Tuesday, June 3, 2014

It's Tuesday, therefore I must be speaking to Mom's Doctors

Getting old isn't for sissies.  Being the child of an aging parent who is responsible for their medical care isn't for sissies either.  I know I've said it before, but NOTHING prepares you for being the child of an aging and ill parent.  And so it goes.

It's Tuesday.  Usually, I spent an hour or two getting caught up with stuff around the house and then work from home.  I knew that was probably out the window today as Daughter 2 is having her last day of school  It is a half day.  That means I have to pick her up in car line.  The only good side of this is I don't have to deal with car line until September.  We are now entering the time of year where I am the subject of a three month long psychological experiment where we see how long it takes for me to lose my mind because I never have a minute alone in the house.  Dear Hubby has his office in the basement and works from home a few days a week.  Kids are now old enough that they don't want to do day camp.  By the end of July, I want to hurt someone.  But, I digress.

So, I should have known that today was going to be challenging.  It started with a call from Mom about a health problem last night.  It's not really a problem, it's a side effect of the cancer she is dealing with and she just refuses to accept that this side effect isn't going to go away.  So yesterday, she went to see the nurses at the lovely continuing care community to see if they could "fix" the problem.  (There is no fix, but again, Mom doesn't remember that is the case.)

About 8:20 am, along with my second cup of coffee as I'm figuring out the game plan for the day, I get the phone call from the Lovely Nurse.  Mom was up there yesterday.  She was confused.  (Again, that is a constant state.)  She could not describe her symptoms.  (Again, normal for her.)  But, they think she might have a urinary tract infection so they took a urine sample and called her primary care physician.  The same Doc I have a call into about the side effect of the cancer and whether there is anything to be done about it.

Lovely Nurse think mom needs an antibiotic.  She is going to ask the Doc for one, but my gut says this doc, who is new to mom because Beloved Doctor is now a hospitalist has only seen mom once and doesn't really get the whole picture yet, is going to want to see her.

So, I'm opening the pool -- when are we going to get the call about the appointment and when will we get an appointment?  Today, when I'm supposed to pick up Daughter 2 at school, take her to lunch to celebrate the last day and go to the bookstore (her favorite place IN THE WORLD)?  Or tomorrow, when I have to be at work?

I'm a wee bit frustrated today and just needed to get this off my chest.  No looking for sympathy.  Just needed to vent.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Never Ask: "What's the Worst That Can Happen/"

I'm glad that I've decided to start doing this again.  It's a better venue for stories that are a bit too long to post on Facebook.

As most of you know, I own The Beast -- a 2004 Ford Expedition with a honkin' big V-8 engine and capacity for 8 full size people plus luggage.  I get gallons to the mile, not mile per gallon, but I LOVE MY TRUCK!  

This is the back of The Beast loaded for the trip to RSCM in August, where it hauled two adults, five kids and luggage from Philadelphia to Newport and back.  During the course of the last 10 years, the Beast has served me well.  Transported kids, dogs, furniture, etc.  I really haven't had to do much to it, other than routine maintenance.  Until yesterday.

As I was driving Mom to radiation, a flashing message comes across the message center -- CHECK CHARGING SYSTEM.  I have no idea what this means.  The car seems to be running fine.  I continue to the hospital with Mom and do the 21st Century thing when I get there -- I google it.  What I find out is something is wrong with my electrical system.  Ok.  Drive Mom home and head to teach my knitting class in Haverford.

More strange flashing lights.  The radio goes on and off by itself.  The anti-lock brake light flashes.  The dome lights come on and off.  I am not touching any of this.  At this point, the car is still driving fine and I'm wondering if I need a priest for an exorcism or a mechanic.

On the way back home from knitting class, the entire dashboard goes dark. DARK! Speedometer doesn't work.  No gas gauge.  No radio, no heat, no lights.  Now, I'm really starting to think I need a priest.  Get home and call the mechanic who says -- "Don't think I can fit you in tomorrow, maybe Monday."

Well, it's Thursday.  So that means I need to pick up Daughter 2 and a friend and school and drive 20 minutes over to church for Chorister practice.  BTW, I'm also coordinating dinner for 70 that happens between Choristers and Adult Choir rehearsal.  So, I get the in the car and head to car line.  I figure, what's the worst that can happen.  Shouldn't have thought that.  I paid for it.

Those of you who have children know car line.  At Daughter 2's school it is run with military precision.  You do not mess up the flow of car line.  So I pull up into one of the two lines and the car promptly DIES blocking one of the two lanes.  Yep, I am now that mother.  The one blocking car line and screwing things up.

I call AAA.  I endure threats, dirty looks, curses and daggers.  But, there were many who as I directed traffic around the Beast, rolled down windows and asked -- can I help?  Do your kids need a ride?  Do you need a jump?  So for each idiot, there was at least one nice person.

Truck gets towed to mechanic.  Fortunately, Hubby was able to come get kids and then get me at the mechanic and take us over to church for rehearsal.

Mechanic just called.  It's the alternator.  Could be worse.  Car will be ready this afternoon.
No exorcism necessary.  Just a check for the mechanic.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

From the Middle of the Sandwich

I'm prompted to start writing again thanks to a friend who muses about my Facebook posts -- most of which these days involve being in the middle of the sandwich generation.  So, here's a quick update and I'll try to be better about blogging.

Three years ago, I learned that God did not mean for me to work full time.  My mother's health was in decline and my girls needed me a bit more.  Therefore, I am practicing law part time and being a full time sandwich.

Here's what 2013 brought for me:

  • May - Mom has a stroke same week Daughter 1 graduates from 8th grade.
  • June - We convince Mom she needs to move from the Jersey Shore to the Philly area, since living by yourself after you've had a stroke which causes the doctors to say you can't drive isn't a good idea.  
  • July - Pack up Mom's house
  • August - Move Mom into a lovely Philadelphia area continuing care community in her own beautiful one bedroom apartment (which for the first month, is referred to as The Prison).
  • September - Daughter 1 starts high school.  Daughter 2 starts 5th grade.  Back to school craziness.
  • October - During weekend that Dear Sister is having baby shower for Wonderful Niece, Dearest Brother-in-Law has a major heart attack, necessitating triple bypass and valve replacement.
  • November - Mom has a stroke on hubby's birthday and spends a week in the hospital.  Doctor's release her to rehab and she wants to know why we put her in this New Prison!
  • December - Mom has a couple of TIAs.
  • January - Philadelphia gets snow, snow and more snow.
  • February - Mom spends 10 of 28 days in the hospital and gets a new diagnosis - cancer.  A week after the cancer diagnosis - we had two strokes (including a nasty fall.)

So, anytime I can string two weeks together without having to visit the ER or be at the hospital with mom, are good times for me.

In the meantime, this winter has worn me down so I broke down and ordered seeds from Burpee. Below is my soon to be lovely lettuce blend.  Let's hope I don't kill them.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I've decided to dabble in sewing again.  It was brought on by the fact that a friend of Hubby's has decided that his 2nd career is going to be that of an Episcopal Priest.  He was ordained as a Deacon two weeks ago.  We got the ordination date about three weeks out, so I knew there was no way I could knit a stole in the appointed time.  Sewing was much faster. So I pulled out my trusty Bernina and blew off the dust.

Hubby and Deacon both grew up in Lancaster, PA.  Many of you know this is a hotbed of quilting due to the Amish population.  I thought a piecework stole would be appropriate.  (I don't want to call it quilted because there is no batting and no "quilting" on top.) After searching for a pattern, I realized I was going to have to wing it and figure out how to make this myself.   First task, figure out how big this thing has to be.

According to a variety of sources, I determined a Deacon's stole is worn over one shoulder.  It should be about 110" long and about 6" wide.  Ok.  Now I need a block pattern.

So off I go, searching quilting web sites for ideas.  I came up with this -- Liberate!  To pay homage to Deacon's Lancaster roots, I wanted something simple.  I wanted a 6" square.  I loved the use of triangles -- a reminder of the Trinity.

With pattern in hand, off I went to my local quilting store, Cloth and Bobbin in Narberth.  Cloth and Bobbin is just a few doors down from where my knitting shop was.  I love Johanna, the owner.  She is a great resource.  She helped me determine yardage.

Next big issue was color.  The Episcopal Church is a "color by numbers church".  We have colors for each liturgical season.  Advent is Blue or Purple.  Christmas, Easter and Ascension are White or Gold. Lent is Purple.  Red is used for Pentecost.  Everything else is considered Ordinary Time, which is Green.

My first instinct was to go with Green so it could be used most of the year, but I couldn't find the right combinations of green.  I needed five fabrics to make this block.  But then the reds started to catch my eye.  With Johanna's help, I came up with this combination
I decided to rotate the blocks as I joined them to create visual interest.  I used the dark red (lower triangle) for the backing.

I cut and assembled 13 blocks, back it with interfacing, cut a lining to match, then seamed both sides.  I left the ends open to turn it right side out.  I whip stitched the ends closed by hand.

Here's the finished product displayed on his robe:
Our new Deacon was very surprised and pleased with his gift.  He's gotten quite a bit of feedback on it and has suggested I continue down this path.

When folks at my church saw it, the Altar Guild suggested I consider helping out by making a set of paraments (the "dressings" which go on the altars and lecterns) as well as a set of vestments to match.  Having completed the stole without major tears, I can do this!  Time to get some green thread!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I Left the Phone At Home!

It started out as an accident.  I left the iPhone plugged into its charger in its usually spot when I left the house for an 8 a.m. Continuing Legal Ed class this morning.  I was about three minutes away from the house when I realized it.  My initial reaction was PANIC! 

Then, I stopped and thought about it. School had both my mobile number and my husband's. If something happened to the kids, they would call him when I didn't answer. Not so bad.

So, off I went. Yes, I did have my laptop at the interminable and boring CLE. Yes, there was wireless access, so I was able to avoid the boring topic by looking for ideas for organizing a craft area in the house. Yes, I was a bit miffed when I realized I couldn't call the pharmacy ahead of getting there with the prescription renewals, but so what?

I finished the CLE class at noon. I ran some errands. I came home. And you know what -- I had only missed one call, which I returned. It was liberating in a way.

What did I learn?

  • I did not have to have my phone with me all the time.
  • I did not have to check my email or Facebook every 10 minutes.
  • The world did not end.
  • I was able to be in the moment -- for just a short bit of time.
Maybe, I need to do this more often.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Again, Way Too Much Time Gone By!

I really stink at posting to my blog. It seems I only remember to do so when something big has happened. Today is one of those days. My youngest daughter turns 7 today.

She's quite a piece of work. You know when your mom gets mad at you when you're 16 and come home late and screams: "Someday, you'll have one JUST LIKE YOU!!!!" Well, yeah. It happened.
Daughter 2 is independent and free-spirited. She speaks her mind quite clearly - even though she is only 7. Her insights are really on target sometimes-- making me wonder if she is an old soul in a young body.

She is a smart and wonderful child. She is beautiful -- the face of an angel. But, she could sell ice to Eskimos.

She came into the world at 8:34 a.m. on a very cold January morning. She was born on my sister's birthday. She was not an easy baby, like her sister. She seemed intent from expressing her will from her first moments.

She has continued to do so. I love her to the moon and back. I cannot say how happy I am that she is a part of our world.

Happy Birthday to my little girl. Hope the cupcakes at school were good.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Too much time has passed

In so many ways. Today, I celebrate the arrival of my now 10-year-old daughter. This time, 10 years ago, I was patiently waiting for the anesthesiologist to arrive to give me the epidural for my c-section. We talked about the lawyers who handled his last malpractice case -- some folks I knew. I was still practicing law back then.

The C-section was supposed to be at 9 a.m., but we got pushed back when someone else had to push. Literally. So, at 11:53 a.m., she arrived -- 9 lbs., 2 oz. and about three weeks early. She was too big to incubate any longer. She had a full head of black hair and yelled quite a bit. I remember thinking she was so small -- I was going to break her. Then, in the recovery room, I heard nurses talking about the twins just delivered at 4 lbs. each. I felt some relief that she wasn't that small!

And I remember, a few days later when they were going to discharge us from the hospital thinking -- shouldn't someone call Child Services? I have no idea what I'm doing. And we have all learned along the way. Diaper changes, breast feeding, potty training, pre-school, and on and on.

We all figured it out.

She is a beautiful young woman now. Still with a head of very long hair -- mostly brown. She's going to have about 10 inches cut to give to Locks of Love. She is filled, as they say at her school, with the Spirit of Mercy.

She is kind and caring. Always worrying about how someone else feels and what she can do to make things better for them. She is smart and curious, a quick learner in many ways.

I cannot believe it has been 10 years. I am blessed to have her in my life and blessed to have so many others in my life because of her. There was a group of moms I met 10 years ago this fall -- at a new mother's group. They are some of my best friends to this day. We have seen many things together.

I am blessed that my dad was able to be part of her life. We all miss him and the big deal he made of birthdays. But we will sing loudly in his honor tonight as we have pancakes and bacon for dinner -- her request.

I am blessed by her beauty -- both inside and out. I love her more than words can say.
Happy Birthday - Sweetie Pie!