Monday, January 23, 2012

Medicare Eligible!

Well, I've survived my 65th birthday and the trip to NC, though I'm running on fumes at the moment.  Many thanks to those who sent Happy Birthday wishes by either greeting card, phone calls/messages, email messages, e-cards and Facebook. It was great to hear from each and every one of you and I truly appreciate your thoughtfulness.

As you know, we started our trip to NC with a stop at the Department of Motor Vehicles.  I was there 15 minutes before the office opened and stood out in the rain with others who hoped for a short visit.  Once the doors were opened, I was directed to a counter where I was given the same form to completed that I'd previously mailed.  They checked my vision by having me look through a machine and read one line of letters - no driving test of any kind, thank goodness!!  I paid the fee (double the mail in charge) and  moved on to have my photo taken and license issued.  So far, so good!  I was second in line to have my photo taken, after which I was soon called to pick it up. As I'm at the counter, the photographer asks me to check the info on the front of the license, and it is in good order.  She then scans the coded information on the back of the card only to find that it contains the info for the lady who followed me in the photo line!  She then called a supervisor and they had to figure out how to correct the problem, which took as long as everything else had taken - in total about an hour, which probably is not bad for the DMV.  AND, my license is good for 10 years (thus the higher fee)........and you've already figured out that I'll be 75 when I have to renew again!!! Say it ain't so!!

Our trip to NC went well and it looks like we'll be able to get "Meals-on-Wheels" for my mother (one meal a day through the week) and, most likely, some household assistance.  We also have some ideas of people to drive her to appointments, grocery shopping, etc.  We have time to get that arranged and I want to get it done as soon as my mother begins thinking of going home so she will have time to get used to the idea and understand that it has to be this way.  Now that she feels she will get to go home again, she's more relaxed and less wound here's hoping the remainder of her time here will be less tense for us both.

My thanks to all who wrote with words of encouragement after my last post.  It was not my intention to "share" too much, but I do know that this is read by dear friends who know us well enough to understand the situation.  Your words of support really meant a lot at a time when I needed them......and I hope to reply to each of you within the next few days.

With all of that going on (DMV, trip to NC, etc.), you might guess that my birthday was a minor occasion.  My cousin Laney and her husband had us over for dinner on the 19th and we had a nice evening.  It was the first time in a long time that we were able to just sit and catch-up and everyone seemed to enjoyed it.  So, when we got home (late afternoon on the 20th) it was especially nice to hear from friends.  Thanks again.

So, when all is said and done, the situation has improved and I'm going to make every effort to get back into the "flow".  Much of dealing with situations so close to the heart is that you/I want to solve the problem, knowing full well I don't have the power to do so.  Intellectually I know how little I control, but emotionally and viscerally I forgot that lesson.  Was it John Lennon who said, "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans"?  Well, we all know how plans go anyway!  Now that things have calmed a bit, I know I'm better off to not look too far ahead (and become overwhelmed) but to take things in manageable chunks and deal with them to the best of my ability.  I do believe that if life becomes too much of a struggle, I'm obviously doing something wrong......and should take time to re-evaluate.  I have no plans to sell my house and move to NC and I can't undo the 40 years I've lived away, so there is no reason to argue over those issues again.....we each will have to come to terms is our own way.  So, while I have no control over the events of life or others, I do feel that I'm more in touch with myself again.  Thanks so much for listening.......

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Warning: This is a Bummer.

Well, we've had several weeks of peace and calm.  In fact, we went into Savannah Sunday for some shopping, which is one of my mother's favorite things.  The atmosphere has been relaxed and easy until Monday, when my mother actually said she wished I'd sell "this place" and take her house, which is code for moving back with her.  So, those of you who thought I was taking the comedic turn of phrase when I said that my mother would be happy to have me living in her basement, will now know that it's no joking matter.  At the time she said it, I told her at #1 I couldn't sell the house with the market as it is and #2 if I moved it would be to someplace where there were things of interest to do.  That was just a mild exchange before I went to get dressed.  As I was doing so, I realized that my reply was much too subtle and might have even left the impression, to one looking for any glimmer of hope, that I might sell and move (in with her) when the market improves. I determined that if the subject came up again, I would be direct in stating that I did not plan to move back to NC.  No sooner than I came back into the kitchen that she said she hoped I'd give some thought to what she had said.  I then went in and sat with her and said, "Look, don't plan on that happening."  NC is her home, this is my home.  Well, you can imagine how that went over.  After heated words, she didn't speak to me for the remainder of the day.  Now the kicker to this is that we/I had planned to go to NC at the end of the week to arrange for Meals-on-Wheels (for which she has qualified) and to see if we can get some home assistance.  We will then pay for someone to drive her where she needs to go.  Now we all know that she will do what she wants to do when she gets home, so I am going to have to be prepared for that (which I'm building up to!).  Well, that wasn't good enough.....she wants to go home NOW and STAY.  So today at breakfast I told her that 'she was my mother and I loved her.  I will do everything I can to keep her healthy and safe, but my days of trying to please her are over.  That will never happen and I accept that.'  She would not be staying in NC until we could get things organized.  More silence until about 2PM when I went into her room and said, "If you want to go to NC tomorrow and come back on Friday, there are things we need to get done.  If you don't want to go, it doesn't matter."  About 15 minutes later she came out of her room and we proceed to prepare for the trip.

I then showered and went to Drinking Liberally, where I did!!

In case you think that isn't enough, there is the additional stress of my driver's license.  I was so fortunate as to be able to renew my license by mail.  On January 3rd I had my eyes examined and sent in the form for renewal. To be sure it got an early start, I mailed it from the Post Office......the inside slot, not the box  I put a note on my calendar to call about them if not received by today.  Well, I read the note today at 4:35PM.......before leaving tomorrow for NC and returning to SC on the 21st, by which time my license will have expired!  At 4:45 I called the DMV and talked to a very nice lady who said that there was NO RECORD of having received my renewal application!!  She said that I could go to the local DMV tomorrow at 9:30 (the only day of the week that they don't open at 8:30!!) and they would print out my license  It sounds hopeful........but, since there is an eye test involved, I don't think it's going to be that easy.  So, we'll see what tomorrow brings.

So tomorrow, if your day is less complicated than mine, please enjoy it!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

January is Moving Right Along....

Well, the holidays are well behind us and I'm not sure where the days have gone or how we've filled them.  The hostility seems to have subsided and I'm trying to keep a low profile.  The weather continues to be incredibly mild and so nice that on Sunday we went to Beaufort, just to get out and about a bit.  We spent a good deal of time on the waterfront where there is a great area to sit, walk, gather, dine, etc.  As we were sitting there, a dolphin just popped his head through the water, got everyone's attention and proceeded to frolic.  It made the day!

Some time was spent reclaiming my old sunroom chairs from the garage and making them useable again, but it was only after purchasing these chairs (left).  You can see that they have now been relegated to the cluttered garage. First, they did not get the kitty seal of approval.  Every time they jumped into or out of the chair it skidded across the floor and the cushions (slightly too big for the seat) spent more time on the floor than in the chair.  Secondly, once in the room, they didn't seem substantial enough compared to the previous chairs. So, once the holidays were over and the Christmas tree out of the room, I contemplated my options - which I should have done initally before buying more chairs!!  I arrived at a solution which pleases both me and the kitties - I covered the backs of the old chairs with scratch pads, which cover the only place where the kitties had destroyed the old chairs.  It looks good enough for me and the cats love it......and they love having the big seat to sleep in and the back cushion to roost on. It's a win-win for us all, though I realize you have to be a cat lover to fully appreciate it!

This is how it came from the thrift shop.
While I was playing Ms. Fixit, I ordered hardware for a chest of drawers that I had purchased at my local thrift show.  It's a Broyhill piece that was in good condition outside and clean as a whistle inside.  But for some reason, the hardware was wrecked.  One bail pull was completely missing and all but two have no pulls remaining.  The knobs on one drawer were also missing.  It just seemed odd that it should be in such good shape overall considering the poor condition of the hardware.  Anyway, once the hardware arrived it took only a minute to clean up the exterior and change out the hardware.......and now it look as good as new.

This is the finished piece, used beside the bed in my mother's room.  The night tables I had in there were very small, especially for all the things she needs nearby.  So, this gives her more storage and more counter space.  Again, we're happy with the results, and it's good to have something to be happy about!!

Not a lot else to report, though I seem to always be busy with, walking or sorting out medical issues for my mother. Tomorrow she sees the doctor for a follow up since her stay in the hospital.  If she gets a good report, she'll probably be wanting to go back home as soon as possible.

It's hard to believe that we're already this far into January.  The month will be gone before we know it.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Surviving the Holidays

Yes, it appears we survived the holidays, though not easily.  Things have been contentious between my mother and myself......they can be going well and then change in a flash.  But not to get the cart before the horse, my mother is doing much better physically, to the point of once again thinking about resuming her life in North Carolina.  I'm not sure how she thinks she can do that, and I just can't go there at the moment.

Julious, Mama & Laney
My cousin Laney and her husband Julious made a surprise (to my mother) visit on the Friday before Christmas.  They brought loads of "country cooking", with most of the vegetables straight from their garden.  They came only for the day, with a 4 hour drive each way; so, it was a quick visit but a real boost to my mother.  I hated for them to leave a 5PM with so little daylight left and a long drive ahead, but we were grateful for their visit.  They left us with enough food for much of the next week, so Christmas lunch was very quick and easy.  That, too, was a blessing.

Once Christmas was over, it was really over.  The day after we collected all of the house decorations and boxed them up for another year.  The following day it was the Christmas tree.  It gave us something to do in lieu of talking to one another!  Never before have we packed things up so early.  Both in and out of her state of delirium, it has become evident that my mother holds a great deal of resentment for my being away most of my life.  There isn't much I can do or say that is right or pleasing, so my best bet is to keep my mouth shut.  It's a very strange and sad thing that has happened to us, and I have no idea how to correct or improve it.

Christmas Day
One interesting development is that my mother is hearing music that isn't there.  She had commented earlier (before her hospitalization) that the neighbors  were playing music, which really didn't seem to be the case.  Then my neighbor loaned me a Susan Boyle CD, which we played....and the player stopped when the CD was over.  Some time after that, my mother asked me to "pleeease" turn off that Christian music!  I told her that there was no music playing, which only served to irritate her.  That evening I looked it up online to find that there is something called Musical Ear Syndrome, which often afflicts the elderly and hard of hearing.  The next morning I was trying to give her the information I'd found and she accused me of lying and didn't even want me to print it for her to read!  Now if I were hearing music that wasn't there and someone found information to explain it, I would want to know it.  Anyway, I did print the article and left it on the sofa for her to read at her leisure.  She has read it twice but again today she accused me of playing the music to drive her crazy!!  All I could say was that if she would find the source of the music, I'd turn it off......

New Years was a non-event with me, as it probably was with many single people.   Through the day I enjoyed watching the New Year arrive in Sidney, Hong Kong, Rio, etc. - and longed to be there. In the evening I struggled to welcome 2012, but did have an early toast with my $5 bottle of Andre, which I happen to really like!!  This year I was able to stay awake for the ball to drop in Times Square, but I have to say that it was a real letdown after seeing fireworks in major cities of the world.  It seems hours of screaming people and flashing advertising.....worse than ever.  Needless to say, being there won't be on my bucket list!

While December has been a real bummer, the remainder of 2011 was exceptional, made so by connecting with many friends throughout the year.  So, I can't let the joys of the year be overshadowed with the difficulties of its final month.  It really was a good year and I'm hoping 2012 will be even better for us all.

Not everything is dismal.  The weather has been absolutely fantastic, ranging from the high 60s to the mid-70s........just incredible for this time of year (though a 4 day cold snap arrives tomorrow).  My walks have been my salvation and it's been easy to enjoy them. In fact, our local gator has been toying with me......when I have my camera, he isn't to be seen.  If I forget my camera, he's there as big as life.  Well, on Saturday I out-foxed him.  I was surprised to see him out on January 1, 2011 and happy to see him out on the last day of the year as well.

I've missed my PAL volunteering for the last month and finally let them know that I would have to give up the desk duty.  My plan is to go out whenever I have a couple of hours and socialize the cats, play with the dogs, fold towels, clean feeding plates, or whatever else is needed.  I hated the feeling of letting them down for my assigned duty but will really prefer working directly with the animals.  It will also allow me to go when the time presents itself, so I should be able to do it weekly as long as things say stable.  Tomorrow (Tuesday) is a Living Liberally meeting and I hope to toast the New Year with my liberal friends.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Denise, my neighbor (who loaned the Susan Boyle CD), has also provided some relief.  We got together some time ago and hit it off well but, for various reasons, have not been able to follow up.  I talked to her over the fence a week ago and briefly explained the situation.  This week she called and invited me over for an afternoon break. I wound up staying much longer than intended, but it was lots of fun.  She's very easy to talk with and we seem to have lots in I hope we can get together again soon. 

Other than that, every day is a new adventure!!  I hope you got your New Year off to a good start and that it only improves from there.

Happy New Year!!