Monday, December 24, 2012

Bah humbug

I'm not a scrooge - I was very generous in my Christmas presents this year.
  • I sent money to the grandchildren of my deceased SIL ($25 each x 6).
  • I sent Origami Owl necklaces to her two daughters with Vicki's birthstone, an angel wing, and "In Memory" charms ($86 total).
  • I sent gift cards to our "older" grandchildren ($25 each x 5).
  • I sent an Origami Owl necklace to Jenny's mom with birthstones representing all four of our grandchildren, a locket back that says "Family" on it, a "Grandma" charm, and a really pretty dangle ($96).
  • I bought Origami Owl locket necklaces for Stacey, Jenny, and Lindsay (roughly $150-ish total).
  • I sent Shaun a box with a movie and snacks for him (total value including shipping about $50).
  • I got Keith a great gift (shhhh.... don't tell him yet) but didn't have to spend a dime on it thanks to someone else's generosity. He didn't want me to spend any money on him and I would have bought his gift but it was given to me, instead.
  • I sent Jenny a check for her to buy clothes and whatever the four grandkids need ($400).
  • I bought Ron a SodaStream with extra bottles and flavorings ($179-ish).
  • I went Black Friday shopping with Amy and took care of Isaiah and Anna (pretty close to $200 for the two of them).
  • I got Stacey and Charles a $50 Applebee's gift card.
  • I got Tim a $50 gift card to the grocery store.
  • I got Aaron a $25 gift card plus a "Chiefs" snuggie.
  • I got Amy a Thirty-One "Cindy" tote (about $50) and a baking set ($20).
  • I have a fireproof document safe for Rex ($25). 
  • I sent a used Acer tablet to my friend in southern Missouri. I had tried to sell it and no one wanted to give me what it was worth, so I sent it to her because I knew that she would appreciate it and it was something that she would never buy for herself.
I did not buy anything for our friend's daughters this year. Last year, I spent about $75 each on them but I bought for more extended family members instead. I didn't get my Christmas cards made (except for a very few of them) but managed to get some made at Walmart to mail. Oh well... life got in the way.

So... why the "bah humbug" attitude? Amy and Rex (with kids) are in western Kansas. It was his family's turn for Christmas this year and I understand that. Keith is sick and may (or may not) be available tomorrow. Ron is in the nursing home and they did their Christmas dinner/party for residents and family last week but no one told Ron about it or for him to invite me. They will not be serving anything special for dinner tomorrow. I got a text from Faith (one of our older granddaughters) to let me know they would go to the nursing home tomorrow afternoon to see Ron. He will appreciate that.

On the other hand, since everyone else is spending Christmas with other family members I feel totally left out. I would love to spend tomorrow with family and enjoy Christmas dinner and companionship, but I won't ask if I can come. I want them to think of me because they WANT to and to invite me because I'm important to them - not as an afterthought. It's habit for them to do things with Ron's ex-wife and her family and to just assume that I have other plans. But, my problem with that is I would like to be invited somewhere - and asked if I have plans. I could call and ask if I can invite myself, but I won't. Most years, we don't even see Ron's kids until after Christmas because they spend Christmas Eve with Stacey's in-laws and Christmas Day with his ex-wife. They usually want to know if we can exchange gifts some other day. Sure... no problem and I understand trying to fit in so many visits in one day - I remember trying to do Christmas at home and then leave for KC to visit my family when the kids were little. It's rough trying to work in the "other parent" (even when we lived in the same town we rarely saw them Christmas Day; two years ago, Tim and his kids were at his mom's house but we didn't see them - we lived less than one mile away). So, basically I would like to feel like I'm thought of this year especially with everything that has gone on.

I know that I'm just having a pity party and I'll be better after Christmas is over. I have spent the last two days trying to force myself to be cheery but teary has been more like it. Tomorrow morning, I'm going to go see Ron and if Keith feels better he will join me. I'm taking one of the flavor packs from the SodaStream for Ron to open but Keith will have to wait until Lindsay gets back from seeing her parents to get his gift (that way she can open hers, too since I didn't get it to her before she left). Sometime during the day tomorrow, I'll go down to the casino because they are having a Christmas buffet for $20. I have a backup plan though if I end up getting snowed in here...

I ordered chicken wings from Papa John's so I'll not be totally without something to eat tomorrow.

I really do wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and please know that I am very grateful for the blessings in my life. I just can't help being sad for this part. It's hard being the first Christmas without my mom, Ron not being home, Amy/Rex and the kids being away.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What a roller coaster!

It has been a week of ups and downs for me. First I was all excited about our vacation being so close. Ron was getting excited. I was getting excited. We've been planning this for six months. Tickets bought. Money saved. I started packing. Bought him some new pants and some shirts so he'd look nice. It was really going to be something for him to remember, especially since his other trip ended in such a disappointment (kidney failure, resulting in hospital stay and no real memory of the trip).

Then I had some disappointment with the hotel and the extra charges that were going to take away from the shoestring budget that we were traveling on. They will hold $50 per day for incidentals "just in case" I want to use Wi-Fi or drink a cup of coffee in the room. The $50 per day can be cash or come off my credit card or off my debit card. The problem is, that $50 per day will be tied up for the duration and that's part of my entire budget for the four days. That was going to put a serious dent in the fun. So, I found a way around it and I was looking forward to having figured it out.

I wanted to take Ron to see where they film American Restoration, Pawn Stars, and Counting Cars - three of his favorite shows. Plus, there is a Mobster museum close to the hotel and I know he'd love that. This would really be a great trip for us and the grand finale would be the VIP passes and front row seats at the Oak Ridge Boys Christmas concert. So excited!

Then, tragedy struck yesterday. Ron fell while I was in the shower and cut his face by his eye. I got it cleaned up and it looked like it needed a stitch but he wouldn't let me take him in - which would have presented a problem when it was time to remove the stitch next week, so I said I thought it would be OK. I left for work because I had a class I was teaching. About 9:30 I looked down at my phone and realized I'd missed a call from him. Ten minutes later, I got a call from a number I didn't recognize but since I was teaching I let it roll to voice mail. When the class was doing an activity I listened to Ron's voicemail (he didn't actually leave one) and then called his number back. A strange person answered and told me she was with EMS. He'd fallen - again - and called 911. Since he was complaining of hip pain they were taking him to the hospital.

Damn, damn, and damn again! I knew without even being told that he'd broken his hip. Ron doesn't "call" for an ambulance or agree to hospitals unless he knows there is something seriously wrong. I came on down to the hospital and once I saw the x-ray I knew there would be surgery in his future. The ER doctor thought they could fix it with a pin but the orthopedic specialist said that the type of fracture it was would not hold up to normal activity and without a partial hip replacement, it would just crumble and he'd probably never walk again.

So, his trip is canceled for sure. He wants me to try and go without him. The tickets are non-refundable. Do I lose 1/2 of what we've spent or all of what we've spent? Do I look TOTALLY selfish for even considering going or do I be the loving, attentive wife and stay home - even though he'll be in a rehab facility and it's not like I'll be doing anything but sitting there and watching him sleep? If I don't "take" my vacation days, I lose them. Such a dilemma. I have already canceled our Christmas plans since he'll be in rehab somewhere for most of the rest of the month (that's what they expect considering the magnitude of his other health issues).

If I went by myself, I can't see that I'd enjoy much of anything except the concert. I don't have anyone who can go with me because they've all used up their vacation time for the year (I saved mine for NOW for this event). I feel so bad for him but at the same time I feel bad for me, too. He was afraid I'd be mad at him. I'm not mad - how can I be? I am deeply concerned though because he's fallen about seven times in the last month so his days of staying home alone may have come to an end. I know he does not want to live in a nursing home but we may have reached a point where we have no other options available for him.

So... I'm out of cheer for now.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Self-centered and selfish

This has been a very enlightening day. Come to find out what I thought were just random postings about how things frustrate me and how hard it is sometimes to take care of Ron, I come across as being self-centered. I guess that means selfish, too. I really don't mean for it to sound that way because I'm really not. I was told that is probably why one of my former readers was kind of nasty to me at times.

Hmmm.... Could be. I don't know. I've spent the last several years doing more than I write about and taking care of more business than I write about. Sure, I write about the frustrations of cleaning up after "accidents" and Ron's health. After all, that's the main reason the blog was started - to keep my sanity during Ron's health issues that continued time and time again. Without some of the opportunities I had to write what I did, I'm not sure I would have been able to face the challenges day after day.

When I write that I'm frustrated with something, it's not because it's necessarily about "me" but the situation. I am only human. I love my husband. I've had to deal with more than a lot of people, but less than a lot more. Finding fault with me for how I handle the stress in my life is only human for others as well.

I've had people find fault with the "trips" that we've taken... I'm 56 years old and we've been married for 28 years. In those 28 years, we didn't have a honeymoon (since we both had kids) and we had no real "vacations" unless you count the following:
  • Trips to the lake with Ron's ex-wife and her husband - we shared a mobile home for a long weekend a few times over the years when Keith was little.
  • 1995 - took a 4-day driving trip through TX. Our first "family" trip that didn't involve staying with family.
  • 1998, 1999, and 2000 - we drove to CA to visit Ron's family, who lived in Sun City at the time.
  • 2001 and 2002 - we drove to FL to visit his family who had moved from CA to FL.
  • 2004 - flew to FL for his step-dad's funeral (yeah, that was some vacation).
  • 2005 - drove to AR to see his mom before she was put into a nursing home there.
  • 2006 - drove to FL to see his mom after she was moved back to FL to a nursing home.

I've been more places while Amy was in the Navy and before Ron retired. Amy and I went to Disneyland in 2007 with Shaun and Jenny. I took Isaiah to WA in 2009 and then I want back again this past summer. In all of those trips, they weren't extravagant and I counted my pennies each time, keeping track on a piece of paper practically every dime we spent to make sure that I only spent what I had budgeted for the trip. I bought souvenirs for other people - rarely ever anything for myself because I figured the trip was my gift. Very selfish of me, wasn't it?

In the last couple of years, we've taken several weekend trips to Branson but we've stayed in $35 per night hotels - again very extravagant of us - and gone to shows that were GIVEN to us as gifts. Our main expense was the the gasoline to get there and food, but we made sure to eat pretty cheaply. So to have trips and things tossed back at me and to be told that I come across as selfish and self-centered is pretty surprising.

Most of the things that I've planned have been for Ron's enjoyment and I'm constantly on the lookout for things that I can get for other people. If I see something that I like and I think that someone else will like it as well, I'll buy it for the other person. I can't tell you the number of things I've bought for someone else that I desperately wanted for myself - but I could only afford one of them. Really selfish of me, isn't it?

When we were younger, there were many holidays where we had somewhere between "nothing" and "very little" but we always made sure the kids had Christmas and we adopted less fortunate kids. We picked Angel Tree children the same age/gender as our children and they shopped for their counterpart. They learned compassion and giving and enjoyed sharing that part of the holiday with others. I spent the whole year thinking about what I would get for others; I'd remember things (hints) that people had said and I'd try to find something along those lines. If I knew of a situation where someone was going to be lacking, I tried to meet that need. Last year, I spent as much on someone else's children as I did on a couple of my own grandchildren.

I'm really just in a mood today. I found out last night that the hotel will hold $200 ($50 per day) in addition to the cost of the room for "incidentals" on either my credit card, debit card, or cash until we check out. Since we're traveling on a shoestring budget (yeah, throwing down that money!) that will cut into my travel budget. A debit card (which I was planning on using since I don't really have a credit card) will hold the funds until after we check out, if I give them cash then I won't have the cash until after I check out, and it just goes on... They don't charge a resort fee, but if I want to use the workout room that's an extra fee. Coffee in the room? That's $10 for 4 cups. (It's a Keurig coffee maker so I'm taking my own K-cups.) Do we want Internet? That's $12.99 for 24 hours. Guess that's what that $50 per day incidental fee will cover but I'm not going to be using those. I think the pool is free but the hot tub is not. So, I don't think I'll be using that.

The last trip to Vegas (our ONLY trip there), Ron was in kidney failure so he doesn't remember much of it. I wanted to take him back (and - selfishly - have some fun myself) because he's doing better (kidney function) now and the Parkinson's will eventually make travel impossible so I'm trying to get as much enjoyment in his life as possible now. Again, terribly selfish and self-centered of me isn't it? So, I got us a $60 per night hotel and I'm going to take him to see where American Restoration is filmed, where Counting Cars is being filmed, and where Pawn Stars is being filmed - all shows he loves. There's also a Mobster Museum he'll love. God, I'm so selfish. (We are seeing The Oak Ridge Boys - that's mostly for me, but he loves them as much as I do.)

I've arranged for wheelchair assistance at all of the airports and once we get to the hotel, he'll have an electric scooter waiting for him. I "think" we can get a refrigerator in the hotel room at no charge since we need it for insulin, but I'm not sure. If not, it's $10-15 per day extra.

So, you all have my blessing to think this is a really pissy, selfish, self-centered post!