Thursday, January 4, 2018

My momma is gone

For most of my almost 54 years my mom has been there.  More than 54 years when you factor in the 9 months I spent under her heart.

This morning she did not wake up.  Sometime in the night she slipped the bonds that had trapped her in a mind rapidly fading from Alzheimer’s.  To my mind, she found God’s grace.  I last spoke to her late yesterday afternoon, while I was over to supervise some repair work on the house.  She was in bed, quasi-asleep as many people with late stage Alzheimer’s can be.  I called her name, she opened her eyes and smiled, although I was not sure if she recognized me.

She leaves behind her husband of 57 years, four children, six grandchildren and one great-grandson, with two more great grandchildren on the way.  It was a long life, for the most part a good life.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Truth Telling

My mom has Alzheimer’s.

There I said it.  We dance around it, never admitting to the wider world what the problem is.  She has had it for at least 6- 8 years, probably longer.  And in that time I have watched the woman who taught me to bake, taught me to sew, supported me every time I stretched outside the box of convention and expectation disappear into the fog that is Alzheimer’s disease.

She knows who we are, her husband of 57 years, each of her children., not so much all of her grandchildren.   Her short term memory is gone.  Her long term is developing holes.  She only leaves the house for doctor appointments.  Her personal hygiene is pretty much non-exsistent.  Her caregiver team cannot force her to bath or change her clothes, my dad won’t support them when they try.  He doesn’t want to fight with his wife, he never has.  So I have fight a weekly battle to get her in the tub to bath and wash her hair.

The woman who managed the household, took care of the bookkeeping and bills slipped away several years ago.  I took over the checkbook for everything and the receipt book for the rentals.  I pay the bills, sort the mail and put her meds into the dispenser for the week.  I have fought with scammers who tried to leech onto them through their credit card.  I try to keep my dad from falling prey to them ones who call or show up in person.   I have learned to be a bitch on wheels, if needed.

But, a really big but, I refuse to do it all.  My sister Robin is my back up and I have pushed to homemaking chores off on somebody else, primarily her caregivers, but sometimes Robin. My BIL Doug took over mowing the grass when I went on vacation a couple of years ago and the rest of the family discovered just how much there was to do to keep them together in their house.

In the last two years she has been hospitalized twice, once from dehydration and a fall and once with a broken vertebrae from osteoporosis.   Both stays were followed up by weeks of rehab in a nursing home.  Each time we bring her home and we add hours to the caregiver team, trying to fulfill their wishes to keep her at home.  Currently she has help about 12 hours a day.  Dad wants to know when the ladies are leaving and is saddened when I tell him they are there until she goes back into a nursing home, dies or we run out of money.  He says that the whole thing is mentally exhausting.  I have told Robin that this is the last Christmas that I expect her to be at home.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What Happened?

What have I been doing for the last two months?  Well the wrist was achy so I sort of slowed up and let it heal a bit, mainly because I found it really annoying to try to work with yarn with a brace with velcro fasteners constantly grapping the yarn. 

Robin tried on her sweater in January and we discovered that the sleeves were way too long.  But we were at church and really didn't have the time to make a complete study of it's issues.  She tried it on again this week and it's too large all over, too long through the body, although the neck opening fits fine.  So off to the frog pond after some detailed measurements.  What seems to have happened is that the fabric relaxed and seriously grew when it was steamed blocked.  So, time to recalculate gauge and re-knit.  Sigh...

On the other hand I spent most of February amusing myself with the Rams and Yoowes blanket by Kate Davies.  Rather than the jumper weight Shetland, in natural colors, I went stash diving and found the hanks of DK natural colored Romney that I brought back from NZ about 10 years ago.  I have about 12 rows to go on the main part, then I can crochet the steek, cut it open and start adding the edging.  I steamed part of it last week and the fair isle completely relaxed, evened out and the hand of the fabric is almost velvety, compared to the rather crunchy feel of the yarn and unsteamed portion.  This yarn has a lot of lanolin still in it and smells rather sheepy, if you know what I mean. 

I also put the motifs into DAK, recolored them for baby yarns, and swatched them on the machine using double bed jacquard to eliminate/conceal my floats.   This going to be so cute.

I did finish the neckband for the kimono, spent most of the evening trying to remember how to graft garter stitch it attach the second hem and am in the process of attaching it to the body.  Then weave in the ends and give it to Barb for her birthday.

Enough writing back to the crochet hook.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I Wondered

Why I didn't have a copy of my natural gas bill when I went to pay the bills last week.  I had to call and ask for a statement.  The copy arrived yesterday and showed that I had apparently used 917 ccf of gas from their estimate on November 20 to their actual reading on December 20.  This gave me a bill of more than $500.  I looked at their numbers and realized that the estimated reading was for the former meter in the basement and the actual reading was for the meter on the outside of the house. 

I was informed that I didn't have a new meter, they had no record of it.  Was I sure? Was I there when they moved it? 

I pointed out that as the old meter was in the basement and they had no access to read it and since they had managed to get an actual reading, that they had to have read the new meter outside.  The new meter that had started out at zero on November 19. 

How did I know what date it was? 

Gee, they had managed to literally take out half the root system of my oak tree and I had pictures and the date in my cell phone.  Yes I knew what date it was. 

Long session on hold.  They had no record of it. Could I go read the meter and tell them what it said?

Sorry, I'm at work and can't go read the meter. But the usage was about nine times what I used the past two years, and that I had the bills in front of me documenting that.  Didn't that throw up any red flags?  Really the house would literally have to be on fire and fueled by natural gas to use that much. 

Well yes it was odd.  Let me check.  Another long session on hold.  The verdict.  Well, we'll have forward this to a couple of departments and we're going to put your account on hold for the next two months.  After we figure this out, we'll probably be adjusting your bill.

Idiots, the gas company is staffed by idiots.  And they have no clue about customer service.

I'm not holding my breath

Almost Finished

Pasta and meatballs casserole for dinner tonight. It took an hour to bake and in all honesty it was really longer than I wanted to wait. I did find a recipe for country style ribs in the slow cooker in a magazine at work.  Silly me I forgot to write it down. So that may be Friday night's dinner. 

I did get the book finished.  Robin's sweater has all the pieces attached together.  Two long seams up the sides and she can try it on.  Most likely by this time next week it should be done.  Yes!!!   And I really need to take pictures.

Time to think about something for me.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Chilly morning, chilly day.  At least I didn't sleep through the alarms this morning like I did yesterday.  And I can tell that the days are getting longer because the sun is still above the horizon when I leave work a little after five.  Hurray spring is coming it just doesn't feel like it.

Right now I'm torn between wanting to finish a book and needing to finish a sweater.  Unfortunately the sweater is at the point where I have to watch my hands so reading at the same time is out.  sigh...

I really feel like cooking something warm and hearty this week, but nothing I want to eat will cook up quickly.  Who wants to wait until 8 pm to eat dinner after working all day.  I have country style ribs thawing in the fridge.  I also have the fixings for Moors and Christians on the counter.  Something tells me I should be looking for slow cooker recipes.  But not tonight.

Monday, January 2, 2012


These are blooming in my bedroom and they perfume the entire second floor.  I've been having a lot of success with paperwhites this year.  These stand less than 24" tall and are not at all floppy like forced bulbs can be in the winter.  According to the experts this is because I managed to find a sunny but cooler location to grow them.  I had another pot that I planted in October and grew in the dining room.  They got more than 36" tall and fell over.  There's about a 2 - 3 degree difference in temperature between the two floors.  The first floor is warmer.
I'm betting this one opens completely tomorrow.  Gotta love forced bulbs, they bring spring into the house and make the grey skies less annoying.