Saturday, December 31, 2005

"We'll take a cup of kindness yet ..."

I'm not doing very well with the updating, huh.

I've been "retiring" to my bed before 9 PM these last few nights ... I think to try and recover from the past week. It's been a damn doozy.

Last Friday (the 23rd for those of you taking notes) at 8:30 AM, we got a call from Shady Acres saying that Grandma F had fallen again. They were suspecting a broken hip, so an ambulance was called and she was taken to the ER. Jimmy and I got there as quick as we could, and there we stayed. My sisters were in town for Christmas, as well as my niece ... but hopefully everyone understood the seriousness of the situation. Brandy and Adam saved the day by getting snacks and dinner going for everybody before we got home. (Thanks, you two. xoxo)

There was no broken hip, but they did find extensive pneumonia in both lungs, a urinary tract infection ... and, after watching her choke everytime she tried to swallow anything, they said "nothing by mouth" until more tests could be done. She was a sick little thing for those first few days in the hospital. It was determined she was aspirating food and drink ... swallowing down her windpipe instead of her ... uhh ... food pipe. So now she can only have liquids that have been thickened. Which is really gross. Imagine you are sooo thirsty, and would kill for a nice cold glass of water. That was Grandma F in the hospital on Day 3. And what did she get? A nice cold cup of iced tea ... thickened to the consistency of buttermilk. Yum. Her food must also be a cooked to a soft, mushy state.

To cut to the chase ... yesterday, we moved her into a "skilled nursing care facility". Nursing Home, for short. I learned a lot about how the whole nursing home game works this week. Long story short: You go where they tell you to go. There's hardly ever an open bed at the "nice" places, and even the nice places are still nursing homes. Grandma F now lives at "Dogwood Acres" ... no, that's not the real name. Just trying to be safe here.

She shares a room there ... with "Ada". Ada says the same 4 sentences over and over again. Only it's all new to Ada. And even though half of the room belongs to Grandma, Ada takes just a leeeetle bit more than her half ... and she thinks she gets to decide on the lighting at night, and the temperature in the room. Pushy old thing, she is. The lady next door likes to yell for HELP. A lot. And Grandma is lying in her bed, with an oxygen tube in her nose ... asking for something to drink that's not thick. :-(

We took her clothing and some personal items over there today ... hung a few pictures on the wall. My heart is broken for her. She has 2 pressure sores from her stay in the hospital ... or maybe they were already starting at the assisted living place, I don't know. One is on her tailbone, and one is on her heel. The wound care nurse put her foot in a special boot to keep anything from touching the heel ... it's lined with sheepskin, and yet it still looks uncomfortable. Grandma said it was nice when the nurse put it on last night ... but today, she hated it.

She started talking today about letting Jimmy and Michael sell her belongings a little at the time, so she could have money to live on. I gave my usual answer ... "You don't need to worry over that. Let Jimmy and Michael take care of that." She said, "Well, I know they will ... but they need my help to think straight!" I said, "Yes ma'am, you are correct on that one." ;-)


Christmas was a blur of hospital rooms and cooking and not enough time to do everything I wanted to. I'm sorry, y'all. I'll do better next time. I promise.

Thank you for the wonderful gifts ...

Emilie: "The Wizard Of Oz" Collector's Edition DVD Set
Adam & Brandy: Indigo Girls "Rarities" CD, a Microplane zester/grater, Dave Matthews Band "Stand Up" CD, and a Lampe Berger scent lamp, with 2 bottles of oil
Mama: A new purse (SURPRISE!), and a little crystal platter that was a wedding gift to her and Daddy back in 1955.
Kay: Indigo Girls "Rarities" CD (2 CD's means twice the fun!), and a Ragdoll Cat Calendar
Beth: A glass hurricane candle holder, with 2 candles
Josh and Lynda: Il Divo CD
Laura and Melody: Flannel PJs and some soft socks
Nena: Southern Living cookbook, a candle holder, and some homemade pear preserves
Michael and Patti: A really pretty bowl
Jimmy: A Sleep Number Bed

I bet I forgot something.

I haven't had a chance to even look at everything a 2nd time yet ... but I have been sleeping on air for the last few nights. :-)

Happy New Year, everybody. May 2006 bring us all love and blessings.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

"Love and joy come to you ... "

I've been slack. So shoot me. It's Christmas.

Things are moving at warp speed around here this week. No time to sit here and write about the trivia that is my life. I'm sure I'll be back at it as soon as the Christmas Tornado passes on by.

I took Grandma F to see the doctor yesterday ... they did a chest x-ray, EKG, and drew blood. He said she had pneumonia in her right lung. :-( He showed me the x-ray so I could see what he called a tumor in the same lung. He asked how vigorously we would pursue treatment, and I told him not very. He wanted to talk to Jimmy, since he's got the POA. He prescribed antibiotic for 10 days, Lasix and potassium for a week (to bring the swelling down in her legs and feet), and a codeine cough medicine.

If I had time to sit here, I'd write the details of actually getting her to the doctor ... an adventure in patience on my part ... but I need to bake some Christmas Cake.

More later, after my house clears out again ...

Merry Christmas to all of you!!!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

"Ice ice baby ..."

Word to your mother.

"Worst ice storm EVER." That's what the power company is saying. Weird part was, the roads stayed completely drivable. Well, except for the occasional tree falling on your car. The storm happened overnight on Wednesday, and most of the day on Thursday. Jimmy's office closed Thursday morning due to lack of electricity, so he was home all day. We lost our power around 8 AM. At noon, we were dressed in layers and lighting candles (it was a dark day).

At 2 PM, I was smacking myself for not buying firewood in November. We were completely OUT. By 4 PM, we were all bundled in blankets, listening to a local talk radio show, where all of Greenville was calling in to say their power was out. I have to say it felt better to hear there were many in the same boat. All this time, Emilie is at work ... CVS had freakin' power.

Around 6 PM, the sanity was slipping. Let's not forget my mother is here. Oh, and PMS has been a houseguest for about a week now, too. We listened to Christmas music on the radio, and tried to resign ourselves to the fact that it might be days before power was restored.

At 9 PM, I heard the heater begin to run, and saw lights from the kitchen ... I gave a victory yell, and said "Thank ya, Duke Power Man!!!" Frances said, "What is it??!!??" I had to explain to Miss Awareness that the power was back on. Oh, my impatience with the elderly.

So anyway, we are among the greatly blessed today, since there are still many in Greenville County without heat and lights. Our cable took a bit longer to come back, and went out again last night, but we have been warm and fine since Thursday night. Adam and Brandy had some houseguests last night ... friends of theirs who were too cold to stay at home anymore with their two little ones. Hopefully, today will see a LOT of people with heat back on again.

Grandma F's power went out for about 5 hours, maybe less. She said she never got cold, but the dark really bothered her. Jimmy took another flashlight over to her ... just about the time her lights came back on.


From the comments:
"It's easy to get caught up in all the things that are going on but you need to takes some time on your own to decompress. You owe it to yourself and you owe it to your family/friends"

I hear you, Mr. Coward. And I appreciate you taking the time to express it. After I read your words, I thought about them for most of the day ... and I realized that "doing for others" is one of the ways I cope with my world. I'm a selfish person, you see. "Selfish, selfish girl", Frances (mother) would say to me when I was growing up. (NOW, of course, she treats me like I'm Jesus Christ's sister. I can almost do no wrong in her eyes. Go figure.)

I guess I taught myself, early on in my marriage, that the more I did for other people, the less I had to do for myself. It works. Well, most of the time. Every once in a while, I do melt down and scare little children and animals. I guess that's nature forcing me to decompress, huh.

So to answer you, Mr. Coward ... I don't do much of anything for myself. 27 years of pattern-setting is a hard habit to break. But I'll try. Thanks for stopping by.


Yesterday I told Grandma F that if she didn't let me take her to the hair salon, people were going to start thinking she was that crazy lady with the crazy lady hair. She still refused. I really should just let it go though ... I looked over at Frances last night, and she's not too far behind. Sad part of that is: Frances washed and rolled her hair yesterday. Arghh.

Grandma's cough is bad. She asked me to wait until Monday to see if it's better before I call the doctor. She still insists it's an allergy to the Orkin Man, and said that the doctor won't know anything about treating that. Don't ya know.


Off to the races today ... the Christmas whirlwind begins. Frances is going to make sausage balls and put them in the freezer. I'm sure the effort will wipe her out for the remainder of the day. Jimmy will probably lay around and moan a lot, since he and Adam worked all day yesterday with the chain saw, cleaning up the limbs and debris in our yard. Emilie will wake up 15 minutes before she's due at work, rush out the door, and that's all we'll see of her until tomorrow. Adam and Brandy are off to NC to celebrate Christmas with her family. And I'm gonna get up close and personal with Mr. Clean. Oh, baby.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

"My screams come whispering out ..."

Today's To-Do List:

* Grocery Store -- Another "winter weather event" is forecast tonight, so I'll be right there with the other goofballs in the line at the check-out.

* Return blue jeans -- I bought a pair without trying them on first last week. I know ... dur. But they were huuuuge on me, and made me feel like I had lost 30 pounds. Only I haven't.

* Post Office -- Time to mail the Christmas Cards.

* Shady Acres -- *sigh*

* Self Control -- Try to keep the eye-rolling behind Frances' back to a bare minimum, since my seat in Hell is already reserved, and I don't want to have to move to a hotter level. Oh, my last nerve.


"Amazing Race" Spoiler below ... use YOUR self control and don't scroll down unless you've already seen the show. I'm talking to you, Brandy. :-)


Finally, a reality TV show ended the way I wanted it to end. Last night on "The Amazing Race", The Linz Family - the three brother and one sister team - won the million, fair and square. And those crappy Christians, The Weavers, came in third. Thanks, Jesus.

Monday, December 12, 2005

" I need to be loved for who I am, not what they want to see ..."

Let's see, let's see. There must be something new going on in my world that's worth writing about ...

I started writing online again mainly to keep Jimmy and family up on Grandma F's life, since I was the only one close by enough to see her regularly. Now it looks like Jimmy will be working in Greenville for the time being. But I guess I'll still update on her bidness so that Michael and Patti can check in occasionally to see what she's been up to.

Yesterday, she had a cough that sounded worrisome, and a deeper voice. We commented on her bad cold, and she was quick to tell us that it was no cold. She had an allergy to the Orkin Man. All that stuff he sprayed in her room last week had caused her to have all the symptoms of a bad cold. This morning she called to tell me she thought it might be wearing off, since she was feeling a little better. She also wanted me to know that she would NOT be going down the hall next week to let the podiatrist cut her toenails ... unless I was there to go along with her. "Yes, ma'am."


Today's schedule involves a trip to Target to (hopefully) finish up the gift-buying. Then a trip to Shady Acres to put away the laundry I did last night.

My house is starting to feel grungier than normal, so maybe some cleaning today, too.


There was a wee bit of alcohol consumed by all here on Saturday night. We had fun playing Triple Yahtzee (I lost), Pictionary (Brandy and I kicked ass), and then a few rounds of Mario Kart (I always lose that one) ... and no headache on Sunday. At least for me. I think Jimmy felt some damage, but he did drink moonshine, instead of Absolut. He's so funny when he drinks more than his usual one glass of red wine. Of course he was playing drums on the kitchen table and telling Adam to go get the bongos and cowbell before the night was over. We just ignored him this time. :-)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

"What a cold and rainy day ..."

I guess I should stop getting my weather forecast from NOAA online. After I typed last night's entry, saying we'd have snow and sleet on Thursday, I went in to watch the news with Frances. John Cessarich (area weather expert) was saying we'd get nothing but afternoon rain, mixed with a little freezing rain. Maybe NOAA online is just slow on the uptake. Like me.


I've been awake for hours, wishing I had a bottle full of Ambien ... instead of the measly 5 or 6 tablets I've got left. I'm saving those for when I REALLY need them.


Frances received a sad phone call yesterday from a friend at home, letting her know an old friend had passed away. He had been suffering with Alzheimer's Disease for the last many years, and was in a nursing home in Athens, GA. He and his wife were close friends to my parents all through my growing-up years. I remember many late Saturday nights with the four of them laughing loudly, playing games and drinking. I hope that he's in heaven now with my Dad, playing a mean game of cribbage.

Rest in peace, Mr. G.

"The color of the sky, as far as I can see, is coal grey.
Lift my head from the pillow and then fall again.
With a shiver in my bones just thinking about the weather.
A quiver in my lips as if I might cry.
Well, by the force of will my lungs are filled and so I breathe.
Lately it seems this big bed is where I never leave.
Shiver in my bones just thinking about the weather.
Quiver in my voice as I cry,
What a cold and rainy day. Where on earth is the sun hid away.
I hear the sound of a noon bell chime.
Now I'm far behind."

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

"You wouldn't listen if I talked anyway ..."

Having trouble making myself heard lately ... makes me feel powerless and out of control of my own life.

I guess it takes practice to be succesfully assertive.

And I guess I pretty much suck at it.


Today was more Christmas shopping, and a visit with Grandma F. She was upset because the exterminators were busy at Shady Acres today ... and worked on her room while she was at lunch. Only they didn't finish in time and she had to sit in the hall while they did. She was all out of sorts because they had opened her windows, moved her refrigerator and furniture, and took TOO long. I just kept telling her she was alright ... over and over ... until I guess she took my word for it.


Tired. A bit stressed over a new development with Jimmy's job ... still don't even know enough to decide whether or not to be concerned ... but he says, "Don't worry" ... so I won't. He'll be home tomorrow afternoon, a day earlier than planned. With snow forecast for the morning hours, and sleet for the afternoon ... his flight may run into some delays.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

"Blue, like the winter snow in the full moon ..."

Cold toes here tonight. Cold nose, too. Weather guy says to expect a "wintry mix" on Thursday. I better go get bread and milk before it's all gone. Hmmm ... I'd rather have a beer.


I got some major work done today toward all the Christmas shopping. I only have about 5 more things to go out and buy ... and then I have to wait and hope that all the packages arrive on time.


"Hired Killers" arrived right on time this morning. He took a trap up to the attic, and immediately found a chipmunk in the corner. Yesterday, we determined (with Jimmy's help) that the critter couldn't be in the fireplace ... otherwise I could see him if I opened the damper. Jimmy's idea -- that the critter was in the attic, and had either crawled or fallen in between the chimney pipe and the chimney wall, down 2 stories to the metal firebox -- proved to be correct. When the Hired Killer saw the chipmunk, he asked me for a broom ... I guess so that he could live up to his company name. Much banging around ensued. Luckily for the critter, Killer came down from the attic emptyhanded.

So now there's a trap set in the attic, and they'll be back around Friday to remove said critter. I feel better knowing nothing is going to die, trapped in my wall somewhere.


Dinner's on ... the house smells good ... cubed steak and gravy, mashed potatoes, and green beans.


No visit to Grandma F today ... she called to tell me to come and see her when "Bright Eyes" would let me. I have no idea what she's talking about.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

"Are you and I so unalike? ..."

Something came down the chimney tonight ... and I'll tell you right now, it wasn't Santa.


We've lived here since early 1989, and I figure this has got to be Squirrel #Ten that has fallen down the Chimney o' Doom. At least. And of those, eight have fallen down while Jimmy was far away in some other state or country. After the last one, I was under the impression that the chimney had been capped with an impenetrable barrier. I was mistaken. Miss Maggie Belle has been on guard in front of the hearth since early this evening, when the first scratchings and rumblings were heard. Well, I say that ... knowing that it must have made a hell of a noise as it fell ... they always do. But Frances was home alone this afternoon. And she can't hear me talking when I'm sitting right next to her.

So anyway. Grrr.

Past squirrels have fallen all the way through the damper into the fireplace. Those squirrels all escaped out the front window ... after I made barriers to the rest of the house with the furniture, removed the window screens, and shivered for hours with the windows wide open. This squirrel is holed up above the damper, and is refusing to come any further. I guess tomorrow I will call one of three "wildlife experts" in the phone book. Like I don't have anything better to do.

The last thing I need is to have wall-to-wall people at Christmas, all enjoying the odor of dead squirrel wafting through the house.

Let's put the house on the market. Please?


Grandma F was napping with her head in her own lap, sitting on the sofa, when I arrived to visit today. It looked a bit uncomfy. I changed her sheets, cleaned up a plant that had fallen to the floor, washed dishes, and found a place for her tiny Christmas tree. She told me how to keep merengue (sp?) from falling, and we discussed, once again, how overworked all those Shady Acres helpers are.


From the comments: "Who the hell is Ron White???"

Kay, I know you've been without a computer for months, but have you forgotten a sweet little thing called Google? If you Google "Ron White", you can learn all about him.

They call him "Tater Salad".

Yesterday, I was forced at gunpoint to watch an hour of QVC, so I could "pick out the purse I want for Christmas." Sigh. Y'all, I don't want a purse from QVC. Earlier, she had just told me to go shopping for one on my own ... the idea of which, at this time of year, made me want to scream. But then she discovered that QVC was showing an hour of purses ... Maxx Handbags, or some such crock ... "And those are really NICE bags, you know." Dutiful daughter that I am, I picked the least ugly bag they showed. Now I get to wrap it when it gets here, and then give a happy smile when I open it on Christmas morning. Sigh, again.

After she had called in the order, she looked over at me and said, "Are you SURE that's what you wanted?" At this point, a sane person would say, "Well since you asked, no. I really don't know if I will ever use it. I just picked one to help you get your Christmas shopping done without you having to put any real effort into it."

But Mama raised me to be "sweet", and never ever say anything negative to anyone ... except your husband, of course. She modeled it well. And I wonder if I'm ever gonna break free.

Shoot, I'm headed to hell with my attitude. I guess I'll go eat worms.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

"I know I tend to get so insecure ..."

I went a little nuts at CVS today. It was Employee, Family, and Friends Day ... whoo. Everything I bought was 30% off. Uhhh ... I stocked up. UP. I bought enough Nyquil for the whole family, should the flu strike. You can't ever have too much Nyquil, people.

It was drizzling and cold when we got back home ... perfect putting-up-the-Christmas-tree weather. So that's done. It would really be nice if I had a room large enough to add a Christmas tree without re-arranging all the furniture.

After trimming the tree, I introduced Frances to Ron "Tater Salad" White. I think she liked him ... though nothing close to the love and devotion I feel for the man. "COO-puns!"


Didn't get out to Shady Acres today. Talked to her on the phone twice though. Those damned tablecloths.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

"I'll be better when I'm older ..."

Even earlier ... EARLIER ... phone call this morning. Grandma F wanted to tell me that someone had found the key to her room, and they told her she should always keep it around her wrist. I reminded her that we had tried to show her how to unlock her door with the key when she moved in, and she never could do it well enough to feel comfortable. So I kept the key, as well as the key to her mailbox. Apparently I dropped them on my way out yesterday ... thank goodness someone found them and turned them in.

So now she wants to keep the door key herself. I took the mailbox key, and luckily we had already made a copy of the door key ... so I still have one of those for me to use, if needed. We practiced again today with the unlocking of the door. Still not very practical.

She wanted me to slice the caramel cake she received for her birthday, and put it into a container. Somebody please acknowledge the maturity and restraint it took for this fat girl to do that ... and not sneak a single taste. It looked incredibly good. She also wanted me to put her pumpkin pie into baggies so she could keep them in the freezer. After all the food re-arranging, we read the weekly letter from home, and laughed about how funny dreams can be. She was telling me that she had been putting on her pajamas, sitting on the sofa ... and had dozed off with one pajama leg on, and one pants leg still on. (Now that's drowsy.) She dreamed about her table-mate's little dog, and dreamed she was wrapping it in a gold chain, until it looked like it had a metal jacket on it. She was both amused and puzzled at the fact that she had dreamed about Millie's little dog.

Then I told her about my dream of Jimmy going to see the doctor, walking through the parking lot buck nekkid. She laughed pretty hard.


This morning, I was doing a bit of Christmas shopping here at the kitchen table (thank you Internet), and looked up to see that it was 9:40 AM. Frances ALWAYS is out of bed around 8 or 8:30. This morning ... no sign of her. I sat here and got myself so worked up ... positive that she was either incapacitated with a stroke, or was lying in there, already gone. I felt sick to my stomach. I finally screwed up the courage to go and knock at her door ... and she answered immediately. I told her, next time she planned to sleep in, to leave a note or something. Damn.


Nothing much going on around here today. Just some minor Internet shopping, and a trip to Shady Acres. Looking forward to going to bed tonight, as I dug the down comforter out of the closet earlier this afternoon. Toasty toes for me tonight!