Sunday, November 28, 2010

Black Friday Shopping

Amy and I left here Thursday night to head for Toys R Us (which opened at 10:00 PM). We got there about 9:40 and the place was already packed with a line nearly the entire length of the shopping center. We were closer up than last year, but we were still in line about 90 minutes before I decided that I needed a bathroom break. I had to go to the front of the line (left my purse with Amy so it wouldn’t look like I was trying to crowd) and asked the manager if I could go in to use the facilities. That was 100% true but also gave me a chance to scope the place out. After my report, we left. We figured we were still 30 minutes away from being inside and could get what we wanted (Zhu Zhu pets) at Wal-Mart. We left to head for the warmth of Wal-Mart for their midnight sale and got there about 11:30 after stopping for coffee.

The longest part in WM was the checkout line. They had actually let people go to the areas where the midnight items were located and let us start shopping about 10 minutes early. We didn't get too much there but the lines were terrible. I think we stood in line for well over an hour.

Our best experience was at Kohl's. We got there 1:30-ish (they opened at 3:00). We were some of the first in - we shopped and were back in the car by 3:37. I loved the management at Kohl's. They were serious about no line jumping, pushing, shoving, or otherwise being an A**. Said they'd throw out anyone who wasn't playing nice. As 3:00 approached, a group of people started to congregate like they were going to head to the door. The "Lead Loss Manager" (his words) came out and very firmly said, "If you haven't been in line, and you're not currently in line, you are not coming in unless you go to the END of the line." Some people were ticked (not those of us who had braved the weather). One lady said in Amy's general direction that it wasn't that big of a deal for them to just come on in. True - for her maybe but it was to the ones who'd been there for hours.

Next up was JC Penney’s. They had opened the doors before 4:00 AM so we were able to get what we wanted/needed pretty quickly. I snagged 3 shirts for Ron (his favorite style, but in long-sleeved form to help keep him warmer in the house) at 60% off, which was a great deal on them. Headed to Victoria’s Secret for Amy to pick up some things, then on to Bath & Body Works (needed some shower gel). After that we picked up a pretzel and a drink and went back to Toys R Us. We got right in but there wasn’t anything we really wanted to buy from there, so we left.

Next up, Bed Bath & Beyond because they had advertised a laptop tray table that I thought would be great for Ron. It was cheesy. If it had been $9.99 I might have gotten it, but not at $29.99. Seriously cheap plastic. So we left there and went next door to Ultimate Electronics. We needed a new all-in-one printer and I found a great deal on one but will be returning it and just making do with what I’ve got.

I got home and in bed about 6:30. Poor Amy had to drive back home so I’m sure she didn’t get to bed much before 8:00. I was so tired that I ended up napping off and on all day. I had a great time even though I didn’t buy that much. I really enjoy the crowds and the fun of trying to find a good deal. I gave up a couple because it was too much hassle to try and get to them. No loss…

The funniest thing was at Wal-Mart. I saw this man in line and thought that he looked vaguely familiar. I’m great with faces but terrible at remembering names. Somehow we ended up in line behind them and as the wife turned around to talk to me, it dawned on me how I knew them. I said, “We were in line behind you last year – right over by the cold food section!" She laughed and said, “And we didn’t learn our lesson because here we are again! If I see you next year right here I’ll know there’s no hope for us.” It was so funny.

No, I'm really not crazy...

Or suicidal... Or thinking of doing anything illegal.

But, I decided that I am worth more dead than alive.

(bet that got your attention)

This post is really completely different than my normal stuff. Please don't think that I'm "fishing" for anything at all. If you are speechless with shock - sorry... If you are speechless with anger - again, sorry... If you want to wring my neck - OK, but you've got to come here and catch me first. I'm not depressed, I'm not angry, I'm not anything. I'm a bit melancholy over how things are going but I can't say that it's a case of depression.

I am a very selfish person (surprise, surprise! I've hidden this quite well from everyone, including myself). I'm trying to figure out how to buy my grandkids Christmas presents (just the little ones; the big ones understand $$ and the facts of life but the little ones do not) and I had a very strict budget for the 4 kids. I did stay within my budget (within $20 which covered the sales tax on things and I'm happy with that). I bought Ron three shirts for winter (he needed them and they were 60% off regular price). But, I spent $30 on me that I didn't need to spend (never fear; reality has set in and the item is going back this week). I think I was just caught up in the moment and saw them (a really cute pair of boots - brown, not too high of a heel, and they just caught my eye) and tried them on. Big mistake. They fit,  I could not only stand up but I could also walk (that's always a plus when you only have one balance nerve). So I gave in to myself and bought them. I had buyer's remorse almost immediately but the line was long so I decided I'd take them back today.

Except my battery died (at least, we think - and hope - it's only my battery) in Amy's driveway last night. They loaned me her car to get back home and Rex is going to take a look at my car today and (if needed) put a new battery in. Otherwise, I don't know what it could be unless it's the alternator. That would just not be good.

Ron goes to rehab tomorrow. I can't haul his wheelchair without my car since it travels on the back. I don't want to drive Amy's car any more than necessary (I am putting gas in it, but Rex is going to pay for my battery - more than generous of him). I will be near the mall this week so can return the shoes then.

I also need to return the printer I bought "us" on Friday. Yes, we do need a printer but we don't NEED a printer. The one we have prints but has some issues. I should have just decided that we could live with what we've got and never gone into the store. But I did. And I bought it. So I'll return it this week, too.

Back to my original comment. I am worth more dead than I am alive. In life insurance that is. I have enough life insurance on me to pay off our house, our car, our consumer debt, and my student loans but only if I died before 1/1/11. After then, there's not enough to pay everything off. As it stands right now, we're having some financial problems. Serious financial problems. Things just sort of snowballed after my "vacation" this past summer. I should have just said I couldn't go. But, selfishly, I wanted to. I knew I'd never have an opportunity like that again and I didn't want to pass it up. I put back and saved until there was enough to pay for the trip and if I had know what else was coming down the pike, I probably would have not gone.

I can tell myself all day long that I did it for Isaiah's sake, but it was really because "I" wanted it. I have a lot of trouble with "I" and "me" these days. Maybe I've had trouble with them all along and I'm just now admitting it.

I had a long talk with God the other day and told Him that I had come to the conclusion that I was worth more dead than alive. I laid out the reasons... If I died, then Ron would have a place to live without worrying about where he was going and if it would be wheelchair accessible. Moving for me isn't an issue - this house is just four walls and a roof as far as I'm concerned. For him, it's a big issue. Bathroom access in most homes is non-existent for wheelchairs. This house has plenty of room for his wheelchair to sit beside the bed at night and by his chair during the day. He can get into the bathroom and turn around to get back out. We have a wheelchair ramp in the garage. If we had to move, how would I replace that?

If I died, all of our bills would be taken care of and his social security disability check would take care of his living expenses. The kids could hire someone to come in and help him with his living activities, or Aaron (his other son) could move into the upstairs spare bedroom and be here to take Ron to his doctors appointments.

If I died, Ron wouldn't have to worry about being homeless or having to move to someplace that his wheelchair wouldn't fit.

I said that I was OK with it. I'd rather wait until after Christmas so the holidays aren't marred but if He didn't wait until then, I couldn't really complain since it was my suggestion.

So, selfishly I have to say that I'm struggling with my decision. I bet it was really hard for Christ to lay down His life for us but He did it anyway. Because He loved us unconditionally. I'm not saying that I'm anywhere near that because I know that I'm not. I'd rather stick around and watch my grandkids grow up, enjoy the company of those I love - my family and my friends - and experience all that life has to offer. But I know that for Ron to have what he needs, there must be sacrifices made. Our situation is more my fault than anyone else's (my selfishness again - too much to go into detail; just trust me that most of this is my fault) so I need to be the one to pay the price for it. No one else.

My kids are worried. Amy said I couldn't pray to God to take me because she wasn't fine with it. Keith said he's going to start paying more into the household because he wasn't fine with it either. Amy and Rex said if we needed to sell our house that we'd never be homeless. That is always nice to know. I'm very proud of my children and thankful for them.

I said it was nice to know that I had more 'value' to them than the monetary worth of my life insurance. I promised that I wouldn't ask God to take me and that I would pray for a better answer instead.

So, I'm praying for miracles instead. Ron goes to rehab tomorrow for one week (actually, insurance approved five business days so he could come home on Friday unless they extend it). Keith's car is still in the shop so we'll go to work at 8:00 and then I'll go to visit Ron and pick Keith up after he gets off. It will make a long day for each of us, but that is life in the fast lane.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day 11: Another picture of me and my friends

This will be tough... I'm not sure any other picture exist of me with any of my friends. I'll look...




{sigh} Still looking...

I found one. I had to "steal" it from a friend's Facebook page.

I'm in the back row. Can you find me?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Day 10 - Songs I listen to when ...

I have a variety of music on my iPod and on my computer. I have a mix of Christian and worship music that I listen to when I need a spiritual lift or when I feel like I'm being a whiner. I listen to a mix of The Oak Ridge Boys, Andre Bocelli, Amy Winehouse (not much of hers, but I like a few things), Shakira, Barry Manilow, Brooks & Dunn, The Carpenters, Alison Krauss, and others. Josh Groban, Celine, Neil Diamond, Steven Curtis Chapman, Amy Grant, and Carole King.  I always put my music on shuffle so I can hear a variety. If I'm down in the dumps, it's always worship music. Reminder's of God's love and grace never ceases to raise my spirits.

I also have a couple of Connie Talbot songs on my iPod I got for Isaiah (and me) to listen to. I have a lot of Christmas music that I listen to all year. I just ordered O Holy Night by Jackie Evancho. Love to hear Celine's duet with Andre Bocelli - and she does the same song with Josh Groban (The Prayer). It's a beautiful song.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Parkinson's Evaluation

We had the big evaluation yesterday and I think it went very well. The occupational therapist said that she believed he needed (and would benefit from) therapy. They can't really do much with his sensory perception, but she said they can provide assistance in finding ways to help him function.

The physical therapist said she believed that he would benefit from in-patient care at least for a week or two, and then continue on a three times per week as an outpatient.

Now we just have to wait and see what insurance determines.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Card selected for "card of the week" contest

Scrapbooks etc magazine also has a web site where you can upload some of your creations. I didn't know they were running a contest until I got an email today that said one of my cards had been selected for this week's "card of the week" contest. The winner gets $100.

Voting ends on 11/21 and if you like the card, I'd appreciate it if you'd vote for it...


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Having one of "those" BLAH days...

It must be in the air. I have lots to be thankful for (and I am) but today is just one of those days that has given me the "blu-hooeys" (I know, that's not a word...).

I took the day off. I'm not sick but I did have some personal business to take care of that really couldn't be done at work. I've only done part of it. Just can't get myself motivated to do the things I need to do. I need a Fairy Godmother to wave her magic wand and put my house in order - while she's at it, she can put my life in order!

I did manage to organize enough of the pantry to get the groceries in there, but don't try too hard to find a bowl or anything like that. You might end up with everything crashing down on your head.

I got my "paid for auction" package sent off, paid our water bill, put gas in my car, and went to the scrapbook store to pick up some ribbon I needed. I forgot to go buy ink for my printer, which is out of two colors and won't even let me print in black. Bummer... I'll go back out later.

I'm going to go work on Christmas cards and see if that improves my mood. I'll just not look at the stuff I should be doing instead. It will still be there tomorrow 'cause I think that "I'm" the Fairy Godmother around here.

Ya'll have a great day...

Day 09: Something you're proud of in the past few days

Taking pride in myself or the things I do is a very hard thing for me to do. I can’t say that I’ve not had pride in things, but it’s not very often.

LOL – does that make me totally boring or just a very unremarkable person?

I could be proud that I haven’t lost my cool at anyone, even though they may have deserved something more than they got.

Or… I didn’t eat ALL of the left over M&Ms

…I went to the grocery store

...I cleaned the toilet without complaining (too much)

...I gave Ron a haircut right when he asked instead of putting it off until later

...I made a really nice covered journal for someone at work for her birthday

(I'm working on another one for her that she's buying for her daughter's fiance'. It is 'faux leather' - technique I learned to do - and is turning out quite nice. Here is a preliminary picture of it - although it's not finished.)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day 08 - Short-term goals for this month and why

I have very few...

go to the grocery store - because we like to eat and the pantry is getting very nekkid
work on Christmas cards - because I have two orders for 4 cards each
finish a couple of birthday cards - because I have an order for them

post a few things for sale on Craigslist - because they are taking up space and I need to sell them. I have a beautiful set of "vintage-style" brass cherub lamps.

I'm going to ask $75 for the pair. They're heavy and very much worth it. We've had them since 1996. The brass isn't the same exact color but I think that adds to their charm.

I have quite a few things for sale on eBay (you can search for soapymom2) and have even more things to put on Craigslist. Would like to sell our Christmas tree (no room for it and a wheelchair - wheelchair wins) and I'll get a small table-top one for in the dining room.

It's pre-lit and stand 7.5 feet tall.

I think that's about it for short-term goals for the rest of the month.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day 07- A picture of someone/something that has the biggest impact on you

I have four "someones" who have made the biggest impact on me... My grandchildren. To see the continuation of family lines, heritage, and traits rolled into these special little children has been delightful.

Isaiah - His 2nd Easter, the summer before he came to live with us

Alexander - at my mom's house in January 2009

Kaitlyn - showing off her new baby brother

Zachary - the latest addition to the clan

Friday, November 12, 2010

Day 06- Favorite super hero and why

This is a tough one. I've actually avoided this day because I don't think I can find a super hero that would be my favorite.

What constitutes 'super' hero status anyway? Wonder Woman ranks up there. Loved those bracelets she could deflect bullets with. Every girl needs a set of those.

Photo copyright 2005 Warner Bros. Entertainment
Of course, she's got another kind of "set" that I wouldn't have minded having... hmmm - better get back to the subject. But, she does have a great looking set of legs. Right?

Another super hero is The Bionic Woman. Why??? Because (being deaf in my right ear) I'd like to have her capability to hear a whisper a mile away. I seriously wouldn't want to be able to do that, but to hear again out of that ear would be nice. If I could hear, my balance might not be crap and I might not put as many bruises on my poor legs and arms.

Now, I also wanted to be Agent 99, the much smarter half of the Get Smart sleuths. She was always so nice to Max and never let him know that she saved his butt on more than one occasion.

That was really true love and dedication.

But, my truly most favorite super hero is my mother. She worked outside the home and managed to raise seven kids (of course, my dad contributed to that too) who are all educated and contributing members of society. She demonstrated what true love was, and is, and what "for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health" meant. She nursed my dad and was his constant companion through many illnesses and still misses him, five years after his death.

Mom and Dad with Isaiah the summer after his 1st birthday

Isaiah wanting Grandpa's glasses case put in "his" pocket - except he didn't have a pocket.

I know that my mom really misses my dad and is counting the days until she sees him again. Isaiah was the first of the great-grandkids and the only one that my dad got to see.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

For Veteran's Day

I have been extremely blessed to have been an active part in my children's lives and to have been able to experience a small portion of military life with them. I'm also extremely blessed that they have returned from each deployment, safe and sound. Amy only went on one deployment during her time in the Navy (she had shore duty for awhile, then was pregnant with Isaiah so back to shore duty, and then was discharged right before her next ship left for deployment) and I got to return to San Diego on her ship (the USS Boxer; September 2001). She was also stationed on the USS Kearsarge and the USS Dwight D Eisenhower (both located in Norfolk, VA).

Shaun has been on several deployments and I've been very fortunate to be able to be on the dock as his ship has pulled back in. His first deployment was on the USS Harry S Truman, stationed in Norfolk, VA, on its maiden deployment. It was quite the party when the ship returned to port in May 2001. I also watched the Truman return from deployment in May 2003 and again in 2005. Shaun then spent some time on shore duty in San Diego before transferring to Bremerton, WA. He is currently stationed aboard the USS John C Stennis and I've been on the dock to witness its return in July 2009.

The picture above was taken in two shots. Shaun was home on  leave in October 1999 and I knew Amy would be home in November 1999 (right after she finished basic training and her A School). I had Shaun stand on one side and then had Amy on the other. I merged the two photos later and did pretty well with the merge. I think I'm the only one who knows where the curtains really come together. (The next time they were home on leave together they didn't have uniforms with them.)

USS Truman return - May 2001

Shaun was actually standing in the "7" of the 75 and when I did his scrapbook, I was able to pop him out of it and make it so that he was actually noticeable.

USS Boxer Tiger Cruise - September 2001

Since Amy was stationed San Diego, the last stop on the way home was Hawaii. I got to fly to Hawaii and float back to San Diego on her ship, the USS Boxer. It was an amazing trip and we were all having a great time - right up until September 11. We were three days out of San Diego and the mood of the entire ship changed. I wrote about my trip and that day here. Here are some more pictures from that trip.

Amy in her dress whites as we were nearing San Diego

My "rack" (sleeping quarters) where I could turn on my fan, shut my curtains, and read a book, or two - or 10. I read about 10 books during the eight days on the ship.

Refueling of the Boxer and Harper's Ferry

The USS Boxer
The Navy put on a pretty spectacular air show for us, too.

Truman Homecoming May 2003

Isaiah was just a new baby when the Truman came back from deployment in 2003. Amy's (then) husband was also stationed on the Truman so, after spending her maternity leave at our house, we drove back to Norfolk for the ship's return. It was a very cold, rainy and windy day so I don't have many pictures. We were in the "new mothers" tent for most of the preliminary stuff and I'd pop out every so often to snap a picture.

Truman Family Day 2003

Keith and I were able to fly back to Norfolk in July 2003 for the Truman's Family Day Cruise. We boarded the ship by 6:00 AM and spent the entire day at sea. During the cruise, they Navy had several activities planned for us, including an amazing air show. Being an aircraft carrier made it easier for them to show off than just being an LHD.

After the air show, we enjoyed snacks and got to tour limited areas of the ship. They also brought in a hypnotist and had several people on the stage do some pretty funny stuff.

Shaun joined the Navy in August 1998 and Amy joined in August 1999. They actually had their "anniversary" dates within one day of each other, and their graduation ceremonies in the same time frame (Shaun Oct 98, Amy Oct 99).

These are a couple of pages out of Shaun's Navy scrapbook that I made for him after his first deployment and enlistment.

Truman Homecoming 2005

I flew to Norfolk by myself for this return and then Shaun and I drove back home in his vehicle.

John C Stennis Homecoming 2009

Thank you to all of our veterans. Thank you to my children for their service.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The man...

I am so totally irritated with my husband's actions right now that I can barely function. I know he thought he was doing something totally rational, but instead he's taken weeks of effort on the part of several people and just thrown it back into our faces.

He got "the" phone call yesterday to schedule him for the outpatient Parkinson's evaluation, even though I had given my cell phone out and requested all contact come through me. He told them he didn't need it any longer - he'd gotten his leg adjusted and was walking across the room with it, a walker, and me. (That is only partially correct - he got the leg adjusted Friday but hasn't had it on since then.) He further said that he'd bought a Bowflex and now he could exercise at home. (Again, only partially correct. We bought a Joe Weider machine - used - and it's not set up yet. Once it is, he can't use it alone because he can't do the rods to add or release tension on them.) To top it all off, when I asked him yesterday if anyone had called (other than sales people), he said nope, only me.

I should have recognized something was fishy this morning when he was watching a segment about Michael J Fox and he said, "My Parkinson's isn't that bad. I think I'm doing fine." It didn't strike me as odd until I got the phone call from our referral friend in the doctor's office. Ugh! I got the phone number for the RN who was doing the appointment paperwork and told her that he would go to the evaluation and that the doctor, his kids, and I all believed that he would benefit from the evaluation and treatment. I understand he doesn't want to become an in-patient somewhere (it doesn't make my life any easier, going from work to rehab - then home - back to rehab in the morning, and then to work) for at least a short period to get him back up to speed. I said that I thought he was in denial and that he didn't realize how much stress he put on me with everything that I have to do for him at home. It's not that I mind doing it, but he needs to take on a more active role in his well-being and to be able to care for himself to the best of his ability. Not a hit-and-miss kind of arrangement.

I said I had medical power of attorney and that he would be at the appointment so she's going to set it up and call me. On my cell phone.

In the meantime, I will very patiently try to not throttle him when I talk to him.

I promise.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Day 05- A picture of somewhere you’ve been to

Somehow, I don't think this is what is meant here...

Those are the hospitals where we spend our "in-patient" time.

I also don't think this is what is meant here:

So, I'll go with some of the other, more interesting places that I've been in past years...

International Market in Hawaii in September 2001

Homecoming for USS John C Stennis, Bremerton, WA. I got to watch Shaun's return from deployment in July 2009.

The Alamo, San Antonio, TX

Onboard the USS Boxer, September 2001 - returning from six-month deployment to the Middle East. I got to spend eight days with Amy on her ship, sailing from Hawaii to San Diego, CA. It was awesome!

Luxor Hotel, Vegas - February 2010

Disneyland with my favorite little guy named Isaiah.

Precious Moments Chapel, Carthage, MO. I've been there several times and it never ceases to give me peace within my soul. It's a beautiful and soothing place and totally free to visit.