Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Here we go again!

I can't believe there is ANOTHER hurricane out there. It's so late in the year. We certainly have had an unusual year for the storms this year. This one is going to give a good blow.

When I was small, I remember all the hurricanes seemed to be more in the Atlantic. I knew water wasn't that far away from us, but the storms hit the East Coast. Then they began coming into the Gulf. There were some very serious ones too. Then the numbers dropped off. I never thought about it again until we moved closer to the Gulf.

The scientists seem to uphold my early belief that they come in cycles. I believe this cycle is going to continue for a while. Perhaps it will be a good thing to move away from here. If K must move for the promotion in her job (and that sucks big time!), we very well may move to the hill country. We have a house up there, and that may become an option.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Sex discrimination

Yes, boys and girls, sex discrimination exists. It seems as though we have a movie coming out about this subject. It is a serious subject - especially in the work place. But it doesn't always appear in such blatant terms. It can appear in attitudes.

The other day, I took my car to have the alignment checked. The only person who I assumed was in charge of the counter was outside with another customer. After I stood there for what seemed to be a long time, a man arrived carrying a car battery. He placed it on the counter, and in about two minutes someone came out from the back. The clerk asked that man with the battery how he could help HIM. I guess he made the assumption that I was just a woman who had no clue what she wanted, and this was obviously superior male who had successfully extracted a battery from a vehicle. I made the comment that I just loved standing around tire/battery/alignment stores. They both looked at me with some shock. Now that man who had come in with the battery KNEW I was there first. He never said one blessed word. As far as I'm concerned they BOTH are guilty of being MCPs.

The funny part of all this is that I probably know about as much about cars as both of these men. I watched my dad and uncle (who was a professional mechanic) work on motors and cars about as soon as I could stand. I have changed spark plugs, changed tires, changed oil and filters, helped my son "lift" his Jeep. But the assumption of those two men was that I was merely a woman.

The same sort of thing happened to me about 15 years ago. My husband called. He was stranded in a downtown parking garage. He said he thought the problem was the lower battery cable. I knew what he was talking about. It was getting dark, and I hurried to the auto parts store that was close by so that I could get downtown before it really got late. I told the clerk what I needed. When he handed it to me I questioned him, but he assured me that it was the proper part. I guess he thought "Oh, you poor little lady. I am the learned one here; trust me for I am omniscient." Guess what. IT WAS THE WRONG PART! Yes, it was an upper cable.

The old adage of not being able to tell a book by its cover is all too true. I do know about things you do with your hands. I can build things, and repair things. I know what tools are for. So do a whole lot of other women. One of my daughter's friends had them same problem at Home D**ot. She was boarding up for the hurricane. She knew she wanted and needed. They looked at her like she couldn't possibly know what a 10 penny nail was!

Wake up men of this world. We may make you think you are our strong saviors, our heroes, without whom we would just shrivel up and die. It ain't necessarily so.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

New experience

Today I had a new experience, and it was one I hope to never have again. I was served with a summons! Apparently he was here yesterday and left a card in the mail box (my attorney quipped something about that being illegal since mail boxes are considered Federal property). I couldn't understand why I didn't get the card until I remembered I got the mail while I was still in the car. I couldn't see into the mail box.

The reason for the summons was that I had not paid the entire amount of the bond. Being guardian is not a pleasant job to begin with, but then it also becomes expensive. You pay a bond based on the value of the estate. Since it comes from the estate, the estate diminishes rapidly. What a scheme by the courts, but I do know there are cases of guardians misusing the estate.

I was aware of the increase in the estate. When I called the bonding company, they did not give me the new amount. So the payment was not what the court wanted. I told my attorney that when I called the company, the person to whom I was speaking seemed really irritated by my call. The attorney said she's like that to everyone. Oh well - here goes more money for the bond - and the attorney! I'll still try to do right by my dad. By the way, my nerves are still shot!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Irony, pure irony

Things have always been rocky between my mother in law and me. I really think part of the reason goes to her feelings about my husband, but that's another story. When I was trying to get my dad and V to go into assisted living, I also got a book for the in laws. She had been making noise about wanting to go into something like it for a couple of years. I gave them the book. She said they didn't need it - they weren't going to leave the house. Given our history, I was not at all surprised; I was just a little miffed.

After the reunion this past weekend, her daughter was talking with her. She again said she wanted to go into assisted living. In fact she had two places in mind. The daughter called the brother, P, who in turn called my husband. Now they are all about trying to get the parents into assisted living. Well, well!

The BIG hitch here is a small poodle who is, as they brag, 17 years old. The poor thing has had dialysis, and he recently had a stroke. My personal opinion is that is no longer a dog. Somehow the vet removed the dog body and put a robot in place and covered it with the fur. The poor thing has seizures when it wakes. Anyway, there is no place that will take them and the dog. I'm sure that my husband will have to make the trip back to Hometown with gas at $3 per gallon to waste his time! They aren't going anywhere.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Family reunion

Now those are two words that can bring fear to one's heart - especially if it is not your blood family! In my husband's families, there are family reunions. When we were first married, I didn't dread them, but I would sit and smile and look for my brother in law and his wife so there would be someone I really knew. Now, after 38 years, I actually enjoy going, and, miracles of miracles, have finally learned the cousins! Of course the cousins have had children who have grown up, and I don't know those people!

Saturday we went to his father's family reunion. I really worried about this one however. It was going to be in a hotel conference room. Now one thing this family CAN do is eat. There were no facilities in this conference room. There was no frig, stove, sink. Even when I walked in, table space was sparse. There was not room for the dishes of food. When it was time to sit and eat, space was at a premium. But that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. This is a close family. There is a lot of love there. Being this confined actually made things even better. The comment constantly being made was what fun we had at this reunion. It really was great.

We took advantage of being back in Hometown. We went to "Cathedral of the Southwest" where I had been baptized and confirmed. I felt the people who were in the narthex sensing fresh blood, so I immediately said "I was a member here 50 years ago and wanted to come back to visit since we were in town." That sort of stilled the waters some. I got to the door of the sanctuary and gave the greeter the same excuse. She asked what my name had been. When I told her, she said her name had been such and such. We had been through junior and senior high together, and been confirmed together. That was such a sweet surprise!

That evening we spent with my remaining cousin with whom I am close. He is in his late 70's. He lost his wife of almost 60 years a few months ago, and I was concerned about him. While being depressed still (but fortunately on medication for it), he is doing great. The house looks so much better. It is neater, but his wife had severe arthritis and moving was hard for her. He is doing a lot of remodeling. He is really doing great.

All in all, it was a great weekend with family for me. I did turn down a party with K's in-laws. I just wasn't in the mood for that!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Terrible daughter

That's how I'm feeling right now. I am not really completely satisfied with the Alzheimer's facility my dad is in. I toured a new, beautiful facility today. The problem is it's $650 more than we are paying now. They have a great staff to resident ratio. I know they would try to keep him busy, but I don't think even one on one would do it. There are times I can't keep him awake.

I really don't know what is cognitative factor is right now. Sometimes he just looks at you when you expect him to respond. When the aides come to take him to the restroom (read change diaper), he just looks blankly at you. If the other facility had been around two years ago, the decision would have been easy. I would pay the extra money. Now I just don't see changing.

I can also tell myself the change itself would be hard. And I really think it would. $650 is nothing to sneeze at. He is safe where he is. He is treated well. I think this is the right decision.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Times have changed!

Times have changed - and this time for the better. When my kids were growing up, day care was a necessary evil. I always had the perception that I was a bad mother because I wasn't home with my kids. I guess that is the main reason I kept teaching. I would be home when they were home.

Both of the grandchildren are now in day care. Of course there are day cares and then there are day cares. They are in an excellent day care. The quality of the "school" has everything to do with the director. This one has my daughter-in-law's mother, and she runs a tight ship.

Lady Bug just blossomed when she left my care and went into day care. She was about 22 months old. She mastered all kinds of skills. She can do so many things now. She is about ready to read, and she is not 5 yet. She had K call me last night so she could tell me she learned to tie her shoes. Day care has been a real boon for her.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Now how much more?

Dad is living in a memory support unit at an assisted living center. The center has been bought out, and they put on a brunch to introduce us to one of the vice presidents today. He really got an ear full from the families of the MSU people. The woman sitting next to me was going to complain about the increases we get every year in rent, but didn't. I wish she would have. There were complaints however! Most of them were how the laundry never got to the right patient. We have all had things lost. My dad has lost glasses, an electric shaver, his wedding ring, shoes, clothes, and bedding. I hope things get better there. I really don't want to move him. At the rate increases are going, I may have to move him into a semi-private room though.

My dad was such a vibrant and interesting man. He built one house completely, added on to another. And finished out a third. He could work on cars - before the computer. When he was in his eighties, he decided he wanted to learn to play music. He paid for over 10 years of lessons for me. So he bought an electronic organ and took lessons. He was actually pretty good until the dementia. I could tell his playing was so much worse. What was even worst for me was to see him sit there crying. That's what this disease has done the most - he cannot sort out his emotions. Sad.