Saturday, December 31, 2005

Put this year to bed already

For the first time, I am truly happy that a year is ending. 2005 took too many loved ones from us. It has been far too chaotic, even for me.

I'm working tomorrow, to do a favor for the p/t manager who complained about closing Christmas Eve, and got scheduled to close New Year's Eve and all day New Year's day. We're not really doing anything, so it wasn't a big deal. What peeves me about it is that after Ioffered to cover tomorrow, she had the gall to bitch that she'd been scheduled. Hello? Yeah, you were, but now you have the day off. GET OVER IT!!! She didn't seem to digest the fact that in 5+ years with my employer, this was the first New Year's that I wasn't scheduled both days. Up north, I was scheduled every Mother's and Father's day, too. This is the sucky part of retail management.

2006, please bring some healing to those who are hurting.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Long day

We were at Epcot yesterday-it was CROWDED. We saw some of the Living seas, although the line for Turtle Talk with Crush looked like it was 5 shows worth of audience.

Had our Mickey bar break, went to Mexico and Norway. My phone rings while in the movie (yes, we saw the movie) and I silenced it. As soon as we get outside, the phone rings again. SIL had called 911 because her blood sugar was too high and she felt like she was going to pass out. Out to Lakeland we go.

Ed and boys stayed with his mom, I went to the hospital. They kept SIL until 11:30. Lucky that neither one of us was at work. We both work the type of jobs where we can't up and leave.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Prayers, please

Ed and I got a reality check last night. We were missing Mom and Nancy but our pain is small in comparison to friends of ours.

Their son, Brian Joseph, was due December 14th. Sometime in the week following the 14th, Brian died in utero. His mom was induced and Brian was delivered on December 23rd. He was a beautiful, perfect looking angel and his parents and the doctors are baffled as to what happened.

My heart aches for his parents. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain of losing a child, or meeting and saying goodbye in the same breath.

God bless Brian Joseph.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Woohoo!

We went to bed around 3 and awoke to hear paper ripping. The ruffians were going to open all their presents while we slept!

I had an Ipod video under the tree. AWESOME!!! It's updating, courtesy of the laptop. Ed's Sirius has been activated and the kids are playing in their rooms with the toys.

A nap would be good, but there's too much to do. Headed out at 11 to go get stepdad. Should check in with inlaws, too. Finally, it's not too early to call the rest of the family.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Santa's cookies have been made. MIL is home from the hospital. NORAD got my kids to go to be in record time when they said Santa had just passed Cape Canaveral and I've got a buttload of presents to wrap. On coffee #2 as I write this.

At least I don't have to wrap Jill's, Jane's, Mema's or Bills until the morning, haha.

Off to do the work I should have done when we bought the @$%@#%% stuff!

Friday, December 23, 2005

I'm cool, Momma

Youngest has gotten dressed. He was having issues finding pants (it's cold here) and I suggested a pair that has a torn (but patched on the back) knee. He then finds his black Darth Vader shirt, a la American Chopper styling.

He comments that he now looks really cool, like a guitar player in a band and wants the same ripped jeans and t shirt in adult sizes so that he can look like this when he's a big kid. He's riffing on looking like a tough boy!

It feels like a Saturday

Why do my days get so messed up around the holidays? It sure feels like a Saturday to me.

Lots of errands to run, gifts to buy, food to purchase. My Christmas cards are going out on Christmas eve, so if you wondered why it hasn't arrived, that's why! Better late than never.

MIL's surgery went well. Ed says she's got a very small bandage covering the incision. Pretty sure she'll be in the hospital until Monday or Tuesday at the very least.

Called Stepdad last night and asked him what time I was picking him up for Christmas dinner, rather than asking if he wanted to join us. Still have to figure out what we're eating, but that's why I'm heading to the butcher as soon as the kids get dressed.

Still have to buy stuff for the kid's stockings, alas, they'll be with me and youngest doesnt' miss a single thing. I was contemplating a Wallyworld stop after work, and I think that's the only way this will happen.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Your Christmas Stocking Will Be Filled With a Puppy

Well - one cute, soft, cuddly puppy...
And a very soiled Christmas stocking.

Guess I was good. I stayed at work an extra few hours, then got the word ABSOLUTELY NO OVERTIME. That earned me Christmas Eve off. :) Think it was the 19 hours of OT on my check that pushed them over the edge? If so, remind me to do it again next year! Oh wait, next year is going to be OUT of retail!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Proof I've lived too far south of the Manson-Nixon

http://www.alphadictionary.com/articles/yankeetest.html

43% yankee-barely a Yankee. Heck, I'm a Mets fan, anyway.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Basta! Basta!

Ok, so the parade of 'what can go wrong?' continues.

While Ed and sister were dropping off nephew at the airport and trying to find a Christmas present at Downtown Disney, my MIL fell in her house. From the way she described being in her bedroom,walking into the bathroom, I think she caught her foot on the threshold between the carpeted bedroom and tiled bathroom. She fractured her collarbone, a bone in her face and has a nasty bruise on her face. They've been in the house for a week today.

MIL is in the hospital, but expected to be discharged this afternoon. When I got to the hospital last night, I joked that she didn't have to investigate how good the hospital was so soon-it could have waited. For being in a lot of pain, she was still making jokes. She told Jane that if anyone asks what happened to her face, she'd tell them that Jane punched her!

I'm thinking that we need to put 2005 to bed. Way too much bad stuff has happened this year.

A conversation

We were driving home from grocery shopping, and I pointed out a very nice display to the boys.

Younger Son: "Wow, we should ask them to give us some lights. They've got a thousand!"
Me: "Sweetie, we have a thousand lights already"
Younger Son: "Then they have three hundred thousand and fifty"
Older Son: "How do you KNOW?"
Younger Son: "I counted all of them"

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Bunny Funny

http://www.starz.com/features/christmasstory/

and son's favorite:
http://www.angryalien.com/1205/starwarsbuns.asp

Always good for a laugh!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Got some sleep. First time I woke up, it was 9am. Boys got situated with a movie, once they realized that the VCR is not hooked up. Then I went back to bed.

10am, work calls. I can have whatever overtime I want. Do I want to come in at 2? No, still feeling the effects of the week, plus I'd already told my daycare provider that the boys would come to her at 4 now, not noon.

Older son put Star Wars Episode 4 in to watch and I was watching along. I didn't get very far-next thing I know, I'm waking up to watch the end of the movie. Oops!

At least I feel rested.

Geez

So, I'm leaving work two hours late, what a surprise. I'm driving home, minding my own business. About 1/2 mile from my house, there's a traffic light that I can either turn at or go straight. Well, the light is red, I decide to make the right. The car behind me (in the middle lane) decides to make the right as well. Didn't seem right. I get to the next traffic light, where I get into the left lane.

As I'm turning, some kid in the other car throws something at my car. It honestly sounded like a gunshot. Scared the daylights out of me, I dunno what the stuff was, but instead of getting home and climbing right into bed, I have to clean the stuff off the car. Adrenaline is still pumping. I backtracked to see if there was a cup or anything-no dice. It wasn't an egg, because there's no shell anywhere.

Guess I'm going to the car wash tomorrow, rain or shine.

Friday, December 16, 2005

It was Very Merry!

First up, no pictures, as I apparently had the camera ON in my bag all week since I last charged the battery.

The party was great. We got there at 8, just in time to find a spot for the parade near the castle. Good location, long (by Disney standards) parade-really enjoyable. We saw some characters that we've never seen before. Bert from Mary Poppins, for instance.

Went to get our cocoa and cookie, then came back to the bridge into tomorrowland for the fireworks. Ed noticed the line of rain drawing closer, and it started raining lightly about a minute before the show began. No matter. This is easily the BEST fireworks show I have ever seen. They've gotten really good at the changing color fireworks and the shapes (boxes and bows). I liked it so much that I will be calling to get an ADR at 'Ohana for Sunday night, just so we can see the show again.

Then we headed into tomorrowland and got our pictures taken, went on TTA and Buzz Lightyear after a missed attempt to see the Mickey's Night Before Christmas show. It started pouring just before the show started, we bailed and then saw that the show got cancelled.

Over to Fantasyland and Peter Pan, It's A Small World and Winnie the Pooh. It was time to head out, but we went and had hot dogs at Caseys. Yum. My momento for the evening is another porcelain disc ornament for the tree. :)

In waiting for the monorail, I asked for the front-and got it (younger son was asking earlier why we didn't ask on the way in). It was neat being in the front at night, and youngest had a commentary about the Polynesian and 'the best restaurant on the planet, 'Ohana' as we went by.

A great evening, and the tram ride announcer was the funniest. Some of his nuttiness...

As we're leaving the tram stop, to the people in line "Folks, please be patient, another tram will be here...in an hour"
On the parking lot "If your car won't start, you can't find your car, or it is surrounded by a biker gang, please flag down Security and they will assist you. Mind you, you won't see them, and when you do, they'll be too far away to see you"
After leaving the first stop, Minnie "If you are parked in Minnie, so sorry, but that WAS your stop. You are welcome to stay on the tram as we will return to Minnie...tomorrow morning."
As we got off at our stop "Next stop, Donald. That's right, the next stop is McDonalds. It will take us 8 hours to get there, but the big macs are good"

Loads of fun. Too bad I didn't get his name, because I would send a commendation letter! He had the whole tram laughing.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Woohoo, into overtime!

Yep, I walked out the door at 1pm-39.25 hours in and 15 left to work this week. That is, if closing goes as scheduled both nights! Time and a half, baby!

Ran over to Costco to find younger son's present. We heard about a remote control R2D2 that we know he'll absolutely love. No dice on that, but did pick up a couple of other presents and teacher gifts. I've tried to be different where teacher gifts are concerned-so they're getting flowers. The ever so helpful team at this Costco once again proved why they're great. The cashier asked if I found everything, and when I told him what I was looking for and that they'd sold out, he informed me that the website has them. Yay!

Then I ran to Walmart and got vases for those flowers.

The dumb move of the day was that I was so busy doing work stuff that I forgot to call the school and tell them the kids would be car riders today. No big, day care got them-but I waited in line and realized when I saw that older son wasn't with the older kids. Sleep deprivation strikes again.

So, here I am at home for another 20 minutes while I wait for day care to finish her pickups and get back to her house. Putting the time to good use, aren't I? Hid those presents, now to the Costco site.

Headed to Mickey's Very Merry as soon as Ed gets home from work. Jill tells me the fireworks alone are worth the price of admission. Just the fact that I can GO to the parks in November and December is worth the price we're paying, lol. :)

Oh yeah, it's 80 degrees. It'll make the snow falling on Main Street seem weird, but fun.

Who knows, I may even post pictures from the event.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Ugh

Super long day at work, but at least all of it was on the clock this time!

I went in at 8am, we had a huge sale set, p/t manager out on medical leave, store manager out (interviewing at corporate, but I'm not supposed to know that) and I ended up working until 2am with the other p/t manager.

No where near being done, but at least it's in good shape for the full crew that will be there in a few hours.

Pet peeve: all the people who bug me for more hours, then when I call to offer them more hours they don't want them!

Bonus: on day two of being top volume, woohoo!

Sleep, must sleep.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Very Merry!

Yet another crazy day at work. It's pretty funny when other stores in the district keep calling to find out where we are in our sales for the day. We've been beating the top store in the district all week, and it happens more and more, but when the bottom ranking store calls to find out my sales, then I scratch my head.

I got in at 2:30, then had to take my break at 3:30 because the other two managers were leaving. I put the time to good use-got on the phone to WDW and got tickets for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party for Thursday night. Yay! We didn't get to go last year, and it was crazy talk to even suggest time off in November or December to come see it in the past.

When it's snowing up North, everyone starts flocking down here. H&J are here from Maryland, and I'm hoping to see them before they fly back Thursday. Thinking that will happen on Wednesday. Dave is down from NY and in St. Augustine. Haven't seen him since I was pregnant with older son, but we're AIMing back and forth a couple times a month. I got a voice mail that he'd love to drive over today to see us. Small problem-guess who's working? I think he's got an AP for WDW-maybe he'll meet us there?

The inlaws are homeless for 72 hours. They sold their house in NY Thursday afternoon, fly down later today, then close on a house here tomorrow. It'll be nice to have them 25 minutes away. Very happy that they're not going to have any snow to shovel ever again. I believe they've given the snow blower to their next door neighbor.

I need some sleep. The kids will wake me around 9am and I have another evening of working until 11pm!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

It's been the usual, hectic week. Thursday, Ed and I ventured over to Orlando with a rental van to pick up the armoires and nightstands. The guys at Mousesurplus are great, they loaded the van up for us. We tipped them and headed back home.

Then the fun began. These things are about 300 pounds each! I'd mentioned to Ed while en route that maybe we should drive the van up on to the grass. We didn't, but probably should have. We got the armoires out, and then tried to contemplate getting them in the house! Eventually, we decided to use our hand truck as a dolly. In the process, I smashed my pinky pretty bad, but we got one armoire in the room and the other is in the garage. It needs a minor repair to the door.

The main thing is that little guy is very happy with his furniture. He is enjoying that the tv and dvd player go inside. I suppose in January, we'll paint his bedroom. We have the paint, just need to lighten it a bit.

Speaking of which, my paycheck must be inaccurate. It shows that I still have two personal days and by the end of January, have four days of vacation. I thought I used all the P Days in April. Have to investigate. I can understand the vacation day error-I get three weeks now, and I didn't use a whole week when we went to NY and I used three days when Mom went into the hospital. I tried to use all my time, but it didn't happen.

If the remodel *does* happen on schedule, it shouldn't be too difficult to be off for a week. That said, we're on one remodel schedule, not on another. However, we *are* scheduled for an inventory that is a week after the store is supposedly closing for the remodel. Works for me-the later they push this back, the easier it will be for me to take Easter week to take that twice postponed California trip. Our vouchers have to be used by March 28th.

Off to get change for the store. We use an Automated Banking Center. Yesterday, I went to get ones out of it and it swallowed my money and said "service not available", blanked out and wouldn't let me get change. I had to call the bank to find out what they were going to do-they gave me a claim number to go to a branch and get the money. Makes me leery of getting change out of the thing again.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Score!

We went over to Orlando yesterday and visited Mouse Suplus. It's this really cool place that has WDW cast offs. Anyway, we procured two armoires, a nightstand, a framed watercolor, a mirror and a bedspread that had been used at the Polynesian resort. They will go into younger son's Tiki/Poly bedroom-yes, that's what he wanted his room to be decorated.

While there, I was commenting to the woman showing us around how I saw on their website that they needed an eBay lister and that it sounded like a cool job. Long and the short is that Ed applied for the job. Talk about a cool thing to do!

Off to work for a few minutes. Got another short shift to make up for the long one earlier in the week.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Click to see my Star Wars Personality!!

Score another Barnie's convert

So, I finally got around to listening to my voice mails from today. Hey, I'm listening to them. Anyway, Donna called and told me she was enjoying a cup of of Barnie's Decadent Dark Chocolate while braving the mall crowds.

1. Congratulations, Donna, you are now a Coffee Achiever! (remember those commercials?)
2. Your mall has a Barnies and mine doesn't. Life sucks!
3. Barnie's is going to make all of us former non coffee drinkers into addicts!
4. What possessed you to go to a mall on a weekend in December?

Okay, that "Wizards in Winter" song will not get out of my brain! Only Ed's asleep, so if I play the darn thing to get it out, I'll wake him up.

I tweaked the settings on here. You can now comment as you wish, but I'm moderating the comments (oh, the power). This is so that I can delete the spam advertising crap I wouldn't buy for people I hate.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

This and That

Okay, so I'm not original...I was sent a link to www.uglychristmaslights.com. It is humorous, and it catches the local flavor of the guy hosting the site. I may be nuts, but most of those houses have an eastern Pennsylvania look to me.

Speaking of Christmas lights, I'm sure you've seen the "Wizards in Winter" video that's going around. Some amazing work, Ed thought it was stop action, I thought it was just a poor quality video. Ends up that the compression to make the video fit on www.planetchristmas.com is why it's funky looking. Oh, and Planet Christmas? Scary place-I won't delve too far, lest I think about spending oodles of money on Light O Rama and use a choral masterwork for my lights, lol.

We drank our last bottle of a new favorite wine, Ausbruch, Matraalja from Hungary. Alas, we've discovered that it's a very rare wine from a region that doesn't produce a crop every year. We'll miss you, schizophrenic red, and hope 2006 brings a crop of grapes.

A public service announcement to serve me: If you text message me, I get charged for it. When I left T Mobile, I declined the text messaging offered by AT&T, now Cingular, soon to be AT&T again (?!), because I was NOT paying 8 bucks a month for texting.

Today was a 13 hour day. I should be tired, but I'm not. Tomorrow brings a 5 hour day that begins at 8pm. If Ed has to work, I go off to stepdads. If not, we'll head over to Mouse Surplus in Orlando and get little man some furniture. Ed's kinda hoping he doesn't get called into work, but we need him to work more days. We'll see what the morning brings.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

badchristmaslights.com

I keep thinking I should host a website and call it Bad Christmas Lights. You see, here in Florida it doesn't FEEL like Christmas. Everything is green, some days are warm enough that the air conditioning gets used. We're wearing shorts, flip flops and may only put on a jacket early in the morning or after sundown. You can shoot daggers at me all you want, I moved away from the snow for a reason.

As a result, people tend to go hog wild in decorating their homes for the holidays. Some look really, really nice, some look okay, and some are absolutely awful! If someone is going to take the time and climb a ladder, you'd think they would make an effort to make the lights attractive, lol.

I want to take pictures of the crappy displays and post them on a website. Why not? A fellow I know from an online community hosts a site, www.badshoe.com, in which he and his family post pictures of poor footwear choices seen upon the feet of vacationers at Walt Disney World. Very humorous site and something of a public service.

I'll probably take the tripod out and take a picture of our display. Simple multicolored icicle lights line the front of the house and both windows are adorned with multicolor lit trees. Hopefullly, we don't make anyone's badchristmaslights webpage!

If you're interested, there are over 5o houses in our neighborhood (about 40 are decorated) and we are the only ones with mulitcolored lights.

This ponderous entry comes as a resul of our ritual of driving around, looking at the neighborhoods surrounding ours. We'd ventured out to see Christmas Lane, a local highlight of the season, but it doesn't open until Monday. Instead, we drove aimlessly for an hour, running commentary the whole time.

After looking at all this, do I miss the snow? Not one bit!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Longer day

Well, I thought I had another 12 hour day. That said, I was there 18 hours. Waited for a shipment that never arrived and spent the remainder of the time opening some of those other boxes, reorganzing the postage stamped stockroom, cleaning the management office, attempting to get change (no luck), and wearing myself out.

Got home at 12:30, had some pizza and vegged for about an hour, then fell into bed. When I woke up this morning, Ed happened to be in the room. I asked what time is it, and was told to go back to bed-I assumed it was still early. Finally woke up about 10:45. Killed my plans for heading over to WDW briefly today, but that's okay.

One of my employees dad's is a chef. A really good chef who teaches cooking at Johnson and Wales (a college KNOWN for producing great chefs). We've had some conversations about food in our shifts together. If you don't know, I am a foodie. Welllll, she went to her parent's for Thanksgiving and her Dad was kind enough to send her back with yummy stuff for ME! Woohoo, got these really yummy chocolate raspberry balls. Not quite truffles, but not quite cookies-heavenly. I've got a half of a chocolate cake in the fridge that looks soooooo good. She told me to enjoy it with wine, so I think we'll be doing that tonight after the kids go to bed.

Doctor's appt for older son today. Meds *may* be improving things, but we've really only had a week to gauge it, since he took it upon himself to eat candy with dyes for the first week of it. He was sneaking out of his candy bucket.

Tonight, take stepdad for the dinner we were going to on Monday night. Trying to figure out where we're going over on that side of the bay. We know Mom's favorite steak place is out. It's his choice and I'm thinking it may be italian, since he doesn't know how to cook that. I'll be getting in the habit of freezing some of each batch of my marinara for him.

At least tomorrow isn't a 6am day!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Long day

Spent over 12 hours at work, needed to wait for shipment to arrive. This was because they didn't deliver any yesterday and called to say they wouldn't deliver any today. I said I'd take it later if they could get it to me. All because my postage stamp sized stockroom would not be able to deal with three days worth of product coming in all at once.

Back in at 6am, so it'll be bedtime in a few minutes. Another 12 hour day ahead.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Good Monday!

Hubby and I headed over to WDW this morning. Every year, the week after Thanksgiving is the traditional time for all the Internet Disney fan groups to head to the parks for something called "Mousefest". Now that we live here, we can pop over to meet others as the work schedule allows.
We had a nice visit with some of my friends from a small group, and headed over to Animal Kingdom. It was a nice few hours.

Then, we headed to pick up the boys, with the plan that we would head across the bay to take stepdad out to dinner. While hubby was in the center, stepdad called to say it was seriously POURING by him, so he suggested we reschedule. OK, plans made for Thursday night after son's doctor's appointment.

Hubby comes out of daycare with better news. We've been extremely frustrated with the director of this center-she calls us probably four days a week to tell us that older son is 'out of control' and we need to pick him up IMMEDIATELY. Then, when we get him on the phone, we redirect him rather easily. The previous director (who was awesome, btw) got promoted up and out and we had not one single call from her in the same amount of time.

Apparently, we were not the only parents unhappy with the recent director, and she is gone. We're still going to look for a home daycare enviornment, but hubby says the place was extremely organized again, like it was when Sharon was the director. Good deal.

Oh, and if you haven't bought your exterior christmas lights, be careful! We bought three strings of multi color icicle lights at Target last week. We came up about 20 feet short for outside(I forgot the side of the garage), so I bought another 300 light string and a 100 light string. The 300 light string box was absolultely identical to the other three. Then, when I was up on the ladder yesterday, Ed noticed that this string was one color per strand, as opposed to the multiple colors on the strands that were already on the house. Off we went to get more, but the multi strands were sold out at two other Targets. We'll probably use the other strand on our lanai.

Oh, and if Santa reads my blog, along with that Ipod (40 gig, please), I think we really need a wine fridge now. We went to another PRP wine tasting event yesterday and once again, could not walk out without getting more wine. It's oh so yummy! Our reward was a bottle of Golden Tango Cream, which is like Bailey's on steroids.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

I love Publix!

Publix carries my favorite coffee. (Barnie's Santa's White Christmas, if you were interested) Since there is no Barnie's in the local mall, I get my coffee there when I'm not near stepdad's mall.

A few months back, they had a sale on the store brand ice cream, two for one. I had the boys with me and they each got to choose. Older son went for vanilla and younger, noticing the coffee ice cream, went with it. I was happy to see it was Barnie's coffee ice cream. Now that I drink coffee, I was willing to try the ice cream. YUM is the appropriate word.

Wednesday, I went shopping so that our delicious ham would not be the only thing we ate. Lo and behold, Publix has a new flavor of store brand ice cream-Barnie's Santa's White Christmas Ice Cream. I didn't even wait for the two for one.

Obviously, because of the name, I should expect this to be a seasonal ice cream flavor. Fortunately, this is Barnie's most popular flavor, so the beans are available year round.

Thank you, Publix!!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Retail insanity, part two

Let's see if you think this is nuts:
321 boxes of merchandise Sunday (because the shipping company didn't have enough drivers on Friday or Saturday)
269 boxes of merchandise Tuesday (because the shipping company had more call outs on Monday) 175 boxes today, but they wanted to deliver 285.

So, I'm being the helpful person and heading back into work in about 2 hours...probably will be there until midnight or 1am. It's gotta get done.

Glad I'm not doing all the turkey stuff this year. I love turkey, but buying the ham was a much better idea. Thanks Ed!

The question is: what drink am I going to have when I get home, because I'm going to need it! Wine or comfort and ginger? Hmmmm, I'm going to ponder that one for the next six hours!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Thanksgiving Request

Okay, preachy Suzanne here:

This Thanksgiving, tell those you love how much they mean to you.
Give them a hug, a kiss, as many kind words and thoughts as you can.

I'm thankful I had 39 years with my mom, and now I realize how much my life is affected on a day to day basis by Mom. In figuring out a Thanksgiving menu and trying to accommodate two kids preferences, I think I'll make carrots and onions in butter, then a broccoli bake for me and Ed, applesauce, cheddar bay biscuits, red cabbage and probably a chocolate cream pie.

Then it hits me that my Thanksgiving menu is all stuff Mom made every year-and I've made most of them year after year, too. I'm also looking to the leftover Honeybaked ham to make my favorite comfort food-au gratin potatos with ham chunks, and realize that this, too, was Mom's favorite way to make leftover ham.

I give thanks that we had a year of living close to each other when I was old enough to appreciate how much Mom had to offer.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Perversions!

So, last week we were looking at Christmas decorations. This year's in thing seems to be prismatic cut outs, outlined in white lights. For some reason, they're called Holographic decorations. Ed saw one and thought it said Pornographic Snowman, not Holographic!

Then today, I was reading the paper while Ed was driving us back from stepdads. He asked me to read him the news-and I told him about the article I was reading. It detailed prostidudes in Tampa-they were calling them 'agressive transvestites". Ed's take was that they come up to your car and tell you "You better come here and let me service you, or else!". Too funny.

Retail insanity

Well, folks, aren't you glad you have a link to my blog? I'm in the midst of the insanity that retail management calls Thanksgiving. Yep, supposed to have 3 days off, got cut to two and I volunteered (you're saying 'sucker') to help out this morning!

If I'm not returning your calls, it's not because I don't want to talk to you. Rather, I'm knee deep in pajamas, plush friends, princess toys and all the other accoutrements that my store has right now. Look on the bright side, I'm not calling at 2am to check in!

I keep telling myself that I can get through one more Christmas season-I'm scoping Monster for other stuff. It's time for a Monday to Friday normal job!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Right back at ya!

So, yesterday I had to take the kiddos to work with me because hubby wasnt' done with work yet. One of my coworkers took them down to KayBee toys for a while, then they came back and met up with DH. Younger son was telling me he'd miss me, so I asked if he'd like me to take them to breakfast in the am. That was a good thought.

So, this morning, after getting to bed at 3:30 am and having kids climb into the bed several times through the night, I decided to skip additional sleep and do what I'd said. Problem was, younger son was sleeping.

I asked if he'd like to go out to breakfast. I got a sleepy yes, then when asked, he said he wanted a banana for breakfast. He then went back to sleep, snoring and all.

Ten minutes later, hubby and I were still there talking and asked if he wanted to go to breakfast (mind you, he's still snoring!) and he answers, groggily, "I'm waiting on you!"

Guess he's heard it from husband and I too much.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Small Cell Lung Cancer

A good friend is flying to Florida as I write this. Her dad is hospitalized and they've found a tumor. Small cell lung cancer has another one. Yes, he smoked. It appears this has progressed quite a bit-they can't stabilize his sodium levels to even consider treating it right now.

It's still making me mad that the tobacco companies made smoking look cool. From where I stand, three people that I know of dying as a direct result of smoking is NOT cool.

Today, I worked on cleaninng younger son's room. His idea of helping was to play with stuff, like scooping up one piece of Lego in a scooper to put in the huge tub of them. This left the other 50 !$%#$%@$#% pieces where they were in their pile. I had to banish him and clean in peace. A few things reminded me of Mom, things she'd bought him. Didn't expect cleaning to make me a little sad.

Gotta call stepdad-still don't know what his plans (therefore, our plans) are for Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 18, 2005

It's 60 out right now, guess Christmas...

Is just around the corner. When the heck did sixty ever feel cold?

Had to go to Walgreens to get one of the kids some acetaminophen, and we saw two houses with lights up already. Worried about the people who do it early and do a half ass job, lol.

Gotta get some icicle lights this weekend. Me, being the analytical one, will be out there tomorrow with the tape measure to ensure that the strands are the right length. If we don't do Thanksgiving with stepdad, I think I'll be hanging them then. Found a nice pre lit tree with multi lights and will buy that tomorrow, too. I've had to give up on finding an all blue pre lit tree-it's not going to happen.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Scouting, woohoo!

So, both boys came home with flyers to join scouting. Younger son went nuts over the idea. Made sense, and we went to the Boy Scouting website, which further interested youngest.

We went tonight. It was to form a new pack. The whole point of joining, to me, was to meet other kids and parents. Not to establish the group! I can't remember who, but may years ago, I was told I was definitely going to be a den mother if my kids got into scouting-that Type A personality thing.

Do I like the idea of the kids joining scouts? Yep. Do I have the time to devote to a fledgling group in order to make it fun for the boys? Not really.

Off to find an *established* pack for the kids.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Hmmm, Interesting

Last time I took this test, I was Harry...

Which HP Kid Are You?


This is what happens when you take an online study to become a notary and they expect you to take 23 minutes for each section. Let's see, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 4 minutes, 3 minutes, 5.5 minutes, 3 minutes, 3 minutes...waiting for the very last section's clock to run out.

You may find out more of who I am, ha ha ha!

Notarize this!

I decided that it might be worth my while to become a notary. They get ten dollars per document to notarize, not bad, IMO. Could be a useful thing.

So, I am on the Florida notaries website and I am taking their self directed study. If I become a notary, I can perform marriages. Florida is one of three states that allow this.

I take the first section assessment and acheive a perfect score. However, I have to wait another 23 minutes while I am logged on. Doesn't matter that I have a perfect score, they've allocated 30 minutes for this section of study.

Part two: 10 minutes. Here I wait for another twenty. Yes, another perfect score.

And if you're wondering, if you didn't attend school with me-I always, always, always was the first person done with a test. I guess I read too damn fast!

Cingular loves me, part 2!

So, I was shopping this afternoon and my phone rings. It's an 800 number, and I answer. Ron from Cingular apologizes for my mother's passing and offers to take 150 off my bill, since they can't retroactive my current rate plan. He thought that I'd be upset with that-nope, that's better than what I was going to pay!

It pays to email an explanation. I wrote and said they needed to look at the pattern of the last year, that the past two months were an aberration.

Still not happy to pay that much for one cell phone bill, but I won't ever have a bill like that again!

Proof that I liked Algebra!

You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 9/10 correct!
Could You Pass 8th Grade Math?

Oh, and the one wrong is the one I didn't answer because I didn't recognize a symbol,lol!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Cingular loves me

Let's see, all the phone calls made in the month of October to all the family members netted me a 536.00 cell phone bill this month. Argh. Life with a cell phone sucks sometimes!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Sleeping in

So, all week I was looking forward to being able to sleep in today. I had a school conference on my day off and errands to run on the one day I worked late this week. Two days of getting up at 5:30 really made me crave sleeping until 8:30 or 9 am. (yep, that's sleeping in to me).

Went to bed a little after 11pm. At 7am, I was awoken to the dulcet tones of the RC truck my stepsister bought the boys. It was LOUD, it was crashing into stuff and it caused the boys to laugh and shriek at top volume. Did I mention it was LOUD?

No sleep was going to happen after that. Remind me that her son gets a noisy toy this Christmas!
(I've been good about not buying toys with lots of parts or make noise, lol!)

Friday, November 11, 2005

Tired

So, Wednesday night 9pm, phone rings. Fellow manager who's supposed to process shipment was calling out sick for the next day-fortunately for her, I could do it. Blew my plans for going in at 8 and doing some organization stuff for a DM visit the next day. It was an exercise in frustration, trying to fit twice the stuff in half the space!

Then, I had the pleasure of doing it again today. Mind you, in the 5+ years with my employer, this may have been the 12th or 13th time I've processed freight. So to say my butt is dragging after two days of it would be accurate. I don't have energy to make dinner-have a feeling the steak I'd like to consume tonight is going to be "no rules, just right".

My brother is going to email me back. He stopped by Giggle's house today, bummed out. Told Giggles I'd sent him an email that he didn't particularly agree with, but some of it must have sunk in. Socrates was very careful to say "Please" and "Thank you". He didn't agree with my assessment of his alcohol consumption-what a surprise!

Giggles has joined the ranks of computer owners, woohoo! Life is getting easier-we bought her a DVD player earlier this year to make it easier to buy gifts. Now I can email her stuff. I'm so horrible about snail mailing *anything*, even though I'm at the post office every day!

Talked to stepdad briefly today-he's hanging in there. I'm still in awe of how he's coping AND has opened up to us and is willing to ask for help. I'm back over there on Tuesday. Thanksgiving week should be a good one-I get three days off, so I'll get over there twice, possibly three times.

Watched Star Wars episode 3 last night. What a train wreck. I forget who said it ultimately was a love story-and it was. I'm regretting ever sticking up for Jar Jar Binks, though. It was his nomination of Palpatine that set the wheels in motion for all of it.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Yet another busy day.

Dropped the kids off at school, then headed across the bay to stepdad's. I was the administrative assistant today, drafting up a couple of letters to change beneficiaries and close a savings account and have the funds dispersed to him. He's still in denial about all of this (kinda feel the same way), but is sorting through Mom's financial stuff. I realized today that he's going to have a flood of calls starting in late January. My mom did taxes for A LOT of people, most of her clients are up in NY and won't know what happened. I sure hope no one calls the week before their taxes are due.

I think she enjoyed doing taxes-it was a puzzle to figure out and see which way someone would get the most money or pay the least. That must be why I enjoy doing them myself-she'd get that gleam in her eye when she realized that someone could use a deduction!

It's been suggested that I post the email I sent to my brother. I'll probably put that up tomorrow. BTW, I still haven't heard from him, but used one of the remaining beers in tonight's fondue. It's about all Budweiser is good for, anyway. :)

Got a new book to dive into-Nelson DeMille's Night Fall. It's always good when a writer I like bases their story in a locale I'm well acquainted with. Tom Clancy's another writer that I love that uses familiar locales.

I joined classmates back over the summer-I think I bitched recently that they charged me for membership when I didn't want to rejoin. That said, I'd sent an email through them to the boss that hubby and I had back in 1986. The job where we met. Anyway, she sent an email back. I'd written "Remember me? Remember Bozo (my ex, who worked for her husband)? We married. we divorced...and I married Hubby!" I got an email back "WHAT? What am I missing-you two got married?!?" Oh so priceless, lol. We've been emailing back and forth-she seemed so much older back then, when in reality she wasn't!

Want to read a bit-got a call from work and I'm now headed in at o'dark thirty. At least it means I get out earlier!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Returning to normal (whatever that is...)

Yes, I freely admit I was neglecting my posting duties. I think I needed a few mental health days after the chaos that reigned last week.

My siblings and stepdad were agog that I really sent my brother the email. I'm not the type to do that sort of thing. Hey, it was adressing actual events, lol.

After the craziness of the week, I went to work on Friday and found several cards. I work with a great bunch of people. Then I got a weekend off. Spent Saturday morning with stepdad and stepsis, then when hubby got off work, we headed over to WDW for an overnight stay and visit with his mom and sister.

We had a nice dinner at Whispering Canyon (well worth it, they were surprised by the antics and loved the food). Sunday would have been Nancy's 57th birthday, so the clan honored her day by doing her favorite thing-sitting poolside with a drink at Port Orleans French Quarter. It was off to Epcot afterwards. I had to leave at 4:30 for a store meeting. I have the rotten luck that every year, the store meeting falls on my *last* weekend off before Christmas.

Been busy with work the past couple of days. Tomorrow is my day off, and we're headed over to stepdad's in the morning to help him with whatever he needs. Some financial stuff needs to be looked over, so I'll help him out with that.

I know, really boring reading. Hope you're checking in with me just before bedtime today!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Crazy me

I sent Socrates an email, detailing my issues with him. He'll probably delete it as soon as he sees the comment "You're an alcoholic if you can't spend any time in 4 hours without a beer in your hand" Should be interesting to see if I even get a response back.

Poor Giggles, he went to her house last night-he started with the story and she told him her line. He shut up and moped for the remainder of the night.

Friday, November 04, 2005

What happens in Florida, stays in Florida

Giggles got a phone call from Socrates this morning. He was looking to talk about the events down here. She was going to call him back and say the above statement. If he persists in trying to talk about the drama he caused down here, she said he'll be sorry he opened his mouth-she's got far more ammunition to fire at him than I ever have.

Giggles lives in the same town as Socrates, so she's seen him on a regular basis. I suspect that will change.

No phone calls to me-guess he realizes that calling me is a waste of his precious cell minutes.

Work was a good distraction today, and my boss gave me a very thoughtful card. Then I got home and found that my online friends chipped in and got a Harry and David basket for the family. Very sweet gesture from some very sweet people.

Totally wiped out here. Think I'm going to grab a ginger ale, take a short soak in the tub and hit the sack pretty soon.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Socrates and the Furious Redhead

To continue...

I had dropped Giggles off at the airport and got home around 9am. I suggested breakfast to hubby and friend (Cracker Barrel was calling). My sister was still sleeping and I knew she'd have a long day, so we didn't wake her. Probably not the best decision, but I stood by it. Breakfast was yummy, pecan pancakes.

We get back to the house and my sister had woken up and had a shower. She wasn't pleased that we didn't wake her and I made some coffee to appease for not waking her.

Then, at 11:15am, my phone rings. It's Socrates. "Check out time is at noon," he says.

"And?" is my reply.

"When are you coming to get me?" To which I responded that he was being mighty presumptuous that I'd pick him up, he didn't even ask me if I minded or offer to put gas in the tank. He hadn't asked me last night when I had dropped him off. Apparently, he didn't ask because 'we'd been arguing'. I told Socrates he had a perfectly good cell phone that he could have called with when he realized this oversight.

Socrates was pissed that I wasn't going to be at his beck and call and insisted again, stupidly, that checkout was at noon. At which point I balked at driving over to get him. "Fine, I'll call Giggles". I then dropped the bomb that he could call Giggles, but I'd already dropped her at the airport at 8:30. I should've let him call her cell-it's the one I picked up last week.

At this point, I go off:
1. You've called everyone in this family a liar, that means I'm a liar
2. You've told Giggles that you're not sure if you can trust me, so why do you think I'm good enough to be at your damn beck and call.
3. You called my cell phone to complain that no one had picked up at the hotel to bring you to the funeral home, when I told you I didn't have enough room and I came back to get you. You didn't even bother to thank me for doing this.
4. You complain that step dad disrespected you, yet you didn't even go to shake his hand OR offer condolences on the loss of his wife of 20 years, the woman who shared his life and his bed.
5. Step dad bought lunch for you and you had the nerve to ignore him, not thank him, and stand outside and tell Giggles that I'm not trustworthy, even though I've offered to take you to other brother's grave site, which you didn't thank me for doing.
6. Get your own sorry ass to the airport, rent a car. I've spent the past three weeks spending all my time with Mom and making sure she was okay, my family hasn't seen much of me, I wanted a day to rest and relax with them and you're concerned that not I'm dropping everything to get you.
7. You didn't bother to ASK me to come pick you up, or thank me for being your taxi.
8. You're a fucking selfish bastard and if I don't hear from you, I'm not missing a damn thing.

Socrates, of course, yells at me to stop yelling. It seems to be the only way he will listen. On reflection, I'm convinced he's a misogynist asshole, who won't listen to females because he thinks we're stupid. Then I yell and prevent him from shutting his stupid damn ears.

I hung up on him, sister crying, husband was bemused that I said all that I did, and me positively fuming at the audacity. I'm a horrible sister because I've been doing all that I have to care for Mom, family and keep everyone in the loop about the events of the past month.

Twenty minutes later, my phone rings-Socrates again. I'm not answering it, so it goes to message. "Suzie, don't worry, I got a car, so you don't have to come get me. (I'm not, doody head) I'll call you when I get home, I'm out of minutes on my cell phone. I don't need to argue and I can explain everything." I think he needs all day to figure out how to address one of the things he's said in the past two days. If he thinks I'm answering the phone, he's got another thing coming to him.

After this, I needed a distraction, so we went over to see the house my in laws have a contract to purchase. Very nice-they wanted a house under five years old, and got one that was built this year.

Around 4:30, we made the second trip to the airport. At least my sisters Thank me for doing stuff!!! While saying our goodbyes, another good friend from NY called me. She'd read the blog and wanted to see if I was okay. Best part, she offered to bodily harm my brother! No, he's not worth the jail time, but it's a good thought.

Back to work in the morning. No rest for the weary and no good deed goes unpunished.

Socrates and I Me My

To continue the drama...

Dinner was consumed, (Socrates had 10 beers in 4 hours, but I think I mentioned that already), and socializing ensued. Around 9, I ask my friend to accompany me on the drive to the hotel so that I'd have company on the way back. I'm so sorry I did, but lucky for Socrates that she was there.

Socrates proceeds to complain in the car that stepdad disrespected him, nobody in the family understands him, blah, blah, blah. All "Poor, me" bullshit. I try to explain WHY stepdad would be mad (Legacy's lies about a past event). He kept saying "Yeah, but..." and would not listen to my explanation that if someone was feeding Mom and stepdad BS and they weren't hearing his side, they'd believe the rather big lie. I got fed up with the "Yeah, but..." and not listening to me and told him to shut the fuck up and listen to me. He apparently doesn't like yelling and I gave him a raft of grief about the fact that it wasn't about HIM. Then he goes on about the family friend that 'tried to adopt him and wanted to take him away from Mom' that died a few years ago.

Socrates then went on to complain that everybody in the family lies (hmmm, I'm a part of the family, so I guess that means I'm lying, too), and that he doesn't trust any of us. This, my friends, did not go over well with me. Here I am, with my brother calling me a liar when I've spent the past two weeks disseminating the truth to everyone about how things were here. If my friend wasn't in the car, I would have pulled over on the interstate and dropped him off.

I ended up apologizing to placate him, even though he still wasn't listening to me. Friend was saying it was like the dynamic in her marriage...Socrates thinks he's right, the worlds wrong and you can talk until you're blue in the face, you know jackshit. I apologized to keep the peace-when I wasn't the one insulting him by calling him a liar.

So, we drop Socrates off at the hotel and he gives me and friend hugs "since he won't see us for a while". We make some sort of peace, although I didn't have plans to talk to him again anytime soon. I still think he's a schmuck about all this, and he's ungrateful for anything that any human being does for him. Still no thanks for driving 40 miles to drive him to the hotel. I'm sure he walked away saying I'm a bitch.

Okay, so I ask friend what time she thinks Socrates will call me in the morning. Her impression was that our parting was pretty final. I had to stop by step dad's to bring youngest another duffel bag for all the 50 cent shirts she found (nice tee's, btw. She's murder on shirts) and regale her and step sis with Socrate's garbage. I need to be back here at 7:30 to take youngest to the airport, so we depart rather quickly.

This morning, I was up and out by 6:30, get youngest (man, I need to find a nickname for her, probably Giggles will work). I tell Giggles the part of the story I neglected last night, brother bringing up the would be adoptive parent. She fumes that our mother died and all he can think about is this other woman 'understood him' and we don't. We also talk about Legacy, other relations and the garbage they've pulled. We talk about YAGEing Legacy..."I just called to say I hate you, I just called to say you're a friggin drunk" to the tune of Stevie Wonder's song came up. Yes, she wanted to call Legacy to tell her she wouldn't be speaking to her again.

Gotta make another Jitney bus run. Final installment of the Socrates novella in a few..

The Immortal Socrates

My brother, Socrates (name has been changed to protect the stupid), has been the cause of screaming fury the past 15 hours. I've blown up twice and dropped more F bombs than anyone that knows me has EVER heard.

Okay, part one:
After the luncheon, I offer to take Socrates and the sister staying with me to see our other brother's gravesite (10 minutes away, most of the family has never seen it). I do, we go, pay our respects and leave. Sister thanks me for bringing her there, Socrates doesn't.

Socrates has had this look like someone has pissed in his Budweiser since he got here, so I do the right thing (not the easy thing) and offer to bring him back to my place for pork chop dinner. He says he wants to change out of his suit. I need to get gas, so we drop him at the hotel, go and get gas and are back in 5 minutes. We then wait 10 minutes for him, had to call his room to say we've been waiting-he'd said he'd be right down.

He asks to get some beer as we're heading to my place. I've got some Rolling Rocks (purchased for company, not a big beer drinker), but that's not good enough-Socrates ONLY drinks Budweiser. Okay. I'd promised my kids I would get them from daycare as soon as I get back home. As there's four of us in the car, I drop the others at the house, Socrates bitches that I didn't stop for him to get his beer. I tell him I'll grab some after I get the kids and run to the farm stand and grocery store. (This after enduring his thoughts on the public education system when he doesn't have kids and any first hand experience with it)

Upon picking my guys up, I see that younger son needs to go home and change, he's had a rough and tumble kind of day. We get back to the house, Socrates wants to know where the beer is-I show him child and tell him I need to change child's clothes.

Younger child has not seen much of me for several weeks, so he runs the errands with me, WalMart for lava rocks, farm stand and grocery store for Socrate's 12 pack of beer. We get back and he complains that I bought bottles-that's all I've seen him drink since he's been here.

We get back around 5 and he's antsy for the damn beer. Best friend came down from Jacksonville to be moral support and I've invited another friend for dinner. Spend the time prepping food and socializing. It appears that he's coming out of the pissy attitude. My poor friends have to hear my brother's warped views on life and politics. Socrates has an interesting take on things and chastises my husband for parenting incorrectly (he's got no kids and knows all).

All was okay, then I drove Socrates back to the hotel. I'll update that in a little bit...

Goodbye, Mom

Funeral mass was very nice. It was in a small chapel at the Catholic Church near the funeral home. The priest, since Mom wasn't a member of his parish, took a very nice approach. He asked the congregation "What comes to mind first when you think of Joanie?" Younger sister and I both said "her smile", and he asked sis to elaborate. I then said her generosity, because she'd give anyone the shirt off her back and wouldn't let anyone spend a holday alone.

One of her neighbors mentioned that Mom stood up for what was right. Another her laughter. And her intelligence, caring and warmth. It was very personal and touching.

Stepdad did beautifully. Mom's gravesite is under palm trees, near the pond, with some flowering bushes nearby-all things Mom loved. Graveside was less than ten minutes, and Stepdad invited everyone to lunch at Macaroni Grill.

We toasted Mom and said her grace and had a nice hour talking and reminiscing. Mom would have loved it.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Drama, drama and more drama

It's been a loooooooooooooooong day. Did I say it was long?

I keep repeating to myself "I love my big family, I love my big family, I love my big family" Maybe if I say it enough, I'll actually believe it.

Wake was open casket, we were expecting closed. It's okay, they did a great job. However, mom did not look like mom because a. she never wore full makeup, only lipstick and b. she was not smiling. It was extremely rare to see mom without a smile.

Some of the interesting events today:
1. Brother called me and asked me to come by the hotel and pick him up, because youngest sister told him to. Nope, she didn't. I already was not driving my car and taking husbands-mine seats 4, his 5 and we were full up with 5. Brother got petulant "I knew it was a mistake to come down here." Suck it up and pay the 15 bucks for a taxi! I was going to take two cars, hubby wouldn't hear of it. Instead, we went to the funeral home and I drove back to the hotel (getting three messages from my brother in the process that nobody had bothered to pick him up). Next time, you get strapped to the roof, bucko!

2. Brother called the sister that is persona non grata (assumed another sister's identity, forged mom's signature and pretended to be mom to buy a car, among other things) to tell her mom had died. Her husband said "no, she's adopted". She's also an ordained minister. I want to know which church ordains those who don't honor their parents and try to bed other sister's husbands (yep, this DID happen!). She obviously is not coming to pay her respects.

3. Sister who racked up over 10k in credit card debt on mom's credit cards is clueless to why my stepdad is giving her the cold shoulder.

4. "Legacy" called another sister crying that I didn't offer to buy her a plane ticket, but I bought one for my brother (not true) and offered one for the sister she called. "No one bothered to ask how *my* financial affairs are!" she complained. "Legacy's" daughter was called by this sibling and was outed for the drama she has caused. Legacy was offered a plane ticket by her daughter, and then it all tumbled out that she wasn't welcome because everyone thought she was a money grubbing vulture (if the shoe fits...).

Daughter called me, and said she was tired of the she said/she said bullshit. I prefaced my comments with "you know how your mother is when she drinks" and proceeded to explain all the events since August. She must've shut her mother down, because flowers showed up to the funeral home an hour later with all their names on them.

5. I feel like the babysitter of the two siblings that are not in stepdad's good graces-I've got to keep them away to keep the peace. The difficult part is that stepdad wants me and hubby to come to the luncheon after the burial, and I can't ditch them-I'm their friggin taxi right now. I've apologized to him that I'm not around, but I am keeping them away because I know how he feels.

Give me strength! At least I can get through one more day of the three ring circus that comes to town with my family.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic

Just been doing busy stuff the past day and a half. Did a bunch of cooking yesterday, mindless work to occupy time. I went to work today, because it made more sense to do something, rather than sit around.

Stepdad seemed a little disappointed that husband, kids and I weren't over there yesterday. I'm keeping sis away from him-since he's annoyed at her. My aunt brought him a ham. Heck, that would've been good. I think she thought we'd be there, too. Not a problem, I think I'll be over there a lot over the next few months to help out.

Youngest's husband shamed my brother-he'll be flying in tomorrow morning. Ironically enough, it's the same flight my stepsister had booked.

Husband and kids went with his mom and sister to do some house hunting. They found a few that were promising and a few that had septic. Realtor apparently did *not* hear them when they said sewer systems only. They're going out with the realtor in the morning. Crossing my fingers.

Trick or treating was so funny tonight. Our neighborhood is new, only about a dozen of the houses had been moved in last halloween-we were the last completed. I've always loved Halloween, and it has been a nice break from everything else. We finished around 7:45, and we only got three or four kids around 8. About 9:30, we get a knock on the door. Older kids, maybe 15 or 16 and my husband gives them each a handful of reese's peanut butter cups and snickers. "Wow, dude...THANKS!" I think he resembled them when he was that age and that's why they got so much. After they left, he had a good laugh saying that he should've given them each a beer.

Long day tomorrow, should probably rest, but not the least bit tired.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

In Memoriam

My mom, a class act, tough lady, and beautiful person, passed into eternal rest at 10am this morning. Her smile, infectious laugh and cheery "hello" will be missed.

Brain is shot-can't think straight. Wake is Tuesday, funeral Wednesday.

After the song is over...

The dance goes on, so dance away...
After all has been said and done, remember what has been given, not taken away.
Echolyn, "Never the Same"/As the World

That song has been running through my head all day. It's an excellent song (by an excellent group) about death.

Mom has hung on far longer than the Hospice nurses had expected. They said to my sister that they think she's been waiting for my stepdad to say it's okay to die, he'll be alright. He did finally tell her this afternoon. She's been comatose (yes, I can tell the difference now) and he thought she wouldn't hear a word he said. However, when I told her it was okay to die-she needed to give the family ghost hell for hiding food products, I got an involuntary close the mouth and sigh.

My stepdad also bought the funeral plots and picked the casket. It is amazing, he's relaxed and opened up so much after taking care of these things. I got a mini lecture (in a kind way) that my husband and I need to make our plans known and buy plots NOW if we plan to be buried. Apparently, this is an expensive proposition in this state.

I picked up another sister from the airport tonight. Hadn't seen her in just over a year. She's had quite a few health issues, but I have to say she looks younger. Not healthy, though. We went and picked up wings (both siblings from NY lived in Buffalo for a while and are wing freaks) and brought them to Hospice. She got some time with Mom, and had a good cry, then talked to her about good memories from when we were kids.

We got her a hotel room over by Hospice for tonight, but tomorrow night, she'll be coming back over to my place.

I'm hoping one of these goodbyes is what she was waiting for. It's so hard to see her in this state...

Friday, October 28, 2005

Waiting...

The week has been a long, hard one. Mom is probably going to pass in the next 24 hours. Vitals are really weak, she's only had water since Monday afternoon. The hospice staff has been very good about helping us to understand what to expect. It must be rough for them to know that the majority of their patients will die while in their care.

Work has been very understanding about all that is happening, and I used all but two days of my remaining vacation time to spend time with Mom. I was being proactive and talked to my DM today about getting coverage for me next week-I wanted to call the stores that she felt could help and give them a heads up. She was surprised that I was even thinking that way.

The family dramas continue. I think I mentioned that my stepdad made the decision to have the funeral mass and burial here in Florida. It's a decision that I can understand and support. After all, Mom did say she wanted to be with him, where ever he was. He wants to be able to visit her grave every day.

That said, when I passed on this news to several siblings, two who have major health concerns immediately consulted with their doctors to see if they could fly down here. Neither was happy with it, but they accepted the reasoning behind it. Third sibling said he could not change his work schedule around-okay, that is a good enough reason in my book. Another sibling is looking into Amtrak because she's got extreme claustrophobia.

Eldest sister (a/k/a "Legacy") got all bent out of shape at this news, sarcastically says "That's just *wonderful*" and gave every reason why SHE felt it was wrong. She says she's not coming-and it's because she's pissed. She complained that she doesn't have a place to say. Yep, that's true-the two sisters with health issues are both staying with me (and they're not speaking to each other, which should be interesting) because they're both in financial straits. I'm not exactly enamored of eldest sister, and her current behavior disgusts me even more than her normal behavior. I don't want her lousy attitude, excessive alcohol consumption and smelly cigarettes in my home.

There is far more to this story, but it's best not to bore you all with the particulars. Anyway, I'm saving it all for my best selling novel! :)

There will be a memorial service in New York, which I probably won't be able to attend. It all depends on the timing of it. If it's mid week, I can possibly fly up the night before and fly back after the service.

I wish this wasn't such a stupid headache, but it is. Thankfully, stepdad hasn't had to deal with these issues-he's aware, but he hasn't had to talk to any of them. Thank God.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Long day

I spent twelve hours at work today. We have bigwigs visiting tomorrow, and I had requested the day off-so guilt won out and I offered to stay. Guilt is a big thing right now. Either I feel it for working, and not helping out my sister with Mom or I feel it for not being at work for a visit.

Mom's condition hasn't changed. Sis says her face lit up when she was told that stepdad had arrived. I'll head over in the morning, bearing new movies for sis to watch.

Getting the cell phone was a good idea. We were able to touch base a couple of times through the day.

Tuesday's update

I walked in today and found that my sister got a good night's sleep in the recliner in Mom's room. Mom had not been conscious since 10:30 last night, and as a result, had not had any food or drink. Finally got some water into her around 8pm, thanks to a nurse (thanks, Deanna) showing me how to get it to her with a straw and then syringe. Mom doesn't even have enough strength to sip from the straw.

My sis has been here with a dead cell phone. Her phone won't charge, so she'd been charging the battery in her husband's phone. Well, that's up in NY. Today, I was smart-I went to the cell phone provider and got a third phone. She can use it for now, and then I can pass it on to my husband's sister when they're all moved in. First order of business was changing it off that damn Nokia tune!

Speaking of which, they flew into MCO today for their two week stay at WDW. They're going house hunting closer to us than that, but wanted to have a nice base to stay each night. The menfolk went to join them for dinner tonight. Wish I could've been with them.

My stepdad has made his decision. He wants Mom to be buried here so that he can visit her grave every day. Guess that means he's not moving back to New York. This is a good thing-the boys really like him and it would be a double blow to lose Mom and "Grandpa Bill" at the same time.

Sleep beckons. I have to work in the morning, we'll see how that goes. I'm hoping for a long laundry list of things to do to keep me occupied.

Update as time allows.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Storms and such

Wilma bothered Floridians to the south of us. The most she inflicted locally was some 50mph gusts, power outages, some tornados and some cooler weather. The hospital lost power last night about a half dozen times. By 10am, however, it just looked like a breezy fall day.

Around 11, Mom said "Take a Walk." Since she'd had several hallucinations, my sister asked who she was talking to. "I said, take a walk". Sis asked if she meant us, and again she told us to take a walk. So we went down to the hospital cafeteria and hung out down there for about 45 minutes. I made coffee in one of those industrial size pots, since I wasn't into drinking decaf. About 5 minutes later, I had a hard time not spewing a mouthful across the floor at my sister's regaling of a story. I will never hear the name Spongebob without it being followed by the thought of Ketchup pants. The weird things that stick with you.

We figured that Mom was tired of people being around and wanted to pass on without anyone there. Nope, but when we got back to the room, she did say "Damn, I didn't get enough time". The tendency definitely has been the pleas for death to come during the night, and during the day, she'll be lucid.

Around 12:30 this afternoon, the Hospice nurse came in and told us that there now was a bed available for mom and she'd be transported within the hour. More like ten minutes later, the ambulance had arrived and off she went. The facility is very nice, and her room has a VCR/DVD combo. I should have brought some movies for her to watch. My sister ended up going to Best Buy and buying a few classics for them to watch tonight.

The only bump we experienced is that she would have had morphine at the hospital at around 1pm, but she was already en route to Hospice. As a result, the pain meds weren't given again until 4:30. These are new ones, and today's hallucinations included an applesauce spill on her bed. She called my aunt by another name, so my cousin now is calling her mom "Anita". The chaplain came in to talk to mom, and mom exclaimed "Look, Anita's husband's here, too".

I left around 6, thinking that rush hour would be over. I didn't think about the fact that just about the whole gulf coast had closed in anticipation of Wilma, so there wasn't any traffic on the drive home. I got home to find my husband had burned avi's of one of my favorite tv show's first season-woohoo. Anything to get a smile out of me right now and he succeeded.

Half expecting a 3am phone call, but also hoping that it doesn't come.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Tricks the mind plays

Events from the past 24 hours...

My sisters:
Mom: "The lettuce is on fire!"
Sis: "Okay Mom, I'll put it out for you"

Mine:
Mom: "I need to take you girls shopping."
Me: "No, Mom, you've already bought us plenty...buy something for you"
Mom: "Oh, okay, if you're sure"

This is among quite a few other non sequitirs. I think the morphine is making her life pass before her eyes.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Friends and Tunes

So, my friend Joe has a Live365 channel. Has for quite some time. He's the guy who had a radio station broadcasting from his house when I was a teen. Joe has made a career of working in the radio industry.

I finally got around to going to his website and I'm enjoying listening to the tunes. If you're a fan of 80's/new wave, take a listen. http://www.joefm.com/listen.asp

Why didn't I think of doing this when I got the spiffy laptop back in February?

Gotta go, kid #2 is complaining that there's nothing fun to do. I gave a list of things he *could* do, he tells me he did two simultaneously (running with legos). Ventured into the cleaning room and taking a bath realm and was informed that those are NOT fun, Mom. :)

Suzanne

ARGGGGHHHHH!

I signed up to get gold membership from Classmates three months ago to reconnect with a couple of friends. It worked-back in touch with a very good friend from up north.

When I signed up, all the literature said three months, I paid for three months. I should have figured that somewhere, somehow, they'd do *something* to get me to stay in. I ignored their renewal things, I just wanted to get in contact with the one person. Mission accomplished, no need for gold membership anymore.

My online bank statement showed a 15.00 fee for Classmates yesterday. I went to their site and see that I was switched to automatic renewal-I never selected it. As recently as Monday, they sent me an email telling me it was time to renew-no mention that they'd do this automatically.

Soooooo, if you join Classmates, make sure you check that box and switch to manual renewal. The damage has been done to me, let it not happen to you.

BTW, they don't have any 'contact us' buttons, either!

Friday, October 21, 2005

How to be the Dalai Llama

Repeat with me now...

You can't change the past, you can only fix today and tomorrow.
When you wake up in the morning, you should ask yourself "what can I do right today?"
Don't ask yourself "What would Jesus Do?" ask yourself "What would MOM do?"

I swear I've spouted more common sense 101 in the past five days than in the last five years...

Wilma, go away. Let my Mom be!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Friggin doctors!

So, I left the hospital for a while, because to get my kids report cards, we had to go to parent-teacher conferences. (They both did extremely well, btw. Youngest got three awards)

The oncologist decided to take it upon himself to try to change my mom's mind about her DNR, Living Will and request to be transferred to the Hospice facility. He kept on and on about it was the wrong thing to do. Apparently, this caused mom to hallucinate that my sister was putting stuff in her IV to do her in.

I'd been told this oncology practice really doesn't like Hospice. You'd think that the way cancer progresses, that they'd work with them. Apparently not.

Sis got things calmed down, and told me to stay home, be with my family and get some rest. Tomorrow is going to be another busy day.

When you've got small cell lung cancer, that is not contained, tumors on the lungs, pulmonary embolisms, pneumonia, an intestinal blockage and nodes in the esophogus and you make the decision that enough's enough, who the hell is the doctor to tell you that you can't die with dignity and peace? ESPECIALLY when you came to that decision on your own?

Making plans, keeping comfort

Spent the night overnight at the hospital with my sister and Mom last night. The spells of conciousness are growing shorter and shorter, and Mom is sleeping far longer. She's gotten to the point where she really can't move without assistance, and getting two or three bites of a meal. My sister's really showing her calling-she's applied to nursing school and she's slept at Mom's bedside for two nights now.

Hospice came in today and we made our arrangements with them. Mom will be released from the hospital and into a hospice care facility. However, hurricane Wilma has forced Hospice to evacuate another facility in flood zone A to the facility Mom has been approved to go to, so the earliest they expect they'll be taking her is Monday. I'm the patient surrogate, so I had to sign a lot of papers. Mom was able to sign her own DNR and Living Will. It's the hardest thing anyone has to do, and Mom has handled this with grace and dignity.

Family drama has been an issue, and I had to call a spade a spade yesterday. What would you think if you heard someone's parent was dying, but the person was talking about a house being their 'legacy', and the various items the parent had collected their whole life were supposed to go to them? What was your answer? You think they sound very greedy? I thought so-I told the person off without having to raise my voice. Basically, my mom had a very private conversation meant to give that person some solace about the loss of a property that was in our family for a couple of generations (lost to last year's hurricanes in a roundabout way). The party involved instead told anyone who would listen that Mom told her this.

Of course, this means that I'm a mean person, because I said something to the party who was spouting this crap. However, I've made it a point to call my siblings and keep them posted on the progression of events. I guess that makes me a horrible person.

Anyway, I'm only home for a short time. Around here, the kids only get their report cards when the parents go to a teacher conference. So, here I am for a brief update.

Please think about anyone in the path of Wilma. I'm sure hoping she decides to weaken and head out with minimal damage.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Riding the waves

It has been a very emotional and exhausting two days.

When we got to the hospital yesterday morning, Mom was in horrible shape. One of the nurses got her up in a chair and she was in pain and looked so frail and confused. If you'd told me that she wouldn't make it through the day, I would have believed you. As the day went on, she improved and by 6pm, she was happy and chipper.

Today, we got there, and while she hadn't slipped as far back as where she was yesterday morning, she never perked up to the level she was at Monday night. She's fading in and out of consciousness more and is becoming less coherent. My sister and I made the decision that one of us will stay with her at all times, because she'll ring for a nurse and once they get there, forget why she called. My sister took the night shift, and I'll go back over as soon as I get the kids off to school and send her to get some rest.

The good news that we did receive today was that there is no tumor and no blood clots in her brain. They've begun treatment with blood thinners for the pulmonary embolism she does have. I'm well acquainted with blood thinners, so I'll be able to keep an eye on that situation. However, that doesn't explain the confusion that she has been having-she didn't have a stroke.

These types of situations bring out the best or the worst in people. I'm seeing the worst from my eldest sister. She's on a power trip, lording information over other siblings and telling them my Mom doesn't want to see them.

One sister was told Mom doesn't want to talk to her (not true), and she called all the hospitals in Mom's city to track her down-spent an hour on the phone trying. I hadn't talked to her since New Year's '99, and don't have any bad blood with her. We've had a couple of good, long conversations, and the upshot of all of that is that I will NOT keep anyone out of the loop on Mom's situation and prognosis. By doing this, my eldest sister can't spin her lies and manipulate the situation. There is far more to this story, but I'd need about ten hours to write it all down.

The life lessons mom gave her kids every day: your life can really be miserable, you can be dealt a rotten hand, people can treat you like dirt, but you can't dwell on the bad stuff. You can't change the past, so don't wallow in it. And above all else, no matter how bad you may think you've got things, there's someone out there who's in worse shape than you are.

When my dad passed away fourteen years ago, the lesson I learned is that money and objects don't make you happy, spending the time with the ones you love while they are alive does. I really wished a couple of my siblings could comprehend this. Unfortunately, they're more concerned with who gets what object. My younger sister and I just want time.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

From Bad to Worse

Here's the latest:

Clots in the lung, aorta and brain. Mom got a transfusion today, to help the severe anemia. Her doctor told my cousin to round up all the relatives from out of state that we can. My younger sister will be on a plane the first thing in the morning.

Now, to get my stepdad to understand that she has said many times that she didn't want extraordinary measures. She was saying that last night at the hospital, and stepdad scoffed at the remark and told her to stop talking like that. This is probably going to be the hardest thing I will do in my life.

We're pretty sure Mom wants to be cremated and buried with my grandparents, up in New York. The question is, will my stepdad go for that? How do I even begin that conversation with mom? I thought that we'd be having a rambling conversation over the next five days, because I would be sitting there with her in chemo. I also thought I'd be getting some of her reminiscing about her life this week-laptop was going to be there with me.

The plan is to play off that my sister wanted to surprise her for her birthday, since she had the voucher to fly. A very dear family friend panicked a few years ago when I showed up in the hospital to see her the day before she died. My sister doesn't want a repeat of that with Mom.

I need sleep, but I know it won't happen tonight.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Long day

It started WAY too early. In my tired state, I woke to the alarm buzzing at 5:50am, thought I'd set it wrong, and reset it for 6:50am. OOPS. I woke at 6:15 and realized that I needed to be out the door with the kids ready in 5 minutes.

Got to work on time, and it was busy today. Good deal because it makes my day go so much faster.

At 3:45, I get out and call my mom's for the daily check in. I'd called yesterday around 5ish, and got the machine. I figured they'd been out and didn't think much of it. Well, I should have-today's call got my stepdad on the phone with the news that Mom was in the hospital.

Her home health aide had come yesterday while stepdad was out running errands. Mom complained of tingling in her arms (as soon as he said that, I knew what it meant). The aide called the doctor's office, doctors office says "Hospital, ASAP" What does this mean, you ask? Blood clots. Now, those of you who know me well know I've had a round and a bout with them. I was VERY lucky the first time (DVT), and the second time, I knew what it was and caught it early. I'm extremely relieved that Mom said something to the aide as soon as she experienced the tingling, instead of toughing it out.

The bad part is that they know there's a clot in her chest-Ultrasound has been ordered. They've also ordered an MRI-suspecting that she's had a small stroke. After two hours with her, I can say that she's had a minor stroke. She's lost some words, derailed more than is normal in general conversation and when asked questions, answers perfectly logically with a different answer. For example, a nurse asked her if she liked chocolate, and she answered by telling a story about Joe Namath, as if that was what was asked of her. She got annoyed that the nurse didn't stay to hear about Broadway Joe.

Chemo's on hold, treatment at this point is uncertain-the chemo complicates the normal protocols. They'd insert a screen to prevent her throwing a clot to the lungs or heart, but can't. They can't give heparin, due to the chemo.

She doesn't know, but she's lost considerable amounts of hair (no access to a mirror is a *good* thing). She asked me to brush her hair, and it was coming out in clumps. Stepdad started to say something, but I shot him a look and mouthed "DON'T YOU DARE SAY ANYTHING" as I was grabbing the hair out of the comb, out of her sight.

I think the hardest part of this today was seeing how scared she is, and hearing my stepdad choke up on the phone when he was telling me what was going on. This is a strong, resilient lady, and to see her scared is something I have never experienced before.

Now, to figure out how I can make the best of her birthday, which will now be spent in the hospital. Ideas?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Don't mess around with Sue (with apologies to Jim Croce)

Here's the deal:
When we were moving here to Florida, the game plan was to rent a place, then build.

We found a builder we really liked, and then found that they were building a neighborhood in the general area we wanted. I must have really paid the karma bill, because we got the last lot in said development.

Okay, builder tells us 6 months from closing date to move in, so I found a house to rent. Paid first, last and security. I used a realty to do this, as I wanted a middleman.

Long story short: I'm still waiting for my security deposit back-from April! The don't mess around with me part-I have a lawyer, and we're going to court. I sent a letter to her w/copies of all my cancelled checks, lawyer sent her a letter, now lawyer sends *another* letter with a copy of the forms for small claims filing that we complete.

What could have been a simple pay back the tenant her security deposit will cost her triple because she's either denied I paid a security, told me I forgot to pay the last months rent, or that the realty was holding on to it.

She made the mistake in thinking because I was a 'nice' person, I would forget about my thousand bucks. Not a chance! Nice does not equal stupid.

Keep you posted on this-looks like court in November.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Life isn't fair :)

Last night, I was tucking youngest child into bed. Husband and I had been enjoying a nightcap of Golden Tango Cream (think Bailey's, but much better). I give my son the usual hug and kiss goodnight. The conversation that transpires:

Son: "I smell something nice"
Me: "My hair? (I spray cologne in my hair)
Son: "No, something yummy"
Me: "Oh, I think it was my drink. This it?" (I breathe on him)
Son: "Yeah...Is that a kid drink or a big people drink?"
Me: "It's a big people drink"
Son: "NO FAIR!!!"

Then he asks if he can have some when he's in second grade. When I say no, he asks "Third grade?"

Gotta love kids!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Stalkers

Okay, so I frequent a (rather large) discussion board. I have a signature picture that I change to reflect the current antenna topper in my cars. Yes, I have an obsession with antenna toppers.

Someone else posted that their ex had sent an email (abusive relationship) and she asks for advice. Okay, fair enough.

One poster went so far as to say because I've posted the pictures of the toppers in my car, where (approximately) I live and what I do for a living, I'm probably ripe for being stalked. Mind you, I hadn't even replied to the thread in question.

Really scratching my head on that one...

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Never a dull moment..the reader's digest condensed version!

We had an adventure Friday. The chain of events:

1. Ed calls me at 4pm-brakes aren't working. He's on the other side of the county, and won't get to the day care in time.

2. I call the manager scheduled for 6, and she graciously comes in early so I can go get the kids before day care closes at 6:30 (got there at 6:10)

3. Now, scramble to get the bag of quarters at home. My car is on E, and I didn't think I'd be going anywhere until after Ed got home with paycheck.

4. Then we take the hour to get to his job, he gave me the wrong intersection for his office, so I pass by and call him when I'm at the end of Ehrlich road. That part of the road I'm very familiar with, the mall I used to work at is two blocks away! "Didn't I tell you Turner Road?" Nope, Hunter Road-no such place.

5. Get him, and go to Circle K to cash his check, then to walmart for brake fluid. It takes a half hour at Circle K to get this done. Reason for doing this is that our bank took NINE days to clear his last paycheck. Treated it as an out of state check, instead of a federal check.

6. back to his office w/the brake fluid-cross our fingers. Fortunately, that that's all the jeep needs

7. It works! We drive home to change shirts (his sweaty, me still in work clothes) and get dinner (at 9:45pm!)

8. Traveling to the restaurant, got a call from work-deposit off by A LOT. We happen to be going to a restaurant close to store, so we decide to go over and I'll help her out.

9. Ed and kids sit in car, I spend an hour and a half finding and fixing problem. It ends up two transactions were never voided. Once fixed, we could make the deposit and go.

10. Ended up getting McD's on the way home (12midnight). They forget our fries-no wonder why she looked at me funny when I asked for BBQ sauce for the fries (I hate ketchup). Call back and they tell me to come back for them-nope. Now I've got two orders of Large Fries whenever I decide to go back. I was just too darn tired to check the bags, so stupid me.

Yep, life is never boring for us.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Moms...gotta love them.

Back from Mom's. The parade of visitors annoyed the heck out of my stepdad, TFB. She had visits from a social worker, a nurse, the home health aide, a good friend and me. I was joking (as I was slathering shea butter on her feet) that today was a 'spa day'.

Mom is always picking up little gifts for people as she finds them-any occasion will do. In honor of my husband's return to the workforce, she got him a piggy bank that is a pig in leathers-with "Harley Fund" emblazoned on either side. This after getting him a Harley phone for Christmas, that she just had to give him a couple of months ago. It cracks me up that my mom is encouraging my husband to get a motorcycle.

UGH

Feeling rather blah today.

1. Overdrew the checking account. Sucks royally, and payday for hubby isn't til Friday. Worst part is that, in the past, the credit union would decline purchases with the debit card if you were overdrawn. Now, they collect their overdraft fee for each purchase. Argh. I need to call them, I went to take out cash-saw the usury fee that Bank of America was going to charge, and cancelled the transaction. However, my credit union saw fit to charge an overdraft fee for a transaction that wasn't completed.

2. Mom's got nausea pretty bad. The anti nausea meds are expensive (900 bucks a script) and the pharmacies really don't like to fill them. If she goes to the oncologist's office, however, they can put her on a drip that will knock out the nausea for two days-and medicaid will pay 100% of it. It lasts for two days, today she'll be needing it.

3. Utility woes. See 1 above-gotta call and make payment arrangements!

So here's the deal with my mom's treatment. She gets three rounds of chemo, then another PET scan. If the scan shows improvement and shrinking of the cancer, she gets another three rounds. If not, they stop the chemo and send her home. I'm hoping for the former, but preparing for the latter. Not a fun position to be in.

My stepdad, never the most patient and compassionate of individuals, is having a hard time with this. He feels all doctors are thieves, that the physical therapist is a joke because she did a two hour medical profile and is mad that they've allowed mom a home health aide twice a week. He feels it's an affront to his masculinity that someone's gotta come in and do the basic things for mom and help her shower. My sister, typically his favorite, is now on his shit list because she cooked, cleaned and invaded HIS territory and did things he feels HE should be doing.

I should be in the clear-I live fairly close, so I'm not there for extended stays. I'll probably be cooking stuff at my house and bringing it over, preventing the freakout that I'm using HIS kitchen. I've been on his shit list before-he didn't like my first husband, so he didn't talk to me for the nine years I was with that man, and for a couple of years afterwards. I can deal with him being pissed at me-but I won't deal with him complaining about the help mom is getting!

Bright news, a house around the corner is listed (and will sell) at double what it was purchased for last year! Yea, exciting to be house rich and cash poor. At least it's a temporary thing.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Internet woes

I tried to get online all day yesterday, the blasted Roadrunner must have been caught by Wile E Coyote!

I've been volunteered to drive my sister to the airport this morning. It was a good thing I called to do my daily check in, otherwise, she'd have been sitting at mom's waiting for me! This will be good, we've been talking daily about Mom's progress, now I'll get the complete picture without having to talk in hushed tones.

Back later tonight. Hoping the Roadrunner has gotten away for good...meep meep.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Ramifications of smoking and denial

Okay, this blog will be heavy on the crap associated with smoking and what it does to people.

Here's why: On July 16, 2005, my husband's sister lost her battle with lung cancer. She had been a lifelong smoker and had only quit the year before when hospitalized for esophogeal cancer. She'd been given the all clear on her esophogus in February, only to discover in early June that she had multiple lesions on her bones and then they discovered the lung cancer.

Currently, my mom is battling small cell lung cancer AND several large, cancerous tumors in her abdomen. She's been in denial about it-and probably will be until the end. She does not want to believe that all those cigarettes she didn't inhale could pockmark her lungs and make her life miserable. She didn't think it could happen to her, even when my dad (her ex) had cancer and had first his thyroid, then his voice box removed as a direct result of smoking. After all, he smoked two packs of unfiltered Camels a day and she only smoked a pack of Marlboros.

Based on what the doctors told my eldest sister, we'll be lucky if she makes it until Christmas.

A little over a year ago, my family made the move to Florida. Many factors were involved in the decision, but I think the reason why we hadn't moved years earlier is because I had to accept that I'd be the primary caretaker for several of our loved ones on both sides of the family if we did this. I'm okay with that-I just didn't expect it to happen so soon.

I'm already a casualty of the smoking that occurred in my house when I was a kid-seven smokers, one house=asthma for me. I was diagnosed at seven years old, but only discovered this last year. In using my inhalers when staying with Mom, she commented that the doctor told her that I had asthma, but didn't believe him. I suffered through bronchitis all winter, every winter as a kid until I sought out an ENT and an allergist as an adult with new health insurance of my own. I can surmise that the pediatrician told her that she (and everyone else) had to quit smoking, and that was the end of that.

Whenever the topic of smoking came up, my mom was convinced that her smoking wouldn't kill her. I think the denial she's got right now is from discovering that the cancer she is afflicted with happens ONLY to smokers.

It's hard to not be angry at the tobacco companies and their marketing departments for making it look so cool to smoke back in the 40's, 50's and 60's. It is hard to fathom, for a non smoker, why someone would want to inhale something that smells so nasty. It doesn't appear that it causes the user to get happy, euphoric or feel good like other drugs or alcohol.

My sons both, at the tender ages of 6 and 9, have seen the end results of cancer-they went to New York to be with their aunt for the last two weeks of her life. They know that cancer took both grandfathers. My mom wants them around-and I do, too. It's made a lifelong impression-and I'm sure my rather vocal younger son will not hesitate to tell his peers when they offer him a cigarette someday "Hey, I lost three grandparents to smoking, no way will I take that".

Friday, September 30, 2005

Welcome

Hi. I am finally diving into blogging, as a friend has suggested for quite some time. I'm one of those people who thrives on being busy, so why not add another thing to the 'things to do' list?

My life provides a lot of fodder for something like this-I'm always formulating essays in my head. For a while, I was writing sample articles for a column I was going to call "A techie chick looks at life"...never went anywhere with it. Taking the time to shop my work was a daunting prospect.

So, Heather, here ya go. I jumped into the blog pool. Its just fine, thank you!

Later, musings on children with disabilities, parents with cancer, people who perform random acts of kindness and things that only a Disney freak would find interesting. Oh yeah, probably a healthy dose of laughter at my mishaps will occur. Why not? I laugh at myself ofen.

Suzanne