Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It's deja vu all over again

The phone rang at 0700 this morning. It was my mom- she'd fallen and was on the floor. We went up, and helped her to stand- she has bad arthritis and can't get up from the floor by herself. She'd gotten lightheaded and oozed down to the floor. No loss of consciousness, no fainting.

She refused 911 because that costs money. She was able to use the walker and get to the car with assistance. We took her to the ER, knowing that a person of her age, with her history, would be admitted. Chest xray, EKG (back in afib), labs, CT were done. CT showed a big sinus infection, which may have caused the lightheadedness.

She's being admitted for observation. There is a new unit, for the elderly who are mentally competent and she'll be there overnight at least.

So today is the last day of August! My nephew Kevin and his wife Naureen are celebrating their anniversary, and my cousin Denise has a birthday that she's celebrating in Disney World.

And tomorrow staff starts back to school. I hate the first day in a new building!

And the beat goes on!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

After the storm

It's a beautiful day- the sky is blue, fluffy white clouds in places, a nice breeze, temp in the upper 60's- just gorgeous!

Ralph has to fix the leak in the laundry room and the one around the skylight, but other than that, we were very lucky.

This morning I spent a half hour sitting at the kitchen table watching 3 hummingbirds fight over the feeder hanging from the porch. When Ralph was in the kitchen later, there were a dozen! So we just stopped over Mom's to borrow 4 more feeders for them. Apparently they don't play well with others.

This is my last couple of days before going back to work. Staff goes in Thursday, then has a four day weekend, which is ridiculous. I have to go find the school that I'm now assigned to- I'll do that tomorrow or Tuesday.

And the beat goes on!

We made it through Irene!

We're in a lull now, before the last band of rain comes. The power flickered once, and the skylight leaked.

It rained and rained and rained! The winds picked up in the middle of the night. We were lucky- we're on a hill, and the water goes by us and our basement stays dry.

We were up and down all night, checking outside, checking the computer for weather, checking facebook to see who else was up.

Irene is now hitting NY, and NYC. The news is showing scenes from Long Beach, NY, which is a mess.

I'm glad Irene is almost past.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Irene is arriving!

The rain has started. It started as a drizzle, and it's coming down pretty good now. We've ordered a final pizza before the big storm, and we're waiting for it to arrive.

I'm no fan of our Governor. I actively dislike the man. But he said two things that make me laugh. He saw tourists on the news that were still at the beach yesterday, and told them to "Get the hell off the beach" and evacuate. Then he addressed anyone who refused the mandatory evacuation, and told them to put an index card in their shoe with their name and social security number on it, so we can identify the body.

The worst of Irene is to arrive late tonight. Rumors are flying that the electric company is going to shut off everyone's electric at 10 p.m, even tho the electric company has denied that. I'm not sure it would even be possible on their part. I'm hoping that our power stays on- call me optimistic.

Updates to follow, as long as we have power!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

More scariness ahead

The hurricane is making it's way up the East Coast. It look like we're right in the projected path. I'm so glad Ralph is retired, and we don't have to worry about him being able to get to work, or to get home.

I've been to the grocery store, and we're good for several days. Hopefully the power will remain on! We've got plenty of cat food, and the cell phones, Nook and Kindle are charged. Mom has enough meds and food and library books. I took Sam to the grocery store 2 days ago, and Florence can just stay inside the assisted living. Steph is working from home tomorrow. Heather is off after tonight, and Ed has an on call list.

It's thundering off in the distance, and I don't remember if hurricane's have thunder and lightening with them.

I used to be brave, now I'm not. I want Ralph here for hurricane's and blizzards. The years of him going to work and getting stuck there for days are thankfully over.

And the beat goes on.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Well that was scary!

I was sitting at the kitchen table and the entire house started to shake! My first thought was that I was having a stroke! But the house continued to shake, and I yelled to Ralph, who said he thought we were having an earthquake.

An earthquake?! In New Jersey?

Yes, it turned out to be a 6.0 earthquake with the epicenter in Virginia. If it shook our house, it must have really be scary 200 miles away! I think everyone on the East Coast immediately got on Facebook!

Office buildings were evacuated, flights grounded, cell service overwhelmed.

And the cat never stirred. Either did the one sleeping on the deck.

And we have the weekend to look forward to, when we could get hit with part of the hurricane!


Monday, August 22, 2011

124 days!

124 days til Christmas! A little over four months! So the year is almost 2/3 over! I'm starting to think about what to get everyone for Christmas gifts. Ben and Manda found some things they want in a Nebraska Red catalog while they were up. In another month I'll ask the rest of the kids and kids-in-law to start thinking about what they want.

Another important number is four. That's how many years I have to work in order to retire with a decent pension and social security. A friend and I are saying "Four more and out the door." In reality, I'll reassess at that time and decide if I want to work longer. To get full social security, I'd have to work 7 more years, or not start collecting immediately. Decisions that I don't have to make at the present time.

And then there's the number 185, which is the number of days the staff works in a school year. We go back on Sept 1, then have a four day Labor Day weekend, then staff works the 6th, and kids come in on Sept 7. It's ridiculous- staff could work Sept 1 and 2, and the kids come in on the 6th. These calenders are not set for the benefit of the ten month staff or for the kids.

Another important number is 8, which is how old Eddie will be next month! He's going into grade 3, and is absolutely adorable, a handsome young man. That number is also the number of years that I've been quilting, since I started while Heather and Ed were expecting Eddie.

Totally unrelated, tonight my brother Mike and I went to a viewing for one of mom's neighbors. Tony lived across the street from my parents since I was in about first grade. He was always a good neighbor, and since my dad died, Tony watched out for Mom, and took her trash cans in every week. He was a semi retired mechanic and auto repair shop owner. Last week he went to work, did a brake job, and came home and basically dropped dead of a massive heart attack. How funny that he and dad both died so suddenly.

I just made a list of the things I have to do before returning to work next week. Tomorrow my car goes to the auto repair shop here in town to have the oil changed and a checkup. That's number one on my priority list.

Manda and Ben are back in Houston, and we're getting back into our routine here. Next week Steph and Dan start back to college classes. Heather and Ed are settling into their jobs. Eddie goes to grade 3, and Julianna starts morning preschool. Every day she asks Heather if it's September yet.

Next week is settlement on Florence's townhouse, so that will be one less thing Ralph is dealing with.

And the beat goes on!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Those were the days

It's been a wonderful 3 1/2 days! Manda and Ben's flight from Houston was delayed, as it frequently is, and they arrived in Philly a little before midnight Thursday night. When they walked in the door at 12.30 a.m. Friday, courtesy of Steph and Dan, I had chicken croquettes and twice baked potatoes waiting for them. We visited until entirely too late.

Friday morning Steph picked up the rolls and the cake for me. Ralph and Steph took Manda and Ben off to explore the Amish market while I got the food going for the summer birthday party. Late afternoon, we had a bet going as to whether my mom would actually come, since it was sporadically raining. She did, which was great. Frank and Charlotte picked up Mom Florence and Charlotte's mom Doris. Heather and Ed and the kids, Sharon and Jim and their kids, Bob and Kelly and Katie were here, and Franny and Jake stopped in for a while. Manda and Steph's friends Kate and Tim were here, and Kevin and Naureen and Nadia came after they went to dinner with Tori for her birthday. We all sang Happy Birthday to all the summer babies.

Saturday after breakfast we went down to see Heather and Ed's new house, and play with the kids. Eddie is growing like a weed, and I can't believe he'll be 8 next month! Then we went to dinner, and to Steph's apartment, to see the puppies. We left Ben and Manda there, and they went out for ice cream with Steph and Dan.

When they all came back to our house, I took advantage of the free young muscle! I had a lot of furniture that I wanted re-arranged, and Ben and Dan were nice enough to do it.

This morning Ralph went off to church with his mom, and I went to a buffet brunch with the kids. It was very nice, and we lingered as long as we could, but Ben and Manda really had to get to the airport. Once their flight was boarded, a wing flap issue was discovered, and they were unboarded and had to wait two hours for a different plane. They hopefully got in the air before the bad weather hit- it's about ready to pour and storm. We had rain a couple of the nights they were here, and they were able to open windows and fall asleep to the sound of rain.

I managed to not cry when they drove away. It's taken me literally years to be able to not cry when they leave! We know we'll see them again in four months, at Christmas.

Stephanie was such a huge help while they were here! She and Dan picked up the travelers Thursday night, and she took off Friday to spend time with them and drive them to the Amish market. She also picked up the cake and rolls for me Friday morning, and stopped during a monsoon Friday night to get the beer for the party. Saturday night she and Dan took Manda and Ben shopping, and today drove them to the airport. Living the closest to us, she's my go to girl, and I don't know what I'd do without her!

It's now 4.45, and the flight has been delayed first for paperwork, and now by the weather. I feel so bad for them!

And the beat goes on!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Getting ready for company

Manda and Ben arrive tomorrow night around 11. I've promised them chicken croquettes and twice baked potatoes from the Amish market when they get here. Oddly enough, they don't have chicken croquettes in either Nebraska or Houston.

My house cleaner did her thing on Sunday morning, which was great. Ralph has taken almost everything off the dining room table, and will finish in the morning. Julio has moved from the dining room to Ralph's truck, and I've insisted that the chain saw be taken from the dining room floor and relocated to the basement.

Even though he was terrified, Ralph had his colonoscopy and doesn't have to have another for 6 years. I really pushed for it- I told him if he died of something preventable, I'd be really mad at him.

The yard sale went OK. Everything not sold was taken to Goodwill. We're all glad that it's over with. The heater wasn't working right at Florence's house, so the repair guy was out today and replaced the igniter.

I turned off the AC on one of the rainy days, and it wouldn't go back on. We had the HVAC guy out, and it was some kind of circuit breaker out on the compressor- a kind of inexpensive fix. While Danny was fixing it, he replaced some bad wiring on the compressor.

After fooling around with a dying fridge for two weeks, Mom wanted to go to Sears Scratch and Dent in the rain on Monday. We drove all the way up there, she trudged with her walker to the back of the store, picked out a fridge- plain white, freezer on the top- then found out that there would be a $70 delivery fee, as well as $10 to haul off the old one!

She finally agreed to let me go to Lowe's and order her a fridge, which I offered to do two weeks ago. It was delivered yesterday.

I got my letter from the Board of Education, so I know what school I'll be in as of Septempber 1. It's in a Good Will store. Special needs high school students attend classes a half day, and learn to do a job the other half.

I'm off to get some sleep.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Yard Sale Day

Since it's after midnight (barely) the yard sale is today. There's a garage full of stuff waiting to go to a new home, one way or the other. If it isn't bought, it goes to Goodwill.

It's kind of sad, to have the house sold and belongings dismantled. Florence took what she wanted to go to the assisted living with her. Charlotte and I took a few things, and the grandchildren took what they could use. The rest will be sold or donated.

We all found items that we'd given Florence over the years. Some of the items had obviously never been used, which is sad. None of us just buy any old thing, we try to tailor the gift to the person, and it's disappointing to see the items still in the original boxes, just put away.

Behind the china closet we found a certificate from when Frank Lopez, Sr, served a term in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. That went to Kevin, the oldest great-grandchild of Frank and Susie Lopez. There was so stemware of Susie's. Some of it went to great-grandchildren, some will be put away to great-great-grandchildren.

As hard as it is to let go of treasures, Florence seems to be happy that many of them are going to her family. Some things she just couldn't let go of- her cheesecake pan and pizzelle iron are being stored by Charlotte for her.

I'll be relieved when settlement happens. Ralph has put in so many hours getting the house ready to sell, and even more hours keeping up with Florence's paperwork. The amount of paperwork will decrease a lot when there is no longer house bills. Frank has been a huge help, but he is still employed, and his employer kind of expects him to be at work.

This week I am reclaiming the dining room! The table has been buried in Florence's papers for 6 months now, and it's got to go. As soon as the yard sale is over, Ralph promises to relocate it to his office.

This morning we finally got to take Sam and Lou to the latest Harry Potter movie. I hadn't seen any of the previous ones, but I had an idea who the characters were. They both enjoyed the movie, but were exhausted when we came out.

And now I'm off to get some sleep!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Ralph and I met Charlotte at Mom Florence's townhouse to start getting ready for Saturday's yardsale. So much stuff to price! Charlotte bought price stickers, and worked her way thru. Ralph was moving things around in the garage, and throwing away unusable things. Heather and Ed came up with the truck and a trailer and took the dining room set, the computer desk, and some odds and ends.
There's a lot of "stuff" to go in the yard sale, but few big ticket items. I doubt that a lot of money will come in, but hope a lot of the stuff goes out. Settlement is in 2 weeks, so everything has to be gone by then.
While Ed and Ralph were loading the trailer, it started to thunder and rain. They just got everything covered in plastic when the rain got heavy. We stopped for gas and a quick lunch, then went to their new house, which is very close to their previous NJ house. Florence's dining room set looks great there. They have a great covered front porch, and a back deck that's partially covered. A two car garage is wonderful, and the back yard is a decent size, and backs up onto woods.
They hope to sleep in the new house tomorrow night. Eddie and Julie are happy with their rooms, and with the yard. We sat on the front porch and watched the rain for a while.
So it's been a busy day for all! At least the rain dropped the temp and the humidity, at least for a little while.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

August Already!

It's already starting to get dark a little earlier, and light a little later. It's still brutally hot, and looking outside it looks like we may get another thunderstorm.

Summer break is nice, but it seems the less I have to do, the less I do. I've been keeping a daily log of what I get done, and it's mostly laundry, food shop, go to Sam and Lou's, read, and crochet. My quilting mojo hasn't returned from wherever it's been hiding for the last year. I just finished yet another double crocheted scrappy afghan. I still have two totes and a clothesbasket full of yarn! What was I thinking when I bought it all? (The same thing I was thinking, or not thinking, when I bought all the fabric that I'll have to live to be 122 to use!)

I finished going thru and alphabetizing my paperbacks. There's about 600 or so, and that's after getting rid of two totes and a bag! Steph is going to put a lot of them up on a paperback swap site that she uses. I was able to free up a bookcase, which Steph and Dan may be able to use.

I've got some rearranging of furniture planned. In the family room we have a recliner which is comfy, and a couch that isn't. So my plan is to remove the extra bookcase from the bedroom, and put my small desk there, which frees up a wall in the dining room. The couch can be moved there, and the other chair brought into the family room. Since I know I have no decorating sense, I consulted with Steph, who thinks it will work.

This month is Ben's birthday. He and Manda will be home on the 18th thru the 21st, so we're having a party, of course. We'll have the usual party food, and a cake for all the summer birthdays- Steph, Dan, Manda, and Ben.

We haven't seen them since last Thanksgiving! They visited Heather and Ed in January, and met Steph and Dan in New Orleans in June, but we haven't seen them, so I'm excited for their visit. And we have to compare everyone's schedules to decide when we're doing Christmas. With hospital nurses- only Heather, now- we rarely do Christmas on December 25.

Julianna is enrolled in morning preschool, and Eddie will be going into 3rd grade! How can that be! He'll be 8 in September!

Board of Education minutes are up, and no staff assignments have been made yet, so I still don't know where I'll be in September. If I didn't have so much else going on, I'd be totally stressed over it. I'm #14 in seniority of 40+, so I'll have a job, I just don't know in which school.

And the beat goes on!