13 February 2012
26 June 2011
It was definitely an adjustment: At one point early on I asked my mentor, "Why do so many people have cow heads on the back of their cars?" and "What's an Aggie?" People called me Sugar and Mr. Rolf (which still bothers me). And people were nice.
I really like Texas, as politically backwards and blinded by religion as it can be, and Houston has grown on me - it truly is what you make of it. I have made some great friends in Texas, and I know so many really good people. Austin, well, I don’t think it is the Mecca everybody else makes it out to be. I hope I never go back there because it is a place of such tragedy for me, where my best friend was murdered.
I may be a Yankee, but so many of my formative experiences have happened here that I call TX home. I really cut loose when I lived in Dallas, finally free from my self-imposed prison of education. To a large degree I found who I am in Houston. I saw some trying times early in my time in Houston, and now again as my parents are spending their last days here due to the cruelty of Alzheimer's. Though she hates the heat, the flying cockroaches, the pizza, and the lack of snow, Mom is glad to be here so I can manage her and Dad. And, of course, I met MC here, without whom my life would be empty.
To quote two of my three favorite bumper stickers:
"I'm not from Texas, but I got here as fast as I could"
"Don't mess with Texas"
What's the third, you ask?
Why, "Kill your television", of course.
21 February 2010
Tonight I passed the 100 friends mark on FaceBook. I am astounded that I know over 100 people - and out of that I would say only a handful are acquaintances. The remaining 95% percent are all people I have known well in past lives or know well now. But 100 people? Wow. And, there are people I know and I have relatives who do not use FaceBook. So that pushes the number of people I know even higher. I guess I am more social than I thought. But I am still more of a lurker than a power user on FaceBook.
18 February 2010
So, as usual, I have left my little blog to vanquish all by itself here in cyberspace. I have found that I am posting little semi-daily tidbits to FaceBook, yet I still cannot bring myself to post "the big stuff" there. I will give you a summary of the last few months.
In November I went up to NJ and cleaned out my parents' home with the amazing help of D, D, D, C, and G. Thank you SO much to you all for your help. In the space of a mere 5 days, we cleared out the house and two out buildings, had the movers in to pack, and got it ready to sell. Truly an amazing feat if you saw how much stuff my parents had, and how much junk my dad had accumulated (he's a packrat, made worse by the Alzheimer's). I even managed to sell it before we listed it! We got a decent price, not the greatest, but a good price considering it would not longer have to sit there vacant. We closed on 12/31. Yay! Big task taken care of! Now most of my folks' affairs up North are taken care of.
We had a quiet Christmas here in Houston. My Mom and I went up to Assisted Living to see my Dad and then made Sauerbraten at my house and opened presents. SHG was in Florida, so Teddy was here and so were my pups, so it was a full house!
In January my Dad had a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack), aka a mini-stroke. This is a mild stroke whose effects reverse themselves in the space of 24 hours. When he got to the hospital they realized he had mild pneumonia as well. He was in the hospital for a week and we went up there every day. He lost his balance and could not longer walk or sit up straight without help (even with his walker), so now he is in a skilled care facility (aka a nursing home) to recuperate and do extensive physical therapy. He is doing well and should be going back to Assisted Living where was before the TIA next week or so. So things are looking up there.
Mom is still adjusting to living on her own, pretty cranky at times, but if I was her I would be cranky, too. :) Her arthritis is pretty bad with our highly changeable winter weather down here.
Me, I am doing OK. Job hunt still sucks. *sigh*
17 November 2009
13 November 2009
As usual, it has been a long time since I have posted here. Here's what's going on.
Job Hunt: Sucks
Parents: Dad is doing pretty well in Assisted Living. He sleeps a lot. Uses a walker to get around (I bought him a cool one with four wheels), pretty zippy when he wants to be! Mom is slowly adjusting to living alone. She really misses my Dad. She is saying she is boycotting Thanksgiving and Christmas because it will just not be the same without my Dad at home. *sigh* She is also sick of the weather - whereas all the trees in NJ have lost their leaves and it is in the 50's and sometimes rainy in November in NJ, here everything is green, trees have their leaves, and lots of flowers are in bloom. Oh and it's 75 and sunny.
I just got back from NJ a week ago. I was up to clean my parents' house out. Thanks to the help of several great friends, I got everything done - and it was truly a monumental task. The movers are bringing the family china, photo albums, Christmas ornaments, etc. to Texas in mid-December. I also sold the house while there! Yay!
Pets: I get the pups back on Sunday! Yay!
26 September 2009
21 September 2009
Well, it has been a long long time since I provided an update on what is going on in my world. Here are the essentials:
Job Hunt: Sucks.
Parents: Dad's wandering got really bad. He got in the habit of getting on the bus! The police brought him home a few times, I found him others. A month ago he went into the dementia and Alzheimer's care section of an assisted living in North Houston. It's kinda far away from here - 1/2 hour by car, but it was the best one I could find. He is adjusting slowly, but doing OK. It is a big adjustment for Mom, too, now living by herself in the apartment and being physically separated from my Dad for the first time in 52 years.
Pets: All doing well except that I had to put Frik to sleep because he was paralyzed. Very sad about that. Pups come back from Austin on October 4, Yay!
SHG: Good, my rock.
17 September 2009
I had to put my cat Frik to sleep last night. Around 6:30 he was suddenly dragging his back legs and looked paralyzed. SHG came with me to the emergency vet, where they told me he was paralyzed from the waist down, and could not go to the bathroom in addition to not being able to walk. It was one of two things, either a pulmonary embolism or a spinal cord injury. There was really nothing that could be done for him.
Frik was a great cat, and was 12. He lived a good long life of cuddling and hissing at SHG's dog Teddy. He got along with my dogs great. He was always trying to cuddle with you and was great to curl up with for a nap.
Rest in Peace, Frik, you will be missed.
18 June 2009
Well it certainly has been a very long time since I posted here. Life got kind of crazy.
Parents are successfully installed in their apartment and are slowly adjusting. The heat wave we are experiencing right now is not helping, and my dad is antsy. I think his Alzheimer's is getting worse. He insisted on going to Germany to see my uncle in May, so we booked him on a two week trip, with wheelchair assistance all along the way to help him through immigration/customs and making connections. He got there just fine. After a couple of days he wanted to come home, so it was a whirlwind trip. On the day we were to pick him up at the airport, we waited for five hours, but he was nowhere to be found. A very nice immigration officer helped us out and told us he missed his connection in Frankfurt do to, of all things, a lack of wheelchairs! Damned Lufthansa! They would up routing him through Philadelphia and he arrived that night, weary and confused. Disaster averted.
Two weeks ago he took a fall and had to go to the hospital because he could not speak and I was afraid he had a stroke. Turns out it was just a fall, no explanation as to why he could not speak. Again, disaster avoided.
Not really much new here other than that. My parents have put doing anything with house in NJ on hold. The job hunt is going slowly for me.
28 April 2009
So yesterday was my birthday. I turned 39. One more year to the dreaded 4-0.
It was a quiet day. We went to go get passport pictures taken for my Mom and me. My Dad has this crazy idea that they are going to Germany, and we cannot find my mother's passport, so she needs a new one. Mine just expired, so I need to get a new one too. My mom was not into getting her picture taken, "I look awful!"
On the way back, my parents wanted to take me out to lunch. First we went to Onion Creek, since my Dad had liked it, but the power was out. So we waited a while but got impatient and we went to Dry Creek instead, just up the street. They had power. The meal was a disaster. My Mom would not eat her tuna salad sandwich because it was on a round roll, not "normal" bread. *sigh*
My Dad did not like his tuna salad sandwich either, probably because he put ketchup all over it. His eating habits are getting stranger as the Alzheimer's progresses, like maple syrup on eggs.
We stopped at Kroger on the way home to get makings for a cake. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting like my Mom used to make for me. She helped me make the cake. It's kind of depressing to make your own birthday cake. SHG came over for cake around 6, which was nice. I got a nice new ball cap from him for my birthday, my old one did not survive the washer.
Something possessed me to put "It's my Birthday!" as my status on Facebook. I got 26 Birthday messages out of that! I am amazed at how many people log on and use Facebook regularly.
The gang is taking me out to Feast on Friday, which will be really nice.
Well, things here are going OK. After the trip to Galveston, the cabin fever abated for a short time. The other day I took my Dad to Onion Creek for lunch. We sat outside and he really liked it. We both had their specialty pizzas, which my Dad found a little hard to eat because of his false teeth, but he made it through half of it. We brought the other half home for my Mom, who did not want it because it was not shaped like a "normal" pizza. *sigh*
The thunder and rain storms we have here just amaze my parents. Last night we had a big one that lasted all night, with a lot of thunder and lightning. One big BOOM sounded like a cannon going off outside the front door.
Our excitement over the last few days has been the repairmen coming to the house to service the sprinkler system and the hot tub. They are both fixed, yay! Although the sprinkler system is not at 100% due to water pressure. So I called the city about that and they sent somebody right out. He pronounced that it was not the city's fault and must be something in the lines to the house from the meter. Classic "not our problem." Grrr.
The tech had been out and serviced the hot tub and warned me that it could be the heating element, but we would try a quick rewire first. Well, it kept tripping the breaker. It turns out it needed a new heater, the old one was rusted and shorting the whole system out, causing the main breaker to trip. That set me back a chunk of change, but now I have my relaxation machine back.
That's about it from here. Things are pretty quiet, even if they are still driving me nuts. Only a week until they can move into their apartment!
23 April 2009
I could tell my father was going nuts with boredom, so I suggested we take a little road trip to Galveston, to the beach. We three headed off in the truck for the hour long trip down. About halfway there my Dad began to complain in an adult version of "Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"
As we headed further southeast to the coast, you could see more and more hurricane damage from Ike, like blown out store signs and the like. When we actually got to Galveston, there was still damage from the hurricane evident by closed stores and rubble piles along the thoroughfares we were on - 61st Street and then Sea Wall Blvd. But for the most part it looked like the recovery is coming along more and more. This was the first time I have been to Galveston since the storm.
We were driving along Sea Wall Blvd with the beach to our right, and there were (pasty white!) people out on the beach, more than I had expected, which made me happy for Galveston. I asked my folks if they wanted to get out and go for a walk along the beach or sea wall, and nobody wanted to get out of the car! I drove an hour for this?
We drove down to the point where Sea Wall Blvd hits another big street (I forget the name) and turned around. I asked if anybody wanted to try to get some seafood. This at least elicited a positive response. We stopped at Fish Tales. The meal was disappointing and the table sticky. It was 3 PM and we pretty much had the place to ourselves. When they brought my mother her lobster tails she threw a fit because they had put some cayenne pepper or paprika on them. She finally settled down and just ate the baked potato. I ate some of her lobster tails, which were tough. Overall a disappointing meal and a waste of money. Oh well.
The drive back was peaceful and uneventful except for the rush hour traffic around 610 and downtown. We got home and I collapsed for a much needed mental and physical rest.
21 April 2009
So I got my hot tub fixed the other day, yay! The water chemistry and the temperature were finally ready tonight. I decided to venture in.
Since my parents are here I could not go in naked like I normally do. I had to put on my board shorts and a T-shirt. T-shirt because I do not feel like them seeing all my tattoos should they come outside while I am in the water. They know about the kangaroo on my ankle and that is "bad enough".
Anyway, I felt pretty stupid venturing into the water, especially because some of the vegetation that served as a privacy screen from the neighboring garage apartment was swept away by Hurricane Ike. But it was nice to sit the the main seat, getting my back and shoulders massaged by the jets. I sat there for a while, just enjoying myself. Being clothed was not the same as enjoying the water naked, but oh well. Nobody came out to bother me.
Getting out with a sopping wet T-shirt was a mild adventure but I got myself fixed up so that I did not drip massively when I went into the house. A quick shower and a shave (I HATE shaving so it's been many days since I have shaved) and I feel like new. Yay!
20 April 2009
Since my parents have come to stay with me for a few weeks, I have had to get an inflatable friend!
No silly, not that kind of inflatable friend, an air mattress!
I am really impressed with it. I bought the middle of the road one, and it is pretty comfy. I sleep fairly well on it, if fitfully. And the best thing is in that it fits neatly in the corner of my home office, so I can just leave it there.
And Yes, that is my bear waiting for me. I took the picture with my phone since my camera battery is dead, I like the eerie green glow from the weirdo flash!
OK, my folks are going to be here for over three weeks, so I think that makes them extended stay guests. Here are a few things I think indicate you have extended stay pests, err, guests:
- You feel like all you do is cook and empty the dishwasher. Very Hausfrau.
- You go from hardly cooking at all because you are single, to cooking, or at least preparing, three meals a day.
- Your OCD goes into overdrive because you keep finding things rearranged here and there.
- You begin to go nuts because one of your guests is a slob and you are not. More OCD.
- You go to the grocery store three times a week rather than once every two weeks. Grocery bill skyrockets. Thankfully guests are paying it.
- You pray that the hundreds of National Geographics you have keeps at least one of them busy.
- The TV is on (at least in my house!).
- You play Parcheesi.
Yesterday was kinda quiet around here, which is just fine with me. Not today, though.
Today I was sitting out back with my Dad, and we were having yet another conversation about what I have to do with their house up North. Which somehow devolved into talking about he should not drive any more, which got kind of heated and into a "No you can't", "Yes I can!" match. He's all mad at me now. It's understandable, of course. He feels like his freedom is being taken away and is upset about it. He does not fully comprehend why he cannot drive. Him behind the wheel anywhere is a scary thought anymore, let alone here where he does not know his way around and will promptly get lost.
18 April 2009
It is raining cats and dogs here. My street and yard are flooding:
I am glad my house is up on piers and safe from rising water. I still have flood insurance though, since sometimes it rains so hard and long here that the street and lawn floods. One of those times was during Hurricane Ike.
I wonder if I should quickly build an ark and load the cats and parental units into it. My Dad is especially concerned at the rising water, even though I assured him it is temporary and the street will drain soon enough.
Naw, we'll just all get into the Land Rover and ford the water like they do in the commercials! :)
You know you are living with the elderly when...
- You answer the same questions over and over.
- You find odd things done to the coffee pot.
- You are playing medication manager.
- You encounter random puddles of pee from incontinence.
- You do a lot of laundry due to said incontinence.
- You find yourself cooking and cutting food up to accommodate dentures.
- Nap time occurs several times a day.
- Sitting on the front porch watching the world go by is an exciting activity.
- There is much yelling at CNN on TV.
- The stereo and TV are turned up way too loud.
- You have Polident in the house.
17 April 2009
OK. So they are driving me crazy. Without going into details, they are making me feel like tearing my hair out. I am going to go pick up SHG and we are going to meet some friends out for a drinkie or 10. I need to get out of the house and not with my parents.
Worked on my resume today, what a drag that was.
It rained like Hell here today.
That's about it from here.
16 April 2009
I cannot sleep for some reason. Probably because my parents are stressing me out. I am leafing through some pictures on my hard drive, and came across this:
It's of my best friend Matthew, from a contact sheet he helped me make when he was teaching me how to bracket exposures on my camera in college. Most of you know that Matthew was murdered in cold blood some 5 odd years ago. I have been missing him a lot lately, as I could use him to lean on during these tough times with my parents. He is gone but not forgotten.
15 April 2009
So I have a leather harness. (Don't click the link if you are at work!)
I keep it hanging with my belts in my walk-in closet. My Dad came wandering out with it this morning.
Dad: I cannot figure out how to put this belt on.
Me: That's a special belt Papa, let me find your belt for you.
Phew! I almost wet myself trying not to laugh!
I know how to play chess, meaning I know the rules but I am not very good. My Dad and I used to play chess when I was younger. I found it frustrating because he was so much better than me, always beating the pants off me. He played a strategic, offensive game, where I am always in reaction mode it seems.
Anyway, we broke out the nice big chess board my parents gave me years ago yesterday to play a game. Wow, it really showed how the Alzheimer's has taken it's toll on my Dad. At first he was doing well, but it quickly became apparent that we are now evenly matched, which is sad. It was a long, drawn out game that got tedious in the end when we both only had a few pieces left (and only a couple of powerful pieces at that). That is when things fell apart for my Dad: he kept trying to do things with my pieces or make moves he could not. We kept putting each other in check - in the past it was a personal victory for me if I managed this only once in a game. In the end it was a draw. :(