Friday, September 29, 2006

Problem solved

I had a surprise phone call last night. It was from our flooring installer. He explained the delays, and I feel much better about making our regularly scheduled trips to SSB. He does the flooring as second job. He is normally a firefighter. That means he has lots of days off, and this is his second job. Having a second job is not at all unusual for fire fighters. Having a second job is not at all unusual for young people in that particular area of this state either. It is rather expensive to live there, and salaries (if you have one meaning you are not a rancher) are low.

I won’t have all my floors one until the end of next month, but the house will be inhabitable when we are there. That is the best thing!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Trip cancelled

We were all set to trundle off to SSB to prepare for the upcoming hunting season. For those of you who are deathly opposed to hunting, we’ll deal with that issue sometime later. I am the only one who doesn’t hunt, but it’s not because I am opposed to it. I am just afraid of only injuring the animal. OK enough for now.

We are having all the carpet removed from the house there. I gave the ultimatum a couple of months ago that if I found another grass burr in the carpet with my bare feet - every last inch of carpet was coming out of that house. Well, guess what.

So we contracted with a company in Fritztown to put tile in the kitchen, dining room and bathrooms (oh how I hate carpet in the bathroom). I am putting laminate in the rest of the house. They were to have started on September 18. When I had my living area here tiled, it was done it 3 days. This area is bigger than the tile work I wanted done there.

On Monday we began calling the company. Sunday night, daughter in law asked if we had floors yet. That set me to thinking, so we began calling. We called again on Tuesday. No return call. I called again on Wednesday. No return call. So we called the neighbor on the other mountain who is having carpet installed by the same guy, on the sly, when he completes our job.
Guess what! He is not finished with the tile, and we have no toilets. We are replacing them as well because our "manufactored home" maker installed ones that would normally go in a trqvel trailer - about three inches off the floor. Not good for Grandma's knees - especially after five hours on the road. S and K were leaving this evening with the kids. Wouldn’t that have been great? The adults could have used the hunters’ out house - I guess (not me!), but can you imagine 5 year old Lady Bug using it? Especially since the out house is 50 feet from the house.

So now we are hoping and praying that the tile will at least be finished by October 14 because that is an important celebration for the church in Wide Spot in the Road. I don’t know. Things progress on an entirely different time measure there!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Cheese time

Be warned - this is going to be cheesy. Sometimes I simply am overwhelmed by life, but in a good way. I took some pictures the last time we went to SSB. It got me to thinking about nature, and the amazing beauty. Then I got to thinking about more things. And I was able to bring one of the pictures into this post! Amazing!

I got to thinking about the universe, and how small we are in relation to it all. My mind has great difficulty getting around the size of our universe, but to think of OTHER universes out there is more than I can even begin to think about. My brain wants to shut down at that thought.

Then I get to thinking about this thing called life. To me, this spark, whatever it is, is really something. Especially when I think about something being alive one moment, and perhaps not alive at the next moment.

I think about all the things that have changed over my lifetime, but they are not nearly what changes my father saw. I try to think what it was like to be alive in 1912 which is the year he was born. Then I think of all of the advances that have been made during that time. It boggles my mind!

Sometimes I just have to get these thoughts out. The wonder of it all just overwhelms me.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Sasha update and news flash

Look at the bottom for a news flash about Elderblogger PhoneCon '06!

Sasha is a weird cat. Now some people think the words cat and weird are synonymous, and they may be absolutely correct. If you recall, back on August 23, I ordered a kitty jail for her. If I knew how to link to that post I would do it!!

For Sasha, it seems it is a love/hate relationship. At first, finding her was a trick. Then one night, she was asleep - on top of it! Talk about easy to put her in jail! After we went to SSB last week, her fascination with her jail, er play pen, was quite diminished. We had to go on search and seizure missions.

Now she is fascinated with the enclosure again. In fact, she was standing in front of it while I was gone Saturday night, and G could just lift her in.

Today, she exhibited some really bizarre behavior. She was standing outside of the bars reaching in to play with the water bowl. I know she has a fascination with water. She has been known to flush toilets and turn over water bowls. She plays with the water in water bowls, but to decide to play with that particular water bowl was quite interesting to me!
I guess with B and C do get a house, which is looking more and more likely to be soon (yea!), the play pen will have to be part of their house!

Mark your calendars! Go to the site below (I still don’t know how to link). Ronni at Time Goes By is organizing the Elderblogger PhoneCon ‘06, Go over and get the info!

Monday, September 25, 2006


I think I have finally recovered from my wild Saturday night. I babysat Lady Bug and Monkey Boy! I went to their house because mine is really not Monkey Boy proofed - at least for more than two hours.

Lady Bug spent the first three hours "playing school" with me being the kindergarten student. Her imagination is really something. I really wasn’t up for the game, but she went right on. She really didn’t need someone to play with - she was going to play!
Monkey Boy did exceptionally well - at first. He didn’t cry when they left him. He hugged me often and played well without giving me a heart attack. He did little climbing on the furniture. He never scaled all the way up the back of a chair. He just got every noisy toy he owned out. He ate well. I was really surprised. Normally he just grazes.

Then it came to an end. He was unhappy, and definitely did not want me. Lady Bug tried to play mother to him, and we try to discourage that. She usually ends up either accidently hurting him or getting hurt herself. But at that time, she was the only one who could console him. OK Lady Bug, get to work!

As it ended, he quieted and things went well after that. I never did get them to sleep however! That is an entire other thing with those two!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

And I thought children were difficult!

It seems there is a recurring theme here - Simone and her associated health problems. She has another UTI, only this time the vet found there are crystals in the urine which may be the problem, or the fact that some idiot bred her constantly may be the culprit. She obviously escaped a puppy mill. Oh I hope these people that run these puppy mills burn for all eternity.
Finding the crystals means yet another change in her food. Great. I have 20 pound of dry she cannot eat. At least the remaining 10 cans of wet can be mixed with the new diet so we can (snicker) avoid stomach upsets. Oh how I wish!

Last Thursday night, just before the trip to the SSB, she was sick as a dog. Now I understand that saying. She was fine, then suddenly sick. It seems among other things, she managed to eat a sock. I have no idea where she found said sock, but she produced one, After telling the vet, he told me how bad they are. He said he had a standard poodle that he had to operate on about once a year - for ingestion of a sock! Great - one more thing to look for.

Last night, she was fine, until . . . Suddenly she had a reflux moment. I was, again, up with her most of the night. I thought all this ended about 25 years ago.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Weekend with the inlaws

We have returned from our pilgrimage to the SSB (sting, stick or bite), and it was quite a weekend. We were hosts to the Wide Spot in the Road Community Club along with SIL and BIL. G’s aunt wanted to host with us, so they were there also. I was quite amused when Aunt got out a 5 pound bag of ice, and had two containers of tea. It was over 90. It proved to be way too little. Fortunately we had 30 pounds of ice, and the tea bags to quickly brew more tea.

We began to worry about the food also. You never know how many people will be attending, so you run the risk of having too much food, or almost run out. Some younger folks are moving in, and they have children. That’s where it is really hard to judge food. Being kids, they often take more than they can eat, but that can put the hosts into a real tizzy when the line of adults grows and grows!

MIL and FIL actually made the two hour trek. They seemed to enjoy seeing all the relatives. There are only about three families that are not relatives in the area. They stayed for quite a while until FIL had heard all he wanted to hear from the program.
I really believe SIL thought I was crazy when I kept telling her that MIL was very unhappy being back at home. SIL invited them and us to breakfast. We didn’t go because we had to go to town to check on our flooring that is being installed as we speak (I hope). The in laws went, mostly because they can’t even make coffee at the sister’s house much less work the tv. SIL got MIL alone, and as soon as they were alone, MIL broke down into tears.

As sad as this is, there is nothing we can do. SIL tried several different strategics to get MIL to come to Austin, at least for a couple of days. Nothing worked. I decided that if a Phd psychologist, who is the favored daughter in law, can’t effect a change, I certainly can’t. I just don’t see them being in that house long after Christmas.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Another memory

A video clip that often appears on shows that are made of such videos is a child being frightened by something appearing in a window. While the effect is amusing to those witnessing, believe me it not amusing to the subject.1

One Christmas season when I was about 8, my dad thought I would get a kick out of seeing Santa. I still don’t know where he found a garish Santa mask, but he did. Our house had the kitchen in the front of the house, and the window over the sink was about 6 feet long. It almost covered the entire front wall with the exception of the cabinets on each side.

On this particular evening, I went into the kitchen to get a glass of water. The curtains were open, and as I drew the water I looked out. There was this terrible apparition. It scared me so badly. I immediately dropped to the floor, and then scurried out of the kitchen. Needless to say, he was quite amused. I don’t remember what my mother did.

I don’t know how he managed to time it so perfectly. I don’t know how he got out of the house and got around to the front in that short span of time. He told me he thought I would like to see Santa. Right! To this very day, I find it difficult to look out of a window of a lighted room into the dark of night.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Driving a stick -shift that is

It is time to stop dwelling on the unpleasant things that are happening in my life! Today is a day for remembering, and I am going to remember my dad and his teaching me to drive. When I began driving, you could get a "learner’s permit" when you were 14. I remember taking the drivers test right there in the cafeteria of my junior high school! Oh we thought we were really something.

When I was 14, my dad had a ‘53 Ford with light blue body with a dark blue top. I remember it so vividly. It was a standard shift, and I decided I really needed to know how to drive a standard shift. In those days, the emergency brake was similar to many that are out today meaning it was not foot operated. IT was called an umbrella brake I think because it resembled an umbrella handle. It extended from the floor board to the underside of the dash. You would pull the handle toward you, and the emergency brake was applied. To let it off, you twisted the handle to the right and let it go (or pushed - I don’t remember) back into place. All of this was located on the left side of the car, meaning away from the passenger.

San Antonio has many hills. My dad thought I should learn to drive the standard on the hills. OK! I was up for the challenge. We had one particularly steep hill in the neighborhood, and at the very top was a, gasp, stop sign. I got to the stop sign just fine. I stopped just fine. Then I had to try to let off the brake while letting out the clutch while applying just enough gasoline - not too little, not too much - to get through the intersection. What a disaster.

After killing the engine several times, Dad suggested I pull out the emergency brake so at least I wouldn’t roll all the way back down the hill. That sounded like a plan. Except then I had to add letting out the emergency brake slowly also. This was a true test of my coordination. I really thought I would spend the rest of my life at that intersection.

I did finally make it, and had great pride in myself, but to this day I get really nervous if I am in a standard transmission car and have to stop on a hill.

Thank you Daddy for all your patience. I appreciated it then, but I more fully understand it now.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A lesson well learned

I hope and pray that we never experience another day like yesterday. Worse things have happened, but yesterday was very stressful. G and I took my car to the shop for routine maintenance - oil change, etc. We then took the "tank" because it had a recall for the cruise control, and we need it this weekend to go to the SSB.

We were returning home, and I was driving. My phone rang, but I couldn’t it right away since it was hidden in the bowels of my purse. When G finally retrieved it, it displayed K’s cell. I called her back, and there was complete panic in her voice. She wanted me to go to her house to get her bill payment file. Her purse had been stolen.

I was stunned. As I was heading to my house to get her key, she told me she left her purse in the van when she went to visit the store. Her job involved sales of a product and the store’s relationship with the manufacturer. She is provided with a van for this job. She had left her purse and laptop bag in the van - as she and most of her coworkers do. Someone broke out the van window and took her purse and the computer bag. They were efficient. They could do this without even setting off the alarm.

All credit cards were stopped. The bank was notified. The police were called. But the experience was still stupefying. The feeling was that of total violation.

About two hours later when she was home taking things out of the van, a car appeared in her driveway. Two men were in the car. One immediately held out her purse. They had found it discarded on the side of the road. The only thing missing was her digital camera. They also found the laptop bag. Everything was in place with the exception of the camera and a cd that held some recently downloaded pictures. The thieves were looking for something they could easily hock. Apparently they thought they were getting a computer, and hopefully a cell phone in the purse. They didn’t want credit cards. Too many thieves are getting busted here using stolen cards.

Things turned out to be alright. It spurred all of us to get our affairs in order: to be sure we have lists of credit card numbers and contact numbers, to be sure we never leave anything of value in plain sight in the car. Take our experience and vicariously learn by it. Prepare yourself for emergencies.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Forgiving or not

K and her family were late to dinner last night, but that is not something unusual. I was getting a little concerned because she is not normally 30 minutes late. Plus, I was getting hungry!
When they got here and the pizza was distributed, we sat and talked. She had called the In Laws. She could tell she got MIL by herself. She said FIL was outside with the blasted dog. MIL told K she was absolutely miserable, and she was sure that they had made the biggest mistake of their lives by moving back to the house.

When K told her that FIL told his sister he was happy, she responded that he certainly doesn’t act like it. He is still just as grumpy as ever. He doesn’t seem happy. Now I am worried that he will become a mean dementia patient. I was lucky with my father. As he descended further into dementia, he became more mellow. I just don’t know what the future holds for the In Laws, but I do know that there is a crisis looming even larger on the horizon.

The good thing that came out of the conversation was MIL admitting she never treated K as she should have. It was obvious to K all through her life. All of the cousins are close in age. K and her cousin are the furthest apart with there being three and a half months difference in ages. B and M are only about two weeks apart.

During the summer months, the In Laws would ask to keep the kids for about a week, and they would have all four for a week. It was so obvious that MIL deeply favored E. Everything was done for E. Even Christmas presents were along what E wanted. There was never any thought given to what K wanted. The In Laws would travel to Austin for all holidays and birthdays, never to Houston. But it was that way for G growing up. He was the least favored child, and that attitude carried over to his entire family. I was never treated as well as my sister in law.
I was so happy for my daughter that she finally received the confession she needed. MIL told her she never appreciated K for all the things she did. Now she sees that K is a loving and attentive granddaughter. I hate to be bitter, but it’s about time. It’s just a shame that the realization finally came as MIL is facing her death. Death bed confessions just don’t do it for me. But my daughter has such a big heart. She can forgive all the hurting times from her grandmother. Good for her. I’m proud. It is more difficult for me because not only did she hurt my children, she constantly has hurt her son, my husband.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Well, my cable provider which also provides my internet is down. I am using my neighbors unsecured WiFi to be on. I certainly appreciate them moving in and providing me with service! They haven't been in for a month yet.

Tonight is Family Dinner night. B and C won't be joining us. He worked at his day job yesterday, then played a club last night with an old friend. They ended up staying out really late. It's just as well. Tonight is going to be really easy. Pizza from one of the places around here.

One of the reasons for the pizza is that my arthritis is really talking to me today. My arthritis is a strange affliction. I have it in my fingers, knees, and neck. Some days I don't even notice it. Other days I am really crippled with it. Today is one of those bad days. So dinner is going to be e a s y!

I helped K with Monkey Boy this morning. She had her Sunday School class to teach. I told her I would take him to his class. We began with the opening that was in the sanctuary. I was nervous, but Lady Bug goes into it as well. He was remarkably well behaved. I then went to his class with him. I was quite impressed with his teacher. She had 4 two year old children, and really tried to teach them a lesson. It was quite cute. I didn't enjoy the miniature chair however! Monkey Boy was completely oblivious to the lesson, but then he is only 26 months. One of these days. I was apprehensive, but he was great with me. He and I haven't bonded as Lady Bug and I did. I just couldn't keep him during the day as long.

Here's hoping for a better day tomorrow. I want to go back to not hurting and being more mobile. Getting old is not for the weak!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Nice day

After so many dry days of searing heat, this morning is like a fall day here in Swampland. It is dreary and drippy. The sun is far behind think clouds, so it looks like dusk outside. It is not really raining, but it’s not dry. Believe it or not, I love it especially since it’s Saturday, and we don’t have to go out at all if we don’t want to. Just a change is nice, but a break from the infernal heat is wonderful.

I had been planning to go help out at the boxer rescue adoption taking place at one of the mega pet stores, but I don’t know. I am rationalizing that they have a pretty set group of those who foster some of the dogs, and therefore really don’t need me. When I was able to go the last time, there were about seven people who were there.

It’s not that I am trying to get out of helping. There comes a time when there are simply too many people doing one task. I love seeing the dogs, but that comes with a price. I then want to take another one, or become a foster for one (or four). I don’t really think that would sit well with Simone, and definitely not G. I enjoy visiting with people who also have a passion for the breed, but that’s not the purpose of the day.

I think I may just settle in here and enjoy the weather!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Crisis on the horizon

It seems to me that as one ages into old age, it is the opposite of aging as a preteen. Preteens can’t wait to be older and often claim they ARE older. Some elders deny they are getting older. They deny the problems they are having due to their age.

Yes, I am talking about the In Laws now. FIL had gotten his way. He found someone to move them back to the house. He is in hog heaven. He spoke to one of his sisters and ranted about hoe much he hates the north side of town and is so happy about being back on the south side where he grew up.

I really believe the problem is rooted in the fact he was deathly afraid of getting lost. I am not the only one who is seeing memory problems with him. He may have grown up on the south side, but he will get lost there soon.

He claims MIL is delighted to be back in the house as well. I know for a fact she is not. She has problems with that house. It is difficult for her to get in and out. I know there are no ramps even now. The bath is not easy for her. I know that has not been done, and further more it won’t be done.

We have a crisis just waiting to happen. I was so sure we had averted something really bad, but it’s back - looming on the horizon. FIL is just blind to it.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Strings attached

I am sitting here waiting for my daughter to come by to pick up my cell phone. You see she has once again gone over her minutes. This is a almost monthly thing. After all, she ONLY has 3000 minutes on her plan. So I will be without a phone for the next two days until her billing cycle of over.

You may ask why I would willingly give her my phone. It’s easy. She pays my bill. My phone is the one they got for step granddaughter M. When she abused the privilege, it as taken away. My old phone was about 7 years old and needed replacing at some point. When M left, I was given the phone.

Basically I have a great deal. The plan is a good one for me. It includes national no roaming charges so when (and if) we leave the state, I can still be in touch. The best part is not having to pay for it at all. I really don’t like the phone, but when you don’t pay . . . The battery life of this particular phone is very short. More often than not, I have a phone with me, but it is deader than a door nail!

We’ll see how long it lasts today!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Can't fool me

I think Mother Nature is playing with us. Yesterday was cool and overcast - just as a fall day should be. When you look at the calendar, you see it is only September 6. Anyone who has lived in Texas, and especially the normal swamp of Houston, for any length of time knows that summer lasts until Thanksgiving - sometimes Christmas.

We were so lucky to have spring hang around through May, and even a little into June, but to expect fall to come in September is more than we can get our minds around. Does that mean the children will be able to wear costumes on Halloween without having a heat stroke? That would be really something.

I have memories of wearing the really pretty velvet Christmas dresses my aunt would give me when it seemed like it was 95 outside. I was so hot, but I would have nothing but that dress. What if it were cold? Two years ago, we had SNOW on Christmas Eve. Could we get used to that?

I think this is just a small tease of what will be here in January! I’m sure next week we will be turning into large puddles of sweat.

On another front, Sasha usually sends me on a game of hide and seek when it’s time to go into her "playpen." Last night she made it too easy. She was on top of it most of the evening. When it was time to go in, she was sound asleep on top. Too easy!

Friday, September 01, 2006

My new obsessiion

My life seems to have come to revolving around how I can outsmart a cat. That is really ridiculous. I have won the last round at least.

I carefully ascended the stairs, all the while looking for the elusive Sasha. I was in luck. She was still in the Kitty Room. I quickly advanced to the door and closed it behind me. "You’re mine" I gleefully thought.

I put extraneous furniture on the bed - no one uses it anyway. I mean the bed, but the furniture too. I picked up the bed skirt on the far side of the bed and heard her thump on the wall fleeing from me. I scanned the entire room until I heard another thump.

That thump came from the bathroom. I slipped into the bathroom and closed that door. "Gotch ya!" She thought she was completely hidden behind the toilet. As I reached for her, she hissed with all her might. You foolish kitty - I have had cats for over 50 years. You are a newcomer, and I am the master. You don’t scare me.

I swiftly reached in and plucked her from her hiding place. She continued to hiss, but soon realized the game was over. Her fate was sealed. She was going back to jail after breaking parole.
So last night, by 8 PM she was safely ensconced in her 27 cubic foot jail. This morning G put me on enough of a guilt trip to let her out at 6:30.
The game will be on again tonight!