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Saturday, April 19, 2014

After a long Hiatus ...

Friday, April 18, 2014 @ 11:35 am

Hi hi … we’re back again.  It’s been an amazingly long 54 days since we've written and we thought we’d try giving it a go.  The machines are washing and the place is picked up – EXCEPT the bedroom, but we’re just taking a break from that.  It seems that we just haven’t been in the space for writing and that it somehow seemed to take so much time, but now as we sit at our computer, we just feel a wonder of what happened to us, that we weren’t able to do it.  I do know that there were things that were happening that DID take us away from things.  The most important thing was that Chief died on Friday March 7th.  We’ll talk about that in a little bit, but other major things were that I did meet with the girls March 1rst, Rich had his hip replacement surgery March 4th, AND as of about a week ago, we started making the arrangements for getting a service dog.  We also had Austin over one night and all four granddaughters over on one night.  We’re unsure where we are going into Easter, but we did get a chance to see Joe and Cari last Sunday and the BIGGEST NEWS???  Joe and Cari are now just over three months pregnant!  YAY GRANDCHILD #6.  In between some of these other things we did a lot of taking care of Rich the first month after his surgery and was doing all the driving, I got my driver’s license and I’ve made a very complex quilt which started March 1rst with the girls and is now back from Linda doing the top stitching.  We are still seeing Dr. Marvin and we’ve been working on the house – particularly domestic Goddessing … there were nurses and therapy people in for that month that Rich was recovering so there was a lot of keeping up with things AND being dressed first thing in the morning.  Oh one more thing on the house, we’ve got the money almost pulled together so that very soon we hope to be getting the roof done, because the sunroom is leaking like a sieve!  Weather has been changing … early this week we had snow, but it has since disappeared, leaves need to be raked and the tulips are really coming up!

PSWHOO!  Is that enough to convince you we’ve really been having a very busy time?

Time to take a breath.  That was a lot of things to report.  Maybe a bit much for the first paragraph, but we felt as if we were holding our breath keeping all that in.  PSWHOO!  We dare repeat that “Pswhoo”  again. 

So, where do we want to take it from here?  It seems a little strange to be writing again.  It seems also the perfect time for it … in between cleaning tasks.  Lately, I think we’ve been spending too much time on Facebook, just keeping up where people are at – and then, too of course keeping our own roundabouts updated – mostly on the sewing.  Linda was on vacation for a couple of weeks, and then went to see her mother, but things on that front – and touching bases with her on most days now seems to be happening again.  I think she’s happy for us in the part of getting things done – especially sewing.  She of course, is always on the go with that.  She’s really going to be busy now too for things coming up.  Glad to see she’s so happy.  AND, we both just went through Easter eggs with the grandchildren.  She had to teach us how to hard boil eggs.  We actually like her darker eggs more than our pastel, but hey … variety is the spice of life!  We sent our eggs (except two) home with the girls. 

Maybe we should go back over a few things now.  First thing is to explain is what happened with Chief.  Nine days before he died, Chief stopped drinking and eating.  We waited a couple of days, but things didn’t get much better.  The first day he stayed under the bed, then he stayed for a good amount of time in the warm bathtub, and he spent time in our bed and in our lap sitting either in the living room or sitting room.  He never complained or indicated pain, except toward the end it got harder to move and then the last couple of days he never really left being in front of the fire.  We knew right away that he was dying and we spent many days and hours just straight out crying because we were losing him.  There was an odor to his breathing, and we knew that he wasn’t going to make it.  We had to make a choice as to what to do with him.  We decided we didn’t want to disrupt his processes by taking him out of the home.  We might wrestle for the rest of our life in making the choice not to take him in, but our line of thought was that we knew he was dying and we didn’t think we could tolerate the doctor telling us that they were going to put him to sleep at the hospital.  That wasn’t the ending we wanted for him, and it wasn’t the ending we wanted for Missy and us.  Missy pulled away from him that last week, but I think that WAS part of her process of letting him go.  They would lie on the bed together, but not close together.  I think she was really going through processes too and I couldn’t take that away from her.  It would have been different maybe if Chief had shown pain, but he didn’t. 

The time he was going through this coincided one day with the girls' quilting event in Wisconsin, and then we got home from that same night with Rich driving, and then the next week he died. Rich had to go in for his surgery … Rich’s surgery was on Tuesday and Chief died on that Friday.  The first night after the surgery, I stayed with Rich in the hospital.  He’d never been in a hospital as a patient.  After that and a long talk with Dr. Marvin, we decided that we’d stay at home in case Chief needed us.  Those last couple of days were a blur.  We knew it was getting closer and closer by the amount of moving he was doing.  Thursday night about 11 o’clock we left him in the sitting room, and we laid down on the couch.  We heard something at 2 am, and woke up.  We found out that we’d accidentally locked Missy out in the sunroom, and when we checked on Chief … he was gone.  It had just happened because he was still soft. 

For a long while we just rocked and rocked.  Rich obviously was still at the hospital.  He had suggested that we give Maury and Nikki a call and see if they could help if the time came.  So those arrangements had been made.  We’d also checked into a crematorium and into getting an urn.  Rich had saved a box which was the right size and we put a plastic shield on the bottom and then covered him in one of our baby quilts.  Fortunately, Maury and Nikki were able to come out to our home and bring him to the crematorium.  We weren’t sure if we could drive by ourselves after leaving him there.  We ended up asking Nikki to drive us in Rich’s SUV to the hospital and Maury to come with Chief in their car.  The kids visited for a short while, and then they got going.  We stayed with Rich through lunch (salad) and then we waited a couple of hours through Rich’s discharge.  I can’t believe it that we made it through without Rich being there, but fortunately the kids were there at just the right time.  Later that day, we drove Rich home.  And, then on Monday, we went to pick Chief’s ashes up.  We asked for an urn that was big enough so that when Missy goes – they were/are 15 years old almost 16, then she will be in the same urn with Chief.  I have always had the two together and that’s the way I want the final part to go.  Chief has a mahogany urn and its sitting on the center of the fireplace ledge on the sitting room side.  There was space on the urn to place a picture.  We don’t have a colored printer, but we printed out a black and white of my favorite picture of Chief.  It was back at the old house and he’s sitting watching us.  He’s sitting between our sewing machine and the window in the sewing room – with good light coming through.  He looks drowsy, but happy and content. 

So that is what happened with that.  It is very different with only one cat, but we’ve found that all that time where Chief had gotten first of everything between the two – especially food and closeness to us, finally opened the doors so that Missy can now be getting that.  Instead of jumping off of us after a few moments, because Chief always wanted to be the cat on the lap, now she will spend two to three long sessions especially in the morning sitting on my lap while sitting on the recliner in the sitting room.  It is very reassuring for both of us.  She’s also now sleeping with us and getting up on the bed as soon as we lie down which is something before Chief only allowed himself to do.  I’m so glad that she’s found that special bit of comfort.  I don’t know what she thinks as to all the time missed where she and Chief used to cuddle.  I guess I’m her replacement.  They had had a very good life together and we’re grateful that she is still here.  I think it was the right thing to do to let her see Chief going.  I think that animals understand in their own way that kind of thing, and it wouldn’t leave her not knowing why we left out the door and never brought him back.  It felt very natural. 

Rich then is the next part.

Rich had been driving us back and forth to see Dr. Marvin, and we’d get his business taken care of while we were still in or around Chicago.  He was doing the driving one because he always drives between us, two because of weather conditions, and three because we’d gotten unnerved from driving, because of our driver’s license that had expired quite a while before we were able to process it.  During the last several weeks, Rich and I used the time driving to not only talk, but to be reading through the book they’d given him on what to expect from the hip replacement surgery.  I just read it to him out loud and then we would talk about things in-between and discuss what was being said.  I think it was very helpful to him, and it was helpful for me, because until that point, everything had been going on just between Rich and his doctors. 

The big deal there was that he had to wait to get insurance through Obamacare so that we could afford the surgery.  I don’t know the final bill, but it was estimated that it was going to cost $78,000.  We paid or at least am paying his deductible of $3,200.  It was a major thing.  Rich had been limping for about a year and had been surprised when his doctor said it was the hip and not the knee, but the doctor showed him pictures and the knee was just the leftover feelings of being pushed wrongly by the hip.  The day before surgery, we followed all the instructions of special wash, medicine, food and such.  He did pretty well, but was a little fuzzy in some directions like he had just way too much to be processing. 

They were very quick and efficient at the hospital and they explained things as they were happening.  I was able to stay in the room with him until it was time for the surgery, and then we left the room to do the big wait in a large lounge area/reception room.  It was very comfortable, spaced nicely with other people coming and going too.  I had brought Cari’s quilt to finally sew the binding and before we left the hospital, we were already half way through.  They kept me up to date as to the progress and when they moved him to the recovery room, and they told me that the first thing he asked about/for was me.  We’ve laughed about it since, he was very sure that they should tell me that.  It was his first thoughts waking up and we were very touched by it.  They sent him then to his hospital room, and we drove the SUV around to that side of the complex.  They made it very comfortable to be there, and by the evening had brought in a 2nd recliner so Rich and I could sleep hand in hand together.  It was really poetic!

Within two hours of Rich getting into the room, the PT people were there and were very sure he was going to sit up and walk.  Believe me Rich was way ahead of them.  He did very good, but after walking him about 100 feet down the hall they discovered that he was leaving a trail of blood, which I hear is normal for this kind of procedure.  They brought a chair around for him, wheeled him back and cleaned him up.  I’m pretty sure I was the most taken back by it, but tried to proceed as if we were used to it.  Rich wasn’t sure of us looking at the wound, but we thought if we were going to be responsible for him when he got home, it be a good thing to see.  It was almost a foot long with about 34 staples.  They said it was a very neat scar, but to us it looked more like a zipper.  We ate a couple of meals together, but as stated earlier, we left to take care of Chief and Rich was in plenty good hands and he got used to being taken care of AND doing his movement homework!

On the way home from the hospital, we had a talk in that, we said since he had no option other than to be in the car while we were driving he was going to have to learn not to criticize while we were driving, because it was undermining our confidence.  He did pretty good, though it was a little spooky how much time he rode with his eyes closed.  He still had a lot of opinion *GRRR*

At home the first night was the toughest … part of that was being scared that he was going to be alright, and then there were all the little things to set-up like we had to go get his medicine and we had to get some groceries delivered to our car from Walgreens because we couldn’t go in.  Another hard part was that he hadn’t put together the “lift” toilet seat and so that had to be done by us and really challenged us to the most degree possible.  We are very flighty in areas around toilets and here we were expected to be screwing in this and that … Oh LORD … one of our worst personal moments ever.  Rich tried to be good and he was under enough morphine so that he really wasn’t tripping out NEGATIVELY.  Hehehe.  We both got through it; I went through many processes of learning to cook different things, though fairly easy stuff.  Most things were like asking Rich to coach us, and then we'd try to do things "on our own" with him sitting on the other side of the kitchen making suggestions.  He got very good at explaining things the first time, because after that I didn't want to hear corrections.  Eventually, I even made bread with our special blade in the processor.  YAY!!!

Hmm, just took a break and checked the sewing room, AND found that we’d not made the guest bed up after washing the sheets the other day, so we got MOST of the way through that before the back got too much again.  Pswhoo … that was hard.  We were going to try vacuuming at least one or two rooms, but it was just too much.  Have to be on a later round.  We did get somethings done, and we switched the loads from the washer to the dryer and we put in a second last load of whites in the washing machine.  Everything is now processing again.  Rich will be happy to see so much done, and it will allow some extra time to work with him outside tomorrow.  He’s got a few tasks for us, and he needs to do a few things like check his riding lawn mower for a working belt.  I know that I have to pull old vines from the back porch, and cut down rose bush stems he took off one of the big plants in front.  I think we remember where the gloves were and he’s got some new things to cut with … yay!  I will bring the walker out front.  Today though is an indoor day.  DOUBLE YAY!

Rich is going fishing in the morning and he’s arranged for both of us to be at his mother’s Sunday for Easter … Maury never arranged anything.  I suppose he could still come by Sunday morning, but he should confirm SOMETHING … if that’s what is going to happen.  He’s got Nikki’s brother staying there, so I think it affects some of their planning.  PLUS, we don’t know if he hasn’t arranged that time to be with his father.  We’ll see, but definitely, the afternoon now has been planned.  Rich said we may have a few LITTLE surprises for Easter, but we’re pretty sure we’re not getting big ones :*(  Boo HISS HISS!  I think I’m supposed to make some more eggs and color them for him and us.  We’ve got just 3 more egg coloring tablets left, but it should do the trick.  Linda said she used regular food coloring with vinegar, but we don't have that.  Maybe we’ll make like 9-12 eggs.  I love devil’d eggs, but I’m not sure of Rich’s tolerance for them.  He’s not a big egg guy.  Besides that since the place will be picked up … should be good sewing time. 

Oh that’s something new too.  Rich got a job contract, which should bring a little more money into the house.  He’s got to be in Crete – about 1 ½ hours SE of here at least 2-3 partial days during the week.  It means he’s more out of the house and has more activity in his life.  He did work out arrangements with a friend so that he could purchase TODAY a dish-washing machine for one of his jobs, and we’re hoping that it will also bring much needed money into the house.  Part of the money that we have now for the roof; we borrowed from my mother, so it’s going to take a couple of years to pay it back.  She’s also helping with the dog.  More of the dog in a bit.  What had caused us to think of it is that we are now going to be back to steaming/ironing shirts and pants for Rich since he’ll be out in the community more.  It’s a harder thing for us, but today – Day 1 - it went pretty good.  I think this is Rich’s 2nd week on the job.  I think under everything he is loving it though he gets tired.  He’s officially a consultant for a sheltered workshop which is something he’s certainly been involved in over the last 40 years, and he will be managing the workshop supervisor, getting their payrolls updated, and bringing in work along with showing them more efficient ways to be handling product.  We’re really proud of him!

Anyway getting back to the story … Rich had really good help while he was down recovering – just a little more than a month.  He had a nurse twice a week, an OT guy twice a week, and a PT woman three times a week.  Plus, he had doctor appointments.  Most of our hours were really taking care of him.  He had to get up sometimes because it was good for him, but things like being fed three times a day and fetching things and processing things for him fell on me.  Toward the end we got a little grumpy.  I think the worse day was finding like about week 3 that he was “Passing” his OT assignments which were work in the kitchen, but in reality he was still asking to be served breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It was like HEY!  What’s up with that!??  He kind of blushed and stated how nice it was to be taken care of.  So, we couldn’t hold that against him, but we DID start scaling back.  He did good and is now in PT at a center a couple of towns over.  We heard this week that they scolded him for not doing enough home exercises.  He’s either going to need shaping up or they will ship him out!  That’s up for HIS interpretation!  It is nice that we are both back to driving our own cars and as stated … WE GOT OUR LICENSE!

That day of getting the license was kinda funny.  It was a couple weeks ago after he’d recovered to drive me there.  We were going to take my car, but something had happened and the battery was dead.  I mean we were already to the part of sitting in the car with our license documents in hand … and the darn thing wouldn’t turn over.  It took me a couple of minutes, but then we told him we might as well take it in his big SUV.  It was a little scarier, but we’d worked soooooo hard to get to that point of courage.  Just like we had been practicing Rich’s surgery driving in the car, Rich worked with us, and Dr. Marvin worked with us on quizzing us for the written test.  We weren’t sure until the very end, but we did end up having to drive for them too.  It was very scary.  We ended up missing one question on the written test, and 8 points out of 35 possible points we could miss on the driving part.  That was good enough for me … was that like almost TWO YEARS of fear???!!!  Man-o-man we are so relieved AND we are back to driving to Dr. Marvin’s on our own, because Rich really does have to be at his new job too.  The new job goes by the name of “New Hope Center.”  Sweet!

Hmm, just vacuumed the hall, guest bedroom, sewing room and sitting room – not a spectacular job, but around all the important parts.  We plugged the machine in next to cover the kitchen, dining room and living room.  Not sure about the other two rooms – master bedroom and sunroom.  Probably should go look.  THERE … we went back in and cleaned up the bedroom – which was pretty much just making the bed and hanging up a few items.  I think we could get by without doing the bedroom, but we probably should do it just because everything else is getting done.  BUT, DEFINITELY we have to do the sun room floor – that’s just a mess!  Don’t know what happened out there, but are willing to blame it on Rich J  Thadda girl!

Hmm, we did a few other things in general getting things in order and we figured we better eat our popcorn before we vacuum this floor.  That be a good idea, right?  We finished making the guest bed AND we made our bed.  It’s funny how little really has to be done to get things back in order.  Hmm, should wash off the coffee table too.  It is cleared but is always collecting finger prints.  BRB.   There did that and cleaned the garbage can.  The garbage and litter had gone out earlier.  Hmm, did we say that Rich brought our steamer to the sewing room?  We’re trying to work out a pattern that that gets done right away.  We want Rich to get rid of some of his clothes though so if we iron/steam clothes they are not going to get wrinkled in an overly crowded closet.  Hmm, we’re thinking that we should do the paperwork again too.  We’ve done it now a couple times and have it pretty well in control and have to say taxes went in as scheduled.  Well at least mine … we had to pay $240 to get them done, but owed nothing and got nothing back.  Rich paid in part but he had a $7500 tax bill YIKES!

OK, we’re on another back break.  Next we’ll vacuum the hard wood floors and I think we’ll fold and put away at least one load of clothes before getting all the floors done.  I think it’s going to take three times up to get LR, BR, Kitchen, Dining and Sunroom.  Shoot.  I would be happy if it only took us three up times.  Just a lot of hurting L  boo boo!

Ok, moving on … it’s about 1:30 pm now.  I think we’re doing ok on time, but it seems to be taking our complete time today to be cleaning and writing.  We want it done before Rich gets home.  I guess that’s the way it was in the olden days too.  Everything just takes time.  I do seem to remember that Fridays are the best writing/cleaning day.  Now that Rich is more on a schedule I have to say I like being back to my own routines too.  It’s impossible to clean with Rich, he gets in the way and messes up areas already cleaned.  I’m pretty adamant if I have to tell someone to MOVE around the cords.  I don't need someone in a mood to make my job feel harder than it should be.  I hope the dog is going to be able to vacuum ok.  I know they tend to get excited over it.  Not sure where Missy is hiding, but she seems to be out of the way right now.  We didn’t run into her while making the bed.  I’m thinking she might actually be out in the sunroom.  I left the door open.  Hmm, maybe?

Hmm, maybe we could talk about quilting for a bit …  we’ve worked on three projects.  First Cari’s is completed and delivered.  It looks great … she has it next to a big bright picture in her living room.  This is the shot she sent us!

Doesn’t it look perfect there?

The next quilt we started on March 1rst or very close to that, and it has been completed back and front, sent to Linda’s for the sandwiching, and is now back.  We’ve sewn on the machine binding, and now the only thing to do is do the hand sewing of the binding.  This is what that all looked like.  J

Scrap Quilt Front

Scrap Quilt Back

I’m really proud of this quilt … lots of 2” squares on the front.  The design and colors both work, and it wasn’t a dragged out process so that made it nice.  It started off being my quilt, and then I thought Thom’s birthday is coming up so we could give it to him, but then we couldn’t help thinking that he ALWAYS leaves EVERYTHING behind when he moves and sooner or later he’s going to leave Japan.  SO we’re thinking that it’s going to be our quilt again.  Just a lot of work to make it a throw away.  Last time he left Japan … he just took ALL his clothes and uniforms and put them in a salvation army type box.  Same with about $600 of books we gave him … it just hurts too much.  He's been like that through his various relationships too.  Pretty much packs the computer and is out.  I want him to have one of our quilts, but he’s not quilt responsible L  SO … that means this quilt COULD end up on our sitting room wall.  Have to start thinking then of how to hang it.  Soon J  Like stated we still have to hand sew the binding - the mounting part would be hand sewed too.

The third quilt is a quilt for a friend who is probably just days away from having her baby.  We’re calling it the butterfly quilt.  The picture below is as far as we’ve gotten it … there were 17 butterflies done out of 30.  It will have a simple sash and border and some of the pieces are flannel.  I really like it a lot!  We started this one while waiting for Linda to do her magic on the top quilting of the scrap quilt.

We’re all good on the quilts part.  Mostly … Oh and we folded/put away a load of clothes and a small white’s load is finishing in the dryer.  It’s 2 pm now.  Still eating popcorn.  The only other thing about quilting is just that we had a real good time with our quilting group on March 1rst.  This next picture was taken back then.  You can see by my handful of quilt pieces I hadn’t gotten that far on our big scrap quilt yet Hehehe.

It’s a wonderful picture!!!!!  Emily will be gone now for the May and June events due to the part where SHE’S going to have a baby!!!  Really nice stuff and we’re all excited for her!  There’s always something going on with this group.

That may be enough pictures for a while?  We went back and found the picture of Chief too and we put it on the top of the post.  He was a really really good cat.  It’s hard to look at Missy and not think it’s Chief coming around the corner.  We know it isn’t like that … He’s not going to come again, but we feel his spirit is still very much in the house.  We’d like to keep it that way for a long time to come.

The Grandchildren thing is just exploding all over the place!  It was just last weekend we had the four girls here, and Austin is going to be back on May 9th and 10th – weekend after the next quilt group.  There’s a good chance that Linda won’t be there and of course Emily.  Linda needs to go to a coin show with Tony.  I don’t know if that was still being worked on or is in stone.  AND, to top things off Cari and Joe’s baby is due about October 11, 2014.  Isn’t this the most exciting time to be a Grandma!!!  The girls were great over here, but didn’t arrive until late Saturday night.  They had a Girl Scout event AND a pizza thing with the city, and then Maury brought them after that.  They took turns being up with me Saturday and Sunday – most often I was in the dining area and I just waited for them to come 1, 2 or 3 at a time.  Ame and Jade went to bed earliest and Isa and were tired at 1 am, and we hear Jasmine was up to 4 am.  They made up for it in waking up late, but we still squeezed in a waffle/bacon breakfast and we colored eggs.  It’s a little competitive with the phones/social media, but pretty much it went ok.  They also liked being on our bigger computer and that seemed to work out fine.  Afterward, Rich and I took the four girls and met Joe and Cari who are a BUNDLE of excitement.  The girls were real excited about that part.  Joe with his electronic devises are like kid magnets Cari said!  Well actually he’s a magnet EVEN without the electronics, but you know what we mean. 

We then left the girls at their house and only talked to Maury for a few moments when he came out to say bye.  We were SOOOO tired.  Over-tired actually, so that we regressed terribly in age the majority of the way home, at one point Rich said nicely that he didn’t like the whining … so the girls changed up – somehow sounded different let’s call it unique and they told Rich they were singing.  That cleared up that! 

We’re really looking forward to Austin being here too.  By now he’s been on vacation and had a holiday or two, and it’s DEFINITELY OUR TURN!  Yay!

OMG – You want to hear something else exciting??!!!  I was just talking to Linda and she turned me toward our phone and sure enough … Emily just announced she had her baby!  It’s a girl named Adley which goes really well with her big sister Ainsley!   How exciting … just on tip-toes!  She sent a couple of pictures and she’s really beautiful!  Everyone is doing fine J  Just nice warm smiles all around.  Better finish that Butterfly quilt quick!  Hehehe.  We still know she won’t be at our next couple of sewing events – it won’t be until maybe August until she’s back, but I’ll still want to work while the iron is hot!  TWO little girls how perfect is that!

Going to have to come off the cloud now J 

We couldn’t talk to Linda much … she had to get going and we’re still vacuuming.  I’ve got the kitchen and the living room done so far.  Next one is the sunroom … just in case I don’t get things done with enough time for Rich to see everything put away.  He’s headed this direction, but needed to make a stop at the fishy store, then pick-up some mil,k and then stop at his moms.  Wouldn’t be a bad idea to put away clean dishes and fold those last clothes too.  Hmm, maybe we should try vacuuming again, BRB.
Pswhoo done it!  Got the bedroom and the sunroom done, but back hurt so much we couldn’t put away the vacuum.  We’ll do it on the next up.  So what’s left … 1) put away vacuum, 2) empty dishwasher, and 3) fold and put away last load of clothes.  Wow!  This sure has taken a long time today.  Maybe I can take a half a break and then fold the clothes while sitting … no I need a full break too much hurting.  I also need to get a new bottle for ice water.  That’s going to take some up time.  It’s now about 3:30 pm.  Doing so far so good.  Hmm, 4) would be to do the paperwork again.  Will that happen today?  Maybe when Rich gets home and is making dinner … otherwise we’re running out of time.  Thought he’d be home around 4 pm maybe a little after … depends how well his mother is doing with visitors today.  Hmm AND there is one more thing … 5) TAKE A SHOWER! 

Yup yup … nodding head conclusively J

Ok, good … good … got done with 1, 2 AND 3 umm plus water J  Down to just paperwork and shower.  Think we’ll do the shower next.  ACTUALLY, we have some more steaming to do too, but not sure I want to put that on today’s list.  We DID do steaming this morning, Right?  We’ll see.  The nicest part of that is that we found both clip hangers – the long one and the short one.  I use those to do the pants and skirts.  That was like a bonus today.  Hmm, forgot to put the last empty laundry bag back in its place in the bedroom closet.  BRB …

AHH knocked a few other things off the list INCLUDING … we took our shower!  Yay … it’s almost 4 pm.  That’s the ideal for finishing the cleaning up work before Rich comes home.  I know he’s going to feel good about it.  It usually puts him in a good mood.  I like it that everything is done … I don’t know what he’s going to want to do for dinner though.  I don’t remember him saying.  I could start that … just don’t know what?  It’s a Friday so he actually could be thinking something more fun.  I don’t think he took out any meat.  I don’t want to call him, because by now he’s probably at his mother’s.  He has to discuss Easter with her.  I think Rich wants Bud to come home on Easter – Sunday and we might have a four way dinner.  But, I don’t know what Bud's kids have planned.  AND, we don’t know if Rich's mother is going to be civil.  I would hate to go in and just hear them yelling and arguing at each other.  We’ll see.  Rich will include her opinion before things are decided and nothing is firm until after its done. 

I think Missy likes a clean house.  There was a lot of stuff on the floor – dust/lint wise behind the two dining chairs closest to the fire.  I’m not sure what … maybe some of it pencil eraser.  I know the girls took turns being back there.  Eh, it’s up.  This is what happens when you’re a bit obsessive and all you’ve been doing all day is cleaning, well that and writing. 

I can’t tell you how happy I felt all day in getting things done and being like now just sitting here all cleaned up for Rich.  I’m going to hope he lets me do something with dinner and he goes into the other room and takes a shower – from being over his Mom’s.  He’s going to want to clean up today, because tomorrow he’ll roll out of bed, grab a cup of coffee and be on the road – fishing J  We just don’t want to smell the cigarettes from his mother’s all night … we’re in too good of a productive mode making things really perfect around here.  We should really go around the baseboards with a rag too, but I’m all nice and cleaned up … that wouldn’t be any good, right?  Let’s not go COMPLETELY over board!  Being a domestic Goddess Goddess Goddess!  Hehehe

We are getting pretty close to the end of the writing … got to refresh.  What DIDN’T we talk about?

Hmm, we could add here that we’ve been having our ups and downs with the piano.  We are more toward an up now though we should practice today too.  Almost all the time Rich was home in recovery, we never went toward the piano.  It was a terrible piano time.  I think now looking at things in retrospect, there was just too much going on between helping Rich and the Quilting and trying to keep things looking good because of all the people in the house, so that, something had to get cut off.  Piano is a very high priority, but it’s not at a survival level.  We were really counting on the sewing to keep our sanity.  It’s hard to be a caretaker because of all the energy going out to the other.  Things like getting bags of ice for his swollen legs or medicine at midnight, or to prop pillows … just stuff wears you down.  Everything that had to be gotten for TWO lives were getting done just by one person … Like we’d sit down and he’d say … well the next time you’re up could you … Then, we’d feel bad to make him wait so would pull ourselves up and get whatever he needed next.  Basically, I can go on for a while, but we’re JUST NOT that nice!  *sigh*

One of the good things he did was that well, I brought in the table actually, but “WE” brought him my little sewing table and it was put next to his chair.  That seemed to work out well.  His chair gave up, but he had a little corner of the world to sit and watch TV or work or play on the computer and even eat.  It was like having a hospital table in your room next to your bed.  It helped to ground things.  Just when I stood up, I’d glance at it and see if there wasn’t something we could take off of it to get rid of the cluttered feeling.  OHHH one more thing.  Recovering people?  Not so hot in SOME important areas.  That’s cleared itself up now, but we’re pretty sure it had something to do with us getting crabby at the end.  I know nothing you don’t hear here.

OK... OK … Figure we better write about ONE MORE THING … I know it was a long time ago and maybe you forgot, but there is a good chance if everything goes right that we’re going to get a psychiatric service dog.  I will cut and paste something Dr. Marvin and I wrote last night that talked about some of the things the dog would do.  I hope he would do.  Wait a sec.

First of all before the "agreement part" there is Dr. Marvin’s letter to Katherine.

The letter was necessary for Katherine to get things going.  That and a check.  It is Pretty expensive, but not anything like the $10-50,000 some of the researched big-box trainers were charging.  Part of the charge though is for training and there is part of the charge for the purchase of a dog.  In the bracket we’re in, we’ll most likely get a rescue dog, which is a dog rescued from whatever its previous situation.  Someone is keeping it a live and often giving it medical care if that is necessary.  I did a lot of research before I thought of the service part in looking at regular dogs.  Usually the places that offer the dogs (that are researchable on the Internet) charge $3-400 to pay for spaying or neutering, microchip, vaccinations, check-up and such.  It’s a fair deal and they’ve been paying also for board, shelter, food and such.  So there is no begrudging the costs of an otherwise free dog.  There are a lot of people out there just trying to match-up dogs with a lot of love with loving people.  It’s a great service.

Sometime during the process of looking for dogs, we noticed an ad for service dogs.  It made me think because we’ve thought of them before.  One of my favorite books as a young kid was a book called, “Follow My Leader,” which was the story of a kid about ten who was accidentally blinded by a fire cracker incident.  The basic story is that he learns to cope and part of that is being paired with a guide dog named, "Leader."  Guide dogs and dogs that assist people that are hard of hearing are both service dogs.  So is dogs who work with peoples physical disabilities whether mobility, seizures, diabetes and that kind of thing.  But, as well, we discovered there were dogs that worked primarily with people with psychiatric problems.  And, that’s where we come in. 

The basic service dog is taught these skills

·         Summary List of Minimum Basic Behaviors (Primarily 2002 Delta Society- Service Dog Education with some changes)
o   Static Positions, Postures, or Behaviors
§  Sitting
§  Lying Down
§  Standing
§  Staying
o   Basic Movements
§  Walk/Run/Halt/Stop
o   Movements Relative to Handler
§  Focus on Handler
§  Moving with Handler
§  Going to Specific Position
§  Moving Backward
§  Coming to the Handler
o   General Positioning
§  Behind
§  In
§  On
§  Off
§  To
o   Manipulation Movements
§  Touch
§  Picking up the Object (including water and phone– Ann’s Diabetic)
§  Retrieving the Object/or bring note to object (including Rich)
§  Dropping the Object
o   Social Behaviors
§  Being handled by or retrieving others i.e. significant other or emergency
§  Interrupt Current Behavior
§  Eliminate on Command
§  Accept Greeting by People/Shake Paw
§  Allow Body Examination
o   Being at Home
§  Inside
§  Outside
o   Being in Public
§  Inside
§  Outside

The last part “Being in Public” means that all service dogs are allowed after being trained to go into public places such as restaurants, hotels, airplanes, or anywhere else that serves the public.  They can’t go into an operating room – or one that is quarantined, but they go into almost every other place.  They can be kicked out if they are out of control or not in control of their elimination behaviors (dog bathroom?)  I’m not sure what you call yet dogs that have to go to the bathroom.  *sigh*  This next part then would be the behaviors that we’d like the dog to do extra according to my own psychiatric issues.  The questioning part is that we’re still at the stage of asking Katherine the trainer if these things are possible.  I know many of the things are chained behavior from the skills on the minimal list above like oversleeping might be the stimulus to licking me in the face as well as when we are having nightmares.  And, feelings of panic might be the dog putting is head in our lap or giving us a little bark, or putting paws on upper body.  Basically, I believe most of the things below are doable or at least worthy of asking Katherine.  I'm not sure if we're WAY overboard in request, but after a lot of thought these are the most particular concerns for us.

o   Can the dog be taught to know when medicine has been missed (change of behavior) or  Retrieve back-up medicine
o   Reminder from the dog AND Ann need to take the walk/exercise, i.e. bring the leash or toys.
o   Depression
§  Can the dog read sad, angry, upset moods and provide tactile stimulation? Does it need to be behaviors?
§  Over-sleeping – assist to wake-up and follow routines
§  Nightmares – reality checks
o   PTSD/Anxiety
§  Feeling panic in outside situations, then could the dog lead me to the closest chair/door?
§  Help with managing sitting (calming/resting) on the walker when needing a break. Convey it is OK to be wherever we are
§  Feeling overwhelmed or stuttering – i.e. confused, panicked, scared, unsure, dizzy, hyper-vigilance,  looking for perceived safety  - space/environment, or responsible other (internal selves or external people) – bracing
§  Provide a nose nudge or bark as an excuse to leave an upsetting situation
§  Stay close and barrier Ann from others in tight crowds
o   Dissociation
§  Spending a lot of time on one activity – may not be able to recognize specific behaviors, but if the dog can interrupt every XX hours.
§  Regressions/rocking/foot tapping – dog could help ground, stay connected to older parts
§  When parts switch and they don’t know what’s going on could it help ground? 
§  Deep Pressure?
§  Nudge Ann during fear provoked “freezing” or paralysis-type behavior
o   Frustration/Anger
§  Can the dog help me recognize it and calm down?

It was kinda strange working out the lists – the first one primarily comes from a publication put out by an organization that works with Service dogs.  The second list is partially in response to suggestions put out by several other organizations on how dogs can help, but it is really tailor made to problems that we still have.  I’m a little unnerved by people asking like “why do WE need a service dog?”  I understand that series of questions happens a lot, and it started at first mention of a service dog with my closest friends and family.  I’m not sure if it’s a compliment or not, but one of my Grandchildren said this weekend, you are not sick enough to get a dog.  *sigh* To be fair, we’re on best behavior around Grandchildren, like she didn’t see the total regression after we dropped them off at their home.  Nor, does she understand that other than Dr. appointments, piano, gas station and Qwiki-mart that we go barely anywhere by ourselves without Rich or good friends.  We tried going even to the local church for quilting and then to a friends, but after a handful of times we were terrified to go back.  It’s a lot of figuring and figuring when those kinds of things happen, or in trying to understand why we can’t walk around the block.  We know that part of it is physical because of being unable to walk for more than 7-8 minutes, but as well we couldn’t mentally get past the part of using the walker and sitting half way down the block and just sitting there while our back rests up.  We feel traumatized by just sitting with no apparent reason while our back rests.  With a dog ... we could feel as if we're just taking time to give him attention.  We believe these things will be possible with a service dog who is trained to help us get through those tasks, or ground us in behaviors that let us know that things are ok.

There is another aspect of getting a service dog – and that’s tied to the part above about things like getting locked in behaviors where we have a hard time breaking away to do other things that are necessary like when we get over obsessed and that is just having the dog trained to pull us away from tasks like getting his leash to encourage us to step away.  This part where the dog encourages us to for example go outside for our sake is the whole part of getting us to move more and do exercises – like walk with the walker, or just be outside.  Like I know it is terribly difficult for us to even be out in the yard to do simple things like the three minutes necessary to rake the leaves from the post where our tulips are coming up, or getting mail, or sitting on the front patio. 

There are also responsibilities that are going to come with the dog that should be good for us even though they frighten us now.  Like we’ve been told in no uncertain terms by Rich that we are the ones that are going to need taking care of his messes in the yard and feeding him, and by all means getting him the exercise he needs.  Like we know that the dog is going to need to walk at least a mile or two each day, he is going to need some free time to be off leash, and he’s going to need practice walking me with my walker and in public spaces – both indoor and out.  We are working on getting a HoverRound for the longer walks, but the back-up to that is that my mother has a scooter she’s calling her three- wheeler.  At least I think that’s what she means by a three wheeler.  We’re going through the process – seeing our regular doctor on May 1rst to see if we can qualify medically for the HoverRound.  We’re not sure if it’s going to work, because we can get around in our house by as like stated earlier just doing short tasks and taking breaks in-between.  What we really need it for is outdoors.  They did the checking and they say we qualify for it through Medicare and our Supplementary insurance; it’s a matter if we can get doctor approval.  We’ll find out in a couple of weeks.  We’re hoping for the best, but in the meantime there is back-up.  I have to ask my mother for the name of her “three-wheeler,” so we can make sure we’re on the same page.  There’s a possibility it could be more of an ATV too … I know they had those kinds of things for getting them in and out of their deer shack.  The problem there would be if it would be too noisy for the dog.  Getting it around would be another difficulty.  If it is the smaller scooter, we might be able to transport it with a ramp in Rich’s SUV, but that’s still an unsure point yet.  The HoverRound has a carrier for the back of his vehicle – needs a hitch, but that’s an extra cost that isn’t covered by insurance.

I think in all reality that we’re going to have to stick to the idea that we’re going to need the more portable walker in most situations and then keep the e-mobility thing as something at home just to be walking the dog his mile or more.  That would be MUCH too difficult for me with the walker … it would take hours.  As to getting the dog off leash to run, Rich is saying that we could probably use the area – parkway type space in front of our house which is owned by the park but we’d have to consider a few things.  Like one, is it going to be something that the park would allow?  And, then would it be safe enough with the road on the other side – people going really fast?  And, then how much could we trust the dog not to run away.  I know that he’s getting special training and SHOULD be trustworthy to come when called, but there’s still that worry.  One of the other ideas is to talk to a woman named Ellie who we met through the church quilting.  I think she’s fairly close to the area and she had said she had 6 acres of property, so we would want to ask her if we could run the dog in her space.  Obviously, we’d still be picking up after the dog, but it would be really good for the dog and give us the chance to bond more with Ellie who I really did like.  We could also check in the state parks nearby.  I know that most parks don’t allow dogs off leash, but that is something that has to be checked out.  Sometimes service dogs have more leeway. 

These in general are the kinds of thoughts and questions presenting to us in consideration of getting a service dog.  There’s a lot of worry about can we do it.  I know we can be very responsible, but there are the parts where … the reason we are doing this is because these things are so hard for us in the first place.  Dr. Marvin of course is the most enthused about it as to the potential the dog would give us to be leading a more normal life.  I think he worries too that we can’t walk into stores or do activities that require us to be out in the community.  When we talk about the worries, then he also reminds us of something we haven’t felt in a long time of not having a dog that is how much unconditional love that goes between a dog and his owner which will motivate us to do our best. I know that Dr. Marvin had three dogs, but one died, and I don’t know if that dog was replaced.  I guess that's a side-track - we got that from his secretary and not him, but we did know he had at least one dog (and at least one cat) because once he got a black-eye and he admitted that he’d got bumped by his dog.  Ok, that gave us a nervous giggle.  No one wants to believe her psychiatrist is vulnerable, but then on the other part it gave us this really positive energy in feeling that Dr. Marvin had a connection with animals.  It just goes on and on in making him more perfect!

I think one of the things that we’re going to go through a lot beside people asking what the dog does is people connecting with their own thoughts on dogs whether they had a good or bad incident with them.  Some people have lost their dogs, or have had experiences where they couldn’t replace having an animal in the house, and others have had bad experiences like we’ve already heard from two people that they had a bad experience with a dog – especially German Shepherd Dogs where someone was attacked.  I think it is a normal thing though in that dogs seem to have real intense emotions tied to them and everyone thinks to a time that a dog was for some reason very important in their life – or even that they never had the opportunity to get close to a dog.  Many of these people have seen other situations and find they are still curious.  I am amazed at how many dog and cat videos and pictures show-up on Facebook, especially now that we’re paying attention to those kinds of things.   

Another thing that we’ve been tuned into is how many sites – both through webs and Facebook AND Youtube that tie into dog groups and common experiences.  There are a couple groups in particular on Facebook that we’ve keyed into that are for people with service dogs … one is for more informational and discussion and another is called “The Park” and is for more comfortable and less-critical conversations on service dogs, and there is another one that is for legal advocacy of the dogs.  That one has a lot of support like what happens if people are giving you static about allowing in your service dog because they are not knowledgeable about the laws.  I found out about one site for people who train their service dogs and the woman said I should introduce ourselves, and then there was this discussion where people were giving me advice on what kind of dog to get both breed and then in consideration of getting the dog by a breeder or a rescue dog.  It seems like people who have dogs have really deep opinions on what is the correct way of doing things.  It’s been a really learning opportunity.

I think the one we spend the most time though is through Cesar Millan – the dog whisperer.  Katherine our trainer says that she and others were using his principles like with the pack training and being a pack leader before Cesar made it an everyday conversation in the world.  So, in general, we started watching videos from him.  We want to learn everything we can, and we know from having watched his show in the past that he trains people more than he really has to train the animals.  I don’t want to be a problem to the dog. 

Maybe a little more on Katherine now; I had started this whole chain of events because we were looking at regular rescue dogs and in the process we came across something on service dogs and we decided to see what the qualifications were.  We were surprised, but amazed as well at the knowledge that there were dogs trained to help people with psychiatric problems.  I had no trouble qualifying for that.  Katherine needed a note on file stating that we qualified in that respect and Dr. Marvin wrote out the note.  I think we had a picture of it above.  Katherine lives in South Dakota and we figured out yesterday that she really lives on the way west sides of the State near the Badlands and the Black Hills.  I hadn’t realized it was that far west and we know now it’s going to be a 14 hour trip to get there.  It’s just slightly farther than going to my mothers.  Hmm, maybe my mother’s is more like 11-12 hours.  One way or another, we’re going to need going out there to first get the dog – bond with him and learn with him from the trainer, and then secondly we will have the dog in training, and then will have to go back to SD to finalize the training.  AND, to do all this is going to be expensive.  We’re still negotiating all that, but we know it will be at least $2,000 and maybe up to $3,000.  Coming up with that kind of money has been a real struggle, but we are working through my mother to extend our loan.  Hopefully, with Rich’s new consulting job and all the business that entails, we’ll be able to pay her back sooner than later.  It’s a work in progress.

Katherine originates from Milwaukee, and then seems to have lived most her life in Texas where one of her jobs was to assist in getting a facility for animals built.  And then, she and her husband seems to have migrated to SD.  She seems soooo nice on the phone and we’ve been doing a little text messaging on the side.  She does things with dogs like having a doggy daycare, training service dogs, teaching classes, and offering services like grooming.  I really a appreciate that she is way lower than the cost of some organizations that are just off the roof crazy expensive!  There is no way we could afford $10-50,000 for a dog and training like we saw advertised several other places. 

AHA!  Just got some coffee – we’ve been typing this last part mostly on the service dog for a bit the next morning.  I think we woke up about 3:30 am and it’s now almost 5 am.  We decided yes we are up for sure so might as well start coffee, especially since Rich will be getting up soon to go fishing.  YAY FISHYMAN!!!  It will be the first time he goes this year and the first time with the new hip.  GLADLY, he’s going with Bob, so I feel a little better about his safety.  Bob has a seat instead of a stand in the back of his boat, so I’m more reassured Rich has extra stability until he re-develops his sea-legs.  It’s a process, you know!??  AND, from what I understand he might go fishing with the guys next weekend too.  I’m not sure if that one will be a long day or an overnight or two.  I get confused because he’s now in a few organizations.

Anyway, probably be taking a break soon because he’s going to get up and be getting ready.  I think his car is packed and it’s more a matter of waking up with some coffee so he can drive the 30 minutes to the club where he’ll meet Bob.  Hmm, just thinking that Bob changed the time to meet for 7 am, so that Rich might not have to get up until 6 am.  Ehh … good for him!

Anyway back to Katherine and the service dog.  When I talked to Katherine about a written agreement, she suggested and we accepted that we write something out that includes things that are important to us.  Well, ok you know that we can be a little exuberant.  We take all these kinds of things on the high zealot scale and most of the agreement issues are a matter of clarifying things that we are unsure of or would like to see in writing so all the parts including those not talking to Katherine directly understand what is happening … we talked to Katherine about the kinds of things that keep us up at night.  Beside sending her this list, we sent several documents letting her know about us and our disabilities through things we’ve written before either through our book, blog or other.  Her package was about 32 pages.  *sigh*  I hope she can handle me/us too.  I think it’s now out of our system, but there were a lot of questions.  Dr. Marvin helped me with the first part, and then we continued the list for several hours after we got home on Thursday.  This is where we’re at:

Notes for the negotiation of an Agreement/Understanding between Katherine Andrews, Ann Garvey and Dr. Robert Marvin

·         Costs
o   Payment schedule with specific goal - $2000? Negotiate the extras.
o   Should I belong to any associations and are their other unknown costs?
o   Is the cost a flat fee or fee-specific for dog and services offered?
o   Is there an official beginning and end to services
o   Can Ann exchange some training time (past agreed $2000) for her assistance in developing service dog related material on web-site (submitted to web developer), co-write a service training blog/club for website (a written/pictorial dialogue How things happen – the excitement, ups and downs and all), provide annotated links, or formalize FAQ by asking questions, and then transcribing Katherine’s responses through an online voice recorder (smartphone)? [Katherine would own all published material].
o   What happens if you are in the middle of the training and it’s not working out for the participants and/or dog?
o   When do I own the dog?
o   Are there any guarantees?
·         Dog specific
o   Will there be general  exams i.e. health, physical, aptitude, temperament
o   Will the dog be tested for breed-specific disorders?
o   Spade or neutered
o   Microchip?
o   Are there preferences between pure bred, mixed, rescue, shelter, other, and is there an ideal age for training service dogs?
o   Can the dog be renamed?
o   How often for recommended vet visits per year?
o   Ideal height, weight and characteristics of chosen breed
o   Safety concerns for dog and/or Ann, family, friends and community
o   Will the dog be tested for getting along with others – dogs, cats, kids, etc.
o   Behavioral issues past, present and goal including jumping-up, barking and sniffing
o   What’s the life expectancy of the dog and expected service length?
o   How do I know that I’m not overworking a dog?
o   Does the dog have work time and down time?   Is he always “on-call?”
o   If there are medical concerns before I got the dog, who would cover?
o   Is there a time range for training?  Goals?
o   How do we know it’s time to pass training from Katherine to Ann?
o   Who has final decisions, or will there always be room for negotiation?
o   What kinds of communications are encouraged between Katherine and Ann – frequency – once a day, week, month, as needed?  Will there be regular updates written/pictures (blog) that are not obtrusive?
o   Cesar Millan’s – priorities followed of Exercise, Discipline and then Affection as well as following the pack leader (Ann), direct and non-direct eye contact, and submissive behavior with other animals?
o   Canine Good Citizen?
o   Emergency Numbers and links to important service training sites and support people/groups?
o   What would the daily schedule be like?
o   Is there a philosophy of the time the dog spends out door on leash, or off-leash?  Are there reassurances the dog will always come back and not run?
o   At what point does the dog cross over from “in-training” to “trained”
o   Are there any really essential rules to be followed?  How much does instinct play a part?
o   How is the cross-over made between Katherine getting appropriate dog task related responses to Ann getting the appropriate responses?
·         Equipment needed?
o   Halter, vest, leash, foot protection?
o   Treadmill?
o   Acceptable for dog to carry backpack with phone, IDs emergency contacts, plastic bags and a few copies of service dog legal rights (Ann doesn’t carry a purse)?
o   Cage, crate – sleeping preferences at home
o   Food and other supplies (training treats, bones)
o   Material on methods of training dog, written by Katherine, recommended books, links or Youtube videos?
o   Any special traveling equipment?

·         Ann Training
o   Any pre-training or reading before getting the dog.
o   Any knowledge that Trainer needs about Ann physically or psychologically
o   How and when to go to South Dakota, how many times, how long each time, accommodations
o   Special test of skills (beginning, middle, or conclusion)?
o   What and how often should I be practicing the training methods?
o   Will there be additional local training in IL from other trainers?
o   What encouragements and reinforcements are needed? Chaining? Verbal cues or other?
o   What qualities make a good trainer/handler?
o   How would the Ann’s dissociation (separate internal parts/abilities) affect the training?

Again there were a lot of questions.  In part after we finished the list a it is now, we figured that maybe the kinds of questions we were asking could be made into a FAQ for Katherine's new web site and we suggested that too with the knowledge she’d have to think it over and we probably won’t hear back from her until next week.  It’s ok.  I think we’re on a good place for a hold …

Hmm, little break here to calm down again.  Rich had gotten up and then he started doing all the things that could have been done before like looking for his parking pass and getting his fishing license.  That and other things were very aggravating to him and he left for sure thinking he was never going to make it … another thing he had to do was fill his mother’s medicines and drop them off.  I’d call it a panicked state though in reality he was just four minutes behind schedule.  I can’t emphasize enough how little good it does to get that upset because then he gets upset with me because he doesn’t want to get upset with himself, so it becomes me who is blocking whatever it is what he wants … like if he can’t find his pass then I must have put it somewhere.  It’s a lot of stress because I can’t do much for him and we DON’T want to be at the receiving end of all that turmoil that is going on in his mind.  I’m pretty sure that a lot of it stems from being raised with his mother.  I know it’s a hard thing to blame forty years down the line, but every day he’s with her there is a new crisis and they both flip into auto exchange of emotional volley’s … there is always something … last night she called and wanted to get her aid to take care of her not only in the evening, but also in the morning.  Rich was dumbfounded.  Right now this particular aid who is NOT agreeable to Rich is getting paid for 3 hours of work, but only does one hour each day, and now something must have happened in her job so that she’s talked Rich’s mom into firing the morning aids that DO come in full time and do REAL work – other than sit, talk and smoke with his mom so that the evening aid can get paid also for the morning where she’s not really working.  He just gets so angry so fast and now is saying she’s ruined Easter for him *sigh*

On the good side, Maury did call yesterday evening and set up Easter morning to be here with the girls, and we’re imagining Brody Nikki’s brother too.  They will be here about 8:30 am and leave by 11 am because he has to drop off Ame and Isa at their mother's by noon.  It should be a nice breakfast.  Rich is going to do waffles and bacon and Maury and Nikki are bringing potatoes and eggs – Mmm, maybe even in a dish with both ingredients together!  Neither of us knew what was happening at his father’s or with Joe and Cari – just we knew that Joe and Cari were tied up.  Most likely with one of their parents.  BUT, one way or another we get to have the girls here!  YAY!!!!  Very nice.  I didn’t know if they’d be coming when cleaning up the place yesterday, but now we’re glad we did.  We did focus on getting it nice for Rich, but he wasn’t in a really good place yesterday for handing out “good Ann’s.”  *sigh*  We did get some, but not a lot.  He went into a thing walking in the door where he wanted to go out for Chinese.  Of course we’re not ready to go out at all and our hair was still wet, PLUS we just don’t want to go out.  There was absolutely no preparation so that we could settle down our minds and we felt panicky. It was an in day.  So we had to go through his anxiety and ours though it shouldn’t have been something that happened with planning.  It was then a matter of opening the phone book and seeing who delivered.  That’s what happened in the end.  Just worry about how excited he gets.  He likes to share and then all’s a mess L

Ok, sorry sorry … just feeling the unsettled part of him just having left in a panic.  I KNOW he wanted to go fishing and it’s the first day, but it just can’t be good for either of our hearts?  Right?!  Another thing that happened yesterday was that he was doing a good business day … had received a nice work check, things were going good, and his washing machine for the job he’s working on was going through, but then he got a letter from the company that stated that the check he’d sent online hadn’t gone through, and so then it was turmoil again until he put it together.  I know that he just wanted to fish today and it was something else in his way, so we told him if he wanted we could go to the post office this morning and send the letter one day delivery.  That was doable, but then he started to fall apart again because he didn't want to do the envelope with checks in it we said we would need and wanted before the next day.  Then we were like - Ok Rich,  This is just something you do because it’s YOUR job, not mine.  I said here’s a pen, you know where the envelopes and stamps are.  Then we had to apologize because we knew he was tired, but he did sit down and do it which seemed to actually calm him.  I will go early this morning to the post office, and give him a short call to say it’s done so it’s not something he has to worry about fishing this morning.  Usually, we don’t call him, but if we could de-stress him, it would be worth the effort. 

AHA!  Post office opens from 8:30-12 pm.  I will get dressed right away and then be ready to go when it’s time.  It’s about 6:45 now – so we’ll leave in about 1 ½ hours.  Hmm, maybe we should jump in the shower right away too.  Ok … good deal and when we get back DO MEDICINE!  I’m not sure I’m going to be able to handle it, especially if there are other customers and a line and such, but maybe not everyone gets up right away?  We’ll see. 

GOOD ANN!  We got showered AND dressed by 7 am … that must have started a new record!  Next will be to make the bed right away … pick up the few things around the house AND fold some blankets (it was chilly last night) AND then hmm.  Well, there’s been internal talk that we should wash the sitting room carpet.  COULD do that? Hmm?  Oh yes, of course it be after we went to the post office … we can do it, right.  Just one foot in front of the other?  HOPING this will all be easier after we get the dog, then it will be like – hey!  You wanna go for a car ride?  And THEN, he’ll be standing at the door waiting for us and encouraging us with healthy happy mannerisms.  I’m worrying now about whether or not to bring the walker.  If we can get in and out right away and nobody’s waiting, then it will be better without.  It's a long ramp OR stairs.  Maybe we’ll get there a few moments early and then wait until all the people going in have come out.  Everything else is ready and Rich left some money, so we’re hoping that it will be quick.  Please, please…

Ok, girls.  Let’s not do this right now.  We’re just going to go as if it weren’t a big deal and then we’ll just be done with it.  It was the right choice to offer Rich.  I could see the appreciation on his face and we KNOW he’ll feel relieved after its done, right?

Shoot shoot, why do we keep going through all this? 

Maybe one more thing on the dog this morning?  Katherine has a few potential dogs that were pre-qualified through someone she knows working in the rescue field.  One dog is a collie, and the other dog is a lab.  When she first talked to us, she said that a lab or German Shepherd Dog would be too high of energy for us.  We really wanted the shepherd OR lab, but then we got used to those not being options, and THEN she said the collie and lab were possibilities and we got all excited all over again.  They are a stretch for her to get to and I don’t think the dogs had been returned to the shelter yet, so all we know is that she will probably take a look sometime HOPEFULLY early this next week.  I couldn’t even imagine getting to have a collie.  Just sorta figured they were too high end a dog for us.  Of course, then we went through and looked up a few things and found the dog we really wanted was a collie that was “rough” and sable/white.  That’s the kind of dog lassie was … rough has to do with its long hair.  Oh yeah we could brush him!

Hmm, one more thing too … I think before we cut off we were talking about going to see Katherine to get the dog, and then later to have the dog tested.  I had thought originally she lived in Sioux Falls or Sioux City instead of Rapid City, but pretty sure now that we were off.  We found her place on the map.  Originally, I’d thought of course Rich and us would go together, and then I thought if I go by myself, we could extend the trip to as much time as the service dog and Katherine needed, but then we saw it was like 14 hours and started thinking again we’re going to need Rich.  Also, because we are so close to some really scenic places, we would like him to go with us so we could see stuff.  We wouldn’t be able to do that on our own.  It would probably also mean making it a two day trip.  I’m not sure how Rich feels about that … we haven’t presented him with it being on the other side of SD yet.  It would work out, right?  We DO need a vacation or two!  Hmm, how do you like the name Dakota for a dog?  Been thinking of that name a lot for either a male OR female – just feeling it out J

Ok … think that’s the majority of the stuff we wanted to talk about.  There’s probably a few more things, but with the pictures and charts we’re already up to 28 pages on a Word document.  That’s pretty far along for anyone to write or read.  Not quite yet, but we’re getting close.  We still have an hour left, but know we’ll want to go back and read over what got written to see what all was added, though maybe not by who.  We’re just like that you know?

Hmm, can we say a little about the piano?  You know we started on January 8th, 2014 and now it is April 19th, 2014 … We’re going to see if we can upload a couple of songs we are working on now … it’s like 14 weeks after starting … Pretty long time, right?! 

Hmm, think it’s time to go to the post office.  We were playing around a bit … listened to the songs a few times and posted them on Facebook.  Now we’re listening to our calm “Music of Hope.”  We went through the emails and caught up on the Sandwich real estate.  Never have regretted buying this property.  There are things to do, but now Rich is saying that we’re going to try and do not only the roof – which might be in a few weeks, but as well, maybe toward August he’s thinking we can replace some of the windows which should help with heating and cooling.  He did finally get in a handyman who he will be comfortable in having over again.  He fixed the electrical in the bathroom, the leaky toilet in the other bathroom, the doors, some siding and he’s given Rich a few other quotes on other small projects.  GOOD for RICH!  He's over the "Bohemian" hurdle :)

Ahh, it’s later now … about 9:40 am.  I just got done sliding half the sitting room to the other side of the room.  It’s under a plan to scrub the carpet with the sonic thingy.  YAY!!!  It took a toll on our back though just for the little we had to move.  We’ve still got some odors from when Chief was here in-person … well in-cat.  He wasn’t using the litter box as well as he should have been.  Now that it’s warming up we’re seeing how much a problem.  I know probably pretty gross, but that what we’re dealing with next.

Before that we talked to Linda for about a half hour.  We’re both gearing up for Easter.  We told her we have plans to be outside with Rich this afternoon.  While he putzes with the lawn mower, we want to rake a couple flower beds, cut down the vine brush on the back porch and chop up the rose stems from where Rich cut them down.  It’s a LOT of work for us.  We figured better to wait until Rich came home so we could include it with our Rich time.  Besides now we have the floor to worry about.  AND, before we talked to Linda, we went to the post office.  We got there a few moments early and were too scared to go in, so we watched a few people go in and come out, then we decided we better go before anyone else got in front of us.  We took care of it, but had trouble standing, and when we got done there were three other people standing in line in back of us.  Go figure.  But, we did good and treated ourselves with these little rice krispie/chocolate frosting treats our little store makes as a norm.  Yup yup … do know about that!

So I think we’re caught up.  I think in-between taking care of the carpet; we’re going to work on that paperwork that we didn’t get done yesterday.  I don’t want to be blamed for not knowing what is where.  I know we don’t have Rich’s sticker, but no reason not to get ahead!  NOW if we could do all this AND work on Emily’s baby quilt … that really rock.  Maybe toward evening after dinner?  We’ll see J  Take good care AND thanks for reading!  It's really been a long time and feels good to get things "back in order!"