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Birthday Month

I’ve been so absorbed in social media lately and yet I haven’t wanted to get on here and blog. Like sitting for hours and watching Instagram Stories. I don’t know if I like them or not but they keep me coming back for more. I know it’s my dislike of the new laptop and the difficulty that arises from using it that keeps me at bay. Last blog post I published was on my iPhone which caused other problems but may be the way I have to post for awhile. The entire week I’ve been like a zombie since Greg started his new job on Monday. We’ve been getting up at least an hour earlier than we used to and going to bed an hour earlier but still don’t sleep well. At first it was the anxiety of the unknown but now it’s just going back to a 5 day work week after many years of a 4 day one. I’ve tried to keep my yap shut and keep the complaining down to a minimum. I’m really dreading winter for his travel to and from work. He also doesn’t have much to do which he knew would be the case but it’s still hard to go from being busy almost constantly to trying to find things to do.
Wed. Aug. 17th was hubby’s last day at his old job. They had a going away party for him with pizza. He was given an eagle trophy and a challenge coin for being at O’Hare airport for 12 1/2 years. One of his coworkers has a jet airplane chocolate mold so made treats for everyone. They turned out really cute! Now I want to make some. I’ll add it to the list of 5 million other things I want to do. Which I can squeeze in between the 3 thousand other things I’m already doing. Sigh…


I have an inordinate amount of things to tell so will shorten them beyond what I usually would. August 4th I got my hair cut short. It didn’t turn out to be as short as I wanted it. Or as short as the other 2 times. I like it but I can see how very soon it will be getting unruly because of the natural curl. I got 16″ cut off and the salon I went to no longer sends in the hair or gives a free hair cut. I wish they’d told me on the phone when I made the appt. It was no big deal though. The haircut was $25 & I gave her $30 with the tip. Then we took the rattail home and boxed it up and mailed it to Locks of Love. I had them notify me of receipt via email instead of mail since it takes so long. I already got the appreciation certificate whch was nice. Since Greg was off, he came along like last time to take pictures. It was so sweet and I told him not many men would do it. He said he didn’t mind since it was only once every 3-4 years! Ha ha.


Next step was getting my eyes examined. Lens Crafters had just gotten this Clarifye machine in 3 weeks before. It takes a snapshot of the eye and supposedly gives a more accurate exam. My eyes hadn’t changed that much but they are so bad (6.25 & 6.50) that I never feel like I can see good. Even now with supposedly 20/20, I can read things at a distance but it takes some time for my eyes to focus. One of the downfalls of getting older, I guess. I didn’t have as much trouble picking out glasses frames as last time. I tried on like 6 and narrowed them down from there. I had Greg take pics of me with them on plus Lens Crafters has an ipad like device that takes pics and you can put them all on a page and compare you wearing each of them. I really like my new ones. I’m surprised how much. They are Vogue brand and made in China. They had a 50% off lenses sale so the total for one pair came to $389. The machine that makes the glasses was broken so instead of an hour, they said they would take a day to make them. They weren’t ready the next day like they promised but I picked them up on Sat. Aug. 6th. They needed some adjustments and sent me on my way. Then I noticed something on the left lens near the nosepiece. It was like a piece of glue or something that wouldn’t come off. I didn’t want to take them back but they were so new. I figured I better. So I went on my birthday to Lens Crafters and the woman there at that time knew right away it wasn’t glue. It was a nick that the person adjusting had put in the lens! They had to remake the lens and I had to give them up, use my old pair and come back again the next night. So I was at Lens Crafters 4 times in 4 days. <eyeroll>


Sunday Aug. 7th (my actual birthday), we got pizza for the 2nd time this year and brought it home to eat. We got 2 since the 2nd was half off and there’d be leftovers. I never take pictures of the pizza but figured I would. I took the one pizza and then when I went to take a pic of the 2nd, it fell on the floor face down. Gah! It wasn’t as bad as it sounds but not ideal. 


For a special treat for my birthday, Greg took me to his office. I’d seen his 2 previous offices but not the current one which is SO NICE. It’s a new building and the cubes are HUGE. The size of a NYC apartment!! In Feb. he just moved to a window cube and has a lovely view too. If it were me, I wouldn’t be able to give it up! (Now at his new job, he has a much smaller cube with low walls. It’s also in front by the supervisor’s office where everyone has to walk by.) So that was really fun and then we went to this waterfall in Rosemont and walked around and took pictures. It’s a touristy thing to do but since we’re local, we never do it. 

In the past few weeks, I’ve made 4 batches of homemade spaghetti sauce. The tomatoes started coming in the very end of July which was about a week early. When I originally started this blog, I was thinking of making it all about cooking and recipes. I was far more into it 6 years ago than I am now. I still enjoy cooking but don’t have as much uninterrupted time as I used to. Plus Mom used to encourage me to make various dishes. She would tell me how delicious things were that I made and have 2nd helpings, etc. Now she still eats well but never tells me she likes something or to make it again, etc. If I ask her if she likes her dinner, she doesn’t answer. It’s hard to get enthused about cooking when the ones you lived to cook for don’t take any interest. Greg still likes my cooking but I don’t think it matters too much to him what I make.


The weekend of my birthday, Greg found a vintage formica kitchen table top at the curb. Someone had put it out for the garbage in our neighborhood. It was the best gift I could’ve gotten even though it was free. Or maybe because it was free?! I’ve wanted one for a long time. Never mind that our kitchen is not big enough for a kitchen table! I grew up with a kitchen table and dislike not having one. It didn’t matter that it had no legs, we knew we would figure something out. After much thought, I came up with the idea of using the vintage Singer treadle sewing machine base Greg got at an estate sale. It’s so beautiful and he had a piece of redwood fitted tot the top of it but not screwed down. He was going to treat the wood and now we have to find something else for the redwood to go onto. We are going to try to dismantle the loveseat in the sunroom and put the table in there. Ideally, we will remove our large couch in the LR that has been trashed for years and throw it away. Then put the loveseat from the sunroom in the LR. If it sounds confusing, that’s why we haven’t done it yet. It involves a lot of moving and lifting and making way to carry things. Plus the weather has been scorchingly hot and we try to avoid doing that type of thing in the heat.

The same weekend, we found an old ALL detergent metal bucket and 2 pieces of vintage enamelware. Two different size white pans in very good condition–one is round and the other about twice as big and oval. We haven’t had luck finding anything curbside in a long time even though our neighborhood usually throws out nicer stuff.


Sunday Aug. 21st was the only Sunday off hubby had this year since he was transitioning between jobs. So I decided it was high time we go to Vintage Garage Chicago. It is a once a month vintage market in Uptown Chicago (north of downtown). They set up in the first few levels of a parking ramp. It costs $5 to get in and you walk around and see everyone’s wares. We had to park several blocks away & I got a blister on my heel but otherwise it was fun. I doubt we’ll go again but I’m glad we went once. 

Hubby found 2 cool things there. The first was an aluminum P-38 box airplane from the 1940’s. It looks like a hood ornament but it’s not. There was a booth to get a free appraisal of a vintage item. They weren’t busy so I told Greg we should take the plane over there. We got a good laugh because we know more than they do. They had no clue & only knew how to search on eBay. I hate to brag but in this case I will. I know way too much about looking things up on eBay!! 😇

The other thing Greg got was a Weston voltmeter in its original wooden box! Inside the lid of the box is the paperwork dated 1912! So much fun to find something we’d never seen before & might never see again! I got 2 books & a small planter. I’m just not seeing the appeal in a lot these days…

Hubby smoked his first pork loin last weekend. He used cherry wood chips & it turned out great. The “bark” was kind of hard & hubby lost a filling eating it. 😩He had to go to the dentist even though he’d just been there for a cleaning 2 1/2 weeks ago. 😐 It’s been so blessed hot and HUMID, we’ve had the air on for like a month straight. I hate having it on for more than a few days but we’d die without it. I wonder what kind of winter we’ll have?! Sorry this shortened post turned out to be long. 😬 It’s been a crazy month! 😜

Wings To Fly

Greg returned home from his 2 weeks of work training on Sat. July 23rd. I picked him up at the airport around 2 pm. They’ve closed (actually demolished) the Kiss-n-Fly lot that we always used for drop off and pick up. We still meet in that area just outside of where it is fenced off for construction purposes. It cuts through a lot of the hassle of picking him up at the main part of the airport. He brought me a very cute wallet that says “Federal Agent’s Wife” which looks just like the one he has that holds his badge.
Greg had applied and interviewed for 2 jobs in June. One was running the training dept. in Milwaukee WI. The other was the same job he does now (cargo inspector) but at Midway Airport instead of O’Hare. He has been trying to get tje promotion he was promised 11 years ago. The head of O’Hare had taken him from being a TSA screener and had promoted him to head up the training dept. 22 years ago. This guy told him repeatedly that he would be elevated to the next pay grade in 1 year. He was always praising him for the fine work. Then the guy left before the year was up and when Greg confronted him about it, he said, “I never said that!” This has been such a sore spot and cause of heartbreak for him. Then he had a female supervisor who picked on him for about 5 years. He just got switched to another one 2 months ago! He had applied for several promotions over the years and he never could figure out why he didn’t get them. Several guys who started after him and weren’t as good as he was at the work were given it instead of him. Due to recent events, we’ve figured out that this previous supervisor was the one holding him back.

Greg got a phone call about the Milwaukee job while in Georgia and was told they went with someone internally. This means someone who’s already working in the dept. He wasn’t sure he wanted to commute up to WI anyway. I’d been trying not to freak out wondering if we’d end up moving back up there then. When he got back from GA, he had a message that the person in charge at Midway had been trying to get ahold of him. He called them on Monday and found out that they were offering him the job. He wanted to meet in person and talk over their expectations and his and see what exactly the offer consists of. So Thurs. on his day off he drove down there and they talked. He told them he needed something in writing since he’d been burned before by the TSA. Ever since Thurs. he’s been waiting to receive the offer and finally it came through yesterday and he accepted it! He starts his new job on Monday Aug. 22nd.🙂

Greg is so happy that all the drawbacks to the position don’t seem as important as they originally did. He is going from being a small fish in a big pond to being a big fish in a small pond. He is definitely giving up A LOT of perks. He now has a 4 day work week (10 hour days) with Thurs., Fri. and Sat. off. He has to go to a 5 day work week (8 hour days). He can still work Sundays which is a big deal to me so he’ll have Friday and Sat. off still. Right now he has a 3 mile commute that takes between 8-11 minutes. To Midway he’ll have a 30 mile commute in heavy Chicago traffic. It takes 40 minutes PLUS depending on time of day. He’ll also have a ton of tolls unless he can find some backroads that won’t add excess time to the trip. By my calculations, even with the raise he’s getting, not counting the wear and tear on his Jeep, he’ll be losing $500 a year by taking the job. Plus losing a day off every week, etc. But his ego needs this and they want him BADLY. it’s worth a lot to me to have him happy.

Maybe the hardest thing for me is if I run into some kind of trouble, he could get home to help me in like 10 minutes. Now I’ll just have to wait until the end of the day no matter what. At first I couldn’t understand why he wanted to leave that bad that he’d give up his days off and the short commute but I realized it’s not about me. He likes a challenge and his current position no longer challenges him. They don’t seem to value him or his contribution like they should. So this is a bit of excitement happening around here with watching hubby stretching his wings to fly.

Last week I heard from my sister-in-law Sandy that my half-brother Gary has been having some health problems. He was up at the cottage alone in northern WI and had some type of attack. He had to be taken to the hospital in Barron, WI and then transferred to one in Eau Claire. They had run tests on him and it looked like a mass in his kidneys. He went home on a plane to Seattle and was seeing specialists and fearing kidney cancer. Looks like the first step is kidney removal but I don’t know any of the details yet. I spoke to him on the phone and he sounded terrible and was on his way to the urologist so we didn’t talk more than a minute or two. He’s 18 years older than me so 72. That’s been on my mind a lot this week too.


It’s that time again for me to donate my hair to Locks Of Love. I get sick of it long, I get sick of it short and I get sick of it inbetween. I’ve got an appt. on Thurs. with Madeline again to get it cut super short. She’s the one who did it the other 2 times I donated it. After I get the haircut, I’m going to get my eyes examined and get new glasses. It’s been 4 years and even though I always use a soft cloth to clean them, my glasses are extremely scratched up. I hope I find some I like! I figure my birthday week is as good a time as any to make all these changes.

I’m not having any trouble passing the time while hubby is gone. I never run out of things to do. I always have big plans but when it comes down to it, just surviving keeps me busy. I mean maintaining. I’ve noticed I have a way of being melodramatic when I write. Not to be outdone by my in person melodrama.😀

 I pretty much run a 1 person nursing home in our house. Hopefully, with more care and dignity than a real nursing home at a fraction of the price. In addition to the usual care, I’ve been doing my fair share of “doctoring” or “nursing” the past few weeks. We got home from our last vacation Friday June 24th. 2 days later, Mom got her first bedsore. Keep in mind she’s not bedridden. She doesn’t lay in bed and she can walk (slowly) but sits a lot. I get her up to go to the bathroom at intervals but she doesn’t move enough to get good circulation on her hind quarters. These are often called pressure sores from having pressure against the skin and it weakens over time. Well, hers was precipated by a bout of diarrhea where I may have cleaned her too vigorously. The skin of our butt cheeks is probably thinner than the cheeks on our faces. So it started out about the size of a thumbnail. I knew I had to nip it in the bud right away before it got worse or she got more of them. So I googled bedsores and was scared half to death. This happens to me every time I look something up on the Internet. There is so much bad information out there and worse case scenarios. Yet, I never learn to not look. Maybe it’s because I feel I have no one else to ask. 


Things that have changed since I last wrote about Mom’s Alzheimers:

 Since our last vacation, I no longer make her coffee. This is a woman who loved her coffee more than the average person. She had to have a cup every morning no matter what. She used to have some throughout the day and then dwindled it down to a just an additional half cup in the afternoon. Recently, she’d been drinking less and less of what I gave her. Then she started not drinking it at all. It would sit there with only one sip out of it. No matter how much I reminded her to drink or yelled at her to drink it, she wouldn’t. I would end up throwing it away every day. I would ask her why she didn’t like it anymore. She wouldn’t answer. It’s left up to my imagination why she won’t drink it. All I know is it’s not even an option for her anymore. She doesn’t ask for it, I don’t provide it. Wondering how I’ll use up the half full can of Maxwell House since neither hubby or I drink coffee….

 
I quit giving Mom a multi-vitamin every day. She wouldn’t swallow it and I’d have to yell at her to swallow the pill and she still wouldn’t. She’d just roll it around in her mouth and I’d have to have her spit it out and I’d throw it away. I took the last few that were left in the bottle and now I’m not taking a multi-vitamin either. I’m trying to tell if I feel any worse for not taking it. It’s really hard to tell.

 
I am doing more for her every day. Since I’ve never had kids, I picture what it’s like to have a toddler who can’t do things for themselves and you take over without thinking. Then each day, the toddler learns more and is able to do something today that they couldn’t do yesterday. They are feeling a bit more independence and the parent is feeling pride at the child’s achievement. In our case, I know each day Mom can do a little bit less.

 
Mom can no longer dry her hands. Or should I say, she does such a poor job, I end up having to dry them after she does it. So it’s easier for me to just dry them. Especially since she can’t turn towards the towel rack from the sink. I have to grab the towel off there and take each hand in the towel and dry it. It’s not the worst thing to have to do but it shows how she can do less every day.

 
I now pull her pants up and down as needed. When she tries to pull them up herself, they only go halfway and she’d just leave them that way. Same with taking them down. I’m still putting her in underpants with a pad, followed by a diaper (or adult underwear) and then her regular pair of pants.

 
There was lots of scare information about bed sores left untreated and turning into life threatening infections. There was talk of moving the person so they don’t sit in the same position all the time. I can see how that’s necessary (and easier) when they’re only laying in bed. But to sit, there’s really no other option but to sit on your butt. I made a point to put her up on pillows where she wasn’t sore. Luckily, she sleeps on her side (not the side that had the sore) so that gave it some rest. Right off the bat, I had started using Neosporin and a large bandaid. That didn’t do anything, in fact it was getting worse. From the size of one thumbnail, it had become 3 thumbnails in size. In such a short amount of time, it was panicing me. Reading some of the remedies online, one said to put honey on it. That it did wonders. All I could think of was the ants that would gravitate to it. Another internet source said to sprinkle Tumeric on it. I didn’t want to do any of these hair brained schemes until I’d talked to someone.

 On Friday July 1st (the Friday of the long holiday weekend), I called our family doctor. Wouldn’t you know, he was out on medical leave indefinitely?! He’d been out for “some time” already and they had no idea when he’d be back. Knowing our doctor as I do, I had a sneaking suspicion that he wanted the summer off. I don’t fault him for it. Unfortunately, he had no one filling in for him. He now works in an urgent care type place associated with a hospital and people were filling in for him only as needed. They told me to leave a message and they would send it to him and call me back. I didn’t hear back so called about 4:15 pm and was told that he hadn’t even opened his messages. I ended up talking to a nurse. Can I say, I HATE NURSES. She asked a bunch of questions, I was basically asking if I should continue doing what I’d been doing for the bed sore or if there was some prescription medicine that would make it heal quicker. She said that my mom needed to be seen!! I needed to take her to the emergency room in the next day or two. That a bed sore can get serious very quickly. If you’ve ever been to the Emergency room of a hospital, it is MANY hours of waiting, no matter how much pain you’re in. It’s very frustrating. Knowing that Greg would be leaving in a little over a week just fueled my stress. If I had to take her in somewhere, it would be much easier to do it with his help. But taking her somewhere like that unnecessarily could be the worst thing. I was upset most of the holiday weekend.

 
I went back to the Internet and saw reviews for this cream called Emuaid. I’d never heard of it before but it cures all kinds of hard to heal wounds. It’s super expensive like $48 for 2 oz. But the jar will probably last a few (or several) years. Plus you can’t put a price on being healthy and peace of mind. When this first turned up, I had gone to Jewel Osco (our local grocery/pharmacy) and asked them what they recommend. They had NO CLUE. They couldn’t even steer me to the correct bandage. When I saw this Emuaid, it said that they now carried it at CVS pharmacy. Sat. July 2nd, Greg & I went over there and I asked the pharmacist. They don’t carry it, nor had they heard of it. They also were no help. Luckily. I have a big mouth. I will ask ANYONE and EVERYONE literally ANYTHING. I had seen online that another place nearby supposedly carried it. So while in the CVS parking lot, I called “The Way of Life Health Food Store” in Niles, IL. I asked if they carried that cream and they said yes and then I asked for directions.

 Apparently, this place has been around for decades and I used to shop at JoAnn Fabrics (which is now out of business) right next door and didn’t notice the place. This time when we pulled up, there was a guy on his knees on the sidewalk, scraping gum off. That impressed me from the get-go. I told him he must be a new owner because he still cared. Turns out he’s not the owner at all but he’s pretty knowledgeable. 


We left the store awhile later and $117 poorer. We got the Emuaid, as well as some mult-vitamins in LIQUID form. I never knew they came that way. So I’ve been mixing in a shot glass worth in Mom’s apple juice every morning. It smells bad the way vitamins do so I know I’d gag if I tried to drink it. Mom takes it and drinks it right down. I got some Himalayan Pink sea salt and some natural fiber comparable to Benefiber which I take twice daily. To a make a long story short (that ain’t ever going to happen!), the Emuaid did the trick! I started it Sunday morning July 3rd and put it on once a day. Sometimes more if the bandage came off and I had to replace it.

 Then on Tues. July 5th, I got a phone call back from that nurse. She said she heard back from Dr. James and he wanted her to be taken in to either an emergency room or an urgent care place right away. She needed to have it scraped and a culture done and check for MRSA. In case you don’t know, that’s some hard to treat (sometimes fatal) bacterial staph infection. I can’t even tell you how this shook me up. I felt like we were on the road to recovery but didn’t want to take chances with her health. The nurse has no idea HOW HARD it would be to maneuver Mom over there and then get her up on a table and put her through all that. I texted Greg at work and he called me and we talked about it. All I know is that you can catch a ton of things FROM a hospital setting. Things you didn’t go in with. I would never forgive myself if I took her somewhere and she picked up something like MRSA and died from it!!!

 So I used my own judgement and monitored it constantly. I made sure I kept it clean and dry which is nearly impossible with her incontinence. I noticed it getting better very slowly and as of a few days ago, it was COMPLETELY healed. Amen and Hallelujah! It just goes to show that listening to a doctor or nurse like it’s the gospel isn’t always right. They are covering their ass, trying to make sure they don’t get sued. I’m afraid there are a ton ofelderly or bedridden people out there dealing with this and getting back advice. 
Mom doesn’t like to hold up a glass to drink. She wants me to do it. Today she fell asleep with a glass in her hand and dropped it and it broke on the carpet. I guess it’s my fault for not taking it away from her promptly. 
I’m getting sick of writing about Alzheimers. I have to live it, I don’t want to think about it in my diown time. I have other things I want to write about in the coming week. We’ll see if I can manage it.

 
My dad’s Aunt Emma (he only had one aunt and she was ancient when I was born) used to always use the saying, “This Too Shall Pass”. No matter what happened. It takes many years of living to appreciate those old sayings. It never meant much to me until now. My interpretation of it is that no matter whether something is good or bad (but usually referring to bad), it will eventually come to an end. You can be content in knowing that pain and suffering will pass, loneliness and despair, grief and sorrow. They are not everlasting. Although even disappointment can feel deep and overwhelming at times. We tend to often forget that emotions are temporary and if we can remember that it will pass, it will see us through the hard times and keep hope running through our veins.

Sitting outside on the deck under the umbrella with my laptop is a new joy. The only thing missing is a sassy umbrella drink to sip. Taking a break to try to compose my next blog post. I need to order more bed pads from Amazon since it looks like we’ve become major investors. I’ve started putting Mom in diapers during the day. On top of underpants & the thickest incontinence pad made. It’s still not enough. It’s really the only option at this point unless I wanted to mess with a catheter. In case you’re wondering, I don’t. 

Hubby left for 2 weeks of work training in GA this morning. I drove him to the airport at 5:30 am & didn’t go back to bed or take a nap. Hopefully, tomorrow I’ll be more clear headed. 

I was dreading him leaving so much. I’m used to being home without him in the daytime but the nights are intolerable. He helps so much with taking the dogs out at night while I take Mom up to bed. He also takes them out in the morning while I get her up. Without him around, things are a lot rougher for me. I guess I shouldn’t dwell on it and like most things, it will pass quickly and be over and done with before I know it.

I haven’t been on my laptop since I wrote my last blog post & am having so much trouble. Instead of cutting & pasting from an email into WordPress, it says to use Ctrl+V/Cmd+V keyboard shortcuts. I know what the control button is but not the rest. I also have not figured out how to save photos from email & find them again. I used to do it all the time on my old laptop but this is so foreign. I have some things written up but without the pictures to go along with, it doesn’t make much sense.

Right now I’m doing what I swore I would never do–typing this up one finger at a time on my iPhone. I’m going to publish it on my iPhone & hope for the best. I will try to do a few updates this week so you hear the latest gory details of my nursing skills. At least you know I’m still around. Sorry for the lame post.

I find myself in the same place every time I write a blog post. With too much time elapsed and too much to say. So much has happened and there’s too many words to squeeze into one blog post. There’s also no time to do multiple posts. So what do I do? Just dive right in without a care for length or coherence. Grab a life preserver so you don’t drowned.

Since I last wrote, my 10 year old Toshiba laptop finally died. It was about a month ago and it wasn’t even that upsetting. I never back anything up. Crazy, right?! A lot of stuff on our phones goes automatically to The Cloud for preservation. My laptop would have to manually be backed up and I’ve never gotten into the habit of it. I’m sure I’ve lost a lot of things that I probably don’t know I had or didn’t know I would ever need. The first few times I lost everything on a computer, I was devastated. I thought my life would never be the same. I was turned off computers to the extreme and didn’t feel they could be trusted. Now it’s happened so many times, it’s like the basement flooding. It sucks but you just deal with it and half expect it to happen.

Today is the first day I’m using an HP laptop that my husband got over 2 years ago. It had the Windows on it that everyone hates. My husband was trying to lure me away from my old laptop before it went. As anyone who knows me knows, I love what I have and hate change. So I wouldn’t even think of using this one until I had no other to use. It takes me forever to get used to new things and I’ve been dreading actually pulling this out to use. Hate is a strong word but I kind of hate it. The keyboard placement is all wrong so my hands don’t sit right when I type. I’m used to typing very fast and not looking to see where my  hands are. Now I’m making so many mistakes and concentrating on typing instead of what I want to say. But instead of complaining,I’m going to be thankful for having a computer to write a blog post on. I’ve been missing my blog so much. Just bear with me if the font is huge or the paragraphs are off. This is going to be a necessity to learn since I have to figure out how to do Etsy on it, too.

The end of April we took Mom to the audiologist for her new ear mold which didn’t help a bit. It fits better but she doesn’t seem to hear any better or comprehend what is said. I’m sure that’s more from the Alzheimers than anything else but I had to try. Same with taking her to our regular doctor on April 28th. He said she looked good and I was doing everything right and just keep doing what I’m doing. He listened to her heart and lungs and looked at her ankles to see if she was retaining fluid (she wasn’t). He said the organs begin to slow down with Alzheimers and they begin to fail 7-9 years after initial diagnosis. Mom was diagnosed not quite 4 years ago so the thought that this could go on another 3-5 years gave me a wake up call. After her doctor’s appt. we went out to eat for the first (and only) time this year. We went to Sweet Baby Ray’s for barbeque and she ate her whole meal and loved it. This is never a problem since she’s always had a hearty appetite. She made such a mess of her hands and face which is typical of her eating anything now.

We went on vacation to Green Bay, WI from May 12-21. Hubby wanted to go early and miss the crowds that go out for the Memorial Day holiday. We had about 4-5 days of unusually cold weather and then the rest was beautiful. Due to having the wheelchair for Mom, we took her with us all 4 times we went gambling that week. We actually had more fun doing it than we have in awhile. A lot of the time we all played one machine together. Mom tends to hit the MAX BET button by accident so we have to watch her like a hawk. The last night we were there, she fell asleep while we were gambling. She talks less all the time and when she does speak, it’s gibberish, not in full sentences. It was much easier to push the wheelchair in the casino so now I’ve figured out it’s the sidewalk and street that make it hard to push, not that I’m weaker than I thought.

Mom has gone down hill just in the 11 days since we got home. She’s pulled down the towel rack in the upstairs bathroom and hubby glued it back on. We had to take the one in the downstairs bathroom down all together since she kept knocking it down. Mom fights me everytime on the toilet. She no longer knows what the bathroom is for! I told that to Greg and he said, “She thinks it’s the room you go in to yell at her.” That is so true. I don’t like to yell but between the hearing loss, the Alzheimers and how easily she’s distracted, there’s no choice. She can fiddle with the drawstring on her pants forever or fold and refold the toilet paper until my patience runs out. When I take Mom to the toilet, she doesn’t pee on it at all anymore. No matter how much I yell, plead or beg, she won’t pee. I even run water but nothing helps. She’ll go on the couch or in bed or in her chair or as she’s walking. It doesn’t matter if I take her earlier or later, it’s the same. So far, she has bowel movements mostly in the toilet. I have to bend her over on the toilet to have her stomach push out whatever’s ready since she won’t. The doctor tried to explain to me how her mind no longer reads her body’s signals and her body may not be sending signals anymore. Anyway, she fights me as I try to bend her over and she pushes on the wall in front of her and I am leaning on her with my hands on the wall behind her pushing with all my might. This stubborn old woman is stronger than me! I’ve tried explaining sweetly why she has to bend over but it does no good. I still need her to bend over so I can wipe her butt, too. This ensues another fight. Lately, I feel like I’ve gone 10 rounds with Floyd Mayweather (famous boxer). I am battle worn and don’t see a way out. I don’t think they’d be able to care for her better in a nursing home but I find myself getting so upset I’m afraid I’ll stroke out.

Yesterday I came downstairs from taking a bath to find a big turd on the kitchen rug. At first, I couldn’t tell if it was from a dog or a human??? If that sounds familiar, it’s because in the past it happened in almost the same place and was human. This time  it was from Ivy, our basenji dog. Mom rarely gets up unaided so she will be wherever I leave her until I come to move her. In any case, I took a pic of it to message to Greg but ended up posting it to Instagram instead where it got very few likes. I was surprised to see there’s a hashtag #mylifeisshit. That’s what my life has been reduced to but I guess people don’t have to like it…🙂

We had a pretty good vacation since our expectations were low. I had done a lot of cooking before we left and so we ate leftovers in the RV all but one night. We got beef lo mein from Noodles in the casino and brought it back to eat. We read some in the RV and I finally finished The Mutiny On The Bounty trilogy from 1932. It was scrumptious! We haven’t gone to any estate sales in our area for over a month. We did hit one while on vacation and also went to our usual treasure hunting haunts in the north woods.

We’ve had so much to do since we got home. Between laundry, grocery shopping, bill paying, cooking and yard work, there’s not been a spare moment. On Thurs. May 26th, we went to Sears in search of an 11.5 ft. offset umbrella for the deck. We’d seen it online but wanted to see it in person before purchasing. We had bought one about 10 years ago from Sam’s Club and it was glorious! Made of heavy wood with a stunning green canvas, it lasted intil last year. It’s much too hot to enjoy being outside without the shade it gives. A decade ago we paid $300 and it was worth every penny. The umbrella we ended up getting was $300 also but is just “ok”. It was on sale down from $500 but it seems inferior. It is made of metal and plastic with an almost opaque fabric in a blah tan color. That’s the only color it came in. Since it was the start of the holiday weekend, we knew we had to get it Thurs. or they’d be gone. They showed 2 in stock but had sold one that morning so all they had was the display and they weren’t selling. So we had to buy it and drive to another store to pick it up. They no longer will send it to the store of your choice for pickup. So we went and got that and Greg was able to get it assembled before nightfall. I also got a pair of slippers and Greg got a pair of much needed sandals. I got to thinking how everything we’ve ever boughten at Sears is just ok. Never anything we’re in love with. Just something to get us by until we can find what we really want. That’s pretty sad. Somebody needs to put a fork in  Sears because they’re so done…

Thurs. we also went to Pesche’s to get our plants. We bought 2 cucumbers (different types), 13 tomatoes (4 types), 30 peppers (5 types), zucchini, yellow squash and 4 herbs. Then we had to come home and weed the garden and then get the rototiller out. Meanwhile it was raining off and on all weekend. Not much or long but enough to keep us from spending much time outside. Friday we started the actual planting and finished up on Saturday. This is the latest we’ve ever put in the garden! Everything looks great and has already grown quite a bit. To me, that’s half the fun–seeing the plants soar to the heavens and produce such lovely goodness. The other half is eating them. I also picked my rhubarb and have to do something with that shortly.

What else has gone on lately? Sat. May 7th I dropped my iPhone in the toilet! I wasn’t even using it, just had it in the too short pocket of my shorts. I was pulling my pants up and it fell out and splash. I reacted quickly and grabbed it. It was barely wet and I put it in rice immediately. I left it overnight and then took the case off and cleaned it thoroughly. It’s worked fine ever since. It just goes to show no matter how careful you are, things like that happen to the best of us. And the worst of us!😉

May 7th we also went to the library book sale in our hometown of Park Ridge, IL. They only have it twice a year and it’s always worth going to. I think about it for weeks ahead of time and look forward to it. It’s funny how that day I forgot all about it until noon! I was at home and I saw a pic of some book on Instagram and the person said they got them at the library book sale and I was like, “Was that today?! Holy smokes!” So we ended up getting a few things even though we have too many books already. Part of my joy lately is that I’ve gotten Greg back into reading. He is enjoying it like he hasn’t since hew as a teen! It’s so relaxing and turns out to be a good stress reliever and way to unwind for both of us.

I’ve rambled long enough to scare everyone away all over the Internet and within a hundred mile radius.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The need to feed my soul won out over the need for anything else today. Hence, this blog post. It’s already been over  month since I posted and so much has happened, I doubt I’ll be able to cover it all. But I’ll give it  shot. Settle in for a long catch up session.😉
 veggiesongrill
After a mild winter, we’ve been enjoying a spell of nice weather–sunny and temps in the 70’s. We really can’t ask for more than that. So much yard work to do and not enough energy or ambition to do it. Hubby cut the grass for the first time on Sat. after hunting for a particular type of 2-cycle ashless Lawnboy oil at half a dozen places and online. There doesn’t seem to be any place that carries it anymore and we feared using something else and wrecking our lawn mower. He decided to try the Toro brand and that worked fine. I’m sure you’re thrilled with the minutiae of my life.
 playdatewithasher
At the beginning of the month, we took the dogs to the vet (over a 2 day period) to get heartworm tests and vaccinations for Ivy. They also had their stool samples checked for parasites and came back clean. It’s about the fastest way to blow through $450 I’ve ever seen. We had run out of Revolution (the heartworm and tick preventive we have them on) which they get topically on their back between the shoulder blades once a month. I had called 1-800-PetMeds (an online pet supply place that is much cheaper than the vet but still coslty) to order the same day I had made the vet appts. Even though we’ve known the vet 20 years, she still won’t authorize it until after the tests, even though the medicine wouldn’t have come until after we’d gotten the results back. After the vet appts., I had to call the Pet Meds place back to get them to send another authorization to the vet. Well, the person I talked to said they would but then I got an email days later saying that Amber still needed her heartworm test. So I had to call back again and set them straight. In all the years I’ve been using Pet Meds, this is the first time that I can recall them screwing up. It’s too bad it had to happen at all.
 Mominwheelchair
Then I had to deal with a screwup at the pharmacy. We had switched to CVS from Jewel a year or two ago because Jewel made errors almost every time we got a prescription. Now CVS is doing the same. Hubby has his pills on “Readi-fill” which refills automatically and a recording calls to say they are ready. Of course, the recording doesn’t tell you which ones are ready so you have to guess. He went to pick up his Bystolic which he needed right away and they had an additional one for him. He didn’t need the Amlodapine for a week but got it anyway. I didn’t open the 2nd one for a week until it was needed. Inside I found the paperwork saying he had gotten 90 pills (like always) and only one bottle of 30 enclosed. So I had to call the pharmacist and explain the situation and she said, “We owe you 2 bottles.” So I told her I’d pick it up in a few days and to have it ready. That’s how I spend my time, doing piddly little things that just rob me of time I could be blogging. ;-D
 mommeamber
Greg turned 55 on April 1st. We had plans to go out to eat for the first time this year but we didn’t. A few days earlier we had gotten takeout and brought it home which is also the first time this year. We got lamb burritos from Mr. T’s Gyros. They were good but not something you’d want to eat more than once a year. We ended up going shopping and getting a 10 lb. beef brisket which I cut in 2 and cooked in 2 crockpots. We also got a ton of veggies and roasted them in the oven and on the grill. It was probably better than eating out would have been. Greg heard from his 3 brothers who wished him happy bd. His brother Brian who had the traumatic brain injury in Feb. 2015 got approved on Greg’s birthday for disability from the government. They even paid him for the past year when his application was hung up in red tape. I doubt he will ever hold any type of job again. 2 months ago, he fell in the shower and hit his head again and got another concussion. He ended up being in a nursing home for a few weeks for rehab. The older we get, the more careful we are trying to be to keep our health intact.
 crams1950globe
So my left knee had gotten a bit better for a few days when I blogged last but that didn’t last. My knee has been terrible and bothers me in 3 different places. It even aches when I lay in bed, no matter how I position it. Same with on the couch. I miss being able to sit cross legged now and then. I’m still moving around on it but so many stairs are a killer. Today is the first day in a month that it’s been less painful. I’m not holding my breath because I know all it takes is one wrong move or turn to get it sore all over again. It’s been depressing to not be able to walk the dogs every day like I used to. I still do it when Greg can go which is about 3 days a week we do it together.
 afghan
My mom turns 95 on Saturday April 23rd! I don’t know what if anything we’ll do. We saw a new hole in the wall restaurant that serves homemade Polish food so we may try that. About a month ago we found an almost brand new wheelchair at an estate sale in our town for $20! We’d been thinking of getting one for Mom and couldn’t pass it up at that price. We had to take her to the ENT doctor to get the wax out of her ears and also to the audiologist twice to get a new ear mold made for her right hearing aid. I was really debating whether I should take her alone or have Greg along. I mean, I like to do this things alone so I feel independent but while I have him, why not have him help me?! I try to be strong but just having someone help with the burden a little bit eases up on the stress for me so much. So I asked him what he wanted to do and he said he’d be glad to come along. I hit the lottery big time when I got him.🙂 Anyway, he dropped us at the curb and I got Mom in the wheelchair and took her to the elevator and up to the 3rd floor. The first time I had her walk from the waiting room to the exam room. She can do it but is so slow and unsteady. The next time they said I could push her wheelchair right in the room and leave her in it. That made it so much easier. Having the wheelchair should make it so much easier for vacations! We’ve also taken her in it around the neighborhood when we walk the dogs. That way she can get some sunshine and fresh air. I never realized how much work it is to push a wheelchair though. 
 roadclosed
In between everything else, we’ve been feeding our addiction of going to estate sales. We’ve found some really interesting things. Hubby got a giant ROAD CLOSED sign that we added to those on our backyard fence. It measures 4 feet long by 30″ high. He also got a new wood burning fire pit. I took a picture of his old one that he got 18 years ago that he paid $99 for and the bigger one he got for $15 at an estate sale. The new one is not “new” but has a lot of life left in it. He’s already had 2 fires in it. We’re going to take the old one to the recycling place to get money for the metal.
 firepits
I’ve never bought a doll as an adult. Seeing various doll collections when you go into someone’s house tends to creep me out. Not as much as a huge collection of clowns would but enough so to keep me from entertaining the idea of buying a doll. Until Friday. Up in the attic of an old house, there were a few dolls and one in particular called to me. It’s more than catching your eye, something about an item can “speak” to you. It makes you feel like it needs to come home with you. This doll did that. It’s a very old Horsman brand doll that has a porcelain head, arms and legs. The head has a crack in the chin and some damage to the side of the head (the bonnet covers it well) but it’s just charming. It has tin eyelids with eyelashes that close when laid down. The body is cloth. It reminds me of a doll that my mom had as a child named Myrtle. She had given it to me as a baby and I broke it. I was too young to remember it but know how much it meant to her . On Sat. we ventured to Evanston, IL to 2 estate sales. One was in a condo and had newer things but we got some great deals like 2 sets of bed sheets for our bed for $6 and 11 necklaces at $1 each!! Then we went to an antique store where the owner was retiring after 30 years in business. It was called Eureka! They’d had the sale the day before too so there wasn’t as much stuff left but we still managed to find some treasures. We saw “just a piece of cardboard” hanging on the wall and had to have it. It was advertising for the Gold Dust Twins Washing Powder. It’s very old and rare.
 dollgolddusttwins
Last weekend we had an unpleasant time at one sale. Some places charge more if they do a lot of prep work and clean and organize which I can understand. Others have more of a “digger” sale where they prepare nothing, leaving everything dirty, in piles or boxes and packed to the rafters. A lot could be in the garage or attic. Usually they tend to give a better price because you really have to dig to get to anything good. Usually it’s buried under literally garbage. Things that should’ve been put in a dumpster. Well, those types of sales CAN be the best. They are definitely fun but it takes a lot more time plus you get filthy touching things. Last weekend, we went to one run by 2 guys who we’ve gone to a few of their sales. They don’t have any helpers or employees and do no prep. Nothing is ever marked. One sits at the front desk taking money but he can’t quote any prices. The other guy runs all over the house and has to give prices for everything. There is always a huge wait to get him to look at anything. Usually the prices are fair. I got a huge gorgeous afghan there for $6. It smelled find but when we left, they put it in a dirty bag that stunk so bad of mold, I could’ve thrown up. Yesterday I finally took it out and aired it out outside and threw away the bag. Anyway, last weekend Greg & I were in hurry to go home for lunch but went in the garage and there was boxes of ephemera. That is my weakness and we started looking through and culling. We only wanted certain things and maybe we’d only find one or two things out of an entire box and go on to the next. We must’ve spent 45 minutes out there in the cold (35 degree weather) and dark (very little light) and dirt. Most places if they value ephemera, will label each piece individually. They’ll also have it inside the house and displayed. Most places when you dig your own, you show up with a pile and they don’t look at it, they just quote you $5 or $10 for the batch. We had a stack of an inch or two thick and went in the house with it in a box. We had to wait for the guy that could price and then he began looking through it piece by piece!!! He was like $10 for this, $3 for that, etc. plus he wouldn’t go through it all because he had to stop and give prices to others for things they were interested in. We asked him for a price for all of it and he said he couldn’t do that. So we left it all!! We were just disgusted and upset that the guy was so unreasonable. He didn’t want to take the time to go through the boxes in the garage himself but now he could sell what we culled for him on ebay without putting in the effort of finding it. Thank God they’re not all like that! I know this isn’t what AC/DC had in mind when they wrote the song in my title but it does seem fitting.
mannequinhandlers
                                  

 

I’m happy to report that things are looking up since I last wrote a blog entry. Events have transpired that have improved my quality of life and my mood. I knew it would happen eventually. I was hoping sooner rather than later and my wishes came true. It must be all the reading about the Jinnis (genies) in The Arabian Nights!🙂 That is my current read from 1932. I was unfamiliar with the book except for the cartoon parody called Bugs Bunny: 1001 Rabbit Tales. It’s a series of short stories that go directly from one into another. I’m only able to read for maybe half an hour at a time so it’s perfect. I can get through one story or half a story in one sitting. It’s pretty easy to pick back up again where I left off. Lately, it doesn’t matter which book I’m reading, I have a love affair with whichever one it is! It kind of amazes me that I’ve been getting such joy from the written word and stories no matter the age and time they encompass. I’ve always loved to read since I was a child but now I’m getting more out of it and my love runs deeper. I hope my enthusiasm for reading never wanes.
 arabiannights1
On Thursday March 3rd, my Ipad Air 2 arrived in the mail. They had them on sale through Sam’s Club and hubby ordered me one. He’s had an Ipad2 for 6 years and loves it. He uses it daily. He’s mentioned getting me one before but I never really felt I needed one. I still don’t but he was pushing it so I agreed. Wow. It’s wondrous! I have used it every day since I got it except one. Mostly I’ve been using it to play online slots. Not really it’s original intended use but it’s fun. Hubby’s been doing that while we watch tv at night and I had no idea how fun it was until I tried it. It’s addicting. Candy Crush, Soda Crush & Jelly Saga that I played on my iphone 6 have fallen by the wayside.
 arabiannights2
Another cool thing I’ve discovered on there are the free Adult Coloring Book Apps. I’ve downloaded and tried 2 so far: Colorfy and Color Therapy. I’ve always been envious of those who say how relaxing it is to color in the real adult coloring books. Well, these apps are so much better! They’re easier to work with/ less messy. I can pick a picture and then you tap on the color and touch on the pic where you want that color to go. No worries about going outside the lines or changing your mind about a color. With one tap you can “undo” whatever you did last. I’ve only completed 2 pictures but if I continue, I hope to have a whole gallery of them.
 ipadair2
I’ve also downloaded Blog Lovin’ and am trying to get back into blog reading. Most of the ones I used to read are either gone or abandoned. I’ll have to find some new ones. It’s much easier to read on the ipad also than even my iphone. I couldn’t figure out why so many small children had their own ipad at age 2! Now I know it’s like a babysitter. There’s no end to what can keep a child occupied for hours or days on end.
 birdfirstcoloring
It took 6 weeks or more but my knee is finally better. It’s not 100% but for the first time in ages, I’m not limping! I still have pain from spinal stenosis but most of the pain in my knee is gone. I am being so careful with it since I know one wrong move can reinjure it. It’s definitely weak but I can make the stairs using both knees and not be in pain. For weeks, I was favoring it and only bending the right knee on the stairs and it would still hurt something awful. This has been the catalyst to improve my mood. I’ve been able to be out in the kitchen cooking up a storm again. We just picked up a stool for me to use in the kitchen yesterday. I had a stool in there but it broke months ago and Greg insisted we throw it out. I was not keen on being without one in there since I want to be able to sit down as needed. I figured we’d find a stool at an estate sale before now but not one we liked. The seat on the new one needs to be cleaned and then I can start using it.
 colortherapy
Last week was a “surge” at Greg’s work and he had to alter his hours and days off temporarily. Usually he has Thurs. off but last week he had off in the daytime and went in to work at 6 pm and worked a double. Not coming home until late morning on Friday. Usually I hate him working nights but I had my ipad so that kept me occupied.🙂 Plus him coming home in the morning was less disruptive than him coming home in the middle of the night. The estate sales have been exceedingly crummy lately but this past weekend we hit 2 great ones. One on Thurs. in Chicago (not far from us) that we had to wait an hour for and then one we went to in our town on Friday after hubby got home. We had to wait an hour for that one too. There’s getting to be a ton of people going to these sales after watching the tv show, “American Pickers”. At times it spoils the fun having so many people especially if they’re rude. We found people to talk to in line which made the time go by faster plus the weather was great so standing outside was quite pleasant. Both sales were run by “Babe & Snooks Estate Sales”. We love William and Stacy that run it. They’re always organized and fair with their prices plus really nice. We found a few goodies that I will cherish forever like a cool mod diorama and a large First Communion picture of a 9 yr. old girl from 1956. A lot of what we had our eye on was gone already. The early bird getting the worm, etc. We don’t fret about what we missed out on because there is always more! Anyway, I told Stacy I couldn’t find them on Yelp! (an app that recommends places to go–restaurants and stores). She said they weren’t on there and I asked her if she’d like me to add their business on there. She said ok so last night I wrote them a glowing review. I hope they approve.
 coolmoddiorama
We had some unwanted excitement on Wed. March 9th. Mom had just used the downstairs bathroom and I had her flush the toilet and go to the sink. I’m standing next to her and look and see her hearing aid is missing from her right ear. This is her good ear which she has the most hearing in. She wears hearing aids in both and every once in awhile the right aid will pop out and sit away from the ear. I think she needs a new ear mold. The day before I had called and made an appt. with her ENT and audiologist for Tues. March 29th. When I noticed her hearing aid missing, I asked her when she had it last. She gave her standard, “I don’t know” answer which I should have expected. My greatest fear was that it had fallen into the toilet and been flushed away. After her hands got washed, I took her to her chair in the LR and came back and did a search. I checked the bathroom floor and everywhere else. I looked on top of and under the computer desk where she’d been sitting. I had no luck. I had just vacuumed the whole house and taken a bath. I knew it could only be a few places or I’d have seen it earlier when I vacuumed. My first instinct was to freak out. I was upset but decided not to panic until after Greg came home from work. I knew a 2nd set of eyes might be all it would take to find it. I had looked it up online and everyone said to wait 2 weeks before reporting it lost since it will no doubt turn up. When Greg came home, he took the flashlight into the sunroom and found it next to the computer desk. Bless his heart. He’s my hero! So that put me in a pretty good frame of mind since things could have turned out so much worse.
 firstcommunion
Life always goes in cycles and I’m in one where things are looking up…but for how long?! I probably shouldn’t question it and just enjoy it while it lasts…

 

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