Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Tuesday, Nothing Special, Nothing Bad..

The bus stop looked like a "welcome home" party for Carrie. Yesterday afternoon, not only Carrie's mom..but her brother and I was at the bus stop. We all got there way early to wait for the  bus. No chance of Carrie missing us. Our vehicles were lined up on the street facing the bus's path.

Carrie came home with me and we took a "snack" break and then got immediately into her homework. I made some flash cards and we went over the words she is to learn. She has 6 words a day to study, her name to print using capital letters and small and "no flying letters" meaning her letters have to sit ON the line.

Another 20 minutes was spent reading to her and quizzing her on comprehension of what was read and then outside for some fun in the sun. I had to water the grass seeds; Carrie was going to help water the flowers. We ended up having a water battle with the water hoses we held in our hands. After getting thoroughly soaked, we stripped off our clothes on the patio in the back and raced for the shower.

Our evening ended at 0730 being in bed for a little television. Soon I doused the lights and within a few minutes Carrie's even breathing told me she was asleep. Another few minutes and I had slipped away too.

0300 hrs and I am awakened by Carrie's strident voice calling for me. I sat up in bed and called for her. She came back into the bedroom accusing me of leaving her. Firmly I told her I had not left the bed and to get back in here and go to sleep.

Three A.M. is too early to be arguing with her. She climbed back up into bed and spent the next 5 minutes getting settled in again and the blankets adjusted. She went back to sleep. I didn't. I think I dozed for another hour then gave up and headed for the coffee pot.

I may need a nap today and I have the whole afternoon to indulge myself. I don't want Carrie to be any more lethargic then she usually is in the afternoon from lack of sleep. She remains in bed as I type this but I expect any moment to find her standing at my elbow while fussing at me about leaving her in bed.

We are still experiencing record breaking temperatures here. I'm still hiding out in the house. September might find me doing the same thing. I'll be sweating while the north will be enjoying snow flakes, icy roads and heavy clothing. Maybe it isn't so bad here huh?

I'm off to fix some breakfast for Carrie and get her ready for school.
Should the weather break and we get temperatures lower then 97 degrees by 0900, I'll be back to report our good fortune. Don't hold your breath.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

MIA Carrie

Here's what I was told.

It's Friday afternoon, the last day of school for this week and it's almost time to collect Carrie from the bus stop. This bus stop is one block up and 1/2 block over from where Carrie lives. Her house isn't visible from where she gets off this bus.

As time neared for her to get to her stop, the daughter picks up her purse and looks for her keys. Stressed about not finding them immediately, she eyes the clock and notes she still has time. Finally car keys in hand she races for her Jeep. As she starts her drive up the incline of the road she notes the bus passing. It has arrived early.

With her heart in her mouth, she glances down the street; there is no Carrie at the bus stop. 

The daughter is now chasing the bus down the street while weeping loudly. Eventually the bus driver notes the wild woman racing her bus and pulls over. Carrie moves from her seat and walks to the  door to greet her mother. They walk to the Jeep.

Thinking Carrie would be frightened, the daughter was understandably hysterical only to find Carrie unconcerned about missing her stop. After seeing her mother's anxiety, Carrie tears up.

When asked why she didn't get off the bus, she says, "I didn't see anyone I knew waiting for me."

Last year a child got off the bus at the wrong stop and 4 hours passed before he was found. I can only imagine the panic that parent was experiencing.

Arrangements have been made with the mother of another child at the same stop in the event that timing is off on the bus schedule. Our biggest fear is that Carrie might get off at the wrong bus stop too someday.

I'm surprised the drivers on the bus don't have a list with designated stops for the kindergarteners. Maybe a cell phone in her book bag charged daily and only called at the time she is to be discharged from the bus could be used?

Are we over reacting to this glitch this early in her school year? I say, we wait until she is a teenager and then send her to school with driver's license and her own car but then I know I'm a bit overproctective.

We start over again next week. I hate kindergarten already. It's going to be a long 9 months.

No Irene for us, She's East Coast Bound

The Jamaican jerk chicken wings were awesome. I kept a large glass of ice water in one hand ready for the mouth explosion I knew was coming. It's 103 degrees outside with the heat index. What more appropriate then wings edging near 103 degrees in my mouth?  The night before we dined on taco salad, a cool treat. I'm so inappropriate on summer meals sometimes. I would be happy with a cold salad or a cold sandwich but the husband likes more variety in his meals so I'm blaming it on him.

It's very quiet around here at 0530 and I try to respect the neighbors on an early Saturday morning. They might be sleeping in late after a full week of dragging themselves out of bed to go to a job that has by now become all too routine. I can quietly water the grass seed while sipping on my first cup of coffee. I can pull weeds out of the newly seeded portion of the yard that is now mostly weeds. I did all that this morning before daylight and washed the car too.  I saved using the weed eater until after 0900 hrs. Nobody needs to be in bed past that hour though the husband thinks differently. My plan is to beat the heat of midday. He has no such plans and tolerates the heat much better then I.

My chores are finished. I've scrubbed all the dirt and sweat off of myself and I'm dressed for spending the remainder of this day indoors. I'm going to cuddle up with the iPad and read between naps I intend on taking and watching the reports on Hurricane Irene that is still attacking the east coast. New York should be feeling it by tomorrow. I don't envy anyone this storm and the electricity outage that will accompany it. It's too damn hot to be without a/c.

I'm grabbing a bottle of water and escaping to the dark bedroom. The fan overhead will spray me with cool refrigerated air it picks up from the overhead a/c vents and I'll be very appreciative that there is no storm bearing down on us...right now.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ending into September

Ta DA! Carrie has finished up her first full week of school. She still can't read. Maybe we are expecting too much too soon, Carrie and I.

She spent the night. Bathed and in bed by seven and asleep by eight, she was up  without me going into the bedroom to wake her. She appeared at 0600 hrs. and found the hubby and I on the patio having a cup of coffee.

The only time I slinked into the oven heat of the outdoors was to take Carrie to her bus and watch her board. I did make one other stop and that was to Shoneys' for coffee with the daughter and her friend that was in town for a visit. The friend was heading home today and Shoney's was close to the entrance ramp to the interstate.

Another record breaking day today. We watch as Hurricane Irene heads up the Atlantic seaboard. It's a toss up right now on exactly where it will make land first and at what strength. It bounces up and down, from a Cat 4 to a 3 and then to a 2. There are even some predictions that it could be downgraded to a tropical storm.  Unless it veers back out into the Atlantic, the seaboard is going to get some major rain.

After my shower this morning, I donned a pair of fresh pajamas. I didn't plan on stepping out into the oven again today and I didn't. Every time I look onto the patio and see the husband getting his nicotine fix, I smile and am thankful I'm not out there sweating to get my fix too.

Chicken wings for Caribbean jerk wings have been cut up and are marinating until they are taken to the patio where the deep fryer is reaching the correct temperature for frying. I suggested to the husband to just toss them on the concrete and flip em over a couple of times.

Have I mentioned the heat and that it's August in south west Louisiana? September doesn't look any cooler coming in either and it's the month when we are wary of hurricanes.

I'm so ready for fall. I'm getting cabin fever from all this hiding out in the house this month. I'm bored and boring and I apologise. I'm done here too for today.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Whale Sighting. I saw The Tail!

Grab your pennies and quarters. We're going to the casino!

The casino keeps their air conditioners pumping refridgerated air around their customers to keep them comfortable. I usually walk in carrying a "wrap" over my arm just in case it gets a little too frigid. My first clue is my nose beginning to drip. Again it's almost 100 degrees today so sitting for a few hours in a casino was a much more welcome adventure then the Shrimp Festival Fiasco this past weekend.

I take my iPad with me and the husband takes money. He hits the black jack tables while I belly up to the bar and read. The waitresses and bartender are familiar and business is slow on a weekday. I have a large selection of books downloaded to my Kindle app on that iPad. I'm happily entertained while I wait for the husband to lose his cash.

When we left the casino, we headed for the backroads to Lafayette. We weren't in a hurry. The change from our usual path home took us through Jeanerette and eventually into Broussard.

As we pulled to a stop at the red light on the corner of Morgan and Main in Broussard, I heard the husband say "Isn't she all dolled up?"  I had my eyes on my iPad. Reading stopped, I looked over to ask what or who he was talking about. He directed my attention to the service station on the corner where a woman was standing, gas nozzle in hand, fueling up her car.

I looked, gasped and looked again.

Some women gain weight and get wide. Some gain weight and their hips roll up over their waists. We're talking about the latter specimen here.

I've never been one to make disparaging remarks about someones weight or age or beauty or lack of. Appearance is a whole 'nuther thing though.

This vision to my right was a woman early to mid 40's. Her long dark hair hung limply past her shoulders against a white pullover t-shirt. So far, so good. Nothing extraordinary there.

It was the lower portion of her body that arrested my attention. The soft mint green color of her skirt was attractive. The skirt was a layered number and here's where it all falls apart. It was see through. It shouldn't have been.

Beneath this skirt, the outline of a "whale tail" was clearly visible. Some of you may know this as a "thong". Hers was a nice deep black color which stood out nicely against the green gauzy see through skirt. I sat mesmerized.

As my daughter would say "Your mama let you out of the house looking like that?"  or "Honey, didn't you look in the mirror before you walked out the door??

Remember those hips discussed a couple of paragraphs up this page? She had dimples that are only cute when you have two of them and hers were not on the right cheeks. An abundance of them were left exposed on each side of her skimpy underwear.

The light stayed red for much longer then was comfortable and I had to look away. Some visions are difficult to erase. This was one of them.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It's Your Time

The doctor is making rounds and you are "rounding" with him. At the end of the long hall, you enter the room and move to the bedside closest to the entry while the doctor walks around to the other side of the bed.

He is here to tell the patient what the patient already knows. Softly he speaks the words I've heard many times before. "We have exhausted all resources. The chemotherapy bought some time but your cancer is back. You might want to get your affairs in order", the voice drones on never rising or falling with inflection.

Sometimes the patients hand reaches to hold my hand tightly as he listens to what is being said to him.

Occasionally the family requests the doctor to consult them with any medical information before telling the patient. The doctor complies and notifies the family members before the patient. Usually the patient already knows he is terminal simply by the severity of his illness. On occasion, rare though it might be, the family decides to not allow the doctor or the nurses to inform the patient.

I have not met any medical professionals that agree with this decision. The patient isn't a child. We feel they have the right to know and the opportunity to get their affairs in order; to make contact with friends or family. You are not sparing the patient. They already suspect. You are not protecting them. Your decision to deny them these final decisions in their lives is misdirected. You will do a dance around the truth with the person and those final days that could be shared with conversation to be remembered will be strained and uncomfortable. The patient will know you couldn't face the end with them. This final sharing of lives lived together is lost to  this couple.

Family members visiting, children and siblings have to smile falsely and share in this charade. Everybody knows, including the patient. Everybody has to ignore the elephant in the room and the visits become  uncomfortable.

Soon the visits by friends and family will become too uncomfortable  for everyone. The stress of keeping "the secret" will  prevent those visiting sharing any real  conversation and laughter.

The end will be a relief for everyone involved in the charade and the guilt from that relief will follow.

Take a moment to think about being a participant in your role at the end of life of a loved one. This is a path each one of us will tread someday. There can be laughter along with the tears.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fly Little Bird, Fly!

My morning ritual continues. I'm usually awake before 0500 hrs but I close my eyes after peeking at the clock embedded in  the cable box. I roll over, reposition and try to go back to sleep if it's before 0500.

I never get back to a deep sleep but more of a "waiting sleep." That's the sleep you do when you know you will have to get up soon to get to work on time. It's never long enough if you're going to work and it's too long if you are waiting out the night so you can get out of bed.

0500 arrives and I reach for my cell phone resting on the night stand, swing my feet to the floor and quietly tiptoe to the door and into the hallway. I'm on my way to water the bare spots in the yard. It's dark and quiet out there and I stand with the water hose spraying the patches of bare ground where the grass seed is struggling to survive in this August heat. Twice a day I do this task. The second time is when the sun is low in the western sky.

In between my trips into the great outdoors, I concentrate on not going outside. It appears as though my neighborhood is following my practice of avoidance.

Today was Carrie's second day of kindergarten. I was at her house at 0700 and watched as she got dressed and ready to go. Hefting up her hot pink backpack, we headed for the car. The block and a half trip to the bus stop came quickly. For a while we sat in the car while the other children gathered and lined up quietly to wait on the bus. A few minutes passed before it occurred to me that Carrie might want to join the line and be "one" with the other children. I asked her if she wanted to wait in line and the answer was a big smile and an even bigger "yes!". I forget that all this is new to her and standing in line is part of the experience of this new part of her life.

I waited until the bus pulled up and she boarded. Throughout the day, I would glance at the clock or my wristwatch and think about what she would be doing. 1230 rolled around and I knew she was in the lunch room. 1445 and her school day was ending and she would be heading for her bus.

I drifted off to sleep. The next time I looked at the clock it was 1530. Carrie's bus gets to her stop at 1515. I picked up the phone and called April.

 "Hey, you met Carrie at her bus stop?" I asked, my heart beating a little faster then usual while waiting for the answer.

"Well, no mom. You didn't go?" replied April.

My heart went into overdrive and I started screaming.
I was almost to the door when April started laughing.

"NOT funny! That wasn't a bit funny!" this said while still in a full screaming mode from me.

April quickly whispered "Calm down and call me later." and the click told me she had disconnected and left me to slow my heart rate.

Another 1/2 hour later and Carrie was delivered here by her brother. We played question and answer about her school day. She is still waiting to read. I have to tell her again that it will take a while but it will happen. She chats about her best friend that rides the bus with her. No complaints about anybody being mean to her and I relax a little.

 Her new schedule of getting up early and going to bed early is leaving it's mark on her. She begins to get a little cranky now and tearful. This is not the usual Carrie. When the tears come, I explain to her about being tired and getting up early and going to bed early. She nods, we wipe the tears and she goes home for her early bath and bed.

Tomorrow I won't be seeing her to the bus stop. She will walk along with her mother. Along the way, other children will join her. It's all part of the real school experience. It's all new stuff to her and I have to remember that she needs to be a part of it all.

Letting go is just not easy.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Oh Boy! Shrimp Festival!

What was I thinking? How long have I lived here? It's August and I should have known better.

The husband mentioned yesterday about the Shrimp Festival going on in Delcambre, a fishing and shrimping village about 20 minutes from here. He mentioned it again today as something to do and like a fool, I agreed to go. We swept by Carrie's house and picked her up. I had bought along two big floppy hats. Carrie's was black and white checks while mine was a soft brown. Both hats have wide limp brims perfect for keeping the sun off our faces. 

We headed down Rt. 90, the air conditioner shooting cold air over us as we chatted and laughed over Carrie's conversation. "Hip and lip." she chanted as she grabbed her right hip with her right  hand while the other hand went to her face, the index finger crossing her lips in the universal gesture for  "shhhhhhhhh". These are instructions from her first day in kindergarten last Thursday that the school employs to keep the students quiet and their hands occupied and off each other while standing in lines to and from the cafeteria and while moving through the hallways. We listened to her chatter, while the  iPod played in the background.

The cane fields beside the road  have now grown    and  stands over 5ft tall, lush and green. The farther down Rt. 90 the cane was tilted to one side and soon we passed fields that had the cane laying flat on the ground. The big storm that passed through here a few nights ago has taken it's toll on the cane farmers. Cane cutting is just beginning and it all has to be in to the mills by the end of September. I don't know if this cane can be salvaged but I'm guessing if it isn't the price of sugar might take a jump this spring. Farming is such a hit and miss proposition. This wasn't a hurricane that laid down that cane but a strong wind.

Sunglasses and hats on, we arrived in Delcambre ready to cruise the festival. Another 15 minutes and I was questioning the wisdom of a festival in August in south west Louisiana. 20 minutes into this fiasco and I had more then enough of outdoor life in this heat.

We headed for the shelters and bought some boiled shrimp and some deep fried shrimp. Sipping icy drinks of Root Beer and RC Cola, we huddled beneath the large metal roofed shed and listened to the band playing on the small stage. I cringed at the thought of heading back into the sunshine but Carrie was promised some fun on the carnival rides so we moved across the dusty, dried and hard packed lot and wound between the Ferris wheel, the tilt a whirl and a ride that looked like two bullets connected by mechanical gear that raised them skyward and completed the circle by hurtling earthward. These rides were not what Carrie and I were seeking.

We made about three rides before we both had enough of the sun, the heat and the dust. The husband had started his walk to get the truck and by the time we finished our three rides, he was waiting outside the gates.

Carrie's face was flushed bright red. I couldn't see mine but I'm sure I didn't look much better nor feel any better then she. We both wanted the interior of the truck and the ac.

I was so angry I didn't even want any conversation on the way home. Carrie passed out in the back seat and I adjusted the a/c vents for maximum coverage and 20 minutes later when we pulled into the driveway, I was just beginning to cool off.

I was angry that I had agreed to this trip. I know better. I hate the heat and a trip across the lawn to the mailbox is enough time outside. To agree to go to an outdoor festival in temperatures that are hovering around 100 degrees is just insane. It never sounds as bad as it's going to be until you're beneath that sun and the sweat is trickling down your sides, your clothes become saturated and the thought of having to peel them off your body when you get home is a real contortionist event.

The remainder of the afternoon was spend in the cool bedroom, the television tuned to some gosh awful movie about prehistoric sharks freed by an earthquake beneath the Pacific Ocean.  A cast of bad actors, worse then believable looking sharks and lots of skimpy bathing suites to make up for the bad story line, it was still better then being outside.

Tonight the Saints play. It's preseason football and we will be watching. Carrie bailed on us. She plans on spending the evening at her sister's apartment. They have a pool. We don't. Carrie is fickle that way and I can't say that at five years of age, I wasn't the same.

It's game time. I'm under a/c and I'm a happy woman.
I'm done!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Kindegarten is not for The Weak...

"Nana, if you divorce Poppy, you can come and live in my room with me and you can get me up for school every morning." I looked at Carrie and wondered if this was anxiety about her upcoming date with kindergarten. I gave her a hug and told her I would be at her doorstep to take her to her school along with her mom. This seemed to pacify her. The big day finally arrived.

We survived our first day of kindergarten. I'm talking, April and I. Carrie, of course was ready, willing and excited about going.

Here we are getting ready for our trip to the school.

We had a lot to take with us. School supplies bought in bulk. Did someone say education was free? The best thing about this is that uniforms are worn. How did we go to school and not be required to appear with bags of paper towels, two boxes of crayons, 40 number 2 pencils, sharpeners, nap pad, snacks and the list goes longer but that's all I can remember when I scanned it.

We were allowed to stay with her for an hour while the teacher oriented the parents to the
notebooks and the things that would be sent home with her. Read, read and read to her was part of
the instructions. She never said a word when we had to leave. We left her with strangers. She didn't know anyone there and April and I were more frightened about that then Carrie.

Around noon April went back to the school and stood across the street to watch the playground. I told her they had names for adults that did that. Not only did she go for noon playtime but again on her recess. Carrie was playing with the other little girls and at the end of recess, she and another little girl walked back to the building together.

At 1515hrs we were standing at the bus stop waiting for her.
She made a dash to her mother and after a big hug, she headed for me.

We checked her over for lash marks and bruises. We questioned her on what she thought about school. No reports of abuse so I suppose we will have to let her go back on Monday.

Carrie didn't go to preschool. The only people that she has stayed with has been either me or a few other family members. We might be a little over protective of her? Maybe but, I trust few people these days. Too many horror stories are broadcast about children and sometimes from their own families these stories originate.

When asked about her day, she answers our questions but the bubbling of chatter is not what I thought it would be. She offers information in bits and pieces. Maybe it's too much newness for her to assimilate all at once.

Thursday was orientation and today she didn't have to return. Monday will start her first full week.

She did say when she got off the bus "I can't read yet"....
I told her we didn't expect her to yet. It would be soon though. She wants to read. I want her to. If you can read well, you can do anything. At least that's what I've always drilled into April and her children and what I believe.

More reports to follow..I'm sure!  

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Heaven's Gate?

I've entered into a cyber space filled with residents from my home area. From the hills and hollers of WV and specifically a county called Jackson, names are appearing that I haven't seen in the years since I got out.

"Got out" seems to insinuate an escape of sorts.  I've always felt like an escapee.

WV is called the "Little Switzerland of the Americas"  for a reason. The Swiss Alps might be bigger but they are surely not more numerous then the landscape in my home state.

This makes for a beautiful landscape, a photographer's delight and an outdoors man's haven or heaven and that is a pun related to the song by John Denver about this state.

I've never subscribed to the notion that it was "Almost Heaven, West Virginia" but it made John Denver a lot of money, so much in fact that he recognized a good thing once he found it. He also wrote "Rocky Mtn. High" which Colorado loves to use to describe their state. I digress.

Let's get back to those hills. The ruggedness of this state was such that explorers actually detoured around it in their explorations. So do businesses. Unless you live along the Ohio River or the Kanawaha River, you won't want to establish a business that exports.

Trucking your product from the interior of the state will be a costly venture. The chemical plants in the Charleston area enjoy the use of barges to transfer their products. The Kanawha River flows through Charleston making it a much more economical opportunity for manufacturers to ship. Chemical plants dot the river banks. I remember the smell of those plants reaching for miles and blanching the area clear to the Sissionville area, miles from Charleston. EPA must have been asleep.

Major businesses are not rushing to the interior of the state, land locked from any rivers, to build factories. 

I got out. Out to states that had better growth, better economies and more job offers. It was never something I regretted doing. My daughter and I moved away and stayed away.

When the economic meltdown hit the USA, the state of WV was not seriously impacted as there was never many jobs there anyway. Many left the state soon after high school unless they went to WVU. The big joke there is "send your kid to WVU and when he graduates buy him a bus ticket out of the state to get a job". 

The best thing about strolling down memory lane on that board site is realizing after all these years gone from there, many of us shared the same experiences. Times were hard for more then just my family. I always assumed that we lived "differently" then most of the other people there. Feeding seven children was no easy task. The families were large in number and the country kids all shared the same problems. As children we had chores but we had play time too. Our toys were not what they are  today. Discovering that "June Bugs tied to a string" and left to fly around us, homemade stilts, and lots of playing in the dirt, barefoot and shirtless through the summers was the "norm". 

The simple diet of potatoes and pinto beans, cornbread and whatever we butchered for meat was what most of the other country children had. Some had even less. It must have been the times. I would be interested to know what children's lifes were in, say..the West Coast. Were the norm for families there more propersous, less harsh?

As children we didn't bemoan or feel slighted not having. It was what it was and we knew nothing more. Looking back has been most enlightening and no, I don't want to do it again. I have wandered a path that has led to easier times and I wouldn't consider going back to the days of stoking a stove, wringer washers, outdoor toilets and cold drafty houses in the winter and no a/c in the summer. 

I'm spoiled. I want to stay spoiled. I don't need lavish. I do enjoy comfortable more then I could ever express. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Slap Your Mama

Tomorrow April will take Carrie to be registered for kindergarten. April will meet the teacher that will be influencing Carrie for most of her waking hours five days a week.

I'm  not only NOT happy but today as I returned Carrie back to her house the tears flowed.

Carrie is five years old, soon to be six on October 8th. She is a precocious 5  yr old that has spent most of her life around adults as her siblings are 11 yrs older and 15 yrs old respectively.

One would think that Carrie would be spoiled to the point of being an obnoxious child. Such is not the case and that's no thanks to me and her Poppy. As her grandparents, I'm afraid we are terribly indulgent of what she wants. Her mother can be credited with setting limits and making sure Carrie knows her perimeters.

What's the problem you might ask? Peers are the problem. Carrie hasn't developed a shell to ward off cruelties that children can be so capable of hurling.  How will she react to ugliness? Will she be crushed?
I'm afraid this little girl is about to get an education  that has nothing to do with the alphabet.

This past spring she was enrolled in a T Ball group. I made every one of those games with her. One little girl singled her out and would quietly sneak close to her and make mean comments to her. There wasn't any reason for this little girl's behavior. She had never seen Carrie before this. "I don't like you. Go away, I don't want to play with you." These comments came Carrie's way. I slipped up to this little girl and what I wanted to say was, "You say another word to her and I'll go beat up your mama."

I'm basically a pacifist. Force is not my forte. Carrie would drop her head and back away. I'm sure she was confused. I became "dugout mom" and from this position, I could direct who was first out on the field and the little bully was directed to hit the field first. By the time she ran all the bases, Carrie would be up to bat and on the field through all the bases. The bully was isolated from her.

I've heard that teachers appreciate volunteers to help with their classes. I'm moving from 'dug out mom' to 'teachers' helper'. The pay sucks. Being a "bully monitor" will have it's own rewards. I'm not afraid to smack your mama should it be needed. Don't push me. I'm in commando mode. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Methy Me

"Hey, get ready and we'll go see what's happen'in downtown." calls the husband to me. I'm propped up in bed with my ever present laptop for entertainment.

My trauma this morning of the missing seat control in the roadster has made me take to my bed. Not really but the heat has driven me inside and I'm happy here. Have I mentioned that it's August in the deep south and true to form it's miserably hot and so am I. Miserable.

I was ready to go save for a swipe of lipstick and a spritz of perfume. I may leave the house without lipstick but I always have a fragrance wafting from me.

I slipped inside the truck, the a/c on high where I like it. The husband had the truck started and cooled off while I stalled long enough in the house for it to be nice and icy by the time I got in. I know how to play this game of keepin cool.

His plan was to drive around and look at patios. We are having an estimate on extending our patio and having it walled in. A contractor showed up yesterday to look over the job we want done.

A courtyard look is what we are going for. Something walled in, wrought iron gates, a jacuzzi in one corner and lots of foliage in pots. We headed for an older section of town where the houses are older, larger and surrounded by black wrought iron fences.

I mentioned that hardly a person could be seen. Alfresco dining tables stood empty; the clients seated inside and visible through the large plate glass windows sipping on iced drinks and ignoring the heat. We cruised neighborhoods and the downtown and then headed for the Best Stop for some cracklins and boudin balls. It's a lazy Saturday here and as long as I'm cool, I'll go anywhere.

We munched the boudin balls and the cracklins knowing later we would pay with either heartburn or indigestion. It didn't matter right then. We were enjoying our tasty treat.

Carencro is a small little town that has edged to the city limits of Lafayette and this is where we found ourselves in our aimless journey. Stalled in the road, a van had traffic skirting out around to pass. Two women stood at the back of the van that was covered with such a thick layer of dust, the color was indistinguishable. The back glass had a cleared swiped area where the rear windshield wiper had knocked of a layer of dirt.

As we rolled to a halt, one of the women walked quickly up to the driver's side of the truck. As the husband rolled down the window, I took a quick study of the approaching woman. Living in a semi large city, being observant is a huge asset to one's safety.

The woman was in her early 40's, thin to the point of emaciation and covered in red welts. Her arms and the part of her chest visible in the V necked shirt angry, red and swollen. She wore jeans so her legs wern't visilble. The first thing she said was, "I'm out of gas. Could you push me to the service station just up the road?"

To this, I said, "No, that's not a safe thing to do." She assured me that she had someone push her vehicle in the past and they drove a truck. The 4 wheel drive we are in has 21 inch wheels on it and towered above that van's bumper. Pushing her vehicle was not an option but we offered to go get some gas for her. She went back to her van and bought back a 2 gallon plastic gas container.

As we pulled away, the husband remarked "She has had a meth makeover huh?" Yeah, I had to agree. Her jittery manner of talking and moving, the vacant eyes and the red welts are your clues. Take note and be careful.

The service station that "was just down the road" was more like a mile away. We got back to them with the gas and while I poured it in the tank, she laughed nervously as she said

 "My gas gauge isn't acting right. I thought I had it figured out on how far I could go without running out but it did it again."

"This has happened before?" I asked.

"Oh yeah. My dad switched to diesel cause I kept stealing the gas from him."

I kept my face turned from her while she spoke rapid fire a litany of all the bad luck that had befallen her in the past 4 years including losing her son. I knew the answer before I asked, but I asked anyway.

"What happened to your son?"

One word she said "Overdosed"  and I noddled as I murmured an "I'm sorry."

I waited until she got back into the van and cranked it over. As soon as the engine caught, I handed her the red gas can, waved off her offer to pay for the gas and hurried back to the truck.

Meth makeovers are never a pretty thing.

Leave Her or Post It

What to do..what to do? It's still a furnace outside and I'm still trying to hide from that furnace. I had errands to run this morning and while gas is at 3.32 a gallon, I figured I would top off the tank in the roadster.

I had to move the Marquis to the front yard beneath the maple tree so I could get the roadster on the road. I slipped into the front seat and released the latch that holds the rag top in place, lowered the windows and flipped the button that releases the hatch. My hand moved automatically to the lever beneath the front seat that allows the seat to slide back and forth. There was no lever there. What? I know there is a lever because I've used it many times to slide the seat back so I can get out of that little red can that sits so low to the ground. As soon as I get back in it, I automatically reach for the lever again to allow me to slide the seat forward a little. This car is a standard shift so though my legs are long, I need just a little forward movement of that seat to depress the clutch all the way to the floor.

I didn't find the lever but instead discovered a button on the left lower portion of the seat. This button raises and lowers the seat. Who knew? Surely not me. I'm still need to find the lever.

I drove to the gas station and fueled up and before climbing back in the car, I bent down and peaked beneath the seat. I searched with my hand and I cried into the phone to Wanda that I was losing my mind. She suggested maybe the seats were electrically controlled. I told her about the button for raising and lowering the seats. I also told her this was not the seat control I was used to using. "Maybe you have just forgotten that you used that button." she suggested.
 I'm not buyin it but I am beginning to wonder if my secret fear is coming to fruition. Alzheimer's. I've finally lost the little bit of brain I had remaining. Wanda suggested again that maybe I had the old Toyota I used to own, confused with this little red car. Poor Wanda. She kept searching for answers while I quivered in fear. I'm going to have to buy more Post It notes. My memory will be little yellow tabs of paper with a self adhesive strip that helps them cling to every surface in my house and car. I must start soon making notes on them before I lose the letters of the alphabet.

I rolled on home after visiting the bank. Truly shaken and puzzled, I got out of that car and searched again. As my hand moved over the floor mat, the one I had taken out the other day and cleaned, I felt an unevenness to one corner of it. Raising it up, my hand moved over metal. I had found the lever. The car seats sit almost flush with the floor which makes the lever almost on the floor with barely enough room to slide your fingers beneath to grasp it. The mat didn't LOOK lumpy there so I didn't think to raise it up.

I'm going to start lettering those Post It notes now before it gets to late. I'll just pack them away and let you know where they are hidden. Should you find me wandering the streets late at night, it might be time to start tagging them up all around my area. I will be forever indebted. Thanking you in advance, I'm gone for the evening.


I'm going to tell you a little story, one that I don't discuss usually and surely not with anyone outside the small county of Jackson in the state of West Virginia.

Jackson County, WV has two major towns, small as they are, they are surrounded by even smaller villages. The folks  from the small villages came into the towns of Ripley and Ravenswood for any major purchases and to attend high school. Ripley's population was around 3500 souls so you can imagine how small the surrounding villages were.

Everybody knew everybody and some times that was a good thing though I've never been enamored nor felt the need to know everybody around me. I prefer living in a larger town and gaining some anonymity.

The town had one black man that lived on the outskirts of this town. He was known and called N***** George and to this day, when the natives there mention him they defend their right to still use the derogatory description of him by saying "But that's what he liked to be called. That's how HE called himself."

My problem with this is "What did they expect him to do? Rebel? Get belligerent? No. I think he probably just went with it thereby causing him less notice and allowing him to live in some sort of peace there.

In later years I've heard of a few black families that tried to live there. They left.

I can imagine if I had been captured by renegade Indians in the days of tomahawks, hatchets and loose scalps, I would quickly learn what to do to survive. I would be learning to bead moccasins and skin buffaloes, smiling all the while. You could call me honky whitey and I would just smile. Self preservation is a strong incentive for acceptance of many things.
 My thoughts might not be what those captives could interpret. It's a matter of survival. I often times wonder if I met George after he moved away, what stories he would tell me. Was he happy to have left after all those years of living on that hill on the outskirts of that town?

Do not misunderstand. I don't think anyone was ever mean to him. I don't think he ever gave anyone any reason to find fault with him. He kept to himself. He walked a lot. From that hill where he lived, you could see him walking into town, through town and to the other end of town every day and usually more then one trip.  His head bowed low, eyes on the ground, he had a small lurch to his gait. His clothes were nondescript, a faded brown shirt and pants and rundown shoes on his feet.

I never once saw him stop to talk to anyone. I never saw him in a restaurant nor a store nor with any crowds of people. Why is that? And now when I hear people mention his name and pretend to know how he felt and what he liked, I don't get to hear any real conversations he had with them. Wouldn't someone know him if he was so accepted in that community?

In today's world, George might have been diagnosed as BiPolar. All that walking, back and forth from sun up to sun down might be recognized as something other then exercise. I wonder. He was a town fixture.

When people there speak about him and how he liked to be called "N***** George, I question just what did he talk to them about. I've never heard anybody repeat an actual conversation they had with him. Did anybody learn his history? Where he came from?  If he really had friends there in that community, wouldn't they have had coffee with him? Lunch? Sat on the courthouse lawn and whittled along with the other gentlemen of the town?

Of course when his name is bought up, it's always prefaced by the "I'm using his name with the utmost respect....yada yada yada.....And if they are called out on using the N***** in 2011, they justify and assure you that they have "black friends" which is something I have never understood. I say to those people..."Name me a few." They don't expect that and are silent. Knowing names of black people does not make them your friends and if they were your real friends, don't you think you wouldn't have to separate them as to color?

Did anybody REALLY know George?  

Another argument the inhabitants of that small town use to this day for voicing to each other "N***** Hill is that the people that had left town and come back, hearing a discussion on the geography there would not know what area was being discussed if the new name of NORTH HILL was used. A flimsy excuse don't ya think? I was just told this today as to why the name is still used for that hill.

My question is....or rather my answer would be to these people...."the hill north of town where the black man lived". I guess that wouldn't work as it wouldn't give the  people the opportunity nor the justification to still say N***** Hill.

There are many reasons why I would never move back to that area but the bigotry that lies below the thin veneer in that area is something I could never accept. I've been away too long; been around too many different nationalities and small minds bore me.

 Having said all this on the subject of George, I want to also say, the people in that small town were civil if not kind to each other. The parents of the people I grew up with watched over each other and were multiple parents to many. It wasn't a bad place to grow up. I have some problems with  how their views differs from mine. Maybe it's all the places I've lived. All the people I've met. I didn't stay in that little town. There was so much more to see and experience and learn about.

Maybe that's the biggest difference. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

You Might Hate Shopping IF

I've never understood how a bunch of females can get together for a day of shopping. Roving up and down aisle to check out what is hanging on the racks when you aren't actually looking for anything in particular has never been something that interested me.

Shopping in 100 degrees temperatures makes me downright snappy.

The poor house slippers were not only worn out on the bottoms but the heel areas were frayed and thin. Not a big deal usually but in the event the husband gets called out, we needed to replace them. Our plan was to go to the discount stores and the first stop was Ross's where I found the nicest black belt. Maybe I should have stayed home and left the husband to do his own shopping. The next stop was Marshall's where I found a nice wide stretch burgundy belt with faux leopard trim and a new bra. No luck on the house slippers so we moved on to T.J. Max. Quickly cruising the store found no house slippers and I stayed far away from the belt section.

The Mall was next and J.C. Penny's, Sears and Macy's were quickly ticked off our list with a final stop at Pay Less Shoes. Who knew this was going to be so difficult?
No purchases for me.

We checked out the Walgreen store and by this time I'm hot and sweat is tricking down my face and my good humor left after buying the last belt which was 5 stores ago.

We gave up and went to Walmart which is less then a mile from the house.  I have almost reached the whine stage by now. I just wanna go home. It's August. I don't do August well.

"Look over there! See that fifth wheel?" pointing wildly and speaking to the husband I'm back on my favorite subject, getting out of Louisiana for the summer.

My goal is to get a nice big fifth wheel and tow it to Colorado, find a pretty park and hang out until November or the first snow in the Rockies. I wish to be a snow bird.

It might take a bit more time to convince the husband. I should have started on this years ago. Another 15 days plus or minus a few and August will be behind me for another year. I'll forget about the fifth wheel trailer and Colorado until another lovely August assaults me.

It's time to rinse off the salt scum and call it a night. I'll wear that burgundy belt tomorrow. 


Another refreshing day here in the south. Who needs a sauna. Step right up and outside, preferably with as little clothing as possible. Add a sprinkling of rain on that hot concrete and you have a sizzle to match any sauna with coals spritzed with water.

I walked 300 ft to the mailbox and back. If I were a dog I would have been panting. Enough already. I'm ignoring the month of August though I'm doing it poorly. I heard the weather man say there was a cold front heading this way. I checked to see if I was tuned in to a local channel. It was so I checked to make sure it was a legit weather person and not a comedian schlepping his routine. I still don't believe. It's August. We don't have cold fronts in August. What we usually have is hurricanes and I see where one is coming off the coast of Africa. I guess it could be worse here. I could be without electricity due to a hurricane. I should be counting my blessings.

I'm going to do that right now. See ya tomorrow!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mean Me

It's early. So early the daylight hasn't arrived so I slipped outside, grabbed the hoe and in the darkness, relieved only by the street light a few feet way, I begin to clean up the weeds beside the driveway. Almost done on this little project of reseeding and I want to get the weeds out before the sun rises in the sky. By that time I want to be back inside and showered and dressed.

Strange,but as I looked around, I noticed others must have had the same idea to avoid the heat. I'm not the only one out and about this early. 

This post was started days ago and has been vanquished to draft stage since.

I'm still watching the grass grow and watering the bare spots with the new growth coming in. 

I got out of bed again in the darkness of early morning and hurriedly dressed. I had to be at the Imaging Center at 0730 for my mammo. I'm ready to bite somebody.

I have to say, a man must have invented that mammongraphy testing. A woman would have figured out a way to do it that was not hanging on your tip toes while someone had your breast in a vice. I have this horror of the machine malfunctioning and slinging me around the room while my breast is securely clamped down and I'm holding my breath as the  tech has instructed.

 If it wasn't so unladylike, I would be snarling at any health care professional that got close to me. First the gyn doc, then bloodwork, then to the doctor's appointment with the husband and later the following week with him again for testing and then today for the mammo. Oh, and wait, lest I forget, a dental appointment tomorrow. I'm so done with running here and there and there and back again. I'm hoping for no cavities and that the mammo comes back without any problems. I'm trying to get adjusted to the BP med I started yesterday so I'm doing frequent checks on that. I need a vacation to some place cool with a pool of clear water and white sand. It's too hot to even go to the beach.

The husband asked me a few minutes ago what I wanted to do today. My reply "Stay cool".

I promised myself I would endure the month of August this year without whimpering and whining. I lied. 

I'm off to fall asleep while watching TV in my darkened bedroom. Good night all. 

Hot Dogs..Hot Dogs..WV Hot Dog Sauces

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sleepless in Louisiana

I didn't sleep last night. I'm not trying to tell you I didn't sleep "much". I'm  saying I didn't sleep at all. When 0300 rolled around I had flipped on the TV for the third time after the midnight hour rolled around. Each time I  turned off the TV, my heart rate picked up and I was wide awake again. Soon 0500 was staring me in the face and I darkened the room once again and closed my eyes. An hour later, the lights were back on again and the husband was stirring. His dentist appointment was at 0700 and he was getting ready to go.
It was time to sneak into the bedroom and try get a few hours of sleep. An 1100 doctors' appointment was going to curtail how much time I had left to get some rest.
All I could think about was what I could be doing if I were out of bed. After another 1/2 hr of sleeplessness, I rolled out of bed and started tidying up the house.

While the husband mowed the lawn, I moved to the patio and put away the bikes, the Barbie car and used the blower to clean off the grass clippings.

Shower time and off to my doctor's appointment. By this time I'm draggin and all I want is to go to bed. Already I'm thinking about the hours I will have to spend waiting in that waiting room.

Not only was I shocked but I was plesantly surprised to find the waiting room empty. This is my first visit to this physician. It was way past time to get a internal medicine physician on board. This is the same doctor that I sent my husband to on a recommendation from a neighbor. The husband was very happy with him; I was, as usual, my suspicious self. This is not a doctor I was familiar with so I was going to form my own opinion after seeing him.

I liked this doctor. He was not in a hurry, spent time listening and when he wrote the order for the medication for my hypertension, he selected a medicine that was inexpensive and directed me to the pharmacy that stocked it. Ten dollars bought a 3 month supply. Shocking isn't it?

My heart rate is at 99 beats per minute. Much too fast which is what is driving my BP up. To bring the BP down, he ordered a beta blocker. I'm not too keen on cardiac meds. I tried to avoid working on the cardiac units. My reasoning was, I like to be able to monitor a sick looking patient. With cardiac patients, they can be smiling at you one minute and go into cadiac arrest the next without any warning. I came home and began to read. The beta blocker will affect the "fight or flight" action of adrenalin. It basically blocks the adrenalin which will slow the heart rate and decrease the BP. I'm good with that. I'll take 1/2 a pill twice a day for two weeks and if my pulse rate drops to a normal rate and my dystolic gets to 80 or below, I will continue with this dosage. If none of the above happens, I will increase the dosage to a whole pill twice a day. For the next two weeks, I'll monitor my BP and pulse rate twice a day and record it for the next doctors' visit.

Beta blockers are used for different purposes. Interesting to note, they are prescribed for people that stutter. It relieves the pressure/anxiety of speaking.

It is not late but I could care less. It's time for me to climb into bed and get some sleep. I'm gonna make up for last night. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

An Apple a Day.........

Stuffed bell peppers, cheesy potatoes, and succotash for dinner. My sous chef was more then willing to lend a hand. Here she is stuffing the bell peppers. Carrie likes to help. She didn't spend the night. Today was an early appointment for the hubby to have tests on his gallbladder.

We made it to the imaging center, checked in and waited for about 15 minutes. The ultrasound failed to show gallstones so the hida scan had to be done. We now wait for the results. Tomorrow we will again make the rounds. Dental appointments and more doctor visits but this time I'll be visiting the doctor while the husband visits the dentist. I've had enough of this already.

We are fortunate to both be in relatively good health. Every now and then we need a minor tune up. If ya gotta spend time in a waiting room, it might as well be in the month of August when it's too not to be doing anything else.

I'm publishing this quickly and signing off. 0700 is not that far away right now.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Hot August, Cold Subs

Houston! We have lift have GRASS.
The bare spots in the lawn now have a fine covering of fresh grass barely breaking the surface and I'm still watering those areas three times a day. My life is so exciting I can hardly stand it.

Since the seeding was successful that we did last Sunday, we started on the other side of the driveway. More watering and watching.

August is not my favorite month. I stress that though you can't hear it in my voice through this blog. I find it difficult to believe that I pick this month to lay fresh soil and seed the bare spots in the yard. I was saturated in sweat by the time we finished and we were not out there more then an hour. I was stripping off my clothes as soon as I stepped through the door into the house and heading straight for the laundry room, I dropped  the clothes off and reversed direction to get to the bathroom. I turned the water to cool and stepped in.

There was no need to move around for a while. Standing beneath the cool water, eyes closed, I was in no hurry to do anything else. 

Cold sub sandwiches and Ranch Doridos is  dinner tonight. The husband is putting those together. He makes an awesome sandwich. Sub buns that have butter and garlic smeared on them and put beneath the broiler, spicy Cajun roast beef, Provolone cheese, onions, lettuce, tomato and mayo and dinner is on!

A cold dinner sounds just right for the month of August. I'm off to keep the husband company while he putters in the kitchen, plus, I'm hungry!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Signs II

I posted a short while ago...under the title of Signs...and found I had a little more to say. The calls have been made and the answers have been found. To update you a little in the event you haven't read the post entitled "Signs", I was shopping around for the cost of some tests ordered by the gastro specialist yesterday for the husband.

The doctor's staff scheduled the tests to be done  in the same building as this physician had his office. I'm pretty sure that the way this works is, this doctor has his office's right there in that hospital and refers all his testing to the hospital that houses him; he maybe getting a discount on his rent of his office. The hospital enjoys the referrals to their imaging department and it's a win/win for both the doctor and the hospital.

I let them make that appointment yesterday and the husband is scheduled for the ultra sound of the abdomen followed up by a Hida Scan with ejection/fraction IF no gall stones show up in the first test.

Today I did some shopping and here is what I found:

Imaging Center #1:  120.00 for Ultra Sound
                               346.00 for Hida Scan with e/f

Hospital Imaging
where we have an
appt.:                     950.00  for Ultra Sound IF
                                          you have Insurance
                              425.00  for self pay for Ultra Sound

                             1250.00 for Hida Scan w/e/f
                               625.00 for self pay/Hida Scan

Needless to say, I called the hospital and cancelled the appointment that was scheduled for the 15th.

Now, my observation tells me that the insurance companies are getting screwed and that the screwing is getting passed along to the insured. The uninsured haven't a chance in hell of affording any health care.

If the hospitals can give a 50 per cent discount for the patient that has no insurance, why can't the insurance companies get the same deal thereby cutting the costs of premiums. I don't get it. I vote we all have medicare; doctors be trained by the state and receive a salary or hourly wage and the hospitals be under state or federal control and prices be set. Getting medical care is NOT an elective. Usually it's mandatory to sustaining life.

The husband has an appointment on Monday for his testing. I had to call again to make sure the prices quoted me was WITH the radiologist READING the tests and it was. Amazing what a few phone calls saved me huh?
You can email me at should you want to know the name of the place where the testing is to be done in the event that you don't have insurance coverage for tests.                            


Before the husband became self employed, we had insurance through the company where he worked. Those days are gone and now we are among the masses that worry about insuring ourselves against a catastrophic occasion which is usually a hospitalization.

For a little over 500.00 per month for both of us, we have just that. Catastrophic insurance. That covers inpatient or outpatient surgeries and once a year physicals. Any other doctor's visits are picked up by us.

Today I went shopping. I started calling the imagining centers here to inquire as to the cost of an U/S of the abdomen and a Hida Scan with e/f. I thought this was highly unusual until I made the first call. The imaging centers and hospitals have a whole department within their  insurance department that deals with these calls. This tells me I'm not the only one shopping now for costs for medical tests.

They are busy. At some places, I had to leave my name and number and the test I was inquiring about and they promised to get back to me with the costs! If I had the right number, I could probably order a kidney or a lung? In other countries this is not as uncommon as one might think.

As we were driving back from the casino last evening on the four lane highway, another sign of our economy was blatant. The  median strip had grass grown up to four feet in height. Where are those workers that mow those median strips? They must be waiting in line at the unemployment office along with those employees that use to patrol our public parks and national parks to keep them maintained.

I remember time spent in Mexico. The parks there were weed ridden, no trash receptacles  and uncared for. A public park was not a safe place to be.

Signs of our times and not good signs either.