Tuesday, May 23, 2017


So. It's tempting to list out all the things that have happened, that have gone wrong, in the last year and a half, but there's really no point to that. It's just life, and as I remind myself, our life is pretty good -- very good, in fact -- and many people have a lot more to deal with than we do.

It's been a little over a year since I lost my job, and while it wasn't what I wanted, I don't know how I would have handled all of the things that have happened if I had also had to go to work every day.

Bob's dad passed away in October. One of Bob's brothers had been living with his dad, helping him, taking him to doctor's appointments, etc. He needed a few months to get things together after their dad died, and he moved out of the house shortly after the first of the year. Bob put the house on the market the first of April, and it sold immediately. With closing a couple of weeks after that, the house had to be emptied and cleaned, and with Bob working every day, most of that fell to me.

I spent quite a few days over there packing up the kitchen and dining room and throwing things away. In the end, we ended up getting the 1-800-JUNK people to come out and haul a lot of stuff away. Much of it was furniture that there was nothing wrong with, but it was stuff that no one in the family wanted. While I would have liked to have taken some of it, I didn't need it, and didn't have room for anything anyway. It was an expensive choice, but we just didn't feel like we had the time or energy to have an estate sale or put things up on Craigslist. I gave a few pieces away to a friend, and that was the extent of it.

Bob and I spent a couple of days cleaning everything, scrubbing out the refrigerator, cleaning the carpets, etc., and the closing went through fine.

That same week, my dad got sick. He had a bad cold and cough; he choked on a large pill that he was trying to take, aspirated, and ended up in the hospital with pneumonia. Two weeks after that, he passed away. There was a lot of in-between, of course -- lots of talking to doctors and nurses, getting my mom back and forth to the hospital, filling out a lot of paperwork, then getting him moved to a nursing home under hospice care, where he died on May 1.

Then came planning the funeral, notifying relatives and friends, etc. I went through hundreds of photographs to make collages for the funeral, wrote the obituary, met with the funeral home people, chose flowers . . .

The whole thing was kind of an interesting experience, and while I wouldn't say I *enjoyed* it, I was glad that I had the opportunity to do these things for my father. The funeral was fine; there weren't as many people there as I had expected, but later I realized that he was one of the last of his generation. There just aren't many of his friends around anymore. We had the funeral in his and my mom's hometown, a small town in Missouri. It was a full military funeral with a 21-gun salute, and two Naval seamen in dress whites removed the flag from the coffin and folded it in a wonderful ceremony.

I had held it together pretty well, but the memory of the seaman kneeling in front of my mother to present the flag to her can make me cry even now.

With my mother being legally blind, profoundly deaf, and disabled from a stroke years ago, handling my parents' affairs falls to me. I've spent the last couple of weeks calling insurance companies and banks, brokerage houses, lawyers, etc., and there's really no end in sight. I have an appointment with our attorney tomorrow to go over some stuff with him. I sat at my mother's assisted living apartment last Thursday while a cable installer set up cable and new telephone service, and my brother and sister and I have taken turns being over there with her.

While they were installing cable, I had them install wifi also, so I can take my laptop over and work in Dad's office while I'm getting things transitioned. I will probably eventually move things over to my house, but for now I'm just feeling my way through it.

As we do everything in life, I guess. We just do the best we can and somehow it all seems to work out.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Body blow

Sometimes I feel like giving up, like curling up in the corner and just letting it all wash over me, but I can't. You can't do that, you have to go on, there isn't really a choice. It just seems like life is so hard sometimes. I know that I'm very lucky. I'm loved, I have a good life. Things are hard sometimes, the last couple of years have been hard, the last couple of months have been really difficult. Sometimes it's just hard to be positive.

I was out at my folks' assisted living apartment today helping them with some stuff (which is difficult at the best of times), and I checked my email to find that I'd been fired by a client because she hadn't received an email from me on a project, and she felt that I had overcharged her. And consequently, she no longer wanted to work with me, and would be finding someone else to do her website work.

I had sent the email. I don't know why she didn't receive it. And I didn't overcharge her. I charged her for the time I spent, but she didn't think it should have taken that long. Whatever. I definitely don't think I'm perfect, and I don't expect everyone to like me, but it was out of the blue and it hurt. I do try to remember that not everything is about me, that everyone has stuff going on, and maybe it had nothing to do with me at all, but it sure feels personal. Just a body blow when I didn't need another one.

Oh well. Onward and upward.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

And the hits just keep coming

Bob had an appointment with his cardiologist last Tuesday. I went with him, but it was just a routine visit. But the doctor decided that he wanted to get some more bloodwork done, so after we left his office we went out to the clinic to have blood drawn. We visited with Bob's doctor, who is also his best friend, then went out to brunch. Bob was leaving for a work trip to Florida the next day, so we came home, did laundry, and started packing for the trip.

About 8:30 that night, the phone rang, and the caller i.d. said Encompass Medical Group. I thought maybe it was an appoinemtnt reminder or something, but it seemed strange they would call so late, so I answered the phone. It was a nurse who said she was working the night shift and was looking at his blood results. She said his sugar was out of sight and he should probably be in the hospital.

So that was a little unsettling.

I handed the phone to Bob, and she told him the same thing, and said she was going to call his doctor. Bob went out to take a drive to clear his head, and I kept on packing. While he was out, he talked to the doctor, who told him that he now has full-fledged diabetes, obviously uncontrolled, and he would be much happier if he stayed home. Bob said that he couldn't, that he had to go. So John told him, okay, if you have to go, then you have to cut your calorie intake in half, cut way down on carbs, don't have any sugar, and no beer. He also told him to tell the guy he was sharing the hotel room with that if he (Bob) started acting goofy, to call 911. That was a set-up for a joke, to be sure, because his roommate said, "How will I tell, he's ALWAYS goofy."

Bob had been taking medication for diabetes, but it obviously wasn't doing enough, so I talked to the doctor and we set up an appointment to meet to get info on blood glucose testing and insulin injection. In the meantime, Bob did great on his trip. He called me and told me what he was eating -- mostly salad, some fruit, lean meat -- and said he felt fine. His return trip ended up being ridiculous, though. He had a flight at 9:00 in the morning, but it was delayed, which caused him to miss the connection. All of the flights were overbooked, so the best they could do for him was a flight leaving around 9:00 p.m., which got in at 10:30. So by the time I picked him up and got his luggage, etc., we got home at 11:30. Super long day.

Most of my day today was spent wrangling blood testing supplies. The prescriptions that were called in to the pharmacy added up to around $300. Fortunately, my sister suggested checking at WalMart before picking up the prescription, and I ended up buying a testing meter, testing strips, lancets, alcohol wipes and a sharps container for a little over $20. The only thing I had to buy at the pharmacy was the insulin and needles, and that was $50, so I spent $70, but way better than $300.

So anyway, he's doing fine. Not happy about it, of course, but he's taking it pretty well. He was practicing sticking his finger tonight, and said it looks like we've got a whole pharmacy going on up in his office. And it does indeed.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Quick Trip / QuikTrip

So, I'm still sick. It seemed to be winding down, but I've been coughing and unable to sleep, so I got some Mucinex last night. After the huge horse pill got stuck in my throat and practically choked me, I waited, but it didn't seem to do anything. Bob was going out of town this morning, we weren't finished doing laundry and packing until after midnight, and I wanted to let him get to sleep before I came to bed. So I sat in my chair downstairs and coughed myself dizzy. The coughing finally seemed to stop, and I slept a couple of hours, but now I guess the Mucinex is doing its work and I'm coughing stuff up and (sorry) it's disgusting.

He left for Florida this morning for five days for some work training. The plane left at 7:00, so we got up at 4:00, which gave me, I think, a total of about three hours of sleep. We stopped at QuikTrip so he could get a cup of coffee. I just had a bottle of water, because I was afraid of another coughing spell.

I got him to the airport and dropped him off at curbside check-in, and drove home, then went back to bed until I was woken up by a coughing spell. This seems to be taking a long time to get rid of, but I almost never get sick, so I suppose that's why it feels so awful.

At least it's warmer, though! I think it's supposed to be in the upper 60s today, then back down to the 30s the rest of the week. We live in a four-plex, an interior one, so that helps with heating and cooling. The little electric forced-air heaters work great, we've got one in the bedroom, one in Bob's office, and one downstairs where I normally work. The plan is go get through until late Spring and then replace the entire heating and cooling system. Not looking forward to that, but it has to be done.

It's 61 out now, I guess I should go out and enjoy it.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Penny Soup

I'm sick, and our furnace isn't working, but I'm not stupid, I know I don't want to get a furnace bid from someone when it's 2 degrees out. Or, you know, maybe I AM stupid, but that's a different story. And whenever I'm sick, I want soup, but not just ANY soup, MY vegetable soup. And I was also cold, so that didn't help.

So I went to Target and bought a couple of little portable space heaters and vegetables to make soup. Every time I make vegetable soup, I'm reminded of the scene in Anne Tyler's "Ladder of Years" (my all time favorite book) where the little boy is missing his mother, and asks for "penny soup." The dad asks him what penny soup is, and the little boy tells him it's vegetable soup.

So the dad dices the vegetables and makes homemade soup, and is quite proud of himself, but the little boy cries. Dad is upset because he doesn't know what he did wrong.

When he asks Delia about it, she tells him that any mother would know what penny soup is. It's when you SLICE the carrots so that they look like pennies. Whether that's true or not, that any mother would know, I don't know, but I always remember it.

So soup is in the crock pot and I'm finally warm.