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It’s amazing how I always start everything with the best of intentions and then it fizzles out. I’m gung-ho and don’t really think it through when I make a commitment like my last post. I was going to post a selfie every day for a month. Sadly, that lasted 4 days. I was already sick of it. I couldn’t think of any way to be more original or interesting when taking the photos. I figured if I was that sick of doing it, others would be even more sick of seeing them. I don’t know if that’s true or not. I didin’t just skip a day with the plan to start back up the next day. On the 5th day, I didn’t post and then said, “I’ve ruined my streak. I give up.” My selfie plan went the way of every diet I’ve ever started. I can do it for a few days and then it turns into too much work. Or too much of a bother. Or I don’t see results.

I was doing the selfie thing to try to get myself over my selfie phobia and self hatred. 4 days isn’t going to cut it. It just shows how lost I am with coming up with my own solutions. Now I’m even more embarrassed that I didn’t follow through. I should’ve known better. I have a history of terrible follow through. If I promise something to an individual, I move heaven and earth to keep my word. Of couse, I’ve pretty much quit making promises because I don’t like the pressure. But a promise I make to myself, I don’t feel the need to honor. It goes back to me thinking I’m not worthy of it. It’s a Catch-22. This seems to be a common problem. I see others swear an oath to a new start of “eating clean”, a “90 day cleanse” or working out daily. They post their meals and workout outfits like they were entering a contest. A week or so later, they’ve put it on the back burner and soon it disappears entirely. Then a month later, they are pledging allegiance to the same thing again. I can’t do that. I’ve failed at the selfie thing even though I had some wonderful support from people on Twitter, Instagram and the blog. Now I’ll just try to post a pic when I can force myself. But I know there’ll be days where I won’t want to. I’m not going to make myself. This brings my expectations of success in the final outcome way down. To the point of impossible.

My knee has been all hosed up. A few weeks ago I was squatting in front of the kitchen sink. It sounds like I was going to take a dump there but alas, no. (Blame my train of thought on hearing about people in Walmart and other stores dropping trou in public and doing their business. I can’t even imagine, nor do I want to.) I was trying to reach way in the back underneath the sink. Like doing the deepest knee bend ever. I’ve always squatted as need be, sometimes it’s easier than bending over because I can see things head on instead of upside down or sideways. At the time, I felt excruciating pain. Almost like a burning and tearing. I had to pull myself up. Both knees were sore for awhile but I didn’t think much about it. Then a few days later, my left knee was painful as heck. On the side and behind the knee. Going down into the calf. I have too much to do to just rest, so I walked the dogs, carried laundry up and down the stairs, etc. Just business as usual. Now it’s worse than it was a week ago. I don’t want to have to go to the doctor or have surgery. That’s not an option when I have to care for Mom. It just feels like another thing to add to my list of Reasons To Be Depressed. I’ve never been one to have knee problems. I guess that makes me lucky. It gives me new appreciation for my MIL & SIL who have had knee replacements. I don’t want a new knee. I just want mine to work again! I think I must be the most impatient person in the world when it comes to healing or being sick. Heaven help the world if I ever end up in a wheelchair because I’d have to do some heavy plotting to keep myself on deck.

Hubby went to a Super Bowl part after work on Sunday. I was invited too but had to decline because Mom can’t be home alone at night anymore. I didn’t pout but was hurt that there was a time when hubby wouldn’t have gone anywhere without me. I guess I shouldn’t take it personally? Maybe he’s sick of missing things too.

This blog post serves no purpose except to acknowledge my failure. I’m not going to beat myself up about it. If I had follow through, I’d be a millionaire, thin and have several published books. Instead, I’m just a regular schmuck who lets herself down. Maybe there are worse things to be…

 

2016 arrived a month ago amid no real fanfare. A year can be very long or very short, it all depends on how you look at it. Time has always gone fast for me but now it’s at the speed of riding a bullet train and looking out the window only to register a blur of vision. One year has run into the next and I still haven’t gotten used to it being in the 2000’s… In some ways I feel like I’ve lost 15 years. I can’t even tell you where it went except at times it feels  like I wasted it. When I was younger I could remember specific years by “that was the year X happened” or “so and so got married in 19__”. I could look back at each year and something major would have happened that I could recall. Or maybe several big (not huge) things happened, spread out from season to season. Nothing stands out from the last several years. I don’t know if it’s because nothing of consequence happened (true) or if my memory is getting so bad (also true), nothing registers anymore. Now it’s more of “oh that’s the year X died” or “that’s the year the basement flooded and we had to replace several appliances”.

I am so distracted lately. I’ve been having trouble thinking of words or I say the wrong word. I can’t always string a whole sentence together that makes sense. It’s like, when did I have a stroke and how did I not notice?! My temper is perpetually short and I sleep very fitfully, if at all. I don’t know if it’s the Winter Blues again or just life in general and my circumstances in particular getting me down. I didn’t even get a 2016 calendar until yesterday! That used to be a big deal to me to get a new calendar. I looked forward to it and I spent time copying from the old to the new various birthdays and milestones. I always put myself last. First I was busy with vacation, then catching up. Then I didn’t want to pay full price for a calendar when the new year had already started. I did get it at half off but it wasn’t worth the anxiety of worrying I may end up going all year without one. It would bother no one but me if I sacrificed and gave up having a calendar. No one would care if I did without but I would feel terrible….

 

I’ve always willingly admitted I have trouble coping. Now it’s reached epic proportions. It doesn’t  help that I’ve had a bad cold for a week, then my period comes on and my leg has gotten so painful, I can hardly walk. Greg now has the cold as well and Mom seems to be fighting it off. We went to 2 estate sales on Friday and both were awful. We had to wait over half an hour at the 2nd one to get in and chatted with the gal ahead of us in line. Then when we were inside looking around, she runs up and tells us that she couldn’t believe it when she walked into the bathroom and it was FULL of chalkware fish and mermaids! She bought them all dirt cheap. I happen to collect those but also sell when I can. I just can’t believe my luck that she got to them first. This was a couple hours into the sale. I didn’t let on how upset I was but hubby knew. When we got to the car (after buying nothing), I told him it was bad enough she beat me to them but she had to come up and rub my nose in it! Hubby said she probably didn’t mean to do that but was just excited because she got such a great deal on them. Argh. My plan to achieve a Martyr Complex is coming along swimmingly….

 

My life is pretty much summed up in a couple of analogies. Hubby’s Jeep Grand Cherokee is a 2004 with 79.000 miles. He was going to wait until he had 100,000 miles before he even entertained the idea of a new one. With the ongoing problems he’s been having lately, he’s been thinking of purchasing a new one non-stop. This just fuels the fire of finances. Every time I think we might get ahead, something like that comes up. So there’s a couple of problems with his current Jeep. One is the ignition that sometimes he turns the key and nothing happens. No noise, no lights, etc. Other times it won’t turn at all with the key in. We’ve purchased this lead powder that you put into the keyhole and it sometimes works, othertimes not. Looking it up online, “they” said to tap the ignition (with the key in) with the heel of a shoe. As the passenger, I usually volunteer to take mine off to do it. Then there’s a wiring problem with a short in the driver’s side door. The lock won’t unlock using the remote or even the switch inside the driver’s door. The remote quit working except for the lock which works sporadically. Greg replaced the battery in the remote and that did NOTHING. A few times the window won’t go up or down but it’s mostly the lock. This short also affects it starting and a year ago Greg had to call AAA to get a tow. They got it working but talked him into taking it to their shop. He did and they never could figure out what was wrong.

 

The day before Christmas vacation, after Greg had brought the RV in front of our house from the place we store it at and towed the Jeep behind, he went to start the car and NOTHING. The gages were jumping and lights were coming on but no sound from the engine. He tried multiple times and then had to call AAA. This time they towed it to the same auto mechanic shop. He told us it would be a priority since we were leaving the next morning. Of couse, that seems to mean they drag their feet. At noon the next day, they hadn’t even gotten it into a bay to check on it. So we had to make the decision to leave it in their incapable hands for 2 weeks! while we went to Mississippi. This is the first time we’ve gone down there without a tow vehicle. We were limited to where we could go since we didn’t want to have to pack everything up in the RV and unplug to drive somewhere. We did that once when we went to the Dollar Store to buy period supplies. Yes, I did that over Thanksgiving vacation too. How does one get so lucky?! It’s not vacation unless i”m bleeding like a stuck hog. We went on Christmas Eve and there was a mob buying last minute gifts. We also went to the ATM at the bank, thinking we might need more cash (we didn’t.). Then we went over to Sam’s Town Casino just to eat a late lunch with our free points. It’s only across the street from where we stayed but there’s no way Mom could walk it and they don’t  have a shuttle or cabs anymore.

 

Anyway, my llife is summed up by how difficult it is to do simple things. Like for Greg to open the Jeep, he needs to open the driver side with the key, GET IN, shut the the door and flip the inside lock on the door. Even to open the back of the Jeep. I feel like basically every aspect of my life is like that. My mom always kept her pots and frying pans inside the oven. I’ve always done it too. Except to use the oven has turned into a huge hassle. I have to lift all of them out and usually carry them to the dining room table. Then back again after baking. To get in the freezer we keep in the garage, I have to move a ton of empty spare boxes that we keep for mailing out things people buy on Etsy. There’s nowhere to put them but on the stairs behind me on the way up to the kitchen. By the time I get it all moved and get into the freezer, dig around for what i want and then put it all back, I’m exhausted. Same goes for using the crock pot. It’s already on the counter which should be the easy part. But there’s a ton of crap in front of it that has to be moved to the dining room table so I can clear an area around it. Then after using it, I have to clean it up immediately since I have to move everything from the table back to the counter before morning so Mom can eat her breakfast there. The latch that releases the dust bin on my 4 yr. old Dyson vacuum broke a few months ago. To empty it (which I do after vacuuming every room), I need to use a screwdriver to get it open. Life has gotten way too complicated…

 

Obviously we’ve got too much stuff. Our house is too small. But what is the solution? The thought of moving is daunting. It’s not even that I have this house exactly how I want it so hate to leave. It’s the amount of work and energy involved in packing and unpacking, let alone house hunting. Moving with Mom around isn’t an option. So we just keep on plugging along, wondering if things will ever get easier.

 

There was a contest on Instagram that I wanted to enter. They asked for you to write down a dream of yours. Sounds simple enough. Except I don’t have any. I used to have so many. I don’t even know when I went from having many to some, let alone NONE. I’m not just being dramatic. I feel like there’s nothing I can hope for. I used to want to go to Europe but then couldn’t afford it for so long. Then we chose having dogs over going abroad since we don’t want to ever put them in kennels. I used to want to live in California. No one else really shared my desire. They tried to humor me until I gave up. Mom and I were going to move to CA back in 1983 instead of Milwaukee but it was too expensive. Mom didn’t think we could afford it even though we’d been talking about it for years. When I met Greg I told him I wanted to live in CA someday. He would casually mention it like he remembered and it would someday happen. Now he’s made it pretty clear he doesn’t want to.

I used to want to be thin and gave up on that. That’s a whole other blog post for me to delve into someday. I used to want to publish at least one book. I see so many other bloggers getting published and feel no jealousy. It just doesn’t feel possible for me. It no longer feels like good things can happen to me. No, I don’t have the worst life. Or even a bad life. It just seems like there was more balance between good and bad. Now the good is so few and far between that maybe I don’t even recognize it.

 

My inability to share my life with others  has gotten worse. I can do it on my blog but no where else. I used to be able to share anything on Twitter and interact with others daily. Same on Instagram although I didn’t post selfies. Now I’m almost paralyzed and unable to post pictures since before the new year. Part of me feels like no one cares what I post so why do it?! I’ve always been worried about overposting, making people sick of me. I feel like I’m not getting anything out of social media anymore. I realize that you get out of things what you put in and I’m no longer contributing. I’ve been expecting someone to appear and take an interest in me and drag me out of my shell. That’s not happening and it’s unrealistic to think it would or could.

 

I’ve put off writing a blog post since I didn’t want to bring anyone else down with my current mood. It doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere so I have to do something. I can’t mope around anymore. I can’t wait for anyone else to take hold of my life and make things right. I’m sure a lot of this stems from my low self-esteem. I used to dislike how I looked outside but liked myself inside. Now I hate myself inside and out. Hate is not too strong a word. I don’t dwell on looks, my own or others so I don’t know why I’m so hard on myself. It’s not even a matter of being fat. I know I wouldn’t like myself any more if I was thin. I feel like people see no worth in me and have finally convinced me that I’m worthless.

 

I’ve decided to try an experiment starting Feb. 1. I barely look in the mirror at myself because I can’t stand to see myself. All I see are flaws and ugliness. I’m going to FORCE MYSELF to take a selfie every single day and post it. It will probably make me cry. I could cry now just thinking of doing it. I may not last the month but I’m going to try. I might have to try writing down one good thing about myself each day also. If I can think of any. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t know how others got such high opinions of themselves. I REALLY WANT TO KNOW. There are people twice as fat as me that think they’re beautiful. How does this happen?! How do you start loving yourself? Until I learn how, I’m fat on the outside and dead on the inside.

There Are No Words

The title of this is misleading. People say that when they don’t know what to say. Something has affected them and they wish to express it and don’t know how to choose the words. In my case, there are too many words. Oh, so many to describe what I’m feeling but none of them suit me.

Things have been progressing ever so slowly with Alzheimer’s as they tend to do. The gradual decline has been at a snail’s pace for over 3 years. Sometimes more rapidly than others but always leveling off quickly and staying somewhat manageable. I know time passes when we’re not paying attention but this is ridiculous. All of a sudden, with no notice, helping my mother has become a full time job. Obviously, I noticed that more and more time has been devoted to doing tasks for her. But I was still able to squeeze in a few other things a day. I had been selling online here and there when possible and writing blog posts when I found myself with a block of time. It all became too apparent over our Thanksgiving vacation. We are currently on Christmas vacation which just reinforced my thoughts on this.

I will try to write a post soon about the vacations but it certainly was no break for me. This post is specifically about Alzheimer’s and what I’ve been dealing with lately. As always seems the case, I need to get what I’m experiencing out of my system by sharing it on here. I have no one else to talk to about it and it lightens my burden to tell my story.

Less than a week before we left for our Thanksgiving vacation, Greg and I had been out of the house for a few hours going to estate sales. We came home to find large turds on the kitchen floor, down the stairs and a mess in the bathroom. Having 3 dogs, my first thought was that one of them had had an accident. But our dogs are good and don’t go in the house ever. It didn’t take us long to figure out it was Mom. I found her sitting at the computer in pants that she had crapped all the way down to the ankles in. She had her dirty pad taken out of her pants and it was sitting next to her on the top of the desk. Ack. That sound you hear is me wretching. I’m not going to go into the detail of what it involved to clean her and the house up. But a general summation is I took her down to the bathroom and then made several trips upstairs to get her clean underpants, pants and a shirt plus a washcloth to clean her with. Then I had to wipe down the computer, the mouse and desktop with isopropyl alcohol. I had to take her dirty clothes down to the laundry tub and rinse them out. Then run a load in the washer extra long to deep clean and sanitize the clothing. Not to mention cleaning the floor and throw rugs. It sounds like I went into detail but I didn’t. I left out me trying to have a conversation with her and she has no clue what she’s done. Or what’s happened to her. Or that she’s covered in feces. Or why I’m upset. Or why I’m skeeved out.

Anybody who’s read this blog for very long knows this isn’t the first time I’ve had to deal with this. It most likely would’ve happened even if I was home and it’s very likely the beginning would have played out the same way. She would’ve lost control of her bowels as I was getting her to the bathroom. But I would’ve been home to clean her up before she could wander back upstairs touching everything. There is no way to regulate someone else’s bowels when they can’t give you a clue that they have to go.

I made a huge deal a little over 2 years ago when I had to wipe my mom’s ass for the first time. I wrote a blog post called “The Gift Of An Asswipe”. I was appalled. Little did I know that that was NOTHING. Sometime in the last year, more than 6 months ago, I’ve taken the job on full time. I came to the realization that it wasn’t worth it to “let” her do it and make such a mess that I’d have to clean her hands with a toothbrush and clean the toilet seat and everything around her. At that time, I decided to just buck up and do it. It’s basically like wiping a baby’s ass but bigger, right?! Well, I don’t have a baby but I now have a toddler. Mom seems like a toddler so much of the time. So Mom has bowel movements but not daily and she doesn’t like to sit on the toilet for any length of time. I’m like a labor coach but instead of cheering for the baby to come out, I’m cheering for the shit to come out. Everyone’s quit reading by now but that won’t stop me. I’m going to continue so that someday I can remember exactly what I lived through. So she’ll have a piece of shit hanging out of her and say, “I’ve got to get up!” and start to get up. I have to stop her and say, “You’ve got shit hanging out of you. You can’t get up until you push it out!” Then she says her line again and I repeat mine, ad nauseum. The other part of our “conversation” is me telling her to “PUSH!” (repeatedly) and her saying, “I can’t!” (repeatedly). UGH. When she gets it out, I cheer. That is what my life has been reduced to. And if she doesn’t go in the morning, I have to worry and wonder all day when/if she’ll need to go. I’ve had to do an external “digital stool removal” and also had her crap in my hand while I wiped her. It’s futile to ask, “Are you done?” because she’ll answer the opposite of the real answer or else, “I don’t know.” There is no way I’d put her on stool softener since like most normal people, she can sometimes go easily or before she’s ready.

I know she needs more exercise but she’s really only capapble of walking from one room to the other a few times a day. I try to make sure she stays hydrated even if it means she’ll end up wetting the couch or bed. Drinking water keeps her bowels moving. She doesn’t like to drink and I have to bug her to drink several times a day or she’d drink nothing. She’s gotten so she wants me to open the water bottle and pour it in her mouth. There is no happy medium, once in awhile she’ll drink 2 or 3 bottles of water straight down. Even if I tell her not to drink so much, she obviously doesn’t listen to me one iota.

On Tuesdays I give her a bath which I’ve also written about at length. I still try to get her to wash as much of her body by herself. You can tell she wants me to do it. I do some but want to keep her being able to do SOMETHING. She’s still able to get in and out of the tub which at 4 months shy of 95 years old is amazing! I still worry and dread every bath day that that will be the day she won’t be able to get out of the tub. Especially when Greg is gone out of town and I fear having to call the fire dept. because I can’t lift her out myself.

I was rereading a few of my Alzheimer’s posts and didn’t realize how bad things have been and for how long. On vacation, Mom no longer asks, “When are we going home?” She no longer cares for sweets like she used to. She used to love candy and wanted some every day or some dessert. Now if I ask her if she wants some, she usuallys says no. She hasn’t been able to use the mouse on the computer for over a year and even using the space bar on the keyboard, she still manages to hit the wrong button and get herself knocked out of her slot machine game. I have to check on her every few minutes. Some days she can paly a few hours on the computer and not screw anything up. Other days, she hits the wrong button 25-30 times. I patiently explain to her what to hit each time and it doesn’t sink in.

A month or so ago, I was lamenting to her how I don’t have any friends. I don’t even remember why now. Out of the blue, she says, “You’ve got me!” which should have been touching but it was just a sore reminder of the friend she used to be to me. I said, “Do you talk to me?” and she took a long time to answer and then said, “Well, no…”. That’s been the biggest conversation we’ve had in months, maybe years. I don’t usually talk to her about things because she doesn’t usually answer.

The smallest things can give difficulty anymore. Taking her 4 pills in the morning used to be no big deal. She takes a multi-vitamin, a blood pressure pill, Plavix (blood thinner) and an incontinence pill. As I put the pills into her hand, I tell her to “swallow them, don’t hold them in your mouth” and give her a half glass of apple juice. She swallows all but the multi-vitamin which she rolls around in her mouth and chews (with no teeth). No matter how much cajoling or persuasion, she won’t swallow the pill! The first time she did this, I didn’t notice until she was eating her cereal and she still had it in there. Miraculously, she still had it left in her mouth after eating an entire bowl of cereal. That takes talent or determination but I was too flabbergasted to figure out which. This doesn’t happen every day, mind you, but it’s happened a handful of times. Now I just make her spit it out. I’m afraid to stop giving it to her since then she might pick a different pill to not swallow. She still does that with food she eats that she saves one last mouthful that she won’t swallow and will chew it all day (we’re talking HOURS) unless I make her spit it out.

I love the smell of urine in the morning. That’s a joke I make to get me through the unpleasantness that is waking up. 2 years ago my life got considerably better by finding out about absorbent bed pads. I spread 2 across Mom’s bed and it catches the majority of what the diaper doesn’t hold. Believe me, that’s a lot! As things have gotten worse, I’ve had to strip the bed almost daily to dry the rest of the sheets that have gotten wet. I don’t wash them every day or I’d get nothing done! Besides, she lays on a dry pad so it doesn’t matter. In the beginning, I tried to be frugal and if the bed pad was not that wet, I would hang it to dry and it could be used again. Now it’s so wet that I just fold it up and throw it out. It’s crazy how much I dread getting up anymore. I can’t stay in bed even on vacation because I don’t want Mom in bed more than 9 hours at the most (usually 8) since the longer she’s in bed, the wetter it’ll be. I need to get her walked from the bed to the bathroom which feels like I’m pulling a mule sometimes. She’s gotten a lot slower to move and wants to grab on to things as she goes by for support. I get her into the bathroom and positioning her in front of the toilet sounds like it would be simple. She’s stubborn and won’t turn and doesn’t seem to know why we came in there. I peel off her reeking nightgown and get her to sit on the toilet. She won’t always go pee though. Sometimes it’s because she went in bed. Other times she is too agitated to relax enough to go. I’ve tried to do a Pavlov’s dog thing where I tell her to “put your hands together, close your eyes, take some deep breaths, relax and go pee”. That worked for awhile but lately she’s been contrary and keeps wanting to get up. I have to listen to hear if she pees. If there’s other noise going on, I have to lean her over and look to see if she’s gone yet. I also check to see if she’s started taking a bowel movement. The fun never ends.

Have I told you that I dread going to bed at night? Yeah, that too. I’m not afraid of hard work and don’t mind helping her or people in general. I am more than willing to do for someone else but it all feels so futile. If our repertoire involved a different level of interaction, my life would be so different. If she crapped on the floor and was like, “I’m sorry, honey, that I had an accident and left a mess for you to clean up.” I’d be like, “That’s ok, Mom. I’ll take care of it. Don’t worry about it.” That is not my reality. I shouldn’t expect gratitude or even credit for caregiving. I can’t expect a smile or hug or even a kind word. I’m unrealistic to expect an answer to anything I ask her. The saddest thing is things aren’t going to get better. They are only going to get worse. How does a person “keep on keeping on” when their day is just one depressing thing after another? I don’t know but I’ve been managing to do it. I wish I could say I never lose my temper or never get frustrated but I do. I guess that makes me human.

My hubby tells me at least once a day, “You’re such a good person.” He never gives me any other compliments. I don’t feel like a good person. I feel like someone who has no choice and is doing the best they can. One day I told him, ‘I hate it when you tell me I’m a good person”. So then he replies, “That’s why I do it!” Argh.

So we were watching “Bounce” a movie from 2000 on Netflix with Ben Affleck and Gyneth Paltrow. In one scene, the female character gets up from a booth in a diner where they are sitting and talking to someone else to run after a woman who came out of the restroom and unknowingly had toilet paper stuck to the bottom of her shoe. Instead of making an issue about it, she just went up behind the woman and stood on the paper and let her “walk it off”. The woman who had the toilet paper on her shoe never knew that the female character had done this for her. She came back to the booth and said nothing about it to anyone. It was just the right thing to do and she did it. That’s a good person. When I saw that, I got tears in my eyes, I thought how I wouldn’t mind being that type of good person….

You know how I’ve said that we’re the type of people who don’t sue over anything?! Well, it’s more true than even I realized. I could wring my husband’s neck when he finally told me this. I was so scared and angry, I couldn’t even see straight. Remember on our last vacation we were to leave on a Thursday and it was delayed until the following Tuesday due to RV problems? The night before we were to leave (Wed.), something happened that could have turned out VERY differently.
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I’ll tell the story the way I found out…That Thurs. afternoon after we found out we were staying home, hubby and I were walking our 3 dogs. I have Amber on a leash and Ivy & Elvis are on a leash with Greg. The sidewalk isn’t quite large enough to accomodate the 2 of us and the 3 dogs to walk side by side for very long. So I usually (but not always) go first with Greg following close enough behind so we can talk. We were almost through with our walk (maybe 4 blocks from home) and Greg was lagging behind. He’d been lagging a bit all day and I couldn’t figure out if he was just tired or down from the disappointment of not going on vacation. So I asked him, “How come you’re having trouble keeping up with me today?” and he yells at the top of his lungs in a very defensive tone, “BECAUSE I GOT  HIT BY A CAR YESTERDAY!” I stopped in my tracks. “WHAT?!” I didn’t know if he was joking or serious. “WHEN? WHERE?” “HOW?” I asked. He started to explain and I couldn’t stop thinking about why he didn’t tell me. He said he knew it would upset me and didn’t want to ruin my vacation!!  OMG. My vacation was already “ruined” from not being able to go…
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When I got the details, I could see why he didn’t tell me because I would have torn him a new asshole. Greg works in a huge building complex with lots of tall office buildings. There’s a 6 story parking ramp he has to park in that has a street you cross to get there from his building. The street is not a regular street, it is inside the complex, only people going to or from those buildings use it and they are used to pedestrians crossing all the time and there is a very low speed  limit and stop signs, etc. Greg was leaving work that night on the “high” that only comes from knowing you don’t have to be back to work for 10 days! He stepped into the street and saw a car coming at him and instead of slowing down, the car speeded up! He said it happened so fast, he couldn’t get out of the way. My hubby’s feet weren’t planted firmly on the ground because if they were, the car would’ve broken his legs when it hit him. He was lifting them as he was walking so when the car hit him, he flew onto the hood rolled across and landed on the ground on his back/ side. He was sore and bruised but no head injury or broken bones. The guy was a 20-something that was texting as he was driving!!! The guy asked if he was ok and he said he was and the guy said he didn’t see Greg. It wasn’t dark out yet and Greg weighs 300 lbs. so he’s hard to miss. But if you’ve got your nose in your phone… Greg said he left dents in the hood of the guy’s car he was hit so hard.
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So at this point of hearing the story, I’m angry and shouting and when you hear the next part, you’ll wonder how the entire world didn’t hear me carrying on. I asked him if he called the cops and he said NO. “What?!” Greg didn’t want to take the time since he knew he’d have to wait for them to arrive, make a statement, do paperwork, etc. He just wanted to get home so he could pack and get ready for vacation. Besides, he wasn’t hurt so he didn’t bother. I was livid. The fact that this punk kid GETS AWAY WITH HITTING SOMEONE WITH HIS CAR AND NOTHING HAPPENS TO HIM FOR IT. Why that idiot deserves a free pass is beyond me! It should go on his record!! He’s going to do this again and really injure somebody, maybe kill them! I am a super cautious driver and have always been afraid of even bumping someone and getting sued. I’ve known people who weren’t really hurt but said they were just to get a settlement. I wouldn’t want Greg to lie and say he was hurt if he wasn’t but not all injuries show up right away. It takes a few days sometimes. I said, “At least you got the guy’s name and phone number, right?!” No, he didn’t.
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So this is why he didn’t tell me. Because he knew I wouldn’t like it. After my initial anger wore off, I started thinking how our whole lives could have changed in an instant. If Greg had gotten knocked onto his noggin, he could be like his brother Brian who had the head injury earlier this year slipping on his kitchen floor. Then he’d never be the same person again, couldn’t work or hold any job, couldn’t function in any real way, etc. Or worse still, he could’ve been killed by that idiot and here I’d sit being a widow. Just thinking of that has me paralyzed with fear. I don’t think of him dying at all because we’ve been together over 30 years now and I wouldn’t know what to do next if he wasn’t here. I mean I could live a few weeks with him gone like when he travels but not indefinitely without him or his presence. It’s not even everything he does for me which is a lot. It’s that here I’d be with Mom and 3 dogs which is more than I can handle alone.
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So I’ve tried to feel grateful that we dodged a bullet (or a car). But Greg knows the real lucky one is that guy driving. If I had been with him and saw this, I’d have dragged (drug?) him from the car and beaten him and I’d probably be in jail. I’m not a fan of violence but when that level of stupidity is employed, I believe something is needed to get through to someone like that. At least it gave us a new answer to the question, “How are you feeling this morning?” “Like I was hit by a car.” ;-} I made him promise if this ever happens again, to call the police NO MATTER WHAT. God forbid it happens again!!

A Whirlwind Getaway

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks. I woke up with a bad cold on Monday Oct. 5th, just 3 days before we were to leave on vacation. My first instinct was to cancel and reschedule because my colds always last a week minimum, usually longer. Then I saw how disappointed my hubby was at the thought of not going. So I decided that if the roles were reversed,  he would go so I agreed to make the best of it. I pretty much got everything packed and Mom bathed on Tues. Oct. 6th. I was doing last minute things like getting food packed up on Thurs. morning while Greg went to fetch the RV and bring it to the house.
Halloween decorations above our garage

Halloween decorations above our garage

Wouldn’t you know he called to tell me it was acting up and he had to take it to the shop?! A bunch of things wouldn’t work on it and it turned out to be the serpentine belt, idler arms and a bearing that needed to be replaced. Since he got it in fairly early on that Thurs., he thought we might have it back the next day. So we puttered around the house and when the mechanic called later that afternoon, he told us what the problem was. He said he had to order parts but made it sound like we might have it Friday. So we hung around the house and put up Halloween decorations above the garage. On Friday, Greg called the repair shop at noon to find out the status. Well, they wouldn’t have the parts until Monday so we were staying home for the weekend. It was a weekend in limbo of not knowing if we’d end up being home all week or if we’d eventually get on the road afterall.
Wolff's Flea Market in Rosemont, IL

Wolff’s Flea Market in Rosemont, IL

Hubby works every Sunday and since he had a free one, we wanted to check out Wolff’s Flea Market near Rosemont, IL. It’s only 3 miles from our house but we’ve only gone ONCE–about 20 years ago! We knew that the hardcore folks get up and go while it’s still dark out. We stayed in bed and strolled over at our leisure. We took 2 hours during the height of the day and walked 6 miles. We got a few things which I haven’t photographed yet: a chalkware of Jesus, Mary & Joseph, a casket plaque from 1878 and some longhorn steer horns. It’s a good thing we didn’t get anything else since you have to carry it as you walk around. The regulars bring carts, wagons and rolling suitcases to lug their purchases around. It was fun and I think we’ll do it again in another 20 years. ;-)
Elvis riding dirty

Elvis riding dirty

Monday came and we found out that Tues. was the earliest we would get the RV back. We still didn’t call the trip off, leaving everything sitting around packed up (not the food but the pills and clothing, etc.). Tues. Oct. 13th, we heard it was ready and Greg went to get the RV. I made us sandwiches for lunch to bring on the road and we left just before 3 pm and got to Green Bay around 6 pm. We returned home on Sat. Oct. 17th.
Ivy takes possession of the dog bed in the RV

Ivy takes possession of the dog bed in the RV

So we had a short trip of 3 days and 4 nights which we never do. We squeezed a lot into such a short time. We got Mom out every day and took her gambling with us. We gambled more on this short trip than we’ve done in years. We ate all our meals in the RV and only went to one antique shop in Green Bay. We did make it to Maplewood meats and got a few goodies to bring home. We didn’t get to do much reading and no watching movies or anything like that. Greg and I went apple picking one morning before a cold snap hit. The last 2 days there the temps dropped from 50’s & 60’s to 20’s. It was bitter cold everywhere in the Midwest and now the temps are in the 70’s again. Go figure!
My beautiful girl, Amber Sunset, in the RV

My beautiful girl, Amber Sunset, in the RV

With life throwing us curve balls on a random basis, we’ve learned all we can do is just roll with it. Try to take what happens in stride and  have low expectations. The few extra days at home gave me a chance to get over the worst part of my cold. I’ve still got a small cough and congestion 2 weeks later. Luckily, the RV was still under the extended warranty we got when we bought it. It expires Nov. 7th so fingers crossed nothing else goes wrong for awhile with it. We’ve got at least one big trip coming up and possibly two that we need it in good working order for.
I wanted this birdcage but hubby veto'd it. No where to put it!

I wanted this birdcage but hubby veto’d it. No where to put it!

I’ll be doing posts about other parts of my life soon but wanted to get this published before anymore time passes.

From Humble Beginnings

I have much to say but not a lot of time. I’ll type as fast as I can and hope I can get in what I need to. We got back from vacation on Sept. 12th and are gearing up for another one in 10 days. We purposely leave our vacations for the 2nd half of the year because at least then we have something to look forward to. Many use their vacation time up in the first few months of the year and have to wait until the next calendar year to take more. There’s something to be said for just knowing you have the time off coming to you.
Mom drinking her coffee in the RV

Mom drinking her coffee in the RV

Our last trip was up to Black River Falls, WI. I think we’ve officially burned ourself out on the place. The first 5 days the temperature was in the 90’s every day! That’s unheard of for that time of year. Of course, we had no air conditioning. It was less than pleasant but we got through it. We ate out twice at the casino and gambled twice as well. Greg & I got away for a few hours here and there to check out the antique shops in BRF and Hixton. Mom didn’t want to do much which limited what we could do. We knew that going in so really weren’t too bummed out about it. One day Greg & I went up to my hometown–Eau Claire, WI. We hadn’t been there in about 15 years.
Dad's grave

Dad’s grave

We went to the cemetery and saw the graves of my dad along with his first wife, her parents, my half sister’s dead twins, etc. We found the graves right away. My oldest half sister had gone to her 60th high school reunion in August (mind blowing, eh?) and had been unable to find the graves. We went to see the church my grandma (dad’s mom) founded in 1923. It played a large part in my upbringing. I attended Sunday School, got confirmed and then went to church there until I left for college. My dad had been elder in the church and had paid for a lot of the stained glass windows. We went to McDonough Park which is right by Dell’s Pond. We played there a lot as kids. I saw they had replaced the sign that had been shot full of bullet holes with a new one.
North Presbyterian Church that my grandma founded

North Presbyterian Church that my grandma founded

We got out of the car and walked through the old neighorhood for several blocks. It was surreal–like walking back in time. Things were the same and yet they weren’t. The area was always poor but now it seemed so rundown. A shop owner had told us not to go there at night because it was dangerous. There wasn’t a soul on the streets which made me wonder. Seeing the house I grew up in was bittersweet…. Things had been changed for the worse. Basically, it looked like someone had ruined the place. It sits next to a large building that used to be my grandparents corner grocery store. It had closed before my birth and my dad had turned it into a duplex (upper and lower apts). We always called it “The Store”. Well, The Store was for sale and looked unfit for habitation.  The post office no longer delivers to the houses, the mailboxes have now been moved to the curb.
Grandparents' corner grocery store as a duplex

Grandparents’ corner grocery store as a duplex

It made me think of my last blog post and how I feel like white trash. Or I am white trash. While we were there and for a week or so after we got home, I kept thinking, “No wonder I didn’t make anything of myself. It would be nearly impossible to, coming from that area.” I said it to my hubby and he said, “But you did make something of yourself.” I said, “No, I didn’t.” He said, “You survived. You got out.” I guess that’s something…
My first home

My first home

I’ve been buried in laundry and cooking since we got back. I haven’t even been able to work on selling online at all. Mom is taking up more and more of my time which I knew would happen. She pretty much needs help with everything she does now. Some days I run out of patience before breakfast. That’s when you know it’s going to be a long day. I’ll save all the details of that for a future post. Lucky you! ;-)
Neighbor's tree being cut down

Neighbor’s tree being cut down

The next door neighbor had their giant elm tree cut down last week. Today the tree cutting co. came to drill out the stump. We had ours done 14 years ago. It was a horrific expense at the time, close to $5,000 then. We’re taking Amber to the vet on Thurs. afternoon for her yearly vaccinations. I’m just trying to keep my chin up and my head above water under less than ideal circumstances. Hope you’re doing the same! :-)
Logs from downed tree

Logs from downed tree

 

I’m going to squeeze in one last post before we head off to vacation. We’ll be unplugged from social media which is always much needed after total iimmersion. The funeral last Thursday went off without a hitch. Sadly, there was hardly anyone there. If anything ever rang true to me was that someone’s value or worth isn’t in the number that attend their funeral service. Aunt Trese was beloved my many and contributed much to her family and society. Yet compared to some of the other family funerals I’ve attended where there was standing room only, this was sparce. I know it was a work day and people had to get off work to come. But most of the funerals are. I remarked about this to Greg and he said it was because most of the people she knew were already dead. :-(

 

That’s harsh but true. Trese was 86 and had lead quite a life. She had been a beautician when she first married and then later was a nurse’s aide at a psychiatric hospital. She had been married over 50 years before her husband died. She had raised 5 boys and 1 girl. She was a tough cookie but also was very gentle and kind. I’ll never forget how much fun we had talking to her and Uncle Frank at family parties and weddings. She was always very welcoming to me which is a big thing in my book.

 

I was an outsider to the Babe family when Greg & I met 30 years ago. I still feel like an outsider at times but obviously less so. The people who have gone out of their way to come up and talk to me and welcome me will never be forgotten. Greg’s Aunt Rosie (who’s been dead over 12 yrs.) was the first to chat with me at every occasion. She made me feel less self-conscious and I would actually forget about the other people around us and just lose myself in things she would tell me. She liked to travel and gamble too which neither of us ever tired of talking about. We took my mom with us to play bingo with her once.

 

Aunt Anne just oozes warmth and love. I’ve always said if I didn’t have the mother I do, I’d want her to be my mother. Aunt Trese was much the same. She was a lot of fun and always interested in how and what we were doing. No one was really shedding tears at this funeral because she was “ready to go”.

 

I often think about how we come into this world with different advantages and disadvantages. Like the family we are born into could be ideal or less than. We could end up being raised in poverty or luxury. We can have health issues or be completely healthy. The list goes on and on. I’m sure you get the idea. I used to naively believe that we all got the same thing, just in different ways. I don’t know if I can explain this properly…like everyone has bad and good things happen throughout their lives but NOT all good or not all bad. You might get all the good at the beginning of your life or at the end. I could give a bunch of examples but the more I write, the crazier this theory sounds. I thought that everything would balance out, either in this life or the next. Obviously, people should be trying to be the best person they can be, no matter what.

 

It just goes to show when I put some of my stranger ideas down on paper (or the internet), they don’t sound as good as they originally did inside my head. Not that everything up there makes sense but it’s a vast improvement over what it sounds like when it leaves its place of orgin. Like the title of this could have been “Dead Aunt…Dead Ant”. Yikes…

 

So getting back to leaving on a trip, here’s what’s happening at my house. Not long ago, I scrubbed the kitchen floor with a toothbrush. Yes, it was that bad and I wanted to make sure I got it as clean as possible. Our floor is ugly and the rust color of the linoleum doesn’t show the dirt which is both a blessing and a curse. Then I got a carpenter ant invasion. I kill every single one I see and even though I go barefoot, I keep a sandal in the kitchen to crush them with. Yeah, I’m classy like that. Everything I tell about seems to paint me as having a white trash existence. <Blink> I guess instead of fighting that, I should embrace it. It’s ghettotastic! ;-) I’ve spent way too much time researching how to get rid of the ants. I’m going to try putting down some (uncooked) grits. Not because they’re Southern which would be funny but because they can’t digest cornmeal and it kills them. While we were sleeping last night, Amber chewed up a 95 year old copy of Pinocchio. :-( She’s never done that before but has lately been acting out a bit. She’s 7 years old so should know better but I guess dogs will make us pay if they don’t get their way. I will be back in a few weeks with more skintillating excerpts from my life. :-)
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