Home Truths

Mom moved into the apartment on the 18th. We’ve almost made it through the second week. We’ve given Amazon a lot of “Dang, I didn’t realize we’d need one of those, we’d better order one” business in the past two weeks. We’re still in the process of getting it all.

In a way, it feels a lot like having to go back to work, except I don’t get to go home at 5 o’clock and have the rest of the evening to myself in peace and quiet. I have maybe an hour to an hour and a half to myself after I put Mom to bed to read and listen to some music until I’m too tired to keep my eyes open any longer. There’s going to be little if any knitting news for the foreseeable future. I just don’t have time anymore.

I discovered the first day that my drinking glasses are too heavy. Of course they are. They’re glass. She’s been drinking out of styrofoam cups for two months.

I’m having to work on my frustration tolerance. Mom blows me off when I tell her something, but if her various therapist tell her the same exact thing, she will pay attention to them. Both her OT and PT therapists took me to task for waiting on her hand and foot. As they rightly pointed out, all that does is encourage her to vegetate in the chair. They’ve instructed me to make her do as much as possible for herself.

They tell her to get up and walk more and she promises she will. She’ll take a turn about the room on her way back from the bathroom, but then, ten minutes later, it’s “Will you bring me this or that thing.” I’m the one who has to tell her, “No, you have to get up and get it for yourself.” Then I get to take the hit for doing what the therapist told me to do. As I’ve said before, she’s not as helpless as she thinks she is (or, being human, pretends she is) (Yes, she is a bit of a Diva). The Halloween decoration on the door says “The Witch is In.” Yep. Guess who.

We have a TV situation. She has her TV, which is about 10 years old, in her room, and it is hooked up by coaxial cable to the building’s cable service (the same service she had at Carillon House). However, my TV, which is in the “living room” is too new and doesn’t have a coaxial connector, so it can’t be hooked up to the building’s service. My TV only gets the TV shows that are on the streaming services I subscribe to (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Magellan TV, Acorn TV), so (a) “it’s too complicated” for her to operate it and (b) she can’t watch sports or game shows on it (see below). This situation is only temporary, though. Negotiations with an ISP/cable provider are in progress, we’re told, and hopefully we will have a new service by the first of the year. Whatever service they take will require a cable box to get it. The coax cable will connect to the box, and the HDMI cable will connect the box to the TV.

The basic problem is that Mom’s hearing is such that she has difficulty following dialog, especially if the speaker is a woman or a child, and she has never been able to understand anybody with any kind of accent at all, which includes Americans with any kind of a regional accent except Texan. So it’s too difficult for her to watch any show that requires you to follow dialog to know what’s happening. For years now, all she’s ever watched was sports and game shows because neither requires you to be able to understand what people are saying to know what’s going on. So finding anything for her to watch on my TV was problematic. We had been confined to nature documentaries or biographies of composers she likes, and old musical movies like “Fiddler on the Roof,” and “Funny Girl” on Amazon Prime.

About five or six years ago, I tried to get her to use closed captioning, but her TV was about 15-20 feet away from her chair and she couldn’t see the captions well enough to read them, so she gave up. (Rearranging the furniture was “too much trouble. Forget it.”) This Saturday, I suggested closed captions again, we tried them, and as she is now sitting less than 10 feet from a 55-inch TV screen, she can easily see them well enough to read them now, which means she can now follow dialogue. The first season of the old Carol Burnett show is available for free on Amazon Prime, and that was a big hit. Now she’s on season 2 of “Downton Abbey” — which is something she would never have watched before even when she could hear, because she couldn’t have understood the British accents. She’s actually caught up in the story now since it doesn’t matter if she can’t understand the accents, because she can follow the dialog through the closed captions. Win/win.

Her toilet has been problematic. It’s too low. I had some grab bars installed, but the way the surrounding walls are, it’s hard to get grab bars low enough on the one side. The other wall is too short to get a horizontal grab bar out where she can get hold of it, and she doesn’t have the strength in her arm to use the vertical one that’s there. (What she doesn’t realize is that the reason she’s having a hard time getting up is because she’s lost the strength in her quads from spending so much time during the past two months lying in bed and sitting in the chair.) (Two weeks of inactivity is all it takes before you start losing muscle mass.) I’ve already noticed she has had less and less difficulty getting up as time goes by and I don’t have to help her anymore. By having to use her legs to get up from the toilet, she’s building those muscles back. Again, when I tell her this, I’m full of prunes. When the therapist tells her, she listens. Nevertheless, I ordered a bedside commode which came yesterday. I assembled it, removed the bucket and put the seat and frame over the toilet to make it easier for her to get up. I’m afraid it’s going to be a step back, but there it is.

My hair lasted exactly eight days. Because of its length, it took 20 minutes to wash and about five hours to fully dry in the air (it’s too fine and flyaway, and blowing it dry absolutely destroys the ends). I washed it Sunday, and it became immediately apparent that it’s a luxury I don’t have time for anymore. I got it all whacked off this past Tuesday, and now I have to put “product” on it to keep it from sticking straight out from the sides of my head because of where the stylist had to cut the natural curl to get it short enough. (I hate having to put goop on my hair! It gets all over my pillowcase, and then on my face.) But now it takes maybe 15 minutes to air dry, if that long.

About three days after she moved in, at the direction of the therapist, I stopped pushing her around in the wheelchair and told her she has to use the walker now, and get up and go around the apartment by herself. Not a popular rule. Tough Love is hard, y’all.

Yesterday, we started having her dress herself as much as she can — she can’t get her feet into her slacks (even if she could, she is so kyphotic that I’d be terrified she’d pitch forward onto the floor) or put her socks on. That much I will do, but she has to do the rest, including hanging up her gown.

She has a pressure ulcer on the back of her heel from over a month of spending most of her time in bed at The Garrison, and another month of spending too much time in the recliner at Carillon House, and she can’t wear shoes because of it. Neither place got her up on a regular basis and made her walk with the walker. The only time she ever used a walker was when the therapist came. That did her no favors at all.

The other bone of contention is meals. As I’ve mentioned, she has lost her sense of taste. This is NOT due to COVID but is because her poor little 97-year-old taste buds have just flat worn out. The only thing she can taste now is sweet, and sweets are all she wants to eat.

And of course, all her friends who come to visit her bring her sweets — cake, brownies, cookies, candy, etc., and she fills up on that and then doesn’t want to eat the things she needs to eat to maintain good nutrition because they taste so bland. (The dietitian cautioned me that she is about 30 lbs overweight and that all this extra weight is making her back problems as well as her mobility issues worse.) Another uphill battle.

They have a rule here that you cannot walk around sock-footed or in house shoes in the common areas. You have to wear regular shoes. It’s a health as well as a safety thing. I am determined to get her heel ulcer healed and get her shoes she can wear that don’t aggravate the newly healed tissue. Once she can wear shoes again, she can walk with the walker down to lunch and back, and break her dependence on the wheelchair. In the meantime, her mean old daughter is making her wheel herself down to lunch — which the therapist explained is good exercise, not just for her arms and shoulders, but for her lungs and her heart.

We need to build up her stamina again. She was living on her own, driving herself places, and was completely independent in May of this year. I know she’ll never be able to reach that level again, but she can go a long way toward it. The first step is to finally convince her she’s not as helpless as she thinks she is.

Like I say, Tough Love is hard, y’all.

Books Read in 2021

70.    *Silver in the Wood, Tesh, Emily

69.    Night in the Lonesome October, Zelazny, Roger (xre-read)

68.    *Bad Actors, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve

67.    *Ambush or Adore, Carriger, Gail

66.    *The First Snow of Winter, Chambers, Joanna

65.    *Seven of Infinities, de Bodard, Aliette (novella)

64.    *To Be Taught, If Fortunate, Chambers, Becky

63.    *The House that Fought, Schwartz, Jenny

62.    The Galaxy and the Ground Within, Chambers, Becky

61.    What the Devil Knows: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S.

60.    Who Speaks for the Damned:  A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (re-read)

59.    *Natural Beauty, Lyhne, Meraki P.

58.    *Fountain of Beauty, Lyhne, Meraki P.

57.    *Rising Beauty, Lyhne, Meraki P.

56.    *Untouchable Beauty, Lyhne, Meraki P.

55.    *Claimed Beauty, Lyhne, Meraki P.

54.    *Natural Beauty, Lyhne, Meraki P.

53.    *The Wizard’s Butler, Lowell, Nathan

52.    *Bob’s Saucer Repair, Boyd Jerry

51.    *The Empress of Salt and Fortune, Vo, Nghi

50.    *Exhalation, Chiang, Ted

49.    Who Slays the Wicked:  A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)

48.    Why Kill the Innocent:  A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)

47.    Where the Dead Lie:  A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)

46.    When Falcons Fall: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)

45.    Who Buries the Dead: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)

44.    Why Kings Confess: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)

43.    What Darkness Brings:  A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)

42.    When Maidens Mourn: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)

41.    *Charmed and Dangerous: Ten Tales of Gay Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy

40.    *In Other Lands, Brennan, Sarah Rees

39.    Where Shadows Dance: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)

38.    What Remains of Heaven: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)

37.    Where Serpents Sleep: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)

36.    Unicorn Vet, Chant, Zoe

35.    Why Mermaids Sing:  A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)

34.    When Gods Die: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)

33.    What Angels Fear: Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery 1, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)

32.    A Liaden Universe Constellation, Volume 4, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)

31.    A Liaden Universe Constellation, Volume 3, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)

30.    A Liaden Universe Constellation, Volume 2, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)

29.    A Liaden Universe Constellation, Volume 1, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)

28.    Fortune’s Favors, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (novella) (re-read)

27.    Shout of Honor, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (novella) (re-read)

26.    Trader’s Leap, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)

25     *Vixen Ecology, Carriger, G. L. (Novelette)

24.    *In Other Lands, Brennan, Sara Rees

23.    Accepting the Lance, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)

22.    *Neogenesis, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)

21.    The Gathering Edge, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)

20.    Alliance of Equals, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)

19.    Dragon in Exile, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)

18.    Necessity’s Child, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)

17.    Dragon Ship, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)

16.    Ghost Ship, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)

15.    Saltation, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)

14.    Fledgling, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)

13.    Mouse and Dragon, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)

12.    I Dare, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)

11.    Local Custom, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)

10.    Plan B, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)

9.      Carpe Diem, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)

8.      Agent of Change, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)

7.      Conflict of Honors, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)

6.      Crystal Dragon, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)

5.      *Goblin Fruit, Lake, Celia

4.      *Masquerade in Lodi, Bujold, Lois McMaster (Novella)

3.      *Time Variance of Snow, Yu, E. Lilly

2.      *When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain, Vo, Nghi (Novelette)

1.      Crystal Soldier, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve  (re-read)


Life Among the Bells

Well, life is about to change again. Mom comes to live in the apartment Monday and my time to myself is going to become very infrequent and very precious. I’ll cope. It’ll be like going back to work. I’ll adjust. But the great expanses of time I’ve been enjoying to stretch my mind out and let it wander into knitting or reading or writing will come to an end — for now. What usually happens is I’ll have a burst of inspiration and want to write on this story I’ve had going on for over a year, or I’ll have a burst of inspiration and go off into a whole ‘nother story, or I’ll retreat into books, and the time I’ll be allowed to do that will be greatly and frustratingly reduced.

I went to the oncologist Wednesday to discuss the results of my CT scans, which are not what we want to see. He wants to do a PET scan in January to see which of the lymphomas are actively growing, how fast they’re growing, and what’s around them that they could jeopardize if they don’t stop growing. We also sat down and had a serious talk about my treatment options.

Pardon me while I vent: These entitled, selfish, thoughtless people who believe that living in this great country means they are free not to get vaccinated against COVID , a potentially fatal disease, if they don’t feel like it and are free to ignore any of the CDC’s other recommendations like wearing masks and, therefore, are free to spread that potentially fatal disease to other people’s families (particularly their children) are, as far as I’m concerned, guilty of criminal negligence. I got the vaccine as soon as I could, not just for my own protection but for the protection of my friends and family, and the fellow citizens whom I interact with on a daily basis. In my book, it’s called being a good Christian and a good citizen. So you can imagine what I felt when my oncologist explains to me that the best drug to treat lymphoma and keep it from turning into leukemia will strip me of my COVID immunity in the process, and that if I were to then get COVID because of these irresponsible idiots, it would almost certainly be fatal. So, instead of being able to take this treatment when I’m still relatively healthy and could get the best potential outcome, because of these antivaxer idiots, I have to wait until it’s a case of damned if I do and damned if I don’t. OK. Venting over.

My apologies. I try very hard to keep politics out of this blog, but this situation hits so very close to home and has such far-reaching consequences to my life and my family’s, I felt I had to stand up and be counted among the sane, responsible, adult members of the community and tell it like it is.

OK. Time for the knitting news — and there is news. I mentioned starting a hat. I’m well into the second ball of yarn and have just started the decreases.

The elevator on my floor comes out here on first floor to this lovely fish tank which is all full of greeny-blue colors and fish. It’s Halloween, and there are “discrete” Halloween decorations scattered about in keeping with the season.

I got into the spirit with a couple of decorations of my own courtesy of Wal-Mart but I’m not as liturgical as mom, and storage space in the apartment is limited. In view of the conversation I had with the rehab lady about mom and how I should actively discourage the use of her wheelchair in favor of her front-wheel walker, the sign might be just the teeniest bit ironic . . . . .

Oh, I almost forgot. I finally got the TV to speak to the internet. It was something stupid. Some TV setting that should have been off was on. Changed it to off, and the TV embraced the internet like a long lost friend. I celebrated by watching the old “The Three Musketeers” movie that was done in 1973 directed by Richard Lester, with Michael York as D’Argagnan, and Charlton Heston as Cardinal Richelieu, Richard Chamberlain as Aramis, Oliver Reed as Athos, and Christopher Lee, Raquel Welch, Geraldine Chapman, Faye Dunaway, and Roy Kinnear. It was free on Amazon Prime. Thoroughly enjoyed it. They don’t make them like that any more, alas. . .

There And Back Again

I had been planning a trip since August to attend the Bauer family reunion in Round Top, Texas. Carl Siegismund Bauer was a stone mason by trade, and immigrated to Texas along with a sizeable portion of his 10 children and numerous grandchildren. We are descended from his daughter Christiane Caroline, who married a man named Carl Wilhelm Rummel.

It was her daughter Emma Amande (at left, who came to Texas at the ripe old age of 6) who married the Reverend Adam Neuthard, the first pastor of the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Round Top. It was his grandfather-in-law, Carl Siegismund Bauer who supervised the construction of the church building that still stands today. Adam and Emma’s daughter Martha was my great grandmother.

My cousin JP drove up from New Mexico and spent Thursday night in the guest room on our floor, and bright and early Friday morning, off we went in the Greyola, with me driving and JP navigating, bearing heirlooms and heading for Dripping Springs some 373 miles to the southeast, where his son EP lives. We had fabulous weather — sunny, clear and hot, and made good time (a little over 6 hours). We were to spend the night in EP’s house (he is my first cousin’s son, which makes him my first cousin 1x removed).

It was the first time I’ve ever been to Dripping Springs, or seen his house, or met his lovely wife and family. (Only the two younger boys are still at home, the rest of his brood having flown the nest, but his youngest daughter just got engaged, and she and her intended ate with us Friday night.)

I slept Friday night in an old friend. My cousin JP’s mother’s bed. She got the bedroom suite this bed was part of before she married, and kept it til the end of her life. I remember it from childhood visits to their home at Christmas and in the summer. When she passed, it came to her grandson EP. It was like meeting an old friend.

We got an early start Saturday morning for our drive to Round Top for the reunion. It was foggy and humid when we set out from Dripping Springs, which is just west of Austin, to Round Top, which is east of Austin, a journey of about 2 hours (98 miles), but the weather cleared and was sunny and hot (high of 91F/32.7C).

Round Top is approximately 80 miles from Houston, and it’s two main attractions are the Spring and Fall Antique Fairs, and the Music festival in the summer. However, its nearness to Houston make it ideal country for the weekend getaway cottage, and land values in the area are rapidly increasing. However, the inevitable development has been kept very sympathetic to the historical context of the town. Old buildings have been restored and repurposed, which gives them a new lease of life without destroying their historic character.

The reunion was held in the church meeting hall which was built on the site of Reverend Neuthard’s house, which was unfortunately pulled down in the 1930’s. Here are two of its treasures.

Here are some views of the interior of the church.

As a special treat, my cousin AMcI, who is my first cousin 1x removed (you may need a score card — I often do!), had arranged for us to tour the Rummel House, which is now used as a media center and a place for student education. This house was built by Carl William Rummel, Jr., brother of Emma Rummel Neuthard. Here are some pictures of it.

Here are my cousins WM and JP, and my 1x removed cousin AMcI by the old live oak that is out front of the house. To the left just below the stair railing is the old cistern (capped now for safety). These live oak trees are easily old enough to have been present when the house was built.

I had to include a picture of the house where my grandmother was born (at left). It is the house the Schiege Cigar Factory provided for its foreman, my great grandfather Paul Helmecke and his wife Martha Neuthard Helmecke and their family. It and the Schiege house and the Cigar Factory buildings are now part of the Round Top Inn.

After a visit with our cousins, JP and I wended our way back to Dripping Springs. That evening, EP who is managing the development of an exclusive residential edition which will feature houses built around an 18 hole private golf course took us out to see the course, the first 9 holes of which are finished. They are having the same problems everyone else is with the supply chain disruptions and are somewhat behind schedule, but what they have so far is very impressive.

We got a late start Sunday morning, but we had good weather until we hit Sweetwater, where we drove into a robust little West Texas dust storm. It was gusty and dusty the rest of the way home. As we were nearing home, my cousin was wondering why we could not see the skyline — but then there was so much dust in the air that we couldn’t even see the sky!

Our adventures were not over, though. The key to the guest room where JP was to stay Sunday night didn’t work. Fortunately, the guest room on the floor above was available and Security got us the key for it (which worked!). But there for a while, we thought he was going to have to inaugurate mom’s new bed! After another visit with mom on Monday morning, JP headed back to NM.

It was a good trip (average 30.2 mpg), and I was very glad I was able to go. But now I’m back and mom moves in on Monday, which will be the start of a whole ‘nother adventure. Stay tuned.

A Red Lettuce Day

To borrow a phrase from John Lennon. . . Tuesday I signed papers at the title company until the world looked level to close on mom’s house and gave all the keys and garage door opener to the realtor. Yesterday, I got a call from the title company — come get the check! So, as of yesterday afternoon, the money is in the bank and mom’s house isn’t mom’s house any more.

Once I got home, I called the utility company and told them to send us a final bill. I called the insurance company and cancelled mom’s homeowner insurance and personal liability insurance. I called AT&T and told them ‘fare thee fat-headed well’ and took the hunk of their junk to UPS like you’re supposed to.

It was a bittersweet day. Hopefully by Monday, the title company will have done their thing with the county, registering the sale, etc., and I will get the original of the power of attorney back. All I have is a copy of it. But essentially, that chapter of our lives is officially closed. There’s no going back now; we can only go forward. One day at a time.

I washed my hair this morning and it’s drying now. My cousin JP called this morning. He’s on his way in from New Mexico. He should be here by about 3 pm. Tomorrow bright and early, we will set off for his son EP’s house in Dripping Springs, where we will stay the night. Saturday, we’ll head over to Round Top to meet my cousin WM and AMcI, and attend the Bauer family reunion. We’ll spend Saturday night at EP’s house and drive back here Sunday. My cousin JP will stay the night here and drive home to New Mexico on Monday. It will be fun and exciting. I’ve never been to EP’s house in Dripping Springs, and my cousin AMcI has arranged for a tour of one of the historic homes in Round Top that I’ve always wanted to see. Stay tuned. There will be photos.

Settling in, Zhuzhing, and Hats

Sunday, I washed my hair, and while it was drying (all morning) I stripped my bed and did a load of sheets, towels, and whatever was in the dirty clothes hamper. And I started a hat.

I had these two little miniskeins (91 yds/83 m, 50 grams) of this “Glisten Kollage” yarn, 70% alpaca, 25% silk and 5% Estelline (whatever that is. . .) in a dark kind of teal which I dug out of stash. They’re from Peru. They were gifts I got for Christmas exchange back during the knitting group days that I thought I’d see if I could get a hat out of. It’s been sitting in a bowl on my desk to work on off and on while I’m proofing or thinking or catching up on my YouTube channels.

I’d revised a free Ravelry hat pattern called the Coriolis Hat, which had a leftward spiral, into one that had a rightward spiral. I vaguely remembered how the pattern worked, swatched for gage and got a pair of US7 ( 4.5 mm) 16-inch circular needles and cast on 90 stitches. I did 6 rows of k1 tbl, p1, ribbing (sort of a semi-fisherman’s rib stitch), then did one row of *k4, kfb, repeat from * to end of row. Then I started a 9 stitch leftward spiral pattern: *ssk, k8, yo, repeat from * to end of row. When it’s tall enough, then *sssk, k8, yo, until you have 9 stitches left, and pursestring it closed.

I started the hat because I just wanted something small that I could finish in a reasonable amount of time, because all the current WIPs are these big shawls. I need to be able to finish something now and again. (I’ve got some other hats I’ve gotten about halfway through and need to finish, too.

But, I have been visiting with old friends as well. Old friends in new places. I’ve finally had time to put some music on and sit and knit. This is Short, Sweet and Nubby, a rectangular shawl that I still have about 4 feet to go on. It’s starting to get cool enough to have all that knitting on my legs while I’m working on it. I’m just going to knit on it until I only have enough yarn left to do the fringe. Then I’ll stop, add the fringe and knot it. But I’ve got a big skein of yarn left.

I thought I’d better go check on Mom’s house, which has been sitting vacant about half a month now. When the surveyers from the title company came to survey the lot, they couldn’t get in the gate because it was lock, so they took the fence down on the other side. Then they just propped it up in the opening and went off and left it that way. Of course it blew down. I went all round the house and all through it on the inside, and aside from looking so empty, everything was intact and there was no sign of a break in or anything untoward like a water leak.

Today I went to the title company and signed about fifty things. They kept the original of my power of attorney, and I won’t get it back until the title company has registered the sale with the county, probably Monday. Now it’s up to UPS to get the buyer’s paperwork here from Puerto Rico with the moneda for the house. We could get it as soon as Thursday, or it could be Monday. They’ll call me, I’ll go pick up a very large check, and take it to the bank. They don’t get the keys until we get the money. But once we get the money, we can close the utilities account. It was over $200 for September, mostly electricity. Thank goodness we won’t have to deal with that any more. Mom’s bills will be limited to insurance premiums and her cellphone bill, and mine will be limited to streaming services, cellphone bill, and car insurance — and, of course, grocery store stuff — toiletries, paper goods, whatever food mom wants, etc.

Tomorrow, I need to call AT&T and give them the boot because yesterday evening I got a WiFi router and hooked it to the internet that comes with the apartment. I got it up and running, signed on an iPhone, two Kindle Fire tablets, an internet radio, a printer, and my computer without a problem. However, my TV refused to get on the internet despite a five-bar signal strength and being rebooted multiple times. The Carillon computer guy will be by at some point to see if he can reason with it.

I hope the computer guy can convince the TV to get on the internet. If I can’t get on the internet, I can’t stream Netflix. The Witcher is going to be dropping new episodes, and there’s some other series I want to take a look at on Netflix to see if they’re worth bingeing. I can watch Netflix on my computer, but I’d rather watch it on my 55-inch TV, thank you very much. So far, the in-house internet is better speed and quality (no dropping the signal for 45 seconds – to a minute at a time) than what AT&T and that jury-rigged hunk of junk they installed was giving me. It’s certainly a lot cheaper. TV and internet for under $50. He tells me, though, come the first of the year, they’re going to boxes of some kind, and I’ll be able to get in-house TV on my TV like mom gets on hers. Right now, you can only get in-house TV through a co-axial cable connection, and my TV is too new to have one. That’s OK . My TV is hooked up to a DVD player that is not region locked.

There seems to be a tradition of people starting picture puzzles in the common area to be worked on while you’re waiting for laundry to wash or dry in the common laundry area. This one is suitably themed. I’ll leave you with the Smiley Face Bush in it’s seasonal finery.

Look Through Any Window

This whole apartment building is shaped like an asterisk * except with a large central area (lobby, dining rooms, common areas) in between the southern three wings and the northern three wings. We live in the southern part of the asterisk, and ours is the middle wing of that triad. In the triangular areas between the wings, they have very nicely landscaped grounds with grass, trees and walkways for the apartments to look down on. Our apartment has a lovely view of one of these that has a little concrete patio with seating. The ground floor of our building houses the apartments designated as assisted living units, and some of the residents of those units like to sit out in these areas at various times of the day. They’re quiet, sheltered from the wind, shaded by trees, out in the fresh air, and quite lovely.

Saturday morning, I was pottering in the kitchen, glanced down out of the window and saw there were piles of cedar lumber on the grass, and several guys setting up equipment. There were power drill noises and nail-gun noises off and on in a rather low-key way all day — nothing obnoxious, just random sounds of construction activity. By the end of the day they had attached post-brackets to the concrete patio area, set up a ring of posts, and set a row of lintels atop them. As the sun set and the security lights came on, we were left with the titillating question: Pergola or gazebo? It could go either way.

Sunday, there was only one guy working by himself. (Evidently, it’s a weekend project because nobody came to work on it today.) But by Sunday evening, the indications were clear. Pergola.

What a perfect place for a blooming vine. (Why doesn’t “wisteria” have a “y”? -“wysteria” just looks so much more correct than “wisteria.”) (Don’t think it’s sunny enough there for a bougainvillea. Pity.) (Jasmine? Clematis?) Don’t think they’ll plant anything to trellis on it, though. They have enough of a slip hazard with dropped leaves from the trees, without more dropped leaves and flower petals from a vine. However, some of the residents on the ground floor (assisted living) have bird feeders strategically placed outside their windows. From time to time, I catch a flash of brilliant blue from a jay — a pleasant diversion from the ubiquitous dove buff and oily grackle black.

Speaking of windows, we’re not supposed to put anything in our windows that will detract from the appearance of the building from the outside. I put up some sun catchers. I’m the only one on my “wedge” with suncatchers in the windows, but the maintenance guy who hung my big pictures said he’s seen other people with sun catchers in their windows. Of course, if I’m told to take them down, I will. But, in the meantime, I’ll enjoy the light shining through colored glass. I’ll leave you with this thought from my River of Stones blog:

“Stained glass is a song of color written for a choir of light.” ~ WOL

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