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All Rant, No Rave

This is where I come to rant. I need to get this out of my system and don’t want to burden my husband with it any further. I’ve mentioned before that I sell vintage on Etsy. It’s been slow going since I’m not able to devote much time to listing items or promotion. For the most part, I’ve enjoyed Etsy and the people I’ve dealt with. My fave customers are the ones who see an item, buy it, I ship it out and never hear from them again! ;-) It’s always nice to hear from someone who loves something you’ve sold them. But from past experiences, I almost cringe when there’s a lot of “conversation” prior to or after selling. My hubby and I started selling on eBay back in March 1997! Hubby gets us started on these things and then I have to tow the line. We have sold tens of thousands of new collectible items on ebay up until 3 years ago when we closed our ebay store. The fees and how they treat their sellers gave us no other choice. During all those sales, we’ve run into some “doozies” where customers are concerned. I’m not going to go into those in this post but if people do want to hear it, I will sit down and write about them in the future.
To separate paragraphs, I'm putting pictures of things I'm selling on Etsy. Vintage Head Vase

To separate paragraphs, I’m putting pictures of things I have for sale on Etsy. This is a gorgeous vintage head vase.

I don’t like dwelling on unpleasant things but sometimes it’s good to get them off your chest. On Etsy, we have our selling preferences set to sell ONLY to the USA. This is due to some awful experiences we’ve had in the past. Where we under calculated postage and ended up losing money. One time someone from Canada used a fraudulent Paypal account and we had no recourse. Also the post office is even rougher going to other countries and no matter how well wrapped things were when they left us, they either were lost or didn’t make it in one piece. Ok, so you are up to speed on our reasons. We’ve still been getting all kinds of people asking if we will make an exception to ship to them in another country. Some are rude about it, some are nice. All are disappointed when I refuse to budge. A few days ago, someone sent a message through Etsy asking if we would let them buy a big eyed girl bank (from the 1960’s) and ship to Canada. They were especially polite and almost desperate. She tells me she is a famous artist who sells her work in galleries all over the world. She wants to use this bank as a muse and do a painting of it. I do what I always do when I feel torn–nothing. I was thinking it over and trying to decide how to let her down easy. Then she writes again and pleads her case some more. She’s almost begging and I’m not completely heartless so my resolve slips a little. We haven’t shipped anything to Canada for over 10 years. I don’t even know how to do it.
Flower power ice bucket.

Flower power ice bucket.

So I messaged her back and said if she gave me her mailing address, I could look it up and see if I can do the shipping from our Stamps.com account. Also I would give her a quote for shipping. So she sends it to me and I have to box up the item and can’t use a Priority Box. I go through 2 separate boxes since the first is not big enough to suit me. Others I know would mail it with it touching the sides but I won’t. I always triple bubblewrap everything fragile because I’d worry myself sick if I didn’t. The bank weighs over a lb. and it is $11.88 first class and $28.88 Priority.  So I quote her $12.50 first class and $29.50 Priority. This isn’t even adding fees in or anything. She says she’ll take first class.
Bowl of fake eggs from Italy.

Bowl of fake eggs from Italy.

This is where I come to rant. I need to get this out of my system and don’t want to burden my husband with it any further. I’ve mentioned before that I sell vintage on Etsy. It’s been slow going since I’m not able to devote much time to listing items or promotion. For the most part, I’ve enjoyed Etsy and the people I’ve dealt with. My fave customers are the ones who see an item, buy it, I ship it out and never hear from them again! ;-) It’s always nice to hear from someone who loves something you’ve sold them. But from past experiences, I almost cringe when there’s a lot of “conversation” prior to or after selling. My hubby and I started selling on eBay back in March 1997! Hubby gets us started on these things and then I have to tow the line. We have sold tens of thousands of new collectible items on ebay up until 3 years ago when we closed our ebay store. The fees and how they treat their sellers gave us no other choice. During all those sales, we’ve run into some “doozies” where customers are concerned. I’m not going to go into those in this post but if people do want to hear it, I will sit down and write about them in the future.
Child's 3 piece dish set: bowl, cup and plate.

Child’s 3 piece dish set: bowl, cup and plate.

I don’t like dwelling on unpleasant things but sometimes it’s good to get them off your chest. On Etsy, we have our selling preferences set to sell ONLY to the USA. This is due to some awful experiences we’ve had in the past. Where we under calculated postage and ended up losing money. One time someone from Canada used a fraudulent Paypal account and we had no recourse. Also the post office is even rougher going to other countries and no matter how well wrapped things were when they left us, they either were lost or didn’t make it in one piece. Ok, so you are up to speed on our reasons. We’ve still been getting all kinds of people asking if we will make an exception to ship to them in another country. Some are rude about it, some are nice. All are disappointed when I refuse to budge. A few days ago, someone sent a message through Etsy asking if we would let them buy a big eyed girl bank (from the 1960’s) and ship to Canada. They were especially polite and almost desperate. She tells me she is a famous artist who sells her work in galleries all over the world. She wants to use this bank as a muse and do a painting of it. I have a soft spot for artists and it sounds cool.  I do what I always do when I feel torn–nothing. I was thinking it over and trying to decide how to let her down easy. Then she writes again and pleads her case some more. She’s almost begging and I’m not completely heartless so my resolve slips. We haven’t shipped anything to Canada for over 10 years. I don’t even know how to do it.
The item in question. Big eyed bank.

The item in question. Big eyed bank.

So I messaged her back and said if she gave me her mailing address, I could look it up and see if I can do the shipping from our Stamps.com account. Also I would give her a quote for shipping. So she sends it to me and I have to box up the item and can’t use a Priority Box. I go through 2 separate boxes since the first is not big enough to suit me. Others I know would mail it with it touching the sides but I won’t. I always triple bubblewrap everything fragile because I’d worry myself sick if I didn’t. The bank weighs over a lb. and it is $11.88 first class and $28.88 Priority.  So I quote her $12.50 first class and $29.50 Priority. This isn’t even adding fees in or anything. She says she’ll take first class.
Nautical barware utensils.

Nautical barware utensils.

I go into the Etsy site and add to the title “Reseved For Her Name” and changed the shipping to Canada with the amount. I wanted to just add Canada to the existing USA option but it just kept loading and wouldn’t work. After spending way too much time on this, I message her back and tell her it should be available for her to purchase. Then she comes back and says she was checking out and sees we don’t take Paypal. Well, we’ve NEVER had our Etsy linked to our Paypal. Etsy uses Direct Checkout and collects the money, takes their fee and deposits our sales into our bank account once a week. You couldn’t ask for anything better. Etsy accepts any type of credit card there is so you’d think this woman could just do that. Instead she is bugging me to use Paypal.
Bongos from the Bahamas.

Bongos from the Bahamas.

I spent my entire Saturday night going back and forth from my iphone to laptop (in the other room) trying to fascilitate this transaction. I was on the verge of a meltdown that night and felt so stupid for not being able to figure it out. Greg did a lot of manual labor that day. He went to get the lumber to start building the pergola and was so exhausted, he was in no shape for me to bother him with this. He knew I was working on it but was just too drained to care. When I get beyond frustrated, I start crying and I was on the brink of it that night. Finally, I had to message this person and tell her I couldn’t figure it out. Yesterday I went back in and was able to find the area on Etsy to accept Paypal payments. Of course, then I told her and she still couldn’t do it because the actual Paypal (in Greg’s name) has foreign buyers blocked. I managed to go into Paypal and figure out how to change it but then I saw that the fees are even higher for foreign transactions than USA. Plus there’s no Seller Protection from Etsy if you take Paypal. I don’t know if Paypal would back us up either. I don’t forsee a problem with this buyer but I also can’t see turning our lives upside down for one tiny sale. I messaged this woman back again and told her that she had 2 choices if she wanted the item: she could pay with a credit card on Etsy or have a friend in the USA buy it, we’d ship it to them and they could forward it to her. The sad thing is I’m bending over backwards and yet she still wants it HER WAY. I’d say that’s the American way but she’s Canadian…whoops.
Buick Wildcat air filter cover.

Buick Wildcat air filter cover.

Which brings me to the core of this rant.  I am the type of person who never wants to bother anyone. I don’t put anyone out ever if I can help it. I don’t ask for substitutions in a restaurant. I don’t ask for anything but extra water. I never send my food back. I was brought up to “make do” and accept my lot in life and be grateful for what I do have. Not to expect anyone to cater to me or treat me differently or better than others. I was never taught that I deserved special treatment. On the contrary, to not be a bother or pest. To never ask for extra or more. To be polite and thankful for being treated decently, not even good. It’s kind of hard to explain but it’s a mindset that I think is from generations past. I hate lumping youngsters into this category but so many feel entitled to everything. I’ve written about this before but it bears repeating.
Fortune telling Cup Of Knowledge.

Fortune telling Cup Of Knowledge.

To put it into perspective, the item I’m selling is $19.99 plus shipping. I’m not going to MAKE $20 on this since I didn’t get the item for free. I make nothing on shipping and Etsy fees have to come out of there too. I set his price myself, I’m not being ripped off but I priced it for an “easy transaction”. Not one that I’d have to spend HOURS going back and forth conversing about how to help this woman out. Plus looking online at Etsy trying to switch preferences. It is much the same reason we don’t ship EXPRESS mail. It costs like $30 for a small package but it’s so people can get something overnight. They can’t wait until the post office delivers in their usual sometimes slow fashion. At first we would go along with this for people but WE gain nothing. We don’t charge extra. All the postage goes to the post office. It is more work for us that the person didn’t think ahead of time of what they’d want or when they’d need it. I would never ship something that way for myself. It’s annoying that people think they should take priority over others’ lives.
Milk glass hands.

Milk glass hands.

You’re probably thinking, what is she complaining about if she gets a sale out of it? Well, $20 isn’t going to change my life or matter one way or the other in the scheme of things. I know this item will sell when it gets closer to Christmas. She’s not doing me a favor by buying it.
Fat Is Beautiful sign. I have a similar one hanging in my bathroom!

Fat Is Beautiful sign. I have a similar one hanging in my bathroom!

So a day has passed and I hadn’t heard back until t his morning. Now the woman is going to try to use a credit card and asked me to leave it set to sell to Canada for a few more hours to give her time to figure it out. I graciously told her I’d give her 2 more days. I just want it to be done with, one way or the other.. The one thing I did learn is to stick to my guns. No matter how much pressure others put on me, I need to do what is right FOR ME. They may get mean and nasty if I don’t give in to their wishes but it’s either them or me unhappy and I’d rather it was them. Inject emoticon of a smiley face with a halo above. That’s where the saying “No good deed goes unpunished comes from”…
High fashion cat figurine.

High fashion cat figurine.

If you see anything you like in my pictures and live in the USA (wink,wink), check out my etsy shop under Dejavujunkie. 

I Have No Shame

We got back from our first RV trip of the year on Sat. July 4th. We went up to Green Bay, WI for 9 nights. It was nice but in some ways didn’t seem like vacation since we had to take Mom into consideration on everything we did. The first 4 days went good, we took her gambling (which we haven’t done since December in Tunica, MS) and she was ok. Then that Monday night she fell out of bed TWICE! She’s never done that before at home or in the RV. I sleep with her in the RV to keep an eye on her. After that I didn’t sleep all night. She got all black and blue and I was afraid she’d break something. The first time it happened, she got back up in bed no problem. The 2nd time, she said “I can’t!” when I tried to get her up. Finally, she got back up and was back to sleep in 90 seconds.
Amber & Elvis (in the bed) in the RV.

Amber & Elvis (in the bed) in the RV.

This is the first time we’ve gone anywhere in the RV where nothing went wrong! I was afraid to say it at the time but since we’ve returned home, I’ve been brave enough to say it. It’s hard to believe that something major (or minor) didn’t break down with it the whole time! It would be wonderful if this started a new trend and we could relax on vacations instead of wondering when the RV would act up…
Greg & the dogs on the picnic table in Green Bay.

Greg & the dogs on the picnic table in Green Bay.

Within a few days of coming home, Mom’s hearing aid kept filling up with gunk. I had to clean it out a few times a day. Then a week ago I saw her ear canal looked shut so I used a bobby pin and pulled out what looked like white dead skin. <gag> When I gave her a bath last week, I noticed a bunch of crusty orange stuff on her ear and going down her neck. I had seen it the day before and thought it was food. My bad. It usually IS food… Then when I changed her sheets, I noticed orange-ish brown stains on her pillowcase. So I figured out she had some kind of ear infection. She sees her ENT doctor once a year and that would be the end of Sept. but this couldn’t wait. Her doc is so booked up that he has 2 offices and only goes to the location by us once a week. He’s also triple booked and they couldn’t get us in at either location for weeks. So they offered to let her go to his partner Dr. Hughes. We’ve never even seen him before but were very appreciative that they could fit her in. Sidenote: Dr. Hughes looks just like Kip from The Millers. “The Millers” is this fabulously funny sitcom. There are very few sitcoms I like at all but this one is hilarious. So I got her in last Thurs. July 9th. It took a few hours since she had to see Idea (the hearing aid person aka audiologist). I am torn about Idea for a first name. If I was her husband, I’d never get over saying, “I have an Idea!” and then laughing at my own joke.
Ivy in our backyard. Dog Run sign is new from estate sale.

Ivy in our backyard. Dog Run sign is new from estate sale.

So I’m one of those people who google symptoms and self diagnose. Can’t help it. I’m wrong probably half the time but don’t always give myself a good scare with it so that’s something. I had googled Mom’s “discharge” (even the word is disgusting—how’d you like THAT for a first name?!) and it said “glue ear”. I was pretty confident and told the doctor. He didn’t say anything. So towards the end of the appt., I wanted to pat myself on the back so said, “Was I right about the glue ear?” Uh, no. Apparently, I need to hold my tongue. That is what someone with an intact eardrum gets. Mom has a hole  in her eardrum. Which I did not know or didn’t remember. I knew she did 4 decades ago and had surgery to put a patch on it then. So he said when you have a hole in your eardrum, you get drainage. I told him she’d never had it before. He said he was surprised she hadn’t. He prescribed drops containing antibiotics and a steroid. So I’ve been busy putting 4 drops in her right ear twice a day. At bedtime and after I get her up and onto the toilet. Her right ear is her “good ear” if you can believe it so she can’t hear ANYTHING out of it now. Plus she has to leave her hearing aid out until she goes back to see the doctor for a follow up. That’s right, I’m taking her back on July 23rd. The fun never ends.
We've had milk cans for yrs. Hubby just got tractor seat in WI. Now he painted both.

We’ve had milk cans for yrs. Hubby just got tractor seat in WI. Now he painted both.

Making lemon pie out of a bad situation (because lemonade is so overdone), we actually got to go to lunch after the doctor’s appt.!! It was Greg’s day off and we hadn’t eaten out yet this year. Mom was all dressed up in her good clothes and freshly bathed and it was just the perfect time. We never got to go our for hers or Greg’s birthday or our anniversary. We just had to take it as it comes and jump at the chance. We went to Boston Fish Market. Greg and I had a tuna sandwich with fries. Not canned tuna, a tuna fillet. Mom had fried fish and coleslaw. She doesn’t like fries so we took those home and ate hers the next day. Mom did great eating and it gave me hope that we can do this again sometime.
Hubby just got this for free. Corrugated metal Halloween sign.

Hubby just got this for free. Corrugated metal Halloween sign.

Communicating has been harder than ever with Mom’s hearing deficit. I find myself shouting at the top of my lungs and she still doesn’t answer me. Getting Mom onto the toilet, the dialogue goes like this: Me: “You need to go pee.” Mom: Silence and she tries to get up 10 seconds after her ass hits the seat. Me: “Put your hands together, close your eyes, relax and go pee.” Mom: Silence and tries to get up. Me: “You need to go pee while you’re on the toilet! DO YOU HEAR ME?!” Mom: “Yes, I hear you” and tries to get up. Me: “Then you need to answer.” Mom: “You need to answer.” Repeat this scenario multiple times a day about any subject you can name. When we were in the RV and left her playing games on the ipad, we’d come back and find her in the passenger seat facing the windshield! Once she was sitting in the driver’s seat!! I asked her what she was doing up there and she said she was going to drive but couldn’t find the keys. That was a scary thought since she hasn’t driven in 20 years!! The only answers I get to questions are “I don’t know”, “Answer” or silence.
Hubby's getting ready to build a pergola. We saw this at an estate sale & liked it.

Hubby’s getting ready to build a pergola. We saw this at an estate sale & liked it.

The Sunday after we came home, there was a breakthrough. I finally figured out WHY Mom picks her leg and arms. I was looking at Chibi Jeebs blog and she was talking about skin picking. It’s an OCD disorder called Dermatillomania. It is repetitive picking of one’s own skin to the extent of causing damage. Usually this is younger people and they do it to their faces or scalps. Mom has had this since her late 50’s and probably got it when she gave up smoking. It’s like a nervous condition that becomes a habit. Back then I remember her picking her arms where there were no sores or anything wrong with the skin. She would pick until they bled and they would heal and leave scars. I think back then she was able to quit for some periods of time or only limit to her forearms. From what I read, the only cure seems to be behavior modification. I don’t think that would work for Mom with her marbles loose. However, just KNOWING what it is has been a weight off my mind. I can be with her 24/7 and remind her not to pick but it doesn’t last. She keeps trying to do it and I keep her leg covered. Then I will be away from her for a few minutes and she will undue all the healing in a no time. I had no idea this was a “thing”. I find my stress level has escalated anyway and I’ve turned into someone who is coping by eating anything and everything in sight. I’ve had my moments of that in the past but now I don’t feel strong enough to resist nor do I want to. I feel bad afterwards but not long enough not to do it again the next night. It’s either eat everything in the house, drink or both.
Before we left on vacation, I cut up and froze a TON of rhubarb.

Before we left on vacation, I cut up and froze a TON of rhubarb.

So that’s where things stand here. Trying to make it through another day. We don’t have anymore vacations in the works until around Labor Day. We’re also trying to cool it on the estate sales until she get the house and yard a bit more organized. I am having a hard time posting at all to Instagram and have (for the most part) abandoned Twitter. I don’t know how to bring myself back. It’s not that I have nothing to say, it’s that I don’t feel confident to put myself out there. Someone on IG was asking about starting up a blog. A ton of people were telling her that blogging is passe and no one reads them anymore. I hope not! I think blogging should be here to stay. It’s such a reflection on society that people can’t stick with blogging for more than a few years yet can get tattoos that they’ll have to live with for the rest of their lives!! Everything in life changes. At least with a blog, you can change what you talk about and be fairly flexible with writing. But what do I know?! Not much.
Backyard from upstairs window. Nice & green but cluttered.

Backyard from upstairs window. Nice & green but cluttered.

When I was in college, I was friends with a girl named Edie who was from a dairy farm in SW Wisconsin. She was going to become a vet and from my research on the internet, she has succeeded. She always had a saying when someone dressed a certain way or told too much personal business, “she has no shame.” It got to be a joke between us and we’d say it to each other about everything. We had great fun. Anyway, I feel like on my blog I have no shame. I write about anything I want. Consequences be damned. Things others would gloss over like shit on the wall, disgusting crusty ear discharge, skin picking and any number of other gross things, I go all out sharing with the world. The only reason I can think of for doing that is how freeing it is. That and I have no shame. Holding things in will kill you. That’s why I insist on laughing hard every day. Not like a crazy person. Ok, some days like a crazy person. Laughing keeps me sane and lets out the hurt, pain, resentment, etc. So go have a good laugh on me or at my expense. It’s the least I can do for my fellow man.

The Big 3-0

Once again I’m having problems with spacing between paragraphs. I’ve been fooling with this long enough. I’m publishing it anyway. Apologies if it’s hard to read.

Sunday June 21st is our anniversary. That day will be 30 years since we met and 23 years since we became husband and wife. I’m not a bit surprised that we’re still together. We both made up our minds long ago that “’til death do us part” was the only way for us. I do think it’s that simple to stay together. Just making up your mind, not quitting or giving up when things get hard. And they will get hard.

Things that used to bother me about Greg no longer do. Or else I’ve just mellowed or learned to accept them. Other things will always bother me about him. I’m sure he could say the same thing about me. Overall, Greg has been a wonderful husband. There are things that have happened that no doubt would have made others throw in the towel and leave. The people who say they would “never put up with” things from a spouse are single for a reason. The people I know who aren’t married will often say they are happy to be alone. I can see how that could be true. However, most of them are desperately lonely. To the point of being willing to date a married man or just lamenting how they’ll end up alone in a house full of cats. The reason people never marry is because they don’t want to have to compromise or give in to someone else. They don’t want to have to put someone else’s needs ahead of their own on a regular basis. I don’t blame them but they have to realize that is what marriage is. The only way you can do everything you want all the time and be married is if you have one of those marriages where you both do your own thing. You don’t eat meals together, the guy goes out with the boys and you spend evenings with the girls. You take separate vacations, shop apart and never talk face to face. That to me is not a marriage.

My hubby and I do as much together as possible. We always have. We enjoy each other’s company to the fullest and are best friends. We like most of the same things with only occasional differences. We still have conflicts. Some have been the same ones from 30 years ago that never get resolved. We both have different ways of doing things and must look the other way when one of us does things the other wouldn’t do. We each have different priorities but respect what’s important to the other person.
I know we’ve both made sacrifices for our marriage. My biggest was giving up my postal job and moving here almost 20 years ago. Right before we moved, I was probably the happiest I’ve ever been. My job was high paying and it gave me whatever self esteem I’ve had in my life. I felt like I could hold my head high. My hubby picked out this house and  we bought it without me ever seeing it. That’s how much trust and faith I placed in him. I could be bitter about all the faults this house has and how he said “you can pick out the next one” when I have a feeling this will be the last place I ever live. Instead, I am thankful that we found a nice house in a wonderful neighborhood. That I have grown to love this house (not counting the basement that floods) and have made it my own by decorating in a quirky fashion. Even if it’s small, it’s big enough to hold the love we have for our little family.
One of the nicest things my hubby has done is buy me tampons at Walgreens. When I got my period unexpectedly after a month without (hoping for menopause), he volunteered to get them. That’s huge for a man but I guess after buying adult diapers and incontinence pads for my mom, it’s not that much of a stretch.
I’m always proud to be with him. I love watching him talk to others. Sometimes when we are walking the dogs and meet someone, he is talking and I forget to join in. Mostly because I’m in awe at his way with people. I can talk to just about anyone too but he does it differently. He has patience with strangers that he doesn’t have with me.
One of the most wonderful things he’s done for me was making a screensaver many years ago. I would say around 1998 or so we had a computer that came with a program to make a screensaver. You could put a bunch of pictures together and put music to it and it would play when ever someone wasn’t on the computer. He made one with my favorite actors from Sunset Beach (a now defunct soap opera) and put it to my fave song at the time, “Walking On The Sun” by Smash Mouth. To this day, every time I hear that song, I smile and it makes me so happy to remember what he did. I wish I still had it but the computer died within a year or so and I lost it forever.
A lot of people would write a blog post TO their spouse in the form of a letter. I will never do that. Mine doesn’t like cards and I know he wouldn’t want a blog post. I know he won’t read this. In some ways I wonder why he doesn’t want to read my blog posts but on the other hand, I’m fine with it. He shuns social media. I love social media but have almost completely withdrawn from it. My reasons are more out of insecurity. I have that nagging voice always telling me awful things. I’ve told Greg this and he acts like I told him “I hear voices”. Oy. Just the doubting one that follows me everywhere and beats me down whenever possible. Such as: Who would want to read about that? You better not tweet, people find you boring. If you post your pictures, it will look like you’re bragging. Logically, I know none of what the voice says makes sense but it still seems to have more weight than my own original voice.
Well, this is sad. I wanted to write a post about marriage and us as a couple and it’s now been taken over by my insecurites. We won’t celebrate in the traditional sense. No going out to dinner for us or buying cards or gifts for one another. We celebrate our love every single day. It may sound corny but it’s not the milestones that matter, it is the every day. The daily grind and routine that you resent and yet cling to. We’ll have a couple highballs tonight to start the weekend off. Then eat some good home cooked food and watch some Netflix. Right now we’re watching the tv series “Glee” from the very beginning. We didn’t start watching until at least the 3rd season. We’ll talk about our vacation which is coming up in a week and we haven’t made the final decision where to go. We’ll hug and kiss and hold and pet the dogs. We are blessed even if I can’t put it into words.
I’ve been searching high and low for a spare moment to do some blogging. I need it for my soul. There were a few days this past week that I thought I’d be able to take a few hours to put my thoughts in order. Boy, was I wrong. I’m not even kidding. Something always comes up. So now I’ve decided to just do a quick (but lengthy) post of what’s been happening around these parts.
Garden plant shopping

Garden plant shopping

We have still been having the funniest year for weather ever. The 2 days before June it was only in the upper 40’s for a high temperature. I started wondering if someday (possibly decades from now) the seasons will be switched with the 2 hemispheres like Australia will have our seasons and we’ll have theirs? Global warming and all, you know. In any case, it would make an interesting plot for a book or movie. ;-) We have been alternating the very cold temps with a few days of mid-80’s which is hard to get used to. One day you’re wearing shorts and sandals, the next pants and a coat.
Peonies & bridal wreath in our backyard by koi pond.

Peonies & bridal wreath in our backyard by koi pond.

Due to the above weather constraints, we got our garden in late this year. We also decided to rotate the crops, planting our tomato plants where we’ve always had our peppers and vice versa. We kept the cucumbers in the same place. We also decided to do about half as many plants and spread them out more. We still do a lot–18 plants each but it’s a lot less than we used to. We always crowded our plants and that makes it hard to weed. Not like that’s one of my favorite things but they should produce more if given more room too. We got our plants on Thurs. May 21st and it took 3 days to get them all planted. I remember when we used to be able to plant everything in a day. We planted the herbs (basil, chives, dill, cilantro, thyme, curry, rosemary) the day we got them. Then planted the tomatoes the next day and the peppers on Sat. They are doing nicely. We usually get some other veggies like squash or beets but this year, we’re keeping it to a minimum. My rhubarb is doing fantastic. Possibly the best year ever. I have 3 plants and they are 3 different varieties. I picked most of the largest (oldest) plant and got 21 heaping cups which I put in freezer baggies and froze. I got 4 new recipes off the internet and the first one I made twice already. I really need to look no further since this is the best use of rhubarb I’ve ever seen. They are Rhubarb Dream Bars and have a buttery crust with a custard type filling. They are good warm or chilled. If you’ve never tried Pie Plant (rhubarb), you’re missing out!
New Weber gas grill

New Weber gas grill

Hubby got a new gas grill on May 21st also. We’ve been without one since around Nov. We normally grill all year round, no matter the weather. This time hubby wanted a Weber brand which is supposed to be superior to others. It’s a smaller grill than what we had but so much nicer! In almost 30 years that Greg & I have been together,  he’s done all the grilling. I always thought of it as a man’s thing. Now with this grill, I’ve started grilling and found out it’s not hard at all! I’ve been grilling a ton of veggies that I would normally roast in the oven: eggplant, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, etc. I’m having a lot of fun with it. I won’t be taking all the grill duties away from hubby but it’s a good thing to know how to use it. Now we can get back to having salmon and sweet potatoes a couple times a week.
Mom at 94

Mom at 94

My mom turned 94 on April 23rd. It seems like things are getting harder daily. I don’t know if they’re necessarily harder for her, but they’re harder for me. It is no longer a full time job to be her caretaker, it is a 24/7 job. A lot more “babysitting” and checking on her is needed than ever before. We’ve scaled back our treasure hunting a lot so I’m not gone from her as much. We went out one day the past few weekends. Mom’s latest thing is drinking water. She hadn’t drank much water her whole life. She would avoid drinking it due to her bladder. I know she needs some to keep hydrated but don’t want to force it on her. I’ve always kept a filled water bottle next to her on the couch. She knew it was there but never reached for it. Now she drinks the whole thing and then keeps handing me the bottle. I like to fill it and put it back next to her but she doesn’t remember drinking it. I’m sure you can see where this is going long before I could. She would drink 3 or more bottles of water in row. I had to put a stop to that since the diaper only holds so much. She’s only been in diapers in the daytime for the past 2 days. After she literally “shit the bed”. It had come out of the diaper and was just smeared over the entire bed and her. So doing laundry has been keeping me busy. I finished up everything in the house that could possibly be laundered a few days ago, only to have to do several loads in a row. Her sheets and mattress pad, her thin quilt, a huge load of towels and her nightgown. A month ago or so she must’ve done the same with more solid material because when I went to wake her, she had both hands covered in it and I had to cut it out of her pubic hair. Never a dull moment! :-{
Wood for project.

Wood for project.

Hubby’s been busy too since he started a new project. It’s been awhile since he’s done any carpentry. He loves it and misses it. I know he gets a lot of pride and satisfaction by building something from scratch. Lord knows he’s got enough tools for every conceivable task. He’s now making a wooden floor on the muddy outside area along the north side of the house. It’s been fenced in there for years but we can’t use it. We’ve even tried planting in there (onions and beets) but it’s so muddy you can’t walk and it gets no sun. We’d like to use that wasted space for storage. If nothing else for our packing supplies like cardboard boxes and bubblewrap. It would free up a large portion of the garage which we can’t even walk in now since we are saving boxes we may use “someday” in there. I could joke and say that the tv show “Hoarders” wanted to come here to film our mess (I mean house) but they said it was a safety hazard…
Hubby before starting.

Hubby before starting.

We haven’t taken any vacation yet this year and are starting to get antsy. The RV is in the repair shop now for the horn (which turns out it was “unplugged”) and the cruise control which needs to be replaced. Neither one has worked in at least 2 years. Our “all inclusive” warranty lasts until Nov. so I wanted this fixed while we have it. We still have a $50 deductible but we can handle that. The RV dealership couldn’t fix those 2 items since they are part of the engine/motor and not the “coach”. So that was part of the holdup too. Taking it to a Ford dealership that works on RVs. Since we’re trying to get the most out of Greg’s limited vacation time, we are thinking of taking the 4th of July holiday week. Then he only has to use 3 days (30 hours). We’d like to take our anniversary week or my birthday but it doesn’t work out. We’ll probably go up to WI, if we’d gone any sooner, we might’ve frozen to death.
Sky, clouds and sun. This tree now is full of green growth. 2 months makes a huge difference.

Sky, clouds and sun. This tree now is full of green growth. 2 months makes a huge difference.

May 21st Greg & I went to the doctor. Yes, that was a ridiculously busy day! A trip to the doctor, one estate sale, buying plants, planting herbs, getting a new grill…No wonder I don’t have time to blog. Ha!  It’s been 2 years since I had a pap smear so I just bit the bullet and called. We go in together and it went fairly well. Greg’s blood pressure is forever high even though he’s on 3 blood pressure meds. It runs in his family. The doc added a small extra dose in the evenings of one he takes. The doctor actually said to me, “I pronounce you healthy”. Which was kind of a relief until I brought up my spinal stenosis. The past 2-3 months it has gotten A LOT worse. I used to only have pain when standing or walking. Now I have pain when laying in bed, when first sitting down, when bending over, etc. I used to only have the pain in my legs like shin splints. Now it is more like charley horses and it’s in my back too. He told me to go back to Dr. Hennessy who he sent me to 2 years ago. Then he said it wasn’t that bad but told me to lose weight. I hate to go back when I haven’t lost weight. I may be 5 lbs. down if any. Food is a comfort to me with all I have to deal with. I guess that makes me a failure. I need to find out if I can get an injection that might help. I really don’t want surgery. He scared me a lot saying that if I wait too long, I may have permanent nerve damage and the pain will never go away. Yikes. I got an order for a mammogram and finally called to make the appt. for that. It’s set for Tues. June 23rd at 10:50 am. One thing at a time, I guess.
I'm in love with these 2 dress forms. I call them my dummies.

I’m in love with these 2 dress forms. I call them my dummies.

The doctor told us to stop back sometime this summer to get our blood drawn. He wants to do it after fasting for at least 8 hrs. I mentioned that I heard on the news that you can tell from a blood test if you have cancer. He said that wasn’t true and then got into a long tangent about cancer really coming down to “bad luck”. I guess I should feel lucky then! I also asked about a mole on my left boob that looked suspicious to me. It was embarrassing to have to show him but I was sick of worrying about it. A friend I knew from slams died last year from skin cancer so that certainly puts things in perspective. He said it was fine but keep an eye on it. I told him I wanted to get a bunch of moles/ skin tags cut off. He’s always so brutally honest that he said that it didn’t make sense since they would most likely grow back again in 6 months! I had that happen with one already so I do believe him. After going to Dr. James for 19 years, he finally gave us his personal phone number. I doubt we’ll ever use it but it’s nice to know we can if we need to.
A terrific read.

A terrific read.

Treasure hunting has been interesting. We’ve gotten really interested in old books. Preferably over 100 years old. I used to be so fussy about the condition and I still would rather have the binding intact but now if something looks like a captivating read, I don’t pass it up (if the price is right). Which brings me to opening another Etsy shop just for vintage ephemera (books, postcards, greeting cards, stickers, letters, etc.). I call that one Ephemera Addict to compliment my DejaVu Junkie vintage shop. I am also starting a similar shop on Instagram called Ephemera Junkie. It’s not even that I’ve had so much success on there but want to have an outlet to share my love of all things paper. I just finished a swell book from 1926 called My Friend The Dog. It’s a bunch of short stories about collies. They all have fairly happy endings which I like. The world doesn’t have enough happy endings to suit me! In one of the stories, a dog gets in a fight and is injured and it’s 2 weeks before he can “resume the burden of living.” I get such a kick out of the way things were worded back then. It is a sheer delight to partake of the mindset and morals of the past.
My friend the dog. Aka Elvis.

My friend the dog. Aka Elvis.

On that note, I’m going to step away from the computer and resume the burden of living. :-)

The last few weeks have been hectic. Hubby got home from his week long training in Georgia the afternoon of Sat. March 28th. We had to get 2 gifts wrapped (not giftwrapped, just protectively boxed up for transport) and 2 cards made. While we were readying them, we got a phone call that Greg’s Aunt Aggie had passed away. She was only 78 and was always a favorite of both of ours. We were already going to WI the next day for his mother’s 80th birthday party. Now we were potentially going to a funeral a few days after that. As you can imagine, the entire week was just stress-filled. We fought on multiple occasions.

Last Rites Cross aka Vampire Kit

Last Rites Cross aka Vampire Kit

A lot of the stress comes from knowing we can only leave Mom for x amount of time. Preferably during daylight hours. The party was at 4 pm and it takes us between 90 min. and 2+ hours to travel each way. Depending on traffic and road construction. There was a huge detour which extended the time even more. We were at the party longer than we had planned–until 6:30 pm. Then we had to hurry and get home by a little after 8 pm. It went fine and was actually better than I could’ve hoped. We got to see Greg’s niece Katie’s new baby (10 day old Brynn) who is his Mom’s first great grandchild. Everyone took turns holding the baby while she slept like a doll. Everyone gives new parents things for the baby, we made a conscious decision to give to the parents instead. Some art that they can appreciate (or not). We gave his mom a Last Rites Cross. Made of wood, it hangs on the wall, opens up and holds candles and holy water. Greg calls it a Vampire Kit. His mom is a lifelong Catholic and loved it. She said her grandmother had had one just like it in her home.
Art By Haeger Pottery

Art By Haeger Pottery

Monday March 30th, we had an 8:30 am vet appt. for Ivy. She needed 2 vaccinations plus a blood test for heartworm. We had to bring in a fecal sample for testing as well. It costs a fortune but is worth it to not have to go back for a year. Tues. March 31st, Greg had his dental cleaning and needed a filling which he got on the spot. I had Mom’s bath that day. Wed. April 1st was Greg’s birthday and I had my dental cleaning at 10:00 am and we were leaving for the funeral by 3:30 pm. We got up to WI in time for some of the viewing of the body and the funeral service. They had a luncheon afterwards but it was already after 7 pm when the service was over. We didn’t want to stay another hour and get home so late to feed Mom dinner. So instead of eating, we drove home and all ate dinner around 9 pm. Not much of a birthday for Greg. We still  have yet to celebrate but I figure we’ve got a whole year to get around to it. Thurs. April 2nd, we had to take Elvis & Amber to the vet for their blood tests and fecal check. We didn’t find out until the following Monday that they’re all negative but it was a relief for sure.
4 Generations of Babes

4 Generations of Babes

Thurs. April 2nd we went to stock up on food at the fruit market and Sam’s Club. We also spent the weekend working on income taxes. We usually try to get them done and in before now. We’re cutting it too close to the April 15 deadline to suit me. But sometimes time doesn’t make it easy to fit it in. Friday we did a little treasure hunting and Sat. we went and got our lawn care items at Ace Hardware. The 4 step fertilizer for the grass, Grubex for the grubs and 10 bags of top soil on sale for 99 cents each.
I had so many veggies and they don’t stay fresh long. We had salad for dinner a few nights in a row. Then on Sunday April 5th I roasted several trays of them in the oven: brussel spouts, broccoli, garlic, green beans, kale, etc. We got another pork butt to roast in the 2 crockpots which is always great but that takes a whole day and then another day for clean up. I didn’t have time on Sunday if I was going to roast the veggies so I waited until Monday. Then Monday I was delayed almost 2 hours because Mom had a horrible case of diarrhea. I’m going to leave out the gory details (you’re welcome!) but we were both covered in it head to toe (don’t ask). Our clothes, our skin, the walls, the rug, the toilet, our hair, etc. I washed her hair and was going to get her in the tub when it happened again. I decided to just wash her all over with a washcloth so she didn’t have it in the tub. It was only a one day ordeal but not something I’d want to live through again. It makes the time she had it on vacation look like a cake walk.
The only picture I took of the shit hitting the fan.

The only picture I took of the shit hitting the fan…

That week I hadn’t been feeling good for several days myself. I’d been getting stomach cramps and a different type of diarrhea. Just what you wanted to read a blog post about! For the first time ever I skipped breakfast for 3 days straight. I had half of a small banana and that’s it. Then I skipped lunch for 2 days and resumed my usual sandwich and was fine. Of course, then my period came on and I had cramps of a different sort. The only thing I can think of that got me so sick was going to WI and seeing all the relatives. Everyone kisses (some on the lips) and hugs and for all I know some weren’t feeling well and didn’t let on. Greg’s around more people at his work and probably has more of an immune system built up than I do. I haven’t been this sick since I was 30. Then I had a week long bout of gastric distress that I actually went to the doctor for. I ended up coming down with the chicken pox 2 weeks later. I still think I caught it from the doctor’s office… I’ve made the effort to give up my beloved potato chips about a month or two ago. I thought it would make me feel so much better. I don’t feel any different!
This past weekend was not the greatest either. We stayed home on Thurs. April 9th because it stormed so badly. We were on pins and needles that our basement might flood again. Tornadoes hit about an hour north and west of us and left much devastation in their wake. Friday we did some treasure hunting and Greg is so thrilled that he found some old stackable metal milk crates that the dairies used back in the 1950’s. I found a beautiful Virgin Mary and baby Jesus surrounded by flowers. We hung it right away in our living room. Yesterday I roasted the last of the vegetables: mushrooms, zucchini and cauliflower. I love meat but I love vegetables even more. It wouldn’t be hard for me to become a vegetarian but why?! I don’t like to limit myself whether it’s the type of food I eat or the portions. That’s oviously something I can’t hide.
Madonna and child.

Madonna and child.

The weather is now consistently in the 60’s which seemed like it would never happen. The sunshine and nice temps have done wonders to improve my mood. Stop back again and I’ll fill you in our future projects: planting our garden, getting a new gas grill, building a pergola and laying patio brick on the side of the house. Enjoy your week and thanks for reading!

I’m No Superhero

I’ve known for about a month that hubby would be going away for a week for work. I’ve been dreading it the entire time. With good reason, it turns out. Every time hubby goes away, something awful happens that I have to handle alone. A year ago, hubby was gone for a week to Newark, NJ and our furnace died. I had to get the repair man out and get a new furnace put in.

We got up at 5 am on Sunday March 22nd since hubby had a super early flight and I had to drive him to the airport. It was still dark and I was driving my car. Recently I’ve had one thing after another go wrong with my 22 year old car. Besides my brakes going out, I had my battery not hold a charge. I’d been starting it daily after it had been in the shop last and had it on a trickle charger. Hubby had been taking it to work once a week and everything was fine. Then I went around dusk to get a gallon of milk at the grocery (nothing else) and when I came out, it was getting dark. I put on the lights and barely made it home! The car was ready to die any minute. Then I was afraid to drive it again and the whole month of Feb. it was cold. Average of 14 degrees each day. Hubby offered to get a new battery but I knew the battery wasn’t old! When the weather got warmer, we took it to the garage again. This time it was the alternator for $350. Ok, the rollercoaster continues….Yesterday, about halfway home after dropping hubby off and the headlights go out. Then they come back on for a second and go out again. I wiggled it and turned them on and off and it kept happening. Luckily, we don’t live far from the airport and I know my way in the dark. I made it home safely even though I half expected to get pulled over by a cop. When I got home I realized I’d forgotten my purse and cellphone! Gah! I was so sleepy and had gone to grab my keys and purse and had only gotten my keys. I plan to drive it again tomorrow to get some soda that’s on sale at the store. I won’t be driving it at night if I can help it.

Yesterday was the first day with Greg gone. I’m used to him being at work during the daytime on Sundays, so that went fine. I did have to unplug/ reset the Directv which freezes up when you try to go up or down on the Playlist. The only thing I was looking forward to while hubby is gone is reading in bed. When I got back yesterday morning from the airport, I went back to bed. I couldn’t sleep but it was too early to be up. I noticed that the light on my nightstand that had been working the night before, didn’t work anymore. So yesterday I got out the ladder and climbed up to get a replacement bulb from the hidden storage above the kitchen cupboards. It wasn’t the exact same wattage but close enough. I took it up and put it in, only to find out it still wouldn’t give light. At this point I checked the cord. It was still plugged into a power strip on my side of the bed. The power strip was supposed to be plugged into the power strip on his side of the bed. It wasn’t. Nor could I reach it. So I pulled it and it came out on my side. I had to take out a ton of things that were stored under the bed. I went from one side of the bed to the other, laying down, trying to feed the cord under the Queen size bed. I even used something to push it. Then I went to his side and tried to reach it. After I did this over a dozen times, I realized my arms are too short and it would never work. The cord was too short to feed behind the headboard. I ended up running an extension cord from my side to his behind the headboard. It’s not ideal. When I talked to him on the phone last night, Greg said he must’ve unplugged it by accident when he unplugged his bi-pap yesterday morning. Then I took the new lightbulb out and went downstairs and got the old one and put that back in and it worked fine. I just hating wasting time like this!

I had all kinds of big ideas on what I was going to accomplish while Greg was gone. Yesterday I made homemade chicken noodle soup. Today I was going to make chicken pot pie. I was going to get a lot of items listed on Etsy and start a new shop just for vintage ephemera. Things like antique and rare books, greeting cards, postcards, Victorian Trade Cards, old letters, photographs, etc. After what happened today, I’ll probably mostly be resting.

Last night it started snowing. A freak Spring storm that wasn’t expected to leave much evidence. The local weathermen predicted 1.5″ while the national news guessed more in the 5-6″ range. This morning, I went out to shovel just a trail on the deck for the dogs and we had almost 7″. It snowed for several more hours since then. It’s 28 degrees out and tomorrow will be in the 40’s and Wed. in the 50’s with rain. All this is going to melt and I can’t entertain the idea of the basement flooding again!! All our snow had been gone and we even had one day last week that was 70 degrees. I had taken the dogs for a walk with no coat! I had shoveled a path to the backyard for the dogs and took some videos of them playing in the snow. Then I came in and went to the front and shoveled just the steps for the mailman.

At this point, my worry about the melting and rain made me paranoid about all that snow sitting on the flat roof above the garage. We don’t shovel it if it’s less than 3″ but this was so heavy and I can’t risk water coming in and ruining all our inventory in the garage. So I went up there and the dogs followed me. There’s a railing around all sides up there and they know better than to jump. They like to run around and look down from up there. Greg always lets them be up there when he does the shoveling. I haven’t done it alone for a few years. The last time I had, I had gotten locked out! It was before Mom had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I had tried to get her attention by throwing the shovel on the deck and yelling but nothing would work. That time I was up there alone and Greg was at work. The dogs were inside and I had climbed over the railing, onto the deck of the shed and then jumped onto the railing of the deck. Now we’ve got bowling pins on top of the deck railing. Plus I knew the dogs would try to follow me and they’d hurt themselves.

As you might guess, IT HAPPENED AGAIN. I couldn’t even believe my luck!! I had shoveled just over half of it up there and the snow was coming down hard. Ivy acted like she wanted to go in. I was going to open the storm door and let her and whoever else wanted in to come in. This time I had left the inside door open so I could look in. I went to open the door and it had latched! We keep it locked but you have to flick the latch down to open it. When I had gone out, it had relocked somehow. I was beyond upset! If the dogs hadn’t been up there, I might’ve just tried to climb down. But I had no choice, I had to get in. So I took the shovel, which was entirely PLASTIC, and tried to pop the window out. The shovel tore the screen up immediately but the window is plexi-glass so it wouldn’t break. I tried pushing it at the corners or pounding it in the middle. Nothing worked.

Then the babysitter next door came out and asked me if I needed help. It must’ve looked quite a sight. Me beating furiously on the door with a shovel, one end and then the other. I even tried throwing my considerable weight against it repeatedly. According to what I’ve seen on tv, pushing your shoulder or bulk should pop a window out. Instead, every time I did that, I felt pain in my arm and left side. It was slippery up there so I couldn’t get good traction, even in snow boots. I tried kicking it but that didn’t work either. I told the neighbor I needed a ladder. She asked if the door was open and I said no. I had locked them both when I went up there since that was the last thing I was going to do outside. Then she stood and watched me for the longest time while I struggled. The dogs barked at her while I worked feverishly to no avail. Later I asked her if she had a hammer. She said she could look for one. I told her not to bother since I didn’t know how I’d get it from her. She’d have to throw it up there and it might hit one of the dogs in the head and hurt them!

I had my cellphone with me which is rare. I actually thought of calling 911 but I’ve never done it and don’t want to do it over something so foolish. I’d be the butt of a ton of jokes by the firemen and police. Mom would never hear me banging and would never come look for me. I decided to call the house phone anyway and on the message, call for her loudly and tell her to go in the hallway. Of course that didn’t work. Then I couldn’t see my phone, it was so bright out, I must’ve called my husband when I tried to hang up the call. I surely wouldn’t have called him since I knew there was NOTHING he could do. He was at lunch so could talk but just told me to do what I had already done. I let him go and went back to throwing myself against the window and jamming the shovel into it. It seemed like I could get a gap on the right side towards the lock but I couldn’t pry it open. I was afraid to put my fingers in there since it might cut them off! I tried putting the shovel into it but it wouldn’t work.

Suddenly, without warning, the plexi-glass shattered into a million tiny pieces. A few pieces were the size of a dime but mostly they were just a bit bigger than a grain of sand. It had shattered into a pile an inch thick on the landing and then all the way down the stairs. I reached into the empty space and flipped the lock on the door. I went inside being careful not to let the dogs in. There was so much broken glass, if I let them walk on it, they would surely cut their feet! So I reached through and lifted Ivy through the missing pane and carried her to safety. Then I went up and told Amber to come up to me and she did. I lifted her through and took her down. Then I got Elvis and took him all the way to the sunroom and put the leash on him. I had Mom hold him while she played on the computer. He cried for most of the time. He can’t stand to be away from me and I knew he wouldn’t stay away from the stairs without restraint. Overall, I was really proud of the dogs for how they behaved.

I was physically and emotionally exhausted and wanted nothing more than to sit down and get my breath and rest. I couldn’t though since I had to immediately vacuum up the glass! It took me at least 45 min. to do it, then I lifted the pane with the remnants out of the track and put it in a garbage bag. I had to vacuum with the wand and go over the area multiple times. Even so, I won’t be going barefoot anytime soon. After I was done with that, I wanted to rest but couldn’t. I  had to go back out and finish shoveling! I was so overheated, I didn’t put a coat on right away. It was stupid so I went back and got it and finished. Then the babysitter drove up and said she was glad I got in. You and me both!!

By then, it was time to make lunch and get Mom to the bathroom. I managed to rest a bit after lunch but I’ve got a sore throat and my side is so sore. I don’t know if it’s stress on my heart or I tore some muscles from that. All I know is I’ve had enough excitement for the day, the week, the month and the year!

As for what else the next few weeks hold, hubby gets home late on Sat. March 28th. On Sun. he has to work but is going in early and taking 4 hours sick leave so we can go to his mother’s 80th birthday party. It’s up in WI so there’s a 2 hour drive each way. It’s at 4 pm so we can only stay an hour or so if we go together. Mom will be fine as long as I’m home to get her dinner that night. Hubby and I argued about this for at least a week! When he found out he was going away this week, I made him call his brother Dan and tell him when he’d be gone so he didn’t expect him to go during that week. At the time, he also told him he couldn’t make it on Sundays since he worked. The fact that they expect him to go, basically guilting him into it doesn’t sit good with me. He’s afraid of looking like the bad guy if he doesn’t go. His niece just had a baby (the first great grandchild for his Mom) on March 20th. So we have a gift for her and one for his mom. I told him we should mail them but he must want to go to the party. After not seeing me for 7 days, I hate the thought of not seeing him for another day if he went alone. So many unpleasant things, so little time…

Next Mon. is Ivy’s vet appt. for vaccinations and heartworm. If Greg can come with me, that’s great, otherwise I’ll take her alone. Then the next day is hubby’s dentist appt. Mine is the day after that which is also Greg’s birthday! The day after that we’re taking the other 2 dogs to the vet for their heartworm tests. So you can see how busy every single day is…

I just had to share the latest disaster that befell me. Let’s hope no one else has luck like that. I guess it’s all in how you look at it. Some people might say I’m a Superhero for rescuing the dogs but that title does not apply. I can’t even function in daily life without having ridiculous things happen to me…

It’s been awhile since I’ve written about the demon that’s invaded our home. It’s called Alzheimer’s. A few weeks ago, I was telling hubby a small fraction of the day I’d had dealing with Mom. He looked at me and said, “You should either make a standup comedy routine out of this or write a horror story.” He’s so right, I could go either way.

In horror stories, usually the demon has to be invited in. With Alzheimer’s, no invitation was issued, nor was an RSVP received. Talk about an uninvited houseguest. This one comes and never leaves until it’s sucked the life out of you. Most demons take your soul but Alzheimer’s steals your brain, not just the mind that holds memories but the entire organ including the first things we learned how to do to function. Like the ability to comprehend speech, let alone answer. The ability to form words or sentences. To sign your name. To recognize loved ones. To recall the name of things. This demon alters the possessed’s personality and hijacks their emotions. Nothing can make the person happy or sad any longer. They just exist to hold the host demon inside for it to feed off of…

Things have been “progressing nicely” if your goal as the demon is to liquify the brain completely. The decline is rapid and thorough now. I always felt as long as Mom had a good appetite and still ate, she’d hang in there. The past week or so, she’s been having trouble eating. She does fine with her Cheerios for breakfast but lunch is another matter. I’ve always made her a sandwich, same as mine, but lately I’ve been cutting it in 6 or more pieces instead of just 4. Even so, some days it takes her OVER 2 HOURS to finish it. Then she won’t have finished it. She’ll have a huge glob of food balled up in her mouth and just be chewing it (no teeth). Sometimes I wonder if her entire sandwich isn’t squished up into 1 piece! She won’t swallow it and if I let her, she chews it for hours. Lately I’ve gotten her to give it to the dog, Elvis. I have her push it out of her mouth and he takes it from her. I’m surprised she does this since it’s almost like “kissing” a dog which she would never do. One day I served her lunch, went back to get mine and when I came back her plate was empty. I asked if she’d let the dog eat it and she said “I don’t know.” We’ve had to put Elvis on the leash while she eats since he’s deaf and he waits for her to spill. It’s maddening. The alternative is she spits the food out onto the floor (which I’ve seen her do).

Everything gets exponentially harder daily. Yesterday was bath day which is always the hardest. She doesn’t listen to me hardly at all anymore. I don’t think she’d listen to anyone else any better. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t leave her alone much. Obviously I have to at times, just to cook meals and do household chores. I can’t trust her to follow through on things I tell her. Like I used to just walk her to the bathroom (holding hands) and leave her, maybe check on her once while she was in there. Now I have to walk her and stand in the doorway while she goes. I have to keep track of IF she went or not since if I ask her if she went, she says, “I don’t know.” I have to tell her to take her soiled pad out of her underpants. Even if she sees it’s soiled, she doesn’t think to do anything about it. I have to give her a new one. I have to open it for her and watch that she puts it in her underpants correctly. I keep the Poise incontinence pads under the sink in the downstairs bathroom. She used to know to open the cabinet, reach in and take one. Now if I’m not with her, she may take the soiled pad out and not replace it at all. One day I left one on the sink and she went earlier than usual without me being home. She put the entire pad still wrapped in the plastic, inside her underpants. It’s folded into thirds with a plastic on top. I have to hand her toilet paper or she won’t use it. I have to count how many times I hand her toilet paper (5 in a row and I have to flush) so that the upstairs toilet doesn’t get clogged and I have to plunge it. I have to stand by and make sure she USES the toilet paper and doesn’t just set it on the sink or put it on top of the pad in her underpants. I have to make sure she wipes enough and in the right area and doesn’t give herself an infection. I have to watch and make sure she puts the used toilet paper IN the toilet and not in the sink, or on the floor. She often wants to hand it to me. NO THANKS.

You’d think this would be ENOUGH. But I can’t leave the room yet. I have to tell her to flush the toilet. Or sometimes I do it for her. It’s not always worth shouting about. She’s hard of hearing so I feel like when I do address her I’m always shouting. The less reaction she gives me, the louder I yell. It’s exhausting. Then I tell her to wash her hands. You’d think I could walk away then.But no…I have to make sure she uses soap. And then stick around to show her where to dry her hands. EVERY SINGLE TIME. She doesn’t go to the bathroom as much as most people so I should count myself “lucky”. She goes in the morning when she gets up, before lunch, before dinner and at bedtime. Occasionally, there’ll be another time. She doesn’t drink much water and then when the mood strikes her, she’ll drink 2 full bottles in a row. I still have trouble catching her always trying to stand up from the toilet without wiping or with feces hanging out of her. The struggle is real. 

Some of this sounds atrocious and I probably shouldn’t even put it in print. Maybe the worst thing that bothers me is her lack of interest in EVERYTHING. She doesn’t care what she eats, what she watches on tv, what she wears, you name it. I no longer see her smile ever or get any joy out of life. She sits in her recliner in the living room and I tell her to “put your legs up”. She lifts them together about 6 inches off the ground. It’s like a bad joke but no one’s laughing. I have to tell her to “use the handle”. EVERY SINGLE TIME. Some days she reaches for it and says, “I can’t”. She doesn’t even really try. It’s the worst to do for someone else who doesn’t try for themselves.

She was always somewhat demanding and difficult. I guess I didn’t really pay that much attention to it. She used to boss me around, “Cut my hair!” or “I want ice cream!” I used to be annoyed because I felt like it cut into my time. Now if only she could express what she wanted. As it turns out, my time is not my own anyway.

I’m on day 9 of one of the worst colds I’ve had in my life! I haven’t had a cold this bad in over 20 years. Back when I used to get them like this, I was working 3rd shift (nights) at the Post Office. I would stay in bed for at least 3 days to recover. Now I can’t even take a nap. I have someone to care for 24/7. Possibly the worst is that she has no comprehension that I’m sick. She doesn’t acknowledge it or have any compassion for me. Now hubby has caught the cold. He’s about 2 days behind me. I’ve been very diligent with washing hands and trying to keep from infecting my mom since a cold like this could kill her. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone! Not the cold and not Alzheimer’s!!!

Even Mom playing on the computer has become a challenge. We have it set up so she only has to push the space bar on the keyboard to spin the slot machine games. If she hits the wrong button, sometimes a grey box or a white box will come up. You have to tap or move the mouse to get it to disappear. She used to be able to move a mouse, now she doesn’t know what a mouse is!! I have to get up from wherever I am and fix it for her every time. Sometimes she can go all day without hitting the wrong thing. Other days it will come up every few minutes. She won’t call to me if I’m in the other room to tell me either, so I have to walk in and check on her every few minutes.

It’s similar to every day I have to hand her a kleenex and have her blow her nose. I can usually hear if she’s got snot in her nose so I try to get to her before she does things like sneeze everywhere or wipe snot somewhere. I have to stand there and make sure she blows her nose or she’ll just take the kleenex and fold it up and lay it somewhere. I can’t just tell her “the kleenex box is on your left” because it doesn’t sink in.

Mom falls asleep a lot and doesn’t know if it’s time for bed or time for dinner. When I take her to the bathroom before dinner, she often tries to go upstairs to bed. I have to tell her no and get her moving the other way. I’ve been cooking a lot (as usual) and made a couple of pork roasts. I got out 2 crockpots and prepared a whole bunch of veggies and cooked them up so I wouldn’t have to cook every single night. I still end up making more veggies later and improvising in different ways using the roasts. One night we had a frozen pizza and she hates them. I’m not too fond of them either but I was sick and didn’t want to fuss. I asked her if she wanted pizza or would she rather have a small scoop of cottage cheese for dinner. She said, “I don’t know.” So I gave her the cottage cheese and she ate it right up. I guess I could start making soups and things for her. It seems more that she’s forgotten how to swallow than anything else.

I started babysitting when I was 11 years old. I took a babysitting course from the Red Cross at the YMCA and got certified. I learned CPR and all that other good stuff. I was gungho to make money. I got jobs right away. Nobody wanted to pay anything. I guess 50 cents an hour was the average back in mid-1970’s. I had a young couple who lived next door who even had me babysit when they moved way across town. They paid like $1/hr. too which was great. Then I had a nightmare babysitting job for a woman across the street. She had rented from my dad the apt. next door and then later moved across the street. She was divorced and was a waitress at a chinese restaurant. She had one child who was a demon! This child would not listen at all. As soon as you got done telling her something, she would ignore you. I would say she was around 5 yrs. old. I stayed with her and played with her all day from mid afternoon until her mom was supposed to be home at 10 pm. We were in the house (while it was still light out) and I went to use the bathroom. Just a quick pee and I came out and the child was GONE. I wasn’t worried the kid was abducted or anything but how would I find the child? It was a girl and I was frantic. I went out looking for her with no luck. I called my dad for help. My mom was working. I wouldn’t call my dad unless I had no other choice. He helped me drive around the neighborhood and we found her. This child was impossible to control. I put her to bed and she kept getting up again and saying she wanted me to make her bacon. That sounded crazy to me. The kid kept carrying on. the mother called to say she’d be late and to go ahead and make the kid bacon. She said she’d be home by midnight. Then she never showed up until 3:30 am and I think it was a school night. Then she paid me what amounted to less than 25 cents an hour!! She called me later to babysit and I told her NO. She asked why. I told her she didn’t pay enough for what she put me through. No amount of money is worth that kind of aggravation.

It may seem odd that I’ve brought this up but I think of this scenario every single day. I have the same helpless feeling with my mom that I did with that girl I babysat. I get my mom to the upstairs bathroom and sit her down on the toilet and then I quick RUN a few steps to her bedroom and get a diaper and her glasses case and hearing aid container. I tell her to sit with her hands together (so she doesn’t pick her leg) and wait. Before I can get back to the bathroom, she’s trying to get up! I scream, “NO!” and get her sat down. Then I RUN to her bedroom, pull back the covers and put down the bed pads. By the time I’m back, she’s trying to get up again or HAS gotten up. Without wiping. She doesn’t know enough to pull up her pants so may just be standing there. What I’m living now, makes me relive that type of unpleasantness from that babysitting nightmare.

I’ve been trying to figure out WHY I’ve gotten into collecting religious artifacts at all, let alone during this time in my life. I’ve come to believe that it’s because I’m trying to ward off the demon Alzheimer’s. Not only am I afraid inhabited my mother, I’m afraid he has his sights set on me. In horror movies, often the demon leaves one host only to make himself at home in another nearby being. Scary stuff but nothing compares to reality and  how frightening it is to watch someone disappear before your eyes.

No amount of wishing, praying or hoping can get the demon to leave. Alzheimer’s has taken root and is here to stay. No exorcism can remove the demon from our lives. Today I was counting days of the week to see how long I’d had this cold. I go, “Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Eighty, Ninety, One Hundred…” I’m not even kidding. I caught myself and did it wrong a total of 3 times. I can’t even make this stuff up. I’m going to say this is the cold messing with my head (even though I’ve taken no meds for it) and not freak out that I’m losing my mind as well.

I have finally come to terms with how people can put a loved one in a nursing home. I honestly couldn’t see it before. I’m still not going to do it but at least I understand. People must feel that one life is enough to sacrifice and lose. By being the caretaker of an individual with Alzheimer’s, you are giving up your own life. So basically 2 whole lives are wasted, not just one. I’m assuming this is my purpose in life since I haven’t accomplished much else. I’ll just continue to take it one day at a time since looking beyond that is overwhelming.

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