Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Scheduling doctors appointments on 11/27 and 11/29 gave me the sense there would be no more this year. But today's visit to the polio specialist has generated referrals for yet more appointments. On the other side of town of course.

It has been 18 years since my first evaluation by this fellow. I was able to give him a copy of his own evaluation. Hospitals lack file space I guess. He has mellowed and so have I. He suggested there might be some device used by quadriplegics to feed themselves. A sling that swings from a stand. But first I have to go through a therapist to see if the thing will work for me. I find this encouraging.

An ice storm is bearing down with snow hard on its heels. Not a time for travel. I may opt to wait for the new year to dine graciously.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Disabled Awareness Day. I have shoulder high hooks on the backs of doors and place garments backwards on the hooks. Then I back into the hook and slip my right arm in the sleeve. I shrug my shoulder and get the garment partially on myself and off the hook. Next I go to a tall dresser and use that to prop my arms against and tug the left side on. The hard part is fastening buttons or snaps.

This year the difficult part has been positioning the garment on the hook. They have become too heavy. Or to put it correctly my arms can't lift squat. So I stay in my polyester caftan until i can devise a better dressing solution. The only time I really need to be dressed is when I get my hair done.

I've found shoes that zip and are lined with sheepskin. So I wear them without socks. The car warms up quickly for my mile trip and the shop owner helps me on with my coat when I leave. Usually that is a heavy sleeveless vest so my arms aren't weighted down for driving.

Another issue in my decline has been toothbrushing. For this I developed the Extendo-Arm (patent pending). It is a plunger inverted on a base. The concept was I would wedge my right elbow in the rubber plunger piece and my hand would be in the vicinity of my face. This has worked better than you would have imagined. Some day you will see it featured in a handicapped supply catalogue for $100. You saw it here first.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

My first Christmas present from Dan was a dark blue sweat suit. I couldn't raise my arms to get it over my head and he knew this. But he really, really wanted us to have matching sweat suits.

My last present was a pair of Rebok running shoes. He sold a putter when he learned he was dying and sent Q to purchase the shoes. I don't run or tie shoelaces but it was a fitting gift from my sports minded husband.

When Q was dating Gary he brought in 21 presents for her 21st birthday. We were a one present family. She was bedazzled by his generosity.

Every Christmas Son of Cloud would look in the driveway to see if there was a car with a red ribbon festooning it. I did buy him a few cars but instead of ribbon he got lectures.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

People who set up standards for the type of partner they want to marry really don't want to meet anyone, much less marry them.

We all want to be valued and desired. It is appropriate to let people know you appreciate whatever good qualities they have. You make them feel good by sharing your observations with them. They like being with you. They don't feel pressured to be someone they are not.

Age is not important unless the older partner wants to have a baby. Then the age might be a factor. My aunt married a man when she was 50 and he was 30. When he died after 30 years of marriage, she still looked 50. Currently at age 90 she has three fellows interested in her. The 40 year old one she fancies is married. The other two are in their eighties. We who know her agree they are too old for her.

Some people have the energy for relationships and some don't. If you have the energy, don't sell yourself short by setting up arbitrary age limitations. See what happens. It might be fun.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

My initial use of the gifted electric chair was disquieting. I sat back and pressed the button. Slowly it eased me back, little by little, until I was resting horizontally. "Hmmn," I thought. "I can see how people fall asleep in these things. Comfy!" And then the phone rang. By the time I powered down and came in for a landing the answering machine had had a meaningful conversation with the caller.

Back into it I went and tried to find a midway position when it dawned on me. I was a chair prisoner! Without the remote I could not get out of that chair! This scared me. I imagined myself high and dry in that chair spread-eagled for a week until Q found me. So I had to set up a little nest beside the chair for a phone, the tv remote, water, snacks and Kleenex. (Survivor Man would have added flint and firewood.)

I was still nervous about the power failing and spending 9 days in an electric chair. I studied the ways I could crawl out of that chair if the remote failed. Impossible. Too deep. I decided to use the chair in the upright position and let able bodied guests risk imprisonment. The next day I read the brochure and saw there was battery backup so that the chair could always be lowered in case of power failure.

Guess all those years testing at Sing Sing somebody worked out the kinks for us retired seniors.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Today everybody is out of town. Partly due to Thanksgiving travel and other vacations. My East neighbors had a death in the family and will be gone to the funeral and wake. Death happens around the holidays and darkens them with shadows for years to come.

It has been nice having cell phone contact with Q & Gary while they are in Chicago. Gary jabbers away in the background while Q and I say "What? Can you repeat that?" Much like phone calls when they are home. There was an electrical fire at our airport the day after they left and it was a nightmare for travelers. Lucky for them they missed it.

I have been trying out my gifted electric chair and think I'm going to be very popular with my son-in-law. It eases back into a full reclining position and also up and out. All soundlessly and with a handheld remote button. For years I refused to let a recliner into my house but nowadays I'm more adaptable. My friends' husband and son carried it in with the most pleasant expressions on their faces. Like it was exactly what they wanted to be doing.

I enjoyed watching "Taxi Driver" last night and it was much different than I was expecting. They should destroy the music sound track. It didn't suit the movie to my way of thinking. "Prime Suspect" is on Masterpiece Theater tonight. I'm just loving tv lately.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I've been watching "Six Feet Under" on the Bravo channel every Monday. This morning I turned the television on while I ate my cereal and there was a marathon so I watched some of it again. I was amazed at what I had not attended to.

Part of the problem is I don't always watch the set. I have it on while I'm unloading the dishwasher or the microwave is humming. If I am quiet I get impatient with commercial breaks and jump around. That means I miss out on opening scenes. So I watched more attentively this morning.

Inevitably the neighborhood boys started with their blowers,suckers and scrapers and won the noise competition and I lost interest in recycling life in the funeral home. Now I'm looking forward to "Taxi Driver" which I have never seen and is being shown tonight. For someone who never watched tv or many movies I'm making up for it now.

When Dan was alive we never watched tv together. People thought this was strange. Dan would have labeled "6 Feet Under" as "goofy" as he headed out to the sports channel. Yet he was a man who in the sixties was hooked up to one of those ratings boxes that measure what tv you watch. He claimed he singlehandedly kept "Gilligan's Island" on the air its first season. Now THAT'S goofy.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The breakfast crowd made fried eggs,biscuits and sausage gravy and homemade applesauce. During breakfast the kitchen ceiling light flickered out and we learned how many social workers it takes to screw in a ceiling light. The puzzlement was getting the thing apart. Luckily I had florescent bulbs stockpiled so eventually there was light.

After everything was done we noticed a screw in the corner of the cover. Sue started giving detailed instructions for me to give Gary. "Stop right there!" I said. Gary would have immediately bought a top of the line fixture and had an electrician out to install it. The screw looks much like a dead bug. R.I.P.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

This has been a social week for me. My monthly lunch people arrived yesterday with a wheelchair and one of those chairs you press a button and it catapults you up and out. Donna has been a friend to a 90 year old lady who just died and I was offered dibs. Am I lucky or what?

I just love wheelchairs. Probably because I do not yet exactly need one. The backs are comfy, the arms fit under my table and they are great for hauling stuff around the house. This particular chair has features my old one doesn't like a high padded back. Also it was cleaner. There are a number of crevices on wheelchairs that are attract dust. I spent an hour this morning detailing my old one carefully.

My garage is full of medical stuff people don't want to store. It's like insurance. Doesn't hurt to have it. Medicare should set up a distribution center for unneeded medical equipment. But until they do I'm your man.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

When my mom saw me looking in a mirror as a youngster she would say "Vanity, vanity Woman is thy name." Being nearsighted has helped me avoid my reflection in mirrors nowadays. My moment of truth came when Dan got a video camera in the eighties.

The first thing that horrified me was how my head bobbed when I talked. That was before bobble head dolls. Then I noticed how lame I looked opening presents. After seeing that tape I refused all wrapped presents and insisted on tissue covered gift bags. I didn't like how my clothes hung askew. After being videotaped in an outfit it was discarded and never worn again.

I had developed a pose for photos that displayed my best side. I looked over my right shoulder and lifted my chin ever so slightly. Video tapes kept rolling and my fake smile looked phony. So I stayed out of the way of the video camera. I was a good director but lacked star power.

When Q took my picture for this blog much photoshop had to be invoked to whiten my teeth and minimize neck wattles. My life is an open book but when it comes to appearance I want the expurgated image.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

My solution for an ideal marriage is duplex living. Your husband lives on one side; you and the kids live on the other. When they become teenagers they can choose. Heh heh.

Husband can eat meals with the family or watch football on Thanksgiving. He can create his own nest around a behemoth recliner. He can fill his duplex with cigarette and firewood smoke. He can have dogs and cats in bed with him. He can write his initials in shower mold. He can make piles of every piece of unopened junk mail he ever received.

Wives can invite unexpected guests into a tidy living room. Hire professional help without defending the need. ("We just painted that room 20 years ago. Looks fine to me.") Watch their own television programs. Sleep without background snoring sounds.

And separate bank accounts.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Getting through the week has been difficult. Even with lots of help it was discouraging. Buttoning a simple blouse took 25 minutes. Snaps aren't going much faster. Everyone recommends velcro but in my forest of velcro there is only one hand clapping. And, even if I could pull it apart, it gaps open. I can't put most things on over my head.

Q found some magnetic snaps like they use for purses and sewed some on yesterday. I can work them with one hand but they are pricey. $3.75 per snap. So we ordered some online. $1.70 each but shipping was $13. It takes at least four snaps to close a blouse.

Today I have on a one size fits all caftan. It has dark red roses on a leopard print. It's cold so I have over it a pink sweat shirt with two snaps fastened. I'm not wearing drawers. Cuts down on the struggle in the bathroom.

When my mom was old and lost weight she wouldn't buy smaller bras and kept falling out the bottom of her old bras. "Why even wear bras?" I complained. "I'm no chippy!" she flashed back.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I had a good day yesterday. Tabitha came the day before so things were cleaned. I fixed a breakfast of egg, bacon and English muffin. I bought a half tank of gas for $20. Tried to remember the last time I bought gas but it may have been a year ago. I paid $1.97 a gallon then I recall.

Lucky for me the Sinclair station up the street still uses live people to pump gas for us. I was wondering if spiders could get in the gas tank and foul it with their webs. At the beauty shop someone asked if I tipped the filling station attendant for pumping my gas. Never hear of such a thing. Next thing you know we will be tipping doctors. Humph.

President Clinton left a message on my answering machine. I already voted by absentee ballot but he didn't know that. When I went to bed things didn't look good for my people but we came out victorious by this morning. I will not have to put the Gypsy curse on the righteous president. He can implode without my involvement.

Both my children voted. A good day.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Christmas breakfast won't take place this year. We may replace it with a Spring brunch. The weather is so unpredictable here. Ice storms can begin in November as well as freak snowstorms. I don't mind canceling but I hate the phoning and agonizing over what to do.

Dan made a wood one-dimensional slat tree for over the fireplace. There are hooks for ornaments and lights. Every year Q gets it out of the garage and uncovers it and plugs it in. In a twinkle it's Christmas. There is a star that hangs out on the porch every year. It is garish and ostentatious but the little girl across the street looks forward to seeing it. So that goes up at Thanksgiving.

Since I stopped cooking Q and Gary bring Chinese carryout and play Dominoes with me for Thanksgiving. My family seldom had a festive meal then. One year there was a pot of Great Northern beans and ham hocks. No wonder I don't make a big fuss about the holidays. But this year I have a present for Q that tickles me. That's what makes it good. The giving part.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

In the seventies the Post Dispatch featured the "One Hundred Neediest Cases" at Christmas time. Social workers would submit stories about their families and the newspaper would select the best.

One of my co-workers wrote about a lady whose happiest day was her weekly trip to the cancer clinic. She was given enough money to buy nutritional drinks. Another received a radio for a blind client.

In all the years I submitted stories only one was picked. A teenage girl had lost a front tooth. After her story was published she was given the money to buy a tooth. A few years later someone was cleaning my office and introduced herself. I wouldn't have recognized her but she remembered me. She had a radiant smile. I'm not a hugger but she got hugged.

One of my best friends wouldn't read the newspaper feature. "Too depressing at Christmas time" she said. I wanted to knock her front tooth out.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

I've always paid for what I bought. If I couldn't pay cash for it I did not get it. When I got a new car I immediately began saving for the next car. I never took a vacation on credit. Couldn't have enjoyed myself.

But I have friends who dine out on credit and lease cars and vacation at time share condos. They delay no gratification. They seem to be enjoying life without creditors hounding them for payments. I don't get it. Why would you want to pay 20% interest to indulge yourself now when you could wait awhile and buy the same pleasure with cold cash?

When I was first married I swept the carpet with a broom. I saved green stamps for a year to redeem for a vacuum. When I almost had enough my mom appeared with a vacuum. I was appreciative but my heart was disappointed. My goal was pulled out from under me. I took the books of green stamps to the redemption store and ended up with a large mirror with an ornate frame. I still have it and when I look in it I see someone taking my dream away and replacing it with their own. Nothing wrong with that but we need to be able to set goals and reach them without help. Or double diget interest.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The dogwood tree in back lost its red leaves last night. There are still yellow leaves on the sweet gum and sassafras. Japanese Maple has a lacy maroon foliage. I used to love mowing the back yard and making piles of mulched leaves that by spring became rich composted soil.

Since I've stopped mowing I pay men to bag the leaves and haul them away. Their eyes cross when I try to discuss composting. They know how to run machines and make noise. They want to plant grass and fertilize. I am considered strange in that I don't want a putting green lawn.

I don't miss cooking much but I do wish I could work out in the yard more. I spent ten good years making a natural garden. It still looks pretty from the window but guys are at work undoing my vision. And I have to pay them for it.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

It took 70 feet of cable for Pricey Plumbers to unclog my kitchen sink. Because this is a slab house it was necessary for "Lance" to go on the roof to run the auger. My job was to watch the water in the sink and shout out the window when it started to drain.

I've never helped a plumber before and was happy to assist by watching the water. Unfortunately the "big whooshing sound" I was assigned to report on did not happen. But somehow the blockage was disturbed enough that water began to drain. So $205 later the dishwasher could be turned on and the filthy sink scrubbed up.

I resent the time Lance spends going back to his truck for supplies while my meter is running. Plus his bathroom breaks and use of paper towels. Then the 15 minutes he spends calculating the bill. I would like one day to set the timer when actual work starts and ends minus the looking-busy-work. But that day will never come.

I can't waste my Gypsy Curse Powers on plumbers. I need to center all my power on people who refuse to allow stem cell research. What are they thinking? They and all their progeny are doomed to a diseased future. Doomed.