Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Dede, don't leave us!!!!!

She's going home tomorrow. Whatever shall we do? She's been keeping Dad occupied at the house while the rest of us have been down selling trees. Everything is running smoothly. Once Dede is gone Dad will have nothing better to do than come down to the sales shed and make us crazy.

Tonight Dede told me Dad wants to be trained on how to do credit card transactions. We didn't get a phone-connected credit card machine this year because B of A doesn't have a record of us returning the machine we had last year (I mailed it back to them myself). No problem, we've just been telling customers we don't take credit cards. We did get a manual machine but we have to call to get every transaction authorized. That means calling an 800 number, entering a 15 digit merchant number, entering the card number, the expiration date, the date of the sale and the amount. Dad can't even dial a 7 digit phone number if it isn't already familiar to him.

He wants to have flocking available. We already decided we weren't going to offer flocking this year. We're going to flock one tree for his friend at the bank but that's it. After that, Drew is going to "break" the flocking machine.

We've knocked the prices way down this year. Dad is sometimes ok with that, sometimes waaaay not ok. This could be a fiasco with the customers and the cutters. I know Lindsay and Paige aren't going to want to put up with him messing with the prices. When he gets going he can be very mean. The girls won't deal with it, they'll leave. We've warned the cutters about him but they have no idea how nasty he can get.

His AD has gotten worse. Tonight on the way to dinner he couldn't grasp what we were trying to explain to him. He was getting flustered, on the verge of anger. Dede and Jim have told me about some of the conversations they've had with him recently. He really is getting more and more out of whack.

We're all working very hard selling these money-losing Christmas trees. After Dede leaves we'll be dealing with Dad and trying to head off disaster over and over throughout the day. I should try to be optimistic.

But I know it's going to suck.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Tree season

So far, so good.

We had a bit of a rough start but Dad seemed to calm down after a while. I think once he saw that the whole place wasn't going to fall apart because we were running things he was able to let go a little. Today it actually got pretty busy in the middle of the day. Pretty good for being so early.

We've knocked the prices way down. Dad's trees have been overpriced for years and I'm sure it's hurt his business. We also did a LOT of cleanup work. Drew took down all the dangerous electrical wiring that was hanging in the pepper trees. The whole place looks pretty good and it's MUCH safer.

Dede and David were able to keep Dad occupied a lot of the time which reeeeally helped. David and the boys have gone home now. Dede will be here a few more days. We'll see how it goes after she leaves. Dad behaves himself when Dede and David are here.

These are some long days. I'll be glad when it's all over.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

It was a pleasant one. We went to Ken and Sherri's.

I got up this morning and made a sweet potato cheesecake and some cornbread chorizo stuffing. These recipes were in this month's Sunset magazine. They were contest winners so I was intrigued.

I'd never made a cheesecake before so maybe it wasn't a good idea to make my first one for the family Thanksgiving. It kinda didn't turn out. I was supposed to have the cake pan sit in a bigger pan filled with water but I didn't have one that was big enough. The center didn't set up. But the outer 3 inches were delicious.

The stuffing turned out just fine. I made 2 pans of it. Good thing. When I was transferring the smaller one to the carrying basket it turned over. Fortunately I had lined the basket with a clean dish cloth so it was salvageable. I left that one home and took the good one.

Paige went to Rory's aunt's for Thanksgiving. TV's Kyle came with us to Ken's. After dinner we went out to the studio and had a goofy jam. We messed around with some of Kyle's originals and some They Might Be Giants songs. Kyle played accordion and drums. Lindsay and I sang and Jim did his usual keyboard thing. Lindsay gave an impressive performance of a Tally Hall rap. Ken joined us for the last few songs. We had a good time. Kyle is fun.

Now we're home recovering.

Monday, November 21, 2005


I'm kind of amazed at how good I feel right now. I went up Rubidoux with Jeff tonight and I had no knee problems at all. Plus, I went a little faster. I've been taking glucosamine for a couple weeks and I think it's made a difference. Also, today I bought some kelp and took it before the walk. I've been out of that for a while. A few years ago when I was feeling run down I started taking kelp and my energy bounced right back.

So, I don't know if it's because I'm over my cold or if it's the exercise or the supplements. It sure feels good to feel good.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Mister McGoo of Central Avenue

Yesterday everyone was here. Drew was using a tractor to smooth out the ruts in the driveways. Everyone else showed up here to meet and pick up Dad and go to a big RCC football game in Torrance. The kids were playing, the adults were hanging out and Dad was on a low blood sugar rampage.

He hadn't eaten all day. Looking back I guess I should have shoved a sandwich in his face much earlier but usually he'll eat right after morning meds. Yesterday he kept getting sidetracked. So he's driving around the farm in his car "managing" every activity. Bud Lyon's crew was here tagging trees, David the junk guy was here. At one point he snagged Paige, Tori and Audra and put them to work figuring out price percentages on cut trees. Ok, we're not even getting any cut trees this year. He saw the girls and thought they needed to be put to work. And he wasn't nice about it, either. They made the excuse that they needed to find a calculator and left.

At one point I saw him eating an apple so at least he had that. I left to go to Subway to get sandwiches for everyone. When I got back Jim told me that Dad had run his car into one of Bud's trucks. I guess he banged it pretty good. Dad was acting like it was no big deal but I'm pretty sure everyone else was upset about it. I got back after things had died down a bit but everyone was still walking around giving each other exasperated looks.

They left for the game, the girls stayed here. We decided to go to the movies (Except Jim. He was in hardware mode). We saw Zathura. I thought it was pretty good except there were some holes in the story that didn't get fully explained. The character of the sister wasn't fully fledged. The movie needed a little more cooking.

When we got home I set up the beading stuff in the living room and helped Audra and Tori make some bracelets. They were watching something completely lame on the Disney channel. When that show was over another one came on that was even worse. I suggested we watch Jumanji because we had just seen its sequel but they so totally were not interested because this gem of a piece of shit show was on Disney.

They left at around 10:30. To purge my system I watched Hedwig And The Angry Inch.

Today we're having our family Thanksgiving at Stacey's. No turkey. We're making a very nice steak dinner. So, I'd better get to the store.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Let's knock this one around.

Yesterday was the first time in about 3 weeks that I walked up Mt. Rubidoux. Mostly it's because I've had this nasty cold that is taking forever to go away. I feel better now but I still have some residual crud. At least my energy is back.

But boy, I've lost some ground with my fitness level. Tonight I went up there with Jeff and I know I was going too slow for him, especially on the way back down. My knees have been bothering me. Not good.

I haven't really been able to get back on the weightloss wagon and make it stick. I've had several false starts. Pretty frustrating. And now my knees hurt when I exercise and I wake up with a backache every morning. I'm also borderline diabetic. This weight has got to go.

But I need some help. I need structure and accountability. Years ago I was part of a Thin Within group that was started by some friends and it was very helpful. A few years later I was in a group that was run by the hospital in Santa Rosa. Didn't like that one. So, I'm thinking I might start my own weightloss/general health group. I'd like to meet once a month and start another blog that would be used only by group members. I'd probably structure the meetings like the Thin Within group because I thought that worked really well.

I'm thinking of inviting only family and friends at first. Just about everyone I know has weight issues. Sharing ideas and experiences could be helpful. With so much going on in our lives it's easy to let the diet and exercise efforts fall by the wayside. Having a group to answer to would help me stay on track. So far I've talked to Jim and Jeff about this and they think it's a good idea.

Anyone else?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Low blood sugar

Dad's numbers are hovering in the 70s today and they don't seem to want to come up after a meal. Right now I'm waiting for a call back from the nurse at the VA. Dad's energy is very low and this morning his hands were shaking. He's been sleeping most of the day. Jim went to the store to buy him some milk and some small cans of fruit juices that we can keep here for emergencies.

I don't think he's in the danger zone but it concerns me that the number doesn't come up much after he eats. Most days his blood sugar is around 180 to 190, sometimes up above 200.


Ok, I just went over there. He's eaten, he feels better and his glucose is 94. I guess we're ok for today.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The day started with a bang.

Actually, a phone call.

This morning at 7:15 Dad called. He was yelling. He demanded to know where his keys were. He accused me of taking them. At first he was accusing me of taking all of his keys. Then he said he found his house keys in the front door lock, which is where he had left them when he got home last night. But he was yelling at me like I had taken his keys and then stuck them in his lock and left them there.

So then he's yelling about his car keys. Over and over I explained that I didn't take them, that David was the last person to drive his car. Dad's yelling that he doesn't want anyone, not even his kids to have copies of his keys. Not to his car, not to his door, NOTHING. I said, too late, we already have copies. I told him to call David.

Later when I went over there for morning meds he was all nice and normal. He said David had taped them to the back of his bedroom mirror. I'm thinking, why the hell would he do that and not tell anybody? Later I found out that David had told him and everyone else (except us) and that the last thing Drew said to Dad last night was, "Your keys are taped to the mirror".


Later today Drew came over and I went over to see what was up. Drew was down at the sales shed checking on the bees. Yes, bees. A swarm of bees have taken up residence in the big, hollow pepper tree right next to the sales shed. There are 3 holes that the bees are using as doorways and the lowest one is about 4 feet up. The bees must go. Yesterday Drew sprayed them trying to get the queen upset enough to take the swarm and leave. Today he came back and sprayed them again. We decided to fill the tree holes with expando foam to either chase them out or seal them up. Just as it was getting dark we went down to check on them.

Dad decided he was going to slap a ladder against the tree and climb up and get a good look. We kept telling him not to do that but he was determined. We kept telling him to put the ladder down but he wouldn't do it. I said, "How big a ball of bees do you want attacking your head?" We finally got him to listen to what we were trying to tell him. It was getting dark so it was hard to see that at the top of one branch was a baseball sized clump of bees. Drew and I figured the queen was in the middle of that ball and they were going to spend the night there and then leave in the morning. Dad couldn't see the ball so he wouldn't believe us. It took a while but he finally saw it. Fine, don't believe your kids. Grrrr....

Earlier we had another fight. He'd been acting like a complete ass to me, barking orders. He was like that a few times this weekend when Dede and David were here and we were all working to get the place ready for tree season. I managed to talk him into giving me the keys to the sales shed, the front gate and his car so I could go get copies made. He wanted to go with me to Home Depot but he was being such a jerk I didn't want to be around him. He yelled, "Don't you turn your back and walk away from me! You shut your mouth and listen..." I cut him off. I said, "You've been acting like a jerk all day, you woke me up this morning with a bogus complaint and I'm not going to stay here and take this!" I turned and left. It felt good.

I know he's not at all teachable. I know that. But the days where he can bully me are over. We're all working to try to help him. We're all going to be here for tree season TO HELP HIM. Jim and I are putting our lives on hold TO HELP HIM. There is no way in hell that I'm going to put up with his abuse. So, even though there's no way he'll ever change and he won't even remember what happened it still feels good to be able to turn away from him when he's being abusive. I couldn't do that when I was a kid. I had to take it.

The Agavero is in the freezer. Later, I'm going to sit on the front porch, play some solitaire, drink some chilled tequila and enjoy the view. It's very clear tonight.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Golly, what a day.

I'm blasted. A lot of things happened today and most of it I can't talk about here. Family stuff, not to be shared. Nothing bad, just reeeally interesting. Well, to me anyway.

So I'm feeling a little worn out. Every day life is this mix of good and bad occurances and situations. I think I'm weathering it all pretty well right now. And... I feel a momentum building.

Or maybe it's the Agavero. I'm unwinding.

I finally feel good today. My energy came back. I'm looking forward to cleaning my house tomorrow (it's gotten really bad). I want to walk up Mt. Rubidoux. It's been almost 2 weeks since I last did that. Jim and I completed the file project this morning. Everything's tip top. Next, I want to start on the garage.

It's getting busy fast. Friday, Dede and David and the boys are coming down. We're having dinner at Stacey's and then have a meeting about recent stuff and the upcoming tree season. Monday, my cousin Jill and her family are coming to visit. They'll be here for dinner, again at Stacey's. After that, Thanksgiving, tree season and Christmas. That's the momentum I was talking about.

Man, I'm so glad my cold is gone.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Happy Birthday to Jim!

The stars just didn't line up right for this one. I'm sick and both girls had other things to do. We'll have to give him a proper one on another day.

But I can at least say thank you for being so supportive and forgiving during these rough times. I'm very lucky. I found the right person to share my life with. He has always treated me with love, kindness and respect. I feel accepted for who I am. He's always trying to make my life easier.

Coming back here has been hard for him, especially since Dad now has Alzheimer's. All our big ideas have been put on hold and he's been just great about it.

I could make a very long list but I'm still sick and my energy is waning. Everyone who reads this blog knows Jim so they know what I'm talking about. I just wanted to say I've got a great guy and I love him very much.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


I'm sick.

It started coming on last night. This morning it was a full blown sore throat with congestion. Dammit!!!! I don't need this! I've got things to do!

Oh well.

My GTD file project is almost done. Man, it's been slow going but my files are beeyouteefull. I just have to pull in the stragglers and then it will be done. Next, I'll get Halloween packed up and then we can start on the workshop. Then the studio, then the bedroom. Good stuff, baby!

Bud Lyon's crew has been here the last couple days. Timio's had his boys out there cleaning up the pepper trees and debris. It looks like we'll just need to clean up the sales shed area. We need to get together and talk about how the tree season is going to go. We're not hiring any employees this year so services will probably need to be cut back, like no drilling the trees for stands. We're not getting any Oregon trees either.

Bleah, I'm going back to bed.