Friday, July 31, 2015

Are You Fella's Here Every Afternoon?

My jaw about hit the floor and then I couldn't stop laughing when Mom asked me that while I made her lunch yesterday. It's still funny! Why? Well first I believe "fella" has a different meaning for people her age and second I was the only one here. 

It was clear she had no idea who I was, so we played the "do you know who I am" game. After a couple minutes the cogs must have came into alignment because she said, "Dan, your name is Dan"

OK, so that was a Star Trek III moment. You know, right at the end of the movie where Spock says, "Jim, your name is Jim". Or something pretty close to that.

After a bit more prodding she remembered I was her son and was elated to see me. That only lasted about a minute though and then she hit me with "do you know where my car is"? It never ends! lol

She had a good afternoon staying up until nearly dinner time. She did get up and eat a little for dinner and slipped back to bed.

I crashed hard for a bit last night--go figure--and Paula got up twice to check on her. I hate it when that happens. but I really needed a couple solid hours of sleep.

My fourth attempt at Windows 10 failed yesterday so I give up on that. No wonder it's a free upgrade.

On a positive note I finished the second book of the "John Carter" series yesterday and am now reading the third, "Warlord of Mars". If you didn't get a chance to look yesterday, here's the link again to a great ebook site, Project Gutenberg. I can't believe I'm promoting an ebook site, all this from a guy that loves real books and said he'd never read an ebook. lol

The picture? It's just and old one of Dad and I. It looks like Mom dressed us though. lol

Have a great day and thanks for reading.

P.S. Please share this post for me. Thanks!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Sleepless In Spokane

Well it was another one of those nights where sleep fails to come my way without some real effort. 

This time it wasn't Mom or anyone else, it was just me. It's tough at times getting my mind to shut down. Perhaps it was the three failed installs of Windows 10 that had me down. Each time it took a 3 gig download then ran to about 35% before crapping out. Kinda pissed me off I guess. Well really, wasting an entire day did piss me off. 

It was well past midnight before I drifted off. Thankfully I'm reading an ebook on my phone so that gave me something to do that didn't require noise or lights. I'm on the second book of the Mars series by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The movie "John Carter", came from this series and it's one of my favorites.  

This is a bit of topic but I think it's well worth sharing. I found these books for free at Project Gutenberg. This site has over 49,000 free ebooks and they come in formats that will work in most e-readers. 

Okay, anyway I slept from about 12:30 to 3:00 and again I was up over 30 minutes, then back up at 5:00. I'm not worn out as bad as I thought I'd be today, but I'm getting there with a lot left to do.

Along with this, Mom was up bright and early about 6:30. After asking what the squirrels were doing outside and a conversation about why the cats can't go out (she actually read the sign on the door), I had her heading toward the table where her coffee and paper sat waiting. 

I told her I would cook her some breakfast while she sipped her coffee, and out of the blue she asked "is the kitchen busy today"? Well we were in the kitchen and it was only us in there, but whatever, I told her the kitchen was busy today. LOL 

One other thing I'd like to share. On my cigar blog I there are nearly 100 coffee reviews done over the last two years. If you love coffee the way I do, hop on over and take a look at my Coffee and Tea page. 

Well I guess that's about it. I have a three cigar reviews to write, Mom needs to get up for lunch and  I need to start working on dinner soon.

As always thanks for reading and have a great day!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

And Time Marches On

Time. The final frontier. Oh, that's supposed to be space. My bad.

Today, time weighs heavily upon my mind. Why? Well, let me tell you why. Today is my birthday, I am now fifty-seven years old.

For me fifty-seven is an awkward age. My mind tells me I'm thirty-five but my body says I'm seventy-five. LOL! As I've said before, at 88, Mom has fewer aches and pains than I do. 

One day when I was eighteen and working at the sawmill, production had stopped for one reason or another. As my boss, and friend since childhood, walked by I said something smart-assed like "time is money". He stopped, looked me in the eye and explained to me that time is not money. If you lose money you can always work for or borrow more, but time, once it's gone it's gone forever and you can't buy more, borrow more or get it back.

That profound explanation has stuck with me for nearly forty years and it has been a driving force in much of  my management and business success.

What that story had to do with anything, I don't know. sheesh. But, I think it's a good story so I'll leave it in today.

Ok, back to our regularly scheduled broadcast.

In several posts I've mentioned I don't sleep much or that Mom kept me up. Let me explain that in a bit more detail and why it can be a big deal. Last night was just about a typical night for me.

10:00 - bed
10:30 - or so sleep
11:00 - woke up. couldn't get back to sleep read for 30 minutes.
12:00 - woke up again, read a bit more.
1:00 - woke up again.
4:00 - and again, found cat outside, went back to bed, heard movement in the house. Got up for the day. Grabbed coffee.

So if you wonder why some days I don't post, or it takes a while to review a sample, either coffee or a cigar, it's tough to write some days. I wish it weren't so, but it is. Some days my ass is just wore out.

Now  Mom on the other hand had a prett good day. She was up for several hours in the morning and ate lunch before taking a nap. She napped until 5:30, woke up by herself and had a good dinner. After dinner she headed back for bed and was pretty much out for the night as far as I know.

Have a great day and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Just When You Have It All Figured Out...

...the theory gets shot down!

With yesterday's post, I thought that I'd figured it all out. Well, kind of I guess. So right after I made that post, Mom actually got on her own for breakfast. After a couple hours she went back to her room for what I thought was her normal nap. That was  not to be. 

When she came out of her room an hour later for lunch I could tell she hadn't been back to bed. I thought to myself it might be a good thing because now she might sleep through the night. 

After lunch she said she was tired and she did take a nap. About 6:30 she came out all on her own for dinner and ate like a linebacker for the third time. She stayed up about an hour then wandered back to bed. Like I said, I thought with the amount of hours she'd been up and the amount of food she'd consumed, she would be out for the night. But again, I was wrong. 

Well like normal I couldn't sleep so I was outside reading. After a bit Kenna came outside and told me Mom was up wandering around the house. Crap. Mom soon went back to bed without any direction for me but I was up until she turned her light out around midnight. 

Come to find out, she was up the night before and no one told me. lol I guess that going to bed before midnight will soon be out of the question. Fun, fun, fun!

Well today, she got up again on her own right at 9:30 again so we will see where today takes us. I already had to find her teeth so she could eat. How her teeth get under her bed is beyond me. I guess she kicks them or something because they're just not under the edge, they are all the way to the middle. 

Have a great day!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Things are changing. As the doctor warned me a few months ago, Mom is slowing down on how much she eats. I know it's part of the natural process but it's human nature to be concerned and fight back. She will still devour a huge breakfast so I guess that's the first line of attack. 

Much of this started last week when Mom kept me up all night. In a effort to combat this, I tried keeping her to a better schedule of getting her up for three meals about the same time every day. Well it seems Mom has revolted to this. Not intentionally of course, but it wore her out and she's taken a step backwards. 

Is this a long term change? Perhaps, but only time will tell. Right now I'm at odds about what to do. Do I keep her on the rigid schedule of last week, or do I let her manage her own sleep schedule?

I guess for now I'll just play it by ear and see where things go.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

But It's Early

Yesterday was a total crap day for me. I couldn't sleep the night before and at midnight I heard Mom's door open as she headed to the bathroom. About fifteen minutes later she is opening every drawer in there and banging it closed. I laid in bed listening another fifteen minutes or so and when I didn't hear her go back to her room I drug my tired ass out of bed to check on her. 

I alway use the outside doors at night, out the bedroom door, in the kitchen slider, so if Mom is in bed I don't wake her. Once out on the deck the first thing I noticed was the cat. Mom had let the damn cat out, again. That was enough to know she hadn't went back to bed and I'd better find out just what she was up to.

Once inside I found Mom sitting on the couch reading the paper. When I asked her why she was up so late she looked at her 40 year old wrist watch that she forgets to wind and told me it wasn't late, it was only 8:30. Well to shorten this story up a bit. After pointing to the wall clock just above her head and explaining it was near 1:00 AM, giving her a snack and something to drink I finally got her headed back to bed. 

Consequently it was 3:00 before I finally made it to bed and I was totally shot yesterday. I did however make sure she was up for all three meals yesterday and with that she slept through the night.

Well I had a great deal more to write, but I'm still shot from yesterday so maybe I'll do it tomorrow.

As always, thanks for reading and have a great day!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Smooth As Glass - Broken Glass

Actually, for the most part, since we moved the dining room around, things have been running along pretty smoothly. Mom not being able to stare at the neighbor's cars while she eats did cure 90% of the questioning about her car. Whew!

However there's another change with Mom. I'm not sure if this is temporary or the beginning of the downward spiral Mom's doctor warned me about. The last three or four days Mom's been down to two meals per day, and she's only picking at her dinner. 

I'm not to worried at the moment since she's still eating a huge breakfast every day. But, just in case this is long term we've been reading more about elder care diets and we've came up with a couple changes to try over the next few days. The two biggest changes are more calories at breakfast, decaff coffee at lunch and dinner (if we don't skip it all together, but Mom loves coffee), and dinners on the lighter side. 

Mom's still all over the place schedule wise. Friday she was up at 5:50 AM, Saturday around 11:00, yesterday 10:00 and 9:30 today. Today, I'll put more effort into getting her to eat three meals and see how that goes.

The picture? For those of you that have never been a care giver on a day in day out basis, it's a bit like that. At Least it feels like it to me. It's way more than taking care and cooking for someone four to eight hours a day. It's the stress, the isolation, the feeling of being trapped. In fact it's so difficult I'm not searching for a job that pays enough that I can hire a day time care giver. 

There are many pro's and cons to this. I'm sure Mom's quality of care will suffer a bit, but I think this responsibility is killing me from the inside out a little more every day. However, Spokane is a special city. What you know isn't important, it's the letters behind your name. Plus what 30 year old business owner or manager is going to hire someone that has more years of practical experience than they have in age. 

Here's a good example of Spokane business philosophy. A few months back I hit up a company about doing their social media for a mere $250 per month and  how it could improve their web sales. I was told, "we're pretty happy with our web sales so we don't need any help". At that time, my measly little cigar & coffee blog had an rating of 600,000 world wide (it's since fallen due to lack of posting on my part), and their, happy and busy sales web site had a rating of 16,000,000. With a rating like that, I know how much traffic they were getting, NONE! LOL It's  hard to win when you're dealing with big ego's and little minds. They could have easily tripled their web sales, probably more with a little of my help. 

Well that's enough for day. Mom is now eating and looking confused as ever. . .

Live long and prosper everyone!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Cat In The Trap

Every day there's something to write about if I want. Today, it's Amy, Madi's/Layla's cat. 

I was out having a smoke when Mom got up for lunch. I'd heard her in the bathroom so it was pretty much under control, or not. LOL

When Mom came into the kitchen Amy was standing at the screen wanting out like always. We don't let her out because the first thing she does is climb on the roof and try getting in Mom's bedroom window.

Of course Mom walked right over to the screen door and tried letting her out. Again, I told Mom she doesn't go outside, this happens just about every day, because she's an inside cat. Of course this instantly goes against Mom's grain. For two reasons. First all cat's are outside cats unless she wants them in the house, second, because she didn't get her way. Mom spent her entire life, until moving in with us, getting her way.

Mom's first come back was, "she needs water", then it's "she needs to go to the bathroom". Like always I explain there is food, water and a cat box downstairs. Not satisfied by these answers she walks over to the sink, grabs a dirty coffee cup and starts filling it with water. I ask what she's doing and of course she was getting the cat water. Again with go through the entire basement reply again and by now Mom is a bit mad. 

She turned around to look at the cat and saw yesterday's mail on the counter and thoughts of the cat were instantly gone. The mail had grabbed her attention and she was off in another world. 

Mom and mail is another good story, but we'll save that one for another day.

By the way, the picture is Amy in a "cat trap", normally it's a box but a hamper works just fine her too. 

Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Surprise, Surprise

This is what makes life fun: at any given moment you just never know what Mom will say, or do. 

Last week, in an attempt to curb the daily stolen car conversations with Mom, we decided to rearrange the dining room so Mom couldn't stare out the window at the neighbors cars. I know, that sounds a bit mean, but it's not, it's necessary for my survival. Plus she can still see out the living room window while she's eating. 

Anyway the day we moved things around Mom came out for dinner. After sitting at the table for a few minutes she asked if we had just painted the dining room wall. Paula was the first to reply telling her we did it well over a year ago.

Mom just said something like"oh", laughed, like she does about everything she says, and went back to eating. 

Well close to a week has passed since then and the move has really helped with the stolen car bit. Last night when mom came out for dinner I noticed and thought to myself, wow she looks like she's with it tonight. Sure enough before she even sat down she made a comment that we'd moved the dining room around. Not wanting to start 100 questions, I just replied that yes we had. 

So this sounds great. Right? Wrong. It can change in a blink of an eye. 

While Mom was eating Paula and I were eight feet away watching TV. With cat-like stealth Mom got up from the table, opened up and laid out a full sheet of newspaper on the kitchen floor. In the center of the paper she had put about one third of her diner on a napkin for the dog to eat. With luck we found it before the dog did. LOL

She can be so sneaky at times. That's why I have to watch her so close. I know at times she hates it but the minute she catches me not paying attention, she's up and into something. Just like trying to heat her cup of coffee on the burner last week.

Well as Spock would say, "Live long and prosper"!

Oh the picture of Pluto. I'm fascinated space. I figured I'd add it since it's a land mark day for NASA. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Sometimes The Smallest Things...

Cause the biggest problems. 

Yesterday after helping Mom shower, Paula dressed her in the pajamas we gave her for Mother's Day this year. Now mind you, Mom has worn these pj's many times over the past few months, but yesterday she was off half a notch I guess. Well maybe even a full notch. 

Mom was up most of the day yesterday. After eating she would head to back to her room for a bit, then come back out a few minutes later for food, coffee or the paper. Sometimes all three-- she ate four solid meals yesterday, after we found her teeth under the bed before breakfast. Each time she came out, she would ask if the pj's she had on were hers? Each time one of us would explain they were her's and they were a Mother's day gift from us. That news delighted her, but she didn't remember buying them. Well of course she didn't remember buying them, they were a gift and some days she doesn't even remember her own name. LOL

The real kicker came at dinner time. Luckily Paula went to tell Mom dinner was ready. When Paula opened Mom's door, she found her naked, sitting on the bed. Mom had taken the pj's off, I'm guessing since they didn't belong to her and hadn't thought to get dressed again. After getting back in her pj's Mom came out for dinner, but again had to ask who the pj's belonged to. 

Dealing with Mom can be comical at times, but it can get tough dealing with it day after day after day. Just like today, once she was awake and had her teeth, it took an hour and several promptings for her to come out for breakfast. She'd found pictures on her dresser and was mesmerized by them. 

Well thanks for again for reading. Have a great day!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Exasperating Is Putting It Mildly

Boy is that an understatement! I woke Mom up at Noon today--she'd been up for bathroom visits twice already so I wasn't worried about her. However, she fell back to sleep and I had to wake her up again five minutes later. Of course, she had no teeth, but the last month or so they are normally under a pillow, unless she's sitting on them, and they were quickly found. 

She's been up for nearly two hours and had finally finished eating. I thought it was safe to run downstairs and grab a bag of ice from the freezer. Boy was I was wrong!

In the two minutes, probably closer to one minute, I found her standing in front of the stove trying to warm her half cup of coffee. She had found the stove and the burner knob so her cup was on the burner with the burner set on high. No harm, no foul, but this is why she can't be left alone for even a minute. 

I put her coffee in the microwave to rewarm it for her, it's right above the stove, but she can't find it, and went to fill my cup with ice. As I was getting ice Mom walked over to the fridge and read the drivers license renewal form hanging there and said, "I wonder if Dan has seen this"? My reply was "yes I have". This started the normal banter of "Are you Dan"?

Quickly the conversation jumped to her car being at the neighbors and she needs to get it back. However, today there were no cars in the driveway for her to see so I now know with no uncertainty she's pulling this crap just to be her true bitchy-old-self, the Mom I grew up with. LOL

I  hope you find this as amusing as I do. Have a great day! 

Where Have I Been?

Well let me take up a bit of space here and enlighten everyone. It's been two months and a day since my last post and there have been a few complaints from family members about the lack of updates. Sincerely, thank you to those that have complained it has helped motivate me.

So anyway, there are primarily three reasons behind the lack of posts: time, guilt and anger. Please indulge me as I take a few paragraphs and dig into each one of these words a bit deeper.

Guilt. This is a tough one. A few weeks ago my Aunt Donna (Mom's sister in-law) passed away. Aunt Donna had always been my favorite aunt and I spent a great deal of time at her house while growing up. She always made great food and there wasn't one mean bone in her body. Since moving Mom down here she called every couple of weeks to check on Mom and we always spent a few minutes talking about the farm and family. So where does the guilt fit in? Well I just have a hard time writing about the idiosyncrasies, trials, and tribulations of being a caregiver when my cousins just lost their Mother and mine is still here. 

Rest In Peace Aunt Donna. I miss you!

Time. Where does the time go? If you read the past posts about the in-home caregivers coming to visit Mom, you know it wreaked havoc with her. In fact, Mom hasn't been close to the same physically or mentally since. 

The first year Mom lived with us, she needed little supervision and that gave me several hours daily for doing reviews. The second year, Mom would get up fairly consistently around 9:00 am, eat, sleep two to three hours, eat again and follow the same pattern all day. This schedule also gave me nice blocks of time each day to work on reviews. It actually allowed me to do nearly 400 reviews over the last year. 

Today, you never know when Mom will get up. It could be 5:30 AM or noon. She may go back to bed after eating and stay there for a brief five minutes or a lengthy five hours. Some days she just stays up all day or all night. It's just crap shoot now and there is no time to do uninterrupted reviews. I tried three times over the weekend to smoke a cigar and all three times she was out of bed within minutes of lighting up. Plus now when she is up she requires constant supervision or she is into everything. 

The final reason, anger! I poured my heart and soul into my cigar blog. Everyone I talked to about advertising told me get up it to 10,000 monthly pageviews and attracting advertisers would be a breeze. Well I doubled that amount of traffic to 20,000 for two months and couldn't land one advertiser. Even those that said they'd advertise at 10,000 backed out. I let that break  my spirit and take away my drive. 

But there was a bit more to it. Integrity in today's business world seems to be lost and integrity is a big deal to me. There were many companies that solicited my help to manage social media, do custom blogging or reviews, then backed out at the last minute and others failed to send the products they had asked me to review. Then they wonder why they can't get ahead. Even in today's world-wide market, you will run out of customers eventually if you deal out bad products or poor service.

As a side note, I may be a bit slow right now, but I will honor my commitments. It's who I am and what I do. 

With that said, that phase is over. I love to write and I miss it. But at the same time being a shut-in-caregivers is getting to me so I'm looking for a management or social media job with a small company. One that is open minded enough to utilize my 30 years of business management experience. I'm an observer, I look at operations in every business visit and always see ways to make the business more profitable. But as I've ran into in the past is, what 25 year old manager will hire someone with more experience than they have years? None. LOL They pushed the "Easy" button and already know everything. But on the bright side, I have smoked a couple cigars and will be writing the reviews today or tomorrow. 

Okay, let's move on to Mom. I've already explained a bit of the day-to-day function she now has, or doesn't have, but there's lots more to it. It's now rare for her to know who I am--the last two days she's walked by a piece of mail that's addressed to me and asked, "where's Dan." I always say "right here", and it makes her smile once it sinks in. 

The biggest ongoing problem is her car and diving. Every day, well multiple times every day, she looks out the back window and see's the neighbors new SUV's parked in their driveway. She then informs me that they stole her car and she is going to get it back. I don't understand that logic or emotion i guess, since her car was a 30 year old white, POS, Chrysler. How she can confuse them is beyond me. Perhaps it's a coping mechanism of her dementia, perhaps not. Yesterday when I explained that her car was sold since she can't drive and she kept going out in the middle of the night trying to leave, she became very angry. She asked where her money was and just who was it that decided she can't drive. After explaining all that again, she said, "you should have just killed me". At that point I chuckled and segwayed to a different topic and that was that. That time. 

Well there are the last two months in a nutshell. Perhaps I shared to much, perhaps not enough. I guess that's for you to decide. I hope you enjoyed the read and have a great day!

Oh, the lilly in the picture. It's a transplant from home and that's the first bloom they produced. Seeing that made me happy today.

If you like great coffee as I do, check out Bean Box they offer some of the best coffee's I've ever sipped delivered fresh right to your door every month!

Bean Box Coffee Subscription