Friday, October 31, 2008

Pumpkin contest

My department at work hosts a pumpkin decorating contest every year. You have to use two of the candy corn-flavored little pumpkins (which are provided). You can use them alone or in conjunction with other items.

In 2006, I took 3rd place with my rendition of "Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin." Ron was in the hospital right before Halloween so I had to take a picture, while at the hospital, during the showing of The Great Pumpkin with my phone. I wasn't too impressed with how it came out, but it was cute.

Last year, I took 1st place with my version of Jack-O-Lantern Training. I spent quite a bit of time on it, carving out the real pumpkin for the "training center." I had no idea the moisture in the bottom of the pumpkin would melt my marshmallow bodies, so the night before I was to bring the display, I had to re-think how I was going to have the attendees seated. I ended up with the candy and cookie "cobblestone" patio. The agendas were probably the thing that won the contest for me, as they were quite detailed.

This year, I knew that I wanted to do something equally as detailed but wasn't entirely sure what. I got some feedback from Amy and Kris. I had thought originally about doing a "take" on the Monster Mash song, but changing it to Pumpkin Mash instead. I wanted to create a ballroom and have the pumpkins dancing. I didn't know how to make the music though and that is essential for the plot to be understood.

Kris suggested a Pumpkin Election, with Palin and Biden as the pumpkins. I thought about having a lot of clothing around Palin since there's so much controversy over her wardrobe. I couldn't think of anything for Biden (except him being in the doctor's office) so I scratched that idea. Plus, the submission has to be in good taste and I think politics, even funny, might not be considered good taste.

She also suggested an election for the next Great Pumpkin. I thought maybe the "gourds" could try to take over because "Great Gourd" sounds better than Great Pumpkin. That idea got scratched too because Amy thought I was going to use her gourds. (Who, me? Nah...) Among her other suggestions was a pumpkin spa and a crime scene with a smashed pumpkin.

I opted to go for the smashed pumpkin and decided to make it a "CSI" scene with Grissom, Brown, and Stokes. Amy thought of a race track with Cars-type cars going around. Isaiah has the track already and she bought him some cars, so she picked up some candy pumpkins, clay to make the seating area. I thought it was a cute idea but not sure it was in-depth enough to win a prize so I still was kicking around the CSI idea.

When I got home from Carthage on Sunday, she'd made the seating area and had drawn faces on all of the pumpkins. Wednesday night I decided to try my hand at creating the rest of the scene. Kris told me I should make a body bag and the little numbered stands that they use when marking off a crime scene. I made those out of orange paper and the body bag out of a piece of black trash bag. I colored a strip of paper with a yellow highlighter and wrote "Crime Scene Do Not Cross" all the way down it. I affixed that to stakes that were cut-off pieces of white toothpicks.

Next, I needed to smash a pumpkin (used one with a face) and decided to turn one of the cars over on top of it. I needed something to cause the accident so I created an oil slick running under the track and ending at where the "body" was found. I drew the body outline (just like in the cartoons), drew tire tracks over the body, and running away. In the cartoons, when cars run they do so on their rear tires. So, instead of having a long string of tire tracks, I have "footprint" tracks leading away with little pieces of pumpkin. I ended up with about six markers. The car that did the smashing is in the track, nearly wrecking into Lightning McQueen.

I have other cars around the tracks, a flag man, and several of the pumpkins with flags and signs that say "Pumpkins Rule" "Go Pumpkins" "Yea! Pumpkins" and "Pumpkins Pumpkins Pumpkins". Other pumpkins are holding popcorn or sodas.

For the CSI crime scene, I have Grissom, Stokes, and Brown, complete with CSI shirts and their names. I couldn't figure out how to do a ball cap but that's ok. Grissom and Stokes have cameras, Stokes has a flashlight, and Brown has a notepad and pen. I was very pleased with it.

I won first place. There wasn't much competition but even if there had been, I think it would have taken a lot to beat me. Everyone loved it. I took a few pictures with my cell phone that I'll post for now, but one of my co-workers actually took pictures with his good camera (Canon digital with macro lens) so when he sends them to me this weekend I'll update.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I am SO ticked

I cannot believe what just came out of his mouth. "You obviously have told Amy that you've given up on me where food is concerned." Huh? Where did that come from? I said I did no such thing and what brought that on? I think his comment was totally uncalled for. I can't decide if I'm more offended or hurt by what he said.

I said I did not know what he was talking about and where was he going with that statement. He said no where but he doesn't know what to eat; he opens the refrigerator and/or freezer and all he sees is stuff that looks like it's Amy's. I got a little agitated at that and asked him what exactly did he mean. I asked him just what else I could do since it was obvious that he doesn't think I'm doing enough for him and that I'm neglecting him in some way.

He says, "Don't start that tonight," like I'm bringing up the subject about him and food. Excuse me - you're the one who opened your mouth. I said there was lunch meat and cheese (that I've told him about no less than four times) that he ASKED me to buy, yesterday I specifically told him that anything, and I meant ANYTHING that he saw in the refrigerator or freezer was fair game. If it was something Amy wanted specifically, we could either replace it or she could put it in the outside freezer. I also brought home several Lean Cuisine meals yesterday and told him they were going in the freezer drawer (even showed him). Today he didn't eat and tonight he's trying to blame other things for not doing so.

I did tell him that I don't feel like I should be the goalie and watch what he eats. This afternoon, he had a Super Sonic cheeseburger, 1/2 of an order of onion rings, and a double waffle cone from Freddy's Frozen Custard. Then, early this evening Amy stopped at McDonald's and called to see if we wanted anything. Ron wanted a strawberry shake. She bought him one, but thankfully it was only a small. I told him that he knows what he should and shouldn't have and it should not be my responsibility to police his actions.

Then he said that he was leading up to there's no salad things and that's what you should eat when you're not trying to eat other things. I said, "Have you asked me to bring home salad things?" He did say that no, he had not. I've bought salad stuff before and it gets thrown away because - he forgets it's there.

I was headed to bed but I'm going to the store instead. To get salad stuff. I'm too upset to sleep right now so I might as well go shopping.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


That's what it is - plain and simple. I'm feeling resentful. Am I justified? I don't know. Is it expected? Probably. It has been nearly 11 months that I've been doctoring that foot and taking care of things - plus I did it off and on for all of 2007 because he got a blister more than once on that foot.

I should not feel resentful. I should feel thankful. Thankful that I've got a roof over my head, food to eat, a car to drive, and a job to go to every day. That's what I know I "should" feel - and I am very thankful. That doesn't help the "this is what I do feel" feeling.

I don't know what's wrong with me. I should be not having any difficulties at all.

I'm just being selfish. And *itchy. It'll pass.

Today, I think I'm losing my mind

I know, I had a great weekend. I should feel re-charged and re-energized. I did. That was earlier. Ron has to start Procrit injections again, he is perpetually constipated (lovely conversation), and Isaiah is having trouble catching on to things at school. Add them up and you have STRESS OVERLOAD.

I am not a nurse. I don't want to be a nurse. I didn't EVER want to be a nurse. I don't do bedpans. I don't do enemas. I don't do vomit. There are some things that are just absolutely out of my realm and I HATE, HATE, HATE, HATE that I feel like I MUST be responsible for someone else being able to poop. It's really hard to do a self-enema or suppositories. I know that. But - do I want to do it???? NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It doesn't matter that he is my spouse. I don't like it, I don't want any part of it, and it grosses me out.

I am not a teacher. I know that. I tried it once - taught kindergarten. I have had no training in teaching, I just stepped in to fill a need. I did an OK job but I wouldn't give myself any gold stars for anything but effort. I don't know how to get through to Isaiah when we're working on words. Sat - Mat - Sam - Tam - Am - At - Cat. Change one letter and he forgets what the rest of the sounds are that make the word. "Sat" does not become "Mat" when the S is replaced with an M. "Sam" does not become "Am" when the S is removed. He doesn't know what the new word sounds like, even after he's been told and shown. He is trying to memorize where on the sheet the word is located but when taken out of order, he doesn't know what they are. How do we help him with that? Is there no connection there or have we just not found the magic potion to make that connection?

We had a pest control company come today and spray for spiders. This morning I told Ron to ask about the military veteran discount. He called me while they were here and said that he wasn't old enough for senior discount (must be 65) so I asked if he'd mentioned the veteran discount. No, he forgot. I reminded him. Tonight, I asked him if they gave us the discount (Amy paid so she should have gotten the veteran's discount) and he said they had already left. No, they had not because I was on the phone with him and he said they were still here. So, that ticked me off. Why couldn't he ask them? Why - Why - Why??? Why not tell me the truth - he didn't ask as soon as he got off the phone and then he forgot.

He was supposed to call the doctor's office today to ask about the new medications. Tonight, I asked him if he called. About what, he says. Ugh! The medication! Oh, I'll call tomorrow...

We had spaghetti tonight for supper. Of course, Ron shook so badly that he spilled it all down his shirt and all over the table. I didn't get upset with him but it would have been nice if he had taken off his shirt before he ate. His stomach would have been a whole lot easier to clean the sauce off of.

The neurologist doesn't think he's bad enough "yet" - maybe he should come live with Ron for a while and see if he keeps his sanity. I'm sure mine is out the door. I should have known that taking a weekend off would totally screw up things when I came back. It's not that I believe one causes the other, but it does seem that whenever I start to relax and think I can handle things, I get the crap kicked out of me again.

I am just so totally ticked off right now that I really want to throw a big fit. Would that help? No. Would I feel better? I doubt it. But it would sure get rid of some pent-up anger. Am I really that mad at Ron or anyone else in particular? No, not at all. I'm angry at the world in general and life in particular.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Precious Moments Chapel

I had a much needed short weekend trip. My best friend, Debbie, and I met at the Precious Moments Chapel in Carthage, MO. She lives in southern Missouri and has never been there and, since it is free to tour, I thought it would be a good meeting place for us. We stayed at a local bed and breakfast, Leggett House. The rooms are very nice and the rates are fantastic. We enjoyed a marvelous breakfast this morning.

Last night we had dinner at the Lucky J Restaurant and Arena. This is a restaurant and arena in one where you can watch the activities through a Plexiglas window while dining. Their menu includes steaks, chicken, burgers, fried catfish, sandwiches, salads, and appetizers. The activities in the arena include various rodeo attractions. The prices are reasonable and the quantities more than enough to share. We stayed there visiting until we felt we'd worn out our welcome.

From there, we moved to Iggy's Diner. We wanted some coffee but ended up with coffee and cheese cake. The size of the serving was very generous for the price ($2.99) and the coffee was pretty good, too. The server brought us powdered creamer and when we asked if they had any liquid, she said no but offered to bring us some milk. No charge. That was very nice.
We headed back to the B&B and ended up visiting with the owners for a while. They're from Texas and very, very nice people. We were the only guests last night so it was very relaxed.

The people we met in Carthage were very, very nice. If you've never been to see the Precious Moments Chapel, it's worth the drive to do so. The tours are free and are every hour. The gift shop has a lot of really neat items, and not just their own brand things. Of course, you're going to pay more for the PM items, but they have to make some money somewhere.

I've been there several times since they opened (in June 1989) and each time there is more to see. Sadly, they've also had to shut down a few things because of the lack of business. The "tour buses" don't seem to visit as often so they've had to cut down the amount of staff and the number of services they offer. It's truly very sad as this is a wonderful place to visit and re-charge. I never cease to be spiritually blessed from a visit. Sam Butcher is truly a man of God and shares his faith in a most wonderful way.

Anyway, Debbie and I had a wonderful time catching up on each other's lives. We haven't seen each other for two years. She came to town for my 50th birthday party and then we've not been able to get together since then. We decided that we needed to do a weekend every year.
Next year, it's her turn to pick.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Latest and greatest medical news

The neurologist today didn’t want me to talk. LOL – that’s tough on a good day, but when someone is asking Ron questions that I know he doesn’t know the answer to, it was very difficult to not say anything. Ron kept looking at me for help and I knew he was leaving out details. I don’t mind them wanting to hear from the patient, but if the patient doesn’t know the answers, how is the doctor going to know if they’ve left out any details? The doctor finally asked me to fill in the blanks where Ron had left out a lot of information.

He obviously hadn’t read Ron’s chart either because he totally forgot that he’d seen Ron in the hospital and he had forgotten that Ron saw him in 2002 and saw one of his partners in 2005. Once he actually stopped and read some of his own notes (which were right there in front of him), things started coming back to him.

The doctor asked him a series of questions, asked him to spell “world” and spell it backwards. He couldn’t spell it backwards (gave a w at both ends) but got close after about three tries. Asked him who the president was – got that right. Who the candidates were – John McCain and “Obama yo mama” and then laughed because he couldn’t remember his actual name. Asked who the running mates were; McCain and Biden. Asked if McCain and McCain were running. No, it’s McCain and Sara, Obama and Biden. Doc then asked him how many kids he had and how many grandchildren. He said six kids and six grandkids (there’s seven grandkids). Asked him where his children lived. He got close on Stacey (between Haysville and Derby), couldn’t remember the town where Tim lives (Andover), thought Keith still lived on Rock Road and never got any farther than that until later in the conversation he said Shaun lived in California. Doctor told him to remember airplane, book, and spoon and then he talked to him for a while, asking him several questions. Then he asked him what three things he was supposed to remember. After several tries he finally got plane and book.

He doesn’t think Ron is bad yet but says he has a definite problem and to watch it. If it gets worse then our primary care doctor should put him on some medication. I said that’s what she wanted him to determine. I said his home memory was a problem right now. I need him to remember things that he’s not remembering – like take his medication, important phone calls (he can’t write so it’s not like he can take a message so if I don’t see it on caller ID I don’t know who has called), to eat, etc. So, he said he’d recommend that primary care doctor start him on Aricept. He didn’t want to prescribe anything himself because he’s retiring next month (after 38 years in the medical field) so he’ll send his recommendations to our primary care doctor.

For the tremors, he said that since Ron had taken Inderol before and it didn’t work (took it in 2005) he didn’t want to give him that – especially because of the pacemaker and kidney disease. So he recommended Topamax. I know Amy tried Topamax when she had migraines and it made her really sick. I’m not sure what it will do for Ron – or not do.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Monday evening:
Me: How come you didn't take your morning pills?
Him: I did.
Me: No, they're still in the medicine cup, right where I put them.
Him: Oh. Then I guess I didn't take them.
Me: And, why???
Him: Forgot I guess. I'll take them tomorrow morning.

This morning (as he's eating a bowl of cereal):
Me: Ron, you didn't take your pills again yesterday morning.
Him: I didn't?
Me: No, you didn't.
Him: Bring them to me and I'll take them right now.
Me: I'll have to go back and get them. (walk back to bathroom, get pill cup, bring it to the kitchen, and put it on the counter.) Here.
Me: How come you didn't take your pills?
Him: no answer; chews, swallows, takes another bite.
Me: Taking them right now doesn't explain why you didn't take them yesterday.
Him: still no answer. Just eating.
Me: You say you don't know what to say to me when I'm upset but I'm not, I'm just asking you a question because I'm concerned. (silence) Never mind, I see you're not going to answer me.
Him: I was chewing.
Me: No, actually you were not. (by now, I'm ticked) You chewed, swallowed, and then took another bite while ignoring what I was asking.
Me (as I'm loading the dishwasher and look up to see that he's gone): Where are you now?
Him: I went to the bedroom to get my pills.
Me: They're right here! I brought them to you just like you asked me to.
Him: No comment... no conversation... silence

Me: I'm going to work. I'll talk to you later.

As I'm driving to work I'm trying to formulate exactly what is going on with this relationship. I no longer feel like I'm the wife. I feel like I've been demoted to the caretaker and you don't have to talk to your caretaker if you don't want to. After all, how important is a caretaker? You have no emotional attachment to the caretaker since it's their job to take care of you. No more, no less.

When did I cease to be the wife, someone he would talk to and carry on a conversation with? When did it become silence between us except when we're discussing medical problems, doctors appointments, medical expenses, and so forth? When did I transfer over to the role of caretaker first, spouse second? I don't know but I don't like it.

I'm nearly to work when he calls. He's worried, he says. So am I, I say. But, we're worried for different reasons. He thinks I've given up on him and I'm going to "put him away" while I'm worried that he's losing his mind. I tell him that even *IF* I wanted to put him somewhere (which I don't), financially there is no way to do so. He has nothing to worry about. I'm in it for the long haul. When you commit to someone, it doesn't mean you stay until the going gets tough. It means you keep on keepin' on.

Me, on the other hand, I worry about his health, his mind, his total being. I tell him that I don't feel loved or appreciated, that when he does not even attempt to engage in conversation with me that it tells me I'm just not important enough to him to put out the effort. I tell him that I feel I'm the only one doing all that I can to help him get better. I buy him food, tell him what's there, or specifically tell him to eat a particular thing and he does not. He asks me to get stuff (such as lunch meat and cheese) and I end up throwing it out because it has gone bad. He says he didn't know the lunch meat was there. I say yes, you did because you had at least one sandwich from it. He says he doesn't remember. I say I buy you the Lean Cuisine meals that you want (a week's worth at a time) and it takes three weeks with me taking some to work to use them up. He says he didn't know they were there. I tell him I showed him where they were.

I tell him his attempt at getting himself better is to lay in the bed with his leg up and do nothing. He doesn't do any of the exercises the PT or OT taught him to do. The doctor has even told him that he doesn't have to stay in bed, he's just to not put any weight on his foot. He does nothing but sleep and watch TV and then wonders why he can't sleep at night. He says he should write down the things he does. I say that would be good for him, and good for his brain. He says he can't write. I say I know this but it was worth a shot.

He says he's trying to eat less so he will take some of the extra weight off. I tell him that not taking his medication and not eating is not how to do it. I tell him if he doesn't do something about some kind of exercise he'll be too weak to do anything once he's able to be up and around again. He says he does lots but when asked he can't name a thing.

I tell him that he's been through a lot - people say how much he's been through and all that he's suffered. I tell him that I fully understand that because I've been with him every step of the way.

He doesn't understand how not talking to me makes me feel less important. I try to explain to him if the roles were reversed - and if he was talking to me and I just kept right on doing what I was doing, how would that make him feel? I say the only time I don't answer him is if I absolutely don't hear him (and being 50% deaf, I have a good excuse). Other than that I always, always, reply to him. I never know if I'm going to get a response or not. He says he thought it was a rhetorical question. I say even so, he should have had some kind of reply. We've had the discussion before that I hate it when he ignores me. I really feel very unimportant when he does so - even if he does think I'm mad. Big deal. Discuss it. What am I going to do? Probably nothing but talk about it.

He finally admits that he would probably feel pretty badly, too if I treated him the same way.

Mission accomplished! At least there's a glimmer of hope that he'll put out some effort in the future. I did tell him the other day that if I wanted to live in silence, I could live alone. I don't enjoy feeling like we're housemates and nothing else. Except housemates share the responsibility for things. We don't. It's all me - and what I give to Amy.

Amy said she heard us this morning. I knew she would. Oh well. It couldn't be helped and it's not like we were screaming at each other. We weren't. I didn't storm out or slam any doors. I just left in resignation that this must be all there is to this life. How fun. She says what I said was a little harsh and that I need a real outlet, not just the blog. Where does she suppose I'm going to find that, and if I do find it how would I pay for it, use it, or benefit from it? I can't even plan an overnight away without making sure all the bases are covered with firm commitments from those involved that I won't be left hanging.

I honestly don't resent it but I am tired. Neither of us signed on for this when we said "I do." No one does. You go into a relationship with your eyes wide open, but with blinders on. Blinders to block out the possible outcomes and the possible scenarios. No one wants to imagine how life could be - and often is.

Even if I knew that today is where I'd end up, I'd do it all again in a heartbeat. He's the love of my life, he was my Prince Charming, and my soul mate. There could be no other for me but him, no matter what the path we may have trod.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Much calmer, but...

I know I shouldn't get so uptight about things. It doesn't solve any of the problems. It's just that it's very difficult for me to separate the things I can change out from the things I can't change. It's difficult to get Ron to talk, especially when I'm upset and he thinks it's directed at him. I finally told him yesterday that if I wanted to live in silence I could live alone. That woke him up.

He asked me what I wanted and I said I wanted conversation from him. I wanted to be able to mention something - no matter what the subject - and know that he's going to respond. Even if I'm upset with something HE has done, it helps to talk about it. He thinks if he just doesn't say anything then it will be just fine. It's not. Him not talking just irritates me more.

I know that a lot of Ron's problems are the memory lapses he has but it's still tough for me to not over-react when an issue comes up that is a result of his memory lapses. He goes to the neurologist on Thursday so maybe there will be an answer for us.

Here's an example of an issue I have problems dealing with:

We're still having well and sprinkler problems. The well people take F-O-R-E-V-E-R to return phone calls and that's one reason the sprinkler people think that the sprinklers were working well all summer. I had called the well people several times over a six week period and it took them that long to call me back.

Once they did, they came out and put a water restrictor on the well, which was supposed to help the water pressure and run the sprinkler system better. They re-iterated that they'd told us and The Tree Guys that the well was doing 6-7 gallons per minute and the system should be designed for that. I absolutely remember that conversation as I also told The Tree Guys the same thing. Since I know nothing about wells and this sticks out, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was said.

Ryan (with The Tree Guys) said to design a system like he said would have cost us $15,000 because he would have had to put in a lot more sprinkler heads and it would not have been cost efficient on a yard this size. Weninger sent us a letter and said the well was doing 6-7 gpm and Ryan needed to re-design the system.

Ryan's answer is to hook us up to the city water this spring - and "only" charge us a portion, including the permit to hook into the city. After spending as much as we have I'm really upset that the only answer is to spend more money. I told him that the sprinklers hadn't been working correctly all summer and did he forget how many times I called and said there was a problem? Or, how many times Greg came out? I said I had not watched the entire nine zones go through their entire cycle so I had no idea how far into the cycle the problems started. I said I was willing to do three cycles at a time over the course of two mornings and one evening just to get the system going. But, I can't because there's not enough pressure to push up the heads for even the first zone, so for sure I'd just be wasting time, water, and electricity to do anything.

Weninger blames The Tree Guys, and they blame Weninger.

Ryan did have Greg, his partner, put on smaller sprinkler heads but we don't know if they work because of the flow restrictor. I've been trying to get Weninger back out here to remove the restrictor but they don't return phone calls very well.

They called the other day. Ron didn't ask them to come back out. I've only been talking about it for WEEKS but he didn't remember that we needed them for anything. He said he had no idea that I wanted them to come back out. That is, until I re-iterated the conversations I'd been having about wanting to see if the new heads were working and I didn't want to pay to hook up to the city if they were, but we couldn't see if they were because of the restrictor.

Oh... he forgot.

So, how do I deal with that? I'm clueless and running on empty.

Digital Scrapbooking

I decided I wanted to try my hand at digital scrapbooking. I didn't want to spend a bunch of money doing so, especially since I wasn't sure if I would like it or if it was something that I could see myself doing instead of paper scrapbooking.

I asked some friends and found out that one place,, has a 30-day free trial. I haven't downloaded it yet. I did some searching and found and while that site has some nice templates, the cost of purchasing the ready-made layout was too much for my budget. Another place,, has free layouts but then you have to purchase them if you want to print them. If you take the lower-resolution ones, they also come with a cropmom watermark on them. They're OK for emailing and for putting on a Web site, but nothing else.

I made the following layouts (using cropmom) from Isaiah's visit to Walter's Pumpkin Patch.
I think they turned out pretty cute.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Car news

I traded in Ron’s Explorer and my van because I decided that he may never drive again and if he does, we can still just use one car. If he ever needs the car he can either take me to work or I can ride in with Amy (if she still lives here) and he can pick me up. But honestly, I don’t see him ever behind the wheel again – safely, that is. His reflexes are bad, he can’t feel his feet at all, and his hands don’t work well enough to master hand controls. Why pay for a car payment, insurance, upkeep, tags, etc. on a car that is parked 75% of the time?

So, I decided to look into trading them both in. I was surprised at how much they gave us for the Explorer – and how much they didn’t give us for the van. Yikes! I was way upside down but Chrysler had an incentive program that gave me $4,000 extra to put towards the car so that helped. All told, it will save us $500 per month right now, which is very important. That takes into consideration Ron’s car payment being gone, insurance being nearly cut in half, and the warranty on his car that we got to cancel. My car payment went up $33. Another good thing about it is our tags were due in November and I was only going to be able to tag one car (the Explorer since it hauled the scooter) so now I only have to tag one.

After figuring everything up (except the cost of tagging the extra vehicle), over the life of this car loan it will cost us an extra $617. If I took into consideration the cost of the vehicle tags, I’m sure we’re still coming out ahead. Our interest rate on this is better than the interest we had on either of the other two loans. I hate the thought of being in debt but really felt that this was what we needed to do so we made it through this financial patch we’re currently in.

The new car has quite a bit of pep, which is nice but something I'll have to watch. My van did not have the fast acceleration that this has. I looked down as I was just breezing along and saw that I was approaching 70 mph. The speed limit on that stretch of road is 60 mph so I definitely needed to slow down. I set the cruise control instead.

I almost forgot to say… I got a Plymouth Pacifica Touring. It’s got cloth seats (which I wanted), no sunroof (which I’m glad for), but it’s missing the hands-free Bluetooth that’s factory installed (UConnect). I had UConnect in the van and loved it. I will have to get an after-market system because I can’t drive and hold a phone. I ordered something through Verizon that was supposed to work with the Pacifica but when I got it, I discovered that you have to drill a hole in the dash and I wasn’t having any part of that. Plus, the system didn’t say it supported my telephone model. I sent it back. I have to wait until my account is credited back the money before I try to buy anything else. Circuit City has one that’s gotten pretty good reviews so I may go check it out.

I have to send the car back to the dealership on Monday though. They had a company transfer the scooter ramp from the Explorer to the Pacifica and install it. It cost $600 to do this but I’ll get it back from Chrysler’s Adaptive Equipment plan. It reimburses up to $1000 on adaptive equipment additions to new vehicles if done within 30 days of purchase. The platform sits too low to the ground and I’m afraid that I’ll drag once the scooter is on it. I was going to give it a try this afternoon but when I tried to lock the ramp in the upright position, the bolt didn’t even come close to meeting the hole it was supposed to go through. Somehow they’ve warped the platform in such a way that the two pieces no longer meet.

I called our salesman, a man who has been a personal friend for about 15 years, back and explained the problem. He’s going to come to my work on Monday and see about getting the existing ramp fixed, getting the hitch put up higher, and if they can’t fix the ramp they’ll get us a new one.

For now though, it means that Ron can’t go anywhere I’d need to take his scooter. Bummer for us all.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sick to death tired of crap

I am so sick and bleeping tired of all this crap. Ron's regular nurse didn't come today. She's had quite a few Friday's off for a while so we never know until someone calls that morning that she's not coming.

Today it was the case manager. You'd think the case manager would know to do everything. No... she didn't draw blood. Ron said he didn't know she was supposed to. Ummm.... he gets drawn blood EVERY Friday. It's not like it's a new thing.

He also has gotten to where he thinks the wound vac needs to come off. I'd LOVE for it to come off. It's costing so much money per week that I would not miss it at all. Every time we go to the doctor he says something about it coming off. It's draining a lot and he can't seem to get it through his thick head that the wound vac is DRAINING OFF THE EXCESS FLUID and helping the foot to heal. Why is that so difficult for him??? Why should I have to explain it to him over and over again?

He's been telling the nurses (both here and at the doctor's office) that he doesn't want them to wrap his foot with gauze after they put the wound vac on. Every time I hear him say that, I say it HAS to be wrapped to keep the wound vac from coming off. He doesn't keep his foot off the floor. If he did, then I wouldn't worry about the wound vac coming off or about bacteria from the floor - or the street - getting under the tape. I get so bleeping mad at him for continuing to ask stuff. Why can't he just DO WHAT HE'S TOLD and get on with it? Why is it that every time he screws up I HAVE TO FIX IT???

I know that he's tired of being a patient. God knows I understand that. I can't say that as tired of it as he is, but I bet I'm really close. "He's been through so much." Well - I've been there with him every step of the way so I have a good idea of how tired he is of things because I'm right there, too.

So... tonight I'm sitting on the sofa eating my dinner and I look down and his foot is unwrapped. Just the wound vac and tape. Nothing else. No protection from the elements at all. I asked him why didn't the nurse wrap his foot. He said he wanted it to get some air but she left a roll of Kerlix for him (me) to wrap it up later. I should have just put my food down and put on the rubber gloves. I might have been able to salvage the bandage.

But, no..... I think I can wait until bedtime to wrap it up. Surely he's not going to screw it up before then. Stupid, stupid, stupid me. Who did I think I was kidding? About 30 min ago he hollers at me from the bathroom "my bandage is leaking, I'm bleeding on the floor." Of course, that just totally ticks me off (my mind is saying much stronger words so just substitute what I WANT to write but I'm not GOING to write) and I go to take a look.

I told him I can't work on it while he's in the bathroom so he gets on the scooter and heads into the bedroom - and just sits there. Duh... I can't work on it while you're on the scooter either. He says he didn't know where I wanted him. Excuse me... could he not get in the same place where he puts himself when the nurse changes his bandage? Did I have to draw him a flipping picture???

I take one look at it and KNOW that the flipping thing has to come off and that totally makes me mad. Mad at him, mad at the nurse, and mad at the situation. It's $59 for the dressing, plus the nurse's charge - and it gets to come off after being on less than 6 hours. I know I'll have to do a wet-to-dry bandage and thank God she left the roll of Kerlix or I'd have nothing to wrap it with. So I clean the tape off of his foot and clean the wound with Saline solution and stick a 4x4 pad on it while I go call the nurse.

I was going to complain to the case manager that the nurse should have known better than to put the vac attachment on the bottom of his foot and then not add any protection to it at all. It wasn't until she told me her name that I realized I was calling back the case manager and it was her who'd been out today. She said she just didn't know why it came off, did he step on it or pull on it??? It was on so good earlier in the day. Yeah, right... Put the blame on him instead of saying that she should have wrapped it.

She'll have the on-call nurse come out tomorrow and re-do the bandage. That's another $59 plus $60 for the nurse visit. I'm L-I-V-I-D. I honestly don't know who I'm more angry at - him for not shutting his mouth and letting people do their job, or her for not saying that it needed to be wrapped up.

And - when I try to talk to him about it I want him to say SOMETHING - ANYTHING. But no, he just sits there like a bump on a log.

Ugh!!! I have to go clean the bathroom floor.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Walter's Pumpkin Patch

Isaiah had a great time at the pumpkin patch with his mom and Rex. They did so much that he was absolutely exhausted and fell asleep in the car on the way home. He slid down the underground slide, climbed the rope ladder, picked some pumpkins and gourds, rode the sawhorse "horse" (with Rex holding on), rode in the paddle boats, did the "punkin chunkin" slingshots, and I don't know what else. He was one filthy, tired boy.

Amy brought Ron and I back some pumpkin bread, zucchini bread, and pumpkin butter. It was very yummy!

We now have quite the assortment of pumpkins and gourds on our front step but they look very nice. It really adds a nice "fall" touch to the outside of the house.

New Isaiah-isms

Isaiah is really enjoying kindergarten. He makes sure he clarifies "where" he's at when he's done something or learned something, as in "not Ms. Tanya's class but kindergarten." Ms. Tanya was his pre-school teacher last year.

He's learned how to rhyme words so the other night he was doing a rhyming routine with Grandpa. Ball - hall; Hat - bat; Sit - hit; Bell - hell; Door - whore; So - hoe. (He’d done the so-hoe with Amy the night before and I told her that “hoe” was a garden implement. He also makes up words to go with words that he already knows. These examples just happened to be actual words that we don't want him to use.)

Grandpa: Back up, Isaiah. What did you say?
Isaiah: Bell - hell; Door - whore; So - hoe.
Grandpa: No, Isaiah. Bell - tell; Door - soar or core; So - toe.
Isaiah: No, Grandpa. Hell rhymes with Bell.
Grandpa: I know Isaiah, but Tell sounds better. We don't say hell.
Isaiah: OK. Bell - tell; Door - whore; So - hoe.
Grandpa: No, Isaiah. Door - pour, soar, or core.
Isaiah: No Grandpa. Door rhymes with whore.
Grandpa: I know Isaiah, but Soar or Pour, or Core sound better. We don't say whore.
Isaiah: OK. Door - soar; Door - pour; Door - core; So - hoe.
Grandpa: No Isaiah. So - toe; So - joe
Isaiah: But Grandpa, So rhymes with Hoe.
Grandpa: I know Isaiah but people don't like to hear the word Hoe. Toe sounds better.
Isaiah: OK Grandpa.

Tonight Isaiah asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said a grandma. He said I couldn't choose that and I needed to pick something else. I asked him what he wanted to be and he promptly told me a baker. I asked him what he was going to bake and he said doughnuts. He loves doughnuts!

"What are you going to be when you grow up? I think you can be an astronaut," is what he said.
"An astronaut? You think I could be an astronaut?"
"Yes, Grandma. You can take off and fly in the sky."
"Oh, OK. What is mommy going to be" I asked him.
"A toilet cleaner," he says. "She can wash, wash, wash, scrub, scrub, scrub the toilet." (Except when Isaiah says "toilet" it come out more like "toe-let" - which is very funny to hear.)

"So, you can be a baker, I'll be an astronaut, and mommy will clean the toilets?"
"Yes. Grandpa what do you want to be when you grow up?"
Grandpa says he wants to be a fat man.
Isaiah says, "OK! Grandpa is going to be a fat man, I'm going to be a baker, Grandma is going to be an astronaut, and mommy's going to clean the toe-lets!"

From the mouths of babes.... Amy - get those "toe-lets" cleaned!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Soooo tired

It's a new week, time to think about work tomorrow and I'm so tired. I took a nap this afternoon, which is something I rarely do. But, I let my sugar drop very low (I was eating, just not enough) and when that happens I get really sick to my stomach for hours afterwards. The only relief is usually to lie down and rest. Today I actually slept and it felt so good.

Amy, Isaiah, and Rex went to Burns to the Walter's Pumpkin Patch. It's about an hour from here and since it's a beautiful afternoon, I don't expect them back too soon. Amy too my camera so she should have a lot of really good shots of Isaiah having a good time.

Speaking of pictures, I'm all done with the scrapbooks for pastor Al and Debbie. They turned out well, so well in fact that I've decided to do some work to create a Web site and offer my services. LOL - for a price, of course! It took me three nights to find a business name that wasn't in use. I finally decided on and bought I bought the domain and started working on the pages.

I forgot how time-consuming it is to build a site from scratch. Plus, I had been taking pictures of layouts for years and saving them to Snapfish. Just two weeks ago I deleted all of those old pictures, so now I have to re-create those pictures. I've given away several scrapbooks and I no longer have pictures of those. SiLlY mE! Luckily I still have pictures of Shaun's military book, Amy's wedding book (outlasted the wedding), and have access to Isaiah's baby book - plus I took pictures of the pages I did for Al and Debbie's books. I wish I still had pictures of the triplet book I did for James, the 8x8 books I did for our soaper's group, and the baby album I did for Vanessa.

I started editing the faces of people in the pictures who are not directly related to me so I can post them without worrying about them being on the "www" without permission. I've blurred the focus on most of their faces so far and just have a few more to do. That's very time consuming.

I'm not in a terribly big hurry to get everything done since I want to make sure that it's done correctly and not sloppy. I want what people see to be as perfect as I can get it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Who wants to give me $10,000?

LOL - did that get your attention? A friend of mine told me about a blog where the person was looking for donations and actually put a PayPal link on the blog. I was astounded. And slightly amused. I wish I could find the blog again.

I can't imagine being as far in debt as this person is - just on credit cards. Sure, people can get into trouble with credit cards but to be tens of thousands in debt on credit cards - there's something wrong with that. We've over-extended ourselves before, but never to that level and only after something major has happened - health crisis, job loss, etc.

Not just shopping. And shopping. And more shopping. I like nice things just as much as the next person but not at the expense of my sanity and financial health. We've made some (what turned out to be) bad business decisions so I can't say that we've done everything right. If we had, we wouldn't be in the shape we're in right now. But you just can't plan on things always working out the way you think they will.

Ron was supposed to work two more years after we moved in here. He worked six weeks instead and then got barely enough in short-term disability pay to cover his medical expenses. We were in a pickle. I had planned on taking his salary to pay bills and then the extra money he was getting from his mom's life insurance and paying it directly on debt. It obviously didn't work out that way.

Now instead of having that money to pay extra, we've been living on it. We don't owe tons and tons, but we owe enough that it concerns me. Our medical bills have caused a great deal of financial strain on our budget. The wound vac (as I've mentioned before) is a big expense and I dread opening mail from that company. Because of what we had to do in other areas, we still owe income tax. I'm paying for that each month but it would have been nice if I had been able to do things differently.

I'm not young enough to handle the physical stress of a second job, in addition to the things I already do. I have thought about it but I just don't see that it's possible. I have decided to try and sell my services to create custom scrapbooks for people who either do not have time, don't want to, or don't know how to scrapbook their own pictures. I get lots of compliments on the things that I do so maybe I could advertise to sell those services. It would be nice. I'm trying to come up with a name that isn't already taken - and doesn't sound corny. Ron thought of "scrappinmemories" but that's taken. There are a lot of scrapping companies out there and I intend to be one of them.

If that fails, I guess there's always the PayPal link on my blog. Right???

Life is not a bed of roses

I have had a lovely month - and it's only the 8th. Ron asked me this afternoon why I was so edgy. I was very short with him but while we were on the way to the doctor's office I pretty much unloaded every thing on him that was bothering me. And it was a lot.

I'm tired of being on everyone's back burner. We have problems with our sprinkler - he blames the well company. The well company said the sprinkler company didn't put in the right system for the water pressure. We're going to have to hook up to the city water. So that's $2500 that we wasted on a well, plus it will cost $500-600 to hook up to the city. I'm not happy.

Our builder cost us several hundred dollars in extra utility bills because of a mistake in the amount of insulation in our attic. He accepted responsibility for it although he's not entirely sure who was to blame. Ultimately, it was his goof because he didn't follow through on something. It took him until August to actually think to get up in the attic and check it out. So our heating bills were through the roof, literally, and our cooling bills were nearly as bad. Now our level pay amount is about $50 per month higher than it probably would have been if we hadn't had such high heating bills last winter. I'm not happy about that, either.

Our builder has also not completed some of the things that he's working on. He owes us a sliding door screen, he owes us some painting in my bedroom, and he needs to have some of our boards on the deck replaced. He just keeps forgetting that he needs to do these things. He's a nice guy but I can only take so much. I'm not happy.

Then yesterday, I sent a note to my siblings broaching the subject of Christmas. I've lived in this area for nearly 25 years (it will be 25 years in January). In that time we've driven to KC for every holiday dinner (except the year we were in Florida), I've taken my kids there to celebrate their birthdays with family, and for any other family get together that has been held.

In the same time frame members of my family have driven here fewer than 10 times - and one of those was a wedding. I think there might have been a dinner, my 50th birthday party, my daughter's wedding, and Ron's 50th birthday. It's not that I haven't had functions and invited everyone to come down. I have. Many of them, as a matter of fact. But out of my six siblings, only one has come down on a regular basis, one has been here one time by herself and one time with her husband (but they were actually here to see HIS family and saw us at the same time), one has been here for a Sunday dinner (more than 15 years ago), one came to Ron's 50th birthday party, and that is it until Amy's wedding. All of my living siblings came to her wedding, except for one. All but two came to my 50th birthday.

All told, that's still less than 10 events in 25 years. Not a good percentage.

I've always just gone to KC because I knew it was easier on everyone else if I just did the traveling. I didn't mind and I enjoyed spending the time with my family. Sometimes Ron went and sometimes he did not. He didn't always want to go and sometimes he was on call at work and could not go. One time he stayed home and kept Keith because Keith was sick. I never expected anyone to sacrifice any of their holiday time with anyone else to come here.

I decided I'd ask this time since Ron's health has been bad and since he's still in the scooter full time. No one has wheelchair access in their house, and even if we could get him in the door, he probably couldn't get in the bathroom or have any space to maneuver around. So I asked if everyone would like to come down here for dinner and our fun time and explained my reasoning.
So far I've only gotten one answer back and it was "if you have it down there we won't be able to come because we've got too many kids here." I just about popped a cork I was so ticked. I started an email laying out how it was OK to inconvenience me because it was only ONE family who had to travel and that I had to make arrangements to see other local family members on a day other than Christmas so I could travel to KC - but I guess they thought that was OK.

Kris almost sent a note, too saying it's OK to make me do all the traveling but not being willing to make some concessions based upon the circumstances. I said I'd wait to see who else uses local family as an excuse to not be able to drive here.

I refuse to leave Ron alone for 12-14 hours while he is not mobile without the electric scooter. No way. No way. No way. Ron says to go ahead and he'll stay home. That's not right. I'll just have to wait and see what comes up and what goes down.

Amy said she was sorry and that she wouldn't have suggested it if she'd known how upset the answer would make me. It's not just the answer. It's the years of missing out on family functions, the years of them missing opportunities with their grandparents - movies, dinner, overnight stays, them coming to school functions, etc. Those are things that my KC siblings enjoyed. My brother who lives in Topeka has two kids who also missed out - but that was by my SILs choice. She had her parents (they lived with them for years and years) so she felt she didn't need my parents in her children's' lives. In fact, she didn't really include any of us unless she absolutely had to.

All the years that my kids were growing up and my parents were retired - not ONCE were any of them ever invited to stay in KC for an extended period of time. I would have gladly traveled back-to-back weekends to give my children the opportunity to spend quality time with other members of my family. I think that's what bothers me the most and it just carried over to the Christmas thing. It's just the principle of the thing, I guess.

Financially, things aren't great. Not terrible, but definitely not great. I need to take a close look and see where we can cut back. I told Ron that our cable bill was too high and we needed to cut back. He said we could cut the Internet out any time. That's only a small fraction of the total cost. In fact, if we did away with the movie channels it would nearly cover the cost of the Internet. I will cut back on the Internet service and get the slower speed (I think it's about a $10 per month savings) and see what else we can do away with.

I want to cut back on my cell phone because it's also too high. Ron's not using his phone any longer but we have a contract and I don't want to pay a cancellation fee. Besides, he may need it again. His bill is $9.99 per month. Keith's portion is about $40-50 per month. If he could get his portion converted to a contract of his own it would help because I'd lower the 1400 anytime minutes to 700 anytime minutes. Keith is not in a financial position right now to convert his portion to his own bill. We'll see.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Latest and greatest in the foot saga...

Dr Heady was pleased with the progress the foot is making but indicated we have several more months left before Ron will be healed. He implied that the wound vac was a more economical method of treating the wound than a skin flap would have been. The skin flap would have taken muscle and tissue from Ron’s abdomen and transplanted it to his foot. That does sound hideous, but could it really have been more expensive than the wound vac – or a slower healing process? When I told the doctor how much the wound vac was to rent he was amazed. The man had no idea how expensive it was.

Let’s see…. The wound vac is $134 per day, plus $59 for each dressing change (at 3 per week), so that is $1115 ($59 * 3 + $134 * 7) per week. We’ve had the wound vac since February 22, 2008. That is 32 weeks times $1115, which comes out to $35,680. Ick, Ick, Ick. Insurance pays 80% of “reasonable and customary” on this and we have to pay the rest. I’m not sure at this point how much insurance has paid, how much has been written off, and how much is actually our total. Not all of the charges have been processed but out of what has been processed, our bill is around $2500. I know it will go much, much higher.

That exciting amount does not include the charges for actually changing the dressing. At $108 each, that lovely amount currently would be $10,368. Insurance also has their special formula for what they pay so I don’t know what of that has been written off either. We “only” have to pay $20 for each one (if the referral is done correctly) so that means our amount is $1920.

$1920 + $2500 + whatever is left from existing claims + the “new” totals = more than I want to think about. I’ve already paid a lot of the $1920 because quite a bit of it is paid $20 at a time in the doctor’s offices. I pay home health $100 per month and I am currently paying $100 per month on the wound vac bill.

Yeah, I’m so excited I could just vomit. And people wonder why I’m stressed. I can’t think of a thing to be stressed about.