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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Getting out behind a rock and a hard place

Good morning … this is me. We decided that we were going to write here first before our regular correspondence. We’re just in a bit of a mood and we’re not sure which way it is going to turn so we figured better safe than sorry. I’m not sure if we’re in a good mood or a bad mood. I don’t remember exactly where we have been this morning. It’s about 5 A.M. now and we woke up about an hour ago. Wow has it been that long?

We hope to get in the shower in about a half an hour and then we’re going to be going to WW. I’m not sure what to expect there. We went out to dinner last night with Rich. We were going to go for Italian, but then he made a comment after passing by the “Irish Pub” and we ended up there instead. I like the atmosphere … there’s a nice roaring fire and we were sitting close to that AND I was in the mood for a grilled cheese and the soup for the day was tomato which is what I was REALLY hoping for. It was perfect – French fries too!

Rich had the all you can eat fish and we both brought home food. That got eaten eventually last night so things were all good there.

BUT, we ended up in a bad space for a bit … same old same old. Take your medicine! We really do give Rich grief … not sure how that happens. Just remember we were watching TV with him, and then there might have been a commercial or something but the next thought was we’re pulling the blanket over our head and that was the start of part’s problems. I wish I could explain all that better to you, but I just know it happens.

Hmm, it’s now after 6 A.M. and I’m not that much further along. I think part of the time we are zoning out – sleep-like. We’ve taken our shower and medicine, but we must have been tired and I think a little down.

Maybe just because it seemed like a long work week and some thing weren’t stellar, but I don’t think we want to think it out now. I know that we took good notes during the week and we tried to progress things. We are working at work and at home and that feels good. There are still problems with Sr. and Rosa, but particularly with Sr. in that she seemed to be on the negative side of things. She seems to be looking for my shortfalls instead of the things that we are doing right. The benefit of the doubt goes to thinking we’re doing something wrong first.

This kind of “disrespect” really plays on the nerves. Somethings it feels like we’re really being set-up for, such as Sr. tried to convince me that one of the client’s who had behavioral problems written in an incident report had been deposited in our mail box first thing in the morning, but we checked our mail up front 3-4 times before group – and then this came up right after the 1 P.M. meeting, but we had with us during the meeting a few papers we’d picked up while up there making copies. It hadn’t been there. When Sister is in this “you are a terrible employee mode” it just doesn’t make sense to argue with her. Though I think we did a few times.

There was another incident where I’d been given back papers and had filed them from a client, but then Sr. was upset because she thought I’d lost them even though they were filed. Then she wanted to know why I hadn’t taken care of it. But, she had Rosa talking to the mother because of language barriers. But, she was upset with me for not following through.

Most information like the one with the client’s incident report, I’m not getting firsthand information. Such as we were in the building in our office when there had been the problem with the client. I didn’t get a record of it happening until after 2 P.M. the day after, but then she was mad because she felt she was doing our work. It’s just a bad situation.

If she didn’t communicate timely that it had happened then why am I getting blamed for not handling it. She said the secretary had talked to the mother in Spanish, but I’m feeling that some of the mothers can speak well enough in English that I should be talking to them.

Rich says it’s part because we are not there to defend ourselves and because we are not there directly, people aren’t communicating to us or we are not seeing things as they are happening. I will go into this later too because it’s almost time to get dressed for the meeting. There was a lot of problems. I think the best thing we were doing is that we are logging everything that is happening to us. I think we’ve been here before. We’re marking down when we get papers, or communicate with someone or what we are doing as it is happening and often times the direct results.

I know that I have problems with memory, but the scrutiny is being set-up in a way it feels like I’m being sabotaged. It’s a very hard thing to deal with because each step you have to show some proof you are really not an imbecile. It’s hard and emotionally draining. But, we’ve got to get dressed because just because this other stuff is hard, it doesn’t mean that we can let things go. We’re trying very hard to stay on top of things. Part of that is with the diet. I think we did pretty well this week, though I don’t know if we lost weight. We’ll find out this next half hour, but for now … best be getting dressed, hmm?

Insufficiency's and Inefficiencies

Good morning. We’ve got about 45 minutes left before leaving for work. We finally got fishyman up, but he was a bear to get going. We had woken up at about 3 A.M. with the kitties and we tried to wake fishyman up about 5:30 A.M. which is his optimal time for getting up, but then he went back to bed and slept another half hour when we roused him again. He’s up up now, but pretty groggy. He’s just in a lot of pain in the A.M. trying to get all his body parts warmed up and working. I’m feeling bad about his situation, but there’s nothing much that can be done except to encourage him to follow up on the doctor’s tests and then work on the weight loss. It might sound redundant, but I think for all of us the less overweight part of the body you let go the fewer things are grinding and pushing on itself. It is just a theory.

Pswhoo … time is going by fast this morning … not sure where the last 20 minutes went. Some part is talking to fisherman, but he’s not overly talkative so maybe it is just us moseying a little too slowly over our thoughts.

Let’s see what is important this morning. Hmm, for one we got a chance to write to Linda this morning. I love that part of my morning where we are catching up with her. It’s like we’re living through the messages back and forth. It seems that we’re on the same vibe – and it’s a good one!

We did think through one thing I would like to share here. It was thoughts we had while writing to Linda. This is it …

Excerpt to Linda this morning

It is a crapshoot talking to family. We were with Dr. Marvin last night and that kind of thinking came up. He is impressed with how well we’re handling things with family, but I know it could be better. I still am holding onto a lot of anger. I’m not giving to them freely even like I do here with you. It seems I evaluate each conversation I have with them which feels right now on the judgmental side. Dr. Marvin would say we’re putting things in perspective and distancing ourselves when we should. He says that we have a right to get upset when people ignore you, but we’d like to get down to the bottom of why that’s so upsetting or why with Rich when he dominates a conversation with just one right answer “his” that it drives us so crazy.

Hmm, thinking now one of my last thoughts of being with my father. He said, “I’m the father, I will do the thinking – your job is to listen.”

That might be some of the same craziness loading me down with emotional baggage. Basically, I’ve been hearing most my lives through behaviors of others my thoughts aren’t as important as theirs. It’s probably a good idea to talk some more about that kind of stuff.

Not that the feelings are wrong, because the feelings show that somewhere I’ve been bruised by this stuff, but then if I can get a handle on it now I can distance or separate the thoughts of it not being my insufficiencies, but acknowledge that it hurt then and it hurts now and it makes me angry to have been or still being so devaluated and it was due to their inefficiencies. If I can get to the part when these things happen as recognizing them and it being part of their baggage, then it should be easier for me to let go of.

Best we work on building up our self-esteem like you right now with the WW … and maybe even build up toward going to the gym again – or for you you’re walking. I know somewhere in me that the good you and us and others we know through things like that and the sewing … are good things for our self-esteem – maybe through the creativeness and good feelings from doing and completing and being a part of something solid. I used to have a lot of thoughts and feelings toward alienation. It feels good when I handle things better now. Right? You too?

Wow … I am just reading over this last paragraph … I am seeing insufficiencies and inefficiencies all in the same sentence – it wouldn’t surprise if we actually used this right.

Oh and one more important thought also talked to her about …

I'm going to hold onto this thought too today too ... Granma I have to tell you a secret. Steady eye gaze. Granma I'm a werewolf. Lordy this one is going down in our mental record books as about the sanest thing a person ever told me. Dr. Marvin laughed and laughed too. Hehehe that's a GOOD sign - chuckling me up this morning - Dr. Marvin didn't say it, but just now I'm thinking Isa is projecting that "evilness" being put on her and is spouting into a monster form she can put it out there and separate from herself - kids are just so gosh darn smart! Now I'm hearing her howl I said thank you for that and she said you’re welcome. It's probably her means of "screaming" in a way she can manage it all - all the craziness.

Just so gosh darn proud of her … It's the things that knaw on you that are most important

These may be some of my most important thoughts as we go through the day.

I love it when we have a Dr. Marvin appointment and we can remember a sense of what was happening. Seems like when we write this kind of stuff to Linda we’re at our best in that she’s very receptive to our world, and I’d like to think we are the same back in her world. Good thing happening!
We had another night falling to sleep early. BUT, we figured out something on the way home from the good doctor’s … it was like an epiphany. Basically, Rich has been complaining (in a light way) about the quality and quantity of his back massages.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It's progressing nicely

Good morning. This is me. We’re just going to write a short note before getting to work … the work at home work. We’ve been working hard over the last couple of days on the sewing and have progressed the situation pretty well.

We haven’t heard anything new with the Maury situation so we’ll hold there. I was thinking I would make calls yesterday, but I didn’t get to it. I should have called my mother, sister and son. I did get to the sewing did I mention that? At this point, the top is done it is sandwiched together and we’re like 40% done with the tying. We’ll insert here a few pictures.

You can see that it is coming along, right?

People in the olden days must have really put a lot of effort into these things … I could see a group of women tying a blanket together, but it would take a nice size group and they’d have to put in a lot of time on it. I told Rich yesterday this was the old fashioned kind of quilting before women had $7000 to put down on a fancy machine. He sorta liked that idea … went on about tradition or something. Yah right!

Ok, we’re going to leave this for now. Rich just left … he’s going into St. Rose, and then he’s stopping by here for lunch, and then going to pick up money at one of his jobs, and then he may or may not go out to dinner with his son. Hard to tell what the son has scheduled for the night.

Maybe the first thing is to bring up the work site. Then go on from there … I have in mind that I want to put in the day on finishing those annuals proper. I would really like to get that project off the desk. I will glance at things though to make sure I’ve got other bases covered.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Riding out a storm

Good morning. This is me. We’re about to have breakfast, but thought I should start things out. Rich just got about 15 minutes about … It’s just after 8 A.M. We’ve been up for a couple of hours and wrote to Linda, and then Missy was having problems so we sat with her a bit, and then we looked at a picture book we’d gotten on those Lindall homes we mentioned the other day. But, now is now. We did take our medicine about an hour ago so we’d be handling the morning proper, but with all actuality of eggs being ready in 3 minutes we are not doing so well on concentrating.

There’s a lot going on about Maury and his situation, but maybe we will only be able to put some of it down and most likely we’ll have to erase it later, but there are a lot of new thoughts happening in our brain.

Ok, ok … it’s about an hour later. We took an omelet break and then the kitty came over and then he hypnotized me and we fell asleep watching the morning show. Rich is in the shower now he’s going go to a woman’s house and pick up a document and then bring it over to his new fishing club to finalize the paperwork. And then by about 1 or so he should back and he’ll be a partial lake owner … I think there are like 200 memberships. I will have to ask again to be sure.

I guess then we can or should talk a little about Maury’s situation. I won’t get into it, but he’s having problems with the relationship between him and his girl and it looks life after being in their new apartment for 2 ½ weeks they are already breaking up. I know sometimes there is friction and I’d assumed it to be the normal kind couple have, but this sounds serious. And because of it arrangements might get worked out differently. If they are breaking up then they will both have to find satisfactory housing. I think Maury’s preference is to keep the place they are in and bring in his stepbrother to live with them. We’ll see … it’s going to be a hard week for them.

My part of the switch is that we asked Maury if we could be of help. At the time before I realized it had gotten so far I volunteered to watch all four girls so Maury and his girl could have more time to talk, but that didn’t work out. Instead Maury said something about he might need someone to watch the girls every other Sunday while he is working. WOW! Can I?

Can I? I asked about some of the other problems he felt were

insurmountable in just bringing the girls over and he said that’s all past now. SWEET!

He came over then yesterday afternoon. It had been talked of earlier in the week that we’d be going out to dinner with him, the girls, Joe and Cari and that Rich would meet us there after his games. The celebration was that today is Ame’s birthday and Isa’s birthday was two weeks ago.

This was the first time in 14 months the girls had been over. I was so happy.

Things had changed a little since they’ve been here. Biggest thing is that they’ve never seen the sewing room and they’d never seen the piano keyboard. Everything else including leaving the recorder in the same place was the same. Just as I had figured Isa looked up, saw it first seconds in the door and asked if she could play it. It took a second more to have Ame look around and we asked her if she saw anything else different. Her father was between her and the keyboard, but she looked around him and said a piano!! Yay! Grandma points. She later figured out how to do it so that the numbered buttons on the top would play the songs listed beside the numbers. I hadn’t figured that out yet. Good AME!

I also asked them if they wanted to see the changes in the back room.

They came back into the room with a good report of what they’d seen. I think they keyed in on the fabric on the wall – think they were talking about the closet. Later Isa was standing by the drafting table in the living room and she picked up a piece of cloth from the table off the top and she asked if we could make something out of this. At the time we couldn’t because there wasn’t much time before going out and her father was using the sewing room to take care of some calls. But, I delight in those kinds of things Yes SEWING ahead! Maybe if we were doing the cutting at the table we could have Isa picking up the fabric and stacking it or throwing away the scraps in Linda’s bag. That might be a way to start her. I look so forward to having time with the girls.

I did ask Maury from the start about taking the girls out for days on the boat or picnicking or even a complete weekend and he said that it would probably be doable. That’s going to be a big part because Rich and I have plans to get out more this year.

Rich was a gem when we talked to him. I had called him while he was out shopping yesterday to tell him the kids were coming over and he was almost home so we waited to talk to him and then when we were putting away groceries we talked and I told him about it … his first reaction was that it might be fun, but it would be some work. But, yes! Wouldn’t it good fun! I could see being at the lake with him and then he’d take one of them out and I’d stay behind, or that at other times we would all go out, but that it wouldn’t be long ventures because there’d be that thing about girls using the bathroom. But, I am looking forward to the thought of it.

Not maybe as much as I will with sharing the place here with them. I’m going to let this sizzle a bit in our mind … too excited to be very calm about it right now. Rich is about ready to head out the door too. He’s checking on something on his computer, but he’s got his coat on. I do want to get some sewing done, but I’m looking forward already to hearing from Linda. She can take SOOO long to get to the computer in the morning! I just want her to know about the girls maybe coming over … I think it would start not next week, because Maury had the girls this week, but it might start the week after next. I’m glad that Rich’s poker game is going to be on a Saturday and not a Sunday. And we’re going to have to talk about going up to CS with her. I did tell her I would have trouble on our regular sewing weekend because of Rich asking for my help with the poker. There’s not much I can do about that.

Maybe we can arrange another weekend to go up to CS when she’s in town.

More of that’s been happening too. I think Mark gave final notice to end his jobs about the first week of May. And, I think the kids are giving notice on living in their apartment. CS said they were already looking at getting a puppy.

Things seem to be going pretty well for CS and Mark. There was some clarification of the will and it seems they will be getting about 5 times the original money than they thought they would. It is really good news for them and it doesn’t include the money when Mark turns 60 and the house. The house really belongs to Mark and his sister and if they sell it will go toward the 60 year old money. But for the time being they are going to be living in it for no cost – it is paid off … and then they will continue to pay half of “Nate’s house.” Seems like a pretty sweet deal all around, but not without normal headaches.

So that’s that on that.

We did see Joe and Cari and they are saying after Cari finishes school then they will get pregnant … YAYYYY!!! This is the GREAT STUFF Grandma’s live for! Otherwise things seem pretty good for them. I think Cari’s school is very hard, but she’s doing it and we’re so proud of her. It’s the good stuff too!

Ahh Rich just left and we made a fresh cup of coffee. We’ve got George Winston playing on the speakers. I think we need to concentrate on the podcast, but I don’t think I’m in the real concentrating kind of mood and we want to get in some sewing. It might be kind of early to be starting it, but we haven’t done anything for the last couple of days and we’re getting itchy. We also don’t know what kind of week that Maury will be having so we have to look out for that sort of thing.

I’m not sure what to do exactly next. It doesn’t seem like we’ve done enough writing and I want to be here … just our mind went blank as to what to be thinking about next. Ok, maybe it is an ice cream freeze brain thing. Before Rich left we had been having an ice cream sandwich. Weight watchers of course! Seemed the thing to be doing – maybe it’s a reflex of Rich leaving. I am proud of him for what he’s able to do with this fishy club. It’s a pretty big deal. Just so over bubbly in general.

I don’t even know what Linda is doing today.

Hmm, just looking over some pictures. It looks like Nate got a new motorcycle, and there’s some Valentine’s pictures. Horrible week to break up. I think it happens though. I remember not wanting to be too happy with Rich either even though he did all the right things. Just hard because you want so much more – better let it go girl.

Ok, maybe I should try the sewing for a while. BBL.

Didn't see the curve ball coming

Good morning. This is me … and we’re pretty sure you are you. So then … let’s be getting on to the business of it … it is another Saturday morning and we’ve got time on our hands. We woke up early this morning because we went to bed early last night – 8:30 P.M. so we’re already finished writing to Linda and it’s only about 4:45 A.M. Good times!

First thing first because it was just on my mind with Linda and I want to put it to bed is that we had another problem with Rosa and Sr. Basically, it is an ongoing story, but in this version Rosa took it upon herself to contrast the dates on her calendar with mine and then asked Sr. whose dates should she use – we came up there and of course it was like use our days … are days are the day it goes down in the record with the state.

Her days may be marked as the first date of an appointment, but often enough the dates change because of cancelations or being rescheduled.

There was one more problem too in that she found 3 days where we’d scheduled on Sunday which is an obvious problem. BUT, we’re pretty sure that it was looking at the wrong month on a calendar or something to that … I mean it would be insane to write down a Sunday on purpose. But, Rosa’s whole spin on it seemed to be that I was somehow being crooked and let’s thank goodness for the secretary for saving the day.

I asked out loud since when is it a secretarial position to be questioning my work. She said something about not even dignifying that question, but it was valid to us. Her implication was that my work was of a nature that naturally it had to be corrected, mine was … you are far out-stepping your boundary. Not that she should be locked in a small box, but if she’s trying to do my work for me … it is not going to be taken lightly … and again she is taking it to the boss rather than telling me there was a mistake with writing down a Sunday so it gets blown out of proportion.

Sr. in general this week had many instances of being angry with me. It stands to reason in as far as we had the state inspection and I caused her to lose two points on it. Holly lost 8 points, but the thing is between the two QSPs we lost the only points the center had wrong. It caused us to get a rating of 92%, which was 1% under what was allowed for our standing as a Class 2 agency. There was some problem too in that the lady was particularly disagreeable and instead of like it has always been where a first aid/CPR instructor we hire to come in to teach staff and his signature on the cards mean he’s certified to teach – she wanted a certificate that he was an instructor. I can see that point, but he has the official card and he’s putting his name down and he’s been a recognized instructor and on the State register and it’s never been a problem so like what is all THAT about?

I called him, but didn’t get him on the phone, and then I called the American Red Cross and didn’t get them – we had to wait 15 minutes and then we got a live person who passed us onto a machine stating that everyone there was at a team meeting. I also tried calling the place that had a fax number on the card, but when I called directory assistance they said they didn’t have a listing. I gave that information back to sister, and then left it at that, but then Sister thought of a new angle and she went through some calls, but found someone who could correct the problem.

Sister then was angry at me because she did my work for me. I was frustrated because I’d gone through my resources and hadn’t found an answer … I can be glad she did, but because she did find the answer and I didn’t, it didn’t mean that I wasn’t doing my job.

Later we came into a situation where I was supposed to find a defibrillator … I’m not supposed to just order these things on my own without checking them out and in fact I’d gotten in trouble with it earlier in the day, because I did not get her final ok on getting a keyboard (mine had stopped working after having checked two sets of batteries) and the staff were frustrated because I was using one of their three. BUT, I had to use the computer where they don’t usually and it wasn’t working out to use a keyboard that was in back because it was so old the connections weren’t the same. This to me means we needed a keyboard and whether or not sister pays or approves, I still needed a keyboard. It’s like my job.

So anyway with the defibrillator I found the general price was $1200 and from there they went up to $6000. I found four different resources confirming this and I showed sister the Internet searches. She said that I was to ask Keith about which one he liked. I had asked Keith this last year and he said it didn’t matter they all worked – and basically his is paid for by the city he works for and wasn’t reflective of him having made a choice. But, sister said I’m not going to do your work for you. Ask Keith. So again we’re in the bad situation of asking a busy person something he already gave us an answer to … it doesn’t matter they all have to work so are good. It just depends on what we want to pay for.

Then at another time – because we were crossing items off our list we had to ask sister could we buy the CARF book. She snapped I told you last week it was ok. We calmly then asked could we then use her credit card.

She got up and got it and seemed to work out of the snappiness, but the point being … that when you are on her bad side she doesn’t have to be pleasant.

I couldn’t help save myself. I was conscious that I was up front and pushing her in that I had a lot of contacts with her all work related, but when I’m busy I’m busy. It’s a little different now in that I have just the three days and there are other things happening so I have to make the best use of my time.

I guess then maybe if we could for a few moments, I would like to get off problems we were having with the administrator and talk a bit about how work is going in general.

We’ve been working fairly well with the new format of having a To-do list. The system we are using is still in the developmental stages. The following picture is an example of what we are working on. First we take the notes as neat or as messy as we want – though I’m thinking neater would help in the highlight usage of our Adobe PDF program.

Ahh slipped a little break in here … we took our shower and got our medicine … we want to be able to say that we’ve been to our WW meeting.

It’s about 5:50 now … so we’ll plan on getting dressed in about a half an hour. We’d like to leave close to 6:30 A.M. and the meeting should start at 7:00 A.M. That’s the way we’re going, right? Ok, carry on … 

Anyway here is a sample of the notes that we are taking. The colored parts (yellow and red) are added afterward in the PDF program.

You can also see from this we are writing on regular loose leaf paper, and then we are scanning to the computer and typing in the notes. The Acrobat version 9 has pretty good editing tools, though we’ve seen better with Microsoft. The point is that we can write from the computer right on top of our handwritten notes. This is really cool part of not having to copy things twice because what we are finding is that it is good for the record to get all the information down, but we don’t need all the information that is there for the record to complete the task.

The next part of it is the Weekly To-do list. We’ve done this for two weeks and we are still perfecting it, but this is about what that then looks like. We’ll put a this weeks’ notes up … it won’t have the heading that this is the To-do list for the week of February 21-25, 2011 and the page numbers, and we’ll probably lose the formatting, but this is the information …

Simple To-do List:

1. Follow-up with Theresa to receive missing client satisfaction surveys
2. Translate minutes from 8-10 and 2-16-11 Behavior meeting
3. Look for Keith’s call-back on the defibrillator (check his preference) and then get it and its cost to Sr. Theresa. Determine where it gets put as to if it needs a case 708-935-4436 cell (Save number). File documents sister gave us in new file – 4 sections from Internet in To-do file as to comparison brands and costs
4. Check with sister for Jan parent meeting notes, which date Ray Graham is coming in, and what we need to talk about before calling Arthur to discuss networking
5. Receive client file update from Rosa, write parent letters and email CSO concerning missing documents
6. Look for CARF receipt to Sr.’s email and the delivery of the 2011 CARF Standards book
7. Check for DHS Survey at their website for their 5-7 year plan (possibly completed in November)
8. For people with missing documentation (family or CSO) write letter and sister will sign.
9. Process situation with Rosa through Sister if necessary – watch for defensiveness
10. Watch for what might be necessary for the waiver and DT waiver surveys (check dates with Holly) – possibly next quarter
11. Look for information on Internet as to Governor Quinn’s budget reforms
12. Get Qnotes for Ana, Noemi, Jose, Ashley, Steven, Jeannette, Florencio, Antonella, Lilyana, Jessica, Noah, Lupe, Marquieta and Victor
13. Make sure to get appointments for clients noted in the Chrononotes such as doctor, dentist, etc. and note progress on not meeting goal expectations – on all three goals
14. Place moving scanner on Mr. O’s sheet because of the unavailability of cords behind big furniture and keep discussing things in general with Holly to get her savvy on the use of the scanner (show while in our office and less threatening)
15. Watch out for and try to take down defensiveness in self and with others

STAFF MEETING (2-24-11):

1. Get from Maria her portion of the staff survey questions from the state and her response and then type the three responses of Cathy, Maria and Robyn. Present results at the 2-24-11 meeting
2. Go over the family risk analysis reports with the staff as to what kinds of information we are looking for (tie this found information into the Qnotes or better the Q Chrononotes
3. Stress paperless by completing project on master email list. Go over protocol of niceness and strategy in using it
4. Ask if anyone had an opportunity to talk to Mr. Hall and if there are any questions
5. Discuss questions they could be asked about rule 119 especially from the survey form for both the next two surveys

Project 1: Gathering email master list

1. Get together with each staff individually to gain either new or old email address
2. Make a master list
3. Check the Internet for protocol
4. Check with sister to make sure we are on the same page
5. Present the subject of scanning
6. Emails so far:
a. (address removed) – Sr. Theresa’s and St. Rose’s
b. (address removed) – Rich
c. (address removed) – Holly
d. (address removed) – Ann
e. (address removed) – Theresa

Project 2: Develop system (Chrononotes) for clients to be placed on Q progress notes (Check DSP Chrononotes and meet with staff- consider sending out new risk assessment form to the families)

Project 3: Update all annuals and goals and complete by 2-22-11

1. Complete annual and goals for (name removed)
2. Complete annual and goals for (name removed)
3. Complete annual and goals for (name removed)
4. Complete annual and goals for (name removed)
5. Complete annual and goals for (name removed)
6. Complete annual and goals for (name removed)

Project 4: Complete the strategy Plan for CARF by 3-5-11

Project #5: Complete all 24 annuals, and then create benchmark goal program and complete by 4-10-11

1. Use Ann’s created monthly benchmark sheet (work through changes so that it works with single annual form) to track numbers from Qnotes starting with the month of the annual meeting – watch to see that Holly is not breaking too much differently than form – (continue 2-18-11 discussion with Holly – realizing she has about 6 staffings in next 1 ½ months)
2. Start from A and work through to Z
3. Include Theresa's goals as being the most problematic and schedule time with her
4. Develop one form which holds all clients positive/negative scores for one year starting at their Annual
5. Develop form so that if a client is down two months the trainer has to fill out problems and potential solutions and submit with third month's goal data sheets - to be evaluated by QSP. They should also be asked did they feel the third month successful or do they think the goal needs to be upgraded
6. After all benchmark sheets are completed, plus one year form and two month warning meet with the staff to talk over the new systems including most current annual and goals. Give them handfuls of change forms and ask to compare problematic goals with methodology on goals and objectives and write out problems and solutions for all steps that are not working or if they would like to see changes.
7. Review change sheets and schedule meeting with the DSP if necessary to make changes. Include changes on a new client log of goals which will be kept in the client files
8. Go over Friday’s 2-18-11 meeting with admin team and see if we can pull some policies and procedures of what was said. Things are still murky – a lot of information to comprehend. Work on giving each document a name so it is easier to discuss (Holly’s Annual Benchmark Sheet or Ann’s Annual Benchmark Sheet)
9. Case reviews will now be 30 days after the annual – or next available month so that Rich can check for forms. Email a copy of the completed report to Rich and email completed annual to Rosa
10. Check for policy and procedure change in Rich getting miscellaneous file changed to a notes file for associates (Mr. Hall, parents, DSPS and Qnotes)
11. Create new benchmark sheets for everyone as soon as all annuals are complete

Project #6: Start tidying up the office – Major

1. Start with two drawers to the left of the computer table
2. Go through shelves on the hutch to see what can be thrown or filed
3. Make files in bottom three drawers active. Consolidate when necessary
4. Remember that we still have the on-line Paper tiger
5. Go through black folders on Writing desk
6. Go through CARF white folders.
7. Ask for storage of dead files and paper pile on the floor
8. Ask sister how long we want to keep the old satisfaction surveys
9. Include in outgoing box papers over the book shelve (coat rack)

Scheduled Events:

1. 2-23-11 - Did not check 2-18-11 attendance book … follow-up and check dates for the quilting weekend, it may have been forgotten
2. 2-23-11 - Upload Bachata for Theresa
3. 2-23-11 – Call Kathy again to reschedule Victor’s visit
4. 2-24-11 - Write out new DSP training schedule
5. 2-24-11 - End of March –Gain all signatures for staff training meetings
6. 2-24-11 - Consider procedure for computer satisfaction surveys and Chrono notes handed in 5th of each month (through emails)
7. Deadline 2-24-11 -Schedule time to review 119 Regs
8. 3-5-11 - Consider during admin meeting whether or not to do Thursday circle program
9. 3-5-11 - Ask about current procedures for planning books
10. March 17, 2011 - Darst meeting 9-12
11. March 18, 2011 - Darst meeting
12. Mid-April - Check where we are with Carbonite back-up and the Microsoft Essentials for Virus
13. Complete in April - Make file for the risk analysis and planning tool and adjoining form and methodology so that we can utilize by first meeting on May 4th, 2011
14. May or June after Holly's inspections complete 3 tests from the Rural Transit

When there is more time:

1. Read bulletin form the Family Support Network (Fall 2010)
2. Review 6 month self-evaluation
3. Check file for state memo's and correspondence of things to read over
4. Read over old Minutes from the parent meeting
5. Look up procedure for separating out human rights from behavior meeting

Ok, back to the regular part of the blog posting. I tried to understand what some of these notes were or what they were saying, but it got too complicated for our brain. I have to hope that when we stop to think through these carefully they will all make sense. Right now we’re a little discombobulated because we need to start thinking thoughts on leaving for the meeting and we just checked and Rich’s car alarm was going off. It’s been doing that lately at odd times. We had to make sure that no one was really by the car. It’s happening often enough now though to think there must be some kind of short or something. We’ll remind Rich that it went off again and that he should be getting it checked. I’m sure at 6:15 A.M. no one in the neighborhood appreciates it going off.

Ok, better get dressed. I’ll save this and then continue later. Good deal, right?

AHA! We’re back. It is now 10 A.M. and we’ve been back for a couple of hours? No … it couldn’t be, hmm? Well, maybe. There was a meeting at 7 A.M., we were home at 8:00 A.M., we talked to Rich, and then we’ve been at the computer for a while. I think we’ve done a few things like checked mail, had a dickens of a time, but finally got the sound to work on both speakers and head phone! YAYY!!! We also spent some time thinking through what we’re going to be doing with the podcast. We had to get the sound and microphone working, but then there was the next and next. Right now we’re downloading Audacity. Fortunately my keyword search works because I didn’t remember the name of the devise. I’m not sure if we’re doing it right there were extra things to download and I seem to remember it being tricky before.

AHA! The Audacity works. We’re going to have to figure out now a balance between doing this and writing the conversation for the audio. I think that Rich is going out shopping and then he’ll be doing 4 bitty-ball competitions. I guess it’s for the really little guys. He likes it because he doesn’t have to walk. I think we are supposed to be getting back together around dinner time. He’s going to meet us. Hmm, we just called him back. He called around 8:30 A.M. and we didn’t catch it. I hope that everything is going ok. It seems he’s had good news with his taxes, but is having a harder time with his relationships.

AHA! We’ve got $40 (two twenties) left in our envelope. We can give the girls a gift! It’s going to be money though so they can get the best value out of their dollar. The AHA! Part is that I will be able to make a couple of cards. That will save $4 - $5 too … it’s a struggle.

Hmm, now it is almost 11:30 A.M. I just got Maury through text messages.

He says he’s not doing well. This is when the Mom hopes that her son’s girl will lighten up and give him a little break. I don’t know what’s happening, and in some ways that is better, but I still worry about the kind of day he and the granddaughters are having. We told him we would take all four of the girls if necessary so they could talk in peace. I don’t know if he would ever let me watch kids, but I could make ourselves available. I wouldn’t mind trying. I would hope they talk only one or two at a time, but we’d figure it out. After all, our job title is “Qualified Support Professional” and I take on up to 50 people at a time, right? How bad could four girls be that you like! We’ll see.

Rich is shopping for groceries now … we could have him pick up something to eat for them.

Last message wasn’t good. He said he thought they were done and that they’d need two permanent Sunday a month babysitters. We’d just have to work out the fishy weekends. Maybe the girls are old enough they could come with. I don’t know what Maury would think of his girls out on the water. I really wouldn’t mind getting to know my granddaughters better.

I think I would be good for them. I told him I would need them to let me sew or do computer sometime. I’m thinking though if I were doing those two things they’d want to be doing them too. I think between the TV, computer and sewing we could get everyone entertained. Plus wouldn’t they have homework or something to be doing? Seems like we could work something out.

I don’t think Rich would mind except that sometimes he wants to be gone for the weekend … that part have to be worked out. Otherwise I won’t be going far with them. Hmm, I think he’s seriously considering. He said to my question of me doing other things with them in the house that they could color, or eat, or tv or read or many things. Oh man oh man … wouldn’t that be something? Maybe we could go back to the ideal of having the girls especially Ame learning to sew. We could have her work from the back of the big cutting table and then Isa could sit … move around on the couch and use the smaller table to play, color or so forth. It’s workable

Oh Lordy … poor Maury … he said something about keeping the apartment by having a roommate. What is happening? I soooo much am hoping they can work out their problems. I asked them if someone was moving out and he said he’s not living with someone for 11 more months so she goes or he goes or both go, but he was 90% sure there was no going back.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Brand new computer today - first post and she's doing fine!

Good morning. It is just after 5 A.M. and I have to tell you officially that we are typing our first blog entry from the new computer. That is the good part … the computer is here and it is working and that’s a lot!

We were home for about half an hour to 45 minutes and we’d eaten dinner.

And at one point, we just thought and asked out loud to Rich, “If we looked outside the door would our new computer just be there?” We had gotten the note on our work computer saying that it had arrived. Rich said, “Nope!” And we felt suddenly sad, but we thought how could that be? Was it downstairs after we left the Fed Ex guy a note to bring it up? Rich then said, “Nope it’s not outside the door because I brought it in.” What? What? It’s here? I then jumped up and looked behind the drafting table and THERE IT WAS!!!


Then next thought? Oh Christ! There it is. Now what! There’s about a million miles from box to fully functional. That’s what had to happen next. I lived with those thoughts on my own for a bit, and in there I think Rich took a call, but pretty much it was like dear … how are you and us going to do this? No seriously! This is not a one person job!

There were a few crinkles in it at first because Rich had jumped into I’m just going to be there and tell you what to do role. Like go get the screwdriver, turn on the light, look behind the desk, and so forth. I do have a mind, and it does not follow direction well. I could as well be doing it on my own! I moved around him in this way for a while just because he was helping with the harder stuff that requires standing and such, but it wasn’t too long before we fell into sync. I pulled cords and wrapped them from the top and he was releasing them from the bottom. And then later putting the cords together, I was on the bottom and he was on the top. He used a tight mop to push some of the cords to me because the desk was too big (and loaded) to move. It worked out.

We did run into trouble after we’d gotten it all together. Everything was plugged in and we hit the start button on the front of the CPU and then nothing happened. We tried all possible things like checking connections and holding in buttons, but nothing worked. Rich got on the phone to the computer people and fortunately found someone to talk to mid-evening.

That guy was really no help because he wanted Rich to open the CPU and be doing stuff in there, but that was beyond Rich and my comfort level.

Somehow in the process though, Rich discovered there was actually an on/off toggle switch right next to the power cord in the back. Shoot … who would have thought of that?

After the power came on, Rich said … the rest is up to you, and he went over to his chair and focused in on the TV. I think the air waves carried him away on a cloud. *Sigh*

We knew we were going to need going through our software to see what we could scavenge. Some of it was good and some more difficult. I’m not sure, but CS software might have gone on as a 30 day trial and that was the biggest portion of the uploading. I wanted her Microsoft Office program. I also had problem with the EQ7, because the original EQ6 is at CS and it has to be loaded first before upgrade can take effect. The two other major program glitches were in that I couldn’t load my Print Master program and I couldn’t load the Snag-it program. Hmm, I wonder if we’ve got upload options from the saved mail. Might look, hold on.

Ok, ok … something is finally going right. I took a shower, took my medicine and in 6 minutes I will have my egg breakfast … well that and Rich’s. He dared to come in and get coffee while I was there … he stared at us and said, “You are cooking. I just wanted to see that.” “Ok, this is our grooooooooooowl!”

I think he got the point. We’ve been cranky for the better part of an hour because we were still doing things here and Rich has been getting up earlier so will just randomly start telling me things that I’ve got to do. Like BACK OFF MISTER! Well maybe not that sinister, but close. Like who the hell cares where her phone has got dislocated to before 7 A.M.?

Shhh, shhh … ok girl slow down!

There … got our eggs. The world seems to be better … we’ve taken our medicine and it has been about a half hour which starts to help us regulate. I also made some more coffee so we can both have some going out the door.

We got a few things going with some of the missing programs. We found the Snagit program on-line so that’s good to go. I had to upload the new version of Printshop, but hopefully I can upgrade then the work computer and I’d like to get it on CS computer and Rich’s. And, we connected the computer through Gotomypc. That way we can go back and forth from work to home and home to work.

Ok, and then the next thing is next. We’re in the process of copying over the files from the big flash drive to the new computer. We didn’t know where it was for a while and we’re going to need to decide if we want to put them also on permanent file at work because it takes up so much room and we now have access to the bigger memory computer here at home. We’ll have to figure that out. Right now though we’ve got that running in the background and it says that we’ve got about a half an hour left … we can never be sure on that because times switch so unevenly, but we had only wanted to be here for about ten more minutes. We’ll have to decide whether we’re going to let her run or if we’re going to manage it by sticking around until she’s done. We’ll see how we feel in ten minutes.

By then we can check the time.

Good good. We just ordered the extra keyboard. It will be up to Sr. if she pays us back. We’re asking today for her to pay for the next CARF Standard manual. It is about $162 so I don’t want to pressure her for other things. I have already had one staff come in looking for the keyboard, and I’m thinking it’s going to come up in our staff training meeting. We’ll see.

We’ve only got a few moments left before she finishes downloading. She is checking for file system errors now. It is probable in that it’s a flash drive that’s been around. Some of the files that are being saved are from 1999. That was a LONG time ago. We were using Microsoft Works instead of Microsoft Word. There have been a lot of changes since then.

Ok, good to go. It seems everything is where it ought to be. Rich tried pressuring me into leaving or whatever. Basically he needed to take a shower and he likes to be at the door to say goodbye so it was like am I leaving before the shower or after. It’s a funny little custom around the house. Now we’re in a wait mode until he gets out. I will frustrate him if we kiss him from within the shower.

As to yesterday, we made progress at work in that we did the Behavior Management meeting and then we worked hard to clean up our desk and inventory the work load. After that we went through everything and copied down all the to-do tasks. I’m not sure … did I say that already? Yeeks.

I’m thinking that I might have to do something broken up between short and long-term goals. There’s probably about 75-100 tasks listed and obviously those aren’t all going to get done. But, it seemed important at the time to be noting. At least we have a clean desk and some kind of method to the madness.

I’m learning to use the scanner more. It should be then after a week of taking notes, we can scan them into the computer and take down some of the clutter. We still haven’t worked out all the bugs, but from the computer we will need a system of checking things off. I’m not sure what Acrobat 9 will do as to drawing on PDF files and highlighting things. It be nice if we could do all that.

Ok, good good … there are all kinds of mark-up tools that will be one of the first things we do then this morning. Pswhoo. Good to be up and running … I’m feeling good now about the progress made. I might have to check the Word system 2010 at work. Hopefully between the work and home computers we’ll get something up and running without it being on trial.

For now … it’s 7:24 A.M. and we best be heading for our kisses and work!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What happened just before

Good morning … this is me. We’re going to see how far we get with an entry this morning, because we’ve been lacking. We did get to some posting since the weekend – in that we’d last been looking at the new house designs. As much as I like the design we got a call in to the guy with the housing and we finally squeaked out of him that it was like without the land about $180 per square feet … so that put my 2400 sq feet project at about $432,000.

Land minimally would be about $100,000 … so where we’re thinking of trying to keep things just under $300,000 that project is almost twice the cost.

Probably not too realistic. I’m thinking at this point the best alternative might be getting something already built at the Patriot place, but I have to wait there too in that … if we’re waiting another five years, you don’t know what will be available and what costs such as interest will be in place. So much to wait and see.

Really the first thing to do will be to take $250 out of my account after depositing my work check tomorrow to be putting down toward our first collection toward the house. I have to go with it’s a literal plan. Again that part is that … we are supposed to be saving $250 a month and then Rich will save $1000 a month and then in 5 years we will have the $75,000 to put down on a house … that’s at least 25% of a $300,000 house. We have to remind ourselves that getting a house is a big deal and it’s major to be working toward it. On a $250,000 - $75,000 would be 30% of the payment.

It’s going to be a matter of doing our best to work with things. I like the idea of pushing us to save money now … because then after we got a house it would have taught us to do with the extra expense. AND it’s a big deal to think, through building at least a total between Rich and us $15,000 a year toward house. That would mean in 16 years to my 67 year retirement $240,000 toward a house. Plus by then maybe we would have a windfall or have learned to save more toward the cause. It be a really big deal to have things paid off by retirement age … it’s our financial security.

I did check more into Rich’s life insurance policy … he says it will be handled by his mother, but in general … it’s only a $60,000 policy split 4 ways … I can appreciate the split between me and the kids, but still $15,000 … we’re thinking that’s going to go into making sure he is buried right. I am going to have to look at it that way. I’m not sure if he will have the policy after he discontinues working from this company. We are going to need reminding him that he’s got to include doing something like burial before he can talk about anyone getting money. I’m thinking that it costs $15,000-30,000, but maybe I’m way off … I’m not sure about those kinds of things. I’d like to think it won’t ever happen, but thinking it might not be realistic.

Ok, enough of that … this is what happens in planning, right? We’re not even sure by then if there will be a social security. Let’s hope for the best … and then like stated, be moving along.

We’ve been keeping abreast with Linda over the last several days and that has taken some of my writing time and effort. I feel better about doing that in day to day life, while appreciating that I still need time to be over here too. I’m glad that things are in writing so that later if necessary I can refer back to the kinds of things that were happening. I don’t feel it’s as legit as to be saying what is going on in Linda’s life directly, with the exception of some more generic parts like saying … she’s working on a project of such and such. It’s a tricky business.

In general over the last several days we’ve been trying to get through life without medicine. We had been waiting for Dr. M. to return yesterday, but we didn’t realize he’d authorized the medicine on his day off on Friday.

Walgreen’s hadn’t called to say the medicine was ready either. So we stumbled through an emotionally negative charged weekend AND Valentine’s day without the benefit of doubt the medicine gives us.

I was grateful to Rich for sticking it out with me. We had gone as far as stating that our gift to him was to not be mad at him. It was a very big struggle. Finally about bed time we got the medicine and waited the time and then miraculously we felt better and mushy, although too tired to play proper. I have to thank Rich sincerely for being patient with us. I can’t tell you enough how negatively we were being affected and then the rapid turnover. We’d gotten just a little drowsy after having cold feelings toward moving toward him, and then swoosh – we were snuggling to beat the band. If we can hold out for the part where there is going to be a change if we follow protocol then things turn out good. Just have to bite our tongue in the meantime realizing that we’re being set-up chemically to be emoting positively.

We did talk to our mother yesterday. We called CS, but she didn’t call back. We’ll give her a couple of days and then try again. When she is out of touch, she is really out of touch. My mother was feeling no pain for it being Valentine’s Day. It’s as if John wasn’t really gone. I told Linda that we have to remind ourselves that people grieve differently. She’s still being adamant that they didn’t do anything special for gifts on holiday’s or other special occasions like birthdays, because when they needed something they would just go out and get it. I can see the logic in that, but then it doesn’t say too much for the romancing of things as to surprising the other with something special. It’s not all about tangible needs, sometimes its just putting forth the extra thoughts. It’s too late though to play that battle.

During part of the conversation we were trying to get them to think of doing something special like candles at dinner or some Bing Crosby music or something. Margaret is still there listening to all the conversations so we have to be careful to include her in. It’s aggravating, but not much to be done with it. I gather there’s not too much happening. She’s in a world where the medical is dominating most of her thoughts. I can listen to it, but it’s a matter of being polite. I do want to make sure she’s doing ok, but it’s as you know not my favorite conversation. I think after something has happened you move on. I’m so used to talking to people who aren’t overly interested, that I set my thoughts to sound bites when talking verbally. What can’t be said in a sentence of two would take a lot more from the relationships.

I don’t know maybe I’m being a martyr. I’d not like to think of it, but then if I’m thinking and saying these things temporarily privately through the blog, then maybe I’m not making my wishes known well to the other.

But, I don’t want to get into an artificial situation either where people are just giving me time to talk without being interested to give me a “fairer share of time.” I don’t know … maybe I’m reading too much into it. I do have this part where we get to write and that seems to be better for us in getting out our thoughts, plus we have the good Dr. M.

By the way … we have an appointment with him today. It is a switch he made because he had to schedule something else in on Thursday. This kind of stuff really doesn’t bother us much as long as we get make-up time like that of today. We’ll have to account for that though so we don’t forget later in the day as we are busier with other things.

I think beside looking at the house plan … we still have our sewing world to account for. I don’t know how much we told you of other purchases in the past week or two, but we really put out some serious money of late.

This last set of purchases was split between Amazon and JoAnn’s – plus there is now added the new computer we expect in by tomorrow and the design book from this new house place.

The sewing stuff is almost all in. We got extra batting and the biggest deal was our stuff toward setting up the island out here for doing the cutting on the drafting table. We got another portable ironing table, another block and the cutting tools to be working out here without transferring stuff. We tested out that system after it came in with great success. We also took then down the iron that we’d bought but not accustomed ourselves to using. The big deal there was that we were frustrated with it shutting down every ten minutes. We gave ourselves some chance to get used to that, while we were finishing the cutting of Joe and Cari’s quilt. I love the tools part. It seems like it’s a pretty good balance. I love having everything we need and a place for it.

Things along that direction are feeling pretty darn complete with the exception that we’ve got the rotary gizmo and small scissors that haven’t come in yet. Should be here within a day or two.

The one thing that did come in yesterday was an after dinner surprise in that we DID get the three plastic under bed storage devises. That was of great assistance in allowing us to go through CS stash and putting it all in perspective. We filled the first two containers with bulk fabric. It’s pretty much the colorful stuff and there’s a good percentage of stuff at least 2-3 yards. I think … I’m not real familiar with sizes of things unless we unfolded it.

We’re going to look forward to planning on what to do with stuff so that we are using up good supplies that we have without ordering new stuff. Things like batting and backing though are going to have to be purchased. There were only a few pieces big enough or plain enough to be backing. Most of what is there might be better used for making blocks and a fair amount of it was kids’ fabric, so that part is good. I think what we might do is cut out some of it as to the picture designs in the print. Then when we put together the quilts it will be along the odd sizes of the prints. It is just a shame to cut them up in traditional squares and not take into account that some of the pictures on the fabric are quite beautiful – it will have to be a system.

It will be then a bit of a test in putting together the pieces in odd shaped-sizes that will fit an entire quilt in style and form. CS had a few blocks that she’d put together already. Not many, but I could see her experimenting with them. Maybe what we could do is combine the process so that we can have squares and then add the pictures in between the squares.

That would make the best use of the pictures and the scraps. Pswhoo! Love that idea! It might then become our signature line.

Did we mention that we finished cutting Joe and Cari’s quilt? That went then into one of our workshop cubbies to be done at will. Right now we’d like to finish a couple of the scrap quilts. I didn’t find magically the pieces that we wanted to finish the quilt sides of the newest scrap quilt. Maybe there is some darker blue fabric and we can make a one size square, but then again we still have the problem of what then to balance it that is going to match well enough the backing to the top piece. I don’t want to use the picture fabric, because that then changes the quilt to being for a younger person.

The other thing we want to be thinking of is that we’ve got CS EQ7 to be experimenting with too. Maybe with some of the squares though, if we concentrate on them ending up in even 4, 8 or 12” squares, it will be easier to piece things together. We’re going to need practicing with building log cabin type strips with the picture to make the sizes more generic. Just need a lot of time to put into things. After we get the gist of our room put together it will be easier to systemize the other.

We’re going to need to do a better job of obtaining matching backs to finish the quilt. Again CS didn’t have a lot of that and it’s going to add to expenses.

I think we’re talking like needing blocks of 5’ of fabric. Let’s see is that right? Quilt top for regular bed … 72” x 90” (per regular batting size) means cloth 40” x 40” across means 90” long x 2 = 180” divided by one yard (36”) = 5 yards … plus an extra ½ yard to clear things. So that means 5.5 x 10 = $55 for each backing … shoot that’s gotta come out of somewhere! I wonder if we could make up something like we were getting instead of fabric – more like sheets. Don’t really like that idea though either. Better talk to Linda and see what she says … maybe talk here to CS too … she’ll have the best idea on purchasing those quantities at the best price.

I know that you don’t want to get inferior product so that it’s not matching, but it’s not really feasible to put $55 + $12 (batting) or about $70 into each quilt to be given away. There must be a better way. I know that CS used eBay and her person in NY … maybe there will be another means she has of picking up bulk quantities.

AHA! We’re back. We just found a place that specially sold backings to quilts. I went through a lot of places and didn’t like a whole lot we were seeing, but I did find this one place and I chose 3 prints. Two for the current quilts and one more for the next and instead of $55, I paid $32 including shipping for each. The difference was that when you get specifically a backing quilt they have a width of like 108” instead of 41”. It makes a whole lot of difference. I still have to plan for shrinkage, but it should be ok. I haven’t made enough quilts yet to know all about that, but I ordered 3 yards of each (108” x 108” where I only need 70”x90”. That will mean I will have almost a yard to use the fabric on the front side for some of the interior borders to make it match more with the backing. I’m pretty happy about all that.

So, what else before we get to work? I should be there already, but it seems to take me a few moments in the morning. We’re going to need narrowing this down. Maybe we’re almost done though. Let’s see … not much on the housing front … talked about Rich and sewing. A little on my mother … still haven’t talked to my sister, but we’re going to see if she calls after we had placed a message on her machine.

I know that we will do better with work if we just open it up, so were going to post this now and then try pushing that front. We don’t want to lose our privilege and we’re hoping the excitement we feel now for being on the computer and watching our fingers type will carry into the work world.

Let’s get to it then, k?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I know I know ... working through yet another dream

Good morning. This is me. We’re back to writing, but it’s already late in the morning. It’s about 10:45 A.M. We’ve been on another tangent in that we discovered housing plans on our table that Rich obviously printed out. There were like 8-10 models and we were up until late in the morning after Rich went to bed looking at what we liked best. We eventually ended up back at the Builder’s site and we found one model in particular that has us bowled over. We felt optimistic in that Rich found the models first so he obviously is more invested in it than in the past. We thought maybe he was still considering land over by his mother’s, but anywhere on lake or river would be good for me.

I think before we go into all the other things that have been happening, we are going to look point by point on what we’ve been seeing with the house. So, bear with us … but, we’re planning on spelling it out … Ann style!

This is the general first floor plan. It’s pretty awesome, right? I’m not sure where to start there is so much to go through. I guess maybe we’ll look at the plan and then let the ideas play out as they may.

First thing is that the place is about 2400 square feet. It’s about 1600 sq. feet on the first floor and about 800 sq. feet on the second floor. As to rooms on the first floor, there is the great room, dining room and kitchen that are all open to each other. The great room is 15’-5” x 22”-3”. To the west of that is the dining room which is the other half of the front at 15’-5” x 11’-11”, and then the kitchen finishes off that basic square by being 15’-8” x 10’-6”. The living room and dining room has a huge 14 paneled full wall size set of open windows on the south side. It lets a tremendous amount of light into the place, and it has a triangular overhang to cut down on some of the sun. On the east side there is a large stone fire place that is just tremendous. It looks about 4’ x 5”. On either side of the fireplace are nice long windows which face the same side of the building as the covered porch which is 5’ x 8’.

There is a nice entry that opens into the great room and there is a regular size coat closet. Going straight forward you go up to a U shaped landing and there is a linen closet to the north of the stairs. I could see a big quilt going on the wall at the bottom side of the stairs. The stairs look wide.

For the kitchen there are three accesses going into the room … You can enter a large wide space to the east side of the room coming in front the entry/great room, or a wide opening toward the south end going to the dining room or on the north side you can enter the small hall next to the stairs.

From that small hall, you can access the half bath and beyond that on the south side is the mechanical room and a door going out to the garage. There is a slight 90 degree turn north and you find a couple of closets. One – the small one would be for the kitties, and then the back closet would be for extra pantry items … there isn’t a formal pantry. In back of that is the utility room with the washer and dryer. You know what I feel about having laundry on the same floor as the bedroom. And, we haven’t gotten to that, but the master bedroom which will be to Rich’s great pleasure is on the first floor.

If you come back outside this L-shaped hall back to the stairs, just to the north of the stairs is the master bedroom. The master bedroom is 19’-8” x 10’-8”. I think it’s ok being long and narrow in that it allows the bed to be the short way with 3’-4’ getting past the bed, and then with 7-8’ on the other side of the bed you can set up a comfy reading chair and maybe a small TV. Rich and us really don’t watch TV in the bedroom, but I like the option. But, the most important thing is having a reading chair and light.

There are two closets in the master bedroom. On the south wall there is a closet which would be for things like suitcases and laundry. It is at the SW corner of the room. On the east side of the room is the second closet and master bath. The walk in closet would be used for both Rich and me, because it is big enough. It is 11’-2” x 5’. Directly south of the walk-in closet is the bath and that has an open toilet, shower, and double sinks both on separate walls which is nice if we’re both in the same room at the same time.

The only other thing really on the first floor beside the garage which you access from the west wall between the mechanical room and the kitty closet - it is a two car, but I could imagine you could maneuver the design to make a three car garage so Rich could park his boat. With this particular elevation the garage is on the west side. It has a door going out the south side which if there was a lake or river would be the front of the house. Now the kicker part of this particular design is that wedged in-between the garage and dining room is a sliding door going out to a screened in porch. I know the builder has options, so I’m sure you could frame this in with glass, but I’m kind of like the idea that it is screened to get us outdoors, without the bugs.

What made the screened in porch which is 11’-9” x 15’-9” so important is that I’ve decided that is the space where we would build a Jacuzzi. Yup yup … whatever it takes to make that happen. There isn’t a large garden bath in the master room which is really nice because it takes out the guilt in having this whole room for a huge Jacuzzi. I figure it could comfortably be about 10’x12’. I don’t know the general size of Jacuzzi, but after I figured this part out it seemed everything else was a done deal. In this particular design … oh by the way this design is called a Capistrano. Anyway there is a deck which is optional, but I would like that goes the length of the front making it about 40’ x 7’. Nice!

Ok, as far as the layout … this about explains the first floor … we’ll come back to it again, because we have some design ideas – particularly in putting in our furniture without having to pay for more. At this point, it seems the most efficient to not add anything to the cost. It has to be comfortable with our lifestyle and I hate the idea of there being waste.

So anyway let’s imagine now we are going upstairs. The stairs are in the center of the upstairs. The first thing you notice is that the stairs are fairly open and to the right of the stairs you are drawn to the 32’ of hand rails over-looking the Great room and dining room. 2 of the 3 sides of railings frame in what they call the family room. It is 15’-5” x 14’1”.

This is another maker-breaker deal going into this design. The family room if you could guess would be our sewing room. Almost the whole south and east sides of the room are the railings overlooking the downstairs. I would put my 8’ x 5’ (8” at edge of other table sets of tables in the railing corner and I would make it a u-shaped like I have it now so that I could get the three sides of sewing, cutting and ironing. And, just like the ironing table is next to the couch … I would add that same couch to the west wall. It would mean about 3’ between the couch which will be under windows to the smaller ironing table. This is better than the current situation.

There is a solid corner about 3’ x 3’ in the south-west corner which I would place a TV. There are a couple things I would do differently in the room than is happening now … First on the north-west part of the wall opposite a bedroom to the north and divided by a 6’-9” x 6’-10” walk-in closet from the bedroom, well it’s a nice closet, but I would make it a walk-through between the sewing room and the NW bedroom (#2) and then the closet and the bedroom would become my fabric and notions room.

There is one more bedroom on this floor on the NE corner which is the bigger of the two upstairs bedrooms. It is 11’-2” x 14’-3”. That room bedroom #3 would be saved as a guest room. It has a walk-in closet too 6’-8” x 7’3” which I would leave alone. This room would be a guest room. But, it serves one more purpose on both upstairs bedrooms, I would pretty much square in by wooden bookshelves. In the guest bedroom I would leave alone the wall under the triple set of windows for the bed itself. I’d get a queen size bed.

There is enough room for nightstands on either side of the bed.

On the south side of the wall on the east side is the walk-in closet, but then there is about 6’ x 4’ of space for shelves (and in front of that room for a chair like Rich’s and then on the west wall is the door about 3’ and then a plain wall about 7’, which would be covered with books There would also be another wall for books on the north side and that would be about 11’ wide. So in total there would be about 28’ of wall x 6 – 1’ shelves (leaving a foot at the top of a minimum wall for decorative stuff) giving us about 168’ of shelving space. With the exception there would be two areas built out as drafting table size platforms. They would both be about 2’ x 3’ x 3’ bringing the shelving to about 150’ which is really fine.

I like the idea of a built in centered one between the 7’ wall and the other in the middle of the 11’ wall, so for the 7’ wall there will be 2’ on either side and on the 11’ wall there will be 4’ on either side. On the 11’ north wall table would be where the TV sits, and then across the bed on the 7’ west wall would be a writing/computer desk. With such a big walk in closet … there is no need for dressers in the rooms. Right now we’re using up about 100’ of shelving, so this would give us room to grow and also room on the shelves to add warm decorative touches. SO the room would serve both guest and library. The library is an important aspect since so many of the downstairs walls are windows. I am thoroughly in love with this whole idea!

As mentioned before both rooms would have shelving throughout. With the smaller bedroom, I would make ALL walls into one foot shelving and this would be because this smaller bedroom 11’-2” x 10’-8” would again be for fabric. I am estimating 2’ on either side of the west window, 11 feet alongside the north wall and about 7 ‘ on the east wall would be about 120’ of shelving space. This is leaving a small 5’of space half and half of the south wall between room entrance door and closet door blank.

Maybe I would put something there, but in general that 120’ plus an additional 12’ x 6 shelves on either side of the walk in closet (72’) would give me nearly 200’ of space for fabric and notions. This would keep the family room/sewing room real clear for just the tables and machines. On the north wall toward the west side will be the walk-through to the closet/fabric room. There will still be the north side of the sewing room that is about 10’ long. I would put the design board or two along this wall and I would in front of that just leave the ironing table. It’s important to incorporate that in the design.

Can you imagine why I am just excited to no end??? There is one more thing on this floor – there is a full bathroom between the two “bedrooms”. It’s got a single sink, but I figure that is ok. Oh. A couple more things. In the hall on the east side there is a nook that is about 7’3” I would put my desk/hutch for the computer usage here. To the south of this we’re at the railing overlooking the downstairs and this seems to be optimal distance.

If I could do one last thing, I would look toward making the wall above the couch on the west side of the room into a partial wall to ceiling atrium like wall of windows. I figure that if I’ve got the huge opening down below going into the family and dining rooms and that is across from the great wall of windows, the only other thing would be to add a window space letting in the stars. Wouldn’t it just be something as to open and airy?

So that’s about it. It’s my grand plan. There’s only a little more as to decorating downstairs. I would keep my dining table, but put in the full leaf, and there is a wall to the west of the big windows about 5’ wide – it’s just to the south of the double doors going out to the Jacuzzi. That 5’ wall I would put the two baker’s racks and let that be for both grandmothers’ sets of dishes and then on the Great room side across the fireplace would be a space for my couch, and then toward the windows next to the couch (tv goes above the fireplace) would be two chairs like Rich likes with the round table in the middle.

Hmm, forgot something in the 2nd bedroom for the fabric, I would just place my drafting table so like the walls with shelving would bring the room to be about 10’ x 9’ and the drafting table is 4 x 3, so that would allow all around that 3’. That should allow space to work on things in pulling together fabric, but still have room to move around. I’d loose a little because of needing chair clearance, but pretty much figure that is the perfect size and destination for the table. Because the cutting from the loft area is so close to the family room, there would be no need to keep the drafting table in the great room.

As to the kitchen it is pretty normal. There is a L shaped wall to the west and north walls with there being a cornering island marking the SE corner of the room. I like that the sink and dishwasher are in that island area because it is so common to be at the sink or doing something on that counter toward food preparation and it is what faces out to the dining room and the Great room. Along the North wall toward the west side is the stove, and then there is an opening to the back hall and then a counter about 3’ right next to the dishwasher. Virtually the fridge is directly across the dishwasher counter. There’s about a 1’-6” on the west side of the sink and the counter over the dishwasher toward the east is about 5’. Along the west wall which is about 10’-6” is an entire long wall of cupboards and counters. It’s a dream! It is broken up by a double window overlooking the screened porch/Jacuzzi room. There isn’t a basement.

So … now that’s my explanation of how the household sits. As to where it would be built that’s another thing, but I know in the back of Rich’s mind he’s thinking of area around his mother’s place in Millington. I worry a bit in that I’d rather be on a lake rather than a river and I worry with his mom being 80 that she’d die before we could get out there so then there wouldn’t be so much purpose in having chosen that location. I also think the land is at a lesser price because it is so run down as to being a city/town. It’s real old and garbagy like a lot of clapboard. If there was enough land and we were careful as to what was across from us it might be ok, but again I’d much rather live in a little woods/lake area.

I think that is a question I would ask the Lindal people.

Ok, I think we’ve done enough in this direction for the time being. We went back and read about as much as we could. There’s a lot of information, but pretty much built around selling. I think the next thing is to talk to Rich and then maybe schedule with him a trip to the Schaumburg Convention center the weekend of March 4-6. I think he has the poker day on that Saturday, but it’s a lake home and cabin show. There will probably be people there selling lake front property too. I’m willing to give up on all my other dreams if we could do the deal up above. But, I’ve done pretty much what Rich warned against … I’ve been a bit obsessive with this. It’s basically the nature of the beast.

Every test I put up against it it passed. We can even have the three car garage. Now we are going to need a place with water close enough so we can maintain our jobs, but live in luxury that we can consider our retirement home. That’s not a term we used with some of the other places we’ve looked.

This is a very luxurious deal.

I like the cedar classic post and beam series and I like the art/craft models as to décor. I think you heard a lot about my other desires. Just so excited to think of something new … though pretty sure it’s going to be a dash of spirit.

One thing that happened over the week was that Rich used $4000 he had saved to by a spot on the lake.

We’re back. It’s been a while. Rich has been home for an hour, it’s about 5 P.M. and we’re going to go out to eat in about an hour. I just got out of the shower.

By the time he had gotten home we were pretty depressed about the house.

Seeing something you want very much next to then not being able to do something about it is just hard … In this respect I keep beating myself up.

But some groundwork has been made.

Both Rich and us had to work on our communication skills. He had come in with nice Valentine stuff, but we were like … no diamond ring – which was pretty pissy of us. I don’t think I’ve ever used that word before on my blog, but that’s pretty much how it was … best word to explain. It was obvious to me that all I wanted to do was talk about my dreams and he was back to there are dishes on the table. I had a hard time with that. I don’t know how we made it from that point out to a place that I’m actually looking forward to going out to dinner with him, but it’s been a good jump.

There was something in there were we asked, why go to dinner? What are we going to be talking about? If I was going to be dragged through whatever to go out, I wanted a part of the conversation to be about something I was interested in. Otherwise I could just go back to my sewing. He’s been upset for 3-4 days about getting “gypped” in buying his fishy property for too much. He’s a Bohemian and doesn’t like to spend money and someone had said $4,200 so he figured that’s what it was worth, then he found someone else was selling the same thing for $3,000 – at that point things became unbearable for him.

The guy he’d given his down payment too didn’t want to cut him some slack, so eventually what he did was to write off the $600 paid and go with the $3,000 … that way he still saved $600, and the other guy lost the deal – still gets to keep the $600 down and still sell his thing to someone else who wants to pay too much money. Very likely Rich won’t get it back, but at least he saved $600 and half his integrity.

But, one way or another … Rich hasn’t told the first guy yet he changed deals. So he still wants to talk about all this, but as far as I’m concerned we about tapped that whole conversation out.

As we were saying … a couple of things happened … first thing is in all our dialogue with him, he was figuring out my income/expense thing again … and he made the mistake in saying that he would match me in money toward a house.

SO, the new deal which is really the best deal in a long time is that. Each month he is committing to put down $1000 and we are committed to putting down $250. That means we’ll both have to cut back prospectively. I always take my account back to 0 so it will be a big challenge to me, but the benefit is that if the way I figure it … we can both be used to saving $1250 (together) then we could be used to paying that much more toward our living. So intead of paying $900 then we can afford to get a mortgage for $2100.

I know though that he is thinking about retirement. He wants us to get used to spending less – like capping out at $1600 because we want to afford one day both being retired. If we could put in more money that be great, but it has to be at least this much.

Ok, I got it figured out … we’ll say we buy a house for $300,000 and in 5 years Rich will have saved $60,000 and I will have saved $15,000 so that’s a little over 35% on the house. And then we’ll get a 10 year mortgage with about 5.5 interest … plus there’s about 4,500 in tax and insurance … and we start Feb 2016 … so that means we pay until 2026 when I’m then 67 and fully retired. That be then sweet … like we caught up to people in life. Oh and the total … It would mean we’d be paying about $1925 a month. If the first 5 years we’re saving up $1250 between us … that would mean that after we moved in the house we’d actually be paying $225 less a month … this could obviously then go into maintenance costs. SO …

It would mean that oh … forgot something … Rich would have to get money from his Mom and wife for about $40,000 each. I can hardly wait til the wife leaves his money go back to him, but the other part would be sad … it would be because his Mom or Bud died. We figured out that we would probably get something from my mother as well, so then it was like ok, can we make a deal that no matter who gets money first … we put it toward the house?

That would only seem fair. One way or another it’s the most hopeful thing in a long time because it would mean that by the time we retire we’d own our house and then the majority of our money would be for normal expense. I’ll still paying for school, but in 13 ½ years I would have paid off the $65,000 … the present car will be paid in about 3 years. SO, between the car being done … most likely a new loan along the way, but it would mean saving $900 a month less … so with paying … hmm, paying off 10 years at $100 a month would take care of the $12,000 loan too.

WOW … that would mean that by the time I turned 67 … I would have a house completely paid, no more school loans, no more car loan, and no more hospital debt. I’d be DEBT FREE!!!! Oh Lordy … I think we’re now over joyous!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Having such a good life, but so much is happening and left to do!

Good morning. This is me. We don’t have a lot of time because today is a working day, but we thought we are really behind in our writing and should at least try to catch up a smidge. It has been a full week since we’ve written. The last time was a Monday before yesterday. We were so far behind that we forgot our son’s birthday which was on Sunday. Just a lot of stuff going on – but, for now today is a Tuesday and we’re going to work hard to stay on track throughout the day.

Yesterday we did pretty well at work. We got done with only half of what we’d wanted, but the fact of the matter is that we are still working and that’s the most important part. We’d like to make it like that today too.

We had gotten behind the gun last week and should have been able to catch up, but we didn’t. We were putting a lot of time into working, and then there were snow days and so some of that time was used up in sewing projects … I think. Maybe I could check that out? Here we’ll do an outline…

1. Still worrying about not having a house

2. Still handling that my sister have two houses – competitive and jealous

3. All the snow came down – work was canceled two days – worked from home on Friday

4. Decided not to get rid of Rich

5. Told my mother what was happening as to the house thoughts … she had nothing to add

6. Main computer went down

7. Been sewing on the scrap quilt

8. Got in some purchases through JoAnn’s including learning to use the design board

9. Maury found a new townhouse to rent and he moved AND is considering new school for the kids

10. Our mother went through a minor surgery and seems to be doing well

11. Finally got to a Dr. Marvin appointment – still working through issues with CS and then with the security of a house and thinking toward MN – rode in and out with Rich and got to then eat dinner with him – good conversation as to things going on between us like not getting house or communicating well

12. Bought a new computer with tax money, but now not enough for the second book – ran into Rich problems because of needing to borrow money for this month until receive our tax return

13. Lots of watching of the Egyptian crises with the anti-Mubarak protesters and Anderson Cooper

14. Fallen off the WW bandwagon especially due to a couple days eating out and going up to WI

15. Started Joe and Cari’s quilt again and worked over the weekend on cutting CS quilt for her class

16. Got to spend an extra morning with Linda

17. Got to meet with the girls, went over with group what would be happening as to us getting together in the future and continued it to a pizza dinner with the twins and we received a huge stash of extra fabrics leftover from CS and her upcoming move

18. Traded Thom’s big TV for the $680 debt I figured I owed CS

19. Superbowl

20. Was becoming more aware of being behind in the blogging, but not able to get situated just right

21. Started a new quilt with “Moda candy” – about ½ way through with putting together 2 x 2 blocks for top center part of a single bed – placing it on the design board

22. Ordered new supply from JoAnn and Amazon … primarily Fiskar’s scissors and blades, iron-cutting board, and rulers for the front part of the house and 3 regular bed size quilt stuffings

23. Continued one of our present staples in analyzing stuff with Linda

24. Watched over Rich’s cold – doing him extra niceties

25. Talked to CS about coming up to MN on Amtrak and that Linda might like to join us – found schedules and costs

26. Still managed to keep $180 in the bank though don’t know how.

27. Ok, shouldn’t have known that … spent $100 on three more containers for CS stash

28. Feeling so glad for the sake of notes we’ve been keeping up with Linda

29. Received another note from people from our online sewing group – Unearthing Quiltability … wondering how to get that back to the schedule, but then writing an outline like this seemed to be one of those priorities that allowed it to happen

30. Remembered CS and Linda’s birthday, but forgot about the birthdays of Isa and Joe … wondering about my family instincts :)

Oh my gosh … it’s going to take a bit of time trying to analyze all of what’s happened. I think I’m going back and numbering the items, then maybe later when there is more time we’ll be able to discuss some stuff. I know that I have to take my medicine and it’s time to do our homework - maybe then just one half hour more and we should be then on our way.

There … we did a little more. We updated our Facebook page to include a few pictures. We hadn’t put the cake up with Linda and CS birthday weekend and we hadn’t put up the new “Moda Candies” quilt. It’s zipping right along. I’d like to really get it to the point that I could start and finish at least one quick quilt every month or two. We got some of the extra batting after we saw how quick this was going. Ok, ok mentioned that already. Fighting the impulse to want to write and write, but we’ve got commitments at work too.

Having such a good life!