Monday, December 15, 2008

No Birthday Here

Here is the weather outlook for today and the coming week:
Don't you wish you lived here? Man! It's cold. How did the early settlers and Indians survive in this weather? For that matter, how do livestock and wild animals survive? It is bitterly cold. It is so cold that they are saying exposed skin could be frostbitten in 5 minutes today! Brrrrrrr.

We had a fairly good weekend. I baked a bunch of cookies on Friday; gingersnaps and peanut butter blossoms. I also made a batch of mint brownies. I wanted to take a plate to Bob's family Christmas get together and also have some to give to friends. I had a bit of a cookie emergency though when I realized I could not find our cookie cutters. I have no idea where they are. Thankfully my friend Laurie came to the rescue and loaned me a few of hers. I was also able to pick up a couple of new cutters at the grocery store. Turns out it wasn't as much of an emergency as one would think since I didn't get to the cut out cookies at all.

Saturday Bob and I were going to volunteer with our church's service project. However Bob was feeling so bad. He was in more pain than I've seen him in a long time. So he stayed home and rested while I went to the project. It was awesome. We were helping the Plymouth Christian Youth Center. They were hosting their annual childrens shopping event. Each child bought a ticket for $1 and can then come and shop tables of brand new items for up to 5 members of their family. It was awesome and the kids learn the joy of giving to others. They were so excited to pick out presents for their siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Each kid was also given a stuffed animal and a candy cane. There was live music and lots of fun for all.

Saturday evening we were supposed to go to Bob's family Christmas shin dig but Bob was still feeling crappy so we opted to stay home. When he pushes himself at times like that, it takes days for him to recover. So, no in-law family Christmas for us this year. Poor Bob. He was bummed but somewhat relieved because of all the pain he was in. I could tell he had been trying to get ready to go but when he decided he couldn't, it actually seemed to take some of the pressure to perform away and he seemed a little better. So we spent the rest of the day at home just chilling. I made chili, we ate cookies, and I uploaded pictures from the service event.

Sunday was my birthday but it was the birthday I did not celebrate. We went to church (which was awesome!) and even made it to the early service. Afterwards we were interviewed by 2 people who would like us to lead a ministry/meal group in our area of the Metro. That seemed to go well though both Bob and I admitted that we can't begin to know when to shut up. On the way to church, it was raining hard and we were wary of driving but with temps in the 40's, it wasn't bad...yet.

After church we came home and had lunch while we waited for the Lifeline lady to come and install the Lifeline system for Bob. Once she came, it took her all of 10 minutes to install and test the system and then she left. I feel so much better now that Bob has this. He wears a medallion around his neck with a bottom he can press if he falls or hurts himself and I'm not here. The signal is sent to our hospital and they ask him if he is hurt. If he is, they will send an ambulance and then call me and let me know what's going on. If he isn't, they just consider it a test. This takes such a burden off of me now.

Later on Sunday, I left to go to our church baptism service. I was asked to take pictures and gladly agreed. I got there early and set up but ended up moving when the dunking actually started because I was facing the wrong way. After the service was a potluck like I'd never seen. Lots of fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, yams, honey ham, and a chicken curry dish that made me think I'd died and gone to heaven. So good!

After the service I came home and Bob and I had birthday cake; pink frosted angel food cake with sprinkles. Yum. Then we just chilled out, kept warm, and went to bed. The perfect way to spend a birthday I didn't want to celebrate.

Today we awoke in the frozen tundra. Our apartment faces Northwest and it is freezing! Our cats are piled together in order to keep warm. This is when a wood floor is not so wonderful. Carpet is a terrific insulator and keeps the feet warm. Thankfully I have a couple pairs of warm slippers. Also, I will be making those cut out sugar cookies today and having the oven on will do wonders to keep us all warm.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Good News Bad News Kinda Day

Today has been crazy. Crazy, I tell you!

Bad News: I got earlier than normal because I had some homework to finish up. When I loaded the pictures, I saw that all the changes I'd made in Photoshop the night before had not saved! So I had to do everything all over again. Grrrr.

Good News: Bob's social worker called and said she was going to order a portable ramp for him so that he can have access to places with, at most, 2 stairs! We can just throw the ramp in the van for when we need it. Also, they are going to cover the Ensure his dietitian recommended and 3 cases were ordered for us. Yay!

Bad/Good News: The medical supply company we were working with to get Bob's new chair is not Medicare certified so we can't use them for the chair. However, this was caught in time so we don't need to go through another whole evaluation, we just need to switch medical supply companies. We now have to work with a company we'd had rough relations with in the past. However, it seems those issues have been worked out and they are now a better company to deal with. So, Grrrr to start but Yay on the finish.

Good News: Meals on Wheels delivered their first meal to Bob today. Yay!
Bad News: He thought it started next week so was not home to receive it. Grrrr.
Good News: He's aware of the schedule now so will be home at delivery time from now on. Yay!

Good News: A lady is coming to help keep our apartment clean 3 hours a week. She starts on the 15th and will just do the basic cleaning like dusting, vacuuming, mopping, etc. Yay!

Good News: I emailed our church to see if they have any accessible small groups Bob and I can join so we can get to know people there. I received an email back saying it would be an answer to prayer if WE would consider hosting a home/meal group. Seems they've been looking for a host/leader in the West Metro. I talked to Bob and he's all for it. Yay!

Good News: I may have found someone to buy our antique/family heirloom dressers.
Bad News: His offer was much lower than I'd asked. Not sure how that will play out.

Good News: I was able to rearrange my class schedule for next semester so all my classes are now on Tuesday (starting at 8am and going through 8pm).
Bad News: This means I am unable to attend our church's women's small group I'd wanted to join. There are other groups but the one I wanted to join meets every Tuesday night. Sigh.

Good News: I can apply for scholarships at school to help offset the cost of school and the equipment I always need to buy. Yay!
Bad News: I missed the deadline for next semester by 3 days! Grrrr.
Good News: I can keep the application and resubmit it for Fall 2009 in March or April. Grray

Good News: Because Bob is on Medicare, his SSI disability check distribution day had to be switched from the end of the month to the first of the month. (I don't know why.) That means we got paid at the end of November and paid our December rent with that and our January rent will be paid at the first of January so our December paycheck is like an extra payday in our pocket! We used it to catch up on the bills we'd fallen behind on. It was like a cool drink of water and so timely! Yay!

Good News: Because of that nice little boost to our personal economy, I had a little extra cash in my pocket and was able to stop at my new favorite Indian restaurant. Turns out, you can get the buffet to go for about $7! I had a lovely lunch...and leftovers for dinner. It's all about the little things. :-) Yay!

OK, so it looks like the good news outweighs the bad news here. I'm just so bummed about missing the scholarship deadline that those feelings are weighing a little heavy on my right now. I'll get over it. In the meantime, anyone want to sponsor me this next semester? I can put your logo on my camera, bag, and tripod! Never hurts to ask.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Happy December

The semester is winding down. After this week there are only 2 weeks of school left before the Christmas break. I am ready for the break. And I'm ready for my next set of classes to start. This next semester won't be so shooting photos heavy since I have a business class, a photoshop class, and a photographer's assistant class. I do have a black and white film class that will require shooting and developing but I hardly think that one class will equal the amount of images I've had to shoot for my three current classes. I am so thankful for the education I'm getting. It's hella scary and intimidating though. I hope as I go I can keep up, grow, and get even better. I talked to some upper level classmen tonight and said how reluctant I am to submit anything to the photo club's photo contests. They encouraged me to submit anyway because how else will I learn and grow? I guess. I am just a first semester student who only knows first semester stuff. How can I compete against students who have been in classes far longer than I have? Still, it doesn't hurt to try does it?

Bob continues to be visited by people nearly every day. Monday he saw a speech therapist, today he saw his OT and a new nurse who assessed him for homemaking help. He qualifies for 3 hours a week which isn't a lot but we just need someone to do basic cleaning. The homemakers would also do laundry (including IRONING!), run errands, grocery shop, etc. We are just asking for the floors to be vacuumed, swept and mopped, the bathrooms to be cleaned, and the furniture to be dusted. Yay! This will really go a long way to help me not feel so overwhelmed around here.

Bob is being visited by both his OT and PT tomorrow and next week we are seeing the gentleman that is helping us with the grant. Bob is getting sick of the visits but it's far better for him to have these people come here than it is to have to take him to all of these appointments. Also, all of these people have been helping him (us) with managing his disease. He is learning better how to conserve his energy so he has the energy to do what he wants to/needs to do all day. I am learning things too. Like what works for him and what doesn't. For instance, right now we are looking for a buyer for our antique dressers because he doesn't have the strength to open them to get clothes out anymore. We hope to replace them with something more accessible...probably from Ikea...something with shelves instead of drawers. Also, I'm learning how to help him with stretches and limbering exercises. He's surprisingly flexible and stretchy but needs help with some things due to not having the muscles to move certain ways. I am also learning to make sure Bob has healthy, protien-rich foods available to him at all times. So now we are stocking the fridge with hard boiled/peeled eggs, string cheese, cottage cheese in single serve containers, Ensure, and such. This is so when I'm not here, he has easy to eat, energy ramping foods within reach.

All these visits and all this education is helpful but it's also like getting smacked in the face with reality. Bob's disease is progressive, it's incideous, it has no cure, and it results in him getting weaker and weaker and losing more and more strength. It's conceivable that at some point (and this is nothing we want to think about right now) he will need help transfering, bathing, toileting, and eating. He may get to a point where I will have to puree his food. He may get to a point where he can't stand or walk at all on his own. These things are things we may have to deal with at some point. There is no telling when or at what point. What is good to know is that we don't have to face this alone. We have help. We have family. We have a church family (finally!). We have friends. That is what we will chose to think on right now.

Oh and finally, this month I turn 41. I am not ready. I don't feel 41. I hang out with kids half my age all week and I have a really tough time seeing myself as their mothers' age(Or nearly) . I just don't feel that old. I feel silly even saying it. I think this is why women lie about their age. I don't feel it so why should I say it? From now on, I will say that I'm 35. Anyway, my birthday is in 2 weeks and I'm not looking forward to it for the first forever. Bob wanted to throw me a party but I vehmently declined. Plus the last party I threw only brought about 6 or 7 of my friends. Why add the humiliation of turning 41 on to that?