Monday, October 30, 2006

Everything seems to require a longer explanation than is necessary to tell the actual story. I bore myself.

Yesterday the kitchen sink would not drain. Q took the newer pvc joint apart but it was blocked beyond that. Pricey Plumbers will come Wednesday to see about that.

Respiratory Therapists have been coming here to fit me with a new face mask for my night time ventilator machine.
The mask I have been using has nasal "pillows" which fit in the nose and a rigid headgear which goes over the head and holds the hose the air passes through. The new mask is nose "pillows" and mouth and chin cone which will keep my mouth from flopping open and air escaping.

It is difficult getting this new mask on. Maybe impossible. I'm so tired at night I hate to struggle putting it on. Yet I know it is important to make the effort. Today I will tackle putting it on mid-day and use it for an hour. When it is on I cannot speak. This guarantees phone calls.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Roomba is sheltered on the front porch awaiting pickup by a charity resale shop. He has only been used a couple dozen times. He has always been quirky and required total attention. I would put him down and he would start vacuuming then stop. I'd have to kneel down, turn him over and inspect his nether regions to see what was amiss.

Now that I have Tabitha Roomba isn't needed. If only Tabitha could hum Roomba's startup tune.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

One of my favorite breakfasts is soft boiled eggs on buttered toast.

Place an egg in a pan of cold water and bring to a "Full Rolling Boil". ( I can still hear my mother's voice as she gave me instructions.) Turn off the heat and set the timer for three minutes. Then place the egg under cold water until cool enough to touch. Tap the middle of the shell to halve the egg. With a spoon scoop out the contents on the toast.

This has always been tricky for me to do using only one hand but lately is full of frustration. I burn my fingers and the shell gets into the egg. So I stopped eating them. Then Sunday I soft boiled three eggs and had Q carefully remove the shells and refrigerate them whole. Today I took one out and microwaved it with a little butter. It was quick and the yellow was still soft and I didn't make a mess.

When you hard boil an egg and store it in the refrigerator you make faces on them with a marker so you know raw from cooked. But peeled eggs just lie there looking naked and shivery. There's always a downside to mass production.

Monday, October 23, 2006

When I came home from the hospital after surviving polio in 1949 I had many visitors. It became quite a chore cheering those sad eyed folks up. But people couldn't handle a negative me. So I became attuned to the needs of my visitors and through the years made them laugh and forget how sad looking at me made them feel.

Apparently I have lost this ability. The Friday breakfast which I found very entertaining was not seen that way by everyone. They thought I was angry at them. It's hard to respond to people who think you are mad when you are just being you. I don't want to have to put on a phony cheerful face to people who should know better. I don't know if I have the grace to make the effort. Do people still "get mad" at people outside of high school?

In the meantime Tabitha made an appearance and did a bang up job of cleaning house. I complimented her on turning off her cell phone while she was here and she appreciated the credit. I may invite her for breakfast next time. At least she knows what makes me happy and what makes me mad.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Social Workers brought breakfast yesterday. They enjoyed a 30 minute hike around the neighborhood while I made the coffee.

I have a white round pedestal table in the kitchen. When there are four of us the conversation flows. There were five yesterday and we kept splitting up into sub groups. I hate that. I want to be a part of All of it. This means I'm inattentive to both groups of conversation while trying to sift out what is being said.

I had asked Sue to keep a look out for a wide straw that I might use for soups. She came in with a six foot long pvc pipe that she hacksawed into 6 inch "straws". I gamely tried it out on water but it was like trying to siphon gasoline out of a tank. The pump needed priming. Penny browbeat a Pannera employee for 25 latte staws for her "poor little friend" and negotiated to purchase 1000 at a later date. I haven't sipped that much soup in my life much less my golden years.

Sue brought 7 dinners in Rubbermaid containers. I have not bought Rubbermaid products for years because I was unable to manage opening them. She knew this but said these would be easier and she was right. They are easier to open. She is a good cook and that afternoon I had spinach ravioli with meat sauce. Delicious.

Penny and Sue have found a woman who has a niece who would provide personal care for me. They are ready to sign her up. But a step like that is major and I had to ask them to back off. I have to get my head around the concept first. After they left I ran the dishwasher and went back to bed for three hours. Looking in a mirror of your
daily life can be tiring.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Once upon a time we had a six foot tall plastic blow up dinosaur. Every Halloween we would blow him up and stand him inside the front door. My job was to slooowly open the door so the first glimpse trick or treaters got was the fiendish dinosaur. The little ones hid behind daddy and whimpered. The older ones were speechless.

One year I lost interest. I cleaned out the garage and the dinosaur skin. Every child that knocked on the door that year was ready to be terrified. "Where is it?" they would ask. They didn't want my Snickers bars. They wanted the scary dinosaur.

I don't turn on the lights anymore and I close the blinds. No one knocks. You get back what you give.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Yesterday I wrote a long piece on my trip to the post-polio doctor. Then the processor made a burbling sound and Blogspot ate everything up.

Today I wrote about that and started something else about Halloween. My arm twitched and the computer went "thunk" and that was gobbled up also. I know all about saving but this is ridiculous.

I read other people's blogs daily. They are my morning cup of coffee. They write about their real life. They are not posers. But the next time they miss a post I'm going to be less inconvenienced. Maybe Blogspot gobbled them too.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I've always been a worrier. When I worked I played out the days events over and over in my mind until I dropped off to sleep. When I retired I learned to think about the same thing every night if I wanted to sleep.

Originally I would win the Lotto. Then I would divvy the money up and share it with friends and family. This got so boring I would drop off to sleep quickly. Then people in my head started complaining. "Sure, she gave us a house but who will pays the utility bills?" So drifting off to sleep became harder. Ungrateful wretches.

Next I wrote a complete script for a Seinfeld show. It became so hard to write the same script in my head over and over I decided to write the Seinfeld Opera. A rhyming score is easier to replicate. But I hadn't realized that Elaine Benice could be such a bitch. Scheming, uncooperative diva. I had to replace her with myself. I knew the score. ZZZZZZZZZZZ.

Waking up early never bothered me. Thoreau said "I awake with the dawn in me." Then a sleep test showed my legs doing the boogaloo all night long. I was diagnosed with restless leg syndrome and they gave me a drug called Requip. I knew my muscles were sore when I woke up but until the test didn't give it much thought since I slept through it.

Lately the Requip needed some backup support and they added Neontin. That works so effectively I may never get the Seinfeld opera completed. And Kramer has such a powerful Gomer Pyle aria in the second act.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Last time Pricey Plumber was here he charged $89 to unclog a sink. He came back yesterday to fix the "pop up blah blah" in both bathroom sinks for $365. He carried out a pile of pipes including the u-joint he had de-clogged previously. That didn't surprise me. The man has overhead.

What puzzled me was in the master bath he replaced the toilet paper with a fresh roll. And in the hall bathroom he put the seat lid down. I guess it's those extra little touches that keep customers coming back.

Friday, October 13, 2006

I learned early not to cross the King. I treat him like royalty and he has been a wonderful son-in-law. When I was at the Castle in July Q sliced the ball of her thumb severely and bandaged it. The next day the King demanded she rip off the gauze and put Neosporin on the wound. She wanted to soak the bandage off but he said she was delaying action and willfully ignoring him.

It had been a full 24 hours since the injury so I inquired as to the rush for action. And he yelled at me! I have never been yelled at ever in my life. He later explained to Q that he had to "speak sternly" to the Queen Mother. The Neosporin contained a pain reliever so the pain she might feel ripping off the bandage was negated by the ultimate benefit.

I wish they made Neosporin for feelings because I could have used a big gob about then. But now Q has a healed thumb and the King has forgotten how he spoke sternly to me.

About a year ago he was lopping off a branch with Craftsman loppers and a ratchet type thing flew off and he pronounced the tool dead. But wait. Had he not insisted I only buy Craftsman tools because they would be replaced free by Sears if proven defective? Never. And he went out and bought two trendy Fiskar tools with electric blue handles.

Yesterday I asked Sue to stop by the Sears store to see about their policy. They said to pick out a new pair and leave the old ones. No paperwork. New for old. And the new ones have lemon yellow handles.

Mwahahaha. Not that anybody won or anything. The King has no memory of yelling or tool trading. But I feel washed in Neosporin.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I have a friend who loves to shop. When she is in town she calls to see if I need anything. Then she calls again from the store to give me choices. Then she calls to tell me of an item she thinks I might want. She loves her cell phone.

Today I woke up with fluttery arms. Usually this happens in the afternoon when weak muscles signal shutdown. Today I dropped, spilled, fumbled everything I touched. Not a good day. Sue called to discuss flu shots and make plans to pick me up some zip lock storage containers. She found some Rubbermaid but I can't get that brand open. If she were here she would make me prove it. I could scarcely hold the phone to my ear. I tried the speaker phone but she couldn't understand me.

The Queen does shopping for me also. She has me send a list and then takes it to a store and buys the largest bottle they sell. She doesn't use coupons and she doesn't look for the best price. She seldom calls from the store because she knows whatever she brings over will be appreciated.

Both the Queen and Sue have commented I need another speaker phone. (Q sez "Replace them all!") But I don't get that many calls. And people complain about the "tin can" sound. "Your head in a barrel? Can't unnerstan' ya."

I went through the headset phase and the ear piece phase. Doesn't go on without more effort than I'm willing to put forth for a phone call. That's why I like blogging. No one tries to reinvent my wobbly wheel. And I get to complain endlessly.

Monday, October 09, 2006

I finally called in Pricey Plumbers today when The Queen's Service was unable to unclog the bathroom sink with Draino. Pricey Plumbers got the clog fixed in 15 minutes. It took another 15 to write up the bill and the
estimate for additional repair of leaks discovered under both bathroom sinks.

PP will return on Friday 13 to repair the newly discovered problems and what other spin offs they create. In the past they have charged me in the 'sands for repairs that started out small and escalated.

Tabitha did not appear today as scheduled but a short 7 hours later called to say her 19 year old daughter forgot to wake her and left her in the house with no phone or car. So I said it didn't sound like we were going to be able to get together and she should call when she wanted to work. She said her truck would be fixed on Friday and said she would be dependable. I have the names of other people I will call in the meantime.

No wonder men want housekeepers to handle all this stuff. (They call them wives.)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Post-Polio Awareness Day. In 1949 the outside me became crippled. But inside was the same person born in 1936. It took several years to figure out the outside me wasn't going to get better. People think because you are crippled you are brave and sweet. I knew that wasn't so.

I learned pretty quick to squelch my natural sarcasm and hateful remarks because that wasn't what outsiders wanted to hear from people they felt sorry for. They wanted me to struggle and fail and then they would intervene and feel good about themselves. On the other hand many people are so self involved they don't notice my difficulties.

Black Cloud was this way. One of his classic lines was I lacked "compassion" for him. At the time I was clueless. Had his arms and hands stopped working? Could he not run and jump at will? But now I understand. It's the inside person that can be so damaged they can't go on. The outside person can be patched up and soldier on.

It's hard when I'm happy and I want to fling both arms in the air and snap my fingers. Q does it for me if I ask. Once she and Gary stood behind me and made my arms move like a marionette for a photograph. It was fun.

Today really isn't a post-polio designated awareness day. But every now and then I'll be proclaiming it with a blog entry. And I hope when you read it you will throw your arms up in the air just because you can... and because I can't.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

In the seventies programs were funded to assist families out of poverty. What would have helped these folks was actual cash. But they got me.

The G family was a mother and her retarded adult son and daughter. Their house was a bug infested garbage dump with a stench so rank it was necessary to hold a handkerchief to the nose to keep from gagging. The smell memory stayed in my nostrils for years. I could call it up by thinking of the G's years later.

Inside the garbage and cans were sloped from floor to ceiling in a bank of refuse. Each week I would bring empty cardboard boxes for them to fill and leave for pickup at the curb. I thought George was capable of washing down the refrigerator. He proved he lacked the simple coordination needed to spray cleaner with the right hand while wiping down with the left. When I showed up next they had painted over the filthy refrigerator with indigo blue paint. Horrible! But they expected praise and got it.

They were all receiving disability and had acquired a color tv. The fellow who cashed their checks sold it to them some way. People get all upset when poor people have something expensive. I didn't have a color tv but didn't begrudge them theirs. The only thing else they were rich in were cats.

Mom G had leg ulcers and I noticed maggots swarming around in one. (Nowadays they use maggots to cleanse wounds but not in the seventies.) I arranged for a visiting nurse to come out and met her there on a Saturday. When she was rummaging around looking for a basin she opened the oven door and a cat leaped out. Suddenly it stopped being about maggots and became about cats. Mrs G said she was Christian Scientist and could not be having nurses meddling with her wounds. She ordered the nurse out.

My task then was to get rid of the cats. I could not get them to consider adopting them out to anyone but me. So my plan was to take a cat away and give it to the animal shelter. The first cat weighed 25 pounds and was vicious. They put him in a box for me but got worried he might batter his way out. Before I knew it the family piled in my car holding "Pinkie" tightly.

It was only 5 miles to new hubbies condo so I decided to drop the cat off there and take it to the shelter later. Once Pinkie got there he bolted out of the box and under the couch. When I finished for the day I mentioned to Dan there was a homeless cat under the couch that I couldn't dislodge. What was I thinking? He opened the front door, got the broom and in only one hour got the hissing cat out the door. We were only two blocks from a major interstate highway. If you were betting on Pinkie or an 18 wheeler, bet on Pinkie.

That Christmas I had some donated presents to drop off to the G's and decided to take my children, ages 8 and 10.I thought they should see the deplorable conditions some people live in so they might complain less about their own lot. As we handed over the presents I noticed fruit flies hovering over their heads and although the garbage piles had diminished the dreadful odor remained. The indigo blue refrigerator was smeared with filth.

When I asked later what they thought Son of Cloud said, "You gave them more presents than you gave me." Q said, "They seemed like such happy people."

We got a color tv and my job changed to counseling unmarried pregnant girls. The Christian Science G family sent me a greeting card every Easter until they were placed by some tidy do-gooder in separate nursing homes. I told them Pinkie ran away.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Q got my stickers and wanted to bring them by but I wanted to do one illegal act before I stopped driving. So today I drove less than a mile to the beauty shop with last years stickers and was not arrested. It was so easy. I can see how criminals get started. just little by little on the edge and BOOM! Sing Sing.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Queen paid a call yesterday. She has been working long hours on an instructional design work project but I had a 16 point list written up for her which took her a couple hours to whirl through.

1. Set up new lightweight phone system.
2. Put away non-perishable grocery items.
3. Open jars and boxes at least partially.
4. Organize and label items in refrigerator and freezer.
5. Empty vacuum bin. (Tabitha didn't.)
6. Vacuum garage carpet.
7. Put heavy cookware in back room and make room for plastic cookware.
8. Pull out Dan's dead azalea bush and dead head spent tree peony blossoms.
9. Open quart V-Fusion and transfer to manageable pint bottles.
10. Open Tide box.
11. Hang up 10 drip dry items from washer.
12. Transfer clear ammonia to two spray bottles.
13. Try to snake the bathroom sink drain.
14. Cook ground chuck and make a gallon of chili. Freeze in 2 cup containers.
15. Cook and refrigerate maple sausage links.
16. Take documents to license bureau and get stickers.

Life in the dowager cottage always improves when the Queen pays a call.