Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Queen got me hooked up with Bloglines today. Now I will be able to see who has posted recently. I tend to be outraged if a dedicated blogger skips a day. I do not hold myself to the same standards I hold others, you will notice.

Every time Q uses my computer it takes a while for the Apple Cube I use to recover from the taint of an outsider. Computers are like cars in this way. Every time someone drove my car it took forever to get the mirrors straight and the seat adjusted. Same with the Apple. At least I don't have the problem of running out of gas.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

While eating my oatmeal this morning I watched a young white boy sing a song from Dream Girls. He sang so loud and hard I wondered he might injure himself. I like gospel singing but it seemed odd coming from such a little peanut fellow. He was discovered on U-tube.

In my teens we liked Eddie Fisher. At the height of his popularity we went to a performance at the Fox. Everyone began screaming. I was surprised to find myself screaming too. It went on the whole performance. We drowned out Oh My Papa. He introduced his fiancee Debbie Reynolds who was seated in the audience. We screamed louder. Afterwards I realized how dumb it was to pay to hear someone and not listen.

The little fellow who sang the Dream Girl song will never be drowned out by his audience. But he's due for hernia repair if he keeps on singing like hefty black women.

Monday, February 26, 2007

After a month of visits The Helping Agency will be phasing me out. Getting everybody scheduled and not overlapping has been beyond my ability. I have always blocked out days of the week for certain things. Monday cleaning, Tuesday Hairdo, Wednesday lunch date, Friday Breakfast with the Gang of Five. Doctor's visits are sprinkled randomly. The Helpers keep muscling into my planned time.

They have found a nice place for me to live that is $1,500 more per month than my income. One of the brochures has white haired people in boats laughing their brains out as they speed on the river. They promise fun and activity. I'm looking for neither.

I want to sleep as long as I want. Retired people should not have to set their alarms to be told how to live. I get it.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Yesterday was the first day this week I did not have professional help coming. These folks have just about worn me out.

They call a lot. Usually the night before or morning of the appointment. They come at times I have other things I prefer to do like fix breakfast. They make work for me such as going to the door (they don't want it left open for them) and locking it when they leave.

They use extra towels and washcloths on me which I have to launder. They clutter up my kitchen table with their logs and folders. They will finish up their Medicare financed assignment next week. It has been helpful because now when I hire someone for personal care I know what to ask for.

This morning I made a big pot of Columbian coffee. I added half and half and sweetener to the pot. I have some little pint glass bottles that at one time held Starbucks frappachino. I filled those using a funnel then capped and refrigerated them. I don't resent drinking coffee from a straw if is prepared this way.

I made a big bowl of oatmeal in the microwave. I used half and half instead of water. I ate one serving and refrigerated three. All this preparation took 2 1/2 hours. I emptied and filled the dishwasher and by noon was able to go to the computer and read the Queen's blog. This is always the highlight of my morning. The treat I love to chew on the rest of the day.

Friday, February 23, 2007

I talked to "Sam" at Earthlink earlier this week.

It took him 30 minutes to gather my name, father's middle name etc. He could not repeat my French spelled street address. He put me on hold several times. He is mailing a more up to date DSL modem and not charging for the modem or shipping. He is knocking $10 off my bill next month. Then he INSISTED I be HAPPY!

Sam: Are you happy?
M.E.: No.
Sam: [Lists all he has given me.] You are happy NOW Margaret.
M.E. : I have wasted hours on the phone. I am not happy.
At this point he berates me for not being happy.

So I gave him terrible marks on an evaluation that came right after the call and added this :

"Since 2/11/07 I have been patronized and hung up on by people at Earthlink. My passwords are compromised and I have been expected to remain on the phone for long periods of time.

"Five days without service is unacceptable. I cannot be made happy. To hear "Sam Daniels" insist that I be happy is insulting. To be happy I need real customer service; not lip service.

"My suggestion is that you establish a supervisor who can be called on when your first line staff is unable to help a Valued Customer. I kept notes on the people I talked to and only two bothered to write up a trouble ticket. Of those only 'Jason' followed up."

Today the new modem was hurled on my porch by Fed Ex. It did not make me happy. While I was typing this my connection failed twice.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I'm not used to doctors calling my home after dark. The neurologist who called last night said I had pinched nerves in both wrists and should start using Nurontin during the day. I didn't ask him the sensible questions others later asked me. He said I did not need to make a followup appointment. Goodbye!

At my initial visit he asked me to remember goofy things. Dalmatian, menu,basketball. I imagined a Dalmatian sitting on a basketball reading a menu. But when I was asked to recall the words later I missed one. Now of course they are filling up valuable real estate in my brain. I can't forget them. And no future opportunity with Dr. Neurologist to casually drop into the conversation a witty reference about the spotted dog who could balance on balls and read menus. Another artery filled with medical debris.

I see the polio rehab/physiatrist next week. He is also a night caller. But i'll be ready. One reference to Dalmatians and I'm hanging up my basketball.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Six weird things about me:

1] I think men are more interesting than women.

2] I don't need to be loved by an animal to feel lovable.

3] Rearranging furniture gives me immense satisfaction.

4] I hate the cold/exposed feeling of uncovered neck and shoulders anytime.

5] I could spend all my time cleaning and de-cluttering and feel complete.

6] Food no longer interests me.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Watched Six Feet Under last night on Bravo channel. They show you three shows back to back which I can't stay up for. They show them again Saturday morning so I can catch up on the ones aired past my bedtime on Monday nights.

I like the fact they dub epithets in the actors actual voice. You can see what they really are saying by reading their lips but you don't have to hear it. This suits me. I don't like curse words. it shows ignorance of language. An inability to communicate. Similarly "you know" "ahhh" "like" and so forth are tiresome.

The show constantly interests me. Currently the mother has married James Cromwell (character actor in "Babe"). He is shown demonstrating how to use a ceramic "nettie pot" which irrigates the sinus with salt water. I have heard about this device and had no idea what it looked like. It is like a gravy boat. Question answered.

I watched "Amazing Race" after Sixty Minutes. I'm going to give it a try but I'm thinking it's a little too hectic for my taste. Or maybe it is the music.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Light snow has covered up paw prints in the deep snow accumulation from last Tuesday. The scenery is refreshed.

Sue brought Great Northern Bean soup and biscuits yesterday. Easy for me to eat from the container she brings it in. She used a recipe which always interests me. How can you go wrong with beans unless you neglect to soak them overnight. Sue added onions,ham and carrots. My mother just used a ham hock which made the taste less sweet.

The only time my dad cooked for us he heated beans while my mom had surgery. He meticulously chopped a fresh tomato to accompany the dish. It still suits my taste when I can find a real tomato. After I was married he showed me how to make "goulash" . It contained spaghetti and hamburger with canned tomatoes. What made it good was the bacon grease you used to brown the onions and meat.

When we were growing up on Caroline Street in the city we had food which we ate until it was gone. Friday was breaded cod with spaghetti. Other dishes like pork liver fried until it was hard. Round "steak" pounded and fried until it chewed like leather. Fresh green beans with new potatoes. Cabbage cooked until it was brown. Chicken and dumplings. Fried chicken.
Side dishes included mashed potatoes and gravy.

My mother never taught me to cook. She was The Cook. The first time she and my stepfather visited in Albuquerque I served ham with a glaze and he complimented me on the glaze. She didn't like that one bit. It was her recipe and he had been eating it for years with nary a word of praise. She snarled at him. He had already insulted her cooking by suggesting she use lemon Jello for pie filling instead of her time consuming recipe using fresh lemons.

These critters scampering around the yard should appreciate their life. They would have been cut up and smothered in gravy when I was a girl.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Indian Level Two Tech guy for Earthlink got me online yesterday but the connection is shaky. He opined my 2002 modem is "old". When I feel like waiting for customer support for hours I should request a new one. Apparently you can dicker with them until they are willing to ship one to you free. Or they can disconnect and you are sent back to the beginning. Earthlink is not my friend.

Snow is deep on the ground and temperature in the single digits. The personal care ladies are supposed to come on Monday and Thursday to scrub me down and get me tidy. They have a variety of reasons not to arrive on schedule. 1] Car transmission failed 2] Doctor is going to call to schedule their gallbladder/hernia surgery 3] Last appointment is on the other side of town 4] Confusion on actual time of arrival previously determined

Yesterday the lady called twice to work out a time. I ate early so I could run the dishwasher and she could empty it before my scrub. But she arrived while it was in the middle of things and I had to stop it so it didn't use up the hot water for the shower. After the shower I could have had her run the washer but I didn't feel like putting the washed load in the dryer. As it happened she sat comfortably at my kitchen table while her sister shopped in the neighborhood and got lost coming to pick her up.

The Occupational Therapy Lady comes twice a week. She has been helpful in showing me how to use the sock putter-on-er and getting rid of 30 pair of socks that are too tight for the device. She has worked with me on using the button hook. She made a suggestion for writing more legibly. She took an oversized typing aide with her to heat and fit to my small left hand for the computer.

She lives five minutes from here so schedules me for early or late arrivals. When she stops coming all services stop. The lady nurse came twice and initially said I should be in a nursing home. "You just sell your house and use the money to pay for the Home!" "Why can't I pay people to come here?" Annoyed glare.

The Day of the Big Snow a different nurse who was a guy called and addressed me fondly. "Howya doin' sweetheart? Ya feelin' okay? Do you think you need a nurse?" I've never needed a nurse especially one who calls me sweetheart. But maybe he was calling from a snowdrift somewhere and needed to hear a mother's voice.

If Earthlink and Home Care keep providing services to me a nursing home might start looking good. But I will have to brush up on Senile Dementia. No one with half a mind could endure such well intentioned help.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Friday Breakfast With Social Workers was re-named last month. I now call them The Gang of Five. I include myself because I'm one of them but my voice is small.

Sue and Penny were the only regulars as Pat and Carol were out and about elsewhere. Penny took me to the outpatient clinic where I tried out the special wheelchair device that helps frail arms move food from plate to mouth. It's called a deltoid aide. They also had me try using a spoon that was bent and re-shaped and actually seemed usable.

The request for the feeding arm had to be sent to Medicare where it would be denied and then resubmitted to my secondary insurance where verbal assurance was made that it would pay the $450 price IF it was ordered through one of two specific providers.

At some point my electric went off and Penny drove across town and put all my gear in her car. She drove me to where Sue was finishing up her shift as volunteer/employee and moved me to Sue's car. In the meantime my electric came back on and Sue's went off so the Keystone Kops returned to my house and Sue spent the next four days waiting on me hand and foot.

The Queen was trying to take a relaxing cruise during all this and was ready to add me to the BNL fan picture if Social Work failed me.

At some point they decided I needed more services so they got me hooked up with a nurse, occupational therapist and personal care attendant who came to my home. These people have worn me out with their phone calls, home visits and suggestions. Being "discovered" and assited after being disabled for 57 years was puzzling. But on the other hand It got me through January.

Just when I started blogging once more, my Earthlink DSL went down! I spent 5 days trying to communicate with Indian tech people and was ready to cancel the service but was disconnected before I got transferred to whoever did that.

Today it was working again. Earthlink is not my friend.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Jumping back into the Blogosphere without a GOOD story to tell.

Every day in January was measured out by television programing time. The same for meals. Lucky for me I seldom watched television until the century turned so many things are new. There are marathons on holidays so you can fill in any gaps that happened when the phone or a visitor disturbed your tv experience.

I have breakfast with The View. They all talk at once and I amuse myself by using closed captioning to see what they are saying. The poor soul who is writing the captions has a confusing time of it but does better than I would. At noon I listen to NPR's Fresh Air if it isn't on during fundraising week. NPR is set on all the house radios... six and one is left on at all times in the garage.

When I used to garden I started leaving it on because most of the tools were stored in the garage. I guess it was company. Now other people pass through the garage and they are unnerved by the unexpected voices. I speculate maybe a criminal would be.

My beautician calls on Tuesdays to tell me she is coming to do my hair and I use the garage door opener to lift the door for her from inside the warm house. She has been coming here for four weeks. Next week we will try a sink permanent. She has set up a darling little mini beauty shop in a rolling cart where she stores her blower,curling iron,shampoo and other supplies. I feel so lucky to have her go to all this trouble for such miserable hair.

Hold on! Beautician coming to your home? GOOD thing.