Saturday, August 29, 2015

The falling leaves drift by my window.....

Today is Mike day.  Ron is taking him to a basketball game this afternoon.  That gives me an afternoon free of phone calls.  I don't know exactly what I have planned for the day but I guess I'll just wing it.

We have had to change our trip plans to North Carolina.  It has become perfectly clear that we both can't be gone for 2 weeks so Ron is going to go without me.  He will drive there and spend a couple of weeks with his daughter and her family.  I'll stay here with Mike.  We decided that there is just no way we can leave him that long.  Every day he has some minor crisis (even if only in his head) and we are just afraid we'd get about 200 miles away and have to turn around and come back.  This way Ron can go and enjoy his time with his daughter.  In May we may both be able to fly out and attend his grandson's graduation if we are only gone 2 or 3 days at the most.

This is the reality of caring for someone with mental illness.  There are no services available to give us a respite from the job.  My older brother is not in the best shape himself and his wife doesn't want him to be responsible for Mike long enough for us to get away.  I understand her concern.  When Ron was in the hospital the last time that's when Mike flipped out a little and Butch had to stay with him night and day.  Butch's wife doesn't want that to happen again and it very well could if we are both gone.  So we will just make the best of the situation.

Hopefully when we go to Arizona we will just plan to take Mike with us.  It isn't ideal but we wouldn't be worried about him every minute either.  

I am so anxious for fall to get here.  It is my favorite time of the year.  I love to watch the leaves turn and fall from the trees.  I love sweater weather and the smell of the air.  I just love it and I can't wait!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Time is flying by

I remember when the weeks seemed so long and the weekends short.  Now the weeks seem to fly by and before we know it another Saturday is upon us.  Our days seem to be well occupied with more tasks than we can accomplish in a 24 hour period. 

I spent the yesterday in my daughter's classroom helping out with an art activity that required more than one pair of hands.  The children made pictures of themselves using collage materials.  There was lots of gluing of yarn hair and body parts.  It was interesting to see how they pictured themselves i.e. color choices for skin and hair.  The girls completed their self-portraits with hair bows and braids.  The boys were just content to get the exercise over with as quickly as possible to resume their play in the block center.  In addition to their artwork each child was asked 3 questions, their age, favorite food and what kind of pet would they wish to have.  The answers were as varied as the kids. 

I had the pleasure of experiencing a fire drill in the middle of the day as well.  The 4 year olds had been instructed earlier in the day about fire drills and what to expect.  But no amount of instruction seemed to help when the alarm sounded loudly overhead.  They all started screaming and crying while running to the nearest exit.  Sheer panic ensued but my daughter calmly regained control and managed to get them in a line to exit the building.  It was very scary for 4 year olds.  Two of the children followed the "big kids" to another part of the playground and had to be escorted back to their assigned group. 

I was so tired when I got home that I fell asleep in the recliner shortly after making touchdown.  When I woke up Ron and I took our mower over to my daughter's house and mowed her lawn.  She and her husband have been separated since last May and we are doing everything we can to support her.  Since the young man who was hired to mow her yard kind of quit on her we decided to just mow it for her.  

I am trying to plan a trip to see my childhood friend in Kingman, Arizona.  After 40 years I can hardly wait to see her again.  She was such a huge part of my childhood and probably the best part.  I can't wait to visit in person.  Don't know when we are going to be able to go but hopefully soon.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

First Day of School

I volunteered today in pre-k.  This was the first day of school.  I was surprised that there was only one child who burst into tears.  His mother literally shoved him in the door and ran....guess she knew what was coming.  The afternoon class has 14 boys and 5 girls.  Really top heavy with little boys.  But the little girls look like they can hold their own with the boys.

There was one little boy cute as a button.  His is quite small which may indicate that he is a young 4 year old perhaps.  He came in smiling from ear to ear but about 30 minutes later he saw the little boy who has autism trying to leave the class.  The other teacher was at the door trying to redirect him when the little red head decided he would try and leave as well.  This lead into a full blown temper tantrum.  He screamed, hit, spit, knocked chairs over and threw himself a big fit.  All the time it was going on you could see that he was testing every adult in the room.  My daughter got him over to the rug and made him sit down.  She told him when he was "ready" he could join the other kids and play.  He proceeded to scream and hit and jump up and she would immediately put him back on the rug.  She knew she was being tested and she was prepared to win the war.  This went on for at least 45 minutes but she never gave in and finally "he broke".  Once the battle was over he went on and had a good afternoon.

Now, for me, I was just slap jawed at this whole scene.  I knew that wasn't new behavior for this kid and I can't imagine a 4 year old spitting and hitting an adult.  His mom didn't seem surprised when she was told about the rough start to the day.  I guess this goes on at home as well.

By the time the day was over you could have poured me into the car.  I was exhausted!  Just think, they have 9 more months to go.  Teachers....I don't know how you do it!  God bless every one of you!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Double Bubble

Sunday I opened my living room window and my eyes were assaulted by my neighbor's choice of house paint.  He was painting his house with the brightest pink paint I've ever seen.  It was Pepto Bismal pink.......the brick on his house is orange.

Hoping that it was a primer but a little concerned I was standing in my front door when suddenly the neighbor came across the street looking extremely mad.  I opened the door and he threatened, "You want you car painted?"  At first I thought he was referring to the fact that he was using a spray painter and maybe he wanted me to move my car.  

Then he said..."I saw you staring at the house and I'm sick of all you neighbors.  I bought the cheapest paint I could find and the pinkest and you can just deal with it."

Well, a little history is needed here.  His mother lived in the house until her death 4 years ago.  Her son has been remodeling it and is going to use it as a rent house.  As far as I know no one has complained even though the house has been in a state of disrepair for 4 years.  But according to the son the city received a complaint and put a notice on his house that he had to get it painted.  AND SO HE DID!  He was so threatening he actually scared me a little.  I've known him since he was 8 years old for goodness sake.  Ron wasn't home when it happened but he is so mad.

Other than the bubble gum house all is well.  I'm going to help my daughters at back to school night tonight.  Just be an extra hand I guess.


Friday, August 14, 2015

It was a Mike day

It's been a busy two days.  Yesterday we worked in our backyard all day.  Cut down some bushes that were half dead and just cleaned up in general.

Today we were surprised by rain in the middle of August.  That's unheard of around here but this has been a summer of surprises.  

We did all our Mike errands.  Got his meds and filled his med planners.  I took a bunch of food over to his house and filled his freezer with meals.  He called us the minute we got home and somehow thought his phone had died and jumped up and went to his neighbors to call us.  He was convinced his phone didn't work so Ron drove back over to his house and sure enough the phone was just fine.  He was just in a panic.

I finally convinced him to stop wearing goggles in the shower.  That was a major accomplishment!  He's been wearing them for almost 5 years.  We got him to give up the snorkel 4 years ago but we couldn't talk him out of the goggles.  This became a hygiene problem concerning his eyes.  The eye doctor had some concern so I talked Mike into giving up the goggles.  We will see how that goes.  It's always something with him!

Like I said before........I don't know how we ever found time to work!

I'm just about tuckered out so I'm going to bed early.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Can You Teach an Old Dog New Tricks?

OK This old dog is having a heck of a time trying to figure out this new computer.  It's amazing how we get used to seeing things a certain way and the minute it doesn't look the same we are lost.  That's how it is going with this computer.  I get one problem figured out and up crop 3 more.  Believe me I know it is user error but it is still frustrating.

Microsoft has now gone to a subscription system and they want $69.00 a year to subscribe to their software.  I did find free downloads for compatible software but (1) I couldn't figure out how to download it and (2) Ron got nervous about downloading stuff off the internet because of viruses etc.  So right now we are at a standstill.  I think I'll call me computer geek son-in-law to come give us a hand.

This afternoon I am going to my daughter's house to help organize her closet.  Organizing is fun to me and I love to do it.  Tomorrow she wants help organizing her classroom for back-to-school.  She reports back this Friday.  Where did the summer go?

When I finally get this computer figured I will be able to post pictures of some of our travels (when we actually travel).  It looks like NC trip will be toward the end of Oct.


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Hidden charges

It's been about 8 years since I bought my laptop.  This time we purchased an all in one desktop computer.  Boy have things changed.  The laptop came with Microsoft Office but now you have to purchase it separately.  What a bummer.  It will be an additional $139.00 dollar purchase.  They really do get you coming and going.
I'll have to talk to my daughter to see about the best way to go about this.  She is the computer tech for the school where she teaches and knows a lot more about this stuff than I do.

Well, it is Saturday and we are waiting for our lawn boy to come and mow.  He has been away at band camp for the last 2 weeks and our yard is a mess.   Once that is done we are going to my daughters to swim this afternoon.  It's too hot to do anything else.

We have all joined Weight Watchers as a family.  Jamie lost 5 pounds already but Ron and I are just getting started.  This will be interesting.  Men lose so much easier than women so I hope we don't make this a contest.  I've lost 40 pounds over the past year but have been stuck where I am for the past 4 months.  Ron constantly fluctuates with his weight.  He is a compulsive weigher....On, off, the scale and he weighs every day.  I don't do that because weight normally fluctuates anyway.  I'd get discouraged if I did that.

Ron is now worried that we can't be away from Mike long enough to drive to N. Carolina.  Mike is already getting anxious about the whole thing.  I may have to stay here and let Ron go without me.  It's important that he see his daughter and I don't want my responsibility for Mike to keep him from going.  It's not making Ron very happy but I don't know what else to do about it.  There are no respite programs for people with mental illness.  I can't afford to hire someone to look after him and he wouldn't do well with a stranger anyway.  My daughters will be back in school by then and they don't feel equipped to handle Mike if something happens.  It's hard feeling trapped in the middle.  But what do you do?  Make the best of it.

Friday, August 7, 2015

I don't know how I ever had time to work!

The week is almost over and I'm beginning to wonder how I ever had time to work. We have been so busy every day this week that each day has flown by. We are busy all day long with one project or another. The thing I like the most about retirement so far is that I don't have to live by anyone's clock other than my own. Today we got up early to go grocery shopping. It was crowds to fight. Only down side was we were going to pick up something at the deli but it wasn't open that early. I didn't think I purchased that much but the bill said otherwise. I was shocked.........going to have to figure out a budget or one of us will be looking for a part-time job. 

Ron's daughter sent us the football schedule for Ron's grandson. Now we can start pinning down a date for our trip to N. Carolina. I'm ready to get some plans finalized. 

I finally got the bill for my night guard. Another shocker. $1,600 for a piece of plastic! I admit it has helped a lot but $1,600? I'm waiting to see how much my dental insurance is going to pay. My jaw does feel a lot better. I still feel funny every time I put it in my mouth. Ron likes the fact that I can't talk with it in my mouth so I'm not keeping him awake jabbering all night. I guess there is always a positive side to everything. 

Today I plan to get outside and wash my car. It is filthy. Our heat index is going to be 110 so I'd better get it done this morning.

Mike got his feelings hurt this morning. He has a tendency to just badger and push people in order to get what he wants. He called at 7am to see if we are going to church on Sunday. This bugs Ron and he doesn't like being pushed so he told him he hadn't decided yet. Evidently this wasn't what Mike wanted to hear and a few minutes later he called back to apologize for getting mad at Ron. (we didn't even know he was mad) What the real issue is he want's to know if I will be feeding him lunch on Sunday. Our normal routine is to go to church and then either take him to lunch or have him to our house for lunch. What Ron doesn't like is being pushed to do something. Me I feel like I'm caught in the middle. I don't like being pushed and pressured by Mike either but I kind of understand his illness. It's a constant struggle to not have him take over our lives. I'm not sure where the balance is but I'll keep working to find it.

Did anyone bother watching the Republican debate last night. I watched more than 1/2 of it. I am beginning to understand why Trump is appealing to young people. He says a lot of things they want said. What they don't understand or question is just how do they think Trump will accomplish all the rhetoric he spouts? I learned a long time ago that talk is cheap...........

Thursday, August 6, 2015


Well, retirement day has come and gone. The retirement party brought out my ugly cry. At one point there was so much crying going on my daughter Julie commented that they weren't going to take me out back and shoot me. (She doesn't handle that much emotion at one time) Though saying good-bye was bittersweet I'm ready to see what comes next. Day 1 brought a feeling of being in limbo. I think I was just still feeling a little emotional. Since it was Saturday it just felt like another weekend and I had to remind myself that I didn't have to get everything done and that I had all the time in the world. Day 2 we just did our normal thing. Took Mike to church and to lunch. Typical Sunday. Day 3 Monday was a different story. Ron got up at 5:30 am and started working on his list. He had the whole day and the week for that matter planned out. I wasn't that organized. But we started in cleaning out closets and clearing the office of the clutter I brought home with me. Everything still felt a bit surreal to me. I knew it was time to retire the day I found the gallon of milk in the cabinet where we keep the glasses. This was Ron's doing. Oh, and every day since we retired one or both of us have lost something that we then spent 1/2 the day looking for. I guess this will be part of our normal routine from now on. Yesterday Ron walked in the room and said something to me. I thought he said "Bella is being lazy". Bella is our I repeated what he said. He looked funny and said I said, "Hello pretty lady". Oh Lord...we really did need to retire! I can't hear and neither of us can remember where we put anything. On another note..we had to purchase a new computer and there is going to be a big learning curve. I can't figure out how to change the size of type of the font. It has Windows 10 so we are trying to figure that out as well. So please be patient...I'll figure this out eventually! I just had to let everyone know we are retired and haven't killed each other yet. So far so good!