Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The rise and fall of shopping

Yesterday was a wonderful and horrid day. How does that happen all at once? Read on and see.

I had planned on working on my jewelry making before going to work in the afternoon. I had also planned on making a big pot of chili for the Artists' Studio Association monthly potluck. Funny how plans are meant to be changed. I got a call from my daughter Tess, asking if we could go shopping for a pair of shoes for Cassie. She had been crying because her big sister put her shoes on in her bedroom that morning and she didn't have shoes which would fit her feet anymore. You have to realize Cassie is a paraplegic, she doesn't really "need" shoes to get around. But she obviously needs shoes to feel like she is like everyone else. So I told Tess of course we could go buy Cassie a pair of shoes, Tess said, oh, and a coat. I was thinking it is a really good thing I have a Childrens Place charge card.

I drove to their house, about four doors away from me, and followed them to the gas station. That was the first leg of the trip. While there, we left my car so we wouldn't have to find parking for two cars. I joined them in their car, note Cassie is holding my favorite purple bracelet. She is such a girly girl:

Tess dropped Cassie and I off near where we were headed and went in search of a parking place. She met us part of the way to the first store (Childrens Place). Cassie is so hilarious when she is in her wheelchair. She says, "I'm walking now, I go walk, Grandma. You follow me, Grandma." So I follow along behind her and she heads for the store. Not as fast as you or I can walk, but pretty fast for a tiny little girl in a tiny little wheelchair. Tess caught up with us just after we went up the first wheelchair ramp. Cassie loves the ramps, but can't push up them herself. She would love to free-wheel down them, but her chair flies if you don't hang on, so that is not an option. She loves the speed and always yells faster, faster if she is letting you help her push.

She loved being in the Childrens Place. The racks are really close together and she can go around and through the various areas of the store. I am sure from her level it is like exploring a jungle of clothes. Of course they were having a sale, so we ended up spending way more money than we had intended. We got jeans and shirts for both girls, a jean jacket, shirt, belt and matching hat for Cassie, shoes and sunglasses for both girls, socks for Cassie, and onesy type shirts for Cassie. They don't usually make that type big enough for her, but they stay tucked in so much better.

Cassie decked out in her new Hat, Sunglasses, Jacket, and pretty Pink Shoes:

Note in the second photo the shopping bag to the right of the Jeep, that is where Tess fell:

Then we headed back to the car. All was well, until Tess went to unlock the car. She had been trying the wrong key in the passenger side and went around the front of the car to try the other door, not realizing it was the wrong key. When she stepped off the curb, her shoe got stuck on a piece of curb (asphalt) which was sticking up above the rest, kind of a little knobby piece they should have smoothed out. She twisted the ankle which stuck on the curb, and fell on her bad knee and dislodged her kneecap for the 7th time. As she laid on the pavement it was raining, she couldn't get up, and I had to keep Cassie from running her chair off the sidewalk. Passersby went to see if they could help Tess and I called the mall office. The manager came to help and take an accident report. They helped Tess get up off the ground, and helped me get the wheelchair back into the car. They made sure Tess was able to get in the vehicle, and wanted to call an ambulance, but Tess refused that.

I drove them home, Eric came out to help them into the house, and I walked home. My car was still at the gas station. Jeez does it get any better than this? My boss had to come pick me up so I could go to work, and pick up my car. Once I got out of work I headed off to the ASA potluck. I didn't have time to make my chili so I had to pick-up a take-out pizza, and went to the potluck. As you can see from the picture there was plenty of food, I didn't even need to take the pizza, but I feel bad if I don't take something.

Of course with this spread do you think anyone would have missed my pizza? This doesn't even show the dessert or my pizza:

When I was nearly home, after the potluck and meeting, I thought I better call and check on Tess. Of course she wanted to go to the ER by that time, so I went home took my allergy pill and picked her up. Fortunately we got the ordeal of the hospital over with in just about an hour. Considering there were x-rays involved we were amazed by the speed.

Poor Athena called us at the ER because Cassie wouldn't let her put a diaper back onto her after having taken off the wet one. Cassie was crying wanting her mommy to do it, and Athena was crying because she said Cassie made her sad. I told her to let me talk to Cassie and I told her to let her sissy put her new diaper on. Finally Tess had to talk to Cassie, and she told her momma, "No Thena put dapper." Tess told her, "Don't you dare tell me NO. You let Athena put on a new diaper. No diaper is not an option!!"

Back to the ER: Tess got ace wraps on both her knee and her ankle. The doctor said she needs to put her brace back on her knee, and leave it there. The swelling and pain in her knee is severe, the ankle not so much but it is painful just the same. Hopefully the pain will not be worse today, but I am betting it will be. At least I am here to help her if needed.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Attack of the Killer Spiders

This post could also be called, "Overcoming Arachnophobia in Minutes."

I have always had an unreasonable fear, terror of spiders. I have gotten better the past few years, due mainly to the fact I had to either learn to deal with them on my own, or vacate the house, car or whatever had been invaded and find someone willing to help me deal with them. I remember being terrified by them as a child. My mom and I were cherry pickers when I was very young and later graduated to picking beans, strawberries, raspberries, black raspberries and pretty much any fruit available to pick for pay in the Willamette Valley. As a small child watching my mom climb ladders and such in search of the biggest and best cherries, of course having to pick everything ripe on the trees she had been assigned to for the day, I was delegated to the lowest branches. Those branches were weighted down with fruit, and easy for a five year old child to reach. My assignment each day was to fill half a bushel box, and I knew at the end of the summer it would mean $$ for me. I think my first year netted a whole $5. I was so proud of having actually earned it myself. It taught me early on how important it was to have a good work ethic. It also scared me silly, because of course there were spiders and snakes and all sorts of "wicked" creatures around. My mom would have had heart failure rather than have me anywhere near snakes, but she knew the worst we had in the area where we lived were of the harmless garter snake variety. She didn't have my fear of spiders, or I know she would never have been up in those trees amongst the most horrifying beasts on earth. Well, they seemed that way to me. She however was horrified by so much as a photo of a snake, which didn't scare me in the least bit. Odd how things like that stick in your mind years later.

Back to the spiders. I became accustomed to daddy long legs spiders during those days among the cherry trees, they were pretty much everywhere, and unavoidable. I wouldn't let them walk across me like my mom did, but at least I got over the screaming when I saw one. The big garden and house spiders were an entirely different story. I remember screaming many times only to have my mom rush in and squish some horror between her fingers and think nothing of it. My dad however, big 6'1" larger than life man that he is, was as horrified as I was. I just never knew it until much later. He would grab a bit of tissue and take care of the horrible beasties in a hurry. It wasn't until I was in my 20s that I learned he was as afraid, unreasonably so, as I was. How something so small can paralyze a person is just beyond comprehension.

Anyway back to the ten minute story. I work part-time in an antique mall, and a customer came up to me yesterday and said: you might want to take care of this problem before it gets out of hand. I asked her what problem. She said SPIDERS. I followed her around the aisles to a friend’s display case which had a rather large web filled with tiny baby spiders strung between it and another case. Don’t know where they had hatched from (probably the ceiling or attic), and sorry Tess (my daughter), but I was not going to try to round up at least 30-50 baby spiders to take outside. I sprayed with a minty fresh natural ant treatment (hoping it worked on spiders, too) and then gathered up the ones I could collect and “disposed” of them. I hate doing it, but I also freak out over spiders. My arachnophobia is not so bad as it once was, but it took all my composure away, I kept feeling like I had them crawling on me for several hours afterwards. They had been hanging off the bottom of the paper towel I used, and I kept trying to shake them off, all the while fearing they were attaching to my clothing. AAAAHH!!! Well, I guess I didn't "Overcome" the arachnophobia, but at least I am not paralyzed by it anymore. Well, maybe that isn't true. After all these weren't the gigantic garden spiders we get here that make moths and hornets their morning snack.

My Tess has an obsession with spiders, she had a pet one as a child. Not the fuzzy, cute? tarantula variety, the burrowing wolf spider type. Odd child that she was I always figured it was something she would outgrow. No such luck. Now she wants a spider tattoo. As a teen she tried to convince her brother and me to change our last names to Spyder. She wears all sorts of spider jewelry, many pieces due to me buying them for her when I find them. She has Swarovski encrusted pendants, sterling silver spiders, and all sorts of spider earrings. She even bought a creepy spider web covered tree after Halloween last year and it was the focal point on her Thanksgiving day spread, surrounded by black bowl and platter. Yes, she is a little on the dark side, but she has a heart of gold, and radiates love and warmth to her family and friends. She has a wicked sense of humor, and is one of the best friends I have ever had.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Photos from lunch with Grandpa

Here is Athena with her great-grandpa behind her.

Next is Nick, wow, a good photo for a change!!

And of course I couldn't leave out Cassie.

She wanted a picture of her bow, so I took the shot at a funny angle. You can see the wheel of her chair behind her. I can't believe she will be 4 next week!! Of course Athena will be 9 next month, too.

Wow, a new post!!! Don't faint on me, Ed!

The first interesting thing that happened lately was a nice lunch out with a friend last week. We went to Blackfish Cafe, one of my personal faves. I don't know if my companion was terribly impressed with the food, but I like to think we both had a good time. I thought the food was great, and the soup is one I would love the recipe for. It was a lentil soup with lots of veggies and a touch of coconut milk. YUM!!

This Monday we, my family, had decided to kidnap my dad from the rehab center where he is currently staying and take him out to lunch. The following pretty accurately illustrates what occurred:

Lunch out with dad was an interesting experience. First off, Athena and I went to make sure he was ready at around 11:30, my cousins were coming at noon because their car is higher and therefore easier for him to get in and out of and with a trunk big enough to pack several bodies in, so we knew the walker or the wheelchair would fit. I went to sign him out while Athena kept him and his roommate entertained. He was nodding off in his wheelchair when we got there, but at least he was up. I also had to run and try to find him shoes. I have no idea where his slippers have gone. So I made a quick run to Goodwill and bought two pairs I thought might work - based on what he was wearing before he went there - of course neither pair was big enough for his slightly swollen feet so he went in just double socks. The ground outside was wet but thank heaven the rain had stopped for the most part.

The folks at the nurses station said I needed to take him in the wheelchair because he couldn't walk far enough to go to a restaurant. Of course they didn’t tell Tess this when she arranged it all on Thursday. They also claimed they had no idea we were taking him out today.

My cousins arrived and Marty, my younger cousin, helped him get into the car, and Nick, my older cousin helped him get seat-belted. Athena rode with Marty and my dad, and Nick rode with me. Neither Nick nor my dad can get in and out of the back seat of either car. Fun, fun. When we got to the restaurant, Eric, Tess’s SO, came and got his wheelchair out and helped him get out of the car. He dotes on my dad and was so happy to see him. (With Eric’s agoraphobia it really tells how much he loves my dad for him to even go to a restaurant.)

We sat at a big round table. Clockwise from my dad were Nick, Marty, Eric, Tess, Cassie, Me, and Athena who had to sit beside her great-grandpa. Cassie immediately had to go hug her grandpa, so I passed her to Athena who helped Grandpa hold her. She snuggled her grandpa for at least 2-3 minutes, which for Cassie is a long time. She then got passed back across Athena and I to her chair. We all ordered and chatted about all sorts of things. Eric told us funny restaurant stories and tales from his days in Catholic private school. I think everyone had a great time. Sandwich in there, after lunch and before departure, Cassie going for a "walk" in the restaurant. She loves having her wheelchair in big open spaces and has gotten so strong. I showed her she could drive the chair between the tables in the banquet / party room area, the only person in there was an employee having lunch. He smiled and watched her. She talks the entire time she is wheeling around. She had been “walking” around with Athena, but Athena left her to go to the bathroom so she came and got me. She’s not spoiled or anything. Of course this had followed about ten minutes of her snuggling with me after she had finished her lunch of pancakes with Marionberry syrup. Then we left the restaurant to take dad back, sort of like the arrival process in reverse.

Athena, Nick, Marty and I spent another half hour or so with dad before we left him lying on his bed ready for his afternoon nap. I hate to say it, but he seems to be less strong than he was before he was ill, and I don’t know if he is making any progress at all. He seems happy enough so I won’t let it get to me, but I definitely need to find out what exactly they are doing in PT. Oh well, he is 88, and I have to be realistic. This may be as much recovery as he can get. I don’t know, but I am not giving up. I just know if he is to come home again it will take a lot more work than he is getting right now. There is no way I would feel safe leaving him alone in the state he is in. He couldn’t get out of the wheelchair or the car without practically being lifted, but was certainly happy to be out of the rehab center. I came home and slept for three straight hours.

Athena pushed her elbow into my shoulder picking Cassie up and seems to have irritated an old bursitis site. I am hoping it will calm down without medical attention, I am going to take a bunch of anti-inflammatory and hope for the best. Having no medical coverage makes it virtually impossible to see anyone about it. Good news, it has since calmed down and quit hurting. I will just have to take care not to reinjure it, since I think I have had bursitis in that shoulder at least five or six times.

I got ambitious yesterday and made five pairs of earrings to put in my Etsy shop:

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Fun and annoyance

Well, my son called me last night to give me his agenda for today for my car. I told him I had a bone to pick with him and let him have it both barrels. I also told him he will never again borrow or drive my car. If he has no more respect for my property than to smoke in my NON-SMOKING car, then . . . well, you get the picture!!

Today, however was fun. Tess and I along with Cassie went to pick her car up from the mechanic. Yippee!! New starter, new sensor, Jeep is good!!! We decided to take Cassie out to lunch. She chose pizza. (one of her current favorites) She got to play in the arcade room and she and I had photos taken in the photo booth. Tess and I decided to order salad bars, appetizers and a single 8" pizza to share between us all. It was a ton of food, and she took the leftover pizza to her co-worker who never remembers to bring lunch. There was a group of kids at the pizzeria, and they were very curious to see a tiny little girl in her tiny little wheelchair. One girl asked if her leg was broken, and I said, no, her legs just didn't work. She was very curious, so I told a whole group of the kids a little more about Cassie. Cassie, fortunately isn't bothered by people's inquiries. She probably wonders why they don't know. One little girl asked her why she wasn't walking. Another wondered if she used to be able to walk. Tess and I both educated them some, and Cassie was delighted by the attention. One mother came over with her daughter and wanted her to apologize for her questions. Tess and I both assured her it was perfectly normal to wonder why Cassie couldn't walk, and at this age it is a good time for kids to figure out not everyone can walk. The mom thanked us for being so understanding, but we told her we were happy to be able to answer the questions. Kids can be very cruel, but they can also be so innocent and curious like the kids today. They were very kind to Cassie, and when Cassie had played all the games she wanted to she gave her remaining tokens to her new friends. It was a great time out for all of us.

She came back to the antique mall with me when I had to go to work, so Tess could go see her boss and get her pay so she could pay the mechanic. Cassie was delighted to be there. She said, "It's so beautiful," as we walked throught the front door. She loves all the sparkly glass and fun things to look at. She also was thrilled to see my co-worker, Tammy, and my boss, Ann. She had a chance to meet a couple of the antique dealers who have spaces there, too. They didn't know she was a paraplegic, so it was another learning experience for the day. All in all it was a good day. Then Tess came back and took Cass home. Ann and I went to a lady's home and bought some cool stuff for the mall. I hurt my back carrying Cassie around, though. She is really getting too heavy for this poor old grandma to carry around. Guess we will just have to be sure we have her wheelchair with us all the time now.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Jeeps and bleeps

The bleepidy, bleep, bleeping Jeep wouldn't start this morning. So Tess had me call the mechanic. She said if she called him she would "rip him a new one." And that probably wouldn't help with getting him to actually fix it. Needless to say, it is in the shop. Hopefully in the shop until tomorrow and then back here. We told him he was absorbing the labor, we would pay for actual parts used. He agreed, and really after putting $800 into it last week, it is the last we have and can spend on it. We let my son know he had to get the car back to me, so we could do the things WE had to get done. He waited until nearly 3:15 pm and then he brought his wife and her youngest son with him, so I couldn't get in the car, and Tess had to drive him home. That would have been merely annoying if she didn't have a migraine headache and probably shouldn't be driving at all. Part way home she called me and said she also thinks he was smoking in my car. I am so angry I could shoot him. Needless to say, he will not be getting to use my car again. That is the final straw. I hate the smell of cigarette smoke, he knows it, and yet he can't be considerate enough to abide by my wishes even when I AM DOING HIM A FAVOR!!! DAMN HIM!!!

Okay, enough bleeping, bleeps. It has been a do absolutely nothing day. I didn't do laundry, I didn't make jewelry, I did absolutely nothing but catch up on some old TV and write this post. I was waiting for my car so I could go grocery shopping. I am so mad!!! If I had not needed a car to accomplish this I would have done it another way. He knew we needed the car first thing this morning. The mechanic has no loaner car, either. I can feel my blood pressure shooting through the roof. Not a good thing. If I had another car, or someone else to drive me around it wouldn't be a big deal, but no such luck. I can't go visit dad like I told him I would either, and Tess and I can't go grocery shopping until around 8 pm. I hate shopping that late. I ache too bad to enjoy it by that time of night. Not to mention the Grocery Outlet is closed by then and Safeway is so expensive you can't afford to shop there.

The end. Enough rant for one day!!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Cap'n Cassie and the Pirate Ship

My daughter and granddaughter picked me up about 12:30, a little later than planned for. But we were all very excited, it was our first outing since Tess got her Jeep back. It took her nearly $800 in repairs, but it is a relief to have a vehicle big enough for Cassie's wheelchair. She is so independent and loves to be able to push herself wherever we go. She hates feeling like a baby and having to be carried or worse yet, ride in a shopping cart.

We went to a restaurant called "Flashbacks" because we thought it would be fun for Cassie. They play old rock and roll tunes, have very retro decor and a game room. Tess and Cass played with the animal crane, Cassie got some things out of the .25 machines, and her lunch came in a cool vintage pink convertible.

Then we wandered around the tiny little area called Aquarium Village. It has a lot of little shops and quite a few pirate related things, so Cassie was really enchanted by the stuff. She wheeled her chair through most of the places we went on her own. She had to get out and sit in the pirate ship in front of one shop. You should have seen her trying to grab the wheel in the ship and Tess trying to keep her from falling off the seat. I finally said, Cassie, can you sit back on the seat so Grandma can take your picture, and she settled right down. Funny girl!! Here is the picture of Cap'n Cassie, the pirate:

We looked at junk and touristy stuff, we found a costume shop that has rennaissance faire-style cloaks, gowns, and pirate costumes all handmade by the owner. We wandered through a kind of touristy antique mall-type place and one vendor had tons of beads. Cassie got a cute little kit of kids beads with stringing materials enough to make either a bracelet or necklace. She also got a surprise ball the lady says has little kiddy toys in it all wound up in crepe paper. Tess got a pair of sterling silver spider earrings. I saw a bunch of stuff I liked, but nothing that really grabbed me. We didn't go to the bead store because we had spent so much time elsewhere, but Cassie had a fabulous time, and when she is happy everyone has a great time.

Today was a typical day at the antique mall. Busy, slow, packed, empty, and miserable for about an hour when the power went out. I got a few projects taken care of and have one more day to look forward to before another day and a half off. Then it is back to making some jewelry and trying to get my house cleaned up a little.

I hope you are all having a good week, I actually think I am. I'm finally down to only slightly wheezy, and only coughing once in a while.

Now I look forward to just not feeling so tired. The sunshine helped, I just wish it would come back.