Archive for April, 2011

I thought I had a title but I guess I don’t :-)

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

Tap tap tap. Tap tap tap. What day is this? Y’know, when you are a nonamoose or even an octowoman or maybe anybody over the age of (ulp) 50 and you land in the horspittle, you get asked over and over and over and over ad nauseam “What day of the week is it?” Man oh man, I am standing here in the Squatter’s Paradise Chitchen with Garrison Keillor blathering away into my right ear and I had to try to think what day this is!

It is Saturday! I knew that! Today. I did my usual 0-skunk-30 walk. The Sault Ste. Siberian version. I have not done my walk since the morning of April 14. Was it April 14? It was a Thursday. What day is it? What month is it? It was about time. That I took a walk. At 0-skunk-30. Normalcy please!

I was in and outta the long term care a couple times after that. Lunch with The Comm, Mona, and Elaine. Caught up on some work. Okay. I worked extra time to try to get something done by Monday morning. I still have some work to do. Clone me, please. Glen’s for some grokkeries. Then the moomincabin, where I took those blasted storm windows off. I know that those things are necessary (or are they?) but I have hated them since I was a little kid. I’m not sure if April 30 is the earliest they have ever been removed. I think so though. Did I mention that I hate those storm windows?

Grandroobly (in his later years) used to spew blue language whenever he had to deal with the moomincabin storm windows. I did not do that today. It was a quick job for me. I *think* that the GG has replaced all of the hardware in recent years. Anyway, I then dredged two beach chairs outta the shed. For those who have gone to the other side but might still be watching over the beach. And for me to sit in now. I walked the beach. In bare feet. It was warm enough to do that. When I got back… Well… Guess what? There happened to be a bottle of cab in the Ninja’s trunk, thanks to the Callyforny Beach Urchin. And a corkscrew. And there was a whineglass in the moomincabin. And so…

Finnelsons is rich [not]

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Okay, feeling a bit better today. I did what needed to be done and now we await the next step into the future. In the end I did it alone, like I knew I would have to do. But not without the support of a couple of goddesses. First, my cousin the goddess Jan, who offered to be with me when I made the calls I was so terrified to make and even go over and make inquiries herself. I did the call alone but she sat and talked to The Commander while I dialed in to a two-hour team meeting at my office. She even facilitated a little sewing prodject for The Comm by dredging a needle and thread out of her purse. And then we had lunch and after that, the goddess Alice the social worker caught up with me (I had asked to meet with a social worker today) and gave me the phone numbers I needed, even though I could’ve easily looked them up myself. (It’s all a long, complicated, ultimately anti-climactic story and I won’t bore you with the details.)

Go ask Alice… I think she’ll know… I asked Alice, “what do we do if there’s a wait list?” Well, we can do this or that or the other thing, in other words, there are options. She high-fived me, told me I was doing a good job (even though I don’t think I am and she probably doesn’t either…) and then I headed down to my “office” in the deserted solarium to make the dreaded call. It turned out that there *is* a wait list. I got us on it directly via a very friendly helpful person (why was I afraid to call?) who even knew my family name…

Once upon a time, I couldn’t get *away* from my family name as hard as I tried. My uncle (aka the Goddess Jan’s dad) was a well-known doctor and my dad and granddaddy were well-known bankers around this little city (old-skool small-town bankers, not those derned Wall Street robber-barons). During the baby boom years, the school district built a new school and named it after my grandfather. The Commander was always telling me something like, “remember who you are and act accordingly!” Well, who *was* I exactly? I don’t wanna get off on this tangent tonight except that I often felt saddled with a family name that I could not live up to. I wanted to run around like a wild Indian. These days The Commander is the only person in Siberia with my family name and she obtained it via marriage. Oftentimes nobody recognizes it at all. Which is okay with me! But then again, I get this warm feeling when someone does recognize our name and speaks warmly of those who now reside on the other side.

I have my fingers crossed that my call today will ultimately lead us to our next reality in the not-too-distant future. It won’t happen because the receptionist recognized my family name. In the rather distant past, occasionally things did happen because of that. Unfortunately, the opposite could also happen. That kind of stuff doesn’t happen any more. These days, the name means nothing. If it did, that horrible ER doc wouldn’t have bounced The Commander out even once. We are on a wait list and we will wait it out.

What I *am* getting a kick out of is that, whenever I leave my phone number with someone, I always add, “If you happen to get my voice mail, be aware that the message says, ‘This is Kayak Woman’s phone.’ Just so you aren’t wondering who in the heck’s phone you have reached.” It does make people at least stop and look at me in a different way, like I’m not just some old nonamoose’s obnoxious daughter from The Planet Ann Arbor, land of over-educated entitled people.

Finnelson? That’s not the family name. Not exactly. Just one of several inaccurate pronunciations we frequently encounter. When I was a little kid, we lived in a shabby little bungalow down on Superior Street. One day a kid from an even shabbier house up the street somewhere came to play with my little brother. When The Commander let him in the front door, he surveyed the tiny living room with the threadbare rug and the cat-scratched davenport and proclaimed, “Finnelsons is rich!” The Comm *still* tells that story! 🙂

Good night. Wish us luck,
Kayak Woman

Clone me, please!

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

For some reason, the Long Suffering Cat Herding Person did not think that was a particularly good idea when I talked to him on the phone this morning. I guess he doesn’t relish the idea of having two or three copies of me in my loverly, dog-poopy cube. Anyway, I had to rock-and-roll some stuff together for work today. Good thing I was 98% done with it and just waiting for a couple answers from *him* to finish it. Still took me most of the day.

I am exhausted tonight. For no particular reason. It was not a hard day down at the LTCRehab and I think The Comm is settling in a bit and making friends with both some of the staff and residents. Still, I feel guilty when I am not hanging around all the time. Why? I dunno. Other children visit but most of them don’t hang out down there for hours on end. Guilt. Guilt that one of these days I *will* be heading back down to the Planet Ann Arbor and will not be around every day. Even though she does not *want* me to stay here forever. Or move to the Planet, but I guess we’ve covered that one already. What will “they” think of me living five hours away?

Then there are the arrangements I need to make. That means I have to make phone calls. I *hate* making phone calls. I stammer and stutter and fumble my words. Then I get panicky when the person on the other end doesn’t understand me or tells me something I don’t totally understand and *then* I can’t find the words to ask the necessary questions. And then sometimes because I am such a nervous wreck, I *forget* important information. Come to think of it, a clone would not help with this. She would have the same stupid phobias and anxieties I have. Where’s the pushy sister I never had? Where is my fearless brother? I cannot procrastinate about this… Sigh.

It’s okay. I’m just tired. I need to get back into some kind of walking routine. Making a mad dash from the hospital to the bank or the post office through a deluge does not count.

So. It was a good day. But. Blah…

Good night,
KW

P.S. Update The photo is from the Doelle end of the beach looking back toward shore. Very very very low water. Also the photo is from Monday. I have been putting in full-time work hours this week plus whatever else needs to be done and haven’t walked the beach since then. It was sunny and the color is also enhanced. Finally, glad to know someone else hates telephones as much as I do. It is a crippling problem sometimes. Why can’t everyone do business via email or I/M like we do at my job?

Light at the end of the tunnel?

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

I’m thinking tonight of when Lizard Breath got the chicken pox. She was a 5th grader at the time and though she didn’t have the worst case of chicken pox on record, it was not as easy as Mouse’s journey a few weeks earlier. Maybe 20-30 pox, a day of “playing” in the bathtub with various soothing agents (can’t even remember what) and then many schoolday bike rides and things with meeee, since she felt too good to be hanging around inside but couldn’t return to school yet. Liz, being a bit older, did not do quite as well. I started asking her if she could see the light at the end of the tunnel yet. For a while, nothing. Then a small beam. Eventually, she got to the “door”. She opened the door. I waited with bated breath as she slowly made her way out the door and then shut it behind her. And began locking it. The locking process seemed to take f-o-r-e-v-e-r but finally she threw away the key and we were finished with the dern chicken pox. (Disclaimer: I’m not totally sure if this actually happened with the chicken pox or some nasty but garden-variety virus that happened the same year.)

I have been in a kind of a tunnel the last couple (few?) weeks. It hasn’t been all that dark in there for the most part but I have not been able to see the light at the end. Today. I was working from LTC rehab. It was mid-morning and the OT goddess Alice had The Commander out on some long stair-climbing junket (yes) or whatever. Ponytail (that is what The Comm calls him, not his real name) was handing out a mid-morning snack and juice and included meeeeee. Suddenly a parade came into the room. Patients and nurses and therapists, etc. Whammo! Light! Alice and Vicky announced that The Comm would be ready in about a week to be discharged. She is doing too well to continue rehab at the long-term care facility. They are recommending assisted living at least temporarily and I agree with that recommendation and we have some gorgeous facilities around here where The Comm already has friends… Not exactly sure when “about a week” will actually happen. There are many variables to process and “about a week” could mean almost anything in hospital-type terms. Been there done that. Ever been incarcerated at the HF Hoosegow? Er, Grandroobly was, not me, but I drove down there from The Planet Ann Arbor every day.

So. Deluge? Yes. I went down to Command Central tonight to drop off clean laundry and everyone was very concerned about my well-being traveling around in the rain. It’s just rain! No lightning or whatever. I dropped off the laundry and said good night and Mona (I can’t describe her, she has to be experienced!) asked me for the second night in a row if I had my keys. No. They were on the floor. I think I will start dropping my keys on purpose from now on just to give Mona a chance to point out my error! She is a kick! (as Radical Betty would’ve said.) Of course then I started for home and I turned down one street that had such a big puddle lake that I backed my loverly little Ninja outta there and went the other way.

And speaking of Radical Betty, I love when my iPhone rings from Radical Betty’s cell phone. I know that it isn’t her but one of my fav-o-rite pictures of her shows up. She is walking the beach in mid-summer wearing a winter jacket and glubs. I still remember her saying, “We just get a little *box* of summer!” Of course, it was the mean old grunchie old Grinchie and we’re gonna meet for breakfast tomorrow. And then the goddess Esther called from New York. I have not been good at keeping her up to date on The Comm’s progress. They are the best of friends and her son was my first boyfriend. We were six. I remember Fran and Esther sitting around in the moomincabin on a cold, windy day discussing (with the help of the Joy of Cooking) how to cut up a cow.

I am rambling. Good night,
KW

P.S. Is fish happening at the Cozy Inn tomorrow night? Email me…

Working from Squatter’s Paradise

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Actually, I was working from the long term care rehab facility for most of the day. What the heck did we ever do without wi-fi? Of course, working from the rehab facility means multi-tasking. There was an almost constant swirl of activity around the Command Post most of the day so it’s a good thing that my current prodject is beyond the deep-thinking / strategizing stage and on to the writing / tinkering / tweaking / ancillary-documentation stage.

Becaaaauuuse… Lemme see… Today, I answered questions about politics and conic sections and alternative sources of energy and what those black pipes were on the roof of the building next door and I fergit what else. The only thing I was able to answer with any kind of certainty was, “What is a parabola?” Because (don’tcha know), I know *all* the conic sections. I looked up words (eviscerate) and googled things (Prince William’s last name). And I broke up a fight. Actually Grandroobly broke up a fight. When I got down there this morning, Moosonee and Blue Bunny disrupted The Commander’s in-depth session with her latest Time magazine with a bit of a set-to. Grandroobly (in the form of a photo) swooped down and squelched it. At any rate, I was able to do my work and field off-hand questions and communications pretty much without missing a beat.

About a billion people were in and out. Alice the OT goddess and her partner in crime Harold, who called me Kayak Woman! Nurses and activity folks and cleaning folks and I dunno who else. I had yet another episode today of somebody saying, “I think I know you” and me replying with, “Did I go to high school with you?” Yes. Floyd. He’s a wee bit younger than me but his sister was in my class and I worked with her at Tempo. I haven’t seen her in about a billion years. She was trying to have children then. I bet she is loving a whole passel of grandchildren by now. Lunch with several ladies whose brains are functional but not all of them are as physically able as The Comm.

I was slodging to the post office through a deluge and Radical Betty’s car came along and picked me up. Oh, of course Radical Betty was not in the driver’s seat. If she’s lucky, somebody is letting her drive the Edmund Fitz! It was driven by none other than the mean old, grunchie old Grinchie. “I knew it was you by your gait!” Yes. People tell me I have a distinctive gait. Sorting mail, writing checks and filling out deposit slips taaarrred The Comm out pretty well this afternoon. But she can do those things and wants to and for now, I’m gonna enable her.

Here’s the thing. This sucks. Old age sucks. But this place is okay. It is clean. It smells good (and I have an ultra-sensitive nose). The staff is friendly and attentive and upbeat. And professional. Yes, there are some residents there who might seem a little scary. They are not. They are our most vulnerable citizens and they are doing the best they can to communicate in a world where people don’t have time for them. They are safe in the long-term care and I am impressed by the loving dedication of those who are taking care of them, feeding them and cleaning them up if they cannot do that for themselves (and The Comm *can* do those things and so much more). It is a job I do not think I could do and these folks rock!

Here’s the other thing. This is temporary for The Commander. It is hard and some days are going to be better than others. For a variety of reasons. But the goal that everyone on our team agrees with is that she will get outta there. Still, there are times when there isn’t a lot going on and if you have finished your rehab for the day (and she does need rest too) and aren’t interested in bingo or whatever, it isn’t that easy. I am doing my best to keep her focused on the end goal, which is getting outta there. Today was a better day than yesterday.

I think that I have formulated a vision for the future that will work for both of us. And no, I have not acted on any of it yet. I am familiar with the excellent facilities and services that are available to us in the area but, in the end, it has to be her decision. She is of sound mind and rehabbing fabulously. For various reasons, I *think* she is in agreement with my vision and is working things out with herself. I know that she does NOT want to move to the Planet Ann Arbor! She is a very intelligent, complicated person and I think she will have good and bad days. She is facing excruciatingly hard decisions. It sucks! And I can’t just twinkle my nose like B-Witch does and make magic. But I am going to do my absolute best to make sure we work together to arrange the best quality of life for her that we can. And for now, that means a temporary stay at the long term care rehab. With Alice and Harold and all of our other wonderful team members.

Oh yeah. Today is the birthday of the Twinz of Terror, aka the GG and the UU. I am missing that. When is somebody going to come up with an iPhone apparation app? Hmmm?

Barefoot on the moominbeach in April

Monday, April 25th, 2011

So, today was a day of change. Immediate change and possible change to come. The immediate change? Absolutely electrifyingly good, as in how the heck did a baggy old kayak woman accomplish that? The possible change to come? Excruciatingly difficult. One day, one moment, one step at a time.

I’m not going any further with any of that. When I woke up this morning, I had to scrape ice off the Ninja’s windshield. Last week, when we were truly having winter weather up here, I had the Mean Green Frog-hoppin’ Machine here and I actually, believe or not, have one o’ them thar remote starters for that vee-hickle. So when I got ready to rock ‘n’ roll every morning, I could start the dern thing from inside the squatter’s paradise and melt the blasted ice. I now have the loverly Ninja and the GG has the frog-hopper. He picked up a trailer at the Lord of Linden’s with that thing on the way down today, so I’m sure he is loving pulling a blasted trailer again. And I can now drive the Ninja down into the Moomincabin driveway, so we’re all cool.

And so, after a rather long day with a few highs and lows, I got into the Ninja and drove out to the beach. There is still a little snow and ice but when I got down to the top of the bank, it was warm enough that I took off my Chaco sandals and my polartech socks and… I. walked. the. beach. in. bare. feet. Yes. It was gorgeous! As I walked, I took a picture of the sand and snow and posted it to facebook with the caption that I was walking the beach in bare feet. Our Northern Correspondent Paulette saw my photo and called me. Whine? Well, of course! I asked her if she knew where I was. Yes, she could see me. Of course! We drank some whine and my beloved cuzzint Jan joined us and an osprey entertained us and it felt like summer and life was really really good…

And oh yeah, a couple of other beach denizens launched a kayak! The one in the photoooo… Maybe I will drag one of ours out before my sojourn here comes to a temporary end. We’ll see what I have time to do and how well the weather will cooperate. Rain is predicted for the next few days (last I looked) and we definitely need it here. Dry forests and very low water in the Big Lake they call Gitchee Gumee.

Love y’all,
Yooper Woman!

Back in the U.S.S.R. You don’t know how lucky you are, boy…

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

It felt sooooo gooood to be hoooooome for a quick overnight. I always try to tell myself that, in the grand scheme of things, I like the Great White North better than The Planet Ann Arbor. Of course I love them both and feel so fortunate to be able to spend time in both places. It is so very complicated. But I have a complex personality. 😉

So, this morning, moi birthday girl Mouse beat off the bad aminal that glues people into their beds and got up early. Early, that is, for someone whose friends took her out on the town for her birthday the night before. We didn’t have a brunch reservation for this morning but we figured that if we hit Cafe Zola early enough, the Easter reservation crowd would probably not be there yet. We got there at 8:30 and we were right. Smoked salmon crepes for me and I couldn’t even begin to describe Mouse’s breakfast except that she had to ask for a box. Coffee for both of us. I wouldda loved to have a mimosa but I hadta drive today.

After breakfast, Mouse suggested we take a walk down by the river. The beauteous Huron River, that is. I had bagged my walk earlier that morning. I’m sorry, I was just mentally exhausted this morning. So I welcomed the chance to walk. With Mouse. By the river. We checked out the GG’s birdhouses down there. They are all still there but I couldn’t tell if they were occupied or not.

When we returned to the Landfill, the sun was coming out and the temperature was heading upwards and Mouse was considering taking a nap with a book in the back yard. I threw my clothes back into my duffle bag, packed my electronical crap, strapped Froggy and Green Guy into the Ninja and headed north again.

The Commander? Well. The GG actually *asked* a nurse if he could spring her for a ride today. The answer was YES! They helped get her in and out of the Mean Green Frog-hoppin’ Machine and the GG took her out and about for 3-4 hours! They were reduced to buying lunch at Mickey-D’s only because the GG cannot help The Comm out of the car safely and Clyde’s was closed. He took her out to the Moominbeach and sent a photoooo.

One of the problems I am having with all of this (aka, my new reality) is that I do not know what the timeline is. I do have a life and The Commander really wants me to continue to live my life. I will be that way (ulp) when my children are futzing around with me in my old age. Ulp. Our children are the future and that’s why we have them! I am hoping that the next couple of days will give me some kind of idea about what the timeline for the next phase of our lives (The Comm and moi) will be. I know that there is no certain answer to that kind of question. But, for the last couple weeks, I have been living from minute to minute and I need to do some planning. If I can…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOUSE! 24 on the 24th! I remember when I turned 24 or thereabouts. I thought that I was getting old and that I needed to hurry up and do stuff. Not sure what stuff. 24 is young (although it makes meeeee feel old that my youngest child is 24). I know that it is hard for lots of you youngsters to make people take you seriously and find jobs that make ends meet, etc. (Delete lotsa crap about KW’s life and employment history here.) Keep at it. It’s wonderful that we have all these damn engineers and doctors and stuff. We need them. We need creative people too. That is all for tonight.

Goodnight,
Rocket Woman

Let there be spring!

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

And so, this morning when I woke up it was pouring rain. I bagged my walk [again], finished washing up the dishes I had left to soak overnight, stuffed my clothing into my duffle bag, and prepared to leave the Yooperland. I looked out into the driveway at the Squatter’s Paradise and there was the Wetsu Truck! The mean old grunchie old grinchie had come in to town to drop off none other than Green Guy with me for a rocket trip to the Planet Ann Arbor. It is Green Guy’s first trip outta the Yooperland in anyone’s memory. The Grinch carefully buckled Green Guy and Froggy into the passenger seat of the Ninja and off we went. Softy Beanbag (and the Mean Green Frog-hoppin’ Machine) stayed in the Yooperland with the GG.

I told The Commander “Seeya Sunday” last night and didn’t visit her this morning. She told me she was fine with that but I still left with a heavy, guilty heart. It didn’t help when I learned that today wasn’t a particularly good day for her. A gastro-intestinal “bug” had her a bit down. (I was much relieved to hear that she felt better in the late afternoon and could eat dinner and that, despite the bug, she was well enough to be able to work with the PT / OT rockstars a bit.)

Still, it was an interesting drive down. I love to drive and I was in my element with the 6-speed manual Ninja and I was absolutely, utterly, totally aware of the traffic on the I75 SUV Speedway. But my brain was in a kind of a stew. In truth, I was in a bit of a slow burn today, brainstorming with myself about how I can best advocate for The Commander when she and our team needs me to do that. At some point in time, Grandroobly and The Engineer and Radical Betty and her brother Austin and sister Charlotte may start calling her over to the other side but I don’t think we’re anywhere near that yet (knock on wood). I am determined that she will have the best of care, even if I have to piss some people off. Again, there is no instruction book for any of this.

I landed on The Planet Ann Arbor around 1:00 PM today. Was I over-dressed for the weather? Yes, I was. I went inside and threw some towels in the washing machine and then I sat. I sat in front of this loverly old MacBook for quite some time. I could not move. I finally *dragged* myself out and walked over to the Plum Market. What do I want to eat tonight? What do I want to eat tonight? The place was jammed with people shopping for their Easter dinner tomorrow. Now, we do not really observe Easter here at the Landfill. When the beach urchins were young, we observed it in an egg-coloring, Easter bunny, secular sort of way. Now? Well, anything goes. One Easter it was 90 degrees out (on April 7th) and we hauled our kayaks down to the Urine Huron River. I think our breakfast that day was cheerios in a baggie, a banana, and V8. I don’t remember if I cooked a special dinner or not. Probably, but certainly nothing exceptionally memorable.

Anyway. I envied all of those Easter dinner shoppers just a bit. I wanted to be shopping with an actual list. A purpose. Alas, I was just wandering. I ended up with some salmon and veggies to saute and a wee bit of takeout salad for lunch. I got coffee and a hash brown from the Gaylord Mickey-Ds at around 10 this morning but I knew it wasn’t enough. I don’t think I talked to myself at the Plum Market. Much.

I wish I could say that the Plum Market perked me up a bit. Not. I got back here and slodged around for a very long time. Finally I mustered up a bit of gumption and walked downtown. I needed a good long walk and I needed a hug from one of my beach urchins. Mouse was at work downtown and so off I went. About the time I got back home, Mouse was parking Daisy in front of the Landfill. She took a shower and then *we* went for a bit of a walk. Our first stop was at Goose Mom’s house. Goose Mom is moving down to where the stars at night are big and bright and, even though these days I probably see Goose Mom more on FB than I do in the neighborhood, I am going to miss her big time!!!

Plum Market (yes again, loverly to have an upscale grokkery store within walking distance) and home again. Mouse is out celebrating her birthday (which is tomorrow) with friends this evening. I am here in the loverly old Landfill. Feeling a little better about life. At least for the moment. And knocking on wood big-time! Brunch with my birthday girl tomorrow (24 on the 24th) and then rocketing back to the Yooperland.

Love y’all,
Boomerang Woman

The boyz are back in town

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

I have spent the last week almost exclusively with women. I can say pretty much categorically that every single one of the women I have spent the last week with has absolutely rocked my world. There were a few boyz in there too and almost all of them have rocked my world too. And that’s all I’m gonna say about that. But I have been staying here in Squatter’s Paradise alone all by myself, er, except for Froooggy and Softy Beanbag. I am sleeping with them. I am not ashamed to say that. They are comforting. Some of the folks at the long term care facility are sleeping with dolls and stuffed animals. I hope I am never in that situation but, if I am, I will want Froggy with me. Yes.

Last night. I was sitting here hanging out on them thar tubes. You know the ones. The GG was on his way up here. About a half hour before he was scheduled to arrive, my beloved cuzzint, the mean old grunchie old Grinch pulled into the driveway. Not too long after that, in drove the GG. I had boyz! They each had a ‘hattan (I think the GG had two but the Grinch had to drive) and they were jawboning away a lot like my old coot used to do with the Grinch’s dad Duke. I miss those days and we need some more boyz in this fambly but it’s not my job to recruit them, so I guess I’ll take what I can get. Last night I had two of my fav-o-rite boyz here and… Don’tcha know, I am doing okay taking on all of this new reality but having those boyz here allowed me to relax just a wee little bit. First ‘hattan in a heck of a long time.

Today, the GG took a great load off my shoulders by hanging out down that the long term care rehab with The Commander. She gets along better with him than me, remember? He is a better hands-on caregiver than I am from the get-go but, in my defense, I am handling a whole lot of stuff that is outside of the hands-on stuff and I am the only person who can legally do that stuff. So, after working from Squatter’s Paradise and calling her doc (or trying to) and lawyers and stuff, when I walk in and the head OT person (goddess!) is trying to find clothing for her (and The Comm DOES GET HERSELF DRESSED, MAKE NO MISTAKE!) I am sort of bdaa-bdaa-bdaa, well, I think there are some clothes here somewhere. I found them but I am more cut out for the financial/lawyer stuff than the day-to-day care. Even though I don’t know what the *hell* I am doing with that stuff either. I am trying to do my best. I am not cut out for some parts of this. But I am trying…

With much trepidation, I am going to take a rocket trip to The Planet Ann Arbor this weekend. I’m leaving early tomorrow morning and I will be back Sunday afternoon. The GG is here for the weekend. And I am going to make a pizza dinner for me and my boyz when I get back on Sunday night. And there is Cupcake whine up here at Glen’s. Thank you god. I was talking to myself at that point. Right there in the damned grokkery store.

Here’s the thing. We are a *team* here. I am the leader (arguably, The Comm is still the commander and I will defer to her if I feel it’s important). I am not particularly the best leader in the world but my role in The Comm’s rehab is coming sharply into focus. There are many many many people who are on our team here. Anyone who is not interested in being a team member? Well. We’ll see. I may be a baggy old kayak woman but I know when I am being stonewalled or hornswoggled. And so does The Commander. And neither one of us will put up with any of that kind of crap. So. Get on board with our team. Or not.

My packets are delivered by pigeons. How do you get yours?

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

One challenge after another but today’s challenge(s) did not involve The Commander all that much. They involved a baggy old kayak woman business systems analyst’s ordeal to connect her loverly Windows work laptop to the internet! We do not use wi-fi at the office. Yes, I do have a job! And I can even “work from home” and that includes this squatter’s paradise. I left my office rather suddenly a week ago and today it was time to get back to it.

I won’t go through the whole ordeal. I just know that I was about ready to give up when suddenly I was connected to The Commander’s wifi. Since I don’t know exactly what I did to get there, I hope I can duplicate it tomorrow. And then I need to get connected to the VPN. Are we having fun yet?

What *was* fun was… I dialed in to a work meeting this afternoon. From the Yooperland! It was so good to hear everyone’s voices, the Long Suffering, Cat Herding Person in particular. Of course somebody had to make a joke about pigeon-dropped packets.

The Commander? Well. I checked in on her in the morning and I had lunch with her in the dining room, her first meal outside her room, and I visited this evening. Walking a fine balance here. She wants to be independent again. That means she doesn’t want me to be taking care of her, although I think she has accepted that I will be helping out with some things, at least behind the scenes. To be independent involves successfully completing rehab. She is doing very well with rehab but successfully completing rehab will mean more than just hanging out doing exercises and walking around with a therapist and a walker. It will also mean participating in the community in which she lives and not sitting around in her room. I think she is very nervous about joining her new temporary community but I think she will do okay. But, as much as possible, I left her to her own devices. I will be returning to The Planet Ann Arbor some day. She wants me to. But this has been a difficult transition and the last thing I want to happen is for her to slide slowly over into becoming dependent on me. At least not any more than she needs to be. Not at this time. I don’t really think they want me hanging around there all day either. So today, I focused on my own life and career. The Comm wants me to do that.

She seemed to be doing well tonight. She had just enough visitors today to feel like she hasn’t lost her network but not so many that she got tired out. Rehab stuff with PT and OT and the evening meal in the dining room. Without me. Onward. Always knocking wood, of course.

And what a day. As much as I love my loverly, dog poopy cube and my own special parking place right next to the Admiral’s Pond, it will be hard to give up working at this Squatter’s Paradise. Perks? Can you say perks? After my late afternoon meeting today, I. drove. out. to. the. beach. The Moominbeach! I walked “my” beautiful beach. Perfect end to a work day.

The top photoooo is from the back yard here at Squatter’s Paradise this morning. It snowed all day yesterday but nothing stuck until it got dark. I woke up to a couple inches. It melted quickly under a bright, warm sun. The bottom photoooo is from my beach walk. I think we are going to have *very* low water this summer… But. Anyway. As I was about to get into the Mean Green Frog-hoppin’ Machine after walking the beach, between the brilliantly warm sunshine and the seagulls calling out at the island and the pines susurrating in a wee bit of breeze, I could almost feel summer. Except for the diminishing piles of snow, that is.

Another new reality

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

And another very hard, exhausting day. We had to say goodbye to our wonderful goddess Sharolyn this morning, the top-notch CNA (nurse’s aide) who has been taking care of The Commander every day of her hospital stay. They had become the best of buddies over those five days. This morning when I got down there a little after seven, the Commander’s door was shut. It turned out that The Comm had conspired with Sharolyn to get showered before I got there. Well, not quite, but you have to admire her for trying. I know I did!

We said goodbye because The Commander was discharged from the horspittal today and moved to a rehab facility. There are two excellent facilities to choose from and it was an excruciatingly hard decision. Both of them house rehab patients as well as long-term residents. One of them is a little bigger and fancier and is only a couple blocks from The Commander’s house. And the rehab patients have a wing more or less to themselves. The problem with that rehab facility is that The Commander has some difficult memories of it. Grandroobly stayed there for a few weeks after the folks down at the HF Hoosegow pieced his crushed pelvis back together. His rehabilitation was not successful. I have a slightly different take on that whole thing than The Commander, which is that my dad had pretty much given up and didn’t participate in the rehab process. I think that The Commander would be a successful rehab patient there. But she is of sound mind and I have to respect her wishes.

The other rehab facility is a part of our horspittal itself. It also houses both rehab patients and long-term residents but everyone is mixed together. It was a little scary for me to think about my highly intelligent, intellectually inquisitive mother eating dinner side by side with someone spitting their ice cream out (like a great aunt of mine would do when she reached the age of 100 or so). On the other hand, this rehab facility uses the same excellent team of therapists who worked with The Commander in the horspittal itself. Why go through a whole new evaluation? And it is only temporary, roight?

I felt so alone making that decision. Then the mean old grunchie old Grinch came along. We had planned a coffee date but I snagged him to tour the horspittal rehab with me. Heck, somebody besides me has to experience the concept of horspittal time, roight? I needed to make sure I was making, if not a perfect decision, at least something we could live with. Sharolyn herself took us over there and introduced us and the effervescent goddess Kathy toured us around (she even detected the Grinch’s profession, I’ll let you guess how ;-)). This wasn’t the poor old Grinch’s decision to make but I greatly appreciated having him *with* me, listening to me fuss around about it. Love you, you grunchy old cuzzint.

I decided the horspittal rehab would be okay and after talking to The Commander about it, I confirmed (with the goddess Alice) that we wanted the open bed there. The Grinch and I went to get our coffee and, when I got back, The Commander and Sharolyn had already gotten her packed up. And so we went. After we arrived, Joe and Kathy were orienting us to the facility and, when they explained that one of The Comm’s roommates is a silent wanderer who will sometimes wheel over and touch people on the leg to “check on them”, a light bulb came on. I have yet to meet this roommate but she has probably cared for children and grandchildren and others and maybe she is still a caretaker somewhere inside there. My heart kind of melted right then. The wanderers and the mumblers and the droolers and the ice-cream spitters are *people* that the world has kind of left behind. They deserve our kindness, compassion, and respect. I think that my mother will rise to the challenge of living with people who have bigger challenges than she has.

Nevertheless, I had to absolutely *fight* back tears all the way home. Make no mistake. This is not an easy journey and I am not particularly prepared for it. I don’t think there is an instruction manual for this. It can be helpful to hear of others’ experiences but I am going to guarantee you that there is no one on earth quite like The Commander. Or your mother, for that matter.

P.S. Beach walk in the late afternoon followed by an excellent dinner at Jeep and Pan’s. I needed that, as well as talk about their grandchildren. A new generation! Thanks, you guys! Love you.

Hurry up and wait.

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

You get somebody into the horspittal and the first couple days are full of activity. Tests and evaluations and all kinds of horspittal folks in and out. Today we were starting to feel like old-timers. Still lots of nurse, CNA, and PT / OT visits but things are settling down (knock on wood) and we’re awaiting a move to rehab in another wing of the hoosegow. On the other hand, as news of the Commander’s temporary residence spreads, can you say *visitors*? Yes. People and flowers and cards and a gorgeous hand-knitted blanket. I was away for a while today and when I went back down to check on her, she was exhausted.

New gods and goddesses? Well, there’s Elvira, who I have heard a lot about but never met before. Apparently she gave the ER doc absolute hell during the Comm’s first visit there last Thursday. (He may have made more of a mistake than he knows, since The Comm knows a lot of people and they know a lot of people and this story may well get around this beautiful little city.) And there is Vonda. The Commander had a haircut appointment this morning. At first I thought I would have to cancel it. And then I looked in the mirror… In the end, I marched over to A Cut Above the Rest*, explained to Vonda about The Comm and asked her if she would cut *my* hair. She totally “got” that I am a wash-and-wear kind of gal and didn’t try to do anything fussy. We talked a mile a minute the whole time. I think she did a great job, don’t you? A bit of a disclaimer. The photoooo is apped. My hair was very blonde when I was a little kid but darkened to a luuuuverly dishwater blonde color. That color is now heavily laced with gray/white and I look just a weeee bit more bleached in the photooo than in real life.

Stability reigns downtown (knock on wood). Telemetry stuff removed yesterday. PT / OT continues to go well. Waiting for the promised bed in rehab to actually open up. Lots and lots of visitors the last couple days as the news gets around town. Flowers and cards and even a cute little stuffed bunny. This woman is popular! Roight. Repeating moiself again 😉

*The Comm: “You can park in the back of the beauty shop.” KW: “Mooooom!! The place is a blasted block from the horspittal. I don’t need no stinkin’ parking place. I am gonna walk!”

The only reason I am driving to the *horspittal* is so I have the Mean Green Frog-hoppin’ Machine at the ready!

The day the ice came in from Gitchee Gumee

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Boy oh boy, what a long day! Lots of activity for The Commander, a fair amount of activity for me plus some hurry-up-and-wait time. Short-term decisions made and long-term decisions coming a bit closer into focus.

Another goddess shows up. Connie! I think I have met Connie once before. She is the goddess of house-cleaning. And many many many other things, including keeping her ear to the ground about what is going on with her clients. Seriously, there are house-cleaners and there are house-cleaners. I’m sure that Connie (like all of us) appreciates being paid for the work she is hired to do. It’s just that she goes so far above and beyond. I could have canceled her for today but I wanted to talk to her. In truth, I would have paid her just to talk to me. But I know she would not accept money for that and she had a plan for cleaning and so – after we had done some talking – she proceeded with that. And darn it. I have been doing a *terrible* job of cleaning up after myself since I’ve been here and The Comm was not feeling well enough last week to manage the place the way she usually does. It is gorgeous here tonight and it smells good!

A god! One that I can write about. Harold. PT (OT?) Shoot he even provided a succinct explanation of the difference that even your fav-o-rite over-filled-brain blahgger could understand and she *still* can’t remember which he is). Anyway. Blarney? Oh yes. Get the patient engaged in telling her life story *while* doing her theraband exercises, tell a bit about your own life story and count the number of times she has *done* the exercise while you are at all of that. I slid a sidewise glance at him at one point and said, “You might be getting more of a story than you asked for.” “No, no. I love this stuff.” Yes! Getting to know the patient and what she’s all about! Plus he’s a multi-tasker after my own heart. Multi-tasker? Me? Well. I hope I remember to take the blasted garbage out tomorrow morning.

This PT / OT team will still work with The Commander after she is discharged to rehab tomorrow or Wednesday. Or… We’re on hospital time, don’tcha know.

There were a lot of tests and things today and because of that, I hung around and around and around until the doc finally made an appearance in the late afternoon. That was well worth it but that’s all I’m gonna say about that. While he was there, my iPhone rang. Unfortunately, it was plugged in across the room and I wouldda had to interrupt the conversation to get to it. When I finally checked who called, it was none other than Jeep and Pan! My snowbird cuzzints have returned to the beach after spending the winter with the Tucson Crew and others. I knew they wanted to know about The Commander but I thought, “Heck, why talk on the phone. Things are stable here. I’ll go out to the beach!”

And so I did. And I dunno if you can tell but the Goddess Barb told me at lunch that a whole bunch of ice was heading in toward our beach from Gitchee Gumee and would be there by this afternoon. She was right, it was. The Goddess Paulette observed two eagles chasing a seagull on the beach. And I observed boats waiting in line for a downbound lock this evening. Others have noticed an uptick in traffic too. Not sure what it means but snow and ice be damned, the north shall rise again!

From a snowswept, ice-glazed northern outpost

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

I think that the illicit batscope-hour underwear-washing incident will eventually rank right up there with the purse in the graveyard incident. And that’s all I’m gonna say about that. To protect the innocent (or whatever you want to call them), don’tcha know.

Yes, adding a few folks to my list of goddesses today. Nurse Sharolyn and movie goddesses Shirley and Audrey and a passel of PT/OT ladies. And a meal-planning goddess. When the heck did somebody actually come and ask you what you *wanted* for your next hospital meal? Describing all of the available options and offering choices that aren’t even on the menu (oh, we even go out and buy ingredients that aren’t on hand if a patient needs something special). Big I-love-my-work smile the whole time. Wow! When Grandroobly was down at the HF Hoosegow, they seemed to bring the same big hunks of meat with every meal. Hey, aren’t hospitals supposed to promote healthy menus? Oh well. He didn’t touch most of what they brought him anyway. A little fruit, a bite or two of dessert. It is totally different here and now at our little small-city hospital and there may be too much food for The Comm to finish but she is interested in it and engaged in making choices.

The Commander? Well, let’s just say that when I told some of these hospital goddesses that was her name, they *got* it! She had multiple sessions of PT / OT today and was observed (when I wasn’t there) practicing with the “theraband” on her own without anyone prompting her. Visitors and phone calls and I went around the corner and bought her a bunch of magazines. The New Yorker and National Geographic and some other good literary-type magazines. She’s doing well and regaining strength (as always, knock on wood). More tests tomorrow to try to determine what caused her problems in the first place. And we will go from there.

I certainly did not have a bad day but I am exhausted. I am going in 16 directions at once at any given time. I am talking to so many people all of the time, beloved relatives and friends, hospital personnel, The Comm’s various business and social connections. Phone and email and text and twitter and facebook and face-to-face. I have been *beating* my social anxiety into retreat! But if I am talking to you and repeat myself, please excuse me. I can’t remember who I have told what! I know that when we have finally fully stabilized the situation I am going to need to bug out for a while. Not that I don’t TOTALLY appreciate all of the support we have received from so very many people! Because I do. I love you all!

In truth, my current situation is as easy as it gets (despite the rough start) for having an elderly parent in the hoosegow (again, knock on wood). I have a free place to stay. It is about a mile from here down to the hoosegow. Takes me five minutes or so to get there. I can park right outside the building. She is on the second floor. I have never had to wait for an elevator and I have shared one with someone else three times and one of those times my fellow passenger was the Grinch. The nursing staff and OT/PT goddesses are fantastic and they seem to understand what The Commander is all about. (Oh, I already said that, didn’t I? See, I’m repeating myself 😉 )

Today was a gorgeous day. Blowing snow all day long. Rough water on the St. Mary’s. Hulking freighters looming out of the swirling snow. I was actually wandering around Woldemort this afternoon trying to think what I wanted to eat (all my fave take-out joints are closed on Sunday), when the mean old grunchie old Grinch called. “Wanna go out to eat tonight?” Well, yes! Palace Saloon. We lingered a bit. I would’ve liked a second glass of whine but I needed to hit the hoosegow for good night and then slither up the hill on the ice-glazed streets to home. (Yes, I am glad I have the Mean Green Frog-Hopping Machine (all-wheel drive) with me and not my beloved little Ninja. Not to mention my ski jacket. And my boots. You can take the girl out of the Yooperland but you can’t take the Yooperland out of the girl.)

I got home and finally poured that second glass of whine and checked my email and there was my cuzzint Uber Kayak Woman home from a ski weekend. I started to write an email and then I just bagged it and called. Just the person to bounce my thoughts off of. Another goddess. (Yes, there are some gods around too. Aside from the Grinch, they are playing behind-the-scenes roles for the moment.)

Gotta rock ‘n’ roll tomorrow morning. Good night. -KW

On hospital time (aka, things happen when they happen)

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

If you enlarge the photoooo (or maybe even if you don’t), you might notice the icicles hanging there down at the bottom of the sign. I didn’t get to bed particularly early last night (still running on adrenaline) but I slept pretty darn well. It was still dark when the house phone rang. “What the heck time is it?” I wondered as I stumbled around looking for the closest phone. It was 6:30 AM. Way past my usual wake-up time, and it was The Commander with “bring me this, bring me that, wa wa wa…”. Okaaayyy. Thoughts of sneaking in a little early morning walk evaporated. Rock and roll, KW. You’re on. Shower, grab stuff, and out.

If I had known there was actual *ice* on my vee-hickle windows, I would’ve tested out the Outback’s remote starter. (Hey, we need a better name for this loverly green vee-hickle than “the Outback”. Anyone?) Anyway, even though the Goddess Paulette texted me with a freezing rain warning, I didn’t think to do that. Fortunately, it was pretty wimpy ice and melted quickly with the defrogger on. (Roads, at least here in town, were just wet.)

Yesterday, I did not eat ANYTHING until around three in the afternoon. It was okay yesterday (adrenaline again) but I knew it wouldn’t be okay today. So I grabbed an omelet and coffee to go at Kenny’s Pitchen and settled in to eat it in The Comm’s room. Where I had the pleasure of watching two goddesses of physical and occupational therapy get her up and walking down the hall (assisted and with a walker, but still).

Back up the hill to do some laundry, etc., leaving instructions with The Comm to let me know when the Goddess Barb arrived for a visit. Lunch with the Goddess Barb at Karl’s Cuisine / Superior Whinery, then walked back to the hoosegow. Discharge person apparated out of nowhere. Okay, but the jury is out about goddess status, we’ll see how I feel after the horse-trading happens. If I feel like people are trying to steamroll over me… Well, you know… (BTW, there seem to be differing opinions about when and to where discharge happens. Between KW and The Comm, that is…) Yay, weekend cover doc comes in. Have known him since he was a kid (Engineer’s age). Hears ER story and is HORRIFIED! “What? You had every right to be upset!” Indeed.

Leave for some thinking/processing time and drive out to the beach. Glad to have the Outback. I’d’ve had to park the Ninja at Lewigi’s (which would’ve been fine except I was short on time). The Ninja would’ve gotten stuck either in the mud on the road or the snow in the driveway. Beach? What the heck? I have an umbrella and boots and the wind is *not* out of the northwest. I walked the beach. I needed that. Still don’t have any firm decisions made about the future. The path is becoming a little less fuzzy but many factors to consider.

Back here finishing laundry and futzing around at six when brrrrrinnnngggg, “more tests you need to know about wa wa wa”. Okay, be right down. At least she is using her room phone, not to mention the nurse’s call button. The only times Grandroobly ever used a call button was when he sat on it or something and we won’t even talk about the phone. Turns out tests are *not* tonight (I knew they wouldn’t be) but Monday morning. Hung around until The Comm got sleepy, then came home and am finally eating the second half of my shrimp scampi linguine from last night. No drywall dust, thank you very much.

P.S. Sharp-shinned hawk at the beach today!

A cautionary tale

Friday, April 15th, 2011

I really don’t intend to give a blow by blow of The Commander’s recent health issue, but I’m going to give out the basics. Because man oh man, have we been through an ordeal the last few days.

In short, The Commander has spent the better part of two days in the ER for stroke-like symptoms and has been bounced both times. Because I was not there for yesterday’s sojourn, I figured maybe she hadn’t adequately described her symptoms or the dramatic change in her well-being since last weekend. Long story short, slurred speech and extreme difficulty walking. She was given two medications that I don’t think even began to address her symptoms (allergies? what allergies?) and told to follow up with her doc in 3-5 days!!!! Well. How about ASAP? I got her an appointment at 9:30 the next morning (aka this morning).

I won’t describe the horrific night we endured. I am absolutely, totally, utterly untrained, inexperienced, and incompetent as a caregiver to someone who cannot walk or get in and out of bed or up out of a chair. I’m not sure if the ER doc bounced her because they knew I would be there or what but I think that it’s inexcusable to send someone in that kind of condition home. Leaving her alone in this house with me was dangerous!

This morning. I *somehow* managed to get her dressed, after a fashion (and I don’t mean “high fashion”). When I tried to get her to walk with me from her bedroom to the living room, it was a total failure. She couldn’t bear weight at all. I sat her down again and called her doc’s office. “I cannot get her to my car.” They were a little blase at first, “Oh, then you won’t be keeping the appointment.” Well, no, BUT!!! SHE NEEDS TO BE SEEN! WHAT DO WE DO??? The only thing to do seemed to be to call 911. And go to the blasted ER again. In an ambulance. I know that she did not want an ambulance but I couldn’t see another choice. I fed her some scrambled eggs and a rather burnt piece of toast (she ate with gusto!) and then I did the dirty deed.

When the ER doc explained that her vital signs were normal and they couldn’t admit her, I explained as calmly as I could that I wasn’t concerned with her current vital signs. I was concerned with the dramatic decline in her well-being since the weekend. I explained [patiently (or not)] that I had *tried* to play by the rules and take her to her doc’s office but I COULDN’T GET HER TO MY CAR!!! He left and we waited a couple hours for a nurse to come back and tell us, again, that they couldn’t admit her and mumble something about placement by a social worker. Placement? Where? NOT UNTIL THEY HAVE FIGURED OUT WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH HER!!! (I didn’t yell, but it was obvious that I was not a happy camper.)

And then a couple of goddesses arrived. Our Northern Correspondent Paulette (with a wheelchair, of all things), and Alice the Social Worker. Alice *listened* to me. She examined my mother and pointed out some signs of possible stroke. She laid out a little plan of action that she would try to either get The Comm’s doc to come over and examine her in the ER or get *us* over to the doc in his office in a wheelchair. It’s across the parking lot in the photooo. We *would* have to get discharged from the ER but she felt pretty certain that The Comm’s doc would admit her. In the end, the goddess Paulette and I wheeled The Comm across the parking lot and, after about a five minute exam, we were in the admitting office. All of this was *exhausting* for me, so I can’t even imagine what it must’ve been for The Comm. This is how we treat our sick people? And I won’t even get into what all of those tests must have cost. Ugh.

Yes, she is in the hospital. She is stable, comfortable, and completely capable of communicating, minus the usual Commander-speak and the slurring. And she is *determined* to try to do things for herself. Get in and out of bed. Stand up. She needs help and I keep telling her to wait for it but I also applaud her attitude. She should do well with rehab if she keeps it up. So, I am optimistic but knocking on wood. I *hope* to get a good night’s sleep tonight. Of course, my number is written on a white board down there in her room and I just jumped a mile when an iPhone buzzed in an ad on the boobtube…

I left (exhausted) around the time they were bringing dinner around (she was hungry, that’s a good sign). I drove the waterfront (the Tadoussac was upbound below the locks), called up my cuzzint, the mean old, grunchie old Grinch, and he took me out to dinner at Ang-Gio’s. I had shrimp scampi linguine and a glass of cab and he had chicken primavera with drywall dust and some sort of spiked coffee. After that, I went down to the hoosegow to drop off her glasses and say goodnight. She was sound asleep.

P.S. I am not dissing this highly-rated small-city hospital in the town I grew up in. We have had a lot of good experiences there and it is great to be able to drive a couple minutes and park right outside it when visiting people there. And to walk a block to Kenny’s Pitchen to grab a quick lunch or a coffee. Or a couple blocks down to the waterfront for some air. The staff is friendly and professional and the rooms are clean and modern. I do not know what was going on with the ER. I know we were [arguably] not at the ER for an “emergent” condition (we think she tried to ignore it for a couple days). But what do you do when you can’t transport your patient without an ambulance and EMTs? The Commander is *not* a frequent flier and I was not happy with the process and their dismissal and misunderstanding of her symptoms.

Back in the Yooperland again

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Yeah. Just yesterday I was blathering away incoherently about politics and looking forward to a [much needed] semi-moom-alone-except-for-a-little-Mouse weekend and now I’m here. Again.

The truth is that a little sub-plot was going on underneath yesterday’s ramblings. I hadn’t called The Commander in a couple of days. I was overdue. Well. Hello. She didn’t sound like her usual self at all. Now, it is exceedingly difficult to talk to The Comm on the phone even on a good day. My phone doesn’t talk to the Yooperland very well (thank you, AT&T). Her phones are totally screwed up. Static-ey as all getout. There’s always a lot of “Are you there?” “Mom?” “Mom?” “Are you using the kitchen phone?” [The kitchen phone is the worst.] Dropped calls left and right and, for a while, her iPhone ringtone was set to sound exactly like a regular old phone. Confusion? Yes. For her part, The Comm, who has some hearing issues [and yes, she reads my blahg], will be going on and on and on, twisting the conversation in 16 different directions with MacMullan blindsides. Fun? Not really. But this was worse. Something was not right.

We rather nervously waited throughout the night. When I called her this morning, she wasn’t any better. She couldn’t get hold of her doc, so she took a taxi to the ER. I was having coffee with MMCB when that decision was made (a text message like only The Commander can send eventually confirmed her safe arrival). And then, I don’t know what I was thinking, but I drove to work. Of course, by the time I got there, I had come to the realization that what I really needed to do was to get onto the northbound I75 SUV Speedway. I told the Long Suffering Cat Herding Person what was up, sent an email to my fellow team members, set my autoresponder on, shut down, and took off.

The Comm got bounced out of the ER this afternoon but there are some issues that need to be checked out that I don’t have a comprehensive story on right now. We’ll find out more [I hope] tomorrow morning.

I have to admit that I felt very alone this morning. I don’t have a whole lot of experience with this stuff, my brother is dead, the GG is off on a junket with DogMomster, and Mouse has work and rehearsal. And I am really not the favorite child in the family. A ne’er-do-well black sheep sorta person. Yes, The Comm reads this and no, there isn’t some big, horrible thing between us. I have never felt un-loved or anything. Just that I think The Engineer had a greater capacity for dealing with elderly parents than I do and I bet she is missing him right now. I know I am!

Guess what? When I got here, both Barb and Our Northern Correspondent Paulette were *here* with The Comm. Barb had figured out where The Comm was and headed down there to help out. Our Northern Correspondent took charge of filling prescriptions and obtaining us some dinner from Kenny’s Pitchen. And then my loverly cuzzint, the mean old, grunchy old Grinch stopped by to visit. In a way I can’t begin to articulate, I always feel like he has my back. I am grateful to all of them, plus the LSCH Person who fosters a family-friendly atmosphere at my work. I am nervous about the future but I am not feeling quite so lonely any more.

Love y’all,
Boomerang Woman

P.S. I am not going to provide a blow-by-blow of this new reality on my blahg. But this is where I am today and why.

O brother, where art thou…

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

I joined facebook rather tentatively but I have found myself pleasantly surprised at how much I like it. I have connected with old friends I never expected to see or hear from again, Planet A2 friends and neighbors, Moominbeach neighbors and even a few Sault Ste. Siberian business-type connections, and familyfamilyfamily. And various rather random pages. Clyde’s Drive-In, anyone? Well, heck, it was because I followed Clyde’s on facebook that we ate there the first day. (It also helped that we were in Sault Ste. Siberia that day.)

Like most responsible fb folks (whatever “responsible” means), I have my own set of rules for what I post. I decided very early on that I would not play facebook games (mafia, farmville, whatever). I don’t do memes in general, so that was an easy one. (Although they are sometimes tempting.) I did a few “quizzes” early on but once I figured out that most of those are written by bored 15-year-olds (what band instrument are you, etc.), I quit. (Even though they are sometimes tempting.) I do *not* do political posts on fb. I believe that my carefully selected “friends” range from Tea Partiers to, well, I’m not sure exactly where my one Yooper friend lands on politics because I can’t always understand what he says. Communism isn’t quiiiite right… But I like to read what all of these people post. I don’t want them to “unfriend” me because I hold different opinions. I want to know what everyone thinks.

So, a meme (is that the right word for this?) that has been going around the last couple days goes something like this (it has many variations):

Remember when teachers, public employees, planned parenthood, and PBS crashed the stock market, wiped out half of our 401Ks, took trillions in TARP money, spilled oil in the Gulf of Mexico, gave themselves billions in bonuses, and paid no taxes? Yeah, me neither.

I didn’t post this on facebook but I’m posting it here because this is my blahg and I can cry if I want to… I really do believe that some of the truly rich are probably not paying their share of taxes. I don’t mean people like me (or my parents) who worked our you-know-whats off for a lifetime and finally have a family income that some people might classify as “rich”. I’m talking about those folks who have enough income that they can (and do) take advantage of tax “loopholes”. We have been talking about loopholes ever since I filed my first teensy tinesy little 1040-EZ (or whatever it was) and after a year of barely having enough to live on, got a couple hundred dollars (or whatever) refund.

So. Did those folks who skewered our already [arguably] fragile economy into the ground a couple years ago get off Scot-free? I bet some of them didn’t. But others probably did and are living an extravagant life somewhere.

After some phone calls with The Commander, I have lost my train of thought. But what happened to all those investment banker-type folks? The ones who led our country into a deep recession. My dad and granddad were bankers. Our families had enough money to do whatever we needed to do but we were not rich. And those old bankers were honest.

I am done. For tonight.

Ain’t it awful.

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

When I drove to my office this morning, I could swear that the price of diesel at the gas station on the corner of State and Ellsworth was $4.10. I could be wrong. Maybe it was $4.20. It definitely started with “4”. When I drove past that gas station on my way home, it was up to $4.25. I don’t buy diesel but regular unleaded was not far behind, although it still began with a “3”. At $4.00 a gallon, I close my eyes, hold my nose, and pump gas whenever I need it. Not sure what I’ll do if it ever gets to $10. And there are many, many people who cannot even afford $4.00 gas.

<another-rant-sorry>Story on National Petroleum Radio about meth users. And their children. And grandchildren. Their neglected, hungry, filth-covered children. And grandchildren. Why does the GOP want to get rid of Planned Parenthood and its pregnancy prevention services again? Oh, not that this particular demographic segment is among the most likely to use Planned Parenthood’s services but maybe if it’s there, some of them actually will. Note that I am *not* saying that these particular children (or any child) should have been aborted. Not at all. But maybe if more women who are not capable of even *trying* to provide basic services for their children would use contraceptives, fewer children would be born into such horrific circumstances. I know that this is a very complicated problem. I know that most of these mothers love their children. But NPR was interviewing kids who had packed their bags, hoping that *somebody* would come and take them out of their home. I don’t know what the answer is. Does the GOP have a realistic comprehensive plan for taking care of these kids? I think that if we as taxpayers care about those children (and their mothers (and grandmothers!)), we cannot de-fund Planned Parenthood. In any case, it is a teensy tinesy bit of our national budget. P.S. I know that PP has not been de-funded. This go ’round, anyway. If I have to, I will be badgering my elected officials to try to make sure it *isn’t*.</another-rant-sorry>

When the GG got home tonight, well, after he futzed around looking at the new vee-hickle’s engine (maybe there was some divine intervention forcing him to do that, I’m not sure), he handed me a pair of binoculars and pointed me at an old dead tree back behind our shed. The shed that boys used to pee off of into the woods way back in the Jurassic Age when somebody else owned our house. There is a big hole up at the top of that old dead tree and guess what. There is a blasted Flicker nesting in there. I sure hope he pecks his own home instead of my metal chimney! Then again, I’m usually up, out, and about by the time any darn woodpecker gets up.

That is just about all…

Love y’all even if you don’t agree with my political opinions,
— KW

Green Cypress Pearl

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Why? Weelllll… Because “we” “needed” a 4WD an all-wheel drive vee-hickle. With a trailer hitch. So “we” can haul little putt-putt motorboats around. And trailers full of garbage. Oh, and there’s a kayak rack too. I dunno. Maybe this’ll be The Boatmobile. …or not… Oh, don’t get me wrong. Of *course* I will enjoy driving a brand spankin’ new vee-hickle. Who wouldn’t?

These photoooos are for The Engineer, wherever he may be. He would want to know. If he’s not off driving the Edmund Fitz around somewhere, maybe he’s already checking out how the engine is configured.

P. S. Gratuitous glimpse of the loverly old Dogha in the background there behind the new thing-a-ma-doodle, er, Subaru Outback. I will never forget when we bought the Dogha back in 2001. It was The Engineer who steered me toward the Honda Accord and he did not think that the Dogha’s particular configuration of options would be easily obtained without ordering and waiting a long time. Well. We found one right here on the Planet and bought it and I posted photoos of it on the [non-blahg] website I had at the time. I sent The Engineer a link and almost immediately he was back at me with, “Where the HELL did you get THAT?” Miss you bro’.