Monday, December 29, 2003

Today I tackled painting "the library". It's actually an extra bedroom, but also contains bookshelves with most of my books. I picked a warm, earthy brown color and love love love it! Tomorrow I'll do a few touchups during daylight and then I'll be done! The damn knock-down texture is a pain in the ass to paint, but we did surprisingly well as far as getting good coverage over most of the walls and relatively few oopsies on the ceiling and trim. I'm so happy, I may even tackle the guest bedroom this week with a nice sagey green. Now if only hubby could get over obsessing about the horror of getting paint on the carpet.

I bought a pair of jeans today and blew the rest of my spending money. Tried the Gap first. Holy shit, jeans run from $40-60 there. I remember them being maybe $30 when I was in high school and they always had some on sale for $20 or less. Thank goodness for Old Navy - aka Gap Cheap. I'm being bad and pretending I don't know about their sweatshop child labor shit.

I also spent my B&N gift certificate the other night. I got "The Beauty Myth", "Woman An Intimate Geography", and "The Feminine Mystique". One of these days I'll work myself up to some heavier feminist reading.

So far, my week off has been pretty slow...just the way I want it. I finally have time to sit and read, take the dog for a decent walk, and do NOTHING!

Saturday, December 27, 2003

We survived Christmas, yay!! Actually, it was a good one! Mom stayed a couple days with us, which was both nice and a pain in the ass. I'm glad we could have her and I know she's glad for a reprieve from the A.L.F. But, she always sees the negative side to EVERYTHING which gets old very, very quickly. It's the holiday season, I have a week off from work for the first time ever, and I don't want anyone to piss on my parade. I'm happy and relaxed and want to stay that way, dammit. She also has an annoying habit of talking to the TV. Hubby began calling her "Rainman" (after Dustin Hoffman's character). She was watching something suspensful, and every 30 seconds or so we'd hear a very loud "Oh no" or "Uh Oh" or sucking of teeth, or otherwise annoying commentary.

But we did really have a great holiday. We went to Christmas Eve service with friends and it was a beautiful ceremony without pressure to attend their church. On Christmas day, we dropped by our friends' house and got to see them and their family, all of whom are a really nice bunch. Their little girl has been very sick, but was doing well that day and was running around all excited, so it was great to see her happy and acting like a normal healthy little kid. We had a great dinner at home with Mom and some other friends dropped by later on that evening. And we got lots of cool gifts!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

When I was in grad school I had this crazy roommate. At first she and I were friends and when my original roommate decided to move in with her boyfriend, the crazy one moved in. I think things started to really go bad with her after she dated an acquaintance of hubby (who was still my boyfriend at the time.) She, hubby, and I were hanging out together one weekend and happened to run into the acquaintance at a bar. She and he hit it off, began dating, then she began showing her nasty side, so he started treating her like crap, then dumped her. Which she then held against hubby. So she started messing with us, telling him that I was flirting like mad with other men and telling me that he was calling her for advice because he thought I was cheating. Eventually he and I figured out what she was up to and that combined with a plethora of other nasty shit she did led to the end of our friendship. But we were cosigners on a lease and by that point I only had a couple months left till my thesis would be finished and I could escape. So I placed ads in the campus paper for someone to sublease from me. CR (Crazy Roommate) didn't approve of was "too Chinese" (did I also mention that CR was racist?), and one didn't look fun enough and another was too strange....

One evening we had another potential victim lined up and CR was going to be home to show her around. I happened to get hungry and decided to leave the lab to run home for a bite to eat. Before I left, I had to pee, so I went to the bathroom. I see muddy pawprints all over the sink and smeared on the mirror. This baffles me since the cat is strictly an indoor cat. Did CR let him out? Then I notice the toilet lid is up and "muddy" pawprints are all over the seat, too. CR had taken a big shit, plugged the toilet, and since she rarely washed her hands, did not stay in the bathroom long enough to notice. The cat had fallen into the shit toilet and spread the mess ALL OVER THE TOILET AND SINK AND MIRROR. I considered leaving the mess with a note for CR, but remembered that my chance for escaping my lease was coming later that night, so I cleaned and disinfected the bathroom myself, then washed the cat as best I could. I never told CR about the incident because I had no idea how to even bring up the subject.

The potential victim didn't even sublease from me. I cleaned up all that shit for no reason. But I did eventually bargain with the landlord and got out of the lease.

Monday, December 22, 2003

I've only been at this for a week and already I'm slacking off. No, not really. I've been busy with work and all the holiday stuff. My supervisor's new grad student began his research project last week, so I spent all Thursday and Friday helping with that. I'm the resident "expert" on running the type of samples he's doing, so my expertise and labor were needed. I had no idea of the sheer volume of samples the student had, so I was in for a rude awakening. By Friday night I was zonked. But we did finish phase 1 of the samples and I got to meet his really cool dog, who we snuck into the lab.

On Saturday, hubby and I had our annual Christmas party. All of the day was spent cleaning house and prepping food and rounding up the cats to keep them off the table. I couldn't catch one of them who is still semi-feral and likes to hide under the spare bed. So a couple of times during the party, she zoomed through the living room in hopes of getting to the master bedroom where we had shut all the others. I tried to catch her when she snuck onto the porch, but she ran full-on into the closed slider (ouch) and then I felt sorry for her and didn't want to stress her more by picking her up.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

I’m having a dilemma over Mom’s living situation.

First, a history: Mom is bi-polar and also suffers severe anxiety. She did really well with meds and counseling up until about 5 years ago. At that time, she and I think she went lithium toxic. Lithium is a mood stabilizer that can work wonders, but also is very toxic. Patients who take lithium need to have their blood levels frequently measured, to make sure they haven’t built up to a toxic level. Normally, she would have her blood tested every 6 weeks or so. But at that point she was going to a shrink at the health dept who didn’t seem particularly concerned with the whole lithium issue and was only having her do blood tests twice a year. She had already gone toxic one time previously without any permanent damage.

Mom and I would talk on the phone once or twice a week. During one conversation she told me she hadn’t been feeling well and was getting dizzy spells. The next day she told me she had fallen down at work, so I told her to go to the doctor. She did, and they didn’t find anything. A day later she sounded really out of it, so I decided I needed to go see her. I drove up the next day and when I got to her house she was disoriented and very sleepy. The next morning I awoke to her outside, in her pajamas, knocking on the front door. She didn’t know where she was or who I was. She finally came around and both of us were really scared. After several doctor’s visits I decided they weren’t doing enough and brought her back home with me (I lived 2 states away at that time). The shrink did admit that her lithium was at the “high end of therapeutic and different people vary in their sensitivity to it”, so I’m pretty sure she had gone toxic. Shit, she was so disoriented she couldn’t dial the fucking phone (and I’m talking push-buttons), and I could see her downward progression in her checkbook register which went from confusing to indecipherable. And the doctor was not concerned at all. He told her to come back in 2 weeks.

She ended up staying a while with family and getting some decent medical care. About a year later, she moved to the town where I live. It turns out she has permanent memory loss and some loss of cognitive function. Even now she gets confused very easily and often forgets things.

Since the episode 5 years ago she’s been in and out of psych units. In the past year she’s been through day treatment twice, an inpatient 4 or 5 times, and spent 6 weeks at a short-term facility. So after the last hospital stint, we decided she should try assisted living. Living alone is too isolating for her,and living with hubby and me just doesn’t work… we tried already.

The ALF she ended up in was recommended by the hospital social worker and turned out to be the only one she could afford anyway since they will take her disability check as rent. All other places we checked costed 2-3x more. She seems to have stabilized since she’s been there. She’s not on edge all the time and seems not to be depressed. But the place is a dive. In her first 10 days there the screwed up her meds twice. Once they mixed 2 into one bottle and another time they tried to give her twice the dose of 2 other meds. So I filed a complaint with the state and they were found in non-compliance with several issues. Now I find out that they’re rationing the residents’ meals, have fed them leftover spaghetti 3 times this week, rarely have fresh fruit or veggies, have a leak over the kitchen stove, and have plumbing issues. The kitchen sink has backed up over the food prep area and some toilets are less-than-functional.

So, what do I do with Mom? She’s going for surgery in a month or so and wants to leave the facility permanently when she does. But where does she go from there? We may be able to qualify for a free visiting nurse while she rehabs from surgery, but we can’t afford to pay one. I’m already paying all her bills and the rent on her home while she’s at the ALF. She has Medicare which only covers certain expenses, but isn’t “poor” enough to qualify for Medicaid or the other free/sliding scale services in our area. She also takes about $450 worth of prescriptions every month. We’re trying to get reduced prices through a local non-profit mental health organization, but it’s slow going and they have limited resources.

So, there’s my dilemma.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Well, since nothing exciting is going on in my life right now, I thought I'd continue on the in-law stuff. Not to say that my family doesn't have it's share of dysfunctionality - it does and I'm sure I'll get to that in the future.

As much as I gripe, I truly do like most of the in-laws. The parents are great and I get along really well with them. Hubby's dad and step-mom are as sweet as can be. His mom is like the stereotypical New Englander* - she takes a while to warm up to new people, but once she does, she's awesome.

More griping: at the big gathering I was in line for was a big group of 25-30 folks crammed into the house. Uncle Preacher starts talking to me. Uncle Preacher is one of those loud types that is always picking on someone and apparently likes to know everyone's business.

Uncle Preacher: "I heard your mom's not been well. Sorry to hear."

Me: "Thanks for your concern."

Uncle Preacher [loudly enough for EVERYONE to hear] : "Is it CANCER?"

Me [loudly]: "No, she's bi-polar and has been having serious problems with depression. But she's currently at an assisted living facility and seems to be doing better."

The conversation ends.

WTF? Why did he have to be so frickin loud that everyone could hear. And why, when I told him she had a big-bad mental illness, did the conversation end? Is it not a "real" illness? Did I actually embarrass him? (I hope so.) That shit just pisses me off.

Later that night when hubby's nieces left, they just walked out the door and didn't even say goodbye. Real nice.

*This was a big surprise for me since I am a New Englander and hubby's family is Southern and I expected the stereotypical "Southern Hospitality" that I had been told about.

On another note, my building at work is under construction. The original exterior wasn't sealed properly, so now some of the metal underlay is rusting out. They're putting on a new exterior and the chorus of drills and hammers is driving me crazy. And we haven't had A/C for 2 weeks now.

successfully added comments. Yay. Too bad I haven't told anyone about my blog yet.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Crap, I can't get my links to work. I guess understanding code would help. Will research this further....

Woot...they worked!!
So, here's my first entry. I haven't kept a journal since probably college. As a kid I was big into writing in my journal...I should go through my Mom's storage and dig the old diaries out sometime. Anyway, I have no idea what this will evolve into. Hopefully something interesting. I've read some really cool blogs which inspired me to make the effort and start one.


Recently the hubby and I went to his family's for an early holiday celebration. It was the only time he and all his sisters and their families could be there at once, so we all went. I was really looking forward to going. Both younger sisters have little babies, and it would be the first time we got to see our soon-to-be 1-yr-old nephew as well as our brother-in-law (no we don't see them very often.) I was excited to catch up with them and maybe try to work on a friendlier relationship with my sibs-in-law. I'm an only child, so I've always thought it would be cool to have a sisterly relationship with them. But, I've slowly learned that's probably not going to happen. None of them seem particularly interested in having more than a superficial, acquaintace-type relationship and I'm just too damn introverted to make a big effort. The visit pretty much consisted of them telling hubby what to do/how to do whatever they were telling him to do, peppered with the occasional argument or civil discussion. And the obligatory, "So, when are you all having a baby?" and "It's your turn next. Haw haw."

Generally we only hear from the oldest and youngest when they need something. We get along best with the middle sister, but they informed hubby that they wouldn't be exchanging gifts with us this year as they are too poor (after showing off gifts they bought for various nieces and nephews and after they had taken a trip check out 4-wheelers) and if we wanted to get anything, just buy something for the baby. Bitter? Yeah, I am.

By my links you can probably guess that I love cats. That would be correct. Hubby and I have 7 cats & 1 dog. Yep, we're a little crazy. I'm also a FEMINIST... the other F-word.