Warning: Plot Complication! Warning: Plot Complication!

Well it was bound to happen eventually. I like the blogs I follow, go figure.  I enjoy reading others’ comments or responses to my comments.  That’s natural, right?  But I suppose I shouldn’t have gotten so comfortable doing it on my phone while sitting next to JD.

Yesterday I shared a post from the blog dearlilyjune which I follow and I was reviewing and clearing the likes when JD asked what I was doing.  Well I fibbed slightly, and said I was reading comments on a blog post.  I say “fibbed” mainly because I didn’t say it was my blog post, and if you want to get technical I guess it wasn’t a fib at all.  All I did was share it, I didn’t write it.  Way to justify a fib Janey!

Anyway, it isn’t the first time I’ve used that response when in actuality I’ve been reading comments on my own posts.  This time however, JD trumped my fib and said that since I liked reading other people’s blogs so much why didn’t I write one of my own?

Falling back on an old excuse, I claimed I just didn’t have the time to write a blog.  JD pointed out I could spare five or ten minutes on the train in the morning (WTF? Is he spying on me?) or after work before dinner.  Then, because I had a feeling this wasn’t going to be the last I heard of it, I admitted I had started a blog some time ago, but that it was now gathering cobwebs due to the aforementioned lack of time.  I remarked that perhaps I could dig up the log in information and check out where I’d left it and possibly fire it up again.

I’m not sure whether I will revisit my old stomping grounds but if I do I’ll have to sanitize the existing posts so there’s nothing offensive or too revealing of family.  Because you know if he realizes I’m blogging he’s going to take credit for it and want to read it.

It would be an interesting challenge to see whether I can keep two blogs afloat.

And if you don’t “get” today’s title, check this out – the applicable reference is about 2:11 into the video.  You’re welcome.

 

 

To bring you up to date

It’s been eleven days since Mom was admitted to the hospital.  For the past week they have said every day that they think she’s almost ready to transfer to a skilled nursing facility.  On the one hand we’d like to see her moved because that’s a sign that things are progressing.  On the other we want to be sure she’s ready to be moved.  Duh.

When she developed a raspy, wet cough we were concerned about bronchitis or pneumonia but she never ran a fever and her oxygen levels have remained in the normal range.  They eventually started her on cough medicine and when we visited the other evening she sounded much better.  I was still surprised yesterday to learn they were moving her to the nursing facility.  I guess I got so used to hearing they wanted to observe/evaluate her overnight that I wasn’t prepared to hear she was ready to go.

The nursing facility is not as convenient as the hospital was for visiting.  After work I would request a ride via Uber and off I’d go, arriving at the hospital within 10 minutes.  Then I’d visit a while with Mom, waiting for JD and SIL to arrive.  We usually stayed for a couple of hours, grabbing a bite in the hospital cafeteria or a coffee from the Starbucks in the lobby at some point in the evening.  We don’t make it home till nearly 9 and by then I’m ready for bed.  On top of that schedule, I haven’t been sleeping well – go figure.

No way I can visit the nursing home like that.  I understand it needs to be closer to where Mom lives with my sister and brother in law but we won’t get to visit except on weekends.  Visiting here in Seattle every night exhausts me.  No way I can travel up to Lynnwood after work, visit a couple hours and then head home.

Lest I fail to look on the bright side – this IS a good sign!

On to other news …

The other day I had some time on my hands and I was looking for a wide version of my favorite wall paper:

Not now Jack

The old one doesn’t work on my new monitors.

I couldn’t find this exact wallpaper for wide dual monitors but here’s one I did find:

imperial_stormtrooper-wallpaper-1920x1080

It looks so much cooler on my monitors than it does here!

Finally, on Tuesday we had a department white elephant holiday party.  Pizza and dessert were eaten; gifts were opened and some were even traded.  There was a lot of laughter.  Here’s what I’ll be taking home:

20151215_134217

Um, yeah, I am so ready for this weekend.  Too bad it’s only Thursday.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The good news is Mom’s stroke, while not small, didn’t leave behind the amount of damage it could have. Dr. S was pleased that she is still mobile albeit with supervision for the time being.  The stroke was in the basal ganglia region on the left side of her brain. That’s a mouthful of unintelligibility isn’t it? I looked up basal ganglia but Uncle Google wasn’t very helpful this time.  More on that later.

The bad news is sometime between the first blood draw in the ER Saturday afternoon, and Monday night, Mom had a heart attack. Women don’t usually exhibit the typical clutch the chest type symptoms and it was missed by everyone until the telltale marker appeared in her blood.  By itself this isn’t better or worse than the stroke.  In conjunction it makes finding the appropriate treatment protocol a bit tricky.

Dr. S recommended keeping Mom’s blood pressure slightly elevated in order to be certain blood was getting to the stroke area, where the blood vessels are extremely narrow from the arterial blockages.  Now that they know her heart is unhappy with that level of BP they have to figure out another, heart-friendlier treatment going forward.

The Ugly:  My dread that this is just the beginning of the end. It has brought back sad memories of my grandmother’s lengthy battle with stroke and her gradual decline.  I keep reminding myself that was over 30 years ago and the medical field has advanced by leaps and bounds since then.  In fact, I really like Mom’s neurologist, which brings us back to the basal ganglia mystery.

Monday in a coincidence of timing, I managed to slide into Mom’s room in the midst of the doctor’s explanations to our daughter and son in law.  I use “slide” because as we were searching for parking daughter A texted that the doctor was there.  JD dropped daughter K and I at the skybridge and we very nearly ran from there to the other side of the hospital where we took the elevator to the neuro floor, then speedwalked through the unit and slid to a (in my mind) screeching stop at the foot of Mom’s bed.

Dr. S was so patient (unintended pun!) and when JD arrived a few minutes later after finding parking he even went over the information (abbreviated a bit this time) again for him.  Here’s where my confusion was – I looked up basal ganglia and found the definition below.

ba·sal gan·gli·a

noun

ANATOMY

  1. a group of structures linked to the thalamus in the base of the brain and involved in coordination of movement.

Granted I didn’t have a lot of time to look at other hits for more detailed information so it was more my failure than Uncle Google’s.  As a result, I jumped to the conclusion that this meant she wouldn’t be able to walk or move her arms.  Dr. S explained what I was missing in the definition I read:  coordination of movement.  It isn’t that she can’t move but that she needs to think about it.  When we reach for a spoon we just reach for it without having to consciously think about it right?  Well Mom now has to decide she wants the spoon and then make up her mind to reach for it.  Then there’s the actual reaching.  She does everything very, very slowly now.  But the good news (yes, more good news!) is she is doing things!  She gets up with help and attends to personal needs; she eats and drinks and smiles with recognition when we arrive to visit.

Other good news according to Dr. S is that she understands us (and the doctors and nurses).  That makes things a lot easier because she responds to simple instructions and can answer simple questions correctly (Where are you? What day is it?).  If she was having trouble understanding us it would make her recovery more complicated.  However, she is also experiencing what the doctor referred to as a “word salad”.  All her words might still be there but they’re mixed up together and she has difficulty finding the ones she wants to use.  You can imagine her frustration.

I don’t know how to sum this up or sign off or bring it to a close.  There is a good possibility she can recover and have a few more years of a full life.  For the family’s sake I’d like to see that happen.  On the other hand, how many more of these incidents will she have to endure before she goes to be with Dad?  And how much worse will they get?  The doctor said very clearly that they cannot stop a recurrence, only try to slow down the arterial blockage and find ways to get blood flow to the damaged areas.  I dread watching her fail bit by bit.  More, I dread watching JD watch that.  I wish there was some way to spare the family that experience.

 

Things NOT to do

Laughter is wonderful isn’t it?  Especially those deep, carry-you-away laughs that you can’t seem to stop.  And the endorphin release?  Yes!  I love laughing.  But I’m a horrible grandmother.  I know – how did I get there from here?  Let me tell you a story…

A couple of weeks ago JD and I went and picked up the grandson’s birthday present.  Grandson was turning 13 and we wanted to make sure to get it in the mail early enough so he’d get it on time.  It also needed to arrive unbroken so we took it to the UPS store and paid more to have it safely packed and shipped than the remote-control helicopter cost in the first place!

Friday after work JD and I were heading out to do errands and grab a bite of dinner.  My cell phone rings and the caller ID says “Private Number”.  Now I don’t usually answer the phone if I don’t know who’s calling, but a few days before I’d been on the phone with the Grandson to be sure the package had arrived when UPS said it would and I knew the other grandparents’ phone number showed up as “Private Number” so I took the call.

After confirming he had reached the correct number, Grandson started off saying something like, “You know that helicopter you got me?”  I acknowledged that I did, expecting him to offer his thanks but his next words were totally unexpected.

“Well, it flew away.”

Dead silence at my end for two or three seconds and then I was laughing – huge, belly-hurting laughs.  And Grandson is continuing in my ear that when he ran inside and told his other Grandma it had flown away she laughed and laughed too which made me laugh all the more.

We are horrible grandparents!  Just horrible.  But whenever I think about that little helicopter* disappearing into the sky I still find myself chuckling.

*The helicopter was intended for indoor use but the other Grandpa wouldn’t let him fly it in the house and Grandson didn’t realize it was meant for indoor ONLY.  Poor kid.

Fortune Cookie Friday

Hey everyone it’s that time again!  I know you were all waiting for it so here it is!

Last night we said screw the budget and went to the Pho Grill near our house for dinner (it really isn’t screwing the budget, it’s very reasonable).  This eatery is akin to a Mongolian BBQ style restaurant.  You fill a bowl with your choice of ingredients, hand it to the guy at the grill and wait, trying not to drool as he cooks your dinner.  I’ve never been a big fan of this kind of place but something about this little store-front establishment just hits the right spot.

There was a new hostess/waitress last night and I don’t remember her name but she was very friendly.  In addition to being conscientious about clearing used dishes, she stopped by our table several times to check on us and chat.

Anyway, back to our theme.  Because we made her laugh she gave us each two fortune cookies and it’s a good thing, because one of mine was empty!  Since we waited till we got home to open them I was able to overreact quite melodramatically to JD’s amusement.  The other cookie’s fortune said this:

Genius 2

Wise words.  Think about it.  If you give up you’ll never know what you could have accomplished, right?

Then there was this in one of JD’s cookies:

Give what you have

The phrasing is awkward but he agreed with it.  If you insert “else” after someone it sounds a little better.  JD said it was like us.  He gives me what he has, which he doesn’t consider much and it always flummoxes him that I find it valuable.  Even at his most frustrating I love that man.

His other fortune was also appropriate:

Happiness

 

I like the message here and while I don’t think JD will take it to heart, every little reminder I can get in front of him is welcome.

May the sun shine on you and yours this weekend.  Oh, and

O   !!!!

 

Thank You

 

I was going to title this post VICTORY in all caps with at least one exclamation mark.  But lest I tempt the hand of fate, or karma or what have you, I’ll just quietly say thank you to everyone who responded to yesterday’s rant, and tell you all that we are taking the grandkids to dinner with their aunt the week after next.

Phew.

Also – yahoo!  (A wee little celebratory note shouldn’t tempt fate too much, right?)

Thanks again all of you who weighed in on my dilemma yesterday.  I so appreciate your support and that you took the time to respond.

Suggestions?

Not to step on Gibber’s toes but I have a need for answers.  Over the weekend I called the other grandpa of two of my grandchildren who live a couple of hours away.  The kids live with him and his wife because neither my daughter nor their son has what it takes to parent.  So now that the kids are close enough to visit we took them camping during the summer.  It was much too short a visit but we promised them we would see them again.  I recently asked if we could have them visit over Thanksgiving weekend.  My request was denied with a comment that they were expecting family to come into town.  I thanked him politely and said that was great and I didn’t want to ruin a family time.  I asked if there was another weekend between then and the end of the year when we could have them visit and was told no.  No explanation, no nothing – just no.  Then he appeared to realize how bad that sounded and he backtracked and said something about he’d have to see.  Yeah, right.

Saturday, I asked whether we could have the kids visit us for a couple of days after Christmas so we wouldn’t interrupt their holiday.  With Christmas on a Thursday this year we were graciously* given that Friday off.  It would make for a nice couple of days with the grandkids and they could still be home by Sunday.  Well Grandpa Dickhead said no.  Again.  In fact, he flat out lied, saying that “everyone thinks they have two weeks” of school vacation but they only have one.  Hmm.  I didn’t call him on it because what the hell do I know for certain?

This morning though I called the district where they attend school and asked about their holiday schedule.  LO and behold!  They’re off from December 22 to January 2.  That’s what?  Two weeks?  Amazing.

So now I need a little assistance.  Tonight I plan to call dear old Dickhead and ask whether we might at least take the grandkids to dinner one night between now and Christmas.  I want to make sure they get the gift cards we have for them and I don’t trust that jackass even a little bit.  I’m not a pessimist most of the time, but realistically, based on our last two conversations, I believe he’s going to find a way to deny our request.

In case that happens, should I call him out for lying?  Call him a dickhead jackass son of a bitch?  Or should I remain polite and try to negotiate with him?  What say you all?  Geez, I’m starting to get a complex here; you’d think I was the Wicked Witch of Seattle or something.  😦

 

 

*When the hell is someone going to come up with a sarcasm font!?

Wow it feels like forever

since I was here last but it’s only been a few days.  How does that happen?  No sorry, that was a rhetorical question, don’t bother answering.

So, Charlie’s story is still not quite complete but I am working on it.  I’ve also been battling what I HOPE are allergy symptoms (as opposed to a nasty cold).  This week has been a blur of work (getting out invoices to clients is so much fun), commuting and going to bed as early as I can possibly manage.  I even turned down a dinner out last night because I was so exhausted.  JD was very sweet and made me an omelet which I noshed on in front of the TV.  I was in bed shortly after 9 PM again, which is unheard of for me.

All that aside, I wanted to catch my peeps up on the happenings in the Doe household.  Over Thanksgiving weekend we had three – count’em! – three family encounters and there was absolutely NO bloodshed!  I count that as a win.

Because my best friend and my favorite daughter both had to work the Friday after Thanksgiving, family encounter one involved us driving to the Peninsula to have a restaurant Thanksgiving with them and the daughter’s beau.  We had so much fun and Shari’s put on a nice enough Thanksgiving dinner for a restaurant.  I got to have cherry pie for the first time in forever!  Yum!  Afterward, because the friend needed to get to bed early (her alarm goes off at 2:30 in the freaking AM people!) we said goodbye to her there and then followed the kids over to see their new place.  After hanging out there awhile we headed home.

Family encounter two was on Friday at our other daughter’s home.  This is the one I was most concerned about as it included not only my mother, sister and brother in-laws, it also included The Ex-Wife.  My husband’s niece and her beau were up from Oregon too.  Needless to say, I drank wine – a LOT of wine, and as I said earlier, no blood was shed.

From there we headed up to a small tourist town in Northern Washington where we were going to meet JD’s biological father for the very first time.  No pressure or anything!

The drive took a really long time; or maybe it just felt longer because it was night time and I was way tired.  We got to the inn about 10 PM and checked in.  What we had not planned on was the freezing temperatures.  There’d been torrential rainfall in our neck of the woods when we left but the temps were moderate.  So I was wearing a zip-up fleece with a rain jacket over it; not at all suitable for below freezing temps!  Thank goodness the inn had an incredibly good heater!

Sadly, the overindulgence in wine wreaked havoc with my digestive system and I was up and down all night visiting the lovely porcelain god.  And the tile floor was so icy even wearing slippers didn’t help so when I wasn’t answering nature’s call I was shivering under the blankets trying to sleep.  It made for a very long night.

But thankfully I was better in the morning and I still woke before JD!  So I pulled on clothes, took the dog out to empty her bladder and gave her biscuit.  Then I hiked over to the inn’s lounge (hiked may be an overstatement; it was directly across the driveway from our room) and took advantage of what they called a continental breakfast.  The coffee was heaven; and I even indulged in a mini sweet roll while I called the man who had donated his sperm to create my big palooka of a husband.

I think we all have some familiarity with the story of an adopted kid who has dreamed their REALLY REAL parents will come and save them, right?  Or perhaps when you were growing up you went through a phase where you hoped you were adopted so your real parents who were either wealthy, royal or super heroes would come and rescue you.

JD knew from an early age that his biological father was no longer in the picture and when I started looking for my father’s family earlier this year we also put out some inquiries about his.  Lo and behold we discovered he was still alive and resided less than 2 hours away!   Now to be clear, JD doesn’t consider B to be his REAL father; only his biological father.  His real father is the man who married his mother when he was around 1 and then proceeded to adopt all three of her children.  He’s the one who taught him to ride a bike, drive a car, etc.  That said, JD was curious about his bio dad and thus we made arrangements to meet him.

IT WAS AWESOME!  Okay, I may be exaggerating, but I loved the little town and I loved him.  And all his friends.  He knows everyone in town!  Or almost.  Plus?  The absolute cherry on the sundae is that he worked at Walt Disney back when WALT was there!  His first meeting with Walt was when he almost ran him down on his way to grab coffee!

So to sum up, Thanksgiving weekend was a blast.  We had wonderful family time; got to meet new family and enjoyed a nice little respite from home.  Other than freezing my a$$ off most of the weekend, I loved every minute of it. Including the Coconut Banana Pancakes I had Saturday morning!  YUMMMMY!

Happy weekend Peeps!

 

Say Your Name

I’m already pretty satisfied with my blog’s name and tagline so I won’t be tweaking those, at least not now.  However, today’s Blogging 101 assignment triggered a memory that’s worth sharing … or not – your mileage may vary.

Many moons ago I was a regular churchgoer.  It was my lifeline in the midst of a bad marriage.  The family I found there were loving and supportive.  It was a family of families if you get my meaning. The pastor and his wife and son were the heads of our tiny congregation and my very best friends. The pianist/choir director/Sunday school teacher was my next bestest friend back then.  Loretta could always bring a smile to your face.  And her hugs?  Oh my God (no pun intended)!

I remember Loretta explaining how she taught her children their address when they were very young.  The family lived on a street called Sayre.  Loretta made a game of it and taught them the number of their house and then had them recite, “Say your street” until they remembered it on their own.

When I saw “Say Your Name” this morning it was sort of bittersweet.  On the one hand it made me feel all fuzzy and warm; on the other, I’ve lost touch with all of those dear friends, and my pastor and his wife are gone now.  There’s a hole in my life that they used to fill and I think I’m still trying to find something to fit there; maybe nothing will exactly.  Maybe I’m not supposed to fill it.

What do you think, Dear Reader?

 

This is Me

Leave it to me to screw up which challenge I’m a part of on the very first day no less.  I just spent 20 minutes free-writing for the Writing 101 challenge, went to click on the Commons so I could post it over there and was told it was a private site.  That reminded me I wasn’t doing the Writing 101 challenge this time but the Blogging 101 challenge.  Well if that doesn’t just start my week off with a bang I don’t know what would!

I’m supposed to introduce myself and tell everyone why I’m here.  [Standing up and shifting uncomfortably from one foot to the other] Hi, I’m JaneyDoe.  Please feel free to call me Janey, or just about anything so long as it’s not “late for dinner”!  That’s what my grandfather used to say when I was growing up.  Now I’M a grandmother!  I am (mostly) happily married and we have six children who have blessed us with nine grandchildren…

[crickets]

…uh, sorry, sorry.  [Fans self with magazine.]  Just thinking “grandchildren” is strange enough but NINE of them can take your breath away.  Plus?  Menopause is a bitch.  Just sayin’.

I’m here blogging as therapy because I can’t afford a really real therapist, or the time it would take to GO to therapy.  And I don’t follow direction well, so when the therapist told me I need to tell whomever it is I’m having issues with that I have issues with them, well let’s just say I wouldn’t.  Why pay someone to tell me to do something I won’t do anyway?

Writing has always been sort of cathartic for me and I set this blog up as anonymously as possible so I would be free to unload anything I wanted here without hurting family or friends.  That will definitely happen at some point – the unloading, not the hurting (if I can help it).  For now I’m content to review the daily prompts and write when inspiration nudges me.  I signed up for Blogging 101 because I’m interested not only in writing, but also in how to update my blog’s appearance and I’m looking forward to learning more about WordPress in general.

Welcome to my world.