28 January 2023

Carpet Will Fix This

 I am exhausted.  Not the tired from a long week, or the tired from doing something fun, or from being ill, or even from lack of sleep.  I am just exhausted.  My brain can't process anymore information, my body is unwilling to move any more than what is necessary.

When last we left the parents, the m-i-l was hospitalized for acute kidney failure, diverticulosis.  In Critical Care. With hopes of going home in two days.

Indeed, she did not go home in two days.  That night she had a heart episode featuring high blood pressure, chest pain and shortness of breath.  The on call doctor ran all the tests and whisked her off to Critical Care. No one knew about this until I logged into the medical records at 5:30 the next morning.  Then I had to phone Kevin to let him know; not my favorite phone call.

At that point, they also discovered that she was developing pneumonia, which is of no surprise to anyone.  

They ruled out a heart attack. They ruled out panic attack. They ruled out Broken Heart Syndrome (which she also has)  They determined that it was her body's reaction to the whole thing plus the re-distribution of her eleventy medicines. (they were being converted to liquid) We are now back to wait and see.  

Now today, Saturday, we find both parents home and my f-i-l briefly hospitalized.  Yeah, some whiplash there, huh?

On Thursday, the hospital discharged the  m-i-l because she was deemed at greater risk in the hospital for secondary infections than she would be at home.  (yes, even though they refused in-home health care)   So, we shrugged and moved on.  We know she's going to end up back at the hospital again so we're just along for the ride.

The parents returned home late in the afternoon and got settled in back into the house.  Kevin came home a little early to check on them and that's when the circus music began to play.

Having been away from her house for seven days, the m-i-l returned home with fresh eyes.  She found herself horrified at the state of the house.  Horrified.

She wasn't blaming her spouse for not taking care of it in her absence or acknowledging the fact that we have been saying for a very long time that they needed help. Nor was she complaining about taking care of the b-i-l's large dog, which requires a crate and pillow. (in a 12 ft. by 12 ft. room at largest) and pees when it gets excited.

Nope, it was the carpet.  The carpet was the cause of the dirty.  It was old, it showed dirt and stains, and it Had To Be what was making her sick.  All the reasons why she was in the hospital were momentarily lost to her focus on the carpet.

It has to be said that she's not totally wrong.  But it is so far off target of the cause of their overall issues that it's dumbfounding.

But, I think this is something she feels like she can control.  She thinks that if they get new carpet, the house will be clean, and they will then magically be able to care for their house.  Unlike before. The carpet will change everything.

Now, to clarify: we're not being judgey. This is not simple clutter.  I mean mold in the sink and in the dish dryer, filthy carpets and floor, dirty bathroom and yes, lots of dust and clutter too.  Plus a big dog on the weekdays and their little elderly dog.  

If you're wondering "Well, there are four adults that live with/near them. Why isn't anyone taking care of it?"  We've tried in the past during hospitalizations: I would clean it for them so that was one less worry.  Then I got so frustrated with them that Kevin said to just stop. (also, the sister-in-law never helps unless specifically asked)  We even paid our niece to clean and they told her to stop because there "wasn't enough for her to do".

So I was tasked with going to get carpet samples and then "we" would work on the rest of it.  Alas, this is the only help they are accepting.

2:43 the next morning, Kevin's phone rings.  I actually thought "Which one is dead?" upon waking.  This is where we are now.

This time it's Kevin's dad.  He's sick and can't get out of bed and is unresponsive.  We dress and rush over there.  Kevin's mom reiterates that he's been sick, throwing up, and that there was blood.  I hear Kevin try to get a response from his dad and gets a mumble/mutter. I hear Kevin say that he agreed to it and I phoned the ambulance.

While we wait, Kevin tries to get more information from the mom. PLUS we're trying to get her into her recliner, put on her oxygen, and calm down.  Unknown to me, Kevin called his brother and gave him ZERO OPTION to come help.

The aid car arrives and about five other support vehicles.  I'm trying to remember what his health history is and keep leaving things out; like a PACEMAKER.  I now have a list on my phone for when this happens again.  I can do the mothers by rote and now I have to memorize his.

The f-i-l is slowly becoming more responsive as they take his vitals and try to figure out what should be done.  Eventually, he INSISTS on seeing his medicine.  LIke, rose his voice insists.  I have the written list in my hand but he wants to see his actual pill box.

Hey, remember about six years ago when he gave himself a stroke when he took the m-i-l's meds and didn't tell anyone.  I am having flashback of this.  I share this information with the paramedics as well.

They decided to take him to the hospital and we are playing paper-rock-scissors who goes to the hospital and who stays with the mother.  Kevin and I follow the ambulance and the siblings stay with the mother. 

By the time he is admitted into the hospital, he says he feels fine. Nothing is wrong.  This is where I remember that this happened LAST TIME.  She had a hospital stay, returned home, then he ended up in the E.R. shortly thereafter. So that's something to add to the list

The E.R. doctor was so good with him.  She didn't take his bullsh*t at all.  She listened as we reported what we knew and tried to reconcile it with what he was saying.  Kevin even went as far as to call his mother so the doctor could hear the conversation.  The mother said he was throwing up blood and it was a mess. He said he was coughing and there was a little blood.

They ran all the tests, took an EKG and xray.  Nothing.  Everything is fine.

EXCEPT, he would fall asleep and the monitor kept alerting.  Well, it turns out that he has severe sleep apnea.  Did he know this? YES.  Did he have a CPAP machine?  Yes but no.  He  gave it to the b-i-l because he wasn't using it and THE BROTHER DIDN'T WANT TO PAY FOR HIS OWN MACHINE.  Now the f-i-l can't get a new one because medicare already paid for one.


So, add that issue to all of the lists.

Finally, the doctor says that she has no idea what had happened but she was assured that his tests all came back fine.  We did eventually learn that my f-i-l had taken his morning series of meds TWICE that day. While there was nothing super dangerous, it could maybe might have contributed to him being sick.

It was also posited that it could be exhaustion and an adrenaline dump from the mother's hospital stay.  THEN they did one last test: dehydration.  He was dehydrated. %@#*#

So, the hospital discharged him and we returned home. Kevin tucked them back into their house and was just "What do we do?"  The answer is the same as always: nothing.  There is nothing we can do.

There was a meeting of sorts between the boys and them the next day.  They were told very clearly that we - as a family - cannot keep doing this.  These past two hospitalizations were self-inflicted.  They agreed and said they would talk about it

Meanwhile, I did go get carpet samples and accidentally had a therapy session with the sales woman because she asked why I was shopping for carpet for my parents.  I owe her flowers.

They have since agreed to have my sister-in-law's sister come clean their house weekly.  We will help pay for it.  Her sister is A LOT but she's the kind of person who is good with the elderly.  I have little hope of this being a long  term thing but it's a step.

THEN.  AND THEN.  My f-i-l phoned me last night.  He was super cheery and soliticious, which is unlike him.  "He" was thinking and the parents thought that it's time to get help with the meds and the food.  He asked if I would help figuring that out.  Of course, I answered cheerily while trying not to flail my whole body across the kitchen.

I will work on getting that set up on Monday.  I am skeptical of this as well.  It's going to take the nurse doing something differently or one of them being in a mood and they will decide that it isn't going to work. I'm just steeling myself for that now.

But it's something. It's a step.  Maybe I'll be wrong.

In the meanwhile, I have to go order carpet now.


23 January 2023

Day Five - A Raising Parents Story

 It's been a minute since we've had a Raising Parents post and whew, here we are. Pull up a chair and get a snack.  Because we're on Day Five of a hospital stay because...reasons.

I can't decide if I need to begin at the beginning or mid-way of this whole thing...   I'm going to go with mid-way because that's how the discovery of the problem rolled out. Sorta. Kinda.  Excuse any disjointedness.

Thursday found my mother-in-law in the hospital.  She was sent directly to the emergency room from the doctor's office for "stomach pain".   Kevin left work and sat with them while they waited and were admitted into the hospital.

There was a long wait because the emergency room was busy and the hospital was full.  When it was time to admit her, Kevin had to phone me for her info because I'm guessing his dad wasn't able to answer the questions?  Or wasn't available?  I'm not sure.

Meanwhile, the brother went home because "the parents said it was fine" and if I hear that excuse from him one more time, I will need bail money.  Tiny bit of advice: have discussions with your siblings about expectations when a parent is in the hospital.  Otherwise, it is possible that one child is going to shoulder the load.  *end lecture*

We thought she was being admitted for stomach pain and the fact that she wasn't able to use the bathroom in any way, if you get what I mean.  Nope, she was being admitted for ACUTE KIDNEY FAILURE with a secondary concern of possible diverticulitis.

She was so severely dehydrated that her kidneys were shut down.  Not slowed but shut down. Both.

Now, you might be puzzling about this if you've been reading here a while.  She has a G.I. tube so how in the name of Where's Waldo is she dehydrated.  Well, here's the thing: she said that because her stomach hurt, she didn't eat, drink, or do tube feeds.  Because they "got this" and don't need anyone's help.

Her dehydration was so bad that they couldn't find any viable vein and had to use her port and put in another one. (subclavian - hooray Greys Anatomy Medical Degree)   They couldn't do a CT scan because her blood was so chunky - because her kidneys were shut down - and they couldn't administer the contrast.  

Kevin ended up leaving the hospital because he couldn't risk waiting in the E.R. or waiting room for her to be fully admitted and taken to a room.  Because remember, he's had Covid twice and is in active Graves Disease now.  Yes, I am bitter, why do you ask?

He came home just exhausted, both physically and mentally.    There was nothing anyone could do at that point anyway but wait.

When he talked to her the next morning, she said that there was a mass in her stomach and that her kidneys and liver were both failing.  He was concerned and also knew that she is a terrible reporter so it's difficult to tell what's true.  Also, it appears that his dad is unable to verbalize anything that is going on very clearly anymore. 

I checked her online medical records to see what was happening. Thank the universe for this feature.  If you haven't done so, please I BEG YOU, get signed up for electronic medical records for your parents.  

Well, it turns out that she was in kidney failure because she hadn't eaten, drank, or had a tube feed for FOUR DAYS.  FOUR.DAYS.  FOUR.

To quote Kevin: she is her own worst enemy.  And we can't EVEN with his dad allowing this to happen. Their logic was they had a doctor appointment the next morning.  

Sidebar: Heads up to those raising parents: be aware of the "We have a doctor's appointment the next day/week/etc."  For some reason unknown to mankind, the elderly will put off things because of these scheduled appointments.  "Oh, chest pain?  I go to my regular doctor on Friday, I can wait." kind of situations.

Secondarily, she had colitis/diverticulitis.  They could tell there was thickening via an x-ray but couldn't investigate further until the kidneys were functioning again AND the blood could sustain the testing. No liver failure or mass.  No sign of cancer.

Kevin visited her after work on Friday and I had stayed away because I had the flu all week.  (haven't been sick in almost four years, hooray me)  There were no meaningful updates because all anyone could do was wait. But I kept checking the medical records, just in case.  I could see her blood test results and they were showing signs of improvement each time.

Saturday afternoon I went with Kevin to see her.  His brother was there (eyeroll) and left shortly thereafter.  Kevin was asking if there had been any update and she said no. She followed with kind of a flip/yet confused "I don't know what caused this, maybe they'll figure it out."

Yeah, I saw red.  Just a flicker and it went away quickly but not before I said "FOUR DAYS OF NOT EATING OR DRINKING is how you got here."  She kind of waved me off like I didn't understand and we were having none of it.

Then later in the conversation, when Kevin was explaining that there was no mention of liver issues or cancer (to which she claimed that she didn't say there was)  She mentioned how badly her stomach hurt while she was at home.  Kevin said to me that the night before she had been crying because her pain was so bad.

My head was on swivel and it spun to my husband.  "What?"  He explained that she had been crying when he checked in with them after work.  "KEVIN, that is an AMBULANCE CALL"  He looked embarrassed and the mother interjected that they had an appointment the next day and "it wasn't that bad."  To which Kevin - unwisely perhaps - said "You were crying it hurt so bad."  


He was appropriately contrite and agreed that if/when there is a next time, the ambulance will be called.  "Because there WILL be a next time." he said.

At one point, she stated "I know my body" and "I knew if I went to the doctor, I would have to go to the hospital"   Kevin and I both get awards for not running screaming from the room on both of those.  Instead, Kevin rose his voice a little and said "You 'knowing your body' ended up with you in the HOSPITAL" and for the other I rose my voice a little and said "Either WAY you end up in the hospital and clearly this is MUCH BETTER than going earlier. Good choice."

Now it may feel like we're being a little mean and here's why:  This has been endless.  This is the eleventieth time that she's been dehydrated. The last time the doctor said "You aren't going to get many more chances with this and you're going to be in organ failure and there will be nothing anyone can do."

There have been endless conversations about not waiting when things are going wrong and that they need to tell us so we can help make (better) decisions and yet, they continue to pull this utter dogdamned nonsense.  FOUR DAYS without water or food. AND PAIN.  

And. AND. And...

She's supposed to be on tube feedings.  She can take a little by mouth but it's supposed to be soft foods. The other night she was eating PIZZA with three different kinds of MEAT on it.  AND this is after she was having stomach pain.  But wait, there's more because there is always effing more: 

The brother served her PRIME RIB at Christmas dinner and even made a flourishy show about adding seasonings and salt.  PRIME RIB.  And no one can say anything because then the holiday is ruined and everyone is upset. 

And guess, just make a wild guess, when the stomach issue started? Yep, after the holidays.

Oh, and I nearly forgot that she is also no longer able to take her meds orally as of a week ago...two weeks ago, now.  Their solution to that problem was to just not give her meds for a few days until they could talk to the doctor.  

DEEP BREATH. Let it out slowly.  Deep Breath.  This is why we get snarky and blunt.

So, sigh, where are we now?  

We were lucky enough that the doctor came in while we were there yesterday.  We got to hear first hand the results and the plan for resolving the diverticulitis.  Luckily, it's going to be managed by medicine because we're not sure she would withstand a surgery of that kind.  (she had one ten years ago that the odds were 50/50 that she would survive it)

This also gave us the opportunity to bring up some issues that we had and that I  only learned by reading the medical records.  Because they would never, ever, tell us this next part:

The social worker evaluated the mother, the dad, and the situation.  It was determined that they needed help at home.  The parents declined.  It also appears that the brother was there and did not raise any concerns about the situation.  (shaking of fists)

The Occupational/Physical Therapist evaluated her and stated that she needed therapy to improve quality of life and safety.  She declined, again.  Those notes ALSO stated that they needed help at home.

The doctor listened and then explained that they will be evaluated again, before she leaves and then we can talk about next steps and a care plan.  THEN HE DROPPED THE BIG BOMB: "Because if you don't and you aren't strong enough when you leave here, you will have to go to a rehab facility until you are strong enough"

In my head, I was all 

As expected, that didn't go over well.  They thought about it a moment then my f-i-l says that when she has all of her tube feeds daily, she's much stronger but she "can't" have all her tube feeds.  We talked about what "can't" was.  This is where she says that she's too uncomfortable and can't have that much "food" and a quiet re-statement of "I know my own body".

I think I saw a glimmer of a smile/smirk on the doctor before he responded.  "Is there any reason you can't have LESS food but more times during the day?"  To which Kevin and I were nodding like "Yeah, why can't that work?"

They both reluctantly agreed that they would try that.  I knew it went too smoothly and was proven correct when a few minutes later, my f-i-l says "Well, that's all fine but if we have to go to the doctor or get groceries, then the whole schedule is messed up."

Um, what?  Even the doctor had a pause after that one.  "You make adjustments so that she gets everything that she needs" he stated; which I loved because it made it about her needs and not a judgement per se.   I mean, c'mon. Perhaps, then schedule the appointments differently or don't be gone for hours at a time because you know she has to EAT.  This is not rocket science. This is also Not An Option, which is the most frustrating part of this particular issue.

So, we're just waiting now. The doctor hoped that maybe she could go home tomorrow but to plan for Wednesday.  Sadly, we're not looking forward to it because we know that they're not prepared or able to deal with this recovery.  We know the clock is ticking for the next issue/disaster.

And there's nothing we can do but wait.

18 January 2023

Eleven years, Not Ten - An unpublished post

And now it's been fourteen years, not eleven.

I really enjoy seeing my facebook memories most of the time.  It's usually memes or photos of family events, puppy or racecar or all of those.  It also reminds me of anniversaries, birthdays, and the like.

On January 1st it reminded me that I've been eleven years sober.  Eleven.  I thought that it had been ten years.  Math is hard.  I mentioned it to Kevin and he was also surprised that it had been that long.

So, what precipitated the whole sober thing, you ask.  Well, a series of not great choices that culminated in overdrinking at a New Year's Eve party.  Not tipsy, not drunk but D.R.U.N.K.  Made myself sick drunk.  Embarrassed myself drunk.

Luckily for me, it was just with family and friends and not publicly.  And this is where I say I was over-served and I can't figure out how that happened exactly.  I was over-served by someone I trusted so that's just...fantastic. This fact scares me almost more than the overdrinking. So, I quit. Full stop. That was my one and only warning shot.

I am lucky as it's not a struggle.  I think about it sometimes, miss it sometimes.  But it's not the battle that many people wage on the daily.  For that I am very grateful.  Mostly it's the social part and the relaxation aspect of it that I miss.  Or when the parents are being difficult, whew, I do miss it then.

Oh wait, did I tell that story?  Real quick: during the Medicine Debacle of 2022, Kevin had just returned from talking to the parents.  He marched right to the refrigerator and pulled it open.  He looked and sighed then shut the door.  "You didn't drink what's in there"  (indicating our celebratory drink that is waiting for cheeto hitler goes to jail)  I laughed and said "No but you can have it."  He shook his head and said "I should. You should. Omg."

Because my alcoholic parents were raised by alcoholics, I had decided many, many years ago that I was not going to continue that cycle.  I was usually very careful and aware of what and where I drank. I usually had an inner barometer that would tell me "That's enough".  Kevin also said once that I didn't have to worry about it.  I asked him how he knew and he said in his most Kevin-like way "Because all of your sh*t will be in the yard."  Okay, then.  Good talk.

As I didn't have children, parenting wasn't an issue so that cycle was broken for me.  But unhealthy relationships were still a thing.  I started to figure out patterns in friendships and let those fall away.  I recognized traits that I had developed and am always working on those.  Finally, my family.  I've said eleventy times that the pandemic has given me freedom from my family.  (and I'm meaning bio-family, not Kevin's family)

Recently during a chat with a younger family member, the subject of parenting, alcohol, and relationships arose.  I explained that the person they knew and loved was not the person that raised me.  While they have good memories, I don't have that enjoyment. Mostly.  Also, everyone in that household is going to have a different set of memories and different parents, even though we sort of lived in the same house. (the "sort of" is too long to explain in this bloggity)

They did acknowledge that it can be frustrating and how they wished that the drinking "wasn't their whole personality."  It came up later in the conversation that one of the brothers has multiple DUI's.  They didn't know - suspected, but didn't know - and were properly horrified.  Secrets are a thing when there is alcoholism. 

There is a meme about being the black sheep in the family and I so, so, so feel that meme when I am at family gatherings.  I am the black sheep that doesn't drink.  I am the black sheep with differing values and morals. I am the black sheep who said "Yeah, this isn't continuing with me." 

So, yeah.  Fourteen years.  I have had sip of champagne at a wedding and a sip of wine at a memorial service and a few sips of beer when I left a job.  All within about five years and each with a "hmmm, is this a good idea?" accompanying it.  My logic was I knew it wasn't going to be capital-D drinking and the opportunity was very limited.   My logic was also I knew my history and it wasn't going to end up with me in a gutter. And each time was a "Oh, I miss this" accompanied with a "That's why you don't drink anymore."

Also, it can be a little weird to say "I don't drink" in social settings.  People make assumptions and that can be frustrating.  Just because I don't drink doesn't mean I'm all the stereotypes that immeidately jump to mind.  People have stories and reasons and it's not all Lifetime Made for Television Movies.

Where it gets a little weird is if we're in a bar and grille and there's always that hesitation when I decline alcohol.  I mean I get it, look around where I am.  It's just an good example of how it's complicated for some people.

I think I once wrote about my friend who offered me a drink when we were in Vegas. I will tell it again because it's exactly how a friend should be:
As I said, we were in Vegas and everyone was getting drinks. He offered to buy me one and I told him "No thanks, I don't drink."  He looked me in the eye very seriously for moment then simply said "Okay. I get it." and that was the end of it.  That's how it should be.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

This post was three years old and waiting in the drafts folder.  It kept moving under my feet as I came back to write it each time.  You can probably tell still, the direction kept changing.  So to sum up:  14 years of not drinking.  Distance from unhealthy family dynamics is a good but difficult thing.  Just be cool if the person says that they don't drink.  

16 January 2023

Time Travel in Post Office

 I live pretty rurally; the next town is fifteen minutes south, the next city is fifteen minutes north so it might not seem like it.  But it is rural enough that we don't have cable television or internet even available. There is no quick response to emergencies because everything is either volunteer or twenty minutes away. (fire = volunteer department, ambulance = at least 20 minutes)

The historical societies call the small communities in the area "hamlets" which always kind of puzzled me. It feels feudal, medieval if you will.  It could also be called a settlement, a group of houses gathered together in numbers less than 50.

Anyway, the nerd in me got away for a minute there.

I went to the post office last weekend, in another hamlet that is ten minutes away. (the closest post office to our house)  Because it was Sunday, it was closed so I didn't expect anyone there.

There was a car backed up the door, which was odd and when I peeked it looked like maybe a cleaning crew was there.  I though that was odd because: post office but whatever.  

The door was propped open, also strange, and then the scent of pine-sol and ammonia punched me in the nose. Immediately it is the 1970's and a summer day.  

My mom used to kick us all out of the house for a FULL DAY to "strip and wax the floors".  A FULL DAY.  You best not need anything from the house because you were not coming inside.  Neighbors on both sides had outhouses so even that was taken care of.  (yes, outhouses.  I grew up feral, I keep telling you)

EVEN THEN, as a small child, I was suspect that it was a tactic to Keep The Children Out of The House and I still believe that.  The house was small to begin with and the asbestos linoleum (hello 1950's) wasn't maybe a quarter of the house.  Estimate the size of a main bedroom and bath, at the most.

Anyhoo, I'm off topic sorta. Again.

I said aloud "Wooo, there's a smell from my childhood."  

There was an older gentleman sitting on the floor with a squeegee and a scrub brush scrubbing the asbestos linoleum floor.  He commented that I couldn't have been from the fifties and I answered "No, I had a Depression-Era mother."

This is when I spot a woman standing off to the side. She laughed and said "I was one of those" Then continued "I was born in 1935"  (sidenote: at what point do people begin bragging about their age again?  It seems like somewhere in their seventies?)

I laughed and told that was exactly the year my mom was born so clearly she understood what I was talking about.  She laughed too then excused herself and left.  

I got my mail and the gentleman on the floor mentioned "We're mailbox neighbors!" In case this isn't Hallmark Movie enough for you, wait for it.

"I'm cleaning the lobby all up today.  Did you hear we have a new Post Master?"

I answered that I hadn't and gosh, isn't that nice of him to do.

"Well, we have to make a good impression.  This is all of our place to take care of."  Then he asked if I noticed the windows, which he had also cleaned, and the tile on the windowsills.  I had not and once I did, I was impressed.   Spotless on both sides and there was green subway tile on the sills that I had never noticed in, like, ten years of going there.

"This place was built in the fifties, replacing the one in Edison" he tells me.  Then he points out the walls, which are 1950's paneling that has been white-washed.  These are the things we don't notice in our day-to-day travels but really should.

Then he gently, tentatively, comments about the whole Speaker of the House goat rodeo.  

Not knowing exactly where he was going to stand on the situation, I was trying to carefully phrase my answer. BUT guessing that it's the same as mine - because he's sitting on the floor, scrubbing it, for free, on a Sunday so it looks nice for someone he doesn't know.

Whew...ooof....run-on sentence from Hell. My apologies to my high school composition teacher.

Turns out we agreed that it was awful and concerning for the next two years.  His final words as I left is "We're all in this together."

You have to love small towns in the PNW.  You just never know what you're going to experience.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

 Do something kind on this day.  Volunteer, make a donation of any kind, research a topic you're interested in.  Learn a new skill.  Teach a new skill.  Do one thing today to make the world a better place.

Whatever you do: Be Kind.

07 January 2023

Saturday in the Park

 Here is my first favorite instagram photo.  I'll post these monthly and I hope you enjoy them.

January 2022, after a snowy cold spell.  Lucy and I were on walkies near the house when I spotted this magical occurance.

I'm humble-bragging to say that it was featured on the KOMO TV's Legend of Zoom page and on the weather forecast that or the next day.

05 January 2023

This House is Clean - An Unposted Draft

Draft from September 2013...

I've mentioned before that the building I work in is 100 years old.  It's always been a YWCA so I can't even begin to guess how many people have been through those doors. It was built to provide single women a place to live or spend time off the streets during the Wild West days of early Bellingham.
It's always been a residence but it has also been a public swimming pool and public kitchen and ballroom.
There has been mentions of ghosts and sounds and closing of doors since I started here. It was even mentioned during first day tour and I was asked if it would bother me. Nope, not at all.
I take it in stride because that stuff doesn't bother me. Also: 100 year old building.  I don't get to be bothered by such things and work here.  

Someone said once that I work in a museum and I found that to be quite apt.  There are original windows, wood staircase, ballroom, furniture, and light fixtures. Probably original people. There are definitely opportunities for glances into the past.

............. and this is where the draft ended.  But I do remember where I was going with this...

The person who replaced my boss was an odd person, to say the least.  Then she literally went a little crazy while working there and left just prior to being fired.  To clarify: crazy, though, not quirky:  seeing/hearing things, agoraphobic, stopped showering, and didn't want to be alone in the building or even her office; in addition to some other really not okay behaviors for a leader.

Back to the building though: 
Before she left she had a shaman come and smudge the building and release the spirits.  This was while I was on leave for my broken ankle and I missed it.  I am so disappointed because I am somewhere between being a skeptic and a spectator.

She stated that hundreds of "people" left the building via the basement as the shaman welcomed them to leave.  She said there were so many that the shaman had to stop due to exhaustion but would return to finish someday.  Then she stated that another part of the basement was haunted by a not friendly/not angry spirit, that the elevator was haunted, and that the top floor was also inhabited by women spirits whom didn't want to leave.

While this is probably an exaggeration/imagination, clients and volunteers did report feeling someone nearby, having things move inexplicably, cold spots, creaking doors/floors, etc.  Granted it is a 100 year old building so any of these things are probably easily dismissed. 

But are they?

04 January 2023

Watch This Space

 So, I was thinking...

(people who know me in reals just groaned)

One of my resolutions is consistently "Write more" and sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail.  Often, the failures have been out of my control.  Work, family stuff, alphabet brain, etc.  

This morning as I was waiting for something to process while working, I spotted something cute on the interwebs and thought "I can put that on the bloggity".   It's nothing big, just a little something that will post each month and I don't have to think about it again.

Then, I was all "There are HOLIDAYS.  Those are monthly..." so I'll be adding little tidbits on the holidays too.  

AND THEN, I thought: not everyone has the instagram.  I have been working on a Best of 2022 roll for another platform.  Well, there is nothing stopping me from doing that here as well.  Everyone likes something pretty to look at.  

This is a tiny bit of "cheating" because it's not necessarily WRITING but the sub-goal of the resolution was to work harder on the bloggity, which this will fulfill AND hopefully spark more writing.

I'm also going to just throw up unfinished drafts from time to time just to save them from draft purgatory.  Some of them are fully written, they just didn't feel relevant anymore. Some of them are truly drafts and are just word salad streams of consciousness.  Some of them might just be an opening sentence.

With the current dumpster fire that is the blue bird site, people are looking for other alternatives.  I've read twice that the blogosphere will likely see a resurgence as writers return to the vintage internet ways.  I liked this idea and here we are, putting it into action.

Finally, just before the holidays, I received small stipends for writing this bloggity.  The numbers aren't big or anything to write home about (ha!)  But just receiving a check in the mail For Writing is exciting and fulfilling.  Especially for the silliness that is sometimes posted here.

I didn't want to just mobile-deposit them into my account without any fanfare so I set them aside and thought about it.  Today I opened another savings account at the credit union and deposited them in there.  Now they're be there in perpetuity, earning the tiniest bit of interest and not just mixed in with coffee orders and bills.

BUT WAIT, there's more:  I'm also setting up an auto-transfer of an equal tiny amount to that account each week. The goal/intent is to "pay" myself for writing each week.  In my head, this means I have to write something each week to earn my pay.

So, there we go.  Watch this space for some new posts and styles of posts.  I hope you enjoy them.

03 January 2023

Chicken Soup with Rice - January

 Three days into the new year and back to work.  Why does December feel so far away now?

One of my all-time favorite books as a child

02 January 2023

What the Defrock

 It's January first as I write this.  I woke up well-rested and in a good mood. The alphabet brain seems to have settled down a bit so these are all good things.

Unusually, I defrocked the house the two days following Christmas.  Most years I keep out everything until the New Year then slowly put everything right.  This year though, it all came down quickly.  To be honest, it started Christmas night as Kevin slept.  (just in the kitchen though) 

I think it was this time last year that I was laying on the floor in the midst of Santa's workshop chaos around me.  I did not make that mistake this year.  I started room-by-room, brought it all back to the office - in case the alphabet brain kicked in and I had to leave it unfinished- then methodically boxed everything up and put it away.  

It took capital H-hours to complete but I went from three and a half large totes to only two large totes and one medium box that if I wanted to, could totally repack into the two totes. But I can't want to.  Next year.

But, traditionally, I thought this would be a good time to also organize Monica's Closet.  So there was an hour gone that I hadn't planned.  But I'm culling so much stuff and each time it gets less and less crammed in there.  Nap Closet someday!  It is a very real goal for me now.  I should call it a Hidden Library, that sound less crazy.

At that time, I left the tree because I was still enjoying it.  Then I woke up Friday morning and was all Whelp, it's been fun but You Gotta Go.  I really really love my tree and if it weren't for Kevin and my OCD, I would be one of those people who leave it up.  It was time though.  

The giant coffee table has been in my office because the tree took it's place.  So it wasn't just taking down the tree, it was moving furniture.  Did I wait for Kevin?  No.  Did our UPS friend show up just one minute after I finished?  Yes.  

Anyhoo...house is back to normal, everything is put away, Monica's Closet is reorganized for the eleventieth time.  My office is more clean than it was prior to Thanksgiving.  So, what's next you ask.

Why, curtains, of course. I can't believe you didn't guess.

I had curtains for the living room on my wish list.  As I explained to B.F.F. K. I didn't think Kevin would go for them.  So I was very surprised when he did.  And whew, they are BRIGHT.  I mean, they were obviously colorful in the photo but they are BRIGHT.

Kevin just kept asking "Are you SURE?"  about the curtains. They are replacing heavy satin forest green curtains that have been in the house since we moved into it in 2005.  It was time.  

There was one tiny glitch though.  You see this house came with valances. But not the ones on a rods.  They are fabric covered wood that are screwed into the wall and two types of fabric because fancy.  The colors are earth toned and muted so it's not like they're out of date. But they don't match the new curtains.

The green watercolor piece is sorta separate
from the tan/cream color.
Awful photo but you get the idea

My first attempt was to just fold up the green part
and see if it would lay flatly against the board.

Second attempt was to buy a window scarf to cover the above and that was also a nope. It looked exactly like what I was trying to do: cover up an issue.

Enters Kevin.  I explained the issue and he said "Well, let's just take the whole thing down."  I went into a flop sweat because that means cleaning, texturing, and painting the space where the valance board used to was.  I considered it  (because he's home for the holidays right now and at my disposal) but decided that it was just TOO MUCH.

Instead he took a razor knife and cut off the all the green, causing me much anxiety.  This was permanent and I wasn't ready for that change.  But here we are.  Let me take a moment to state what a patient guy he is with these projects. Sure, there's heavy sighing but he supports these "crazy" ideas.

To my relief, it looks nice. It both brighten and lightened the room and to my relief, the room doesn't shout "HEY, LOOK! NEW CURTAINS!" when you walk into it.

(I'm trying to add a video, let's see how that goes)

I don't know that this is the permanent fix. I will still mull taking down the original valances because I do believe it will look better.  That will be eventually though.  It's a big job.  Oh, wait, I didn't mention: this was done on three windows.  Not just the one in the living area.

Now though, because it's always something: it looks like I need to paint. Yes, again. Still.  Whatever. 

Back when I painted the living room, I debated about continuing the color to the walls by the dining table and stove.  It's a big job though so I didn't.  Now it looks unfinished. Sigh. Kevin thinks I'm crazy, rightfully so.  Maybe once he goes back to work, I will paint the one small wall.

Because I can't do the end wall yet.  There was water damage from the roof and one of his guys is coming to fix it...for three months now.  I told Kevin that I would just paint while everything was torn apart and they were here to help.  He said he would ask and I'm taking that as a yes.

So...sigh...I haven't done a What Did Surely Take Apart Now post for quite a while.  Right now the answer is: Everything.