I was at the rehab center/nursing home with Joe around dinner time. Let me state up front that I like very much the place he is now. The people are very very attentive. And there is A LOT of staff. I don't have to wander the halls looking for someone. They're all over.
But it is what it is when you're there... it is a rehab center for some, a nursing home for others. Some will rehab and leave and others will rehab from some sorrowful state to something slightly better.
Many will die or are starting the dance with death.
We all know that overall, I'm OK with death. I can deal. There are two things, however that bother me greatly in these facilities, one always has and the last one... I realized today.
The lack of dignity in death in these places... bugs me. I will probably make choices in my later years, if I make it that long, that prevent my death from being so humliating and undignified.
This has always bugged me.
But today I realized what bothers me is watching the last year of someone's marriage.
When you go to one of these places, chances are someone is dying or will be in the next 12 months. Chances are... there is a spouse with them.
I struggle with that.
Today I sat with Joe. Sitting on a far wall, I could look out of the room, into the hall, and catch a glimpse of the room across the hall. A little elderly man stood at Joe's doorway, looking at me.
He had a puzzled look, lost almost, in the need of help.
My visit was coming to an end and after I saw this man come to our door twice, I realized he needed someone and I needed to get someone from the nurse's station. I suspected he thought I was someone who worked there.
I went to the hall and he was already at the station. He was wearing those cream colored lace up shoes that the elderly wear, very functional looking, orthopedic. He was slightly stooped and balding, his rounded shoulders in a button down ironed shirt with a Mr. Roger's navy blue sweater and khaki pants. He was very clean and dignified. Quiet. Unsure. Lost.
He waited patiently until someone said, "May I help you?" and he said in a crackly, quiet, polite elderly voice, "Yes, please, could you tell me when someone is going to put my wife to bed?"
The CNA looked at him and said, "Nobody has done that? They'll be right down."
He shook his head slowly, bewildered and said, "No. They just laid out her clothes. Thank you..." and he shuffled off to his room.
I watched him, as a lump formed in my throat, this little man trying for some modicum of civility in the battle his wife and he were facing, they who probably cared for each other in their youth, he unable to care for her in their advanced years. I'd seen her curled in sitting in a wheel chair. She is not for long here.
I wondered, what was he like 40 years ago? What was he like when he was 40 or 50? Did he walk assured and with a large stride? Did he have a large presence when he entered a room? Did he have a voice that carried and that people listened to? Was he able to carry his wife from room to room in play? Was he... confident?
Life had taken much from who he was and is now going to take his wife.
I think that is one of the hardest things about going to these places... watching the end of a marriage... not by choice.
By the end of the week... I will know ALL my helping verbs, because obviously just memorizing the forms of Be in 6th grade wasn't enough.
Bones and I will both know them.
He came home with a list today and said, "We sing this to Jingle Bells". So he and I have been going through the house singing "May, Might, Must... Be Being Been... " sung to "Jingle Bells. Jingle Bells..."
This evening he said to me, "I'm so glad I thought of this..."
Me: *blink* What?
Bones: Yeah, I raised my hand in language arts today and said, "Hey, can we turn this into a song?" And my teacher said, "Sure. I think so, if you can find a tune that works" So I counted out the syllables and realized that Jingle Bells works.
Me: YOU did this? You created this Helping Verb song to Jingle Bells?
Bones: Yeah. Isn't it great? I'll have it memorized by Thursday, no problem. Kinda like that States song...
Holy crap. I wonder how many other kids are following his lead. This is what happens when you have a vocal major in your class. Everything becomes a song....
He selected a new elective at school... it's an acapella group of 15 boys. They are currently practicing The Lion Sleeps Tonight. Bones is thrilled... he is a baritone. That guy may have the lead part as a Tenor in Straight No Chaser, but Bones, at age 12, thinks it's all about having that deep voice. He wouldn't be caught DEAD singing that lead!
He's thrilled. In regular Boys Chorus he is now a Tenor 2. In Bakapella, he is a Baritone. I can't wait to hear them!
I'm a member of a national woman's organization. We do good things, in particular with the Veterans. We are very supportive of our military and we try to do good things in promoting patriotism and helping children in bad situations.
I like the organization. It's like anything else, however, there are things that I find annoying, some women I find really irritating, but mostly, I've been in it so long, I enjoy it.
I enjoy the women.
It is through them that I think I finally enjoyed the fact I was a woman, instead of being seriously irritated I wasn't born a man. Through them, through the wide variety of women I have met, I have been able to see what we bring to the table. I have met women who have served in our military during WWII, doctors before women became doctors, women who have had children die, women who have survived every kind of hardship imaginable... while holding it all together.
I have met amazingly intelligent women who have done things in their life that I cannot imagine.
Ten years ago I was 'president' of my local chapter, a chapter of over 200 women. I was 'the young one', taking the job at 35. Nobody doubted my capabilities. Funny that... but not once did I ever have a woman doubt my capabilities... they just assumed I could do the job and would ask for help if I could not.
And that is how I met... Sally. I'll call her Sally White. I had just taken the job as chief chick in charge when I had to fill all these chairmanships. I called her and this was pretty much our conversation, if I recall correctly. I knew she was one of our older members. She was spry and quick and smart.
Me: Sally! Hey, I need you to take Conservation for me.
Sally: Bou, I don't have time for that...
Me: PLEASE? Come on. I promise I won't call you and badger you to do anything. I just need a name for the book so I can say I filled the job.
Sally: You can't find anyone else?
Me: Look, everyone knows and respects you. Please take this for me. Please. Please... PLEASE!!!
Sally: Fine, put me down. Are you back to work yet?
Me: *blink* Sally, I have three little ones now, 6, 4, and 2...
Sally: You need to get back in that work force before your skills die.
Me: Sally... I have three little kids!
Sally: Listen to me. You depend on no one. You need to get yourself back in that workforce and use your brain. Do NOT let it slip away. Get back out there.
Me: OK. I just need my youngest in Kindergarten.
Sally: Don't you wait too long, you hear? Get back out there.
Me: I get it. Ok...
Sally: Don't depend on anyone!
Me: OK. Hey, thanks for taking this position...
And we hung up shortly thereafter.
I was reading the obits this morning and saw that she had died. Sally was 101.
Folks, that means during the 'get back out there and don't depend on anyone' speech... she was... 91 years old.
Most people of her generation lament that not enough women stay home. Not Sally. She was frickin' pushing me out the door.
Then I read that she published a book at age 97. Moss didn't grow under her feet.
I'd be lying if I didn't say that when I was offered my job in 2005 that I didn't hear Sally's voice in my head. She's one of the reasons I took it.
She was an amazing woman. A mentor on aging...
ALL the folks I subcontract with work in CT. Last week I sent them some email explaining what needed to be done to prepare for a Hurricane. They weren't worried, I wasn't worried, but I did explain that the aftermath was going to suck.
Today I received two funny email and a text from the few I sent out pinging my guys to see if they and their families were well. The rest didn't make it to work...
One of my best friends up there txt'd me after I couldn't get through. I thought it was a good sign that I was getting a Chinese woman on her cell phone, translation being 'The subscriber is not available...' She was stuck in China on business, which was fortuitous since she's heard from her hubby that there was no power. I think this was the first time I ever gave thought that ANYONE was better off in China. (Hi, DK, if you see this!)
One of the guys emailed me back and said, "I wasn't going to come in. I don't usually like to come in when something is wrong with my house, but my wife and I realized this was going to be the only way we got a hot meal, so we came to work." Heh. That made me laugh. I told him to bring his clothes so he could shower at the gym.
The last guy said, "Hey, we're good, it's just like camping except with a REALLY good air mattress!"
I hope the others are fairing as well. It truly sucks to lose power for a couple days. Words cannot express how much it sucks to lose power for a week or WEEKS...
See my new little hurricane widget in the corner? I'm LOVING it. I got it from wunderground. It looks nicer on Pam's blog since she has a nice big bar. (She picked wunderground blue.)
I need to shrink mine a bit more... just wondering about the tininess of it then. We'll see....
If you click on the little tabby things, it'll give you data. For instance, if you click on Legend, it tells you how many mph gives you what Category. Kinda fun. I like it better than the defunct weather pixie I finally eliminated.
I just found out I'm having dinner with a Tuskegee Airman in a couple weeks. He and his wife.
OMG! I'm beside myself! Gah!
On to funnier stories...
Bones and math. Let me do a quick recap.
Failed 5th grade math. I tried to get him in special ed in middle school. They told me to let them decide. He got a great teacher, NOT special ed. He made A's and B's. He totally got it. He did fail the FCAT by 2 points, but... it was on information they'd not really covered, so I'm cool. (His class covered everything very slow... which is probably why he did so well.)
OK. To this year.
He's got another male teacher. YES! He responds well to male math teachers.
We went through his summer homework and... we got to the review of the long division and... I swear, it was like someone had rubbed a magnet on his frontal lobe and wiped the slate clean. Gone. He had NO IDEA how to do long division.
I could feel myself panic. HOW MANY TIMES HAVE WE DONE THIS? Since...4th grade? And I'm looking at him, trying to quell the panic, saying, "Dude. Remember. Dad, mother, sister, brother" to which his reply was a *blink* and a "Yeah, I remember that... but what does it mean?"
I thought, "I... am...going...to...vomit." Because in my mind, this was page 1 an if he couldn't do long division, did that mean that the entire year was gone now, completely wiped clean from his brain?
Did he have some whacky neurological problem where he would never remember any math and it would be like some sick math Groundhog Day where we were destined to repeat the same math lessons...over...and over, except each time adding MORE?!
We got through it somehow. Then we moved to fractions and...
The kid can multiply, divide, add, subtract, reduce, use mixed fractions like nobody's business.
He hates them, but he is The Fraction Master.
But the kid... cannot do long division to save his life. Any ideas? We've done mnemonics, processes, you name it. For some reason, it's not sticking. It's bouncing off his brain like a dang rubber ball...
The problem with this storm is not going to be the wind. It's going to be all the water, the rain, the storm surge. From what I understand, it's pretty saturated up there already. Handling all this water and the storm surge will be what gives everyone fits.
Send some to Texas! If we could... it would be great. Maybe one day someone will invent ways to send water from places with too much, to areas with not enough...
Anyway, so my bil and sil own a restaurant in NJ, kind of on a barrier island type. They have bay on one side and ocean on the other. Last I heard, my bil didn't want to leave. It's not that he wanted to sit it out, but that he was afraid once he left the island, the authorities wouldn't let him back on to check on his place and his food.
Food spoilage is what has made him near insane. Staying wasn't going to keep it from going bad... but the thought of not being able to check on his homegrown for 30 years business... has been a tough thing to let go.
So this morning I left a message on my sil's answering machine. 'Hey, it's Bou. I just wanted to let you know, when they're talking 3-4 foot storm surge, they don't mean 3-4 foot waves. They mean the ocean coming up to greet you 3-4 feet bigger. Think tsunami. OK. Love you. Bye."
Nothing. Crickets. Whatever.
So I waited about three hours and called my bil on his cell. This was the conversation. When he picked up I heard the radio and wind.
Me: Hey. It's me Bou
Steve: HEY! HOW are you sweetie? *big jovial mood*
Me: I'm GREAT. So what are you doing? Are you going to evac?
Steve: Doin' that as we speak, hon. I decided to pack it in. I froze what I could and found a guy to keep my food cold with his full natural gas generator. I'm good. Getting off the island right now.
Me: Excellent. 'Cuz, I was calling to tell you how much we loved you and if you didn't evac off the island, we were going to miss you.
Steve: Bwahahahahaha! You're not kidding are you?
Steve *laughing REALLY hard*: No, baby, I got it. It's not worth it. "Uncle Steve. He was a great guy when we knew him..." Bwahahaha. You really did call to say that?
Me: Yup and to tell you you've been a great uncle and my kids loved you and how sad we were going to be that you wouldn't see them grow up the rest of the way.
Steve, laughing even harder: Holy crap. That's great stuff.
Me: Well, I feel better. Be safe. We love you.
Steve: Love you too dear. *laughing* You crack me up. Talk to you after the storm...
So, they packed it in and I feel better. Being on a barrier island with a 3-4 foot storm surge is not a good thing. As I said to my husband this morning, "I really like Steve. I'm going to be so sad if we lose him..."
Once he'd fully accepted he had no control and he had to work with the hand he was dealt, Steve moved into his normal jovial self.
I have a sil and bil that own a restaurant on the shore in NJ. She is struggling to get him to evac. I get it... it's HIS business he started from the ground up. He built this business. He is sick at leaving it.
I get it.
Hopefully he'll be OK. It is a Cat 1... maybe a TS. We'll see...
Funny story about Joe... (I'm sure I'll have hurricane blogging tomorrow. Hurray! Heh.)
Joe is difficult to understand on a good day at best. I don't know what it is... but he mumbles some, doesn't enunciate well using a very heavy New Jersey Italian type dialect, leaves out words and uses a ton of pronouns when speaking of people and it's difficult to differentiate which person belongs to what pronoun.
I swear this conversation happened three nights ago when my husband and I went to visit him in Rehab. (Joe is doing GREAT, btw.)
Me: So do you know hunhead's mother's mother's maiden name?
Joe: Yeah, let me tink. She was an Esposito.
Hunhead: That's what I thought.
Joe: We called her Katie.
Me: Who? (Trying to figure out if he called her Mom Katie, or her Katie and I never knew...)
Joe: Her Mom. We called her Katie. She was lovely, she was. She had a brudder named George. George... mumble mumble... real summabitch, hung out wit my uncle Gus. Da two o dem. Both real summabitches.
Hunhead: summabitches, huh? *Doing this Italian gesture with his hands to make Joe laugh*
Joe: Yeah. Nice wives da two o dem had. mumble mumble. lovers. mumble mumble.
Joe: Nice wives.... but dey did dem wrong dey did. *scowling* I never understood it.
OK. So what did you read this conversation as? I left puzzled, and thinking I'd just heard some 1940s rendition of Broke Back New Jersey. I was stunned.
I went back the next day to see him, but with a mission to clarify this, because it just didn't seem right.
Me: George was Katie's brother?
Me: He was a real summabitch?
Joe: *scowling* Yeah. He had a nice wife. Dey had tree kids. Nice kids. But it wadn't good enough for him.
Me: And he hung out with your Uncle Gus?
Joe: Yeah. He was anoder one of dem.
Joe: *looking over at me in disgust* Yeah, summabitches. Dey tink we don't know what's goin' on? (Picture here, I'm slowing inhaling, preparing for hearing one of the biggest sordid stories of the 40s... part of my husband's families history.) One of my aunts told me one day and we saw it. Taking dose girls down to... da shore. Tinkin' nobody would know. Nice wives and families dey had. But no, dey was whoremasters.
Whoremasters? I nearly frickin' spit.
Joe: HOORmasters. It wan't right wat dey did. Hooring around wit good wives at home....
And so it came out, that George and Gus catted around on their wives, knowing where to take the girls far out of town so nobody would see them, but Joe knew all about it as did the rest of the family.
And in the next breath, he told me about the wonderful salami that George's wife would serve at supper for the family and I got infinite detail on all the food.
Crazy stuff... he tells me the funniest stuff. Just... half the time I don't understand it! It takes hearing it a few times before I can piece it together.
As for the title, when my husband and his brother are with Joe, they call him Choe or Choey. It's just how Joe says Joe... Choe, but they exaggerate it. It's kind of funny. He always laughs.
For those who need a recap... my original WHAT YOU NEED post for a hurricane.
I should have done this two days ago...
Commenter, Jilly, asked the question of when to know when to get the hell out of Dodge. Referencing... when a hurricane is staring you down.
She thought it was a stupid question, but it's anything but that. Although I answered her, I'm going to put more of it in this post. I think people who don't live coastal have good questions. They've not lived in our shoes.
As I put in the comments... if you google the population of South Florida, throw in Central Florida too, you come with with millions of people. Just the Eastern coast line from Miami to Palm Beach County (where I live), in 2010 had over 5.5 million people and that doesn't include the folks that are west of us. That's just the eastern counties. That small section is the 8th most populous area of the US.
We're busting with people.
The entire state has over 18 million people and it's mostly coastal. We're a peninsula. So even if you don't live directly ON the coast... you're... what? A few hours away? Big deal. When a hurricane decides to hit S. FL, it hits the entire pan of the state. Everything gets hit. Which is why seven years ago, I got hit three times. Tampa was hit probably three times. The entire state was hit FIVE times and of those five... only two didn't effect me.
So looking at those odds... every time the state takes a hit, there's over a 50% chance I'm going to take part of that.
I researched and found over 10 million people live 'in the pan' of FL, on the Peninsula as opposed to the northern part, that's a bunch of folks to evacuate and we have THREE northern roads, only TWO go all the way through.
I-95 will take you right up the Eastern Seaboard from Miami.
I-75 will take you from the Gulf Coast (Tampa area) all the way to Midwest.
The Turnpike is a fake escape route. It will take you from Miami to just north of Orlando where it dumps you on I-75 with everyone trying to escape from the Gulf coast.
That's it. There is only one way out of here and that's North.
This is where you start strategizing as to what's best because not only will you and 10 million of your closest friends be trying to flee, there won't be any gas. All the gas stations will be sold out and that sucks.
Essentially every northern road becomes a parking lot.
If you're lucky and you have a lot of vacation time you don't care about or you're retired, you can board up and leave as soon as you realize it could get ugly. No harm no foul... even if it doesn't hit, no biggy. I actually have guys I work with that do that. In the event a Cat 2 or above is coming, they board up their houses and leave... and they don't care if it hits. They aren't staying to deal with it. A lot of my retired friends do this.
But then you fall into the realm of the rest of us... where we have decisions to make.
If a Cat 5 hit us in FL, we lose everything. If we stayed and lived through it, we lose the family business, our house would probably be demolished, the schools destroyed, the entire infrastructure of S. FL would be decimated. Essentially, S. FL would be uninhabitable. Misery doesn't begin to describe how bad it would be as the entire economy completely collapsed upon itself... perhaps back to the stone ages. It would be that bad.
So you don't really want to stay for that. And if you leave, you know... you're not coming back. My husband wouldn't leave. So would we leave him? Split the family? Stay? Maybe he would go, but since he owns his own business, he's not one of those that would say, "Oh, let's go 3 days out and I don't care if it hits." He'd be one that on the day before finally made the decision and that would be a tough one.
This goes for a Cat 4 as well. Same scenario, not as bleak in the long term, but very ugly and very scary. Cat 4 is reparable I think. It would just take a long time to dig out from under it. We'd probably stay for that... and if it was that bad with the schools, we'd move up to my folks' house and enroll my kids in school up there.
A Cat 5 though... that's different and hard decisions have to be made pretty early.
And the more I process this as I write... if a Cat 4 was barreling down on us with the potential to turn into a 5, I'd probably be able to convince my husband to bail. It just wouldn't be safe. The question... is... at what point do you decide. That was her original question.
All that and my answer is probably... I just don't know. I hope I never have to figure it out.
As for Irene coming down in the most highly populated place in the US, all those big dang cities... I see bad stuff coming, but it's going to be a Cat 1. I don't see misery for 65 Million people. I think the news likes to over inflate.
But... I think it's going to be pretty damn horrible. I think looting will be one of their biggest problems, ne'erdowells doing bad things.
I think it's going to suck. I think people will die, some because of the storm, some out of stupidity. People don't fully appreciate what is coming their way. You cannot appreciate the power of a hurricane until you've endured one. They come with tornados too.
If I lived in Philly or one of those big cities, I might consider leaving to visit family.
I'm just thankful they won't be smacked with a Cat 2. A Cat 1 will be nasty, but a Cat 2 in those big city infrastructures would be very very ugly.
And I'm praying for the folks who will take the full brunt as a Cat 3, perhaps the outer banks of NC and coastal VA. Those are the folks it is going to truly suck for... for a long time.
For any of you new readers, seven years ago my kids lost their school to two hurricanes. It was an absolute disaster. My husband's building lost a window and water came pouring in his office. It took a long time for us all to recover. It was seven months before all the repairs on the house were made. His business took a financial hit as everyone was more concerned about fixing their dwellings (rightfully so) than spending money on anything else. It was a tough tough time for us financially and emotionally...
... and we were LUCKY. There were folks that lost EVERYTHING. They lost their businesses, homes, vehicles... everything. All possessions... GONE. EVERYTHING.
We were blessed and we know it.
And the folks on the outer banks and VA... they are not going to be so blessed. Those folks are in for some tough times, like the people of Pensacola after Ivan and Mississippi after Katrina. (NOLA still pisses me off.) That's what NC and VA are about to get.
Long post... rambling. It's just... sad.
I know they say this bitch isn't going to hit us. I know it's going north. I know that we'll probably get a bit of rain and wind. I know we aren't in the cone of death.
ALL the computer models say that.
ALL the experts are saying it.
I get it.
I believe it.
But let me tell you, it is REALLY disconcerting to go on the various weather sites and see this big massive bitch of a storm kind of just sitting there off the coast, swirling and getting stronger. It is REALLY difficult to not question the experts because as my husband said tonight, "One frickin' fluke jog and that storm will be here in an hour. And nobody's ready..."
He's exaggerating. Maybe a few hours. But he is right, nobody is preparing. We're all watching and calling our friends up North to tell them how to prepare.
But, dang... it's a tough go to watch...
I kind of feel like it's saying, "Knock Knock..." like it's the big bad wolf. Yeesh.
Day two of the bus saga continues for Bones.
By 7:15 the bus had still not arrived. My husband and I had decided if the bus wasn't there by 7:15, I'd take Bones to school after I dropped off Mr. T for his first day of school.
I drove up and there was Bones waiting and there stood my husband and a bunch of parents wondering... would the bus show up? We couldn't take the chance. He had to get to work and I couldn't pawn Bones off on other parents.
Yesterday afternoon he had been told the bus route was canceled and I was to come get him. I found out later, it HADN'T been and a little girl in the neighborhood rode the bus home. So this morning I said to him, "Dude, you GET ON THAT BUS! You find it! Don't make me come down there and get you. Find Nadine and you ride that bus she's on..."
I got a phone call from him on the bus this afternoon, "Mom, I'm on my way..."
Fifteen minutes later, 'Mom, come get me at Publix..."
They'd dropped my kid off at the grocery store instead of my neighborhood? REALLY?!
I quickly jumped in the car and ran down to the grocery store, making the decision that I'd wait there with any kid so no kid would be left alone.
... there stood Bones... alone... in the back of the Publix parking lot.
I think I nearly threw up as all sorts of horror stories bounced through my head.
He got in the car and I nearly shrieked, "WHERE IS EVERYONE?!"
He looked at me and said, "What do you mean? It's just me..."
"Bones. You are ALONE! In the BACK of a Publix shopping center. WHERE is Nadine? Where is everyone else?!"
He said, "I don't know. I'm the only one that got off."
Me: Wait. I passed a bus as I was leaving, it was coming in. Bones. That was YOUR bus. Your bus was coming. WHY did you get off?!
Bones: I thought that I was supposed to switch buses, so I got off. I didn't know they were coming to the neighborhood.
Me: But... You didn't see Nadine get off?! Wasn't that a clue that the bus was going home? You didn't ask the bus driver? You just got off by yourself and waited? ALONE?!
I was pissed. Where is the frickin' common sense?
Bones: The bus driver is mean. I'm not going to talk to her. I didn't know. Yesterday they had to switch buses here. So I thought I had to do that... and when there wasn't a bus, I called.
Me: TOMORROW... TOMORROW... YOU GET OFF IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD. TOMORROW... YOU DO WHAT NADINE DOES.
Please, Dear God, let Nadine get it right. Bones just... can't seem to.
We'll see if the bus shows up tomorrow morning...
Meanwhile, it appears we dodged more than a bullet, but a nuclear bomb called Irene and the folks in NC deserve our prayers... seriously, I'm not wishing this on anyone. This needs to go east into nowhere land and go away...
Mr. T had his first day of high school. He has declared he is going to hate English because it's a lot of work and he's not good at it and he LOVES all his teachers and he has friends in his classes.
He came back happy. It's a good... choice.
Tomorrow is the first day with EVERYONE. It'll be interesting. AND, there were SEVEN freshman in his Honors Alg II class. This is becoming very common for the kids who can do math, to do it on-line. Our school needs to figure out how they're going to handle this...
I'd not be surprised if my eldest was at church right now (he has the car and said he was going to a friend's) saying a couple rosaries that we get Tropical Storm winds so that he can miss a day of school and sleep in.
Today was just... crazy.
Hurricane Irene is in the Atlantic, still not having charted a course we're sure of. One minute she's coming our way, the next she's heading to the SC/NC coast. All I know is she is going to be a BITCH of a storm and I'm genuinely worried for ANYONE who is going to take that hit.
I have a very bad feeling about her.
If I have to take a hit, I'll take a Cat 1. We'll have some damage, but nothing structural. I put up my shutters only because I'm concerned it will really hit as a 2. The gusts are a concern.
Cat 2's start to put me on edge. We definitely shutter up. The wind in a Cat 2 will make me pace my house at night looking at the ceiling worrying as I hear roof tiles come loose and rake across the top of my roof line.
Cat 3's I'm in a quiet controlled freak. And it's because, as I told my Mom today, when you get a Cat 3, you don't just get a Cat 3. You're GOING to get Cat 4 gusts in there. It is a dang given. Every Cat 3 we've had, we've sustained some sort of structural damage to the house. Cat 3 puts us in our safe room, something we've not used since the boys were small... seven years ago. Now we're five adult sized peeps and that safe room is going to SUCK if we have to use it.
Cat 4's freak me the hell out. They are OH MY GOD storms. They're "Someone is going to die and I'm not ready." I may have my funeral planned, but that doesn't mean I WANT to die. NO. They're 'big damage to the house' storms. Trees falling, parts of roofs coming off, big bad bad stuff.
Cat 5's... plain and simple, kiss your a$$ goodbye. Nothing good can come from a Cat 5, so I don't even go there mentally. I can't. Even if I could wrap my mind around MY own death, I cannot of that of my children. So we... don't go there. The catastrophic damage from a 5 is inconceivable.
To put it in perspective, Katrina was a strong 3 with heavy 4 tendencies.
I fear that Irene is going to be Katrina's bitchy twin sister. Maybe stronger.
I don't want her at my house. She's not welcome.
But with that, I did my shopping today. I have most of my food with my spare list at the ready. When I awaken, I will decide if my secondary list must take effect, which is get cash, fill my freezer with fresh meat that we can defrost day by day and grill, fresh bread, etc.
Meanwhile... Today was the first day of school for my eldest and youngest. At the high school my two older boys go to, the first day of school is for 10th-12th grade. The freshman go alone on Tuesday and then the whole school on Wednesday.
I like that they do that.
I like that on the second day of school the freshmen can meander the halls, getting lost, holding maps, without the crowding of the halls and upper classmen acting like they're stupid.
First Bones... the bus driver flippin' NEVER SHOWED up. Seems they forgot to assign the entire route to anyone. I'm not kidding. Fifteen kids stood out there waiting until finally, after an hour, parents started hauling them to school. What a mess.
However, he SWEARS this is going to be the best school year ever. He has eight classes, four core subjects, two vocal ensembles, music theory and he got picked up by the drama department. Surprise! So he is psyched.
Ringo... is not so much. He's a junior and is just going to have to step up to the plate. Bonus is this year he's playing the Quads on the drumline and there is that...
I wasn't dreading school beginning this year. I don't know why. I think perhaps it's because I've been so stressed this summer... I'm just moving into the new stress. It wasn't like I relaxed and now jumped back into it.
It's... status quo. But I'm hopeful.
Hoping Irene goes away...
Some of you may remember that my Mom had a big birthday in July. There was much handwringing on all of our parts as to what to do for her for the big day. Mom is the ultimate thoughtful gift giver.
For instance, when TGOO turned 70 last year, from that month on, he got a special gift every month to commemorate every month of the year. It could be anything, but each was thoughtful.
So as her birthday approached, there were many phone calls and email between TGOO, my sister, and me, trying to figure out 'What in the hell do we get her?'
We bounced ideas, well I bounced them, and we realized they were not good. No surprise parties, I thought about a helium balloon ride, beach houses, you name it... it wasn't working.
Finally in exasperation I said to TGOO, "I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO!" to which he replied, "And how do YOU think *I* feel?! I've gotten something special for every single month! How do I match THAT?"
So, yeah, he won the sympathy vote. Until... the big day came.
You have to look at what everyone brings to the table when you see what they give. What is their love language? My Mom... it's the little niceties that are full of thought. It comes naturally to her. My Dad, he is just more pragmatic. It isn't any less of a gift, but it is who he is.
He'll get her what she needs, what she wants, and sometimes a little touch of something else. He'll find a beautiful piece of jewelry he knows she'll love and in addition there may be something very practical as well.
And such was the case... TGOO... the genealogist in the family, the true scientist found the most fun and perfect gift.
After she opened a beautiful pendant he bought her, there was another gift in an envelope. She opened it and... it was a Mitochondrial DNA kit. He swabbed the inside of her cheek and mailed it off.
For her 70th birthday, he was having her Mitochondrial DNA tracked.
I know, this may seem weird to all of you, but to me and my sister? He'd trumped everyone. That was the COOLEST gift... the gift of finding one's genetic beginning. He has already done a Y-DNA project on himself and I need to get the details, but it was from that we found that on his side, through the men, we are probably descended from a Danish Viking. (Surprise. I say that only because it just some how fits in my head given certain aspects of certain people's personalities... heh.)
For those not in the know, to simplify, the mtDNA is tracing our genetics back ONLY through the female line. The very root woman that all genetics should trace back to is referred to as Mitochondrial Eve. There may be a few Eves...
All this data gets put in a database and from there you can see the migration patterns, greatest probability from where your people may have originated.
With Mom's haplogroup H1B they were able to tell us that 25,000-30,000 years ago, our Eve (H) came from Southwest Asia/Middle East with most of the descendants (H1B) ending up in Eastern Europe and NW Siberia.
Through TGOO's Y-DNA study, I2B1, we found that 17,000 years ago, they (I) came from SE Europe, with the highest frequencies of our descendants in the Germany/Denmark/Netherlands area. (He has more information, that's the basics.)
I just find this entire thing fascinating, more so as a gentleman in Russia who is EXTREMELY active on the DNA forums sought out my Mom and TGOO yesterday trying to piece together more genetic information, as he and we (Mom and her offspring) share a female ancestor about 2000 years ago, in the Germany/Poland/Prussia area. Genealogy wise, Mom's maternal side is stuck around 1850 in Pennsylvania. Now we seem to have this 1850 year leap back to Prussia. The question is... what is in between?
How did our women-folk offspring get from Prussia to Pennsylvania?
Even cooler though... I kinda sorta know where my people were located well over 15,000 years ago.
Cooler still, there's some dude in Russia... who I'm related to. The world seems so small...
We went out with some friends tonight and today was a bit crazy busy. So a quick story...
We went back to school supply shopping today as school starts on Monday. I was with Ringo and Mr. T while Bones was with my husband. Bones was on my last nerve, fighting us on everything (his MO), so I told my husband, 'I can't do this. He's yours...' and I moved on with the older two.
We were walking down the main aisle when we came to a folder/organization aisle. I turned in, started flipping through the folders and said, "Oh! I need one of these so I can get all my stuff organized for my funeral!"
At that point, my eldest who is now taller than me, took the folder out of my hand, grabbed me by both shoulders, gently turned me around and said, "Yeah, we're done here..." and pushed me down the aisle to look at something else.
This is kind of a longish post. Some of it I find funny. Some of it... not. My kids thing I'm whack.
First, the non-funny. My old boss who retired in December, the one who'd had cancer three times, died in the wee hours of leukemia. Someone asked me what caused it, but he'd had three cancers, radiation, chemo, smoked heavily for 50 years, drank urns of coffee, and was in the military. What do you mean what caused it? I think it was... a conglomeration of life.
It is sad. We are sad. I'm sad for his grandchildren as he was a WONDERFUL grandfather... and father figure to them. He called me 10 days ago when he was diagnosed, was told two days ago he had two weeks, and now he's gone.
So there is that.
Now for the real part of this post... which is about me and my thoughts on death and my funeral.
I've been planning my funeral again lately. This makes everyone nuts but me. It's not uncommon for there be a lull in the conversation and for me to chirp out of nowhere, 'I was thinking about my funeral...'
It's a bunch of stuff. My father in law's long lingering death last summer, dealing with Joe and his stuff the last THIRTEEN weeks. It just bubbles to the top and I can't help it! I can't!
The following conversation happened last week between my eldest boy and me, I was driving, he was just staring out the window, it was quiet:
Me: I decided... I want Quattlebaum's to take care of my body when I die.
Me: I like them. I've gotten to know the family some, I know someone who works there and they are family operated. I like the thought of a family taking care of a family.
Me: So, Quattlebaum's. And... I decided I don't want a funeral at a funeral home or a church...
Me: I want it outside. In a park. I want white folding chairs. I want someone to run it, but I want it to be casual. People can just stand up and say things. Outside. Maybe a picnic afterwards.
Me: I think I want to be cremated. Just the urn. The Quattlebaum's will take care of that. But then outside... dang. You need to wait until January. If you do it in like summer or spring or fall... it's too dang hot. So if I die in those months... you need to keep me until like... December through March. Those are nice months...
Ringo: MOM! NO! You are so weird. Stop it. Stop planning your funeral.
Me: Ringo. How in the HELL are YOU supposed to know what I want if I don't lay it out?!
Ringo: NO. Stop it. You're so weird...
Me: Fine. I'm not weird. You're just 16 and when you're 45 you'll plan your own funeral. You'll see...
Ringo: *looking out window hoping I'll shut up*
My funeral or what I want has been evolving. I used to have a dress picked out after the horror show of my gf, Joan, dying and not having anything in her closet but a pairs of black stretchy pants and big cotton tops. I think that started it... that was six years ago. That's when I started planning my funeral.
It runs in the family. Hell, when my grandma died, she had yellow sticky notes all over her house directing us what songs she wanted played, who was supposed to do the eulogy and she had her funeral clothes laid out in one of the back bedrooms. Shoot... I think I heard once a year she'd call the cousin who was a preacher, just to make sure he was still going to do her funeral.
So I think I come by this genetically. Leave no stone unturned. Leave no funeral unplanned. At least not mine. I'm not planning my death... just what happens after.
My last attempted bastion of control since I live in utter chaos. I live in chaos, I want to die with control. Or the funeral anyway.
And that brings me to today. It started with my talking to my boss's wife, checking on her. She told me that the services were going to be 'later'. I told her I'd help plan them if she needed, I'd help bring food etc. I'm sure she's fine, but I'll still offer.
But I got off the phone and I said to my Tech Lead, 'I hope to God for the sake of those grandbabies that they have a service. They deserve to have nice things said about their grandfather. They deserve to hear them..."
TL: I agree.
Me: Seriously. It's about the living. Our children need to hear these things.
Me: Ok, when I die, you have to make sure there are people that have nice and funny things to say about me.
Me: Yes. My kids need to hear nice things. Funny is good. So... you may have to make things up, but like... get 3x5 cards together and write some stuff and plant people to say nice funny things.
Me: Yeah, that's YOUR job at my funeral.
A global notice was sent out to everyone in the company that my boss had passed. It was sent out by our HR person who is largely incompetent on a good day.
She sent it out... and MISSPELLED his name! I was aghast.
I work in a cube farm. I yelled from my cube, "CINDY MISSPELLED HIS NAME!"
Everyone started opening their email, I had been first, and you could hear the cluck clucking and sense the shaking of heads, at how once again she'd screwed up.
To me... it was the biggest mistake of all. A good man dies, he's worked for the company for 10 years and you... frickin' MISSPELL his name?! I was pissed. To top it off, she got all sorts of facts about his career wrong.
I sat at my desk stewing and finally I sent a note to my Tech Lead, my gf that I job share my job with, and our assistant. The four of us are kind of tight knit.
This is the email I sent:
Subject: In advance
In the event that I die, I have taken the time to write my own mini-obit to have Cindy send out. This way there are no mistakes.
I regret to inform you of the passing of Boudicca. She worked as a Senior Engineer for Company Y since 2005. Before that, she was a Senior Logistics Support Engineer and a Senior Mission Analysis Engineer for Company X for 12 years. Her greatest accomplishment were her three boys.
"Insert name of Tech Lead Here" will be handing out 3 x 5 cards at her funeral for you to say nice things about her. Some of them are made up. Fake it.
My other co-workers were in the other room and didn't get it before I left. My TL did, however, and this was our conversation:
TL: BOU! You are NOT going to die.
Me: I know. I'm just preparing.
TL: And WHY are you making the assumption YOU are going to die before ME?!
Me: Because I am.
TL: I'm a man. Men die first.
Me: Not this time.
Me: It is.
Me: The 3 x 5 cards.... that's your job. Only nice funny things.
TL: Fine. How many do I have to make?
Me: I don't know. Wing it..
TL: That sounds like an awful lot of nice stuff you want me to make up.... (I could hear he was grinning)
Me: You're up to it.
So tonight we were all at dinner. We were all talking about our days when the following conversation transpired:
Me: Cindy sent out the work obit for my boss and misspelled his name and got facts wrong about his career. So I wrote my work obit and sent it to 'Tech Lead' to save it in the event of my death.
They all stared at me in complete silence.
Husband: You...did what?
Me: Yup. I got it all finished.
Ringo: Mom. You wrote your OWN obit?
Me: Well, just my work one. Wait. You don't think I'm going to let any of you write my REAL obit, do you? Oh no. Absolutely not. I'll have it all written and all you have to do it send it to the newspaper.
At that point, it was dropped again... the topic of the events following my demise.
So that's pretty much what's been going on here in the non blogging world. I'm planning my funeral and everyone is tolerating it... mostly. And can you imagine if my Tech Lead was able to write funny stuff like, "She came home with a five foot chicken?" What a riot that funeral would be!
Hey. If you don't communicate, how are people supposed to know?
You know my saying, "It doesn't matter HOW HARD you think, I STILL cannot hear you"
... and they really won't be able to hear me when I'm dead...
I've got this morbidly funny post that might or might not make it into tomorrow night's hopper, depending on how I feel. I'm still waffling... I'm laughing, but nobody else around me is. A lot of eye rolling.
But I still might post it.
Where do I start?
1) read it
2) I laughed
3) I'd so own a 5 foot chicken
4) my sister or my gf, PFB, would so push me into it like Laura
5) or my sister would own the chicken because I'd push HER into it
6) I so want that chicken...
I just can't quit laughing. The thing is, there are some friends of mine who think I'm funny. I've been known to make some people laugh sometimes.
This girl makes me look humorless.
I can't believe I've not read this blogger. Now SHE is hilarious. Good grief.
Today is my younger brother's birthday. Today he is the big... 4-4. For the next three weeks he is but one year younger than I.
Happy Birthday, Bro!
Today's little tidbit...
If you find that you're having a full body twitch every fourth or so heartbeat, you find yourself intermittently rolling your eyes to the back of your head as if you're losing consciousness, and then you find yourself reaching out and talking to dead people...
... you might be having an adverse reaction to an antibiotic.
My son took his online Geometry final this evening. He came out after he logged on and said, 'MOM! They said I have FOUR HOURS to take this test!"
I swear to you, it took him darn close to four hours. I'm just at a loss. Why in the world would a semester exam be four hours? The kid has a 96 average in the class and it took him every bit of three hours.
I came back into the bedroom to see how he was doing and he had stacks and stacks of calculations.
After he submitted... there were NINETY problems, he found he missed six. He's still waiting on the essay questions to come back to see his final grade, but when I went through it and said, 'For sure you missed six' he replied, 'I don't even care anymore. My brain hurts...' and he went to bed.
What in the world are the kids doing that are struggling? Holy crap.
But what occurred to me is that this coming year, which starts Monday, some of Ringo's friends are going to be in T's Algebra II class. It's odd enough that he's a year ahead in math, but the fact he'll have some of Ringo's friends in his class, two years older, hadn't really hit me until today.
I don't think it's hit HIM yet. I know one of Ringo's worst fears was that T was going to move through the math so quickly they'd end up in the same Pre-Calc class. He said, 'I don't want to hear any teachers asking me why I can't be like my younger brother...'
This is going to be an interesting year. I'm not saying anything to T. We'll see how this shakes out.
My second son is just about finished with his on-line Honors Geometry course. There are a few differences taking a class on-line vs. in a high school classroom.
1) When you're in HS and they tell you that you're going to cover the book, that's the goal. When you're on-line, you cover the book. They don't care how long you take, you're going to cover ALL the information. It's YOUR time.
2) Instruction on-line is more difficult. My son was fortunate to have a Mom who could teach him anything. As he said to me after going through the lesson, 'OK, Mom, dumb it down for me and tell me what they really want...' The kids do it all the time without in home tutoring, I'm sure, but that's a tough go.
3) The on-line class is much more jacked up. Seriously, I don't think we covered Vectors in Geometry in HS. I know my eldest son didn't. At least I don't remember him covering it. But vectors and finding magnitude and direction... is what led to tonight's post.
I was on the phone with TGOO telling him about the stuff that T was covering. We were trying to remember when we covered vector translation when we were in high school. I'm thinking it was Analytical Geometry my senior year.
And that's when he said, 'Did you see that crane video? What an excellent tool to teach T about vectors...'
TGOO and I were on the phone watching the various videos, laughing in horror at the miscalculations. The company is blaming a computer program; I questioned that until I read that the crane does actually have a computer program inside telling the operator what he can and cannot do.
But what I said to TGOO, is surely the crane came with a manual that said what the max load could be, in particular at various heights. It's not rocket science. Did they ignore it?
So here are two great videos. The first is the crane horror show as its load is exceeded. The second is the crane that is brought in... to save the crane.
I think I've posted before that I'm constantly reading. I'll read the back of a cereal box in the morning if there's nothing else. I read fiction. I don't do a lot of non-fiction. I like the... escape.
My gf, JD, lent me her book, 'The Help, when it first came out and I really really enjoyed it. The movie came out yesterday and I was really afraid it was going to be poorly done.
Son#4's Mom and I go to movies and a dinner whenever our lives can fit it in. I called her last night and said, "Oh! We have to do The Help and dinner!" and she said, "Sure!"
And so we went. We laughed. We cried. We clapped. We were at the movie filled with Senior Citizen book club members. We were the youth. They laughed. They cried. They clapped.
We all had so much fun!
So I recommend it. They really squished so much into that movie. There were bits and pieces they left out, but nothing that hurt the plot. Much of Cecelia Foote, one of my favorite characters, was left out... but you gathered a lot about it just from her character. Actually, as much as I loved Cecelia in the book, I loved her more in the movie.
Also, I finally thing I tracked down my food allergy. I can't eat shellfish and cheese... white cheeses. So crab dips or shellfish with a thick cheese sauce are what gives me my symptoms.
And odd symptoms they are: The right side ONLY along the lip line, goes tingly, like it's falling asleep. It's the weirdest feeling.
But shellfish alone? Fine. Add it to a dip? I have a urge to put lip liner on half my mouth. Odd that...
This will be the last post on Joe. For a long time. Last night was a catharsis, but I have other things going on in my life other than all that deals with him.
I don't have issues with death. If someone is ready to die, I will gladly hold their hand and sit next to the Grim Reaper until the Grim Reaper makes the connection. If someone is ready... I am too.
I'm the one who counseled my father in law in how to get off the crazy train.
But with Joe, what bothers me is the suffering and the future suffering. The indignity of it all. Those things bother me, which is why my family knows that when the time comes, I have an exit plan.
This is Joe's choice... to live this way and to have everything done to keep him living... good or bad. I respect that.
So today I sat next to him, he had six bags of stuff running into him. I said to the nurse, 'I think you're out of hooks.' What a mess.
I said to him, 'Joe. Are you OK with dying?"
He replied, "Yeah. I'll go when the Lord is ready to take me."
I said, "Fair enough."
We sat there in silence and he turned to me and said, "I want to see my sister again. I am fighting to get better so I can go to New Jersey and see her again. I need to be with my family."
And the lock was opened and I understood. He doesn't have children, he is a widower, there is nothing here for him, and he appeared comfortable with death, so what was it?
So I called his family tonight and said, "You need to come now. He's not going to die today or tomorrow or probably this week. But it is like a death by one thousand cuts... he will die a death by one thousand infections. It will be slow, but it is coming."
His sister has Parkinson's and her husband is nearly crippled. He is 85, she is 82. They struggle to get around.
They are coming on Tuesday. I made some suggestions and they made it happen.
It is what he needs... and ultimately what his sister needs. If he can fight to stay alive to see her again, they can figure a way to see him... for it may be the last time.
No regrets. They cannot have regrets.
For thirteen weeks I have come to his side. For thirteen weeks I have politely chided nurses, made phone calls to family, followed him from hospital to institution to institution. For thirteen weeks, I have been the continuity, quietly explaining to every shift change nurse how it started and how we ended to the current state. As the time has progressed, I've taken to abbreviating at much as possible.
I am his verbal medical chart. I know what drugs he's been on, what procedures he's had, what places he's stayed, the quality of care at each. The nurses may initially say they cannot talk to me, but when I say, "That is fine, but I am the only family he has... and let me walk you down the path of the last xx weeks... so YOU know what you're dealing with" they realize I am his only advocate here and they open up to me.
They are honest. And hopeful. I am able to tell them immediately by mood if something is wrong with him. They don't know him, but I do.
For thirteen weeks, I have been the cheerleader, the advocate, the care taker of sorts. I have laughed with him, yelled at him, cheered with him, threatened to smother him with his pillow (joking in frustration), brought him a hamburger from Burger King, scolded him, fed him, and reminisced with him.
It is thirteen weeks.
I walked into ICU tonight. I brought my husband. For the first time I doubted myself to be able to judge things right. For the first time, I was unsure I could see him alone.
The whirring and clicking of the machines surrounded me. I sat down in the chair beside him, stroking his thick swollen arm, mottled from so much bruising as he's on coumadin for his heart. I played gently with the hair as he slept.
A bag of blood dripped into his arm, combined with antibiotics and fluids. A tube runs into his stomach now, suctioning out stuff that is so vile, mixed with old blood. An oxygen mask is clamped to his face and he's hooked to more monitors now that I remember him having the first time he was in ICU.
His eyes flickered open and I smiled.
"Bou", he said. "They let you in!"
"They did. This nurse was a tough one. I wasn't sure we'd get in, but we're here. How are you feeling?"
He shrugged his shoulders. "Eh. What're you going to do?" It came out muffled from the oxygen mask.
I could feel my throat constricting for the first time. Of all the things I've done in the last 13 weeks, never once have I cried. Never once.
"I'm worried, Joe. This is the first time. Now I'm worried..."
Big mittens cover his hands to keep him from pulling out the tubes. He doesn't want them there, the tubes. He is sick of all of this. He is tired. He's tired of fighting, being moved around, of all of it.
He looked down at me and the roles were reversed. He became caretaker.
The tears rolled down my face. My husband was with us, but at that moment, it was just Joe and me. My face turning into a grimace, I couldn't quit crying.
He smiled. He said, 'Bou, sweetheart, you must always remember one thing. Everything must come to an end..."
I gave him a crooked smile as I struggled to breathe through the tears. "Yeah, I'm just hoping this isn't your end, Joe. Not yet..."
He shook his head, closed his eyes and said, "Everything must come to an end, Love."
He slept off and on as I sat there stroking his arm crying. I got myself collected enough so I could call the nurse in and figure out if it was time for me to call the family or if their plans for Monday are going to work.
She assured me that everything did come to an end, but this was not Joe's end. He would be fine. She explained what we're seeing and why and she was so confident that he would be fine, that I believed her.
For that time in the room.
I called the family and told them to hang tight until Monday and I'd keep them abreast of what was going on.
I was in bed tonight, ready to go to sleep, when the tears came again.
Everything must come to an end.
And I know the nurse said he will be fine. But there is a little voice in my soul that is saying... she is wrong.
Let my voice be what is wrong...
I keep telling my husband that when my oldest permanently moves away, we'll never hear from him again. Most if it because he just flat doesn't communicate. He is a man/boy of few words, something I tell him is going to bite him in the business world. To succeed one must be able to communicate. Period.
My husband keeps saying, "I don't know why you say such things. Of course we will..." as in... still hear from him.
So my eldest has been with a friend and his family in NC for the last week.
How many times have I heard from him? This would include, phone calls, email, and txt.
Today I had to take Mr. T to get his uniforms. (He did not get accepted to the magnet school he applied to, so he'll be going to the same school as his older brother.) I wondered if I needed to get Ringo some uniforms so I called him.
No joke... this was our conversation, which is so easy to remember as there were so few words.
Me: Hey, it's your Mom. I'm off to get Mr. T uniforms for school. Do you need anymore?
Ringo: No. I'm good.
Me: I know you said your waist increased from a 29 to a 30. Do you need new pants?
Ringo: No. I'm good.
Me: So they fit? Were they a bit big last year so now they fit?
Ringo: I guess.
Me: So. We've not heard from you all week. How ya doing? Are you having a good time?
Me: OK then. Bye.
Ringo: Bye *click*
I said to my husband at supper tonight as the boys were laughing at the short conversation of earlier today, "I'm telling you, he better hope to hell that I die first, because if YOU die first, if he hasn't bothered to keep in touch with me, I'm cutting him out of the will. If you can't keep in touch with me when I'm alive, you get nothing from me when I'm dead."
My husbands eyes got HUGE.
I said, 'I'm serious. I'm not kidding. Warning shot."
So the ghastly rehab center from hell nearly killed Joe. Literally. He was transported to an area hospital with a nasty infection that would have killed him in days. Three different types of antibiotics later and he's doing far better.
It was touch and go. I had to call the family a couple times.
But, that's not what this is about. This is about his personal possessions.
I showed up the day after he was transported out... to pick up his 'stuff'. I got there and they couldn't find it. He was gone, someone else was moved in, and his 'stuff' was... nowhere to be found.
I looked in the window of his old room and found this sad little plant that has made it from ICU to every place he's been, I scoffed it up, and continued my search.
I was led to a closet that had filled clear plastic bags to the ceiling of 'stuff' from various people. I told my husband it was like looking for the Ark in Raider's of the Lost Ark, in that government building. Ain't gonna happen.
They searched closets, under desks, his old room... gone. EVERYTHING was gone.
I left, leaving my number, and called the family informing them everything was gone, except for the pathetic Charlie Brown plant I keep carting from place to place.
Two days later I received a phone call saying they'd found Joe's stuff. I made the 20 minute drive down, Bones was with me, picked up the clear bag and decided that Bones and I would go through it before we left, ensuring it was ALL there.
And it wasn't.
Not only was every collared shirt missing, but in their place was a calf length, low slung, underwear showing type pair of jean ghetto shorts and a size Medium Palm Beach County Fire Department t-shirt.
Bones looked at me and busted out laughing. Joe has a 46 inch waist. He probably wore a medium tshirt in high school... 70 years ago.
I walked back inside to the nurse at the desk, took a deep breath, and said, "Look, I know this is not your fault, but whoever put this together had to be joking. Mr. 'Joe' did not wear teenager clothes *holding up the ghetto jeans* and he is a dignified man. All his shirts have collars. He'd not be caught dead in a tshirt, let alone one this size. Please call me when you find the rest of his clothes."
I did get them back, but can you believe it? He is an 84 year old man. Someone really thought that? Really? That I'd not look or complain?
And it begs the question... WHOSE SHORTS WERE THEY?!! It was a rehab center full of OLD PEOPLE!
Bones has two books to read. For the average kid, like Mr. T or Ringo, that's a non-event. For a kid like Bones, its darn near torturous.
Which is why I've resorted to bribing. These are the last two weeks I have with him before school starts. I want to do fun things with them.
I told Bones for every 50 pages, I'd think of something for us to do. Today was Movie day. (He's reading Johnny Tremain.)
We went to see... The Smurfs. HIS choice.
Mr. T begged out. He stayed home and read and did Geometry. But Bones and I went.
I cannot believe the Smurfs are BACK. Are big hair and shoulder pads next?!
My husband and I had an intense discussion this past week about the debt ceiling and all that other stuff swirling around it and how... I'm tuning it out. I don't watch it. I don't read it. I hate to say I don't care... but I don't.
As I said to him testily, I have no control over it. I can't change it. I'm not going to devote my time to stressing over it. I have enough in my life that carries me to the edge.
However, the loss of our men in Afghanistan a few days ago, that does bother me. I am dwelling on it. I have lost sleep over it.
The question may be why, but it is a connection, something brings it home.
One of my friend's sons is just finishing up his SEAL training. He has completed BUDS and is in his last part... if you will. When/if, he is able to complete this last part, he'll move on... to the next phase. He'll be a SEAL. He's actually probably beyond washing out. If he doesn't do well this phase, he'll roll over until he does. And SEALS never finish training, so I guess the next phase is to train with the regular SEALS, be assigned a group or whatever.
Someone asked her how she has gotten through all this and she has said, "Prayer".
And she's not saying it flippantly. She is a good strong Catholic woman, and she has spent more than her share of time, on her knees, at Church... praying. She prays in her car, she prays before she sleeps, she takes Prayer Warrior to a SEAL type level if you will.
It is her stronghold, what keeps her sane. Since he's still training, she always knows where he is and is able to communicate during most weeks. She knows a time is coming where she won't know where he is, who he's with, what he's doing... no communication.
It is coming.
There are some things she cannot wrap her mind around. It is a mother thing. It is one thing for him to train, it another for him to be in imminent danger. It is one thing for him to be in training to be a SEAL, it is another for him to actually...
... be one.
I know her son knew some of the men on that flight. And I know she is sick over it because her son is sick over it. And she is sick over it... because one day he'll be on those flights.
And as another mother, I hurt for them both.
I hurt as an American and as a mother.
So... it's Saturday, we all did yardwork this morning (we live on one acre, lush, in FL... blech), it's hot, my eldest is with friends for a week in NC, and my younger two wanted to see Cowboys and Aliens.
And so my husband and I acquiesced because it's hot, we're tired, it was a matinee and my eldest saw it and said HE enjoyed it.
I'm thinking, 'Hokey name. Seriously. BUT, it has Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig so really, how bad can it be?"
Being of the female persuasion, I figured it was just worth it to see the two of them.
'specially Daniel Craig.
The boys really liked it. It's plenty of shoot 'em up stuff, there are aliens, and I guess just about anything that drives testosterone, including the obligatory woman with long hair, longing eyes, and a bare back shot.
It was just a summer movie. I'm not saying it was bad. I just... wouldn't get it on DVD. I'd probably have sent their father to see it alone with them. After all, it's not like Daniel Craig was in the buff. Please.
But this is what is running through my head... what in the world possessed Harrison Ford and/or Daniel Craig to do this movie?
What part of the pitch, "OK, so this is what we thought we'd do. Instead of Aliens attacking us in the year 2011, everyone does that, we'll have them attack during the Cowboy time, maybe mid 1800s, and then... maybe we'll have the Indians and Cowboys BOTH fight off the Aliens..." ......what part of that intrigued them? What part of that pitch did they think, "Dang! You're right! It's not been done before, so let ME do it first! Woot!"
Was it a lack of cash? The need/want to be able to say, "I've been in a movie with Aliens?"
Which brings me to Liam Neeson. WTF? I saw a preview for Battleship.
It starts with some blonde with a body that will stop a clock, wearing Daisy Duke's, straddling some young guy (they're probably both famous, but I wouldn't know) talking about marriage, next thing you know, you realize the guy is in the military and the blonde surfer bimbo type is the CO's daughter. And the CO is Liam Neeson. And if it's not bad enough that you realize that Liam has signed up for some cheesy military movie with love story undertones... the frickin' Battleship gets attacked by Aliens.
WHAT part of that pitch did Mr. Neeson say, "Oh absolutely. I CANNOT possibly pass on doing this movie"? Really. What was the catalyst there. The dialogue? The great actors he was going to work with? The ability to say he'd done an alien movie?
I'm just... shaking my head. Good grief.
OMG. My feet are famous.
Occasionally I go through my sitemeter, looking to see what I'm being googled for. More often then not, I'm being googled for... black toenails.
Remember that crazy time I decided to run a marathon? How could you forget? And my toenail started to turn black after I completed my first half marathon in preparation?
I posted a picture, along with the color polish I could wear, thanking the Dear Lord it was Christmas and I could get away with dark polish to hide my nasty toenails.
Yeah, well, it's been immortalized and if you google "Black toenail" and hit images, that first picture... those are MY feet!
I know... my Mom and sister are so proud.
I lost a lot of toenails that year. The small ones don't take so long to grow back. The big ones really do take 9 months.
I lost so many toenails that I almost bought a running shirt that said, "Got Toenails?" Obviously this is not a rarity.
Now coming up on three years since that insanity, I am here to tell you not only are my toenails completely back, you can't even tell how much damage I did to them that year. And the year after.
Of course my hips and tendonitis in my left leg still like to remind me... but my feet look GREAT!
Wow. My feet are famous... whodathunkit?
This was sent to me by a friend of mine. Funnier still... she is 80 and so dang proper and I cannot quit laughing.
You've probably seen it, but if not, hopefully you'll laugh...
I'm always amazed at what people will say in public. It's like when people talk in a cube. They forget everyone can hear...
BTW, when you get to about 3:35... he starts talking about no-pamphlet. Watch the guy, 3rd from the left, praying about the pamphlet. Bwahahaha!
Feel free to go on over and wish VW a Happy Birthday!!
For those of you not in the know, VW and I have known each other for about...26 years. She had me apply for my job at Company X as that's where she worked. (We went to college together.) And I in turn had her apply for her job at the Company I work at now, about 6 months ago.
So we're back to working together, her doing the IT end and me doing... whatever the heck they think I do. She keeps my group up and running (a big job) and we serve as her guinea pigs whenever she wants to introduce new software!
A couple weeks ago, I had to leave the office and she txt'd me on my cell phone. It was like this:
VW: I want to see how the new upgrade IE works on our system. Can I try it on yours?
Me: Sure. I'm not there. Put it on.
VW: Are you locked?
Me: Yup. Kick the plug out and reboot.
And she did and for some reason I still laugh at that conversation.
I have a little picture of her boys on my desk. I was their first baby sitter. When she was giving birth to her 2nd son, her 1st son, all of 15 mo older than her 2nd, was just a wee toddler. She was in pre-term labor, her husband couldn't get off work, her family isn't in town and her parents hadn't arrived yet, and so her first son and I walked the halls of the hospital. We visited all the empty rooms, hand in hand I walked as he toddled. He was a blonde haired, big blue eyed, chunk of a yummy boy.
She has great kids.
I love we work together. I had an opportunity to leave the company I'm with and take my dream job, last week. It was a very real possibility. I didn't do it for many reasons, most coming from the fact that I'm not ready to sacrifice any of the 6 years I have left spending with my three boys, and the job would have been a time sponge and a stress monster. But as I went through the pros and cons, the big cons in my head were leaving my Tech Lead (guy friend for 23 years) and VW. I couldn't wrap my mind around not working with them.
So Happy Birthday, VW. And guess what? Next year? I'll STILL forget that Aug 4th is your birthday and I'll say, "Wait. Really? Did I know this?" Heh.
Oh and I have serious car envy with VW. She got a brand new candy apple red car that gets 40 mpg. I park next to her and drool... my kids are aghast that I now want a candy apple red car. Oh yes I do. Blame it on VW, but I think it looks so Sassy!
My son was driving the other day and made a mistake (I'll get to that) and I said something (the reason of this post) that upon reflection of the entire last two weeks of my fine tuning his driving skills made me fully understand that my children may very well start their own blog one day entitled "$hit my Mom says".
Yeah, I'm going to be some female version of that Dad. And I think that their wives are going to hate me. They're going to hear the tales and say things like, "OMG. I cannot BELIEVE your MOTHER talked to you like that."
So Ringo and I were driving and this was pretty much the conversation, one way... as in what I said.
Me: Look, you have to pay attention to everyone around you. You have to be prepared for their a$$hole moment. Nobody drives expecting to be an a$$hole, at least not most. But someone does something stupid, they aren't paying attention, they play with the radio, they cut you off, they go too slow and you're thinking to yourself, "What an a$$hole". They may not normally be an a$$hole, but YOU just caught them in their a$$hole moment and YOU have to be prepared that everyone around you could conceivably have an a$$hole moment and you have to figure out how to deal. Be prepared. Watch out for people's a$$hole moments."
He didn't say anything.
Flash forward, the other day I was taking him home a different way. (This is that part I mentioned at the beginning that I'd be getting to...) He had to get ahead of a guy to make a stoplight, or he had to slow down, and he didn't do either very well and he kind of sort of cut the guy off while in a panic to make a decision.
Me: You cut him off.
Ringo: I didn't mean to!
Me: Dude, you could have missed this light and made a Uturn or slowed down and gotten behind him.
Ringo: I didn't mean to cut him off!
Me: Of course you didn't, but that was your a$$hole moment. He thinks YOU are an a$$hole, and whereas we both know you aren't, HE thinks you are, because YOU just had your a$$hole moment. You gotta pay attention. Be aware. Think ahead. It's OK to slow it down and back in behind someone. Be aware of what could be your a$$hole moment and avoid it.
Ringo looking in his rear view mirror: He's way back there now.
Me: Of course he is. You cut him off, granted you had one and half car lengths, but you cut him off. Avoid your a$$hole moments.
I was thinking about this again today. I wonder if it's going to come back to bite me. Or if he'll be drinking beer one day with his buddies and reminiscing about childhood moments will come back and he'll say, "Yeah, you should have heard my Mother's philosophy when she was teaching me to drive, "Be prepared for everyone's a$$hole moment and avoid your own a$$hole moments."
I don't exactly sound like Mother of the year...
Crazy day. It ended with some stuff going on with Joe that has my head spinning I'm so pissed. He's back in the hospital and the list of people I could throttle is extensive and I'll put him on that list too.
Off that topic.
Bones got braces today! Woot! He did clear on the top and teal and pink on the bottom. That is a boy very secure in himself to get pink and teal... since he's not getting them changed out until September 26th. I suspect he'll go with orange and blue.
The picture I downloaded of him from my phone was too big, so I'll have to post it tomorrow when I have time to edit.
If music is said to soothe the savage beast, then obtaining one's Drivers License will surely soothe the tortured soul of a 16 year old. Riding High doesn't even begin.
I took him to a small DMV in a northern county to get away from the crowds and scum in Palm Beach County. We went a bit early so he could practice on their driving course, practicing parking at their test site. We went through it all. He just felt ready.
For the last two weeks I've been throwing him the keys and then essentially ignoring as he drove unless I saw something that needed speaking about. He has seemed more confident... like the car was an extension of himself, not his driving it, if that makes sense. He gets on and off of I-95 without issue. He changes lanes carefully. He's been in rain, night driving, traffic snarls, witnessed crashes, and although his experience is not lofty by any stretch, it felt like enough to tell him it was OK to get it.
He passed and he informed me that the Driver's test person told him he was the only one that had passed that day. He had a 2:30 appointment... they take them every half hour.
So not only was he thrilled he passed, he was more so to know he was the only one that day... and then when he realized he had a Bass lesson today he said, "Can I drive myself?" We talked about it and I said yes.
He took my car. As he left I said, "Dude, be careful of the idiots. This is the family car..."
And as bat crap crazy as he makes me, without my prompting, when he arrived... he let me know. Before he left, he let me know. I never had to ask. He just knew it was the right thing to do.
So today, he's a happy kid.
Today my husband was at work when the phone rang and the front desk picked up. His office manager told him... a gentleman was on the phone for my husband's Dad. The gentleman had served with Pop in WWII and was on the USS Chase with Pop when it was hit by the kamikaze.
The gentleman didn't know Pop's phone number, but he knew my husband owned his business down here, so he thought he'd call to find Pop, ask how he was doing. He told my husband that today... Pop was really on his mind.
And my husband had to tell him... today was one year to the exact day... that Pop had died.
How odd... is that?
Since I am the eyes and the ears of the family, when I see something that may not be right, that may not be going right, I tell the family so they aren't surprised.
Tonight my husband came with me. The last few weeks he's not been home so much, so he's been hanging with the kids, cleaning the kitchen and settling the house down while I ran out to see Joe. Tonight I asked him to come with me so he could do an assessment. He's known Joe for 51 years.
And after we visited for our short time, getting him ready for bed, in the car we talked and we realized... Joe isn't going to walk again. He's either going to be in a wheelchair or on a walker and NOBODY has said anything to the family.
They aren't going to say anything to Joe. He's not there mentally. Joe talks about the future and all the things he's going to do.
But the reality is, when you're 85 and you've been in bed for 10 weeks, muscles atrophy and its a tough go for the body to get it back the old normal, in particular as the old normal was starting to deteriorate. Balance is not what it is when you're 25. Hips don't work, knees don't bend, ankles don't want to support. Add 10 weeks of being in bed, and we're looking at more than a long haul.
So I called his family tonight and said, "I'm giving you a heads up. In all those plans you're making for Joe to come North, you need to plan that there is a new norm for him, not just the colostomy bag, but the fact he may never walk again."
It had crossed their minds, but it had never been verbalized. My putting it out there has given it a life of sorts, something that will probably be more freely spoken of... not around him.
And as much as I'm down lately about what is going on with him, the frustrations I feel, I have learned a lot from Joe in the last 11 weeks.
Attitude is what will make or break your deal. If you have bad attitude, nobody wants to help you and you don't heal.
Colostomy bags. I'm so not afraid of them anymore. I always thought of them as being a fate so scary it was incomprehensible and while I'm not going to jump up and ask for one, of all the things that can happen to your body, having a colostomy bag is down at the bottom of bad stuff. I think it's probably more inconvenient then anything, but seriously, I'm not afraid of them anymore.
Buy good supplemental insurance. He has the worst and it shows. But... he doesn't seem to realize it, so I guess it doesn't matter.
A hurricane is headed this way. Day five trajectory puts Emily on course for us and I said to my husband, "In the condo, I'd worry about Joe. There, I think he'll be safe."
This weekend my goal is to get Joe out in the sun, out of the rehab. I hope to have the nurses put him in a wheelchair for me so I can take him outside.
I also hope to sit in on a physical therapy regime so I can get a better feel for where he is to report back to the family.
I'm hoping the out of doors will do him some good...