death of a loved one tend to throw your well oiled machine into stall mode.  I need to sort through the pile on my desk.  I need to sort through the heaping pile that fell off of the pile that was on my desk, and is now on the floor next to my desk.  At some point, some person tried to be helpful, brought the mail in and put that pile in the chair.  Then someone wanted to plant their ass in the chair, so they moved the pile to the floor.  I have piles of crap, papers and stuff everywhere.  I can hardly turn around in my office without getting a paper cut or sliding across slick sheets and advertisements.  Incidentally, does anyone know how to unsubscribe to junk mail?  Middle was super helpful in the office this weekend, but I've still got a long way to go.

2.  Among the papers, obviously, is a stack dedicated to Pop.  Holy Cow.  There's a lot of paperwork associated with hospitals, hospice, dying, accounts, social security, funerals, memorials and the like.  Yowza.  Listen everyone, I've learned something really, really, really important.  Go out and get yourself a pre-paid funeral plan.  Morbid?  Maybe.  But I'm telling you . . . the last thing you want to leave your family with after the have watched you slip away is a six-figure bill for "associated costs."  Go make your wishes clear and get it paid for up front.  Your family has important work to do when you are gone.  They are grieving and missing you.   This is one of THE smartest things we did.  When Pop when into nursing home care 12 years ago, we had to spend every last dime that was a traceable asset.  He opted for a pre-paid plan, so we went in, made a memorial flyer, chose an urn, provided military paperwork and birth certificates and  got all the necessary documentation done.  And right now, boy am I glad.  Boy. Am. I. Glad.   On a side note, did you know that state law requires every living descendant to sign and notarize a consent to cremate.  Interesting.  I'm floored, again, by paperwork.

3.  Platitudes.  Thank you.  Some amazing folks have sent well wishes and the nicest emails and texts.  Thank you.  Thank you so much.  Incidentally, some of  my most sincere wishes have come from blog followers who know me only through printed word.  Thank you all for your very kind words.  I haven't had time to respond to everyone.  I probably won't be able to respond to everyone. Still, I'm very thankful.  On the flip side, some very interesting texts have come across my phone, into my Facebook account and into my inbox.  Shockers.  Who sends a note that says, "Sorry, but, well, he IS 92."  Guess what, guys?  You're right.  But, whether he was 56 or 80 or 98, he's my DAD!   Some equally interesting messages from lots of folks who totally checked out of my life.  It could have been 20 years ago or recently, but death makes everyone your best friend again.   It brings to mind this gem that is hanging on my fridge:


4.  Tae Kwon Do.  During the hospitalization, illness and surrounding events, Little started Tae Kwon Do.  The little guy is tearing it up.  He's earned three stripes already on his white belt and is super excited about going to class.  I love the "yes, ma'am" attitude.  I also love the core of what they are teaching . . . more to come on that, with a brand new tag, I'm sure.

White belt, yellow stripe. 

5.  Friggin' flex care.  That's all I have to say about that.  Friggin' flex care.  I'm still untangling a mess.


6.  Stories . . . I have stories.  I'll either blog them or publish my journal.  Lots of stories.

7.  Kids . . . . kids fall into stories I'll tell in the coming months.  Suffice it to say that everyone deals with STUFF in their own way.  Middle started out super emotional.  Mimi, surprisingly, is very emotional, but it's also short lived.  Big has a very firm grasp on the permanency of death.  She did very well through the hospitalization process.  She's struggling now.  And I'm aching for her.  Little, of course, part boy and part too-young does things like race through the kitchen shooting his nerf gun and simultaneously yelling, "mom are you said that your dad died?  Bam-bam-bam-bam!!"  Speaking of kids, Middle needs a tuck in, Big needs help studying for a social studies test tomorrow . . . and Castle is new at 9, so these paper piles will have to wait for 12 more hours . . . .

My therapeutic parting comment is from my Aunt Alyce.  She is my dad's sister-in-law and she buried her husband, my dad's brother after a long illness that ended last summer.  She said, in one of the hardest days, "Life is for the living."  So, no matter how sad and empty and alone it sometimes feels, life is for the living . . . .

Saturday, January 21, 2012

My Pop . . .

In the most loving, warm, wonderful memory EVER . . . . 

My dad, "Pop" 

Born February 25, 1919 in Portland, Oregon
Died January 20, 2012 in Colorado Springs, Colorado 




He used to say things like all that glitters is not gold, and you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.  Money doesn’t grow on trees.  Never trust a man a dog doesn’t like.  Early bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.  Beggars can’t be choosers.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way.  A closed mouth catches no flies.  A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.  The squeaky wheel gets the oil.  An apple a day keeps the doctors away.  Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.  A leopard cannot change its spots.  The early bird gets the worm.  Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.  A watched pot never boils.  Good things come to those who wait.  Never trust a skinny cook.  A rolling stone gathers no moss.  Waste not, want not.  Cloudy mornings give way to clear evenings.  Two heads are better than one.  Make hay while the sun shines.  Into every life, a little rain must fall.  Finders keepers, losers weepers.  It goes without saying, he was a good man.




Saturday, January 14, 2012

Day One: What a view!!


This is the view from my dad's new room at inpatient hospice.  Clearly, meant for the audience and families .  . . it did massage my soul.  It was a beautiful day . . .

Friday, January 13, 2012

An Update . . .

I'm not sure where to begin, so I'll just dive right into the middle.  Or maybe begin at the end.

Dad's condition is not improving.  He went through a brief stint last week and weekend where he was having longer bouts of wakefulness.  He was able to speak well and the "stinker" in him came back.

But . . .

His belly function has remained the same.  And by that, I mean.  It's not.  Not functioning, I mean.  At all.  He has a paralytic ileus.   It's severe.  It's permanent.  With it, he can't eat.  Nothing can go in if nothing can come out.    He's got a few over-riding and additional medical conditions, but that's the life ending, terminal diagnosis.  For the last two days, I've been having end of life conversations with his doctors.  I've been making logistical arrangements to get him into hospice care NEAR me.   I've been talking with discharge planners and care teams about what parameters he has to meet and what functions he must perform.  I've been talking about where his placement could be.  I've been figuring out if transportation is covered.

I've been busy.

Today, he had a PEG tube placed.  For decompression, not feeding.  Tomorrow, he will be transported to inpatient hospice care in my town.

It's a lot.  But I'm okay.  I haven't lived the last 12 years with blinders on.  I knew this day was coming.  I knew the decisions would be hard and that they would be mine.  I'm okay, really, I am.

EXCEPT . . . . for these three little stumbling blocks:

a.  Other people's grief.  Oh MY God.  Today during my visit, three of his best friends from the nursing home came in.  One is a man named Max.  On my visits to the nursing home, I had coffee and apple pie with Max.  He's a touch forgetful, but a beautiful soul.  He's my dad's best friend.  Together, they figured out a way to subscribe to the Chieftain and the News, share them both and save money.  They ate together and have been besties for the last ten years.  Max sat at my dad's bedside today and said, openly, warmly, "Get better soon, Roy, I miss you so much.  I just miss you so much."  And I lost it.  Seeing his forgetful self say that over and over while his blue and gold veteran cap tipped in grief was beyond what I could control.  My heart is aching for Max.  And for Richard and Floyd, who also visited.  The four of them are the boys' basketball team "Fans Of The Year."  They never miss a home game.  Because of walkers and canes, they get to sit near the bench.   I hurt for them.  More than for me.

b.  This little window of time where the current meds in his system will be working, but he'll begin to miss doses of medications due . . . . that window of possible lucidity where Pop might not understand where he is or where is going.  That sliver of time has me concerned.   He knows me, so I'll be there.  Of course, he also asked me for cherries and said a veterinarian came to visit.  Still, the point is . .  there's a possibility that he will be disoriented and afraid.  I don't want him to be disoriented, afraid or in pain.  That's all.

c.  Planning.  I'm a super good planner, but having never done THIS planning before, I'm struck at it's uniqueness.  I'm making decisions and trying to give him the best last days of his life.  I'm planning for the short number of tomorrows that he has.  I'm also planning for the definite and distinct phase where he is actively dying. What meds he will get, who will be there, where he will be, how long that will last.   That's a phase that's impossible to plan for, but impossible to avoid.  And I'm simultaneously planning for his care after death.   I'm not certain there's another part of life where someone does this for you . . . . where they make decisions for three distinctly different parts of life, all at the same time.  Homestead says, "Yes, there is.  It's when you are enormously, uncomfortably pregnant, planning for labor and thinking, 'crap, I'm gonna have a newborn."  She's right, of course.  But, I was never enormously pregnant, so there's a strong possibility I missed that part.  

And, because there are living people around me right now, I've just been invited to a tea party in the living room.  I must put on a hat, don a boa and go, go, go.  
 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A definition . . .

Hospice is a type of care and a philosophy of care that focuses on the palliation of a terminally ill patient's symptoms. These symptoms can be physical, emotional, spiritual or social in nature. The concept of hospice has been evolving since the 11th century. Then, and for centuries thereafter, hospices were places of hospitality for the sick, wounded, or dying, as well as those for travelers and pilgrims. The modern concept of hospice includes palliative care for the incurably ill given in such institutions as hospitals or nursing homes, but also care provided to those who would rather die in their own homes. It began to emerge in the 17th century, but many of the foundational principles by which modern hospice services operate were pioneered in the 1950s by Dame Cicely Saunders. Although the movement has met with some resistance, hospice has rapidly expanded through the United Kingdom, the United States and elsewhere.


Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hospice 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The impossible decision arrived today . . . .

. . . with as complicated as living is, I never imagined the process of dying could be so difficult.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Chess Piece Books . . .




Catching up my book list before I get too far behind . . . . I'm down these three books so far in January.  I'm 2/3 through the next one, The Bishop.  Highly recommend.  The hero is an FBI geoprofiler and some books are set in Denver.  It's creepy and suspenseful and peppered with real family drama between hero and his stepdaughter, a dark and twisty, but moody and insightful teenager with self-inflicting tendencies.  Overall, I like these books.  Four and a half stars.

Also read this, a gift from MEL via kindle.  Flippin' HILARIOUS!  Loved every minute of it.  I've even copied a few of the pictures done with (((*&&*^^ and sent them to Big.  She cracks up every time.  Four stars.


I'm also counting this one, because I finished in in 2012.  I also highly recommend.  I received a very thoughtful gift, my own copy, from a girlfriend at Christmas.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  A good read . . . with good information and good recipes.   Five stars.

Goals, Random Stuff and A String of Tangential Thoughts

In no particular order . . .

1.  Remember my last-week-of-the-year blogger rant about flex spending?  Turns out I ended up spending my entire whopping $1722 at Drugstore.com on flex covered stuff.  Want to know what that means?  Well, it's nothing exciting.  I have enough band aids to choke a horse.  Mid-shopping spree, I got frustrated and tired and I just started putting three boxes of every kind in my shopping cart.  As a result, I have three Princess, three Dora, three camo, three dolphin tattoo ones, three pixies, three hello kitty, three Cars . . . hells bells . . . three of everything.  And six Star Wars.  At 25 band aids per box, that puts me up in the hundreds.  I ordered ear candles.  And eye drops, heating pads, ice packs, survival kits, contact lens solution (curious . . nobody here wears contacts), also test strips for my diabetic mother and Polident for her teeth.  I stocked us up on coban, athletic tape, steri-strips (I have glued a few kids back together with good steri-strips), PSI bands, saline mist and gel for noses, and non-latex gloves.  Also mid-shopping spree, I clicked to put two boxes of non-latex gloves in my box.  Whoops.  It was two cases.  I have TWO THOUSAND pink nitriles in my garage now.  Random.  It came, and is still coming in random boxes.   Here's the point.  I feel like a medical supply hoarder.  And that feeling is totally stressing me out.  I don't usually carry extra "stock" of anything in the house.  Just one extra jar of spaghetti sauce is good in my book.  One box of band aids is good.  So, packed tightly and organized well,  $1722 in medical supplies fits in one medium sized box and I have this overwhelming feeling of "oh, crap, if the house burns down, I'll lose all those band-aids."  I'd be a terrible hoarder.  And a terrible extreme coupon-er.  You have to store ALL of that stuff.  It actually makes me itch just thinking about it.  My mother-load of medical supplies fits in this box:



2.  Survivor.  We watched Survivor last season.  I know the finale is long done, but I'm so BUMMED!  I'm not sure who I wanted to win, but I know it wasn't Sophie.  Or Coach.  Or Brandon.  I'm really sad at what Survivor has become.  What an ironic soapbox to stand on . . . to preach honor, integrity & shove righteousness down everyone's throat . . .  in a game where it is an impossibility.

3.  Along the lines of crappy television, over winter break, I was needing something mindless and mind-numbing to do after a long and terrible visit with my dad.  I turned on The Bachelor.  Shoot me now.  I haven't watched The Bachelor since Jake Pavelka disappointed me completely by choosing Vienna over the very adorable Tenley (the name sake of my new favorite jeans . . . or not, but I warned you I was random and rambly.)  I'm totally bothered by The Bachelor and the whole idea behind it.  I don't think it's possible to find true love in that situation . . . one that breeds jealousy and mistrust.  But that's me.  I could not do that.  No way.  Still, now that I've watched one or two . . . I might continue watching this season.  If nothing else, it will give me iRant material for "What the Heck Happened Here?"

4.  A year in review.  I might do something.  But not now.  I'm digging out from under the pile on my desk, so there's no reviewing right now.

5.  Goals . . . I wrote them.  At least, I wrote a draft of them.  I'm not referencing them now, but I have made a conscious decision to incorporate my diet-lifestyle choices into "What the Heck . . .".  Diet is part of who I am and who I have always been, but I've left it an un-bloggable topic for many, many years because either (a) I didn't want to preach or (b) I don't want to talk about it  or (c) I'm totally annoyed by other peoples' constant posts in facebook and such that say, "NIKE treadmill just tracked me.  I ran 4.8 miles and it felt great."  I HATE those posts.   Diet and exercise is one of those tricky areas where you either appear to be bragging and other people, and, especially females want to kick you in the teeth,  OR, you appear to be bitching and other people, especially females, jump on to the bitch train and tip the scales.   I don't want to brag or bitch.  I just want to be honest.  I have weight loss baggage.  It will be therapeutic to write about it.  It's for me.  Not you.  So don't think I'm bragging.  Dont' kick my cyber-teeth in.  And don't let me bitch.  Ups and downs are part of it.  I simply want to record, in the place where I record things . . the things that are working for me.  Or the things that are not.

6.  Organizing.  I'm also planning to post more on that topic.  It keeps me honest.  I'm through a huge stack of scannables right now.  I scan everything.  I keep hardcopies of . . . well, nothing.  Pretty much nothing.

7.  Meals.  Another bloggable topic for me.  Writing it down makes it a plan.  I stuck to the stir fry plan tonight.  Big ate it.  Middle will eat when she gets home.  Little ate meat & rice.  Mimi ate rice & spinach.  I ate rice & veggies . . . zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli & rice.  I lost my appetite to eat the chicken midway through the preparation stage.  Full. Body. Shudder.

8.  Have you read this?

Today, Mimi and I were hustling out the door to get to gymnastics on time after a minor disciplinary set-back.  It's tough to be four.  There's big stuff to learn.  Anyhoo, I said, "hurry, hurry, go get dressed."  No further instruction.  She came out in a striped leotard, striped pants in navy, teal & hot pink, striped jacket in purple and soft pink, and two mismatched striped socks.  And away we went.  I can't expect fashion out of her when I am sporting my fashion handicapped placard, too.   I know, I know.  Children are a reflection of you.  I used to be totally anal about that.  But on the way to gymnastics, she told me, "These are my favorite pants.  This sweater is soft on the inside and it's my favorite colors: pink and purple . . plus it zips so it won't pull my piggies out.  Middle told me to wear mismatchy socks like her today so we could be twins."  From where I stand, rationale and a working mind is more important than a matching outfit.  She'll have plenty of days ahead where she'll have to match.

9.  Credit cards.  I went to Costco today.  Realized my American Express is missing.  Said a few choice words while I waited in line for a temporary shopping pass.  Used my rewards certificate, which was LOVELY, as it brought my balance down to only $83 in groceries.  Might last me until the end of the month, minus fresh produce.  I got home to a message from Capital One that our card had been flagged for fraud.  More choice words.  Seriously, Universe!! Do I look like I have time for this crap?

10.  Kitchen appliances . . . . I'd like to know what you have and what you use.  Prepare a blog entry on it.  Who has a panini maker?   I want some sort of pressy-thing that will make quesadillas and paninis and grilled cheese and such . . . . NOT a George Foreskin.   Because those ribbed things make me crazy to clean.

And that's that . . . .

Monday, January 09, 2012

Menu for This Week

I've been off track.  With hospital trips and kids home during the day, trying to fit some fun things in complicated by a husband lingering around the house .  .  I've just been off track.  I bet every mother of school aged kids starts walking sideways, like they need a V8, close to the end of Christmas Break.

I spent about 6 hours in the kitchen yesterday doing prep work for this week's meals.  I'm back on track.  I think . . .

Sunday:  I did Christmas dinner.  The sides we never had over the break.  Extra sides for dishes this week.
Monday:  Shepherd's Pie with the leftover mashies from last night.  Delish.
Tuesday:  Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry over rice
Wednesday:  Stuffed Shells
Thursday:  Pork Tenderloin, veggies from the freezer &
Friday:  Fend for yourself night.  Beauty & the Beast is being re-released and we have no volleyball on Friday night, so we girls are having a date.  We will eat our body weight in popcorn.  The boys, I'm sure, will have pizza.
Saturday:  Team late lunch @ Jason's Deli.  I'm not cooking.   Coming home for snacks and/or munchies only during the Bronco game.
Sunday:  Something marvelously crock pot-able.  Probably that super duper French Dip recipe I shared a few months ago.

And, Homestead, here's the recipe I meant to share w/ you for Lime Chicken Soft Tacos.  I got it from Mel, who does meals like WE do . . . well, sort of.  She brought it to a Mexican pot luck that we did for the volleyball team.  It was delish.  Your kids will like it.

Jeans . . . .

At long last!

Well, if you are new to 'What the heck happened here?', you might have missed some of my  best posts on jeans, or rather, my long, extensive, decade-of-searching saga about the perfect pair of jeans.

Well . . . .

I found them.  Yes, indeedie -- I found them.  I'm so in love with this fabulous pair of jeans that I bought at The Buckle.  Pricey, yes.  But worth every penny.  Every. Penny.  I paid a zillion dollars LESS than the cumulative cost of years worth of searching.  They wear well.  They wash well.  I get miles out of them.  And, best of all, I bought them four sizes smaller than I projected.  That's not the only reason I love them, but it rates at the top.  I love the whiskering.  I love the contrast stitching.  I love that The Buckle will hem them for free.

Yeah!! The search is over!!

Friday, January 06, 2012

Consumer Reports Says:

Buy these.  Tons of fun.  Good for balance, good for coordination.  Good inside.  Better outside.  Good for spinning, good for sliding, good for pulling.   Actually, haven't found anything they aren't good for.  Love, love, love.  Money well spent.  Five enthusiastic stars.


Don't buy this.  Let me ask you.  If the purpose of making new crayons would be to use up stubby old, too-short-to-color-with crayons then why in THE hell would Crayola make a crayon maker that puts out short, too-stubby-to-color-with crayons.  Ridiculous.   Colorful:  yes.  Pretty:  yes.  But this gizmo gets an overall 'no-star' rating from this mommy.


Buy this.  I'm liking it a lot.  I got a cheap trial from the folks that mail me Proactiv.  $10 for a month of trial product and four extra things.  Shine goo, a conditioning comb, some leave in conditioner stuff and something else that looks like a glue stick.   The verdict:  it's a little odd to not "shampoo" your hair, in the traditional sense.  It feels funny in the same way that reading on a kindle did in the first week.  I missed turning the pages.  Likewise, I miss the lather.  But, the overall result is pretty wow.  It's very visable and quite noticeable in Mimi's hair, which is fine and long.  It's always a tangled, matted mess and every morning, she wakes up looking like she had a WWF fight with the pillow.  The pillow always wins.  So get this.  


Price wise, it's less than this treat:



And that's all I have to say about that.  For now.

With school starting again . . . .

. . . I thought this was an appropriate sentiment.

A Christmas Tradition that I didn't get to blog about . . .

. . . but the picture has been sitting on my desktop for weeks.

Gritty.  Bad picture, but great memories.  Yes, I wrap these books every year.  And they sit in a closet all wrapped up.  Until December, when each night at bedtime one of the kids (or maybe two . . depends on how and who is fighting) get to open Christmas books for special stories at night.  We have been collecting Christmas books for years.  I love reading and opening the Christmas books. 

Isn't this beautiful?

Middle took this picture.  She emailed it to me with a note.  It was the most well timed and wonderful gift when I opened this image.   I'm putting it here to save for all time and eternity.  Gorgeous, right?

Thursday, January 05, 2012

A Timeline. And Maybe Some Progress?

Okay . . . so the whole timeline went like this:

Dad got sick on 12/15.  The nursing home staff called.  They thought he had a stomach bug.  He presented with vomiting.  That's it.  The next day, he ate, slept and had a good day.

And then on the night of the 16th, he had more vomiting.  And a fall.   He went to the ER because he whacked his head.

And the next day, he ate and felt better and had a pretty good day, but felt weak.

So, on the 17th, he was admitted to the hospital for IV hydration.  And observation.

And he had some tests.  Where it was discovered that he had a partial small bowel obstruction.  He stayed in the hospital for observation and fluid.  The plan with small bowel obstruction is to wait, drag your feet and see if it clears.  But it didn't.

So, on Tuesday, the 20th, he was transferred from the little rural hospital where he was to a bigger hospital for a higher level of care.  

The official diagnosis came on the 22nd, when after several consults and much more testing, it was discovered that he had a chronic partial small bowel obstruction secondary to extensive scarring and adhesions from an appendectomy over 40 years ago.  When presented with the options (which were (a) have surgery or (b) never eat a normal diet again), he openly consented to surgery, stating, "Well, I can't starve to death.  That's no way to go."

Surgery was on the 23rd.  It was long and complicated.

On the 24th, the kids saw him.  He looked great and we all thought he would bounce right back.  He was laughing and joking with the kids and MOTH.

Then something happened on the 25th.  Mental vacation, I guess.   He stopped talking.  Started having a tough time swallowing.  No evidence of a stroke.

On the 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 30th, 31st, January 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th, he didn't speak.   He was exhausted.  He developed pneumonia.  He couldn't swallow.  Couldn't drink liquids.  Couldn't keep his eyes open.  He has been on IV nutrition.  Once in there, he slid markedly backward, began vomiting again and aspirated which made the pneumonia worse.  He began showing signs of renal complications (I hesitate to use the word failure).  He started looking yellow.  His liver enlarged.  His belly distended.

I'll be honest, I thought he would meet Jesus.

And today, I called his nurse to check on him and she said, "He's sitting up in the chair and eating lunch."

"Huh?", I said.  I repeated the name and room number thinking surely I forgot to mention that my dad was the one knocking on death's door.  

Instead, I heard her say, "Roy, it's your daughter on the phone . . . do you want to talk to her?"  And the most amazing thing of all, after no speech since the 24th of December, I heard him say, "Hello?"  He heard me on the phone, talked to me, answered a question or two.  I hung up absolutely stunned.  I had to pinch myself.  I still can't quite believe it.  

Now, it looks like things might be better.  Not out of the woods, but better.  He's speaking and he's more "with it".  He's tolerating a liquid diet.  Hmm.  Curious.

And I have this medical marvel to blog about.  If ever you have questioned the critical role of hormones in your life, let me tell you this:  My dad has been hypothyroid for many years.  He has been taking Synthroid for years.  Literally, as long as I can remember.  He's always been hypothyroid.  I did a case study on him once in nursing school.  I analyzed all of his meds and wrote about potential interaction.  Anyhoo . . . . round about the 30th or so, when the massive backward slide occurred, I spoke with a doctor and begged and said, THIS IS NOT HIM!!  Something has to be missing.  Hours later, she scoured his chart and discovered that his Synthroid had not been given since admission on the 20th.   So, for all of those days, his already slow functioning thyroid received no compensation.  Okay, medically minded folks, think of it this way.  Bowel surgery requires the bowel to be put to sleep.  In men who are 92, it's slow to wake up under normal circumstances.  Normal.  Add a severely hypothyroid state to that, and that explains the ileus.  It explains a secondary obstruction.  People who are hypothyroid sleep all the time.  They feel exhausted and overwhelmed and are difficult to rouse.

I'm not saying it was JUST that one thing . . . . but I'm saying his case is a case study in "I guess he really does need that med."  

So, to summarize . . . . a better day.  Not out of the woods, but a better day.

What an emotional roller coaster these last three weeks have been.  Lawd.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Status . . .

Status quo today . . .
Not improving . . .
Not declining . . .

Dear Heather,

I can't find this 'thing' . . . .

You blogged about it.
I stole it and blogged about it.

It's about planting a tree with cremains . . . .

Even when I google it, I can't find the actual site I was looking at before . . . .

Do you remember?  Do you have a link to it?

Thanks a zillion --

Elle