Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hot, hot, hot!

Even with the AC and fan on, it's hot! Too hot to be outside, which is why I'm not. I've been sorting books all morning, and putting them in alphabetical order by author. I've probably got about a thousand paperbacks that I haven't read. Once I read them I pass them along. Since I got the Nook I rarely buy real books. And I can never find what I'm looking for, so I'm putting them in order. I got A-F done, and I'm taking a lunch/computer break.

After we went to Sam's last night, we got salads from Saladworks, and I'm eating leftovers. I doctored it up with strawberries and blueberries, and raspberry vinegerette, which is my new favorite.

In July I read 15 books, of which 9 were mine and 6 were library books. That brings the total to 76 for the year so far. I'm working on a greens granny stripe afghan, and a scrappy double crochet afghan using up scraps of yarn. I also cleaned off the table in the laundry room, which is sort of like a closet. I haven't put any flimsies up on the HQ16- I just haven't felt like it. Summer break is about halfway over.

The new fridge is working very nice, and the dishwasher pipes are holding up well. The AC has been working fine- knock on wood- since the day it had to be reset. Mom Florence's townhouse is listed with a Realtor- paying taxes on an empty house is just not good economic sense, and she needs the money for the assisted living fees.

Ed and Heather are looking at houses in Mays Landing. They want to be settled before Eddie goes into 3rd grade (how can that be?) and Julianna starts pre-school. Manda and Ben are coming home for a long weekend in a couple of weeks. We'll have the family and friends over, and have a birthday cake for the summer birthdays- Steph, Dan, Manda, and Ben. We haven't seen Manda and Ben since Thanksgiving week last year! They've been doing a lot of travel this year- it's the time to do it, before a mortgage and kiddies. Steph is enjoying the break from classes, and Dan is taking an on-line class. All six of them are busy, busy! Good thing I have Facebook, so I can keep track of them all!

Tomorrow is house cleaning day! I love it when someone else cleans!

And the beat goes on!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ridiculous, Part Two

Our fridge died. Last week, the freezer motor got real noisy. Last night Ralph went to get something and the ice cream was half melted. We moved the savable frozen food to the freestanding freezer, and put the fridge stuff in an ice chest. This morning the freezer was cold, but the fridge was 60.

So off to Lowe's we went. We hit the last day of a 10% off sale, and the fridge we picked comes with a free ice maker kit. Free delivery tomorrow, and they remove the dead fridge. We're getting another white, freezer on the top model. I just don't care for the whole stainless steel look.

Here's the most annoying part: Several years ago we found the receipt for our fridge, and realized it was 18 years old. We decided to be proactive and replace it before it broke down. That was maybe 6 or 7 years ago. My brother Mike took the old fridge for his garage to keep beer and soda in, knowing that its days could be numbered. Of curse that fridge is still running well!

So now within 2 weeks we've had to replace the pipes under the kitchen sink, and the fridge. What a pain!

At least it's cooler today, only low 80's so far, and very humid.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

This is just ridiculous!

It's been in the vicinity of 100 out every day this week. The AC runs constantly, and I don't even want to know what my electric bill will be. We have it set at 78, which feels wonderful when coming from outside.

We picked up Mom from rehab on Thursday. The social worker said be there between 10 and 11. Fine, but the nurse wasn't ready with paperwork til almost 11, and we got there at 10.05. I wasn't thrilled with the rehab, which is part of the Kennedy system. First off, Mom's mattress was lower on one side, by over an inch, and she kept feeling like she'd roll off. We told the nurse on Saturday, and she said she'd call maint. Told an aide on Tuesday, who insisted no one would fix or replace it. Told a nurse on Tuesday, who said she'd call maint. Finally on Thursday I called the nurse mgr, who had it replaced that day.

There was a storm, and their satellite TV went out for an hour or so, and MSNBC, Mom's favorite channel, lost it's sound. Again, told everyone and their uncle. One nurse checked the other rooms, and they were fine. The TV was never fixed or replaced.

The food was consistently wrong. She'd order her meal, and it was always an adventure to see if she got anything resembling her order. Heather actually had to take her tea bags and sweet and low, because dietary managed to get her hot water, and most of the time forgot the tea bag.

She had so much trouble getting her tylenol before PT, that I actually left her some tylenol there. She had some good PT's, and she says some were downright nasty. OT was ridiculous- Mom crochets every day, and her issue was not her hands, so why did they have her playing with silly putty and tinkertoys? Rhetorical question- so they could bill medicare of course.

So how do you know when you've had enough rehab? When the insurance money won't pay any more, of course.

Hospice is another institution that's getting on my last nerve. Sam's hospice nurse is a very low key, kind person named Pam. Sam has to be "tapped" for ascites every day, and it requires a set up which included a liter suction bottle, tubing, and dressings. The bottles come in boxes of 10. From looking them up on amazon (what did we ever do before amazon?) we know the bottles cost $90 each, which is highway robbery. When Sam gets to less than 3 bottles, she gets very anxious. It's an easy fix, make sure her supply is kept up. It usually takes a phone call to Pam to get the bottles sent. Sam likes to be tapped at night, so she can sleep. I go down almost every night around 7 or 8 to assist her, and if I'm not available, the on call hospice nurse comes out (and of course bills her insurance).

This week Vitas sent someone new out with a new type of bottle. Instead of suction, it has a bulb that you squeeze once and then gravity takes over. I went down, looked at it, and there was no dressing to put on afterwards, so I called Vitas for directions. They sent out the on call nurse, Julie. Julie is kind of snarky, and funny, and Sam and Lou love her. She couldn't believe they sent out that kind of set up, first of all. She said it would take hours to drain Sam by gravity. And the connections didn't match. Again, it comes down to money- this setup is way cheaper than the suction bottles. Luckily Julie had a bottle in her car, and used that. So the cheaper set up got trashed, and they had to pay the on call nurse to come out, and they had to send another person out with more bottles the next day.

Yesterday Franny, Ralph and I went to Pennsville to the Riverview Inn, which is right on Delaware Bay. We met Carol and Kamee there, for the second annual lauau to benefit the Pennsville Library. It was two hours of music, appetitzers, and door prizes, and a chance to get together. We had a nice time, and contributed to the library.

So another rant- why on earth do library funds get cut? Anyone with half a brain wants kids to read- readers are smarter than non readers, and to be a success in almost anything you have to read. In addition to books, libraries allow computer access to people who can't afford a home computer, and librarians are the smartest and most helpful people in the world! A lot of libraries even lend ebooks electronically.

This has turned out to be a post of rants, but I'll get off my soapbox now. I have to do some fun things like put the laundry away and clean out the fridge. Then I'm going to sit down and finish my book- Obsidian Prey, by Jayne Castle. Another Harmony book. The dust bunny in this one is named Vincent.

Stay cool!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

157 days til Christmas!

I only know because of the counter I have on the blog. With the weather being in the 90's every day, Christmas is about the last thing on my mind.

The ramp is totally done, and Mom comes home from rehab tomorrow. She's been either in the hospital or rehab since June 8th! Being a patient gets old real fast, as I know from experience.

Being sick gets old real fast also. Sam is totally sick of being sick. She and Lou are together 24/7. They have the distraction of the dog, hospice nurses, and home health aids, but that's all. We plan to take the to see the final Harry Potter movie, but it's just too hot this week for them to be outside even for that short time. We're hoping for early next week.

Tonight was dinner with the nurses night. Mom Florence's senior meeting got cancelled due to the weather, so Ralph was able to join us. It was the first we've see Jean since her brain surgery for a benign tumor. She looks wonderful! She's hoping to be able to drive by the next dinner.

The week was house cleaning week! It's so great to have someone else clean the kitchen, both bathrooms, dust, and vacuum the entire house. Last weekend the dishwasher backed up, and when Ralph started touching pipes, they crumbled. $200 in parts later, we have a new faucet and a bunch of pipes. Then Monday afternoon it got really warm in here. When Ralph investigated, he had to turn the AC off and back on, and thank goodness it went on and has been behaving- knock on wood. The unit is almost 20 years old, so we decided that as soon as I get back to work and get a couple of pays, we'll replace it.

My brother John is coming up from Florida next week to visit Mom. Her being in the hospital and rehab scared him more than it did us. It's hard to be 1000 miles away.

I'm reading a cool set of books by Jayne Castle, about the planet Harmony. 200 years ago, a curtain lifted which allowed humans to colonize Harmony. Then the curtain closed, stranding them, and Earth technology soon became useless. Humans had to fight to rebuild their own civilization, and were aided by psychic energy. My favorite are the little creatures called dust bunnies. They have blue eyes, and a second set of eyes for hunting. They have six legs, and love pretzels. They're more companions than pets, and are predators. The old saying goes, by the time you see the teeth, it's too late.

And the beat goes on!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Summer Loving

Yesterday we went to Jay and Christine's wedding. They had a beautiful day, temp in the 80's, skies blue and clear. The wedding was at 2 p.m. Steph was a groomswoman.
Kate was also a groomswoman. One of the bridesmaids told me that they started out calling Kate and Steph female ushers, which morphed into flushers. Steph, Kate and Jay have been best friends since high school. They frequently went on ski trips together, and spent a lot of time together.
Dan was there as Steph's escort. They started taking dancing lessons at the library.
Christine's Dad is in a wheelchair, so he waited at the alter and her brother escorted her down the aisle.
Jay and Christine make a beautiful couple!
Christine has 3 sisters. She and one sister are nurses, and her sister worked with Ralph in the ER. Small world!
The week before, we went to MacKenzie's 4th, and Connor's 9th birthday parties. Kenzie loves Toy Story, and Sharon made the cake for her.
Get some little girls together, and of course they play dressup! Kenzie is in the middle, and Julianna is on the right.
Our sweet little princess!
Mom's ramp is in, and almost done. A new door was put out the back of the porch. There's a big landing at the top.
Another landing near the bottom, and the ramp turns.
Looking out the new back door. The ramp is solid, and meets ADA standards. It's a gentle slope, for a wheelchair or her walker. There will be a round railing to grip over the flat railing.
The landings are nice and wide, and solid. Mom is due to be discharged on Thursday so she can come home and try it out.

Our dishwasher backed up into the sink yesterday. Ick. So Ralph started checking, and pipes starting crumbling. At the moment, the sink is on the floor, because of course it happened right before we had to leave to go to the wedding. He's at church with Mom Florence, and will get started fixing and replacing when he gets home. New drain, new faucets, and who knows what else. All the pipes are at least 20 years old, and don't last forever.

Ben interviewed for a job in Seattle. Seattle- can they get any further away? They'd be 3 time zones away from us, and a more expensive and longer plane ride. But as Steph says, Seattle is much cooler than Houston. And they have to be where the work is. It just seems so far away.

Heather and Ed are both settling into their new jobs, and very happy. The kids are loving staying at the O'Flynn grandparents. They have a pool, and cousins that visit frequently.

Steph is now working from home a couple of days a week, which the dogs love. Dan is taking a summer class, but it's online so he doesn't have to go to the school. They learned to waltz at this week's dancing lesson at the library.

I actually bought some fabric! There's a line called "Hoo's in the Forest" which is adorable. I bought the charm pack, jelly roll, and layer cake packs of it. Steph loves owls, so I'll make something for her- I've been looking at quilt patterns.

The wedding had a fountain of Malibu Bay Breezes. Rum, pineapple juice and a hint of coconut. They were so good! I only had one, and they must have been weak, since I didn't get a buzz, which is fine. I'd never tasted them before.

I just finished the new Jan Burke book, Disturbance. She writes a series about Irene Kelly, journalist. This was a kind of followup to the book Bones, which was really scary. This book was very intense, and really good.

I've gotten hooked on reruns of Frasier. It's all Sam's fault- the nights I stayed there, we saw a couple of episodes. Frasier was a spinoff of Cheers, and takes place in Seattle- is that an omen? Most of the new comedies I don't find funny, but Frasier makes me laugh.

I'm still crocheting up a storm. Mindless, and uses up yarn. Sam and Lou are both stable, but declining. I see them almost every day.

It's another beautiful day, with a blue sky. It's supposed to get wickedly hot again this week.
And the beat goes on!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

July 7

Today is my baby's birthday! Stephanie Susan is 28 today. One of the birthday parties for Julianna and Grandmom was on St. Patrick's Day, so Steph, Heather and Julianna got into the Irish spirit!
Steph loves being an Aunt to Julianna and Eddie. It was hard on everyone when Heather, Ed, Eddie and Julianna moved to NC, but they're back now, and the kids will have more time with all of us.
Two years ago Steph, Manda, my friend Linda and I went on an Alaskan cruise. It was fabulous! Every night Steph would look at the activities list for the following day, and schedule her day. She made the most of every moment. One shore day, when the rest of us rode a tram up a mountain, Steph went on a five mile hike!
This is Whiskey. Steph adopted him from a rescue, and gave Toast a little brother. He just turned 10, and is so full of energy! He's very needy, and when you create a lap, he wants to be on it.
Toast is still the Princess. She'll be 10 in September, and has some back issues.
Last year, Steph held our Christmas with Manda and Ben at her apartment. We celebrated two days after Thanksgiving that year. Due to nurses in the family, Christmas is hardly ever celebrated on December 25. Steph made a wonderful dinner, and we enjoyed being together.
When Manda and Ben got married, Steph was maid of honor. Becca and Heather and Julianna were also in the wedding.
This past Christmas Steph, the dogs, and Ralph and I went to NC.
My girls! What a cute bunch!
Steph and her favorite niece!

We're so proud of Steph. She got her BA in Fire Science from Holy Family University, and is going for her Master's at St. Joseph's University. When she was a teen, I really wanted her to become a country western singer, but she refused to try, just because she inherited the lack of singing talent from us. Not that that ever stopped some of the singers out there! She's found her niche at the company she works for. She graduated with highest honors from Holy Family, and is doing wonderfully at St. Joe's.

Steph was born the day after my brother John's birthday. I really thought she'd share his birthday, but she wanted her own day.

Happy Birthday Steph! We love you!


Friday, July 1, 2011

It's July!

2011 is officially half over! July is a busy month for us. We have lots of birthdays- Dan is July 3, John is the 6th, Steph is the 7th (my baby will be 28!), Connor will be 8 on the 12th, Kenzi is in there somewhere (I have to write it down), Polly is the 19th, and Nadia is the 29th! Wow!

Jay and Christine get married on the 16th. Steph and Kate are Groomswomen, something I never heard of until recently, but I like the rationale of it. Jay, Steph and Kate have been Best Friends for years, so it makes sense for them to stand up with Jay. Jay and Christine are genuinely good people, and I'm so happy for them to have found each other, and I wish them the absolute best!

I read 7 books in June, bringing the year's total up to 61. Of those, 24 were either my own or my own on the Nook. The rest were from the library. I've gotten to where I prefer to read on the Nook- I can change the letter size anytime, and it's so portable!

I just finished another granny stripe afghan, this one in pastels. The leftovers are being added to the scrappy double crochet afghan- not real pretty, but functional!

Happy July!