An Adventurous Life

When I got mom the new outfit for her birthday, I neglected to mark her name with a laundry marker in the neck and waistband. (It has since become known as her Birthday Suit, much to the amusement of staff.) But it got put into the laundry before I got a chance to mark it.

When they brought her laundry back yesterday, her Birthday Suit was not among it. It fell to me to track it down — a quest which led through devious and circuitous routes all the way over to the other side of the Point Plaza building and back behind everything to the laundry facilities. (At least the laundry here is done on site and not in Albuquerque like one of the hospital’s is!) There, we discovered the errant suit. I took it back up to the apartment, broke out my laundry marker and marked it before taking it back over to mom. It was an epic quest! I think I walked well over my 10,000 steps yesterday.

Today’s quest was considerably less epic. During the course of getting all her birthday goodies back to Carillon House Thursday, the Birthday Crown got dropped and the big jewel fell out. So today I finally remembered to put my little bottle of Gorilla Glue in my pocket (first making sure the lid was on tight!) when I went to bring her mail over.

I was able to restore the Jewel to the Crown within minutes, which was good because mom was late for her bingo game!

Tomorrow I will go in search of a set of ink cartridges for my printer. Right now, however, I think I’m going to find some nice music and sit and knit for a bit. Even the most intrepid adventurer needs some down time now and then.


We put mom’s house up for sale in August. Within three days, we had a contract on it. We expected to close on it by the middle of September, and I had to hustle to arrange for the estate sale and get the house in shape for people to move in, as well as have an estate sale for myself and get my house packed up and be ready to move in to Carillon on the first of September.

Then came the reality of dealing with (a) supply-chain issues related to the world-wide COVID epidemic, (b) governmental and institutional bureaucracy and (c) a lending institution in a place where English is not the language of business.

The supply chain issues and the inability to get flooring delayed my move-in for a week. Mom’s rehab went slower than expected, and delayed her move-in until late September, and my planned trip to central Texas delayed it even longer, but her therapist says she will have all the skills she needs to move in with me next month. Now we are set to close on the house on the 5th of October (knock wood!). It will be another milestone behind us. Once we close on the house, I will call the electric company to have them read the meter and send us the final bill, and that will be another item checked off the To Do list.

I’m ditching AT&T. The TV guy FINALLY came yesterday afternoon to hook up mom’s TV. (My TV is too new (!) to have a cable connection, but he got it on the internet (I didn’t know it could receive WiFi on its own) and said I could get my own modem and use it, plus a dongle to have WiFi for everything, including my desktop, and not have to pay through the nose to AT&T for intermittent service that’s slower than molasses in January. The modem and dongle will be here tomorrow.

My fuzzy house slippers came today. (The duplex I lived in had carpet, and I just wore heavy socks in winter. Won’t work here.) Yesterday, I got my unicorn prints by the late Susan Seddon Boulet back from the framer. I am extremely pleased with how they turned out. I may hang them tonight, or wait until tomorrow. I’ve got a cord switch to put on the cord of the lamp I’m using on my bedside table as mother is now using the one I was using in the duplex. It’s a simple task. Slowly but surely things are sorting out and settling down, and my To Do list is getting shorter and shorter. Last night we had our first rainstorm since we moved — a right little thunderboomer. Another milestone. Mornings are starting to be downright nippy. We’ve passed the autumnal equinox and the days are beginning to draw in noticeably.

I’ve got another of Seddon Boulet’s prints, Spider Woman, that I think I’ll have framed also as my Xmas present from me to me. Na’ashjé’íí Asdzáá (Spider Grandmother) is an important personage in the mythology of the Navajo, a helper and protector of the people. She is said to have taught the arts of spinning and weaving to the Diné to help them survive the cold of winter. As a knitter, I can relate to Spider Grandmother.

A Problem of Size

A while ago, I saw most of the movie “Girl with a Pearl Earring” on network TV in an “edited for television” ( we’ll cut lots of tiny bits out of practically every scene, the viewers will never miss them, and we can have a commercial every 10 minutes instead of every 15 minutes) version. What I saw was good and I wanted to see the whole film without interruption, the way it had played in theaters. It has two actors I like a lot, Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson, and it’s about the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), whose work I like. The screenplay of the film is based on the novel of the same name by Tracy Chevalier, which speculates about the life of Vermeer (about whom very little is known), his model for this one painting (about whom nothing is known), and how the painting came about.

I picked up a “gently used” DVD of the film on Amazon for cheap as a little treat for myself. It came yesterday and the mail carrier put it in our mailbox.

It’s still there.

You see, mail carriers access our mailboxes from the front with a key that causes the whole front wall of a block of about 30 post boxes, individual doors and all, to swing open as one piece, revealing the mailboxes behind. Unfortunately, the opening made by unlocking one of the individual mailbox doors is about an inch smaller than the opening of the box as a whole. The mail carrier could put the DVD in my mailbox, but I couldn’t get it out!

I left the mail carrier a note to that effect on my mailbox door. Sigh!

In other disgruntlements, we are paying AT&T $107 bucks a month for 5 megs of internet (which is infuriatingly slow when you’re trying to stream something especially when it intermittently freezes for minutes at a time starting around 8-9 pm) and one phone line. Thing is, I could get 20 megs (as in 4x faster internet) from Carillon for $27 bucks a month. Both* my DVD players are hooked up and working, but there’s no way I can connect my TV to the internet because the stupid AT&T modem has to be in the bedroom because wiring, which means I can’t stream on my 55-inch TV — although doing it would be equally as infuriating as trying to stream movies on my computer. I’ve been living in the apartment for 18 days now and we still don’t have our TVs hooked up. I’m going to try again Monday and re-fill-out the forms and resubmit the work order, and I’m going to opt for internet as well as TV and send this hunk of junk modem back to AT&T.

*One DVD player is about 15 years old, is region-locked to region 1 and will only play DVDs from the US and Canada. The other DVD player is new and is not region-locked, meaning it can play any DVD regardless of which country it’s from.

Birthdays and Settling In

Today’s headline news item is mom’s 97th birthday party today. Here’s the birthday girl in her birthday crown tucking into some ice cream and strawberry cake with good friend MD. It was MD’s daughter KP who so very kindly organized the affair, which was held in the Fireside Lounge at Pointe Plaza, where our apartment is.

We have delayed her transition from Carillon House to the apartment until October 18 because of the trip I have planned over the second weekend in October (thus saving me from having to find home health people to stay with her round the clock for the three days I will be gone). But we deliberately planned for the party to be where I live at Pointe Plaza (a separate building) to help familiarize her with the facilities and ease her transition. I got her a nice new outfit for her birthday with pretty embroidery across the front, and we got her hair done this morning just the way she likes it. Then I brought her over to lunch and we ate in the dining room over here. The party was held just next door. You will note the piano in the background.

KP, the lady in the white sweater on the right, and the lady in the blue top just to mom’s left were the organizers of the party. KP is MD’s (seated at mom’s left) daughter. Behind mom is CK, her “adopted niece” and on the far left is EL, a long time friend.

The lone man in attendance is EP, the current minister of the church mom attended since 1955. We had a nice little nosh and natter, and a good time was had by all. She has been getting birthday cards by the handfuls for over a week now and it has been gratifying to see how all the attention has lifted her mood.

After the party, EL and CK and I bought her up and showed her the apartment, and her room, and how I’d fixed everything up. We showed her how short the distances are between the dining room and the elevator that goes up to our apartment, and how close our apartment is to the elevator. She saw how close and accessible the en suite is to her bed, how the furniture is set up to leave a clear path for her wheel chair to any place she might want to go in the apartment, how her bedside lamp has a switch on the cord to make it handy for her to find, and the clock I have for her that has date and day of the week, as well as the time.

When we got back to Carillon House we found this lovely bouquet waiting for her. Her good friends G &JS sent them to her. While I was there, helping her to get ready to take a nap, I got a call from the front desk over at Pointe Plaza that somebody had left flowers.

I went over to see what was what, and it was another lovely bouquet of flowers addressed to mom. I brought it back to her and we discovered it was from JTW, the daughter of our long-time friends whom I’d grown up with. Mom was delighted.

We added the two lovely bouquets to the (literally) inches of birthday cards that she’d gotten.

Mom had partied pretty hearty and by this point in the afternoon, she was party pooped . . .

To be perfectly honest, I was ready for a nap myself. All in all, I’d say the day was a big success.

Tomorrow, some guys from the DPS (AKA the drivers license place) are coming out. Mom’s driver’s license expired today, and we were afraid that in order to get her driver’s license reissued as a photo ID, she was going to have to show up at the DPS in person, which would have meant getting the wheelchair van to take us out there, etc., etc. I went on line Monday and filled out the online form to get disability services for her. Wednesday, a guy from the DPS called me and said that since they already have the necessary documents on file for her (SSAN, birth certificate, etc.), if we could produce a notarized letter on Carillon letterhead that this was her legal and mailing address, they could send a team here to take her picture, and then mail us the photo ID. Sold! They’ll be coming out tomorrow at 11 am. Another thing off the list!

In the knitting news: Firstly, there is knitting news. I’ve been able to work on the Smuggler’s Moon shawl, the Latticia shawl and Waves on a Wine-Dark Sea shawl and have actually made some progress on them. It’s been heavenly. But secondly, in the process of adapting to this new installment of my life, I’ve run across an interesting “problem” — We use key cards for our apartments, and my iPhone is my only phone now, so I carry key card and phone in my pocket all the time — except some of my slacks are leggings and don’t have pockets! I have the iPouch but that hangs around my neck and was intended to be worn under a shirt/blouse while exercising in a gym. (And one can’t be rummaging about down the front of one’s blouse to answer the phone — Not in public, anyway!) I want to make an iHolster that fastens around my waist like a portable pocket so I can carry my phone and key when I’m wearing leggings or slacks without pockets. I’m in the design phase at the moment, trying to work out how it needs to be shaped, and how I can do that with knitting. It will be bottom up from a Turkish cast on like the iPouch, but it’s the shaping of how it will ride on the hip that I’m working on now. Stay tuned.

This End Is Up.

I’ve got all the boxes unpacked, everything put away. Still a little zhuzhing to do, but pretty much settled in. Drapes were hung in my bedroom. (I are so happy!) A towel ring was hung by the kitchen sink for a hand towel. (Paper towels are for messes, not for drying hands — that’s wasteful.)

My furniture did not make it through unscathed what was essentially a two-stage move by two different moving companies.

The sideboard I’m using for a TV stand got pulled apart at the bottom to the point that there was a half inch gap in the bottom of the cabinet where the legs had been pulled apart from the carcass. The minute I saw it, I thought, “Wood glue and a ratchet strap.” I forgot where I was and asked somebody if maintenance had a ratchet strap, and got a very blank look. Tried to explain what I needed it for, and got an even blanker look. Sigh. Ended up ordering one off Amazon. *

The joint had been pulled apart so far that the cabinet door was crooked. (What’s more, they’d set my 55-inch TV on top of the sideboard before I realized the sideboard was damaged, and it was too heavy for me to lift down by myself.)

For those who don’t know, that yellow thing (below) is a ratchet strap, with an old, very paisley towel stuck behind it to keep the metal parts from damaging the wood

It has a gizmo on one end of it that works by means of a ratchet to tighten/shorten the strap. It’s a sort of manual winch. Very useful little piece of kit.

If you ran your car off into a ditch, and there was a stout tree nearby, you could hook one end of this ratchet strap to the undercarriage of the car, and wrap the other end around the tree and (eventually) haul your car out of the ditch by working that little handle back and forth. Or you could squirt wood glue into the pulled-apart joints of a piece of furniture, wrap the strap around it and ratchet the joints back together again. Voila.

Until I got those joints (both sides!) glued back and the glue was dried, I wasn’t about to try to hook up the DVD player to the TV because I would have to move the sideboard away from the wall to get to the back of the TV and I wasn’t going to risk the thing coming completely apart and dumping my TV into the floor.

Anyway, got that done. Now I just need to take the strap off and hook up the DVD player. Still don’t have any TV yet.

The result of the discharge planning meeting is that we have set a target date of October 18th for mom to come to the apartment. Her room is all ready, with a brand new adjustable bed and memory foam mattress, new sheets, four pillows, and all the equipment she needs. They are still working with her to build up her strength and teach her safe transfer techniques and wheelchair skills. The wheelchair we have was father’s. It is a transport chair and is intended to be folded up and put in a car trunk or back seat. Consequently, it does not have the big wheels you can turn with your hands to propel yourself. I’ve ordered her one like that (you’ll never guess where from), and it will be here Monday. I need to alert the front desk that a very big package will be coming. (And figure out how to get it up to the apartment to unpack and put together.)

Next week, I get to do the Don Quixote thing and go up against two government bureaucracies. The first one is the VA which has rejected a claim for a consultation that they scheduled! I’m not even going to try to call them until Tuesday, and even then I’ll get transferred two or three times and have to hold for at least half an hour to get to talk to anybody who might be able to tell me what the deal is. The other one is the DMV. Mom’s driver’s license expires Thursday and she needs to get it converted to a picture ID, and I’ll bet you money they’re going to insist she has to show up in person with eleven proofs of identity, which means we’re going to have to get the wheel-chair van to take us down there and then wait for it to come pick us up. (There’s no way she’s going to be able to get in and out of my car safely.) I’m going to go talk to the same guy I talked to about getting the discharge planning meeting set up and see if he has any ideas.

Oh, and mom has lost her pink hair brush. She has no idea where it is. Rather than wander all over town trying to find the kind she wants, I’ve ordered her some off Amazon. They’ll be here Monday, too. I’ve taken her a comb that will have to do in the meantime.

*Help! I’ve been mistaken for June Cleaver and I’m trapped in a 50’s sitcom!

They’re Here . . . .

I read my last post and had a good laugh.

I got packed on 30 August, and got loaded up and schlepped to an empty apartment the 31st. I spent the next 8 days taking care of this and that (I made a good profit on my estate sale, mom made big bucks)(the closing date got pushed back on the house because the bank hadn’t scheduled an inspection yet, come over to the real estate office on a Saturday and sign the addendum, etc., etc.,), the next 8 nights sleeping in the guest apartment, and moved in on September 7th. I spent the night of September 7th in my own little beddy-boo. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind (and the available funds) to go to the unlimited data plan on my phone and get my phone’s hot spot turned on, as I would have gone into severe YouTube withdrawal otherwise. I couldn’t get a good “house WiFi” (signal in the guest room)

When the RO water guy and I came over to set up the RO unit, the flooring was 80% in and looked nice. The valves on the water lines were stuck shut and the RO water guy wasn’t about to try to force them. Maintenance was called and there was the usual bit of pfaffing and futzing with valves and pipes and the poor RO water guy finally managed to get everything connected. The installers keep putting the RO faucet handle on the right, which makes sense for a right handed person filling a glass, but what I fill with RO water is mostly my electric kettle and 48-oz stainless steel water bottle, and my right hand is my stronger hand, which is holding the heavy kettle/bottle, so I need the faucet handle on the left. Got that sorted.

I was finally able to move in on the 7th. Carillon paid for a pair of guys from a different company to move my stuff from the empty apartment to my real apartment, so I don’t know who left the deep scratches on my bed, the top of a night stand, and who nearly pulled the legs off the sideboard I use for a TV stand. (It is so frustrating when you know exactly what you need — wood glue and a ratchet strap — to fix the sideboard, and when you ask if one of the maintenance men has a ratchet strap, you get a blank look, get patted on the hand and told not to worry your little head about it.* I’m tempted to wear my tee shirt that says “Underestimate me: That’ll be fun.”)

The only thing of my dishes that was broken was one of my big cereal bowls (it wasn’t my favorite one), but my large statue of Kuan Yin standing on a dragon got one of the dragon’s horns broken and two of her fingers broken. Pretty upset about that.

I’m short some stuff — I still have books to unpack, and hopefully there’s at least one more box of “office decor” among them that has my missing stuff. I still have a few pictures to hang, as well. Going to try to do that tomorrow.

Moving takes boxes and wrapping paper. Once I unpacked the boxes, I had nowhere to put them. The maintenance guy who came in to install grab bars on mom’s toilet and fix the paper holder and my towel bar said to put them in this little alcove up the hall. Last Wednesday, I called the people who packed and moved me and they said they would come get them. They’re still here. Turns out they were calling my land line, which I no longer have. Now that they have my cell, hopefully the boxes will get removed from the hallway. Kind of embarrassing that everybody knows they’re my boxes and they’re still here . . . .

I’m not even going to go into the hassle I had with AT&T getting mom’s land line phone number moved to the apartment because she has such a time hearing on her cell phone. I got the phone she had at home that I know she can hear on (and so can everyone else!) and I got the phone number she’s had since 1975 moved over too. Finally. And I wonder why my blood pressure goes up 15 points if I even think of having to deal with them.

The air conditioner on my mom’s car went out and poor MK, who flew out to drive the car back, had to drive all the way to Richardson with no AC. Mom’s niece, CK and her husband MK paid to get it fixed and we will reimburse them, especially since the reason their daughter and SO bought the car is that it had AC and their other one didn’t and they have this new baby. I need to get a check cut at the bank and send to them. Thursday.

Today, I took mom’s hearing aids to the place and got them cleaned, and got her next installment of batteries. I ordered a ratchet strap off Amazon (kind of overkill — you could haul a truck out of a ditch with it . . .) and some wood glue to fix my sideboard the movers tore up. I’ll do that tomorrow. Thursday I have a meeting with the Carillon House people to do discharge planning for mom to see if she is done with rehab.

I’m so ready for things to settle down and get back onto an even keel. I’m so tired of being in crisis mode. I’ve been going at pretty much a dead run since the middle of July when all this started.

If I could just get somebody to hang drapes in my bedroom I would be so happy. There is so much light pollution outside my bedroom windows that even in the dead of night with the blinds closed, I can see perfectly well to get up and move around without having to turn on a light. I have a sleep mask, but I hate it. I can tell I’m not getting good sleep. They tell me the maintenance men won’t hang drapes, and I’ll have to hire somebody outside to do it. See if I don’t do just that.

Since you are reading this, you will deduce I have finally gotten my computer set up and hooked to the internet. I wisely upped the plan on my cellphone and had the hot spot turned on, or I would have been in severe internet withdrawal. I had my 10-inch Kindle tablet with me, and I was able to get on the internet with it using my phone as a hot spot. (I’m a good deal more computer savvy than some of the people who work here, never mind the people who live here.*)

I’m planning a trip to Round Top, Tx, on 8 October. It’s the Bauer Family Reunion. We are obliquely related to the Bauers through the preacher’s wife. I have family heirlooms that need to be passed down and they are too delicate to mail. I’ll have to find people to stay with mom for the three days I’ll be gone. We are going to stay with my cousin JP’s son EP who lives outside of Austin. Round Top is about a two-hour drive from there. It’ll be about a 7-hour drive to get to EP’s house on the 8th. The reunion is on the 9th and I’ll drive back on the 10th.

This is an important “handing off of the baton” event. These heirlooms are related to the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Round Top, a picture of Emma Rummel Neuthard, the wife of their founding preacher, J. Adam Neuthard, (my great great grandmother), and this picture from the old manse, which is no longer standing, where the Rev. Neuthard also had a school. There are also some daguerreotypes of mother’s daddy’s people.

Hopefully, in the near future, I can find out why the VA sent me three 75-pill bottles of clopidogrel (Plavix), when I already have two, one of which is unopened, and didn’t order a refill. At least they sent it to the right address. I did go get my COVID booster shot last Thursday, at the insistence of my oncologist. I am now immunized up one side and down the other, which is unfortunately more than I can say for all too many of my fellow Americans.

*Help! I’ve been mistaken for June Cleaver and I’m trapped in a 1950’s sitcom!