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The MAD Life: Episode 8

Saturday did not go as planned … at all. I had hoped to spend it doing much needed cleaning and organizing. But my nephew-in-law wanted to mow for my mom so he needed gas. Since we were going out, I offered to take mom to her happy place: The Discovery Shop (donation resale to support the American Cancer Society). Then she wanted to return all of our bottles at Meijer.

We got all of that done plus some groceries, and I got a sweet deal on two bee mugs at the Discovery Shop. I already had the lighter middle one that I purchased at Bee School Day at KVCC earlier this year. Thanks to resale, the two new ones cost less total (plus honey and tea) than the middle mug. Then, that nephew-in-law also wanted me to take a lot of photos of the garden he and others grow. It is stunning, so I spent a long time taking 100’s of photos. I’ll have to try again in a week or so, since his sunflowers aren’t open yet.

Three yellow mugs with the honeycomb imprint and an embossed bee near the top.

I would love to spend a whole week (or 2 or 3) just at home, but little things come up all the time. I love being home with no place to go for days at a time, even if I’m working. I cannot keep my activities organized. Part of that is the stress of living with Alzheimer’s and her medical appointments. If we’re out, we just run errands because we’re out.

Her memory issues came into play at the Discovery Shop. Mom only wanted a mug marked $1. She looked at her $10 bill and a $20 and didn’t understand that they can make change for either bill. The awesome volunteer behind the counter said she had enough change to cover it. I tried to pay, but she wouldn’t take my money and said she understood. All without making mom feel bad. She did fine shopping at Meijer. I just never know, so I must be vigilant all the time.

Tonight, we already scheduled time for my brother to come over for dinner so we could work in the last two of the sessions for his cider making class. Making dinner meant that cleaning has still barely happened. We made it through one session, but the last one will be 2 hours plus the quiz, so we’ll finish another day.

Now I’m wiped out. I should have time Sunday for cleaning, but I was hoping to just relax and maybe only tweak things. Yet we accomplished good things today.

Moral of the story: Plans.change, but it can be for the good. 

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

The MAD Life: Episode 7

Alzheimer’s sucks: Not so clean dishes.

One of the things mom has always done quite well is washing dishes. She says she enjoys it. She often feels cold, so the hot water feels good.

A policy that has always been in our home is that dishes must be scrubbed practically clean before they go in the pile to wash. She can’t stand anything caked on a dish and to then try to get it out. We’re allowed to soak them and then scrub clean, but they still must be scrubbed before going on the “to wash” side of the sink.

Well, that’s now a problem.

Today, I was getting lunch, and mom was preparing to wash dishes. She was taking dishes from the dirty pile and putting them away. Drying if need be, but putting them where they belong. She was even putting them in the right places. (She is starting to forget where they go or where to get them from.)

Ummm…, “Mom, what are you doing with those dishes?”

Mom, “Someone is putting clean dishes in the dirty dish pile.”

Me, “Anything on that side of the sink is dirty.”

Mom, “No, see how clean they are?”

Well, yes, they do appear clean. But they’ve appeared clean for decades per her own requirement. Although she herself is skimping on this part, so I’ve been sure her dishes were clean too so I didn’t get hollered at.

A few weeks ago she hollered at me for taking out perfectly clean dishes from the cupboard and putting them where the dirty ones go next to the sink. Well, no, they were dirty. Just scrubbed so they “looked” clean, per her strictly enforced policy. And … ummm … I cannot even begin to tell you how much I loathe doing dishes. I use as few as possible even knowing I won’t be washing them, because I don’t want to burden another with a job I abhor.

Note: Can you tell we do not have an automatic dish washer? Many have offered, and my dad was glad to install them, but mom always refuses because she says she loves to wash dishes. So my dad said we did have a dishwasher … its name is “arm strong”.

For future reference, I’m thinking it’s better to get hollered at for having small items caked onto dishes or leaving crumbs. I’d rather she be upset with me for that than to find I’m eating from/with dishes, pots, pans, and utensils that have not had a thorough washing.

I’ve no idea how long this has been happening. I’m NOT going to think about it. No one has gotten sick … but I may pretend to use as many of the dishes and utensils that I think we may have used over the last month or two and put them – with the appearance of dirty – into the “to wash” pile. Yikes!

Moral of the Story: Every day is a new adventure. It’s not always clean living.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Missing Dad on Father’s Day

This is so frustrating. My dear dad departed this earth 19 years and 5 months ago. But this year, any mention of Father’s Day in my emails, social media, ads in the paper, etc. maked me instantly angry and sad that my dad isn’t here to celebrate in the flesh. 


Grief knows no bounds. It’s random like trying to untangle jumbled up Christmas tree lights. The steps can occur at any moment in time in all the years after they pass: 1, 10, or 50. I know this because my mom misses her parents, and they passed 50 and 30+ years ago. 


It doesn’t help that my dad was awesome. He loved, he lived, he swore, he prayed, he protested, he worked, he read, he wrote, he shared, he educated, he failed, he won, he cared, he voted, he farmed, he gave, he laughed, he cried, he screamed, he smiled, he joked, he valued all life – human and animal alike, he believed in the rights for all people to be in control of their own bodies, he acted to make that possible, he was a rare gem of a human being. 


I think it’s all that is going on in the world. Or it could just be because I have choices to make, and no one helped me more than my dad with big decisions. Or it could be because grief is random. Whatever it is, I miss him. Hard. I cannot contain my tears or emotions. They are immediate and potent when they hit. 


He set the example for my life, and I try to live up to. I never will, but I still work toward the high bar that he set. Praying he’s having a good Father’s Day in Heaven with his own parents, my sisters Barb and Cheri, and my niece Erin. I love and miss them all. Now to concentrate on loving those still in the world today. 

Dad with a car outside in a Sunday Suit
Dad I. Front of the Christmas tree with his usual flannel plaid
Dad sitting in a chair, half smile
Dad sweeping Hay for the Cows that surround him to eat
Kim and Dad iin the driveway of Sunnyside UMC
 
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Posted by on June 22, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Day 0051: Working from Home

I finally found my beaded wrist rest for my computer. I’d misplaced it when I started working from home. It’s working out great! Just not for me.

The Cat Boss Life:

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Day 0046: Working from Home

Oye! It’s been a ride! I do enjoy working at home. Work itself is ever changing and faster than usual.

Swamp in Fog at Sunrise

Government contracting generally does not involve a race track. It’s more of a meandering, one step at a time waiting game through the swamp bog in “The Princess Bride”. COVID-19 changed that. Information is now at the speed of light, or so it feels. Solicitations worth over a billion dollars that normally takes 2-3 years to write are being put out to the public for proposals after only 2 months and due in a week. Opportunities for loans and grants increase daily and where never seen before.

Bid Proposal

After two months of mostly helping clients with bids for Personal Protective Equipment, parts for ventilators, and other urgent government needs specific to COVID-19, clients are back to asking for help with traditional government contracting: parts and pieces for vehicles, boxes and packaging, IT services, etc. A hint of normalcy.

Getting the news out about opportunities has been urgent and constant. Helping clients write Capability Statements has kept us busy. Adding new clients into our database hasn’t slowed down. Our days are varied, and we never know what will be next. We learn as we go.

Rainbow Lollipop on Wood Background

Today, however, was frustrating. Monday three clients called for help. We were able to walk each client through their request with GoToMeeting. Today we tried to help three clients, and each needed to head in another direction to solve a problem. We didn’t get them through the subject matter they called about. Granted, this happens from time to time. But three in a row? Frustrating. This was the majority of our day, if not talking directly with the client, then contacting government agencies to figure it out. It’s rarely rainbows and lollipops to contact any government agency, but this was a bit much for a single day for us.

There’s a feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day when you’ve helped someone move forward in their business or helped guide them to resources that will ease their burden. Most days, that is what happens for us, at least a little. We were created to help, and we do so as able.

Fire Inside of a Circle

Government contracting is frustrating enough with all of the flaming hoops, red tape (sticky on both sides), and instructions seemingly written with invisible ink. Then to find that another layer of requirements has been added, or a step was missed so it takes 3 steps back to fix it, it is easily disheartening.

Sometimes our job is to be cheerleaders and jump for joy every time they move forward a half inch. Give them the courage and energy to move on to the next step. Entice them with our joy for their small successes to keep going up the steep incline that is the mountain of learning the skill of government contracting.

Silhouette, group of happy children playing on meadow, sunset, summertime
Penguins

I’m grateful to be employed. I’m grateful for all of those working more than full time in Michigan Works with unemployment claims, grocery store clerks, transportation folks, medical community, janitorial services, and more. These are the front line, most needed folks in the world now – worldwide – all continents. Except Antarctica. (Even though many of the residents in Antarctica are uncooperative about social distancing. Good thing they aren’t heavy on the human species there.)

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for Halloween

Today was a Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkin Shapes snack day. Tomorrow may be snow peas and grapes instead of sweets because all is running smooth as butter. I was disheartened at Noon to learn it was only Wednesday. I was for sure certain it was Thursday at 4 p.m., which meant I needed another Reese’s. I’m excited for the weekend to turn my mind off and my need for snacks.

Up and down, all around. It’s quite the ride! Glad to take it with my fellow PTACers nationwide.

(The Reese’s Candy image is by Kim. All other images from www.storyblocks.com.)

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Day 0016: Working from Home

I wasn’t late for a single GoToMeeting today!
So what if I had less than usual.
There is so much email everyday,
by 5:00 p.m. I sometimes feel delusional.

My ears some days feel so squished
from wearing headphones all day.
Yet it helps to be hands free to persist
with that mass quantity of email I must slay.

Headset lying on a laptop computer keyboard conceptual of telemarketing call center client services or online support. Photo from Storyblocks.
 
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Posted by on April 9, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

The MAD Life: Episode 6

I’ve had a migraine for four days. I think it’s finally abating. Phew!

The migraine rule is that if you don’t have four waking hours between migraines, it’s the same migraine. If you are able to sleep for the night or naps. I can usually sleep at night.

Friday into Saturday
I went to bed Friday night with it, thinking I’d medicated enough to help. Nope, within one hour of waking on Saturday, it was back. Which means, it never left. Most of Friday I felt nauseous, throbbing left eye, pain in left quadrant, and itchy scalp.

Saturday into Sunday
Saturday I napped and treated it as I thought would be helpful. It finally started going away about three hours before bed. But Sunday was actually worse. Saturday had the same symptoms, but added in dizzy.

Sunday into Monday
Nope, I woke and it was worse, but I had things to do, so I had to wait to treat it. Which means it got even worse. I had to take the Maxalt – the ultimate for me. Of course, it’s the generic, so it takes two and then I feel like crap in other ways.

Until Sunday, I’d only been using essential oils, acetaminophen, avoidance of light, quiet (as much as possible), caffeine, and lots of water. It helps tamp it down, but when it’s bad, only the Maxalt can do the final trick. It finally started going down after napping on and off for five hours. Sunday’s symptoms had less dizzy and more nauseous.

Monday
So I woke for work Monday, and it hit again an hour into work. Today, all but the nausea has been less, and the pain is more of an annoyance than sharp. Praying tomorrow’s the much desired migraine hangover … cause that means I’m for sure done with that instance.

That makes this one migraine over four days. Today it is mild, and the only heavy symptom is the icky nausea.

So, that’s one way a migraine can last for four days. I have a feeling that for most people it’s more that there is no abatement for four days. I count my blessings that’s not my case. We all differ.

Woman with hands on her head like it hurts. Black and white drawing.
 
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Posted by on April 7, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Day 0013: Working from Home

The management is so elegant, silky hair with a soft and assuring voice. How is someone so regal a slob?

Since I have.lunch at my desk, she demanded breakfast and lunch at her desk. I designed this space for her, and she just can’t eat like a lady. Instead she spits out the pieces that don’t taste exactly as she deams purrfection.

On a joyous note, I put on a webinar today with a fellow nonprofit, government funded support resource, for Michigan small business: VetBizCentral. With COVID-19 changing the government contracting world hourly, the information was more urgent than usual. So glad I hear I did well and that the equipment all worked. I’d had nightmares of software malfunctions galore.

May God bless all of the communication and IT folks in the world!!! Working at home only works because they work.

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Day 0005: Working from Home

I knew my feline boss Joy liked being held and cuddled! I was right all these years! Today verified it.

I get tired of so many webinars, but they are the best learning right now to figure out how to help small businesses in this intense time. Joy thinks webinars are most excellent because my arms are free to hold her. She paws my leg and waits until I pick her up. Then we snuggle until I need my hands again.

It’s so cool to have a soft, fluffy boss who purrs! It makes the craziness tolerable.

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

The MAD Life: Episode 5

Friday was a rather frustrating day. I woke with a migraine, needed to work all day, mom tossed in a trip to her doctor’s office, and I needed to restock groceries.

When I got up, I felt miserable. This migraine was on the right side and about a 5 out of 10. Fortunately, my right side migraines tend to be less severe than the left, so I figured I could get through it. I did the usual morning routine, well the one for the new environment of COVID-19. I got coffee and went to work in the home office. I came out for a minute, and mom said she wasn’t feeling good. Eventually, this led to cancelling one appointment and rushing her to her doctor’s office for lab work immediately at 4:30 when I got out of work. The doctor wanted to know if her kidney infection had improved or not. It’s more than 24 hours later, and we don’t know, but she was better today. So, yeah!

I made it through the work day, and it’s demanding being that we assist local businesses in how to sell their products/services to the local, state, and federal government. Clearly, there are certain things that are in extreme demand. My job is to help guide them in the right direction. There was a lot of guiding through email and phone calls. We also must get out what events have been cancelled, postponed, or are now virtual. That is a freaking long list. Never mind we also need to get our clients information about their resources during this pandemic. Getting info out ASAP is vital right now.

Once I made it through the work day, got mom to and from the doctor for testing, I had to go shopping. There were a few things I’ve found I need for the home office – most important is a clock. There’s never been a clock in that room, but now I need one. I had already hung the calandar from the office, so I’ve started getting my mental north star with date, now to get it with time. But also … groceries.

I really, really, really didn’t want to go to my local Meijer because of murder lights. They are remodeling the entire store, and moving one section at a time. It’s a freaking nightmare. Oh, and installing super crazy bad bright lights. I have to wear my sunglasses in the portions of the store where they have installed them. I keep asking at the return/lottery desk what they are going to do about these horrific lights, and they don’t seem to get my urgency or pain. So, sunglasses.

Crazy me, I thought I could go to Hardings instead. Ummmm…. not so great. They are re-arranging things too! There needs to be a law that grocery stores within 10 miles of one another cannot re-arrange their store items within one full year of each other. Come on, people! Change is hard, but when it comes to finding food, that’s so much harder because it’s not an optional activity. That includes pet food, which Meijer has now moved twice into entirely different parts of the store. The current location appears to be long-term, but I still have a panicky fears that they will move it yet again. I just want cat treats, people!

At Harding’s, I have no idea how many times I went back and forth trying to find ONLY the things on my list. Normally, I am susceptible to picking up other things here and there – maybe I want fruit, but I also see the garlic artisan bread nearby, so that jumps into my basket, or I need soup, but they also have gravy and tuna in that aisle, so they find their way onto the checkout counter. I am the dog who sees a squirrel and forgets to eat my treat or that I had to pee with urgency. Any which way, not last night. I understand the beef and toilet paper (okay, I don’t understand that) and cleaning products being completely wiped out, but sausage? No! Harding’s had NO sausage in site! My plan for tonight was spaghetti, and hamburger will not do. Spaghetti calls for sausage.

So on to Meijer, with the murder lights and an active migraine. Let’s just say that FUN it was NOT. Now they are moving into the grocery department for their remodel, and there’s no more deli, and the plants and flowers are now near the grocery. Soup is on the list of things that are short at Meijer and Harding’s. Mom and I love Campbell’s Tomato Soup with grilled cheese sandwiches. Many things we are not brand specific about, but Campbell’s soup is a must for us. Harding’s only had family size, and Meijer didn’t even have off brand tomato soup available. It took me over half an hour to find the remaining 4 things on my list that Meijer did have. That’s around 7.5 minutes per thing!

And then there’s the checkout lines at Meijer (much better at Harding’s). Hmmm… let’s just have 5 open to a store full of people who now have a limited time to shop. But, at the same time, I get it. How many employees of each grocery store have to stay home because they are or live with someone who is more susceptible to Coronavirus? For all I know, that’s why there were so few cashiers. The store is now closing at 10 p.m. so they can sanitize and restock as much as possible before they re-open. I am frustrated by this, and I am grateful for this. We are talking about saving lives from COVID-19, so that has to take precedence, no matter the economic havoc we’re experiencing. I think I’d rather be alive to experience the recession/depression that will follow this disease rather than to not see it at all – at least that’s how I feel today, even with a migraine.

So mission accomplished, I got to go home. My brother was there with not so good news, so I’m glad mom and I could bring him some good cheer and have him over tonight for a spaghetti dinner. A good friend died recently, and he only found out an hour before the funeral, so he missed the funeral. His friend had cheated death probably more than the suggested nine lives of a cat, and we are grateful for all of the extra years he did have. But that doesn’t take the sting away now that he’s gone. Keeping his family and friends in prayer as they learn this new world without him.

Today went better. Slept in. Napped. Cleaned. Made a nice dinner for my mom and brother. Watched “Caddyshack”. Pet some kitties. And, my migraine has finally taken it’s leave this evening. My head is finally in a better place. No nausea, no dizziness, less ear ringing, and the aches and pains are completely gone.

Tomorrow will be a better day. I am looking forward to our virtual church service in the morning. As a bonus, no church in person means we don’t have to bring goodies for coffee hour! Okay, I shouldn’t be geeked about this, but I am. We do it because so many others do it, and we want to give back. Giving back doesn’t always mean in the ways that make yourself happy. but I’m happy not to have to get up at the crack of stupid to get to church to make coffee. I can get up at a reasonable time and enjoy the service in my PJ’s. Maybe even pet a kitty at the same time. (So long as she doesn’t mess with my touch screen computer and end the service early for us.)

I pray you take extra care in this crazy time in the world. Everyone everywhere is held in prayer for love and hope in every way.

Oh, and please wash your hands, sneeze into a tissue, and sanitize your cell phone. I want you here tomorrow and next year too.

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2020 in Uncategorized

 
 
Write With Joy

Freelance writer, editor, hobby photographer, and administrative assistant

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