Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Vicki and Ron

We received the dreaded phone call at 5:00 am yesterday morning. No one wants to receive these calls at any time of the day, but when your phone rings before the alarm clock, you just know that it’s not good news.

Vicki had been transferred to a rehab facility in Naples, Florida just last week. When Ron talked to her on Friday, she said she’d nearly died the night before and she was afraid that she was going to die there. Ron asked her if she was on the CPAP or on oxygen at night and she said no, that they’d told her she didn’t need oxygen at night. Since she had the tracheotomy she should not have sleep apnea any longer. I don’t believe this is true and neither did Ron. He told her to insist that they give her oxygen at night and he sympathized with her feeling of fear. He said he sometimes has the same fear about going to sleep.

He didn’t call her over the weekend because talking was such a chore and wore her out so much. I didn’t call her either because I didn’t want to listen to her struggle to breathe and talk at the same time. It just broke my heart to hear that and selfishly, I didn’t think I could handle it. I hollered at the telephone on Friday that I loved her and we were still praying for her.

The hospital had transferred Vicki to the rehab center without even discussing it with her daughter. Luckily, there was a family friend visiting with Vicki when they came to take her or Elana wouldn’t have even known about the transfer until after it had taken place. Vicki was not healthy enough to be transferred yet, but apparently insurance was pitching a fit that she’d been in the hospital for nearly eight weeks. Big deal. That’s what we pay our insurance for.

Tuesday morning, the nursing staff went into Vicki’s room for some unknown reason and discovered she was not breathing. I don’t believe that she was hooked up to a cardiac monitor and the monitor alerted them. If she was, no one has been made aware of that fact. Wydonna, Ron’s other sister, told Elana that they started CPR and called an ambulance; while enroute to the hospital they were able to get a pulse but unable to sustain it once they arrived at the hospital. The nurse told Elana that they started CPR, called the ambulance, but did not mention they were able to get a pulse or not.

The whole family is just in shock. She was doing so much better and to die once she arrived at rehab is just senseless and shocking. My poor husband is very upset and the closer we get to the funeral, the worse I’m sure he’ll be. We are flying to Tampa on Friday and then back home on Tuesday. The funeral will be sometime Saturday or Monday.

Ron had a talk with Rex last night and during the conversation, he somehow implied that he doesn't believe he has very much time here with us. He believes his time is measured in months and not years. Accepting Vicki's death has brought his mortality so much closer to him and he's worried.

I am, too.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pay it Forward

I "borrowed" this idea from another blog and although I didn't join in on hers (too late; always my story - LOL!), I decided that it's a great idea and will maybe lift my spirits in the long run.

So, the first five people who leave a comment on this post will receive a gift from me during this year. I don't promise that it will be handmade but it will be from the heart :) When and what will be a surprise! There's a small catch though.. Post this same thing on your blog and then come back and leave a comment telling me that you're playing, too. Only the first 5 comments will receive a gift.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Kyrie Foundation

I went to a fundraising scrapbook crop today. The Kyrie Foundation was formed in the loving memory of Kyrie Dawn Thome who was diagnosed with, and died from, a brain cancer in just a few short weeks. Her family has set up a non-profit organization to help raise money and awareness about brain cancers. Please check out Kyrie's blog - Watch her memorial video. If you can, donate to the cause to help fund the research for brain cancer treatment.

On a pleasant note, the crop was loads of fun and great for relaxation. The good Lord knows I needed it. Keith came over to babysit Ron and Isaiah today. Amy and I both went and we had a great time. We each won a door prize and then we won a couple of silent auctions with tons of great scrapbook stuff, which we split. The crop was from 9:00 until 9:00. We were late (of course) and then went to Home Depot to get chair cushions. Once we saw the metal folding chairs we knew we'd be in trouble without cushions. LOL, I was in trouble WITH the cushions! But, there was a chair massage available for a donation to the foundation. I got two massages. By late evening my upper back was screaming in misery!

I did get a lot of pages done for Keith's album. Amy got a lot done for hers and for Isaiah's. It was a great day of relaxation.

Friday, April 24, 2009

No news is not necessarily good news

I just haven't had any good news to report. I've been in a bit of a funk lately. Ron's not improving and may actually be getting worse. Since he's not walked in 15 months, every time he gets up and moves around something else starts giving him problems.

He "popped" his left knee when he was walking after getting his right foot orthotic. He may have torn the medial meniscus but they can't tell for sure because he can't have an MRI. If the knee doesn't improve, they'll have to do an arthroscope. Dr. Eckland doesn't really want to do that because of Ron's other health issues. He got a cortisone shot in it and after a couple of weeks it did start to not hurt as badly.

As I posted earlier, we went to the kidney doctor a couple of weeks ago and she heard something she didn't like in heart so wanted him to have an echo. He had that done the next Monday (4/13), saw the cardiologist on the 14th and had his pacemaker checked. Without the pacemaker, his heart beats 20 pbm, which is not enough to sustain life. Dr. Francisco sent him for a thallium test on Friday, the 17th.

In the meantime, Ron's right knee and ankle start giving him terrible fits and making it very hard for him to walk. After a few days of this, I insisted that he so see the doctor. That was yesterday and while we were there I asked about the results of the thallium. They weren't back yet. He did get a diagnosis of strained/sprained knee and ankle (this is on the right) and she's sending him for physical therapy beginning May 4th (I couldn't get an early morning appointment before then; I've been approved for FMLA for four "instances" per month, which is not really a big help).

This evening, we got a call from the doctor's office. They have seen something else in his heart tests (I wasn't here so not sure what they told Ron) and he has fluid around his heart. They have ordered another test for Monday morning at 8:00 am. I am not sure what or why, but I'm really not very happy about the whole thing. I have resigned myself to the fact that his overall health is so bad that as we fix one thing another will fail. But, it doesn't make life any less stressful and easier to deal with.

The doctor told Ron that she didn't think he should be driving right now. I don't know if he'll ever be healthy enough to drive again. He was pretty upset and asked her if she knew how it felt to be 61 years old and be told he couldn't drive. She said no, but that she knew it had to be really hard. He said he has to wait on "other people" to do things for him like go to the store, take him to the doctor, or anything else. I told him last night that I would LOVE for him to be able to drive as it would take some of the stress off of me. I'm the "other people" he has to wait on and it would make my life so much easier.

On the one hand, I don't want him to drive because I'm afraid he's not healthy enough. He doesn't ever want to do anything so I get to where I kind of resent that I can't go anywhere or that he doesn't want to do anything. We've not had an evening out in so long I can't even remember when. We've been to the movies a couple of times and to eat at Village Inn. We rarely go anywhere else because of the scooter issues. But, when I go do things on my own I feel guilty that I'm doing things without him - having fun while he's stuck at home. Then, I come back to the sitting at home with him and being depressed that we don't go somewhere. I told him my whole life is one big inconvenience.

Amy wanted to get us tickets to see Sinbad tonight. He got his start in Wichita at Mid America Broadcasting Company, of which Ron was a part owner - so Ron knew him. Ron doubts that Sinbad would remember him, but it would have still been nice to go see his show. Ron didn't feel like going so Amy and Rex went. They're going to try and get Sinbad's autograph on something for Ron. Amy actually called the radio station today and told them about Ron and asked if there was any way that Sinbad could call him. They said they'd try but couldn't promise anything. We didn't really expect him to call (we didn't tell Ron).

So, the funk is sticking around longer than usual this time. I'm clueless as to how to shake it. I'm usually very upbeat and have a good outlook. I can't say that for now.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Catching the Fakes

I received a different kind of fake email today. We've all probably seen our share of phishing emails trying to get personal information – whether it is for our banking information, our PayPal information, or our eBay information. I get a lot of them in my Hotmail account, most of which get caught by the spam filter but some do not.

Today, I got one totally different than the others. Luckily, I've used the messaging function enough in eBay that I recognized that it was probably a fake but it was such a good fake that it would be easy to not realize it was a fake. I knew I hadn't sold anything on eBay recently, so instead of clicking the "Respond" button, I went directly to eBay and did a search on the item number. Once I didn't find the number, I went to the message section of My eBay to see if there was a message in the Inbox. There wasn't, which was not a surprise at all. Incidentally, anytime you get an email from someone you don't recognize, don't click the links in the email. Go directly to the Web site before you sign on or offer up any login credentials.

Once I saw that the "buyer" hasn't had any activity on eBay since 2001, I assumed the ID had been hijacked for fraudulent use. I obtained the message header and emailed the entire thing to for them to investigate. It didn't take too long before I received the answer I knew I'd get… The email was a phishing attempt and eBay is working to disable any links it contains.

Here is a screen shot of an authentic message from eBay:

Here is a screen shot of the phishing email:

The header information from the phishing email:

Return-Path: (notice the "dash" in the; the authentic email does not have a dash)

Received: from ([])
InterMail vM. 201-2186-121-102-20070209) with ESMTP
id <>
for <removed >; Tue, 21 Apr 2009 12:46:10 -0400
Received: from ([]) (wonder where this is??)
by with IMP
id iGnB1b03u1AeqSM01GnCLW; Tue, 21 Apr 2009 12:47:13 -0400
X-VR-Score: 30.00
X-Authority-Analysis: v=1.0 c=1 a=yYppR2Dm4_cA:10 a=WzGo0-4RvAoA:10
a=ykGuVdM82vjTnx4KJiqgrw==:17 a=pwIP7ZobAAAA:8 a=e2jjkNj-AAAA:8
a=pjdaNNIBAAAA:8 a=K0kfupq547W-2h52jvIA:9 a=hSqAzPuDWbixqneFihsA:7
a=BFN-bM3CxBAY7BiNQZwkvzCEgy0A:4 a=g-ujO8JncRpV5FmE:21 a=UDNJUJ7P9ktp7_xn:21
X-CM-Score: 0.00
Received: from User ( [])
(authenticated bits=0) by (8.13.6/8.13.6) with ESMTP id n3LGjtSh002317; Tue, 21 Apr 2009 12:45:56 -0400
Message-Id: <>
From: "eBay"<>
Subject: You've received a question about your eBay item: #300164611370
Date: Tue, 21 Apr 2009 12:42:51 -0400
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/html;
X-Priority: 5
X-MSMail-Priority: Low
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 6.00.2600.0000
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.00.2600.0000
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
X-MIME-Autoconverted: from 8bit to quoted-printable by id n3LGjtSh002317

The header information from the authentic email:

RETURN-PATH: Received: from ([])by
(InterMail vM. 201-2186-121-102-20070209) with ESMTP
id <>
for <removed>; Tue, 21 Apr 2009 13:03:46 -0400
Received: from ([])(legitimate)
by with IMP id iH3k1b04l0K7LdN01H3lwb; Tue, 21 Apr 2009 13:03:45 -0400
X-VR-Score: -120.00
X-Authority-Analysis: v=1.0 c=0 awl=host:9605
X-CM-Score: 0.00
Received: from sj-v3conta22 ( [])
by (8.13.8/8.13.8) with ESMTP id n3LH31Vs002557
for <removed>; Tue, 21 Apr 2009 10:03:44 -0700 (GMT)
DomainKey-Signature: a=rsa-sha1; s=dksm28;; c=nofws; q=dns;
Date: Tue, 21 Apr 2009 10:03:44 -0700 (GMT)
Message-ID: <654321408.1240333424756.JavaMail.SYSTEM@sj-v3conta22>
From: "eBay Member: soapymom" <>
Reply-To: removed
To: removed
Subject: You've received an answer to your question about item ATG TAPE STARTER KIT - ATG 50 DISPENSER & 6 ROLLS ATG
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
X-eBay-MailTracker: 11051.613.0.0
X-eBay-MailVersionTracker: 613.8321612

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The "big" sister

I was just shy of three years old when my younger brother, Jerry, was born. I only remember things that my mom has told me over the years, but I remember some of the details in a hazy fog as if I really do remember them.

My mom has told me that as she prepared me to accept a new baby into the family, she'd tell me that she was going to go to the hospital to bring me back a new baby. In the hazy fog, I see myself sitting on the curb of the street with my older siblings, waiting for the car to arrive carrying my mom and "MY" baby.

I'd get up every few minutes and look up the street and then down the street, searching for the car. Once it did pull up into the driveway, all I could think of was getting my baby. When my mom got out of the car, I marched up to her and said something to the effect that OK, she was home now... where was my baby???

If you were to look at pictures of my brother Jerry as a small child, you would not have believed he was really part of my family, or maybe that I was part of his. I was a tow-headed blonde and he had hair that was so black it was nearly blue. We both had the same set of parents but he had inherited the Indian coloring and hair. I had inherited the European coloring and hair, although I had been born with black hair (that's a different story). My parents both had black hair (my mom's was also the blue-black) and they were also part Cherokee Indian (and my dad was also part Mohawk). I got high cheekbones - and that's it.

Jerry got long, dark, flowing hair - with curls, even. Talk about jealous... (but I have more hair today than he does, so I guess we're even ). My dad coached little league baseball for my older brothers and one of the other fathers used to call Jerry "Geronimo" every time he talked to him.

Jerry was also blessed with a lovely tan and he just got darker and darker as the summer progressed. There was more than one instance in his early life that my mom had to prove she was his mother and not trying to kidnap him out of a store. One time in probably 1962 or so, my sister Kathy (a redhead) took me (the blonde) and Jerry (the Indian) to the restroom at the ball park where my older brother was playing. As we headed back to the bleachers, we were stopped by a police officer. He wanted to know what Kathy was doing with the "black" child (although you know that's not how he referred to him) and where was she taking him. He did not believe that we were all biological siblings and made Kathy take him to my mother.

My mother took exception to his attitude and expressed to him that she was indeed the mother of all three and that my dad was indeed the father. When the officer saw my dad, he tipped his hat, apologized, and left. I guess if he really doubted who belonged in the family, it should have been me. LOL - I was very light. Kathy wasn't much darker with her auburn hair and freckles.

Jerry was also pretty spoiled, although he doesn't like to admit it. (Do any of us?) We have proof on video at Christmas right after he turned two. Since it's a silent movie, it's hard to tell exactly what happened, but the gist of it is "what's mine is mine and what's yours is also mine." My brothers, Rick and Rob, had gotten toy guns as gifts and they were busy playing cowboys and Indians. Jerry had gotten age-appropriate items, including a huge stuffed giraffe that he had cried and cried for on a recent trip to the store. The giraffe is sitting beside him on the floor, and he is melting with tears and sadness - with one hand reaching out in a pitiful gesture. Someone finally figured out that he wanted one of the guns, so one of my brothers surrendered his. Jerry was fine momentarily and then started all over again. It wasn't until he had both guns on the floor beside him - along with the giraffe - that he was content.

I don't remember what happened to those guns or that giraffe.

Just a blah day

I honestly can't even get into anything today. I need to make some cards for my grandsons (which I'll do later) and I need to finish the housework. I'd like to say the rain is responsible for my blah mood today, but it's the same frame of mind I had yesterday.

I think I have finally accepted the inevitable that this is my life and the only thing I really have to look forward to is a new crisis following the existing crisis. That's life and I'll cope - I always do. But, it doesn't make it any less stressful to realize.

Ron walked into the doctor's office on Friday and back out. He's been in bed ever since then. He says when he walks he feels the bones in his feet cracking and popping - a definite sign of charcot foot (which we already know he had in his left foot before the transmetatarsal amputation). He can go from the bed to the bathroom, to the chair, to the sofa, back to the bathroom, and back to the bed. He's made a few forays into the kitchen but not many. He doesn't feel much like eating. I think he's discouraged. Can't say as I blame him.

On Friday's appointment, the kidney doctor was pleased with his numbers and the fact that he's not got any swelling of his legs and feet. That's a good sign. On the flip side, he's got a thickening of his jugular and she hears an extra sound in his heart. She wants him to have an echo of his heart before he sees his cardiologist. His next appointment with the cardio doctor is Tuesday, so they're trying to squeeze him in on Monday.

Monday's already pretty booked; blood work at 8:15 and foot doctor at 9:15. My day originally had planned on not being spent entirely at doctors' offices. It may be subject to change.

He didn't feel like going to church this morning. I don't know if it's totally the pain or if it goes deeper than that. It could go deeper. He feels abandoned. Although he doesn't really care if he has visitors or not, he does get bored just sitting around here and watching TV. He rarely gets phone calls during the day so he really is feeling like he's alone. First, he'll tell me that he's upset that he obviously means so little to people that no one calls him (even though some of them do talk to me when they see me, and some call my cell phone to see how he is; it's not the same as him talking to me) and then in the next breath he'll tell me that he really doesn't care. He must care more than he wants to admit or he would not say the things that he says. He's not as confused as he was (thanks to Aricept) so I think he's more aware that he has no life outside of doctor appointments and the television.

Not much of a life, that's for sure.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bits and Pieces

I decided I was going to use this blog as a resource to tell my kids about my childhood. I don't remember anything earlier than about four or five - not sure exactly. Not all of my memories are good and not all of my experiences are good, but they're not all bad, either.

Topics of future posts:

Coming home from school in 1st grade and finding a baby bed in the middle of the living room floor – with a baby inside (Michelle) – but no memory of my mom being gone to the hospital to have a baby.
Watching the Wizard of Oz for the first time.
Riding the train to PA.
Sleeping in a hotel room in Chicago.
New Barbie for Christmas when I was seven (I still have it, too).
Going Trick or Treat.
Chocolate cake, chocolate icing, and covered with coconut.
Kris “showing up” at our house.
Moving to a "new" house.
Rickety back door that rattled every time the wind blew.
Granddaddy long leg spiders on the back porch.
2nd bathroom was an outhouse.
First day of school at the new school.
Getting lost on the walk home from the bus stop.
One room school house.
Goldie Cox.
Rocking Kris in the rocking chair and my cousin, Glenda Jo, panicking because she thought I was going to drop her. I might have. I was eight; she was a newborn.
Wrapping a comb up in my hair to see what I looked like with bangs.
Kathy and I going sledding down the street in the middle of the night.
Stealing corn on the cob from a field in PA. (I didn't steal it; I was just with the people who did and I helped eat it. It was good.)
Getting my hair permed for the musical Guys and Dolls.
The neighbor kids coming in and eating our food when we were gone.
Roller coaster ride in Bowling Green KY.
Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga, TN.
Seven mile bridge heading toward Key West.
Going to New England Oyster House for 16th birthday.
Kathy coming back from Europe.
Big family cook-outs.
Big Christmas celebrations.
First microwave.
Incredible Edible machine.
Growing up in Gragg Acres.
Easter Sundays.
The big tree.
Sleeping on the floor of the van when my dad would drive to PA (or TN) for vacation.
Breaking my shoulder.
Reading 50 books in nine weeks as part of a school challenge.
Being "left in charge" of Jerry, Michelle, and Kris when my parents went out of town.
Paying them an allowance so they'd do their chores - so I didn't have to do them after I got home from work.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Re-reading some posts

Sometimes I go back and re-read things I've written - especially the things that I know I wrote when I was upset. LOL - there are times I look at it and think, "I wrote that???" Other times, I find typos. Just like everyone else, when I'm typing my mind "sees" what I think I'm writing, but my fingers actually "see" something else on the keyboard. Or, my keyboard doesn't keep up with my fingers and I leave letters out. I need a new keyboard, but I really like the extra function keys on this one so I hesitate to change. The one thing I dislike the most about this keyboard is that it's loud and sometimes the keys stick. (OK - so that's two things but I did try to lump them together into one. I'm pretty OC about the darn thing, though. It's not dirty so that's not why the keys stick.)

There are some posts that I've totally re-written and others that I've removed entirely. Not because I care that someone reads them, but mostly because I realized I was either being unfair or the situation really didn't fit the post. Other times, I've added additional things to the existing text to make it clearer.

Ron doesn't read my blog but I know my kids do. Sometimes my posts are directed at them and other times I want them to know that I'm just venting and I don't expect or want anything from them. But, when I'm upset with them, there is no doubt in their minds that I am. I tell Ron a lot of the things that I write, but I leave out the fears and my concerns. He doesn't need to have those items on his mind all day when he has nothing else he can do except worry, and I know he does enough of that already. We usually talk about the stuff that's on my mind anyway - we just may not talk about them until a future date, and that's OK. That gives me time to re-formulate my thoughts and address them in a way that's not attacking.

That's the goal anyway. Sometimes I make it and sometimes I don't.

Monday, April 6, 2009

300 times in six hours

That's how many times Ron quit breathing during his sleep study test. They said he needed a Bi-PAP machine. We knew his CPAP was no longer working for him, but had no idea he had that many instances of not breathing during the night.

So, for a measly 20% of $2500 (give or take - depends on what we end up getting charged), Ron can sleep safely and I can sleep in peace knowing that he's still breathing.

I can make payments to them just as well as I'm making payments on the other medical bills. I had been hoping these bills were going down, not up with new additions.

Oh well... life in the fast lane. Beats death any day of the week.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A phishing they will go...

It really amazes me the lengths that people go to in order to trick others out of their personal information. I received two emails this week that particularly caught my attention. I receive SEVERAL each week into my hotmail account, but very rarely get them in my primary account. I got one in each place that made it through the spam filter. The one below came into my main email box.

I hope that most people realize their Visa issuer will not send them generic emails in this fashion. When I get an email from my credit card issuer, it’s got my full name in the “to” line and not something generic. I hate that people are getting more brazen and brave. I wish they’d take their efforts and put them into getting a real job and seeing what they can do to help people, instead of taking advantage of them.

I forwarded this information to as many people as I could think of because they may get one of these messages and not realize it’s a phishing email. I hope the perpetrators get caught and get what they deserve. I imagine that won’t happen and, even if it did, there’s always at least one more to take their place.

(I’ve removed my identifiable information from these headers. I also have not included the form that was attached. The URL was “verified by visa form” . html.)

Return-Path: <>
Received: from eastrmimpi02.XXX.XXX ([])
by eastrmmtai105.XXX.XXX
(InterMail vM. 201-2186-121-102-20070209) with ESMTP
id <>
for ; Sat, 4 Apr 2009 07:56:22 -0400
Received: from ([])
by eastrmimpi02.XXX.XXX with IMP
id bPwL1b01d2Qv3qg01PwM1o; Sat, 04 Apr 2009 07:56:22 -0400
X-VR-Score: 0.00
X-Authority-Analysis: v=1.0 c=1 a=GnhTxIRVG6QJIOr7idKpMQ==:17
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X-CM-Score: 0.00
Received: from (localhost [])
by (SMTP Server) with ESMTP id 6FDB780000BA
for ; Sat, 4 Apr 2009 13:56:20 +0200 (CEST)
Received: from ( [])
by (SMTP Server) with ESMTP id 3B6CA80000AE
for ; Sat, 4 Apr 2009 13:56:20 +0200 (CEST)
Received: from ([] RDNS failed) by with Microsoft SMTPSVC(6.0.3790.3959);
Sat, 4 Apr 2009 13:56:19 +0200
From: Verified By Visa
Subject: You have one new message
Date: 04 Apr 2009 06:56:18 -0500
Message-ID: <>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/mixed;
X-OriginalArrivalTime: 04 Apr 2009 11:56:19.0592 (UTC)

-----Original Message-----
From: Verified By Visa []
Sent: Saturday, April 04, 2009 6:56 AM
Subject: You have one new message

Dear Visa Card user,

In addition to our other ways of preventing, detecting, and resolving fraud, we offer Verified by Visa, a free, simple-to-use and free service that confirms your identity with an extra password when you make an online transaction.

Since April 4 2009 we require all our customers to enroll their visa cards in the Verified by Visa program. If you do not do so you will not be able to shop online with your visa card.

This is a reminder to activate the Verified by Visa feature for your card as soon as possible.

Please download the form attached to this email and open it in a web browser. Once opened, you will be provided with steps to activate the Verified by Visa feature.

We thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. Please understand that this is a security measure intended to help protect you. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Visa Inc.

One of my favorite phishing emails was from a poor dying lady who was desperately trying to get her fortune out of the hands of crooked politicians and all I needed to do was ..... you know - the usual crap. Another recent one I received was from the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the Local Police Department. I got a good laugh from that. Of course, most of the ones I get are poor grammar, bad punctuation, misspelled words, extra spaces between words (or none at all), and a general sense of "urgency" and "secrecy" lest anything be found out. I must proceed with the greatest of caution and not talk to anyone except the email author.

I wonder if this is a 9-to-5 job, where all these folks go clock in somewhere and then sit down at computers to write out their scam. It might go something like this...

"Oh, hiya Joe. What you got going today?"
"Nuthin much. Just got some Visa warnings, inheritance messages, money laundering, and FBI notifications to send. How 'bout you?"
"Same here. I think I have some sucker... I mean lucky individual in the states waiting on some money they 'forgot' they inherited."
"I bet they'll be so excited to hear from you. Let's compare notes after lunch and maybe we can help each other out."
"Yeah, too bad we don't have a proof-reader or technical writer on staff though. Just think how much better our assignments would sound."

Or, something like that.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Injection is no help

Well, Ron says the injection he got for his knee on Wednesday is not helping. That's too bad as I was really hoping that it would give him some relief. I'm not sure what our next course of action will be but he doesn't even see the doctor again until May 11. That's a bummer. If they decide to do surgery, that would mean he'll be out of commission all of June as it would take a little while for them to decide and get it scheduled. That might really mess with any summer plans that we may want to make. {sigh} I don't think we can win for losing.

On another note, we go Monday morning to have the new Bi-PAP machine set up for him. I am a bit nervous about how much out-of-pocket that will be as those units are quite high. The CPAP machine he's got is old and just is not giving him the results he needs. This should help him a lot and if it does, it will be worth every bit.

I decided I needed some get-a-way time so I'm going to an all day scrapbook "crop" later this month. It's to raise money for children's cancer research and there will be a lot of good prizes, so I'm going to go and enjoy myself. I have several projects I need to work on and if I can get organized between now and then, it will be a productive day. Amy's decided to go also. Not sure who is watching Isaiah that day, though.

I got Ron a new telephone system today. It's the Verizon Hub. The monthly charge will end up being slightly less than what we're currently paying for home telephone service. The system features are the reasons I was sold on this. They're all very easy for him to work and because he can use a stylus on the touch screen, he will be able to do so many more things. He can even send text messages to my cell phone by typing the message directly onto the touch pad. You can check the system out here and see for yourself all the cool features. It was very easy to set up and I'm very impressed with the features and functions.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Left behind

Recently, I discovered that an acquaintance from several years ago had committed suicide. Although we weren't in the same social circle, we didn't share any common interests, and we only really knew each other well enough to say hello and the normal, everyday pleasantries, I was very saddened to hear of his death.

Sad, not only because of his actions, but very sad for those he left behind. As one of the "left behind" people, I can totally sympathize with his family members and friends. It's been nearly eight years since my sister died, and I can honestly say that I do not think there is a day that goes by that I don't think of her in some manner. And, I think of how we failed her.

How did we miss the clues? Did she reach out to us and we didn't get it? Were we so caught up in our own lives that we were totally oblivious to the trials and challenges she was facing? Those questions have seared themselves in my mind, never to be forgotten and never to be forgiven. If we had caught on sooner, would we have changed the outcome? In my sister's case, I don't believe so. She was determined to choose her own destiny, having felt her whole life that someone else was in control. She believed that she was doing what God gave her permission to do (she probably had brain cancer and was not thinking clearly).

I think of the family times she's missed, the grandson she would have adored, and, selfishly, the things I have missed with her being gone. I can't count how many times I have wanted to pick up the phone, send her a note, go to her house, etc. Then, reality steps in and reminds me of the cold, hard facts.

For those left behind, you know we never really get over our losses. Yes, time does dull the ache and gives us remembrances of happier times, fond memories of shared activities, and the knowledge that there will be better days ahead. But, we never forget and sometimes we cannot find peace or forgiveness for ourselves for letting them go without a fight. We never have times where we don't look for things we might have missed and ways we could have changed the outcome.

So, for all of us left behind, may God give us peace and forgive us if we failed to recognize things we could have changed. Remember the good things and the painful will slowly ease. Don't ever forget, lest we become jaded to the facts of the present and others who may also need us.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Counting my blessings

I do that on more days then you might think. Three years ago today, I was sitting in a hospital waiting room waiting to see how much of Ron's foot had needed to be amputated. I waited to see how badly the gangrene had attacked his body and prayed that I'd take my husband home from the hospital. Three years ago this week, he nearly died. If Keith had not been home with him, I'm sure the gangrene would have cost him not only his leg, but probably his life as well. I had flown to Virginia the weekend before with Isaiah, who I'd had since Christmas 2005 while Amy finished her stint in the Navy. Since she was being discharged, Isaiah and I flew there to drive back with her. Enroute, we received a frantic telephone call from Keith about how bad Ron was and that they had admitted him into the hospital. If it wasn't for Keith and our pastor and friend, Terry, there's no telling what the outcome could have been. We got home as fast as we could and the next day - April 1 - Ron had his surgery.

Today, we were sitting in yet another doctor's office, waiting for a determination on Ron's left knee. How ironic it is to be so far down the road with one issue, and just beginning another. As we were sitting there, I was contemplating our 25th wedding anniversary (coming up in August) and I thought about all the things we haven't done in the past 24.5 years...

We haven't had irrevocable differences.
We haven't gone to bed angry with each other. We've had moments of irritation, but not true *anger* that festers inside.
We haven't thrown it in each other's faces that the other person is just like the "ex"-spouse.

Those are some pretty special things that we haven't done and I'm proud of them. We both came into this marriage with baggage. We had things from our first marriages still weighing us down, and we each had children. We had a lot of responsibilities between us. But, we also decided that we would make this work and we would keep God in the relationship so He would keep us in the relationship.

I've thought a lot about the trips and things we've not experienced as a family or married couple. We didn't have a honeymoon and had looked forward to doing something special for our 25th. A cruise was always something that I had in the back of my mind. I'm not sure Ron was ever as enthusiastic as I was about the possibility, but it was always something I looked forward to. A honeymoon - 25 years after the fact. Now, I think we have just him being healthy enough to make it through the year to look forward to. Quite frankly (and I'm not complaining), there's no money for a 25th celebration, no matter how small we would make it - and certainly no money for a cruise. We can look forward to that for maybe our 30th anniversary.

In retrospect, as I think about the things we've not done, and not experienced, it makes me a little sad about some of the poor choices we made over the years. Some of Ron's health problems today are a direct result of his choices where food and lifestyle are concerned; some of our financial issues today are also a direct result of our misguided or selfish choices.

We've never...
  • owned a hot tub
  • gone to a foreign country (shopping in Tijuana doesn't count)
  • taken a cruise
  • taken a real family vacation
  • had a functioning swimming pool (had one - didn't work; had to fill in the hole)
  • had a really nice entertainment system, with surround sound, theatre seats, projection screen, etc.
  • had lots of social engagements

And, yet - we survived. Some of the things in that list are things I'd like to have done (or would still like to do) but when I think about those things, I have to keep these in mind...

Many people in the world not only don't own a hot tub, they don't own a tub of any kind - and if they did, they don't have running water to fill it or even clean water to drink, running or otherwise. We've never been to a foreign country, but many people in the world have never been outside of their villages, and some of the ones who have wish they'd never had to leave because they left due to drought, famine, violence, disease, or worse. We've never taken a cruise, but many people who have taken a "cruise," have done so out of a desperate need to protect their families from the tragedies and lifestyles they've left behind. So, thinking about a swimming pool, entertainment systems, and social engagements seems really petty and self-centered. Those items don't even cross the conscious minds of people all over the world, including our own country, who just long for a meal, a drink, appropriate clothing, and some kind of shelter to protect themselves from the elements and those who would do them harm.

So, as I count my many blessings in this world - even though the past three years have been exceedingly tough - I know that I have so much to be thankful for. I'm sure that I never get all the "thanks" in that I should. As I go through my day-to-day activities, I strive to remember all that I have and to realize I am very, very blessed.