Wednesday, August 31, 2005

At Dean's

I'm having a very good time.

Yesterday we drove to Crawford. We spent about 20 minutes at the Peace House and then headed for Camp Casey. It's pretty much the way you see it on the blogs. A lot of tents along the side of the road, signs and those crosses. The Repubs are camped out across the street. Nobody was doing any yelling and the peaceniks and the hawks all parked alongside each other.

We got to Casey 2 at around 1:30. They had just finished lunch. They called for volunteers to go work in the kitchen so we went over there. The big tent was mostly empty, maybe 40 people there. We jumped in and got to work cleaning steam trays and utensils and putting food away. The woman who was handling the kitchen had to leave and she put Dean in charge. We started making stuff for dinner. We made 2 HUGE salads and some bean dip/burrito filling, which turned out pretty fabulous considering our primitive conditions. Actually, conditions were not that primitive. They had 2 big commercial stoves and 2 warming ovens, a big ice truck and a refrigerator trailer. All that, along with the HUGE tent and all the tables and chairs were rented using the money that was donated to the Peace House.

We were told that pizzas were going to be ordered for dinner to have with the salads and burritos, but they FORGOT to order them. People started coming in from Casey 1 and there were no pizzas. We put out the bean dip and chips and tortillas to get them started. Someone ordered the pizzas. Everybody was pretty hungry so they were very glad to have the beans.

After a little while Cindy appeared. She kind of breezed by our table but didn't stop to talk. She's a busy woman. We hung out for a while longer and then turned the kitchen duties over to someone else and left. We didn't wait for the pizza or the awesome looking, huge chocolate cake that was being saved for dessert. It was 7:30 and we had a long drive home.

Today they're packing up. All the non-perishable leftover food is being sent to New Orleans. This evening Cindy is coming to Austin for a big rally. Dean and I are going to the movies and then the rally. We even painted signs this morning! Dean has a peace symbol and mine says NOT ONE MORE on one side and BRING THEM HOME on the other. Look for us on the news.

No, you won't see us on the news unless it floods here and we have to be picked off a rooftop. That's our other major activity; watching the news. I feel like a big wimp being nervous about flying close to a hurricane. We barely felt a bump.

More to come...

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Wish me luck

'cause I'm flying into a hurricane.

Well, close anyway. I have to change planes in Houston which, on the weather map, looks like it's about 5 miles from the bleeping EYE WALL. They're cancelling flights into Louisiana and Mississippi but not Texas. I'm going to trust that those pilots know what they're doing. Remember when Dad and I flew into Denver? We had to abort the landing because SOMEONE wasn't paying attention and we got too close to the plane in front of us. I'm thinking these guys will be verrry alert because I'll bet it's going to be bumpy.

So, have a great week, everybody!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I'm going to Texas

But don't tell anybody. Well, you can talk amongst yourselves but don't tell Dad and don't tell the relatives. I'm not planning to visit them. I'm going to Austin.

Since I decided to relax about dealing with Dad and letting go of my deadline I figured there's no reason for me not to go. I'm going to spend a week with Dean. I'm also going to do something a little crazy. I'm going to Crawford. Am I a radical extremist, or what?

Dean's already been. She spent a day there cleaning and organizing the kitchen at the Peace House and she visited Camp Casey. She peeled potatoes. She and her sister are going back this Saturday. That's when the big event is. The Astroturf Caravan is pulling into town to "neutralize" Cindy. Hmmm, I doubt it.

She and I are going there on Tuesday. I'm excited about seeing this little piece of history in the making. I'm thinking things will probably be calmed down after the big weekend. Cindy is leaving the next day. We'll lend a hand wherever we can.

But the main reason for this trip is to have fun visiting my best bud. I don't want to take any time to visit relatives. I saw them just a few months ago when I went with Dad. I'm pretty sure they'd be miffed about me not visiting and I know they'd be majorly snarled about my lending my support to the enemy (Y'know, those Americans who are exercising their rights. The ones who are shoving Bush's big fat failure right back in his face. Those people). Just today I got an e-mail from my cousin about Jane (How Many Times Do I Have To Apologize?) Fonda. Boy, my relatives sure don't know me!

Jim is going to be handling the Dad stuff while I'm gone. Thank you, Jim! When it comes to taking care of Dad, he does more than his fair share. He does his best to keep me from getting too stressed.

I'm not sure if taking this trip is exactly the right thing to do. Part of me feels I should stay home and charge on. But I also think if I don't do this now I might not be able to get away for a long time. Anyway, the ticket is bought. I'm going.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Ok, let's try this

Walking up Mt. Rubidoux is good for thinking, too.

I'm giving up the schedule. I'll keep plugging away and work towards getting the workshops going but I'm not going to get stressed over when they'll start. The first workshop might not be about Halloween. I'll just have to do that one next year.

Jim is going to work on getting finished with the appraisal class as soon as possible. We have a contact in the biz and it's possible he could start working before he gets his license. Then we'd have some money coming in. It's better than nothing.

I might get a Christmas job. I should be able to handle doing that and take care of Dad. I can still work on Rancho Curioso when I get the time. After Christmas we'll reassess the situation.

So, I'll keep doing what I'm doing and not get all stressed about Dad's interruptions. If it takes longer, so be it. We'll just need to find a way to make some money, even if it's not a lot.

Ok then.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Gotta walk off this tension

Every day, sometimes several times a day, Jim and I have to stop what we're doing and deal with Dad. Usually he just stops by for no good reason. He just wants to "shoot the bull" which in English means WASTE EVERYBODY'S TIME. Some days it's no big deal (other than making my chest tight) but right now we have a lot that we're trying to accomplish and it's hard to keep a momentum going if Dad shows up 3 or 4 times a day.

Today he called up and said he's feeling guilty for not visiting Grace and since Corny and Grace took such an interest in me because of my painting I should go with him and visit her. He was laying it on pretty thick. For one thing, Corny and Grace never took a special interest in me. Not really. Also, I don't agree with their politics so spending any time in a room with Grace and Dad would be excruciating. I think Dad wants me to go because he knows he can't carry on a normal conversation and he needs my help.

I told him I would go but really, if he wants to visit his friends he should just do that and not drag me into it. I told him I don't want to be there for longer than an hour. He called Grace to find out when would be a good time and they had a good long conversation over the phone. I told him maybe we'd go next week sometime. I'm hoping he'll forget about it by then.

I know this sounds pissy but I feel like we already give a large portion of our day just dealing with his basic needs and his interruptions. Dean offered to pay for me to fly to Texas for a visit and I turned her down because I'm trying to get my workshops going and I need to try stick to my schedule, which is already way off. The day is coming where more of my time will be taken up taking care of Dad so I really want to use the time I have now to get things off the ground.

Ugh! So, I'm pretty tense right now. Jim and I are going to Mt. Rubidoux.

But really, right now I want to go someplace and scream.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Unsticking the stuckness

I think this is going to be something I'll have to do from time to time as a sort of life maintenence. This is a new thing for me. I'll be energized, motivated and inspired for a while then it starts to wane and I start feeling like I'm spinning my wheels. Then I'll start to worry about my ability to achieve my goals. Doubts start creeping in big time.

And then I'll roll up my mental sleeves and get to work. Tonight was another one of those great brain blasts that I've been having in the last 2 years that keep me moving forward. I took inventory of my situation and the stuckness started to unravel. Here's my list.

Get the downstairs cleaned up.-- I need help moving the furniture out of the workshop area and into the bedroom. The chemicals in the kitchen need to be moved into the closet. Our boxes need to go into the container. Do something about the moisture damage on the bathroom wall. Repair the work table and paint the legs. Get 12 good church chairs out of the cupboard and clean them. Paint them if there's time. Clean up driveway and move that stuff out. Clean up parking area and pull the weeds. General cleaning inside.

Finish Jeff's uke case.-- Get paperboard for the lid and bottom of the case. Cover them with batting and velvet. Cover the top and bottom with the outer fabric. Cover the poster board strips for the sides of the case and lid. Jim wire up the light unit. Get buttons for the closure and figure out the strap. Get cord for the "seat belt".

Build first project, The Prop Head-- Come up with a better name than "prop head". Record the steps, cost and how long it takes to do the project.

Go see Cee Ann at Tiggywinkles-- I met Cee Ann last Halloween. Her son lives across the street from Kevin's, which is where we do our Halloween decorating. She really liked the display and she was very interested in one of the prop heads. We chatted a little and I gave her some of my paper. We talked a little about me making a prop head for her that she can use as a display in her store but it didn't get much further than that. I'd like to do a mannequin with interchangeable heads that she can use all year round. That's kind of an involved project for a later date. Anyway...

I want to go talk to her about making a head for her shop. I want to see if she'll let me leave some flyers for the workshop on her counter in exchange for the head. She's always been so helpful, maybe she'll go for it. I also want to talk to her about finding a cheap mannequin somewhere that we can turn into a year round display piece. Her resources might be better than mine.

Other areas of stuckness--
Getting serious about my diet. I'm exercising again and I'm happy about that but I really need to do the whole thing if I'm going to make any progress. I lost some weight and it felt great. I know I've gained some back and I want to get it off again as soon as possible so I can feel good again.

How am I going to achieve my goals AND be Dad's primary caregiver? That day is coming and I have to figure out how to make it work. When Jim and I have to spend too much time dealing with Dad it knocks us off track. There has to be a way to include the Dad stuff and still be able to take care of business. Today Dad came over 3 times. I know that as time goes on he'll be coming over more often.

Ok, that's enough for now. I feel this is something I can work with in the next few weeks.

Gotta keep moving forward.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Two and a half hours

That's how long we sat here with Dad explaining how to do his diabetes testing and talking in circles about what we need to do to sell his land.

He absolutely cannot do his own diabetes testing anymore. I wish we could have filmed this session because it was amazing. He couldn't understand why it's so difficult to do now when it was so easy a few weeks ago. We told him (as gently as we could) that he can expect it to be this way from now on. So starting tomorrow morning we're going to do all of his testing. I'm going to go over there every day at 8am and do his fasting test. Then I'll test him 2 hours after meals.

He wanted to get his meds from me. He had a bit of a fight about it, nothing big. I agreed to let him have one of the meds because he's incorporated it into his routine and it's going to run out soon anyway.

We need to set up a little meeting to discuss what the next step will be to sell his land. He has it in his mind that Scotty's friend, Patrick, is going to handle the whole thing. We have to get it cleared up soon and sign up with a realtor. He keeps getting cold calls and he has one woman mailing him comps. We need to get things locked in so we can get rid of all these other people. Dad thinks he's going to get a realtor to give him money up front. We went round and round trying to get him to understand that that's not the way it works. After a while we gave up.

Jim is a saint. That was an exhausting session.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Outa, outa shape

Kee-ripes! I went up Mt. Rubidoux with Jeff last night and by myself tonight. I hadn't been up there since just before we went on vacation. When we got back there was a big ol' heat wave and then I got sick after going to Mexico. It's been about a month since I've had any real exercise. Golly gosh, I sure can tell!

So, back to it!!!!!! Knock back the calories and crank up the activity. I like it better that way, anyway. Jim's shin splint is all better so he can start walking again. The weather is cooling down. No excuses. And dammit, no more injuries!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Dad's elbow

Today we went to the VA emergency room because Dad's elbow has flared up somethin' awful. He had an appointment with Dr. Griffin for Monday but the pain and swelling are too bad for him to wait. After futzing around in the ER for half an hour they sent us to Dr. Griffin. She drained a little fluid from the elbow that she sent off for testing. The swelling is mostly from inflammation, not excess fluid. She sent us home with an antibiotic (the same one he OD'd on some months back), something for inflammation and some Vicodin. I was concerned about Dad having these new meds and asked her if I should keep them at my house. She said I should have ALL of Dad's meds at my house, in fact she insisted on it. I came up with a compromise. I'll keep the new meds at my house and dole them out and monitor the meds he already has.

She pulled me out into the hall for a chat. She said she thinks he's slipping and we have to be very careful about keeping his diabetes under control and keeping him on track with his meds. She said if David wants to call her she'd be very happy to talk to him.

I thought Dad would be pissed about her and I leaving the room for a chat but he seemed fine with it. He also didn't mind me taking the new meds home. He's been very friendly and cooperative this last week. I think on some level he knows that he's slipping so he's willing to accept more help and give up some control.

He's definitely more foggy now. I have to explain things over and over. And then five minutes later I have to explain it all again. I worry about his driving. He eats all of his meals in restaurants which is probably the reason he's gained so much weight. I wonder if we're getting close to the point where he needs round the clock care. Calling him to ask if he's taken his meds just doesn't cut it.

So, ok.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Disaster week

Ok, we've had enough. Uncle.

I'm having a hard time typing this. My muscles are still a bit messed up. Two hours ago I felt like total crap but I think I've turned the corner now. Now I know what Montezuma's Revenge feels like.

Lindsay's two best buds from highschool are visiting this week. Thursday we (minus Paige) went to Mexico for the day. We had a great time drinking Margaritas and eating lobster and shopping for trinkets. Friday, Chelsey and David took off on their own to go explore Riverside while Lindsay went to see her boyfriend who just got back from England. Jim and I went to Ken's to go swimming. We got a call from Chelsey saying that her car had broken down. Jim and I left Ken's and went downtown to help Chelsey and David deal with the car. While we were doing that Chelsey started feeling ill. We thought it was because she had been in the heat for too long but now I'm thinking it was the beginning of our Mexican bug experience.

Saturday, Chelsey and David spent most of the day in bed. Sunday, Lindsay and I started feeling sick. Jim was fine. He didn't drink the Margaritas at Porto Nuevo. Wise boy. Sunday was also the day that the septic system decided to explode. This was a MAJOR inconvenience because there were 4 people in this house who seriously needed functioning toilets. Jim went to Home Depot and bought a sewer snake which took care of the problem.

This week we also had a power surge in the middle of the night which worked mischief on some of our appliances. Our washing machine seems to have lost its mind. We haven't worked on it yet because it's been really hot and I've been too sick to help Jim. Our washer and dryer are in a tight space and it takes some maneuvering to get them out. We'll probably mess with that tomorrow.

Hoo boy, I felt miserable. My arms and legs felt like sand bags. Every muscle hurt. I was clammy. And oh yeah, it's good that the bathroom is only about 7 steps away from my bed. Moan, groan, moan, groan. But I'm better now.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Dog gone

I called a bunch of rescue groups today. No one could take the dog. One person said I should take him to the pound because people usually go there to find their lost dogs. So that's what I did. I sat there for an hour while they called nine times for someone to come and take him to a kennel.

We ran an ad in the paper and put up 20 flyers in the neighborhood. He didn't get along with Gracie and Boz and they got to where they were afraid to go outside. He would attack Gracie every chance he got. We were ready to see him go. Who knows, he may get adopted. He's young and he's very sweet with people.

Lindsay's back from Davis and she brought Chelsey and David with her. They'll be here for a week. Chelsey looks awesome! She's so thin. They both seem so grown up. We first met them when they were in middle school.

We might be going to Mexico tomorrow. Ole.