The Best Laid Plans

Get changed!

My husband, Bill/Bro, and I attend 7:00 a.m. Mass on Sunday’s. However, the past two Sunday’s we didn’t attend church at all.

The Sunday before last, our daughter, Shantel called at 5:30 a.m. (it is never a good thing to get a phone call at 5:30 a.m.) letting us know her toilet was backed up and she wasn’t able to reach the maintenance department at her apartment complex. Apparently they don’t work weekends and no one answered the phone number she was told to call in the event of an “emergency” on a weekend. In addition, the voice message for that phone number was full so she couldn’t even leave a message. So, Sunday morning was spent helping Shantel get her bathroom back in working order instead of attending mass.

This past Sunday we received another early morning distress call from Shantel and off we went again to render assistance to our daughter. Very long story but in a nutshell she lost her credit card, food assistance card, and the cash we gave her for dial-a-ride for the month. I was BEYOND frustrated with her, and I could have walked away and said you should have been more careful…. which believe me I did lecture her about how immature she is being regarding herself and her important personal items… But, as her mother,  I also felt the need to help her get the lost items replaced. To do that meant I had to rearrange my entire week. So not only did Bill and I spend the morning at Shantel’s apartment again on Sunday, I canceled my plans for Monday, and went back to Shantel’s apartment to take her to the DES office to get her food assistance card replaced. That is at the very least a four-hour ordeal.

Shantel took care of calling her credit card company to report the lost card and made arrangements to have a new one sent out. However, Bill and I did go and get her more one dollar bills for dal-a-ride so she can get back and forth to her classes this month. Again, my stress and frustration level was through the roof with her immature actions…but we all make stupid mistakes, and deserve second chances…

On Tuesday I drove back to Shantel’s apartment to pick her up and bring her all the way back to our side of town for a doctor appointment. Then we had to go to her pharmacy to get her prescriptions filled. Since I was already driving her around town Tuesday I told her I would take her to get her groceries Tuesday instead of Wednesday in an effort to save myself yet another 23 mile one way trip to Phoenix this week.

Today, Wednesday, I did grocery shopping for my own home, did laundry, and went to visit my mother at the Care Center. She asked me about my week and I just said it was eventful… No sense even trying to explain to mom what all happened because I would lose her train of thought after the first Sunday ordeal… All in all it was a pretty good visit with my mother today and I told her I would see her next week.

Now, I have the “best laid plans” to spend the day tomorrow, Thursday, cleaning my house, changing out a few summer things and replacing them with more fall like decorations…. Then, on Friday…. OMG on Friday…. I have “the best laid plan” to have no plans …except to do whatever the hell I feel like doing by myself and for myself… 🙂 🙂

Stay Tuned!

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Twice Is Nice

I got to spend another morning with Shantel this week which is always nice. Today I picked her up at her apartment for a doctor appointment. This is the outside of Shantel’s apartment.

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This is the parking lot I spoke about, in a previous post, where the trash bins are.

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You can see them right behind the parked cars. You might remember I spoke about how there is only one way in and out of the apartment complex and that road just behind the parked cars is always busy with residents coming and going making it very dangerous for Shantel to carry her trash to the bins. However, she has been very blessed to have good neighbors who are willing to help her out in between my visits. In fact, as we were leaving Fry’s last week, a man in his late 50’s came up to us in the parking lot and said he lives in the same apartment complex and he takes Shantel’s garbage over to the trash bins whenever he sees it outside her door. Of course I introduced myself and Shantel to him and thanked him for his help.

I arrived at Shantel’s apartment at 7:00 and was pleased to see she was up, dressed, and ready to go.

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I had to get there early because her appointment was for 8:30 but of course, we had to stop at McDonald’s again so she could use some more of the 2 for 1 coupons I gave her. This time she ordered two large iced coffees and two breakfast sandwiches… I told Shantel if I drank that much liquid I would be peeing my pants before I could even make it to a restroom!

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I had to laugh as she was eating and drinking her breakfast and she said “these coupons are like the best thing that ever happened to me.” You would think that girl never got anything to eat. Sometimes I feel like I can gain weight just sitting by watching her eat and drink like that… 🙂

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After Shantel finished her breakfast it was off to the doctor, then a stop at the bank to get one dollar bills for Dial-a-Ride because they will only take exact change for the $4.00 one way fee. After the bank we had to make another stop at Fry’s, because she forgot to buy orange juice last week and said she misses having that in the morning… Of course, once in the store she decides we need to go check to see what might be on manager’s special in the bakery department. Sure enough, they had a box of two slices of German Chocolate Cake for $1.39. Shantel said she would take that then asked me to take her to the candy aisle so she could pick up some red twizzlers candy. She already ate the package we bought last Wednesday. In addition, she said she didn’t like the brand of salad croutons she bought last week so we needed to go grab a different brand so she could have them on her salad tonight…

As you can tell, stopping by to grab some orange juice turns into another shopping trip to get enough to hold her over until next Wednesday… I also think Shantel uses these pit stops as a way to spend time out of the house as well as getting out and around other people… and that is always a good thing.

Finally, we checked out of Fry’s and I took Shantel back to her appointment. With a big smile on her face, and her treats in her hand, she thanked me and made her way into her apartment saying she was already thinking about what she would have for lunch!

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Gotta love it…!  🙂

Stay Tuned!

Just Be Nice

I went to visit my mother today at the Care Center. She, and many other residents, were  just leaving church service when I arrived. When mom saw me she said she was surprised that I showed up today. I visit my mother several times a week, as my schedule permits,  but Thursday is the day I have scheduled to visit mom. She always forgets and gets very excited when she sees me because she thinks I just popped in to surprise her so I let her think that…

It was approaching lunchtime and mom wanted me to push her to the dining room and sit with her until they open the doors. While we were waiting for the dining room to open for service mom told me her tablemate, Joan, was down in bed because she hurt her back. Mom didn’t know how Joan hurt her back but said Joan had been down in bed for several days.

When the dining room doors opened, I pushed mom to her table and helped her with her bib and read the menu choices for lunch. Chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes, veggies, and watermelon for desert. Or, chicken wrap with potato salad.  Mom decided she would have the chicken wrap and seemed pleased with her selection. Just as mom was all settled in and ready to give the server her lunch choice, Joan arrived at the table. Mom looked at Joan and said I didn’t think you were going to come for lunch today because you didn’t come to church service. Joan said she has been up out of bed, but can’t sit for long periods of time so she thought she would skip church service and just come to lunch. Joan also decided to have the chicken wrap and potato salad.

The dining room staff came and served tomato soup to the residents. While mom and Joan were eating their soup, Robert, and nice, elderly man, who comes everyday to visit his sister who is a resident at the care center, walked by mom and Joan’s table. Robert plays bingo with mom and Joan everyday and mom thinks they should ask Robert to join them for lunch at their table because Robert’s sister can’t talk and is not much company for Robert… As Robert was walking by the table, mom told Joan “there is our friend.” Joan got very upset and said “yes, Virginia, I have eyes, and I can see, that is Robert, but we have your daughter, Cindy, here with us today so we don’t need to have Robert here as well.” Mom didn’t say anything back to Joan but I could see she was upset.

When the chicken wraps arrived mom took a bite of hers and said it was good.

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Then mom asked the server what kind of potatoes were in the wrap. Joan spoke up and said “the chicken wraps don’t have potatoes in them, they just have chicken, lettuce, and cheese, the potatoes are in the potato salad.” Then Joan asked mom what she thought was in the chicken wraps? Mom snapped back with “CATS, ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer.”

I sat there listening to mom and Joan belittle each other… until finally I just had enough of it all and I looked at both of them and said “Can’t you just be nice?” 

Joan didn’t say anything to me at the time. Mom took another bite or two of her wrap and said she was ready to go and asked me to push her to her room. As I was taking mom’s bib off and backing her wheelchair away from the table, Joan said “I love having Cindy at our table, it really helps.” I smiled and said “thank-you, I think.”

I pushed mom back to her room and was surprised that she didn’t say anything to me about the incident at the lunch table. I stayed with mom for a bit longer, mostly watching her sit with her back to me looking out her door and down the hall while I sat on her bed. After a while I told her I had to go, gave her a hug, told her I would see her next week, and left.

As I was walking out of the Care Center I passed the dining room and saw Robert siting at Joan’s table, in mom’s place, laughing and talking with Joan…. Go figure!!!

Stay Tuned!

Shantel’s Day

Wednesday is the day I usually spend the mornings with my daughter Shantel. On most Wednesday’s I arrive at her apartment around 8:00 A.M. to take her to do her grocery shopping before dropping her off at school. However, that is never just a one stop trip… ever…, because Shantel always wants to stop at McDonald’s first to get something to eat, ect. This week I had some McDonald’s buy one get one free coupons I received in the mail so I save them for Shantel. She was delighted to hear that her favorite breakfast sandwich (egg, cheese, and bacon on a biscuit) was part of the two for one deal as well as caramel frappe’s.

I could not believe it when Shantel said she was going to have both the breakfast sandwiches and the frappe’s but sure enough, that is what she ordered, and she ate, and drank, every bit.. OMG, I don’t know where she puts it all and stays so slim… I keep telling her to enjoy it now (she’s 21) because she might not always have a metabolism like that when she gets older… 🙂

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I so enjoyed visiting with Shantel while she enjoyed her breakfast. We always find something to laugh about and have so much fun together.

After Shantel finished her breakfast, she asked me to take her across the street to the neighborhood Walmart store. This is just a grocery store run by Walmart but Shantel insists she can get better deals, on certain items, at Walmart than she can at Fry’s. I keep telling her we ( make that me) spend more money in gas running from store to store than the few pennies she might save at Walmart. Especially, on the first Wednesday of the month when Fry’s offers 10% senior discounts on everything when I use my VIP card. But, she insisted, so off we went only to find that the items she thought she was going to get such a great deal on was out of stock…

Next stop is always Sally’s Beauty Supply Store where Shantel buys all her hair products. That girl can spend hours in Sally’s. She will pick up an item off the shelf, ask me what it is, and if it sounds like something she might be interested in, she will ask me to read the entire label to her so she knows exactly what it does then she compares it to the products she uses. If I get tired of reading labels to Shantel she will say “all girls do this mom, how else are we to know if we might like a new product or not?” I don’t remember doing any of that when I was younger… and even today, I stick to the things I like and know work. Shantel, on the other hand, has put many, many, many, products in the “I don’t like this” product graveyard after just one use…

Finally I manage to convince Shantel that we must get moving on to the grocery store or she will be late for her 11:00 Wednesday class. And off we go to Fry’s.

Shantel has the ability to make a grocery list on her smart phone, but she prefers to just have me take her up and down every row and tell her what we are passing so she can decide if she needs anything there or not. She has memorized every row and can usually tell me what row we are in just by smell. She defiantly knows the soap and cleaning product smells, and she can identify pet food items, meat, deli, produce, and of course the bakery department… She is a smart shopper and always asks me the unit price or price per pound. Sometimes she will get lazy and ask me what is the better deal… but I always come back with “you are the college student…. you tell me…” Then she will do the math in her head and tell me which item(s) she wants. In fact, Shantel could do her grocery shopping without me… she could use Dial-a-Ride to get to the store and ask Costumer Service to help her shop… but to save her the $4:00 each way Dial-a-Ride expense, and the wait for a store employee to be freed up to help her… I prefer to help her myself. Plus, it gives us at least one day a week for mother/daughter bonding, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world…

Grocery’s bought, we headed back to Shantel’s apartment to put them away. Then, it’s back in the car to drop Shantel off for her 11:00 class with just minutes to spare… Talk about “flying by the seat of your pants…” But, I have learned so much from being Shantel’s sighted guide over the years. Shantel lives life minute by minute… being blind, she is never in a hurry, and never misses the opportunity to stop, touch, listen, and ask “what’s that all about…. let’s go check it out…”

After I dropped Shantel off at school, I still had to go and buy groceries for my own home. Unlike Shantel, I do have a list and I stick to it…. but I have to say… buying groceries for my own home is never as exciting, or adventurous, as shopping with Shantel.

That evening, after dinner, as I sat with my husband, Bill/Bro, telling him about my day with Shantel, I looked out the front window of our house and saw God’s blessing on our day…

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Stay Tuned!

Daniel My Brother

A beautiful, top of the charts, hit song by Elton John. That song, even today makes me cry every time I hear it because the first time I heard it, my brother, Daniel, was leaving for Vietnam…I’m sure you know the song, but if not, you can Google it.

This is my brother, Daniel, and his beautiful wife Bea.

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My brother, Daniel, is only 10 months older than me, and although I loved all three of my brothers, I always felt closest to Daniel. Even though he tricked, teased, and overall tormented me most of my life while we were growing up… If there was a trick or joke to be had…he made sure the trick or joke was on me… But still, through it all, as we got older, there has always been that underlying love and respect for each other. My oldest brother, Tommy, and youngest brother, Stephen, are now deceased, and I miss them more than I ever knew I could… and because I’ve lost both of them,  I don’t know what I would do without my brother, Daniel… We have shared so much family “stuff”…, good, bad, and ugly… he completely understands me like only a close sibling can…

Because Daniel lives 45 minutes from me, and both he and his wife, Bea, are still working, I don’t get to see Daniel as often as I would like. But last week he emailed me and said we should get together for lunch, and my heart leapt for joy!!! Daniel has just recently converted to eating Vegan, and suggested a Chinese restaurant close to my home, Chou’s Kitchen. Chou’s Kitchen is a tiny little place but has a large selection of vegetable dishes which was perfect for Daniel.

My husband Bill and I had never been there, but met Daniel and Bea at 1:00 for lunch.

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Everything at Chou’s Kitchen is hand-made. Notice the owner in the background making the handmade noodles and dough for many other dishes… The menu is extensive,

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covering both sides of the selections…

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Bill and I shared an appetizer of pan-fried beef buns. OMG I had never had this but if I didn’t like anything else… I would return for these alone…

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Then, I opted for the beef noodle stew.

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WOW!! This was jammed packed with handmade noodles, tender beef, and veggies, in the most well seasoned beef broth I’ve ever had… There was so much in my bowl… I had to ask for a take home container…

With my choices made, I just took a picture of what my second choice would have been…these steamed pork, beef, chicken etc. dumplings. Don’t they look good?

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Bill and I  shared a wonderful lunch with my brother, Daniel, and his wife Bea… but in the end…for me, it was never about the food, it was all about spending quality time with family… I love you Daniel!!!

Stay Tuned!

Makes Me Wonder

Our daughter, Shantel, lives in a one bedroom apartment on the ground floor of her apartment building. Just outside her apartment door is the parking lot and just on the other side of the parking lot are the big trash bins where residents are to put their trash. Because of where the trash bins are located, it is not safe for Shantel to walk her own trash to the trash bins. Not only is it difficult for her to carry her trash bags while trying to manage her long cane, the parking lot is very busy with cars coming and going in that parking lot as that parking lot strip is the only way in and out of the apartment complex. Seeing how dangerous the parking lot could be for Shantel, Bill and I told her to just put her trash out on her patio and one of us would take it over to the trash bins for her when we come over. One of us are usually there at least twice a week. In addition, we spoke to the lady in the rental office about the situation and she said she would also ask maintenance  to pick up Shantel’s trash if they see it on the patio when they are out and about.

When Shantel first moved into her apartment, we met the elderly lady that lives right next door to Shantel with her two adult daughters. Bill and I were helping Shantel get moved in, and the elderly lady came out of her apartment with her laundry basket full of clothes and was walking with a walking cane on her way to the laundry room. Bill stopped what he was doing and offered to carry her basket of clothes to the laundry room.

A few days later, I was back over at Shantel’s apartment to take her to get some things she needed for her new place. I noticed there was no trash on her patio and I just assumed the maintenance men picked it up. However, just as Shantel was locking her door and we were going to leave, the elderly neighbor lady opened her door and said she and her daughter picked up Shantel’s trash and carried it over to the trash bins. She said she knows Shantel is blind and she didn’t mind doing anything to help her out. She asked me all about how Shantel lost her sight, how she manages to live alone etc. I explained how Shantel lost her sight etc. then I thanked her and told her of the arrangement we made with the office and let her know that either my husband or I would be over at least twice a week to see about the trash as well. She said “oh, don’t worry about it, my daughters and I don’t mind helping her out…” I thanked her again and told her how much it means to Bill and I to know Shantel has good neighbors. That was in May of this year.

Today, when I arrived at Shantel’s apartment to take her to buy her groceries, I noticed a note taped to Shantel’s door. I pulled the note off and read it. It read something like this: My daughters and I have been picking up your trash X2 on Friday and Sunday of this week because we don’t want roaches or the cats to tear the bags open and pull out all the trash. We don’t mind because we believe God wants us to help others, but you need to at least say thank you. Signed your neighbor woman.

I was disappointed by the note. First of all because they know Shantel is blind so what good is a hand written note going to do for her?, And, Shantel has no way of knowing who picked up the trash because she can’t see. She didn’t even know the trash had been picked up at all. But what bothered me even more was why would anyone say they are doing what God wants them to do to help others, then tape a note to a door asking for a thank-you? That to me, isn’t doing God’s work for the sake of pleasing God, it makes me wonder if it’s not more like pleasing self…?

When I read the note to Shantel, she said she had no idea that lady took her trash to the trash bins. But she would let her know when she runs into her again that she really appreciates the help. She said she would bake her a batch of brownies as a thank-you. I said I thought that might be a nice idea… I also wrote a note back to the woman and said ” Many people help Shantel in many ways, however, Shantel is not always aware of who is picking up her trash. Please know that we sincerely appreciate anything anyone does to help Shantel. Thank you, and know your heavenly rewards will be great! Signed Shantel’s parents and Shantel.

Shaking my head…

Stay Tuned!

Total Confusion

I went to see my mother at the care center today. When I arrived she was sitting just outside the dining room waiting to go into lunch. I hugged her and asked her how she was doing and she told me she was feeling fine but they sure had a big scare with all the rain on Monday. She went on to tell me part of the roof of the care center blew off and water poured in and flooded the entire place. She said the nurses and doctors were pulling people out of their rooms and lining them up in the halls. I said “wow, mom, I had no idea you were in such a mess over here.” She said “well, if you had been here seeing about me you would have seen it for yourself…”

About this time the dining room opened and I pushed my mother in and placed her at her table. A few minutes later her tablemate, Joan, came in and joined us. Joan asked me if we got flooded at our house and told her our house did not get any water in it but our pool overflowed and that my husband, Bill, had to back-flush the pool and dig a trench to allow the water to flow away from the brand new pool pump he just installed on Sunday… I asked Joan if she got water in  her room like my mom said she had in hers. Joan got the strangest look on her face and said “your mother’s room didn’t get flooded. There wasn’t any water anywhere in this building.” She said the electricity went off for a while but that’s about it. No other major issues at all… My mother didn’t say a word. She just sat there staring at Joan.

When the kitchen staff came around to ask if Joan wanted a fruit plate or cheeseburger, Joan said she had diarrhea, and just wanted some cottage cheese, applesauce and a muffin. When the staff member asked my mother what she wanted she said she wasn’t going to eat because she had diarrhea and had been up all night with it. Joan got upset with my mother and said “now Virginia, you know you don’t have diarrhea, I’m the one that has diarrhea.” Joan told my mother she better order something to eat or she was going to get sick if she keeps losing weight like she has been… Finally, my mother said “ok, I’ll have a hamburger with no cheese.”

When my mother’s hamburger came, I cut it into quarters for her. She ate one piece and said “I’m full” and asked me to take her back to her room which I did. On the way back to her room my mother said “isn’t that Joan a pain in the ass?” She said she just thinks she knows everything. I didn’t respond, I just kept pushing mom towards her room.

When we got back into mom’s room, she told me she was talking to her roommate, Stella, again. I asked her how that came about since my mother has been upset with Stella for weeks now because she thinks Stella goes through her things. (Stella is 93 years old and can barely move herself about in her wheelchair and I know she has no interest in anything my mother has. ) My mother went on to tell me that when their rooms got flooded and the nurses and doctors were pulling everyone out into the halls, mom went back into the room and told Stella she needed to get out of the room too. Mom said she told Stella if she would behave herself mom would help her out of the room and into the hall. She said Stella agreed and mom helped push Stella into the hall, which would be something to see because my mother can barely paddle herself around in her own wheelchair… Then mom went on to tell me that while they were in the hall, Stella tried to talk to my mother, but mom told her “just because I helped save you doesn’t mean we are going to be buddies.” She said she told Stella, if you’re going to get along with anyone it’s going to be me so if you act right I’ll talk to you sometimes.”

All the while my mother was telling me the story about the flood, saving Stella, etc. I was sitting on her bed. I noticed my mother had a long-handled gripper, used to help people pick up things on the floor if they drop something. I asked mom where she got it and she told me her neighbor, David, gave it to her. She said he gave her a different one but later he brought this one to her and took the other one back. She said she liked the other one better but she didn’t want to tell David that. I said well, you don’t really use it that much anyway do you? Mom said no, but I keep it in case I need to smack someone in the head. I said who are you planning on smacking in the head? She said you never know, someone might come and knock on my door and when I open it they might try to break in. At that I reminded mom that she is safe in the care center and she doesn’t need to worry about anyone “breaking in on her.” Then I took the opportunity to remind her if she does ever smack, hit, slap, etc. anyone, her doctor would have no choice but to put her in the lock down unit where they have to put people who are either a danger to themselves or others. At that mom said “I don’t want to keep you from your family so you can go now.” So, I told her I love her, gave her a hug, and said I would see her again soon.

My mother is 88 years old, has dementia, and Parkinson’s. She has good and bad days… but when mom’s state of confusion takes over like today, there is no reasoning with her so it’s best to just let it go, and leave.

Stay Tuned!

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