Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Is This Thing On?

Hello? Hello? Testing, 1...2...3.. Anyone hear me?

I wouldn't be surprised if not a single person was listening. But, I'm going to write anyways.

I've missed writing here, and I've missed reading your stories as well. Facebook is nice, but this is where it all started, so to speak. I'm going to make an effort to come back here more often.

Since I've last wrote:

We lost my Grandmother in November, my mother's mother. It was hard but fast. She declined very quickly the month or so leading up to us putting her on hospice. She was put on hospice at 11am and was gone by 530 that evening. My mom and myself were with her and it was very peaceful and it was the way she wanted it to be. We all miss her terribly but we were happy that she was reunited with my Grandpa and they got to spend Xmas together.

My oldest turned 18 and promptly bought a motorcycle. Parenting an adult is hard. Even if he is mature and responsible. He will still make mistakes and we will have to let him. The motorcycle was entirely paid for by him, we "made" him get his own insurance policy (Honestly, we were hoping it would be so outrageously expensive, it would detour him from buying the bike but, nope, affordable. Damn you ,Geico.) As the weather is getting better and better (hahahaha!) these days, he is riding it more. I'm hoping he will get one safe (and fun, I'm not a total monster) summer out of it and get rid of it.

I'm working 3 days a week at the ALF (Assisted Living Facility) and it's getting more and more difficult. It's a young person's game. My back, my knees, even my wrists are always hurting. I love the residents and I love caring for them, but it's hard. And, to be truthful, it's a business. I think that's what is really the hardest part. It's about the $$. No two ways about it. Yes, there are loving and caring people in the business, but it's about making a profit.The things I could tell you.......but, someday, you or a loved one may need a place like the one I work. I don't want to scare anyone away from using these types of places. Like I said, there are loving,capable, honest and sincere people working there. But....also, there's not.
My youngest boys plus friends, at the beach on a day where
the sun actually shined!! 

This was the first school year where all 4 kids were at home. It's been a struggle. It would be so much easier if I wasn't working (sorta need to keep doing that, for now) or watching extra children (sorta need to do that as well, for the same reasons I need to work).  We are going to switch schools/curriculum for next school year. Fingers crossed it will be a good change.

Things are going well. We are kept busy with kids, jobs, church and family.  I remember when all my kids were under the age of 8, how challenging it all was. I thought it would never get as hard as it was then. The diapers, tantrums, sleepless nights. But, now, I think this is pretty darn hard as well. Huh. Guess being a parent/adult is just hard, no matter the stage we are in. Who knew?
Proud fishermen

Getting underwear out of a dresser for a resident, I came across some of his war medals.  I
It was sad to me, that these were just put away in a drawer. 

Jarrett turned 12 in Feb. but still can't seem to not land on his noggin. 

Apparently, this is what boys do when they have friends over. 

Newest member of our zoo, Dewey. Jarrett's tortoise. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Summer 2016

Here it is, First of September. Summer is almost over. It always goes by so fast. But, some days, like the ones where it's 100 degrees and kids are bored, they drag and drag.

Much has happened since I last posted. Such is always the case.

We lost Judd's grandpa in April.  It was (has been) very, very difficult. It is our family's first significant loss and we feel it every day. We have many, many happy memories and someday, they will bring joy and not so much pain. So I've been told.

Jayce and his Great Grandpa, fishing a few weeks before he left us.
Judd is enjoying his new job. Got his first review and scored excellent.  This company does appreciate and reward their employees and that's a new concept for us.  When Gpa passed, THEY called US and told him he could take 3 days of grievance leave. Something that, yes while legally we are entitled to, his other job would've never done. We would've had to go to them and request it.  It is nice to not have a husband and daddy that's super stressed.

I've increased my hours at the Assisted Living home and pair that with babysitting, I'm working full time. And I hate it.  The care-giving, while I enjoy it and rock it, it's taking its toll. Mainly because it's in such a large capacity. At the minimum, 20 seniors are in my care in an 8 hour shift. During that 8 hours, I must dress them,serve two meals ( to entire facility, not just my 20) and also take my half hour lunch break. Add in showers and, Lord please no, any emergencies that arise.  And, the pay sucks. They hire anyone.   It's all about the money, it's a business.
I've interviewed twice for in-home care-giving and while it sounds good in theory, it's not any better. Crappy pay, and weird hours.  I just want to work less and make more. That shouldn't be so hard!

School starts next week and all 4 will be home with me.  This will have many benefits, such as more family time and learning at their pace and in their way, but to be honest, all I'm feeling is stress. It will all even out, it always does.

So, in short, life is stressful and crazy right now. But, when isn't it? And, I have many positives, too. It's all about where I focus.

Braces off! 

Jarrett (11) put away the groceries. 

Giant cup for a Slurpee. He worked to save money to buy this himself. 

Before (this is what happens when you and your brother run in the grocery store)

After--I'm getting pretty good at butterflying. 

Obviously, my focus is my family. I just need to keep reminding myself this.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

What To Say, Where To Start

At the beginning? No. That's too much.
In the middle? No. That's too confusing.
At the end? No way!!

I'll just start. 

I'm here!! Lots of things are the same, many are different. 

The biggest, hugest thing is my hubby quit his job he loathed and started one he loves! We have been hoping and wishing and praying for YEARS for him to get another job.  Sounds like a simple thing but it really wasn't. 

He applied to be a mechanic for the county's transportation department ( city buses). He even got an interview and it went really well. However, he felt he was under qualified and was bummed when he received an email confirming that. But, the same email stated that the interview panel really liked him and STRONGLY encouraged him to apply for a lower, entry level position. Which he quickly did.  Interview came and he received a phone call that same afternoon saying that he got the job!!

It has been a major change for us. Some bad--less pay ( to start, eventually it will be more than previous job) and it's the night shift ( 7pm-330am) but mostly good--WAY less stress and despite the weird hours, he has more family time than he did before.  He will have a pension when he retires, plus a 401K. Insurance is free for all 6 of us. He will accrue PTO/Sick time.  And, did I mention the less stress?  Huge, people, HUGE!!
He is now allowed to grow facial hair! He has never even had a mustache. This pic was from 2 months ago. His now as a full on, bushy beard. (It's not even all gray!)

Because of the pay thing, I've upped my hours at the assisted living home. Also, due to the night shift, I've changed my schedule to day shift (6am-2pm) which means I have to get up at 5am. Sucks. Bad.  But, I'm home right around the time Judd gets up and an hour before the boys get off school bus.  I'm exhausted as day shift is a whole new ball game but I'm home. 
Baxter, "helping" me make Granny's bed.

I injured my back in Sept, lifting a resident at work. Had to file a workmen's comp suit.  I didn't miss work, just was on light duty for awhile. Did some physical therapy.  And, while it is not the sharp, shooting, constant pain I was first having, it will still bug me every once in awhile. Along with my knees and of course, my ankle that will be the bane of my existence for the rest of my life, I swear.  It seems like the DAY I turned 40, my body just fell apart. Stupid age, anyways. 

The kids are good.  Jayce is 17, working part time and on counting down until he's "outta here!". Not that life here with us is so terrible, but...sharing a room with 2 younger brothers and living with one bathroom, that's a challenge anyone would look forward to shedding.
Jayce, and I (and Judd) riding California Screamin' at California Adventure in December.

Josie turned 13.  Every day is... interesting.  We got her a nice camera for Christmas, she's taken some great pictures with it.  She is very creative and always thinking of projects. 

Jarrett is now 11 and finally gaining weight! His appetite has improved tremendously (now likes ketchup, believe it or not!) and it isn't the struggle it was just a few months ago.  Puberty is peeking around his shoulders and taunting us daily.  But, he will still snuggle with me on the couch and insists on sleeping with his "Bob".  I'll take it as long as I can. 

Jeven will be 10 in just a few weeks. He is also gaining weight but that wasn't really a problem before. We are trying to instill healthy eating habits and get him (all of us, we are not singling him out, really) moving.  We are far from having a problem but we'd also like to keep it that way.
I swear, this kid ALWAYS has a kool -aid mustache.

Luther on the other hand.......he is just a fat, lazy, lovable dog and we're ok with that!

 I've got lots of stories of kids, old people and other boring ramblings. I will try and get them out here. Soon.

At least sooner than 7 months. Yeesh.


Saturday, August 15, 2015

What Has Been Happening

Oh so much but yet......so little.

Since I last wrote, we've had quite a few things go down.

1) Judd's Grandfather went to the ER one Saturday night. Grandma called here, at the house, while my husband was at work. Saying Grandpa was hurting awful and throwing up. So I headed over there, expecting the worst, to find Grandpa sitting in his chair, looking just fine. But, after some questioning and observing, I thought something wasn't right. When he suddenly had to go to the bathroom to vomit, again, my Mother in Law, Grandma and I decided a call to 911 was necessary. And, I volunteered to make the call only AFTER getting verbal consent from everyone involved as I was NOT going down for this. ( Grandpa was insisting he was fine and "didn't want anyone to fuss".)  I go out in the dark, overheated garage and whisper Grandpa's symptoms to the 911 operator, who thought I was insane.  Long story short (er), fire trucks pull up, Grandpa glares at me but, when the EMTS asked of his pain level, 10 being worst pain ever, he said 8 or 9, I was glad I called. After tests at ER, it is determined that Grandpa, age 86, has a very large kidney stone, 1cm in diameter, which is really big.  He required surgery and ended up in the hospital for almost 2 wks.  It was really quite the ordeal.  Lots of trips back and forth as we soon discovered that someone needed to be in the hospital room when the doctors came in, to save a lot of confusion. He needed a stent put into his bladder but previously had a stent put in his heart years ago, so when Grandma heard "stent" she told them he already had one and it just went downhill from there. I could go on and on about family drama and the stress of it all but in the end, Grandpa is doing great and we hope to not repeat any of it.

2) My beautiful lady I wrote about here passed away, shortly after I posted that story.  Thankfully, she did not "suffer" long and I was able to say good-bye.  I was reminded of how I was there the day she moved in, showed her to her room, explained the call system and walked her to dinner that first evening. She lived there quite awhile and the whole building grieved at her passing.  Her room was filled in less than a week and I will be honest, it's hard not to hold a grudge against the new resident. And, not just this time.  I can go through the entire building and tell you who has lived in each room, as most are not "original " occupants. I still think of room #339 as Dwight and Joan's even tho they haven't lived there for years.  Life does go on. 

3) I took  my oldest and his friends sandboarding again. You can read here how that went down last year. This year, there were no arguments on A) me driving them again and B) no swimming!! 
Once again, I sat around, read my book, had lunch and just relaxed while they went up and down the dunes. Derek was kind enough to bring Titus a life jacket:
What you may not notice, this is a child's life jacket on anything but a child.
 Titus wore it into McDonalds when we stopped for breakfast. You just never know when tragedy will strike.
I want to take a moment and say I enjoy hanging out with my kids and their friends. Not many people can say that.  Oh, to be young again: 
My kid is the whitest. Also, he is NOT totally nude behind the board. It wasn't that kind of trip. 

4) My next "tidbit" is not so much of a happening as, well, a tidbit.  I've told you a few stories of the residents at my job. But, I haven't told you about all of them. 

Two of the fattest cats I ever have seen.  Willow is somewhat friendly but doesn't move much (shocker) but Baxter is an entirely different story.   His "mom" leaves her room door open for Baxter to visit and roam the hallways.  I wish with all my heart I could capture on video for you what happens when I round the corner, see him down yonder and say "Baxter!! Bubba!! I missed you" and watch him RUN at me. If you've never seen a 20+lb cat run at you, you haven't lived.  After the initial love fest, where he rubs against my black pants and I pet him, rub his belly, tell him he's a good boy, he then proceeds to "hide" behind things as I work my way down the hall, room to room. I come out, and he's there but he's invisible.
Hiding behind a chair and plant. If he doesn't make eye contact, I don't see him. 

This continues all night until I get to "his" room. I announce "It's bed time Baxter, let's go!" and off he goes, into his room, I close the door and put he and his "mom" to bed.  Sometimes, he behaves and lets me pull back the bedding before climbing in,other times, he is rude and lays smack dab in the middle. You may wonder why Baxter is so large. It may be that his diet consists of chicken nuggets, cheese and other table scraps.  I will never forget when his "mom" asked me to wheel her down to the front desk so she could ask the maintenance man to come up to her room and make Baxter a harness so she could walk him. Matt looked at me, I looked at Matt.  He finally told her, very nicely, that was beyond his job description.

Never boring, folks, never boring.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Can't Do ANYTHING Right!

My job is hard. It's very rewarding, interesting, heart tugging, tear jerking, frustrating, hilarious and hard. 

For me, physically it is more difficult now than it ever was before. I have a broken ankle, that, yes, it's healing, but it still hurts. It's making my knee hurt, which makes my hips hurt. And, my back.  I'm taking more pain pills now than I was when I first broke the darn thing. I'm hoping my knee is residual and not a different injury all together. 

But, I do love my job.  The people I take care of make me laugh and cry. I enjoy giving them love in return and in some cases, making their last days, comfortable and dignified. 

We do have hospice patients at the Home.  Sometimes, a resident will be put on hospice and will only last days. Sometimes, weeks and even months.  Everyone is different and dying is no exception. 

Ingrid was put on hospice during my first round of employment at the Home. So, that would've been almost three years ago.  Some days, she's barely conscious and doesn't interact with anyone. But, most days, she sits in her recliner, with her door open and yells things at us as we walk by.  She gets lonely. She loves to have her hair brushed, her nails painted and for anyone to come in, sit down and just talk to her.   She does have a catheter and can't walk without assistance.  Her mind, however, is sharp.  As a tack.  That you step on in the middle of the night.  You sort of wish you hadn't encountered it. 

Her sense of humor is my favorite thing about her.  Her comebacks are amazing and her smile lights up the whole room. 

She loves milk. But, milk doesn't agree with her.  One day, she decided to try almond milk. She had it for lunch. And dinner. 

We quickly realized almond milk doesn't like her either.  I think I had to clean her up 3 times.  And, when someone can't stand alone, let alone use the toilet alone, you can imagine how fun it was. For both of us (neither of us??) but it had to be done.
It was during the third cleaning, as she lay naked on her bed, me washing her from head to toe, that she told me she thought she was dying.

Now, she knows she's on hospice, I know she's on hospice so yes, she is dying. But, she meant right then and there, she was going to die.

"Ingrid, why on earth do you think that??"

"Well, LOOK at me!! Have you every seen anyone in this bad of shape?"

"Ingrid, when people are dying, they don't eat 4 cookies, sit and watch Wheel of Fortune, poop or pee. Let alone carry out a conversation about Rachel Ray and whether or not one should get a boob job!" (yes, really)

She flops back on the bed, still totally naked.

"Oh for God's sake, I can't even DIE right!!"

Like I said, I love my job. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Pill Poppin'

As I look down my page here, I see that my posts have been pretty dark and dreary as of late ( like 2 posts in 6 months can be considered "as of late") and I don't like that. Time to change directions.

Had to take Jeven (just turned 9) to the dentist in the middle of church today.  First time we've ever had to call a dentist on a weekend and use the emergency line. 

He was playing with his friends and he and another younger boy collided.  Jeven's mouth hit Seth's head.  Jeven doesn't cry often, so when I saw him crying, holding his mouth, I feared the worst.  Upon inspection, I saw a fat lip and not much else.  When he STILL was crying, I checked his teeth to see if any had been knocked loose.  One permanent tooth, right in front, started to bleed when I pushed on it. 

Now, we've used butterfly bandages, even super glue, here to save us some doctor bills.  But, I will not have my kid looking like a hillbilly with one dead tooth in the front of his adorable face. 

Thankfully, the dentist met us and thoroughly examined him and declared him far from hillbilly status.  When I expressed my gratitude and apologized for interrupting his Sunday, he insisted it is certainly better safe than sorry with permanent teeth and, he confessed, it was his third trip into the office this weekend.  Turns out boys are sort of accident prone. Who knew? (I did. I knew.) 
The dentist suggested offering Jeven some ibuprofen to help with any aches he might have. 

When we got home, I got out the ibuprofen tablets and asked Jeven if he'd ever swallowed a pill before.  (I honestly couldn't remember which of my children have done it. I have four. And most pain relief is given in the middle of the night. My brain gets fuzzy. Don't judge.)

Jeven then proceeded to give this monologue that had his dad and I in stitches.  And, he said it all totally straight faced and serious: 

"Yes, I've swallowed pills before.
At Nana and Papa's house. But, Nana's are the sleepy kind.  Actually, they aren't 'profen kind at all, just sleepy kind.
And, we don't even ask for them.  She just has them set out for us.  And, like a long time before bedtime, too.  Jarrett and I take half pills. But, last time?  She set out whole pills for each of us. So, yes, I can take a pill, mom."

In Nana's defense, the "sleepy pills" are melatonin because my kids do tend to have a little trouble sleeping  places other than their own home. And, she's clarified with me that it's okay to give it to them.  I just never clarified with the boys what was going to happen. So, apparently, Jeven thinks Nana REALLY wants him to sleep. ( :  

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Keeping It Real Over Here

I did something unheard of these days.

I deactivated my Facebook account.

Shocking, I know.

I just got fed up. With myself. It was making me feel things I don't like to admit I was feeling.

For one, I was ashamed at how much time I was wasting on there.  It was so easy to tell myself I was just going to check my newfeed  "real fast" and before I knew it, a half hour had passed.

If that wasn't bad enough, I was getting angry. And, bitter. Towards people that I either barely know, or that I see often.

It started slowly. First, somebody would post something that annoyed me, or offended me.  Then, I would "hide"them so I was still friends with them but didn't see their stuff every day.  One or two people here and there. But, eventually, I realized I was hiding more and more people.  I quickly realized the problem wasn't them, it was me.

I was letting their "perfect" lives make me feel horrible about mine.

They post how their daughter made dinner for the entire family, again.
I'm over here yelling at my daughter to "PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO YOUR SCHOOL WORK THAT WAS DUE TWO DAYS AGO!!"

They post about their wonderful vacations.
I'm over here realizing we will probably do nothing this summer. Again.

They post about how much they love Jesus and thank Him for all He's done.
I'm over here quoting Bible verses and they honestly say "Oh, is that a real verse?"and haven't set foot in a church in 10 years.

They post about their new jobs or promotions.
I'm over here praying that my husband doesn't get fired today, like he wishes.

They post about how they hiked to the top of Mt. Pisgah.
I'm over here walking 8+ miles per shift at work, on a broken ankle, in such pain I want to just sob.

Actually, I want to just sob, period.

If I'm keeping it real, I'm struggling. Struggling in too many areas. With my kids--why are they so much work now? More so than when they were toddlers?  With my spirit--I'm so very tired, I've stopped caring about too much. With my body--I'm frustrated with the amount of pain I'm in, With my ankle. With my weight.  With my mind--it's not being my friend.

I've considered taking medication for it but, and this is hard to explain, it's not the answer, for me. I've spoken with my doctor, he thinks losing 18 pounds in a year, after constant counting and exercising, is perfect progress for "someone your age". He thinks I would benefit from a CPAP machine. And, maybe I would. But, I'm over here stuck with over $1000 in medical bills from my adventures falling off my own couch. Adding to that stack with more tests and machines is not the answer.

What is the answer?  For now, it's avoiding comparing my life with the fake lives (because NOBODY'S lives are THAT perfect, all the time) of my "friends". It's doing the best I can, each day and forgiving myself when things aren't perfect.