Today I transported Jack to a place he doesn't want to be. It does seem somewhat dismal and he is upset being there. He is trying to cooperate with the staff and was open to hearing my explanation of what would happen there. He is there for at least 20 days of rehab as the next step from the hospital. He has a roomate named George. The space is small, single bed and dresser, a walker with wheelchair in the hall. He has an alarm bed and a pad on the floor. His call button is looped through the metal rail on the bed for if he needs to go to the restroom. I took him 3 days worth of clothing and will be washing his clothes myself so that they do not disappear. They will get them marked tonight. I told him I would be back in the morning after Piggy had time to go out and not be an accident waiting to happen. He said "Where is Ira?" as if he should do that and when I said he is in St. Louis with his family he then said "Well, where is Jessi?" ...that explanation ensued.
I know this blow to the head and UTI and Pneumonia have stressed his body and his mind as well. I think he remembers some of his life but it has chunks missing. I do know this. The PT folks had him write a sentence and he wrote "I love my wife, Lynda." I sat beside him on the bed for awhile rubbing his back and he was almost asleep when I left. Part of me wants a break but my heart is breaking for him. I promised to love him and do well for him as long as we have a life together. I took the back way home and cried a loud mournful cry all the way here.
My cowboy has fallen and he couldn't get up. It required 3 women and an ambulance to get him cared for in the E.R. He was found to have a subdural hemotoma and is in the hospital receiving care and expected to go to a rehab facility in the week ahead. I am currently down with a sinus infection but it will not keep me down for long. I expect to heal quickly and be a part of Jack's week. I have some more writings in mind but no time to continue until he is placed in rehab. Prayers requested if you are a praying person and good thoughts from the rest please. This is a temporary affliction!
Several days after my grief stricken bout with Mr. Southern Comfort I noticed the red spots on the top of my left foot were worse. It had an luminous quality around the punctures. I had been on an antibiotic for a severe sinus infection so I thought little about it. I do remember that my hangover had been the worst one ever with chills and fever and bouts of vomiting. Not what I would call ordinary for a well seasoned drinker like me. I chalked it up to not eating and went on with my life, at least until I could no longer go on with my life.
About a week or so later I couldn't even put pressure on my foot. I was using a walking stick or Jack's arm to walk and my foot was red in the center and grey around the outsides of the bite, a translucent shiny kind of grey almost silver. The pain was intense and so I decided to head over the mountain to the clinic and find out what on earth had bitten me?
The emergency doctor took one look and said some latin name. I asked for a translation and he said " Brown Recluse Bite" and prescribed a much stronger anibiotic and gave me instructions for caring for my foot. He said it could get much worse if I let it go and showed me pictures of horrendous cavernous ulcers from spider bites. Well, that was enough to scare me into following orders. The local nurse followed up with me and eventually the foot healed. Even so for over 6 months I had times of extreme weakness which came and went unexplained. I attributed it to the bite.
Brown Recluse Spiders are not at all interested in biting people but they hide in houses and can go up to 6 months without food. I believe when I stuck my foot under the radiator in the corner of the bathroom I threatened this spider's domain and he promptly bit my foot. That certainly made me think about using a different form of grief therapy in the future!
For years after I would not let my hands or arms fall off the bed when I was sleeping. I lived in old houses and wanted nothing to do with hiding spiders, or for that matter even bold ones either.
After Jack and I were together for awhile in Jemez I got a call from my old roomie. She sounded funny... like flatline. She told me her baby had died, strangled in the crib. I was shocked. That precious little 8 month old girl was gone and Linda was left with nothing but sorrow. How? What happened I wanted to ask? She told me the time of the visitation and the funeral and got off the phone. Later, when I went down to the visitation, I learned more.
When I moved out Linda needed another paying roommate and finally found some guy to move in to the other side of the house. He had gotton a new puppy and then when he went out for the night the puppy howled and whined all night so Linda got virtually no sleep. The puppy finally quit yipping about 9 a.m. and she took that opportunity to lie down and catch a quick nap. The baby was quietly playing in the crib. When Linda awoke she found the infant had worked her way down the side of the crib between the mattress and the side. The deeper she went the tighter the crib rail was against her little throat and she had suffocated.
It seemed like such a travesty to me. I was shaken. If only I hadn't moved or that guy hadn't moved in. If only... (and I am certain Linda if only'd her way through months of self questioning.) I knew that crib had play between the mattress and the rail. Why didn't I do something about it?
The ride back up the mountain was longer than usual. When we got to Jemez the Los Ojos was hopping. It was about 9 p.m. and the band was starting to play. I walked in and ordered a double southern comfort and said "Keep them coming!" Jack had gone with me to the wake and he decided to not drink much that night, just to keep an eye on me. I danced and cried once in awhile when I told my friends what had happened. I drank many a double before that night was done. It was hot in the bar so about midnight I went out and sat on the woodpile and talked to someone for awhile. Jack was right there with me. Mike was with Shirley as I remember it.
I was blaming myself for not doing more to help Linda. Poverty is a pervasive thing and it invades your thinking and makes you choose the lack of action many times as it is frightening to think of not having the money to go forward in a positive direction. I knew Linda was affected by her poverty. Of course after about 10 double southern comforts on the rocks my thinking was affected more by my sadness compounded by alcohol than anything else. I really didn't want to think so back inside to dance with a vengeance and shake off my mood.
Finally the band packed up and the place shut down. Now when I was drinking much I never would get into a vehicle. I do not know that this was some sign of responsibility or if I just always threw up if I rode in a car when drunk. At any rate Jack had his hands full with me that night. He walked me back to the motel and I fell into bed for awhile, later slept on the bathroom floor near the commode. It was a tiny bathroom so I stuck my feet under the radiator in the corner past the tub. This will prove to be important to remember in the days to come. I didn't dream that night, so no nightmares of the tiny baby girl I loved to play with in her casket.
When I got up in the late, late morning I noticed a red puncture mark on top of my foot and wondered what kind of bug had bit me. Whatever it was bit me twice it looked like. I didn't think much more about it as I had one giant headache and had to rethink the wake and the sad tale that led up to it again only this time soberly. I wondered for a long time if I could have stopped her from dying.
Jack and I were magnetized to one another from the night of Dutchie's birthday. We were never apart for long from that day on. I remember many nights of fun at the Los Ojos or with friends, going for drives, buying an iron over the mountain (his first gift to me), hanging out, going to the city down the mountain to a drive-in or to shop for something. I gave up the cabin on the hill and moved in to the motel then Dutchie moved in and slept on the little porch. Steve and Shirley moved on and soon it was all over. Dutchie left for Salt Lake City with a friend, Sandy Smith and soon it was getting colder. Jack's job was done and he wanted to follow the rig to Chalk Creek Location in Utah. I was torn. This mountain town was my dream in the clouds. How could I leave?
I tried to convince him to stay and he just said "No! You come with me." He was a worker and one of the first men I had been with who really liked to work and expected to do just that in order to make a living. 'You work if you live' was his motto. So I agreed and we rented a truck.
Dutchie had came back from Salt Lake and decided to go with us so we packed it all, her dog, my son and my plants and off we went to Utah. The trip was a travel nightmare with mountain roads and snow. I remember her driving Jack's '59 Ford with a motorcycle on the front and Jack driving the u-haul truck. I ate a whole bag of chocolate covered raisins while wondering if we would plunge off the edge of the mountain as there were no guardrails and we couldn't see.
The first night all my plants froze in the u-haul and I had 50 of them. I cried but we went on and threw them away when we reached Coalville Utah on the 3rd day. We arrived on Mike's 5th birthday, November 25th. We soon found that the town had no room for us. I had now become "oil field trash".
My revolutionary attitude was greatly irritated that the townies even charged us more for hamburger at the general store. The whole town was LDS or Jack Mormons. Either they were presently attending the Stake house services or hanging at the bar as Mormons that didn't attend. I had no idea I would spend 7 years in this no-mans land and become a Christian in a place where there were none. But that would come later.
Now was time to find a place to live.We stayed in the local motel for weeks while we searched. Nothing within 50 miles was available. I saw how quickly it was eating up the good paycheck Jack made as a chain hand on the oil rig. Eating out at the Cafe where we were treated like lepers and putting Mike in school where they considered his a less than worthy child was wearing on me. Finally I saw an abandoned house outside of town and I went to the owners and literally begged for them to rent it to us.
After much talk and pleading they decided to charge us $60 a month and gave me the key. I had to turn this sows ear into a place to live. Jack just shook his head at the space heater, 20 layers of peeling wallpaper in the kitchen and the sloping floor off the living room. I laughed and said "Well, the roof doesn't leak" and went to town to find someone who could loan me a bed.
I managed to get the local car dealership owner to loan me one though it was an old fashioned springs not a box springs and a less than thick mattress. Jack sat on the edge of the bed and put his head in his hands. He said "Woman, you just don't like nice things!" I growled back..."and if I did you couldn't provide them 'til we live here awhile and get caught up."
I was happy as a clam at a clambake. This was my canvas to paint over and make mine. We lived there for two years and I still think about it now and then. Coalville was hard on us but the house became a warm and liveable home.
Just before George left, Mike and I got the Hong Kong Flu. It was a complete wipe-out of several weeks of my life. I slept first on the emergency room floor waiting to see a doctor and later on a mattress in the front room of our rental. Mike bounced back quickly and I went from unresponsive to coughing up a lung. It ended my job and put me in a new financial bracket called "...so far down it looks like up to me".
When I finally recovered and found a way to make money again I also found a new home for us in a lower rent section. My new job was spreading some kind of resin on floors of balconies to make them a.) beautiful and b.) weather resistant. The apartments were not occupied so were very hot and I mean New Mexico kind of hot. The resin was some kin to glue I think as breathing killed my brain cells. After I did a balcony with my partner (The boss) I would lay outside on the grass or cement and try to get over an incredible and not too enjoyable high. They say we all have a twin somewhere. My boss was an identical to Richard Nixon and much like him in character as well. Did I mention I had met him at Red Dog Dan's?
My new home was with a darling young woman with a sweet baby girl who needed a roomie so Mike and I moved to a low income area and a new adventure began. We shared the house with mega cockaroacha! They were the oriental type and large. I learned to put shoes on or flip a light when getting up in the night so they would try to escape my size 11's paddling across the floor.
I remember many games of "Go" played on the kitchen table and a pool cue by the back door which only had a chain lock so a hand would sneak in now and again and try to unlock from the outside. I would whack whoever's hand I saw and they would stop trying to get in. There was an amazing stove from the 1930's in the back kitchen. I would love to find one like it now..so retro and cute but then I thought "Oh, save me!"
One day my son Michael tried to light a torch secretly in the bedroom and to keep me from finding him he hid behind the clothes in the closet. I was sitting at the kitchen table when I got such a strong feeling of panic that I ran and went straight to the closet and pulled back the clothes just as the torch lit. That was one of many times I was so thankful to have that, well, call it a 6th sense.
I did not last forever at this place, though the gal and I became fast friends who stayed in touch for many years. I was ready for the mountains. They were calling to me. High above the cockaroacha and latinos who watered the dirt every day, bless their resolve, to keep the dust down. I was looking for my paradise.
So Jemez Springs was lovely the year I met Jack. The mountains sang with it's own flavor of music and the Juke box at Los Ojos had all the most popular songs on it as well. I loved "Snowbird" by Anne Murray. All her songs spoke to me. I was able to attend some of the Jemez Indian Ceremonies which were open to the public and the drumming was earthy and full of expression. The waterfalls had a music all their own. I liked to play in the water and listen to the sound that drowned out all my troubles and spoke of future happiness to my ever yearning heart. I met lots of college students, hippies, mountain natives and locals. It was a relaxed party spirit in the town.
I remember one gal named Lorraine that was very alluring and interesting. She lived in rented cabin across the creek with her son Aeron and her mother was often there as well. Her mom was a kick~she told stories of the olden days and would throw up if you blew your nose. She taught me to make mexican spagetti with the coiled birds nest spagetti, catsup and garlic. Mike and Aeron played together at times but he was very worldly and I later learned Aeron's father was a major producer of porn back in Indiana where Lorraine was required to send the boy every summer for visits. Not a good atmosphere for a kid I think...but that is his story not mine. Lorraine was beautiful but had the beginning of rheumatoid arthritus. We, however, lived for the day and not in fear of tomorrow. We all partied and frolicked in those mountains. When Jack and I returned to the mountains to visit several years later we stopped and hung with Lorraine and found that her disease was progressing so it was harder for her to walk.
Jack and I were being drawn to one another but one day a gal with the most beautiful long hair came around, a friend of a friend and she was very plain but oh... that hair. It mesmerized Jack and he the more he drank the more he loved her hair. He just kept reaching out and touching it and saying how beautiful it was. I tired of this game and left the place with an irritated attitude. I suspected that perhaps I wanted to be the one he was reaching for. So I decided to stay away for awhile and see if I could re-focus.
Every day I would drop in to Los Ojos and ask if Jack had been in. The bartenders tired of my questions after a couple weeks and told me Jack and I could just come in at the same time if we were gonna ask about each other every day, that they were not the local matchmakers! So, at that I resolved to come to my friend Dutchies big 21st birthday celebration that weekend.
I dolled up the best I could for a wild child and made my way in to party. Jack came in a bit later and we gravitated to one another. I told him I had been asking about him and he admitted he had also been asking about me. The next short conversation sealed our fate. I told him I wasn't getting mixed up with a married man and he told me he was not married. I asked him..." then why the ring?" and he said they had been together awhile as they had a daughter together but he never loved her or wanted marry her. I told him to take off the blasted ring if he wanted to see me. He did on the spot and from that day forth we were inseperable. The days of Jack and Lynda had begun.
Many of you may wonder how I ended up in the mountains of New Mexico when I am such a mid-western gal at heart. It was because of a man of course. No, I wasn't going to be with one rather I was escaping a romance gone bad. His name was George.
I met George at an weekend Encounter. This was popular in late 60's and early 70's. Often run by a psychiatrist, psychologist or a guru of some kind a group of folks would gather after paying their fee and spend the weekend facing personal fears or hang-ups in a group session. You could punch a pillow while screaming at your parents for whatever slight or true wound they gave you. Many exercises were accomplished in the name of 'getting free'. George and I got to know each other riding in the guru's back seat while he looked for Native American Peyote Ceremonies (which never materialized).
George was a good catholic boy who had become a professor of English and married the girl his parents chose and had one daughter. Then he discovered he was not cut out for any of it. So he left his wife and child, became a janitor a state away and was finding himself. Not long after this monumental weekend we hooked up and he lived with me at my 3rd floor apartment on Madison's east side. I starred in one of his political movies along with my son. I met some of the more famous folk from the activist scene. Jane Kennedy was imprisoned for 2 separate terms for being part of the Beaver 55 group who scrambled the formula for Napalm at the Dow Chemical Company in Michigan and another political act of activism in Indiana. I met her through George who had taught at the prison she was in. Jane was a nurse from Chicago who was earning her phd when she became active in the anti-war activism. She later was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her actions. She was a gentle and loving woman who taught me much about what went on in women's prison. I was shocked and happy to help expose this through the film that George wrote and directed. I was mesmerized, taken in, captivated and totally believing he hung the moon. We actually talked of having an outside ceremony of committment...not a wedding but some kind of meaningful moment. I was truly twitterpated.
George believed in challenging the government for laws he thought unfair and I listened for hours to the political rhetoric but all the while he was two timing me with another activist down the street who was involved in health care reform. Boo! I never suspected and when I got a letter from her in the mail that exposed the whole seamy situation I was shocked...so shocked I couldn't eat. Now for all who know me that is really unheard of. George spent some time worrying that I might kill him somehow but no I certainly didn't want to end up in one of those prisons Jane had told me about! I lay around thinking my life was over after he left to be with her. My father actually took me to the cafe and ordered me soup and made me eat it after about 6 days of my suffering. This man had really fooled me.
Later when the shock wore off I thought perhaps I needed a change of scenery. I decided to contact a friend who I had met in Madison who resided in Albuquerque,
N. M. and she said "Come down and we will get a house together!" Yes, I was ready to leave this place! It was great fun selling everything, subletting the apartment to a friend and getting a new lease on life. George could have his activist, I was moving southwest.
I bought the train tickets and when the day came I was glad to leave. Two days later I arrived with Mike and who do you think met us at the station? None other than George. I was flabbergasted, a bit incensed and perhaps flattered. He talked a good story about how wrong he had been so we all got a house together and paid our seperate rents for our seperate rooms as I was unwilling to trust for awhile. I got a job as a bar waitress at Red Dog Dan's and Vivian was a Speech Therapist. Darned if I remember what George did except take weekend trips to college campuses across the west. When he told me he was leaving for another place permanently he also said he was skipping out on the rent. I went postal. This is never a pretty sight. Don't even try to imagine it.Oh, he did part with his share of the rent but I was a mess when he drove away.The neighbors had heard the exchange.
Sunny Spencer, who lived across the street took me (and Mike) in that night and I bared my heart to her. She patiently listened to my wails and tales of love gone wrong. Sunny was a Christian and she witnessed to me but I thought I knew better so I rejected her God and thanked her for caring. Next morning I went back across the street but Sunny and her husband and kids began to pray for my hard heart. It was a long time before I was willing to listen to the Holy Spirit. I returned to work at Red Dog Dan's and wore my thigh high go-go boots, white short shorts and red tunic to work every night. I met a lot of hard core guys while I worked there. I had lost my respect for most men. I knew there had to be a good one somewhere as I had a son to raise and didn't want to think they were all bad.
Vivian said I needed to go to Jemez Springs to find a cowboy to take my mind off the philandering George. She filled my ears with tales of fun in the free atmosphere of that little mountain town. My son and I hitchhiked to Jemez many times before we actually moved there. We met lots of characters and some fine people who became life long friends but we weren't quite done with the city life yet. However... that's another chapter...
Let it be known that I was up in the mountains of New Mexico with my four year old son Michael trying to find a cowboy of interest. I had had it up to my proverbial chin with intellectual puffballs and ineffectual lazy hippies. In order to survive up there I had roomed in with a group of guys who were working construction in a nice rustic cabin with a kitchen, bathroom and one huge open room full of beds. We had strung up dividers and it was sorta working. The town was Jemez Springs. I call it a town out of not knowing what else to call it. The place had a bar called Los Ojos, a gas station with 3 shelves of groceries, a cafe that was not open much, an American Legion Clubhouse/bar, and a Mineral Springs bath house. Outside town about a mile was a laundramat of sorts. The times were the early 70's.
I did anything I had to in order to survive. I cleaned cottages, cooked and bartended at the Legion, and worked as a mineral bath employee helping folks in and out of the bathtubs and wrapping them in army blankets and plastic to sweat. This was not a romantic spa but a way of life for many to get these baths for health. Actually I was having the most interesting time of my life up til then. Summer was fun there. Hippies, tourists, cowboys and Native Americans made for a strange and intoxicating mix.
It just so happened that there was a steam well being drilled on that mountain and the roughnecks and drillers were living in Jemez. There was a motel and apartments available for rent.
The Los Ojos was a kind of strange place. It was technically a bar but all the community met there to play chess or checkers, pool or just to sit and gab. Kids and dogs were underfoot all day and then they trickled out as it got later and the night crowd would show up. I stopped in often and had my son in tow as there really were no reliable sitters in this community and I couldn't have afforded them if there had been. Once in a while the guys on the road crew would watch Mike while he slept and I would descend from the hill above the bar to have a drink and see who was passing through.
On one of these occasions I met my future husband. He was playing pool, quiet but full of smiles. His friend, however, was on the lookout for a lady to bed. He hit on me and I told him cockily that I preferred his buddy. Jack grinned at how I handled the hand off and we talked a few minutes before I climbed the wooden stairs to the top and crawled in with my adorable son Mike. This was, however, the start of something...
I didn't think much about him until we had run into each other several times and I learned more about him. He drove an old green Ford in mint condition with a clothing rod across the back seat, He carried all his possessions with him in that '59 Ford. These roughnecks followed the jobs all across the west. As he had a car and I did not I was not shy to ask him to take me to the laundramat and he was happy to do it. He often watched Mike when I had to work late and couldn't have him along. We were officially buddies. Later his fellow roughneck Steve's wife showed up on the scene. They all lived
together in an apartment in the motel area. Looks like they had been friends for awhile. Steve's wife kept him in line when she was around with the kids. (Actually they survived the oil-field days and are still together but I am getting ahead of myself here. )
Jack wore a wedding ring and I wasn't gonna get involved with a married man so we were destined to be just friends and buddies, or so I thought. During the summer a young teenaged boy showed up for a week with his "step-dad" Jack. I didn't see too much of him during that time as I had developed an interest in a tall construcion worker who roomed in the cabin on top of the hill. After the young teen went back to wherever he lived I spent some time talking with Jack and learned he really actually wasn't married but had a long term relationship with a woman in Nebraska and that they had recently split the sheet. I asked why he still wore a ring and he just shrugged and said it kept the girls at bay. I laughed.
I had asked Jack how old he was but he was reluctant to tell me. One night he left his wallet on the bar and I checked for age. He was at least 5 years older than he admitted to. 'These roughnecks were here today and gone tomorrow' I thought...I tumbled for one of his fellow workers once or twice but he was soon gone back to wherever the oil was running. Drilling for steam was dirty and different from the regular oilfield they were all used to. What a strange fate it was to bring us all together in that little mountain town.
Most of you know me as an interesting older adult woman. I do have a past. Some of my immediate family have asked me to write a book but that seems a bit like a huge undertaking so this blog will now become the chapter every once in awhile to be my let's take this one bite at a time book! Good luck and hang on. I will think all day as to my first story and then blog late!
A day of testing, trials and temptations. I was tense and terse and close to a tempest of temper but I managed to somehow endure. My lawyer is not a good communicator and I am too ready to let the law office do as they want until....the unfortunate happens and it happens way too often when going through this maze. I am certainly glad I am not embroiled in a battle with court to face and have the same confidence in my lawyer (not so much) that I have now. Whew! This is much less stressful that that would be. I just wish it were other than what it is. Hopefully it will all be over but the trail of tears soon and very soon.
Adding to this day of reckoning in that department I must say I faced another disappointment and trial. Mentoring of women with serious emotional problems is a brave thing I have tried to do. Some efforts have resulted in positive benefits that I can see, others have had great and terrible disappointments in times of crisis as they return to the old ways and do not continue to watch their behaviors and check their motives. I have decided to pray more and say less.
This decision would benefit me when I am frustrated with my beloved husband in the midst of his struggles. This is my time of crisis and I need to watch my behavior and check my motives. Yup...Pray more and say less.
My Aunt Gaynold Frazier passed from this world on Friday morning at nearly 5 AM. She had been afflicted with Alzheimers for the last years of her life. She turned 80 March 21st. Her son Rob was with her as she passed and made sure her last hours were comfortable. She is survived by my cousins Rob and David. She was preceeded in death by her husband, my Uncle Bill Frazier who died of a massive heart attack while playing basketball with his kids at age 41. Their son Billy died at age 26 or so from heart problems stemming from his Juvenile Diabetes. Their daughter Mary died of a heart attack at age 38. She was a teacher. Finally their oldest son Terry died of a heart attack at a similar age to his father. Gaynold had seen her share of heartache in her life. She had a sister who died of Alzheimers and is survived by a sister who lives out west. She has 6 grandchildren, 3 from Terry and his wife Esther, 2 from Rob and his wife Kim, One from David and his wife Kelly. I remember that Gaynold was a talker and loved people. She never remarried after Uncle Bill died and did not regret this. He was the love of her life. She was a faithful attender at a local Lutheran Church in Delevan until she was unable to go any longer. Her last days were in a lovely facility in Janesville. It had artwork on the walls, water features and beautiful rooms.The last I went to visit her she still knew me several years ago. It is hard and sad to watch those we love sink into memory loss and the other related problems of Alzheimers. I commend her son Rob for his faithful attention to his mom and to his daughters, and Kim for keeping her life as pleasant as could be. David and Kelly visited also and their daughter, now 7, was a particular delight to Gaynold.
Gaynold was a runner up to the Wisconsin Dairy Princess before she and Uncle Bill were married. I remember their wedding. I believe I was 7 years old. I had a huge crush on my uncle and wasn't sure if Gaynold should marry him but she won me over. They brought me a book when I was sick and I remember that book about Bunny Blue who lost his ribbon. Gaynold made doll clothing for my favorite doll and I loved to visit and play with the kids which came along quickly. Gay managed the home and children well and was able to hold it together despite the huge losses she endured. I will cherish her memory.
Yesterday was hard. A list of things that we did included Church and pot luck after, nap for Jack and dishes for me, trip to a mall that was fruitless for the most part though I got some old navy jeans and a shirt, then Cracker Barrel for supper as we were tired and it was really late. A certain person who was along to the pot luck and to Cracker Barrel did not eat and just slept at the table and out in front of the church. If only I had my good camera with I should have loved posting that picture with the title..."Too much communion wine..." but alas no. I think this person is a bit spoiled and also doesn't take time to sleep enough so is always slightly manic...
Glad the problem is not mine to deal with regularly for I find I go into an old mode I lived in once when life had tempermental men around and drunks...a tightening happens around my gut and my spine gets stiff then I find myself becoming an avid conversationalist to detract from the spectacle. At least I am recognizing that the old responses are ready and willing to return at a moments notice.
Tonight I made dinner for Jenna and Mike as they had late Pre-marital counsel with Pastor Clark and we had planned a simple menu that Mike would eat. I have only seen or heard of him eating hamburger or beef roast with potatoes or bread but never a vegetable or salad or any other type of meat. Wow! Colon and health alert! But anyway I made exactly what he would eat and added a lovely complex salad for the rest of us. Jenna chose my hot olive oil for her dressing and sweated through two bowls of that lovely salad. Guess I made it hot hot hot!
After dinner they left for Home Depot to continue the upgrading of a very old and damaged mobile home right on the home farm. Jack and I went out there today and I met about 13 cats and one with two baby kittens, I also petted a calf tied up in the corner of a shed and waved at her companion on the other side. I got to meet Mike's lovely, sweet mama who did her best to keep up with us as we looked through the mobile home together. She had lived there for many years and raised her two kids there in that tiny place. I know that Jenna can make this place into a home despite the mere 550 square feet. The challenge will be daunting but think of the possibilities for simplicity! In my downsize I have learned much and it seems that I like my little place pretty well except when I want to have company to spend the night. Then it sucks royally. I do need a sleeping porch or a travel trailer parked near the door!
Jack seems to be resting well even though he tried to take a nap this afternoon until bath time. I do not think he ever really succeeded.I was busy cleaning and doing things of great importance. He certainly is not shy to ask for what he wants when he does not think he can get it himself. It is those independent actions that prove dangerous.
Tomorrow 'we' have a whole list to accomplish by 4 PM. If things work as expected I shall have a used but working treadmill in the bedroom to begin using on Friday! Yeah! I have had many days home so am missing my godkids and grandkids. Hope this week allows me time with all!
My temper had a day off today and my night sleep last night was pretty good. Jack did yell my name loudly at 8 A.M. because he thought I was gone and I came out of the bed expecting to find him down but no..my adrenalin was racing so I just groaned and got up! Tomorrow is another early day. (By the way 8 is early...I get up around 6 and always think 'nope gonna sleep some more'!) Eight seems a very reasonable time to make coffee and open the shades and greet the day! Oh yes and I painted my toenails tonight. Yes, this has been a better day.
I got a bit of sleep last night, more than for awhile but was met with a cleaning problem when I got up. I had to get Jack ready for the chiro trip and try to remedy the problem. I did what I could and then I tried to think of some new way to handle it.
Jenna helped me with Jack but I fought back tears several times during our long day. No reason specifically just stress or over-load. The day was fraught with the normal problems and the wheelchair needed in and out of the car for various times of getting him out for the meal and sudden bathroom needs as he has little warning. Jenna's fiance was waiting at my house, he had fed my dogs and let them out and they soon they were off on a date. I fed Jack and worked on the problem. I ran up and down the attic ladder searching for a remedy. I came up with a very temporary solution.
He is asleep and I now am rethinking the bedroom carpet. I do not have the funds to do new flooring right away but it is needed. So tomorrow I will work on this again. Every day I am trying to make it work. Then in the evening I process the day and try to get a great attitude for the next day. It might not make it through the night but when I can I start fresh and begin again going back to who Jesus wants me to be and that this would be hard for a professional to do 24/7.
I made some pablano peppers with cream cheese and bacon for supper and they were delish. Tomorrow I need to search for more things that are misplaced and finish my clean-up as well as a few new projects. I still have to go to the courthouse and get a copy of something they forgot to tell me about before I can go forward with the next step...I have many things on my plate. I am weary but determined to go forward. There may not be a light at the end of the tunnel that I can see but I do have a big God who knows just what our needs are and he promises not to give me more than I can handle!
I am thinking that any good parent will restrain a child that cannot be safe without those restraints. Many items are sold each day across our land to keep the kids safe such as play pens, safety gates, strollers, cribs and the list goes on and on....
I have nothing to keep Jack safe from his own poor thinking. I am not allowed to restrain him from the situations that I cannot seem to prevent. Falls, burns, more falls...so I try to block him in and sleep light. No Jack is not a child. He is a full grown man with a great story but he is also stubborn, male and afflicted by poor balance and poor decision making skills and a poor memory.
I suffer from my inability to keep him safe. He is my husband even though hard to recognise as such. He is in my care. There is little out there in the special interests land to help me at present. I wait for his name to rise to the top of a list for family care. What will that do? We have yet to see.
I sprained my arch the other night trying to help him and lost many hours of sleep this past week trying to keep him safe. I do understand why it is wrong to restain older or mentally challenged people inhumanely but I really question the advisability of making it a crime across the board.
A hospital bed with sides that keep you in are a form of restraint. I want that for him. Seat belts on the wheel chair might be nice too. He flipped his wheelchair during the early morning while I was in the next room getting him something. I didn't know he would do that. I can't think fast enough to keep him safe. I can't leave him long enough to accomplish the slightest thing without a danger. My nerves are frayed thinking he might fall if I don't stay alert all the time. Sleep is lost and I feel irritable from the constant pressure. I am only one woman and this job is out of my comfort zone!
Tonight I took Karah to Tim Burton's 'Alice' and we really enjoyed it. We did not do the 3D version and afterward we went to Borders and drank delightful drinks while we perused the magazine section. It was truly a delightful time away from responsibility. I had wanted to see it and then I really enjoyed seeing it with one of my God-kids! Jack would have disliked the movie a lot and it was right up my alley. Fantasy and folklore with whimsey! This kind of activity makes me more able to go on!
I am very excited about the new grandson in St. Louis as well. My dreams are confused but that is all the better to ponder the future! I look forward to a time with my son and his lovely family sometime perhaps in April. Later they will come and see Jack and show him his little grandson namesake #2!
Tomorrow is a busy day here and I must get Tisha bathed and dressed so this blogger is now officially signing off. My pillow calls me!
I am struggling with caretaking. Struggling with the limitations it has brought to me. I try hard to find ways to live within the boundaries and not take advantage of anyone else. I, in essense, want Jack to have a safe and pleasant life.
I can do all within my power and yet I cannot be sure he will not fall or make a bad decision that might cost him or both of us our lives. I do as well as I can. It is a trap in some ways. I am a first born with a huge sense of responsibility. I seldom quit or ask for a lot of help though I certainly want to quit every so often and need help every day.
I do okay but it is a trial every day. I blame myself for my short patience and tendency to be frustrated easily by the lack of logic and the verbal exchanges. Tonight capped me off. I think it was spiritual. Gene and Pearl Werner came to pray for his healing this afternoon and they prayed for myself and for Jenna as well. Then Jack watched his program and ate Turky rice soup that I had made, Then I helped him to bed. He came out with something horrific that shocked me and angered me about someone who had tried to help him. Not someone he knew well but the attack was aimed at me even though it called this woman he met once a really bad name two times. He was asking to be put in a home so he didn't have to be here.
Is it the disease? Is it Jack's true feelings of anger which he feels but cannot aim at me for fear I will stop caring for him although he hates being cared for. I am beyond it, I forgave him for my own benefit and in case it is just the disease talking or some demon from hell. But I am beyond it!
I need a change or help or something. I am just undone tonight. I will recover. I will rise tomorrow and do my very best. I always do try hard to rise above the circumstances.
I was on the way home, almost to the house when it occurred to me that even though I have very few dollars left I wanted some flowers for my table. So I whipped into a parking place and stopped at a place on main that I used to go to more often. I entered and strode back to the cooler and looked at what was made up. Na! Then Dorothy's voice said "May I help you?" and as I turned she remembered me. I was friends with her when she was young but closer to her little brother Duwayne who was killed by climbing down in a hole during construction and that gas which you never know when it will build killed two of them. Sigh. It has been a few years and since then she lost a precious grand-daughter and later the husband of that woman died also, leaving an orphan. Said child is now the center of a huge lawsuit about grandparent rights.
Dorothy has known much sorrow in her life. I got my flowers and we talked deeply about our situations for a short time. She has read and re-read "The Shack" and we spoke of it as a healing book. I took my daisies wrapped so sweetly and tied with a bow and knew that God had spurred me to stop. My calling includes encouraging others who bear burdens almost too hard to bear but for God! Sometimes all I have to give is a smile and an ear.
I don't make a habit of siphoning a bottle of wine by myself but tonight I wanted to eat poblamo peppers with cream cheese and bacon. Delicious and tasty by the way and even better accompanied by a glass of Blushing Rose by Wollersheim Winery (Sauk City, WI.)
So I am busy cleaning and updating on fb when my mom calls. I have had 3/4 a bottle by then and hadn't realized it as I was just drinking it when I passed by and kept working. Bad idea. Oh, too late to think about it, maybe I needed this night of total honesty with mom. It was good she knew I was drinking. I boldly told her I had a bit too much and was super talkative. We had the best conversation ever! Not just because I say so. She said she loved talking to me when I was so free and open. Ha!
I am totally spent and not because I am working so hard physically. It is more an emotional toll and I am willing to admit what part my emotions take in this I get so frustrated!!! Caretaking also has physical tolls and my back can get very stressed and hurting from steadying with all his weight and other rescue acts which are costly when you are missing a disc and not exercising very often. I was reading caretaker blogs this week and I want to be able to walk around the block and whip back here then go another direction so I am gone only about 15 minutes at the most and hopefully can trust Jack to sit on the porch while I am walking for that long so I can exercise more in a couple weeks. He is not very trustworthy but I am hoping beyond hope that it will work. If it doesn't I will invest in more duct tape!
My day trip to Waupaka was wonderful though we hardly did any shopping. Jack just couldn't stand it. I wanted to pick up something I had on lay-away and so did Jenna so our time was in the gallery with David. He rocks, by the way! What a trusting and kind man with a gift for gab. We both like him a lot. I think Pam liked him too when she went in there with me earlier. (Maybe she and I can go again sometime!)_So when our business with David was complete we ate at The North Woods Inn next to the Goodwill and the Lumberyard. It had good food and pancakes as big as the plate for Jack! Then we stopped at the Main Street Market where they carry some whimsey that we love. Kelly Ann Roberts Artwork and Dolly Mama along with lovely plaques full of fun! We looked, we tasted the fudge and we bought a few tiny lovelies plus those funny cards for the upcoming events! Lookout friends!
I am excited about Jenna's upcoming marriage and like her man pretty good. He is loving to her and that is the main point and 2nd he is very kind to Jack and I. I appreciate the help he gives us. They are going on a honeymoon in Door County and that is the best!
I have ordered them some wonderful sheets from Lori who is a longtime friend from long ago in the Tri-Cities, WA. They live in GA now though. These are sheets with 1,000 thread count for $40 a set any size twin to king and available in 11 colors! They are good on mattresses that are 18 inches thick! I would post a referral if I can figure it out as I totally believe it is the best of deals! You can find them on facebook. Lori's Luxury Linens Plus. These people are honest and will give you good service!
Oh my latest of time wasters is Swag bucks online. It is a search engine that pays you to search. I love it as I am always looking for new blogs to peruse! If you want to try it please let me refer you : http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/Lyndee8 I promise you will not regret it and after while you will love looking for ways to earn swagbucks online! You can get Amazon or Starbucks giftcards by earning points!
Highlites of my day were: talking to my daughter Jams and hearing Judah in the background. He was laugh /crying which he does so well. I love the kids to pieces! I look forward to seeing them this spring! Beck will be so big and fun and Evie a cute little mini-mama! Judah is the rapid growing adventurer who will surpise me with his tenderness I am sure! I have not seen them for soooooooooo long! Last July actually!
I adore my Eliana and Mikey who are in Sun Prairie. It seems so close but actually it is hard to get together with them. I work with kids so if anyone is sick I do not want to expose them. We have dogs there so it is hard to have a way to clean a lot and hide the dogs so Mike and Eliana are not compromised. Somehow it is not easy to spend an afternoon there with Jack and the wheelchair. Jack wants to rock and roll his chair and that poses a space problem and a possible injury for the baby. Mikey is just adorable and learning so quickly about all that he experiences! Eliana is very imaginative and conjures up many adventures when she is not wrapped up in the world of animation on tv or of wild animals which she later can imitate and play pretend. School is fun for her and I am certain recess is her favorite class! She loves to play! She does adore her little "monkey" no, her brother "Mikey"!
My God kids and the foster baby Janasia take up some of my time and energy. I love each of them and pray for all good things in their final outcome. Janasia seems to be thriving under the care of Suzanne and the nursing staff. Our day nurse for Tues, Weds and Thurs is splendid. She loves Janasia and has no fear of using every technique to bless this kid. I think she can see as well as hear. The problem seems to be in organizing what she sees and hears to make good sense from it. Prayers are still coveted for her development and healing.
Truth be known though. Jack is my constant concern and only when he is sleeping early in the night before midnight am I safe to relax. After I actually go to bed any number of things actually can happen and they do! Last night he was trying to get ready for work at 4 AM! I awoke and talked him back into bed. Boo and then my adrenalin was raging. I did go back to sleep after awhile though.
My studio is looking better. The prospect of actually working on a project does not seem so far fetched now. Well, my wine flush is wearing thin and dishes are calling me. Then bed of course. Blessings on any who read my ramblings. I am enjoying my alone time and my down time tonight. The walls are newly adorned and rearranged and though I was in my cups I was not too far gone. I appreciate my friends who read this rambly blog!
I find a lot has to do with how I handle the random thoughts that appear suddenly in my mind. Like "No one really cares!" which appears often. I have to back up and tell myself a few things.
1.) God cares. He sent His son Jesus to pay the price for my sins.
2.) Other people do care in varying degrees but they have not walked in my shoes so they do not recognise my needs.
3.) I have always been a giver, an organizer, a catalyst for fun, and even if on occasion I complained I appeared to have it pretty together and figured out. They may not know how to care for me.
4.) Perhaps this is my time to cling to the Rock and wait for the rescue.
5.) I must not ignore the ones he has alerted and are showing me they care. Just because I want attention from certain people I must take what is being offered with true gratitude.
6.) The devil wants me to feel abandoned and unloved. He lies.
7.) So, if I feel this way then "Others" may feel this as well. How can I show them that I care even if I cannot be with them or answer their needs?
8.) I can start by keeping my gratitude journal updated and find what is good, positive and lovely. It may remind me of things that encourage me if I re-read some of the entries!
9.) I can find someone who likes to laugh and someone who likes to pray and ask for them to pray for my attitude and help me find laughter to banish the blues!
10.) I can refuse to dwell on that thought!
1.) Be prepared to laugh. So many small funny things happen each day that you can chuckle or at least smile about. When you first get up each day ask for help keeping it light and eyes to see the smile in it all. Find funny books and articles, dvd's and audios to make your day!
2.) Do not live in guilt because you dislike your position or parts of your job as a caretaker. Give yourself a break from guilt. Find one or several people who you can be honest with, who will not judge you for your feelings and use them as a sounding board when you are bursting at the seams with frustration. Do not let the person you are caretaking laden you with guilt. Pass it off. Pray it off. Laugh it off...but get rid of it!
3.) ASK for help. Just ask those who have told you they would help. Could be they can. Could be you could get a break. Don't give up. Find others in the same position and stay in touch with them. Network resources.
4.) Learn all you can about options available. Information can be your friend.
5.) Do something for yourself. Want flowers on your table? Don't wait for another to get those for you. Chances are they will never think of it. Budget those flowers in. Love to hang out in bookstores. Find a way to spend an hour at the library or a bookstore. Need a massage? Schedule one in as often as you can.
6.) Get up and put on your makeup and spray yourself with something light and lovely. Wear a color that makes you feel beautiful!
7.) Sit with your pets if you have them. Borrow a pet for an afternoon and stroke or walk them.
8.) Find beautiful images to put up. If you think you are stranded on the island of caretaking at least let your eyes rest on beauty.
9.) Grow something, create something, write something, keep a journal!
10.) Put encouraging scriptures or quotes up where you can read them and change them often. What you plant in your mind will help you stay positive! Eradicate the negative and accentuate the positive!
Good morning, (well it is better than the night was so I call it good.) To be home is so important to me just now. I had help getting Jack in which I needed oh so desperately as he was intensely wobbly. Relief swept over me when Mike, Jenna's darling showed up as we pulled in and I took the dogs in. He and I pulled him to his feet and then Jenna appeared and took over and all I had to do was haul things. I am good at that and staying on my feet...will I have another winter like this one in my life? Oh, who knows what lies ahead? Today is all I have energy for.
I had company watching CSI New York and helping make wedding lists and watch Mike tease Jenna about various aspects of weddings. He is a terrible tease and she laughs a lot. The night brought a fall. Jack was disoriented and headed for my closet instead of the bathroom. He was able to crawl to the bed and get up and it turned out well. I have not looked at what was crushed or broken. He was not hurt so I am pleased.
I am letting go of my expectation that Jack fight this thing. That is all I can do to release my sense of disappointment when he falls or forgets or gets mad over something I can't figure out. I have to let go of any expectation of others to help me through this and just be grateful for what comes my way. I have to keep in mind that this is a season whatever that means. Some Winters are longer than others and this one seems very long and very hard. I need to go into auto-pilot about the long re-do conversations explaining stuff and not let irritation take over. He is able to think about some stuff relating to his daily life but other things become very confused. Jenna can make him laugh and he likes her fiance so that is good. He looks forward to going to church and doesn't mind going to Suzanne's though it confuses him about what day it is and where are we going today...
I had a melt-down when I read Jamie's blog about Judah becoming a boy. I so do want to be involved and I need to give myself a reality check there. Perhaps my isolation or feeling of isolation is making this harder and it will all get more even in the Spring. Things will change then. Jamie will come with Judah and I will get to see him. My flowers will bloom and lots of things will get brighter and more cheerful!
I have bills to pay and taxes to organize, meals to cook and floors to clean. Today I will bury myself in my work and play music loud. It is all good. When I go to the grocery store I will buy myself flowers and tonight when The Mentalist comes on I will open a bottle of bubbly to celebrate what I did get done. I will find things to get me through this period of my life. I do not want to feel sorry for myself. What I am experiencing is normal for caretakers, right???? I pray blessings on each one who is going through this type of thing and I thank God for the prayers people are praying for me.
"Through Him also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand. And let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God. Moreover let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance and endurance develops maturing of character. And character produces joyful and confdent hope of eternal salvation. Such hope never disappoints us for God's love has been poured out in our hears through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us" - Romans 5:2-5 Amp.
We sign on for marriage and know things will not be perfect or even idealic but we march forward expecting to handle what comes together. It has been a downhill slide for the last 4 years and we haven't bottomed out but certainly have hit a few upsets and bumps.
This disease that affects Jack's balance and decision making processes is wicked. He is losing his ability to use his hands and control his mouth when eating. It is hard to watch. I want to help him maintain dignity and pride but it is impossible.
We went to Fridays for supper with Pam W last night as her treat and it was so bad I was contemplating never eating out again. Don't get me wrong the food was good and the service was fine it was just the managing of our handicap. Jack had a rough walk in and was tired. He had to use the bathroom alone as it just wasn't possible for me to go in with him. I was glad the lights were low in the place and no one could see the wet on him.
The bathroom was far from the booth and he was cross after much walking taking nearly an hour or so to get in and actually order. I couldn't see the menu but Pam interpreted and we ordered. Our waitress was a sweet oriental gal with an accent. She mistook Jack and I for another couple and treated us like old favorite customers. That was the upside. Jack did manage to eat the Crispy Fried Green Beans and dipped them eagerly into the horseradish sauce which he enjoyed but eating is difficult and he only made it through half his burger and gave up. I drove the car to the door and Pam helped him out so we got in okay finally and headed for home.
I phoned Jenna to let Piggy out as it had taken us long and she brought Mike over and they waited to help us in. Praise God as Jack was stumbling and going sideways he was all in and over it. He had yelled at me several times in Fridays from his irritation and frustration but more was coming as I stripped him down to get his jammies on. He thought I was manhandling him. He only likes gentle and slow treatment. I am not always in that groove. I was so done.
He had enjoyed being with Pam and commented that she hadn't forgotton how to talk. I laughed and said "Good thing as I have little to talk about!" and he agreed. We both enjoy her love of life. Our own lives are on peat and repeat these days except for the not so slow decline in his abilities and the not so slow acceleration of my stress.
So what does the future hold? Spring for sure. I wait and keep waiting for spring to come.
As I focus on what I like and what I want to change about my current situation and the way my days are spent I find that my prayers have been fewer since I went down to help Suzanne with her burden. Oh, I still pray but I am dog tired and undone by bedtime when I am there. I throw my prayers toward heaven. Morning comes and if it has been a good night I have only awakened twice and if a bad one then as many as you can imagine even once an hour. Tisha is stirring and work is looming and I feel as if I must handle it all. Well, that is done. I prayed for relief and a friend prayed for a reduction of my hours. It soon will happen and I can taste it. I do not want to waste it. I purchased a food processor today and for Christmas got myself a pressure cooker. I have a new rice cooker I have only used little. These and repairs to my car are my luxury and my way of making the future better. I have known that I must go on the anti-inflamatory diet for pain reduction. I cannot be at Suzanne's and do it. Last night she purchased two kinds of bakery cookies, one frosted, two kinds of bars lemon and chocolate mint and nutty donut sticks. Then she made popcorn...loaded with butter and cheesy salty stuff...I ate one cookie and a half donut plus my split pea soup. I later ate almonds instead of the popcorn and limited myself to about 18 of them. I was out of pain once after being on my candida diet which is similar to the anti-inflammation diet. The main grain is brown rice with occasional other non-gluten things and not much of that. You eat lots of veggies, very little fruit (blueberries in moderation and raw), and healthy non-antibiotic treated meats. You limit the nightshade veggies (potatoes/eggplant) and eat a lot of greens and other vegetables. I am girding up to do this again and hope that I do not find any sabotage. I have tomorrow off to take down the tree and free up my island again. Then Sunday thru Thurs are mine to actually accomplish the kitchen cleanse! I am looking forward to it and also to having time to pray again. I will try to blog both my successes and my failures and covet encouragment. My most recent joys have been holding my grandson and watching my grandaughter use her vivid imagination. I also loved watching the videos my kids post on fb so I can glimpse the grands that are so far away. My heart is broken but perhaps that is common for caretakers and grammas that are far away from their chance to hold and read to their grands. I look forward to spring. This time is a testing and a growing time. Spring will come.