Tuesday, August 30, 2011

If I knew then

I just came across this stack of message pads. I'd forgotten I had them. I bought them almost 8 years ago because G had become very unreliable about taking phone messages when I was at work. I thought if I put a message pad and a pen by each phone, he would have no excuse not to make a note of the message. They proved to be remarkably ineffective - he still wouldn't write down messages, which I found absolutely baffling.

What I didn't know was that he was already in the grip of dementia, but it was manifesting itself as apathy more than anything else. There weren't signs of forgetfulness, which is what I thought dementia was all about. I thought he was being difficult, not that he was sick.

I think it's time to convert these to another use. Scratch pads, perhaps.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Stood up at the checkout counter

Not stood up, actually. Stiffed. Not paid by the ebay buyer. No responses to my emails or to ebay's "open case" queries (whatever those might be). So I've relisted it on behalf of my boss. I'm curious, though, why someone would bid on a very expensive piece of equipment if they didn't intend to pay for it.

It's an infrared camera, aka a thermal imager, used to "see" temperature differences when testing homes and buildings for air leaks and sufficient insulation - all about comfort and energy conservation. It's one of the tools used by energy consultants, and my boss recently upgraded to a newer model so doesn't need this one.

To show potential buyers that this is a working piece of equipment, we included in the listing two pictures of the camera in use (by me, but all I did was hold the IR camera while my boss took the pictures - I'm office help with very superficial knowledge of this business).

In the IR camera image, the window at the left shows up as light colored, not because it is covered with a white blind, but because it was a warm day and the window was warmer than the walls of the office. Dark areas are cooler in the images. When testing homes in cold weather, the windows appear dark (because they are colder than the walls), and if there are air leaks in the walls around windows or doors, they appear as dark streaks in the images. Documenting this information helps a homeowner or building owner know what kind of remediation is needed to improve comfort and reduce energy waste.

Isn't that interesting? I think so.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Night shift

It moves after dark.

Making its way from room to room.

From dining room to kitchen.

Heeerrrrrrrre's Roomba!

Pet hair, begone!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Many happy returns

My grandmother always signed the birthday notes she wrote us,
"Many happy returns of the day."
I didn't really understand what it meant
until I was older and stopped to think about it.

Yesterday was G's birthday.
I made apple-pecan cake to take to the day program
(which he didn't want to go to)
and reserved enough for us to have after dinner.

Elizabeth, our caregiver last night,
brought a very fancy cake that said,
"Happy Birthday Mr. G."
So of course we had that cake.

Some of us didn't wait for the cake to be cut and served.

Many happy returns of the day, love.

Emphasis on happy.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Organic hitchhiker

While unpacking the weekly vegetable box from our CSA,
something caught my eye.

Hey, what are you doing there?

I think it's trying to wave.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


On days like this, I wish for an attached garage.

The rain held off while I picked up G from the day program,
but as we drove home, the skies opened.

We sat in the car, waiting for the rain to subside,
listening to it pounding on the car roof,

watching it cascade over the windshield,
turning the view into a series of Impressionist paintings.

After I ran to the house to unlock it
and retrieve a jacket for G,
the rain slowed, then stopped.

The sun came out and changed the landscape.

When I went into the day program today,
G was sitting at a table with the other men,
playing a game.
He turned to me and asked with a little smile,
Are you mad at me?

Mad? No, why?

Because I'm not ready to leave.

Could it be week 10 is the turning point?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


It was such a perfect weekend.

Headed to the cottage with G and Arleen,
a wonderful caregiver we've known for five weeks
and who is now also our dear friend.

Drove through a torrential downpour and thunderstorm on the way,
but arrived to dry air and sunny skies.

My mom came down to the pier to sit while I swam (floated, really),
and we got caught up.

After dinner, a hot air balloon launched nearby,

and what a pleasure it was to watch it ascend
into the beautiful evening sky.

Celebrated G's birthday a bit early, with brunch for the family.

Visited the garden of friends of my parents,
looking for inspiration for perennial color,
as my garden is at a low point right now.
Then went to two nurseries, also looking for inspiration,
and found this brilliant phlox.

There was only one, and as this plant is not deer resistant,
my mom and I didn't have to fight over which garden it will grace.
It came back to Illinois with me.

Worked around the yard, pulling weeds,
cutting back spent day lily stalks,
and dodging the sprinklers my dad had going
while putting up stakes and twine around the swale gardens
which are being eaten by deer or rabbits or both
despite regular spraying with deer-repellant.

Sat on the porch with my parents and Arleen,
and G was especially engaged and found a lot to laugh about.

Admired the Joe Pye weed along the shoreline.

And the water was so clear,

even the zebra mussels clinging to the rocks were visible.

After the long trip home, G said, "I can feel that I'm improving."
My throat closed up, and I had difficulty answering him.
Yes, love, I can feel that, too.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

That was close

5:10pm - *Clock ticking* Call to caregiver agency; no answer. Leave voicemail: Where's Tina?

5:15pm - *Sound of the doorbell* A caregiver stands at the door. Never met her before. Drat. Now I have to spend my time training someone new in what we need, where things are, how best to help G. My evening plans did not include time for this. Hi, come in, nice to meet you. I'm surprised to see you; I didn't get a call that someone new was coming. Let me introduce you to my husband.

6:20pm - *Plates on the table* Dinner finally ready, nearly an hour later than planned, because of orientation being given to new person, who is asking lots of questions, making suggestions, trying to be helpful. Finally, Could you please sit and chat with G while I put the final touches on dinner?

6:35pm - *Forks contacting plates* The trek from couch to table has taken 3 times longer than normal, because instructions on helping G stand up and walk need to be repeated, demonstrated, repeated, demonstrated.

6:50pm - *Rattle of fork on plate* The caregiver is trying to take G's plate away. No, he's not finished with his dinner. No, please ask him directly, not me. Yes, you can take my plate, thanks very much. No, he's still not finished.

6:52pm - *Sounds of water running in kitchen, dishes clinking* Please don't wash the dishes! That's very thoughtful of you, but we have a dishwasher. Please don't let the water run, we try to conserve. Thanks so much.

7:15pm - *Sigh* See 6:35pm note, in reverse. G settled in recliner. Instructions not sinking in as fast as I would have hoped. I'm heading outside to work in the yard. Then I have to do some errands and walk Oscar.

7:20pm - *Sounds of reel mower whirring through grass* Cutting the grass at breakneck speed - want to have it done before we leave town tomorrow morning. Still have to do errands and walk Oscar.

7:50pm - *Car keys jingling* I need to get some groceries; I have my cell phone with me. Here's the number, written by the phone. One-touch button on the phone next to G will also dial it. In case you need me for something.

8:10pm - *Cellphone ringing* A call from our home number. Hello? Yes, I'm just pulling in the driveway. Yes, I'll be right in.

8:15pm - *Sigh* G won't cooperate with new caregiver on getting-ready-for-bed routine, hence the phone call. Five minutes of explaining why we hire people to help us, people much nicer and more patient than I am, doesn't convince him. Never mind. Let me know when you're ready to go to bed, and we'll do it then, whether the caregiver is still here or not. It would be nice if you would work with her now. She's only here until 9pm. No? OK, then. I have to walk Oscar while the caregiver is still here. So I'm going out now.

8:23pm - *Yips of happiness from Oscar* Want to go for a walk? It's dark, but there is still a bit of light in the sky, dimming quickly. The night is warm. It's good to be outside walking with an enthusiastic companion, but I prefer to walk a little earlier, when there is still some light. But the force has not been with me this evening on getting things done when I planned.

8:43pm - *Wild barking* Oscar pulls at the leash, barking like crazy at something a few feet from us in the park. What? What are you barking at? I don't see anything. Oh, wait. Oh!

(not my picture)

8:44pm - *Running feet* Quick, quick, quick, Oscar, let's hurry this way! No, this way! This way!

8:50pm *Front door closing* Subsequent travails with husband's recalcitrance and new caregiver's inexperience pale in comparison to the near miss with the skunk.