Monday, December 13, 2010

The House on Elm - don't sweat the small stuff

Very shortly after we moved in we needed to do some quick, nothing fancy fixes.

For one - we foolishly assumed the hideous blue tile looking stuff around the shower was in fact actual tile. Ah.. rookie mistake.
So that had to all come out.
Ok. new bathroom ..check.

When we bought our three bedroom home we asked our oldest child, then 8, to pick out her room - she chose the attic. The unfinished attic.
Slightly too short to be legal living space - but perfect for a child, we forged ahead with sheetrock and skylights. We didn't do any creative, atticy stuff like you see now in all the remodeling magazines. We just finished the room added a blue carpet (of her choice) and moved her in.
She loved that room at the top of the house. Too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter. But a child's paradise none-the-less.
In the beginning - the only access to the attic was through our room... the so called master bedroom. Which was perfect for an 8 year old. Years later we would reconfigure the hallway to allow our teen a private entrance to her space at the top of the house.

We planted a vegetable garden and a some trees in the vast backyard... but those piddly projects never made us work hard, sweat, bandage up, or cry... and certainly did not involve a sledgehammer.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The House on Elm - let the demo begin

Below you can clearly see a snapshot into the daily lives of a happy family raising children.
There, my still-big-haired-in-the-80s-wife and our little imp have just finished planting flowers by the walkway. Ferris used to love to water flowers. Or more accurately he just loved to play with the hose.

Life was quiet and flowing.

Notice behind my adorable family the last remaining aluminum awning, being held up by rusted iron scroll work, resting on a cracked cement stoop.

It was a clear sunny day when I pulled into the driveway and found a sledgehammer leaning against the house in a pile of rubble that was once our cement stoop.

I crawled up into the house to find my motherly-wife in the kitchen spooning pasta into Ferris.

"Um... we have a sledge hammer?"

She excitedly told me about how proud she was for removing the whole thing and taking down that hideous awning and now all that cracked mess is gone.
Although that would depend on how you define 'gone'.

"Um yeah...true... tho how will we get into the house now?"

blank stare.

Let's recap. Cement steps, awning and ironwork are all demo'ed into a pile of rubble conveniently mounded near the kitchen door. We have no idea how to get rid of this stuff. We have no idea of how to make new steps.

ok... this is going well.

Later that week I came home to find a long haired guy driving away in my resourceful-wife's very used Chrysler Laser. She was smiling proudly - standing on our brand new steps.

I still wonder where she got that sledge hammer.

Monday, December 06, 2010

The House on Elm - ready for baby and beyond

The first years included some renovations taken on with reckless abandon. Luckily we both had a sense of humour, and were still able to drink hard liquor.

For starters, understand that we didn't take pictures of our early --hmm... I am cautious to call them home improvement projects... But I have found old shots around the house and yard that can help with the details in some cases.

For example - in this shot, which I have posted before, you can see there were striped aluminum awnings on the front and sides of the house.

These were to be removed.
With no knowledge of how they were attached, how to take them down - or what to do with them after.. we forcefully ripped them off the house.

My ever-round wife only able to call out advice from a safe distance.

We stood scratching our heads at the holes, and old caulk left behind. And after some requisite scratching and staring - we just walked away.

Later that spring we 'fixed' the problem by painting the door and hanging some planters.

There. Ok. Moving on.

Inside the house the nesting seemed complete with the nursery ready to go, with a crib and changing table and handmade bumpers.

By the time Ferris arrived we had finally covered the unfinished wood in the living room with a new area rug.

Another great fix. It kept us from getting splinters in our feet and gave us a place to play with the new baby.

But while it was a nice rug - the dark blue was hard to keep looking good. I spent much of that summer vacuuming.

This turned out not to be a long term problem because soon after Ferris began crawling my safety-conscience wife had us install new carpeting including the stairs. This turned out to be a wise idea. As Ferris was a rather active lad during the learning to crawl, walk, fall and bounce years.

What I didn't know of course was just how often we would redecorate.
Rugs installed, and ripped out. Wallpaper applied and removed. Paint colors changed like the seasons, we've had more sofas than most, and learned to not only set tile - but take it up as well... but I am getting ahead of myself.

I have much to cover - like where did she find that sledge hammer, and who else moves doors and windows like they are furniture....

Thursday, December 02, 2010

The House on Elm - this old house

With remarkable speed and very little dexterity we painted the entire house...
dreary in its offwhiteness, but clean.

As we started to get settled and make changes we began to understand that our new house was anything but new.
It was built in the early thirties by the parents of our elderly neighbor, she actually grew up in this house.

She and her husband then built the house she is in now, right next door. In fact, our house was the farm house that owned and managed the land on much of our street. Our busy double-yellow-lined road was once dirt and our neighbor, as a young girl, used to walk the cows up the hill to the north pastures. These pastures long ago sold off to build new neighborhoods.

While this is all very quaint and New Englandy we were young and stupid and knew nothing of updating or maintaining a house - let alone an OLD house.

Imagine our surprise when we ripped up the living room rug to find the entire center of the floor was unfinished wood. Unfinished 70 year old wood. Huh.
Apparently - back in the day, they only shellacked around where the edges of the area rug. Why waste good shellac under a rug.

Well - there was no way we were going to embark upon refinishing wood floors with a baby due any moment. Thank goodness for that sage moment...
So we simply measured the unfinished area, and bought a rug of optimal size.
There... problem solved.
We were feeling pretty good about ourselves during those first few weeks.
We focused much of our attention on preparing ourselves for the baby to arrive - I was reading every baby book I could find, and was pretty much ready to deliver the baby myself if the need presented.

It wasn't until several months later that I learned to hide the sledge hammer...

Monday, November 29, 2010

The House on Elm - moving in

Moving day went swimmingly.
Well - as best as it could for doing the entire move using a pick up truck.
That and we weren't quite, exactly, completely packed yet.

Yes, its true. I may be overly organized now - but back in the 80's I was a bit more - let's just say spontaneous and relaxed.
(thanks again Bets, I owe you still)

Almost needless to say it was a very long day.
And my increasingly-round-wife could really do nothing more than watch. ... and tell us that the rugs needed to come up and the entire house needed to be painted.

Have you ever tried to reason with a woman who is 8 months pregnant?

You see, we bought our house from an old woman with one leg. Peg.
Actually - her name was Mary. But we called her Peg.
Yes, we were that immature.

Peg loved green.
We made this assumption because the entire first floor was not only painted green, but had green wall to wall carpets as well. And really ...who paints their basement green - unless you really, really like it.

Granted upstairs there was a blue room and a pink room, as well as a green one - but Peg didn't go upstairs... with the one leg and all.
In fact - Peg creatively turned the the dining room into her bedroom.
It was, of course, green, and matched her green bedspread.

All of this green needed to go. And there was clearly no time to waste with all this nesting going on.

And so - we rose early the next morning, opened all the windows to the cool March winds and started tossing carpet out of the house.

That week we painted the entire house off white. If memory serves, I believe the color was Navajo White. This was a stop gap till we could make more decorative decisions later.
For now - since the baby was coming ANY SECOND - we needed wood floors and clean walls.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The House on Elm - circa 1987

It was 1987, we had just gotten past our big hair phase.

We lived in a comfortable apartment, the first floor of a small house, which had ample space for us, our 7 year old daughter and two cats. We had a fireplace, full basement, a nice porch to sit on, and upstairs neighbors with healthy libidos. We were in our mid 20's. Life was good.
Then, we got pregnant.

At first, we didn't think much of our living arrangements. My young-wife and I were both growing larger day by day -- this of course was because she would send me out to Burger King or Carvel or the grocery store in the middle of the night and be sound asleep by the time I got back with whatever her latest craving was.

We were young, stupid spontaneous and literally taking each day as it came.

Then came the nesting.

Are you familiar with the nesting?


And so - in her third trimester - my round-wife proclaimed

"We need a house."

Um. Ok.

This was the late eighties people. Interest rates were through the roof, houses were selling like wildfires and were totally overpriced.

We went to see houses everyday - and the ones we bid on were already sold by the time we picked up the phone.

One afternoon our realtor called and told us she had a house for us to see.
We went immediately. It was getting dark.
We walked through - we noticed the house seemed to have a kitchen and bathroom and we saw no obvious holes or missing walls. We put a downpayment on it right then.
Did we see potential?


My ready-to-burst wife needed a house NOW.

This would have to do.

We went back later in the week to see just what the hell we actually bought.
It was at this time we noticed the house was somewhat ugly (notice the aluminum awnings), needed a bit of work (also the aluminum siding),
and had a back yard big enough for horses.


We're gonna need a bigger lawn mower.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

moving... an iterative process

We decided we wanted to move a couple years ago.

We've been here almost 23 years. That's a long time.

So I've decided to blog the 'story' of this place and the time we've been here.
I will do it in chapters - because I am lazy, and because no one really wants to read more than a paragraph or two at a time. We all have lives here.

Note this for starters...
We have not yet found a house - tho we know where we want to look.
We are actively in the process of getting ready to go on the market - thus the dumpster.
We are hoping to be ready by spring - but would like to sell mom's house first.

Monday, November 22, 2010

and for our next project...

Really - what could be more fun!

Ok. The fact of the matter is this.
We are planning to move.
You know... put all our stuff into boxes, put the boxes into a truck, drive somewhere else, take the boxes out of the truck and put the stuff all back where it belongs.
The thought is daunting.
The dumpster will help.

Our motto is "Do you want to pack that?"
We plan on being ruthless.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

drawing the line on cool

Here at the new digs we have what's called an 'open workplace environment'.

This basically means that are cubicle walls are low enough so we can see our neighbors. my case, just the top of my head.

Our overly organized and some what ideological company gave us plenty of pamphlets, seminars and web links so that we all know how to adjust while being considerate of others in our new space.
To that end - our speaker phone buttons have been disabled, we should not partake in odorous food at our desks, we should refrain from yelling over to workmates, and we are also supposed to adopt a 'clean desk policy' - tho I am not exactly sure what that is yet. I am quite certain that I am conforming simply by default.

Every one was also issued a wireless headset.
The headset will work pretty much anywhere in the building. This allows you to pick up a call ...and if you feel it may be disruptive in any way you can simply grab your wireless laptop and step into one of several small 'conversation rooms' scattered around.

It appears that some people are rather attached to their snazzy new wireless headsets... literally. They seem to be wearing them all the time in fact.
Just this morning I noticed someone in the kitchen getting coffee with their headset on. This person didn't seem to be on a call - just sporting the headset. This got me to wondering - do these folks wear them right into the restrooms?

Perhaps we made our workplace a little too accessible.

Monday, November 08, 2010

happy meal

I heard that in certain places in California - where the living is healthy, that a certain fast food chain has been asked by some watchdog groups to remove the toys from happy meals*.

The premise I gather is not to reward a child for eating over 600 calories in one sitting.

OVER 600 calories.
In one meal.
For a tiny person.

And they're gonna remove the toy?


* Fun weese fact: I actually served up the very first happy meals back in 1979 as a high school kid working at McD's. We were told it was a promotional offering and would be discontinued that fall. We hated them because we had to fold the boxes into shape. The toys were way better back then.

Friday, November 05, 2010



My company just moved into a brand new LEED certified and terribly posh office.
No really...its nice. Here is where I get my coffee in the morning...just one of several coffee areas in the building. It looks like a fancy hotel.

Prior to this I was working at home 4 days a week... in the attic.
So this is a step up.
Now that I have my own space to occupy I go in more often.

I spent last week bringing in all my standard cubicle accoutrement. These things include but are not limited to: box of tissues, wind up toys, lava lamp, coffee mug, lotion, advil etc.
There are still a few things still left I want to have on hand.

Today's tip ... don't wear black pants to work before you bring in your lint roller.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


I am over 40. In fact, I am hanging on to the very threads of 40.
This means I need glasses.
No getting around it.

I am perfectly ok with this.
I recently upgraded from the dollar store readers to proper prescription bifocals.
These have changed my life. I love being able to see... all the time. I love not having to get frustrated at the blurriness and then go pawing around for spectacles on the table, on my head, or on a string.

Being new to wearing glasses full time - I have found that there is a period of adjustment.
For example, I knew I was getting used to them when I got in the shower with them still on. I took this as a good sign.

I am also realizing, as my vision slips further into its 'opia, that it might be best to put them on a little earlier in the morning.
This way - I won't show up to work wearing clothes with tears or stains on them. I might also have a better chance at buttoning correctly.

Monday, November 01, 2010


I overhead some people at the store today complaining about kids toilet papering their trees.
Personally - it's one of my favorite things this time of year.

Ferris mastered the toss and release at an early age. I used to supply him with several rolls each year. He also understood the importance of balance and placement. Select your site for the aesthetic. Be sure to get good coverage, but don't clump all in one tree.

Really what's not to love. The kids get to have fun - they feel like they are doing something mischievous. It's looks fabulous, and clean up is a breeze - just wait.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Thank you all for your kind wishes, your gentle emails and your warm hugs (real and virtual).

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

and so it goes...

We have been camped out at mom's house for 2 months. You can see the current puzzle on the table. My clever wife bought a bunch of puzzles and invited everyone to participate including the nurses and aides and anyone else who stopped by.
Also you can catch a glimpse of her mattress there propped against the wall. The first time we tried the hospital bed with her was ...well lets just say a fiasco... that time we had the mattress stored away neatly in the basement.
The second time was in haste, and so the mattress sits.
Mom said just two days ago in her haze... I want my dining room back.

sorry for the fuzzy photos. but i am blogging from the computer seen in the pic above on mom's dining room table, and using my cell phone to snap photos.

Ann 'Annie' M. Tilbe DeSiero-Guerrera

3.17.1933 - 10.5.2010

(yeah.. I used all all her real names - screw anonymity)

Saturday, October 02, 2010

pump it up

yesterday we had a little pump installed.

no more math.
this snazzy little contraption drips in a constant flow of morphine.
mmm, morphine.
they used her power port - easy peasy.

it even has a little red button for breakthrough pain - (which we are using more than we thought we might, and so the pump is actually being adjusted to a higher dose right now).
the button rocks. no measuring. no spilling. and clean up is a breeze!
plus you can push it as many times as you want without worry.
it knows.
oh... and so do we. we know what this means.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I was an art major

One of the main reasons I became an art major was to avoid math.
It was all working swimmingly until I got out of school...and needed to do math.

I don't struggle so much anymore - generally speaking...

My most recent math lessons have been in the concentrations of liquid medications.

A liquid medication is prescribed in milligrams, and is measured in concentrations of milligrams(mg) per milliliter(ml).

When a medication prescribed at 20mg per 1ml, and the dose is 20mg per hour then you can measure and administer 1ml of liquid each hour.
Easy right.

Ok so lets say you need to increase the pain medication, but your patient is having trouble with liquids - so instead of increasing the amount of liquid given - you can simply use a higher concentration.

Still easy right.

But let's say now... now you get a concentration of 50mg per ml. But your prescribed amount has only increased by 5 mg.
Well now - that's very different. In fact, its more than double the potency but not double the dose. that's something you want to pay attention to.
Because if you were to give the old dose of 1ml per hour...well that would be bad.
That would be very bad.

And let's also say that the pharmacy who supplied you with this really high concentration of this tightly controlled substance decided to put it into the same color bottle as a different medication where the dosage is 4ml. Well now that would be worse than bad. I think that would be instantaneous.

Let's add to the mix that four, count 'em four - non-medical family members are the ones dosing this stuff out.
Well whoooo weee... don't lick your fingers.

(later I will post some pics of the measures I put into place to try and avoid mistakes)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Second string

On the weekends we deal with subs - we don't have our A-team of nurses and doctors around.

This weekend we were visited by a nurse that's not only unfamiliar with our case but is new to hospice.
Let's just say it turned out to be a learning experience for everyone.

So I get a call from my sister-in-law on Sunday that this nurse is planning to call an ambulance and transfer my mother to the hospital.

I get on the phone with the hospice nurse --to explain how hospice works.

The conversation went something like this:
me: "If we transport her to the hospital what will they do there?"

nurse: "well ...there are procedures, surgery..blah blah."

me: "Um, we're on hospice - she is DNR. We don't want surgery or any invasive procedure."

nurse: "Well they can do tests to see what we are dealing with."

me: "First, we know what we are dealing with." duh.
"And why would we do tests when we are not going to do treatment."

nurse: "The doctor said based on [my examination and findings] that we need to transport her."

me: "What doctor?"

nurse: "Well, I couldn't reach her primary so its the on-call."

Great a non-hospice doctor, unfamiliar with our case.

This nonsense went on for awhile until we finally got a doctor we know on the phone who stopped the madness.

In the meantime - mom is sitting in her chair, the Patriots game is one, the whole family is milling around her, the nurse is shrilling on the phone with a doctor, and we are squirting liquid morphine into mom's mouth as quickly as she will let us.

A short time later we all breathe a sigh of relief...
The nurse had left. The Patriots had won. The morphine started to work. And mom starts her familiar babbling. [she basically talks endlessly when she is awake.]

Suddenly mom says:
"Hey, you know.. its been a pretty good day hasn't it?"

Yes. We all laughed... and of course, agreed with her.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Today is two days later

Thursday evening we were able to get Mom out to her favorite recliner for one last time. It took three of us to get her back into her bed that night.

My soft spoken wife read to her from Jonathan Livingston Seagull with classical music playing quietly in the background (tho she had originally wanted to put on the 80's station).

As we got Mom back into her wheelchair for the trip to the bedroom- she gathered her scattered thoughts and said,
"Ok, so then tomorrow morning I can get in line"

shortly after,
"It'll all be over in two days"

"I'm afraid of being alone"

To which my wife responded,
"well, we can do it together."

"No, we can't."

So... we'll see. We'll put on the Notre Dame game and we'll just see.

Friday, September 24, 2010

quote of the day

"Robert Mondavi hallowed be thy name."

Seriously, I can't make this up. And who is that guy who got a TV show based on shit his Dad said...

We are keeping our sense of humor here. One must.
Personally, I am not a big fan of the Mondavi's - but no one quotes me.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

"Does Jesus have bezoars?"

We are trying to answer that and other questions.
Luckily the chickens are in the coup, and my brother sat up all night with a shotgun in hand to make sure they were safe.

Have you heard of 'terminal restlessness'.

it's tiring.

Friday, September 17, 2010



Let's just say you have a friend you haven't talked to in a month or so - and you decide to give a call and check in. First - if a relative answers the phone you may want to brace yourself.
If your conversation goes like this:

"Oh hi Kathy (cousin)"

some polite small talk...then stream of consciousness:
"I take care of two little baby girls. I'm hoping to keep their dreams on! We're in the process of making baby burrows to keep them warm. I have enough yarn; I've measured. Little bowl of catholic babies. I'm going to get some strips of furniture and cut them (I don't know how good they will be) but they will keep the babies bottom warm! Let's see how the rumpled-strumpskin in little black boxes are gonna look like! I don't know how this is gonna progress, but we're gonna give it a shot!"

Just roll with it.

Oh and also - if you have been told that your dear friend has terminal cancer is and is currently in a hospice program. You might want to rethink writing 'hope you get well soon' on the card attached to that lovely arrangement.

Monday, September 13, 2010

the imagery of death

Last evening, after telling my brother she was tired and he should leave so that she could sleep - my mother had her caregiver call him back to the house.
When he returned - she confessed to killing some rabbits. I am unclear whether these were the same rabbits I had removed the other day.

Perhaps we are seeing a pattern here.
While my brother is disturbed by the behaviour, I rather think she is trying to tell us something ... muddled through her dementia.

We are familiar with the usual apparitions of those approaching death.
They may see previously deceased loved ones - even pets. Angels may appear to them. Or they may relive parts of their past or childhood.

We have experienced many of these over the last several weeks.

My mother asking her granddaughter if she had any confessions to Papa, who was there with her ('Papa', my mothers 3rd and 4th husband (a story for another time) died in 2001 of pancreatic cancer under my mothers care).
Lucy the cat has visited.

This weekend she wanted to jump on her bike and ride into town for some ice cream.
I told her she could go tomorrow ...because it was already too close to dark.

There have been many references to riding a bus. At first it was the sensation of climbing stairs. Then it became apparent the stairs led to a bus. She didn't really want to be on the bus - and so has gotten off each time. Is the bus her way of getting to the 'next place'? Why does she keep getting off? Is there unfinished business?

She has spoken of sleeping in a tree. The most comfortable tree you could imagine and no matter which way you tossed and turned it was delightfully soft and welcoming.

At one point in her illness she was so uncomfortable with pain and sickness that my spiritual wife and I wished for her peace and comfort.
We decided on a traditional ritual of writing a blessing, wish or prayer on paper and burning it in prayer.

the note reads "stay on the bus, it takes you to the tree." and we added a piece of sage to burn for good energy and space clearing. And yes, that ashtray is from the 80's.

And now...we have the odd fate of these rabbits and horses. Why is she killing them? Why does she need to confess this... first to my wife and I, and then to my brother?
Clearly something is causing distress.
I spent some time with her yesterday afternoon assuring her that we were all fine. That we were all ready. That she was being cared and that she was in no way a burden to any of us.

I am determined to find what is so disturbing. I am hoping to help her find peace.
She told me yesterday that she is not afraid. Well.... except for the Beezores...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

horses and rabbits oh my

And yet again we find that just when you think things have smoothed out...

I spent Friday working from mom's spare room again - we are back over there almost full time until we get the aide situation in a steady groove. Changes in schedule or caregivers cause disruptions and disruptions can lead to anxiety.

Mom did not rest at all during the day yesterday. She was very fidgety. She also has developed a strong desire to take off her shirt. We constantly tell her not to ...and she giggles.

When she tried to lay down for a nap she kept sitting up... finally the aide called me in because mom needed to talk about something.

"ok, so what is the procedure?"
"um...the procedure for what, mom."
"for getting rid of all these rabbits"
"ah...well we can just shoosh them this" waving arms to shoosh rabbits.
"no, that's not going to work"
"ok. I have a friend who removes rabbits. he can come with his truck and take them away"
"good! how long will that take?"
"about and hour, it takes about an hour to remove this many rabbits"

Later that afternoon I assured her the rabbits had been removed to a rabbit farm and were settling in nicely. She seemed pleased.

When I left her that evening she was in the capable hands of Inez.
So when the phone rang at 10p.m. we knew.... if Inez is calling - something is wrong.

Inez explain mom had been very agitated for hours over horses, and was unable to rest. I told her we would be right over.
When we got there -Inez had mom in her wheelchair (this is now one of the few places she will sit still and not fidget to the point of falling). We were pleased to see at least she had her shirt on.
She confided in us that she had killed a small horse. That she didn't have a choice because of something the horse had been doing to her. Many of her sentences don't string together so it was hard to really get a handle on the exact nature of the horses death.
It is because hired aides cannot give PRN medications that we were called in to deal with this. My ever-so-patient and soft-spoken wife gloved up and gently rubbed a Haldol gel into mom's wrists. Haldol is an anti-psychotic drug - and the gel makes it work quickly and is less intrusive than trying to get her to take a pill in this state.
We continued to talk to her calmly and sort out the horse issues. As the drug took effect she calmed and became sleepy. Inez was finally able to get her into bed. We were home before midnight. No more calls.

And today ... well today is another day.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

...and finally we are caught up

09/06: with the competent aide Inez in place, my giddy-wife and I venture out on Monday - memorial day. We visit a couple friends and drive around in her convertible with the top down. We are delighted. We are rejoicing in our afternoon. We think we may have found a good solution.

09/07: Tuesday has its ups and downs - but in general a very good day. Mom folds laundry with Inez and its the highlight of their day. We are feeling better and better about the live-in aide idea.

09/08: Wednesday - shift change - the proverbial shit hits the fan.
we end up firing two aides that day, now the agency is scrambling to fill in. I do think we had a bad fit with one aide. But mom is paranoid and frightened now and so confused that she can no longer tell reality from her delusions.

While I was covering in between aides I had this conversation with her.
"Mom, what do you think about going to live at a place where there are other people like you, and where you would not be alone and there would be nurses there all the time?"
"You mean a retirement farm?"
"yes!, just like that - there would be other retired people there."
"That would be expensive"
"Nope, its free! You can go whenever you like."
"Well who would feed the horses?"
"Um.. the horse feeders - that's their job"
"But its very expensive to feed horses. And how many horses would there be?"
"Not sure mom, but don't worry - the feeders buy all the horse food."
"Wow! that must be some place! Too bad Madeline isn't alive, she would love it."
(Madeline is a friend who is very much alive.)

We had an aide come in last night to do the overnight and my mother told me that she was trying to twist her. I was there. There was no twisting of any sort. We are beginning to wonder if we can leave her alone with any one.

Today my care-taking-wife is there with mom and her aide. She has been sending me updates throughout the day.
She is still using a walker - but can no longer back up. When you tell her to back up, she goes forward.
When asked today how many children she had she answered "Tuesday"
She keeps trying to take her shirt off.
Phrase of the day "swirly whirly"!

catching up

Things are still moving at break neck pace here - so I am going to speed up my recap by simply hitting the highlights by date. I have gone back through our records and charts to put some of this stuff together. (spelling, grammar punctuation and capitalization be damned).

08/09: we started charting - meds, input/output at times, and sometimes notes from the day.

08/11: she went on Continuous Care for uncontrolled nausea, dizziness and pain management.

08/13: we upped her methadone to 3 times a day (aka. q8)

08/18: we met with a private agency to discuss overnight care. mom sat in on that meeting and had a lucid discussion.

08/19: mom was getting more and more unsteady with the walker (can't remember when she started with the walker exactly) and had a fall with my svelte-wife trying to catch her. they both went down (mom outweighs my wife by 50 lbs). everyone is ok - just scrapes and bruises. luckily our hospice nurse was in the house at the time.

08/23: tucking mom into bed she stops me to ask
"If a fish is nibbling on my blanket and I slap him in the face, will he stop?"
I answered "of course."

08/24: we meet the new night time aides and one starts that night. we spent the night to make sure it all goes ok, hoping we can soon start sleeping at home again.
Somewhere in here we start using a wheelchair.

08/25: Mom vomits in the afternoon. This is particularly bad...because she is vomiting as a result of a bowel obstruction. I am alone with her at the time and luckily have my cell in my pocket. I call hospice and my close-by wife. My quick-wife is there within 10 minutes. The on-call nurse is there within the hour. Mom goes back on Continuous Care.

08/26: Somewhere in here we start Decadron (steroid) as an anti-inflammatory. This improves Mom's physical condition over the next couple days. But she seems rather confused. She is having trouble with the phones and tv remote.
More of her meds are becoming scheduled. she now takes methadone, zofran (for nausea), ativan, decadron /q8; meclizine q/12; and her colace and miralax daily.
(did you know that all opiates and narcotics cause consitpation?..sometimes severe. so that means...that drug addicts are constipated. shame really. they could enjoy their drugs so much more if they paid more attention to bowel health.)

08/28: With round the clock care, and help from all of us we actually get Mom outside of her house for the first time in weeks to watch the motorcycles ride by.
The CT United Ride goes right by her house. This year there were about 2500 motorcycles.
here is mom and her aide waiting in great anticipation.

08/29: Mom is starting to refuse to take medications. She wants to write out her orders, she wants confirmation that we are dispensing the right meds. I walked in this afternoon to find my wife and the hospice aide had moved all the furniture out of the way so mom could fit her wheelchair into the spare room to review her medical records from the past couple months. At the time I got there she was already almost 2 hours late on her meds and sitting at the desk writing out each medication in detail.
I called the agency to arrange for 24/7 care. Its now become too difficult for us to handle. We are burnt out, we've not worked full days in a month and mom is uncomfortable with the amount of personal care we now need to provide.

08/31: Continuous Care stops. Mom is very confused. We are helping her to dial the phone.

09/01: Mom's next door neighbor stops by while my caring-wife is on duty. She's recently had a stroke and can't button her shirt, and is looking for some help.
Gotta love life in the retirement village.

09/02: Mom can no longer differentiate the phone from the remote. She cannot dial numbers even when she is told which number to press. We spent a few long minutes with me saying:
press 2... she presses 2
press 0... she presses 7
ok lets start over.
press 2... she presses 2
press 0... she presses 8
ok lets try again
press 2... she presses 2
press 0... she presses 0
press 3... she presses 7

09/03: She tries to document her meds for the day. She can no longer write.

09/05: Inez comes. She is our first full time aide and will stay from Sunday - Wednesday. Skeptical at first, we grow to love Inez. She clearly has experience with dementia.


Friday, September 03, 2010

week 2

Week two is a blur now. It was chaos. We were completely unorganized and not ready for things to change on a day by day basis.
We were writing down meds on scraps of paper and notepads all over the house. Hospice had fedex'ed in a whole bunch of new medications and supplies.

An important point to note and another recurring theme ... Mom is a retired RN.
Each new hospice person that walked into the house would say - ahh so this is the retired RN -- with a knowing glance.
This meant that every new medication was up for discussion and research and plotting and planning.
Initially this was ok. Mom had her reasons and she was lucid and concerned.
But it delayed her getting started on much needed, longer acting pain medications.
The up and down cycle of the percosets is not conducive to long term pain management.

We finally talked her into trying a long term (3 days) low dose (25mg) fentanyl patch for pain. The patch was started on my wife's shift. Mom and she had a good laugh as the two of them tried to figure out how to get this tiny, little, sticky, clear patch out of its packaging and onto mom's arm. Laughing is good. We are thankful for the times we have been able to laugh this month.

Unfortunately, a day later her pain, nausea and dizziness had us contacting the on-call nurse late Sunday night on August 8th. This is a great thing about Hospice. They will send a nurse if you need one. Anytime.

It was a hellish night ... mom was curled up in bed as we all waited in the kitchen, we paced, we drank coffee, we drank wine - we would have smoked if anyone had cigarettes, damn I miss the 80's sometimes.

At some point while waiting for the nurse we had the bright idea to remove the pain patch. This helped tremendously.
An RN finally arrived around midnight. She did an on the spot foley cath to relieve pressure and got Dr's orders to switch pain meds.

That was when we first started taking shifts spending the night over there.
We also came up with a plan to spend most days over there as well, with my ever-patient wife and I sharing the day / night shift initially.

We were so not prepared for so much to happen so fast. We were just trying to keep up.

On the 9th I designed (the first of many versions) a simple excel template to chart medications and symptoms. This made it easier for us to change shifts and keep track of the ever changing medications.

By the 11th, when her regular RN came for her scheduled visit she walked in and took one look at her and put mom on Continuous Care**. This was to help get her symptoms under control and to have an nurse on site while we started new meds.

That evening, with nurses staying the night, we started mom on Methadone.
Having overnight nurses also allowed us to come home and get some sleep... at least for a couple nights, while during the day my technically-employed-wife and I were able to work right from mom's spare room. (we both work for wonderfully family oriented supportive companies.)

By the 13th - her methadone was upped to 5MGs/q8. Zophran was added as a scheduled med as well to control nausea.

**Continuous Care is when hospice identifies a medical need to have 24 hour care in the home lead by a nursing staff.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

the recap

Before I forget everything that's happened over the last month ... these next few posts are mostly for me.
Then again... what isn't really.

week 1.
We waited almost a week after the laprascopy to see mom's oncologist. He had been on vacation. We already knew the news was not good, and mom was getting weaker by the day.
So much so in fact, that the day before her oncologist appointment, on August 2nd - she signed herself up for hospice care. Yeah...that's mom. This will become a common theme -- mom is in charge.

With great anticipation we sat and waiting for the doctor (me, mom and my SIL).
He came in completely unprepared! He had not looked at her test results and was not ready with a prognosis or plan of treatment. Apparently, his staff did not update him.
Almost needless to say the three of us were pretty hard on him for this. We had been waiting...sick with anticipation only to have him walk into the room and say how are you?

He became a bit defensive after that... he left the room for a short while and examined the results.
He came back and said...this is very serious...duh - but still suggested palliative chemo. I really got the feeling he was shooting from the hip.

Mom has had plenty of chemo to know that the side effects along with her weakening condition were not how she wanted to spend her remaining time.
She decided not to get treatment.
We went home, and met with our hospice team.

Their first order of business was to get her pain and nausea under control. At that time mom was on percoset q4, causing an up and down roller coaster of pain.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

learning to be present

It has been my recent practice to learn to be more present in my life. For some people presence is disturbed by their past - for me its mostly future. My mind is generally several steps ahead of reality. This causes me to lose the moment. And so I have been very consciously trying to stay in the moment.
To enjoy the moment.
To be the moment.
Our lives are made up of moments.
Even those moments that we consider in between the moments of our lives.
They are all moments.

We, my family, have been given an opportunity to learn how to be in the moment. This can be done simply by changing the moment so often and in such varied, unforeseen ways that planning is simply not possible. That being present is your only choice.
It's kinda like taking a summer course - the learning has been consolidated into a very short and demanding amount of time.
In this case, one month.

I stopped blogging at that point, one month ago, and I shouldn't have. Blogging is my diary, my journal and often my memory.
So now, for me... I blog.

In late July my giddy wife and I made plans to visit Ptown for a couple days to celebrate our 25th anniversary. The timing ended up being not very good - tho we didn't know that when we made our reservations back in the winter.

My mother, as I have mentioned only once or twice here, has been dealing with cancer since March of last year. This past winter, after chemo and radiation, she was dubbed in remission - tho pain and other symptoms continued to bother her. She persisted in going to doctors for tests and procedures whose outcomes proved nothing. She was getting frustrated.

By the time we were packing our bags (not too many bags, it was a short trip...but hey... it was Ptown, so I of course would need several pairs of shoes ... none of them being sneakers...but that is a story for another time) my mothers pain level had escalated to a point where they were going to finally look inside. She had had a scan which showed "something" and they would now do a laproscopic biopsy to look inside.

Just before we left, my mother assured us she would be fine and to go and have a good time. In fact, she drove herself to get pre-procedure blood work that afternoon.
That was July 24th.

Her results were not good. All the previous scans and blood work somehow hid the truth.
We came home a day early and went to pick her up at the hospital. She was sore, but walked to car, got in and we whisked her home.
That was July 28th.

Today is August 31st.
My mother is wheelchair bound, cannot figure out how to dial her own phone, she cannot bathe or bathroom herself... and asked me yesterday why there was no food service at this place (her home).

It's been a month.

We have been present everyday.

Monday, August 23, 2010

please hold this space

we have been busy.
we are doing something hard.
something i don't necessarily recommend for the faint of heart.
hold, please.

Friday, July 23, 2010



For those of us who don't water their lawns, this dry, hot summer has wreaked havoc on our grass. Large portions of my lawn look brown and dead.

This is fine, the lawn will spring back - but its also an opportunity for crabgrass to move in quickly.
Normally, I am not so concerned with crabgrass because it is an annual weed and can be controlled as such. However, there are steps you can take to prevent it from taking over your lawn.

While most people are familiar with putting down a crabgrass preventative in the spring, it can also be a good idea to reapply during these hazy days of summer.
For this second application, use a crabacide with no fertilizer. The formulations we use early in the season would simply stress the grass at this time of year.

This is an easy application and can be put down any time of the day with no worries about rain.
I suggest doing it on an afternoon just prior to cocktail hour.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

More fun with science

Ok, kids today we will learn about velocity and mass.

How fast does a vehicle need to be travelling(V) to move an object of a specific weight (M) a certain distance (D)?

To test this equation - someone drove through our stone wall last evening, how convenient.
Let's review that sentence.
The key phrases are 'drove through' and 'stone wall'.

Please view the test data below. Note that we were not home at the time of the incident (rats).

Here is the scene:

The most likely approach (V):

Gaping hole:

Hmm, the gaping hole seems to be approximately the size of a midsized Toyota:

My flipflop included to show size of a moved object(M):

Distance (D):


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Oops - I heard some news

When I take the long commute into the office once a week or so I tune to the local news station to grab a traffic report so I can choose my route.

Sometimes... inadvertently I end up hearing some of the news.

This morning I heard some thick headed, dimwitted Yoga instructors have applied for a U.S. Patent on their yoga positions.


I am so embarrased to be an American.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

nature... it plays with us

One afternoon last week my able-bodied wife and I were in the back yard collecting some branches and limbs for the fire-pit we planned to light later that night.
As I was bending over to pick up sticks I saw a squirrel tail...with the rest of the body tucked under some overgrowth.
I protectively grabbed my distracted wife's arm and held her back.
'Stand back!' I declared, pointing to the tail end of the deceased animal.

Feeling all bravado from saving my wife - I went to get a shovel to bury the poor little guy. I bury any animals I may find around the yard, or those that our pets may have killed. After so many years here we now have a pretty full cemetery of birds, mice and chipmunks, and the like. I feel it's the proper Christian thing to do. Even tho I myself and not a religious person - far be it for me to judge anyone elses faith. I also make it a point to get them into the ground before dusk... should they be Jewish.

As I grabbed the shovel off its hook, I wondered off-handedly why the FREE dog hadn't found this little treasure yet. Seemed odd. O well.

I had some trouble digging the hole - kept running into roots and rocks. After 3 attempts I finally had a hole that satisfied my needs.
So I returned to the dead animal to scoop it up.
Seemed light as I slid the shovel under him. This was odd...the fur looked fresh so it could not have been there long - I would have expected a little more heft.
As I pulled it out of its hiding spot I noticed that the fur was in remarkable shape, and wait... is that eye actually open! Wait a minute wait a minute - whats with the stitches on the paws, and is it leaking... stuffing...

To the point

I am often rather direct. This can hurt people's feelings.
It is not intended to do so. Nor does it bother me when it does.
That's really just your own mind games - and has nothing to do with what I am saying or doing. But I suppose that in and of itself is a whole 'nother post.

So - to the point then.

If you are currently watering your lawn, or washing your car, or perhaps rinsing off the driveway - please stop.
It's rude, selfish and unnecessary most of the time, but even more so while we are having a dry heat wave.

Thank you.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Science time!

Not too long ago we studied the melting point of chocolate here in my warm attic office.

Luckily I have an air conditioner up here with me today.
I can now eat chocolate freely.

For today's melting experiments:

What is the melting point of candle wax?


From further data we can hypothesize that it's lower than that of a large, black, FREE dog*.

Let's get this into perspective - shall we -

*she went out there willingly... never said she was bright.
also - yes the grass is dead. I like to call it summer dormancy.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

the end of an era?

I have just found out that the Cedar Brook Cafe will be closing.
It is rumoured to be the oldest gay bar in the nation.
Tho somehow I doubt that.
It is old. And in seriously rough shape.

It was old and in rough shape when I was going there, and that folks was in the 80's.

I started going when I was in college.
It was my first gay bar.
I was a regular.
I was there on Fridays and Saturdays, made most Sunday T's, and even went on the occasional Thursday.
There was a good crowd there back then. Lots of wonderfully good looking women, and the men were handsome, buff, tan and great dancers.

I dated the bouncer for a time, and the bartender always had my Michelob ready before I even made it over to the bar.
Back in those days, I never went with anyone - tho I rarely left alone. I eschewed the dance floor and ran the pool table. I flirted, I drank, I cheated*, I smoked, I dated several woman at once...
oh the good times.
ah to be young.

Years later, hmm, well...not many years later - still in my 20's I started dating a terribly attractive woman.
Some of our first dates were at the Cedar Brook Cafe, we called it The Brook.
Turns out we would go there for several years together. I gave up running the pool table so that I could dance with this lovely lady.
Clearly, I was rather smitten.
In fact, I think we stopped going mostly because of the birth of our second child.

And so this rugged little bar has many fond memories for me... for us.

They are having a closing party this Saturday night.
We talked about going, my AARP member-wife and I. But I think we'll pass.

The Brook was our place.
A long time ago.
I'll let it stay that way in my heart and in my memory.

We've lived a whole life since then.
It's not our place anymore - it belongs to a younger, firmer crowd.
We'll let them sweep up and lock the door.


* never at pool

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How Showtime broke my heart

Look - let's be frank here, most everything on television today is just awful.
C'mon - admit it.
Even if you are addicted to it. It’s bad.
I mean… some people are addicted to Big Macs, right? Well, this proves you can be addicted to crap.

That said - we have been pleased to find some clever, entertaining programming on the big cable networks. While it's not Emerson - it's not Dancing with the Stars or C.S.I. AnyTown.

Nurse Jackie has been a delight this year. I have enjoyed the last several seasons of Weeds, Dexter and of course the classics - Sopranos, 6 Feet Under.

Even though it had its critics, I have always been a staunch supporter of the LWord.
So many middle American lesbians complained that it was too far fetched and that these gorgeous women couldn't possibly represent our population. Which is of course exactly what I loved about the show.
It's why I watch television.
Think about it.. do you live next door to Tony Soprano, how about Nancy Botwin or how about Dexter Morgan (well I suppose that’s somewhat possible in a scary, freaky way).


It's TV people. Why watch real life on TV? If you want to watch real life, get the hell out of your armchair.

So... Showtime has now come out with a new show called The 'Real' LWord.
The show claims to be about 'real' lesbians living in Los Angeles.
I was skeptical - but hopeful. It is cable, after all.

So we watched last night.

Keeping in mind the things I loved about the original show -- which were its impossibly attractive cast, the outlandish predicaments they got themselves into, and the tangled web of sex, love and -- I am sorry to report that I can't even begin to critique this show.

It's simply overwhelming.

I will tell you this. We pressed 'Stop' followed by 'Delete' less than half way through the first show.

Could it be the universe telling me to get the hell out of my armchair?
I'll take that hint.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

what would your super power be?

We were sitting around the table last night with Ferris and one of his friends enjoying a glass of Cabernet in the gloaming.
As often happens, the conversation drifted to what would you want your super power to be.

Ferris berated his friend, a petite flower of a girl - who thought being a fairy replete with pixie dust would be her choice. He said it was completely impractical.

Ferris wants to be able to turn his skin to steel - which he believes to be much more useful. Especially if say... there were zombies roaming around.
He also desires the ability to throw any object with precision accuracy and lethal force. Tho this he says is more of a practiced skill than an actual super power.

For my super power I chose a fast metabolism.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Birds of a feather

We went to see La Ca ge aux Fol les on Broad way this weekend.


I can't say enough good things about the show, and also ...the day, our lunch, the bottle of prosecco we had with lunch, the wine we had in Bryant Park after the show, the weather, the Two Boots pizza slice and ice cold Bud I had on the train ride home... really all in all a spectacular day.

Our seats were quite nice. 3 rows from the stage. We were pleased.

At intermission a woman and her friend, about my mothers age, sitting behind us were just glowing about the show. One of the women was from the mid-west and told us she saw the very first one on Broadway in the 80's. In fact she sees all the Broadway shows.
She was very cute.

The show ends on a touching high note and the whole audience is kinda charged up. Very fun.
Again we turned to chat with the women sitting behind us. They could not say enough nice things about the show, and that it was so much better than the other production.

The midwest woman asked where I was from... and we exchanged pleasantries. Then they turned to my wife and asked where she was from. I cut in and said - she's my wife.
The women glowed.

"Oh! That's wonderful!"
"How long have you been married?" They asked excitedly.

I explained we were married just over a year, tho we had over 25 years together. I went on to tell them about our grown children that one was near 30 now... and our son just out of college...

They were practically giddy.

The woman from the midwest again went on to say how much she loved the show and the day and that we... my wife and I...

"You two are the icing on my the cake today!"

We all hugged and parted ways... everyone feeling the glow of the day.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


We've been here in our house a long time. Luckily we moved in about a month before Ferris was born - so its always easy to remember how long we have been here.

Here we are on the day we moved in, all twenty-something and naive.
You can't really tell from this picture, but my round-wife is very pregnant. Doncha just love the flash-dance leggings and socks.

See the aluminum awning. My very-pregnant-nesting-wife made me take it down that very afternoon. We also ended up pretty much ripping off the front room and re-doing it.
Not to mention we have moved almost every window and door in the house over all these years...there's new siding, new roof, new furnace, new... don't even get me started on how my wife moves shrubs like they are folding chairs.

Ah.... I digress.

Being in one place for such a long time gives you the opportunity to see trends.
Over the years I have noticed that each summer season there is a plant and insect and and animal that seem to swell in numbers.

Last year we had this most pervasive weed ... It was easy enough to eradicate from the lawn and gardens, but I feared for the wildflowers and grasses out in our meadow. Remarkably, this year its practically non-existent.
Then there was the year we had so many so many slugs there was slug slime everywhere.
We put out cups and cups of beer that year. Oddly, Free Dog also put on about 5 pounds that summer. They too have all but disappeared.

This year, it ants. They are everywhere. I was sweeping the front walk and the next thing I knew my leg was swarmed. I was cutting the side lawn and noticed it looked like the ground was moving there was so many of them.

So ...while I may shepperd a single bug out of the house on scrap of paper or toss them one out the bathroom window in a cup... somehow I make peace with the mass genocide of the hose end sprayer.
go figure.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

i so dislike the grid

Last week I took down my Facebk page.
Sorry to all you people out there who love it.

I find it utter nonsense, best left to the high schoolers it was designed for.

I have heard many people say that they use it to keep in touch with family and friends, which is great -if that's what works for you.
I don't generally want to know what anyone is doing every minute. If I want to catch up with you I very much prefer to see you in person - speak to you, look into your eyes, wrap my arms around you - yes, I'm a hugger.

I certainly don't want people from my past dredging me up because they have nothing better to do than surf the web. If I wanted to stay in touch... well...

The whole friending/un-friending thing sounds simply ghastly.

So its gone.

You can still get in touch with us in several ways:
  • We have a house phone and are listed in the phone book. That phone has an answering machine. If we are not home - please leave us a message.

  • I actually have a cell phone (my way-off-the-grid wife does not) tho I use that primarily for work. If I am not at work or travelling its most likely in a drawer - and so I would advise sticking to the house phone.

  • Please feel free to post a letter to me. How I miss letters.

  • I also respond to email, as I am not completely off the grid. I rather like email in that I can read it when I get around to it, and can respond at my leisure. It's not unlike a letter in my mail box, except less tactile. Keep in mind - I don't usually check email on the weekends.

    Ah but there is always the house phone...

Monday, June 07, 2010

In other news

more happenings from the break

This strapping young man not only turned 22 - but ....

Friday, June 04, 2010



It's Friday afternoon.
Grab a refreshing drink and go outside.


Thursday, June 03, 2010

while i was away...

Some milestones passed while I was not blogging.

I will jot them down- lest I forget.

First, I am now married to a bonafide member of the AARP.
(and's the same woman I have always been married to).

She was giddy when she got her membership card in the mail.

Happy Birthday (in April) my love.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Hey...where is my flyover?

We went to TWO Memorial Day parades this weekend.
We sat through endless Brownies, Cub Scouts, Daisy Girls and lots and lots of Shriners in little vehicles.
And not ONE flyover.
No jets.
No Blackhawks.



Thursday, May 27, 2010

what would weese do?

freak little storm blew threw here last night and limbed this pear tree.

The answer that is poised on your lips is... she would go get her chainsaw and have that taken care of by lunch time.

But you know what?
weese is tired.
We have dozens of trees and have had many limbs come down over the 22 years we've been here.
It's heavy work.


All this butchy yard work was fun at one time.
It's getting old now.
Or wait... maybe that's me.

I think instead of picking up my saw, I'll pick up the phone.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Highs in the lower 90's

I haven't had the chance to pick up that little room sized A/C that would fit nicely into my office window here.
Here in the attic.
Today should be interesting.

I have a little piece of Dove chocolate on my desk.
Currently, at 9:30 E.S.T., its 70 degrees in here and the chocolate is nice and firm.

Let's check back in later...shall we.

1:00 p.m. update
It's actually not too uncomfortable up here.
It's 77 degrees, and I have a fan going.

However, my chocolate is getting soft.
(notice the indent where I pressed my finger)

3:37 p.m. update
temperature has reached 85°.

Did you know chocolate melts at 85°?

(clearly not swiss chocolate, Sage)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Let sleeping dogs lie

When we last left the FREE dog she was passed out from exhaustion after spending a couple days with the babies.
Since that time the babies have been back for another weekend stay!

They change so quickly at this age, and now that the girls are getting older their food selection has become even more palatable to the FREE dog. Not only that - but the girls are feeding themselves more and more. The variety of foods available on the floor at any given moment is staggering.
The girls squeal with delight when they feel her furry back on their bare feet as she laps up remains under their high chairs - at least that why I think they keep dropping their food down there.

As the girls master the use of 'the spoon' - we've found there can also be collateral dolloping on vertical surfaces - this is not a problem for an alert FREE dog.

FREE dog has made clean up a breeze.

So yes, she crashes after they leave. Which is good. It gives me time to disinfect the floors, the cabinets, the furniture...
(Don't worry mom... we washed the babies before we brought them back... because she licks them too.)

Monday, May 24, 2010

and so i blog

I am back.
I am back to blog.

I had to wait. I had to wait until the blogging was for me.

It is now.
It's basically all about me.

I am going to spend this week catching up on events that happened during my hiatus.

Friday, May 21, 2010



Here I am.
And isn't it appropriate that I return with a tip!

Have you ever had a get together at your home with friends who bring along a favorite dish to share...then you start drinking and eating and chatting and one thing leads to another and they leave their dish and go home.
Or perhaps your nephews came for a visit and the left behind a hat,a toy car or their new puppy.
So ... you make a mental note to yourself to remember to return it the next time you see them.
And ...inevitably you forget.

Try this.
Create a 'Don't forget' shelf, or spot, preferably somewhere near the door. So anytime someone forgets something at your house or even if it's just a coupon you want to remember to bring to your daughter -- put it in this spot.
Then every time you're heading out the door, take a quick scan of the shelf for items you may want to bring with you.
This is especially handy for folks you don't see all that often.
You can also put your reusable shopping bags here after you unload your groceries.

Friday, March 12, 2010


After the babies left.

Sunday, March 07, 2010


It seems like so many new blogs I encounter these days are young lesbians trying to have babies. Why-o-why do all these lesbians want children - don't they realize how expensive college is these days?

Ok ok... the rewards may outweigh expenses... for example -perhaps one day, far in the future - you're 21 year old may roll out of bed... rather late one Sunday morning, possibly a little hung over, and tell you to get in the car cuz you are taking him to a movie... right now. A 3D movie. And he wants Milk Duds.

This is something you don't question. You simply put down whatever it is that you're doing and get in the car. Where he may already be sitting...waiting... revving your engine impatiently.

And when we ...the parents... start to bicker over what really is the superior movie snack, Milk Dud's or popcorn - he'll smile and say
"Ah.. now that's just how I remember it."
And of course - we get both.

That was our Sunday.
If he weren't 6 feet tall I'd swear he was 10.
Ahhh. Kids.

Today... he is lolling on a beach in the Bahamas swilling foofy cocktails, surrounded by scantily clad co-ed, waiting for the beer-chugging contest to begin.
Ahh. Spring Break.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

critical mass

I am currently working on a project in the basement.

Our basement is stone, and most likely used to have a dirt floor. It now has a thin layer of cement for the floor which I painted last winter.

As they often did in old basements the stone work was 'parged'. Which is a white plastery type material spread over the stone to help with moisture and to retain integrity. Over the many years we have been here this parging is breaking down and crumbling.

To tidy things up down there and make the basement presentable to potential buyers (we will move someday) I now spend my spare time painting rocks.
I am using a special water blocking paint.The white walls make the room look bright and clean.
Its a slow, yet gratifying process.

The wine cellar is now very approachable.

Since I work primarily at home now -I have been putting on my paint clothes in the morning - and paint on my lunch hour.
Yesterday afternoon I glanced down at my paint covered jeans thoughtfully. They are well worn - have that perfect fade - and they fit well. So I wondered why I ever let them become paint pants in the first place.

It only took a few moments to remember. These pants were downgraded to work clothes some time ago ...because they were so large.

oh shit.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

environmental waste

I was thrilled to receive a package recently with those corn starch packing peanuts - as you may know I have a very strong aversion to styrofoam.

The insert in the package said they would easily dissolve in water. Of course I immediately put one in the sink. It dissolved pretty quick with warm water.
So I tossed the rest out the back door. I figured its pretty wet outside - so eventually they would dissolve.

Of course, since that time we have had one snow after another and we've not seen bare ground in several weeks.
Ah, but Spring nears and yesterday, we had a huge melt.


Monday, March 01, 2010

a final word on curling

Ferris came home from his big state university for the weekend.
When he wasn't out catching up with his buddies we enjoyed some quality family time watching curling.
Ferris has been studying the sport - from the sofa...and feels he could pretty much stand up, walk out onto the ice, and beat the US men's team.
His goal is to start a curling team for Italy. He has been perusing IOC websites to find out what he needs to do to qualify as an Italian.

So if you notice there is an Italian curling team in 2014 ... look for me and my proud wife in the stands yelling - Go Italia!
I hope I can help pick out the uniforms.

Monday, February 22, 2010

More Olympic goodness

Four man bobsled.
What do the two guys in the middle do?

No really... do they do anything at all? Or do they just sit there?

Cuz I am really not sure if I would want my big golden Olympic moment to be acting as human ballast.

How would I respond to questions about earning a medal.
"Well, I jump into a bobsled really fast, then I crouch down really low."

ooh the athleticism.

Friday, February 19, 2010



I know its February and there is still snow on the ground in most of the country (even in Texas?).
But - spring is in the air people.

To bring it into the house - now is a great time to bring in flowering trees or shrubs and force them into bloom. We like to bring in the forsythias and within a couple days they explode in yellow spring happiness. This year we brought in some magnolia branches and it looks like those will bloom too.
Also - hang out your comforters and pillows, or even your curtains. You'll be surprised how the strong smell of spring air fills the house and lifts your spirits.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I am a huge Curling fan.

and really... its not just the outfits.

watching women's curling now...
I have to say - our women's curling uniforms are rather blah-zay.
Denmark on the other hand - well now, there's another reason to love curling.
(tried to find a pic...sorry)

Friday, February 12, 2010

speaking of DC

We are driving down there today.

Is that dumb?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thanks DC

O sure. I can't even complain about our mini blizzard yesterday.
What's another 6 inches when all those mid-atlantic people are buried under feet of this stuff.
I'll just go out and shovel quietly now.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The Met

Tonight... tonight will be about the sex.
And apparently some violence... and drama...

Friday, February 05, 2010



We have all been couped up quite a bit for the last couple months, and even tho its not quite time for spring cleaning - its good to just do a quick dust/wipe of your corners and crown moldings. Cobwebs form more readily when homes are closed up and air movement is slow. They're also almost impossible to see unless the light hits them just right or when guests arrive.

This is one of the best uses for those long handled swiffery dusters things. But if you don't have one, no worries. Simply take a dishrag and wrap it around a broom or other long handled tool. Then just whisk it around the top of the room. Do a quick sweep of hanging lamps and fans at this time too.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Hi, my name is weese, and I am a Saints fan

I have been a Saints fan for over 25 years.
It began innocently enough - those smashing gold and black uniforms caught my eye. And who doesn't just love the fleur de lis.

I always say ..if you look good, you play good.

Meaning -- that by looking smart and tidy in your uniform you'll feel more confident. If you are confident you will play better.

Granted this has not always worked for the Saints. In fact, perhaps not at all.

But weese is nothing if not loyal.
I picked them, and so for all these years I have stuck with them.
I have never swayed.
I have never turned my back.
In fact it was during some of their lowest years when my kids surprised me with this.

So many years I put this jersey away before the playoffs.
I am thrilled to be able to wear it for the first time on Superbowl Sunday.
They'll be no party here. No laughing and joking or story telling with wild drinking or fraternizing going on in our living room this year (well...except for some light drinking and fraternizing with my dallas-cowboy-fan wife).

We are watching the game.
Game on.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

I don't get it.

Just today I found out there's more than one groundhog.
It's kinda like when I was small and saw Santa Claus twice at the mall. In different places. Within seconds.
Shattering really.

So how does this work? Is the forecast regional? Where are the boundaries?

The timing of it never really gelled for me anyway. I mean no matter how you look at it spring in New England is never going to come in the first two weeks of March. Hell - folks in Maine are still waiting in May sometimes.
So this whole concept of an early spring (i.e. less than 6 weeks away) really makes no sense.

I shouldn't think so much about these things. I get so disillusioned.
I am going to go write a letter to the Easter Bunny to make myself feel better.
Because giant rabbits delivering eggs to celebrate the resurrection of the son of G-d makes sense to me.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Round is a shape

Have you ever been to Italy and seen those tall, dark, thin women - o so impeccably dressed, and terribly attractive.

Must be a regional thing... my people are the short, round island people that live below the boot. We Sicilians are adorable - without all that annoying attractive Euro-ness to worry about.

Look at my family for goodness sakes.

This is my mother and father on their wedding day. My Italian paternal grandparents flank them. Mom is all of 5'2", clearly you can see we are not a tall people. See my cute, round grandma there. Yeah... I got those genes. Tho I have no white gloves for special occasions.

And so as is traditional for this time of year. Its time to reign in the maddness and drop a couple pounds. My svelt wife will join me in this quest, albiet on a smaller scale.

This morning she told me on her way out to work "I am not going to the grocery store until we both lose 5 pounds."

Uh o.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

weese is hibernating.

Friday, January 08, 2010



Have you had occasion to have a service/repair person over to the house who gave you such great service that you just wanted to run up and hug them?

I like to keep a couple *bucks cards in small denominations tucked in a drawer.
That way - I can thank such a person instantly (without the hugging).

Instead of tipping with money I can say:
Hey - thanks so much... can I buy you a cup of coffee.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

my shovel is poised

They tell me more snow is coming tomorrow.
I am immune.
Clearly it's going to be one of 'those' winters.
Which is fine since I don't belong to a gym.

My warm-weather-lovin' wife on the other hand said quietly to herself as she placed her shovel down after the last storm.
"That's the last time I do that."

She is sending me links now from

I suppose I better find some boxes.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Is the whole world sick?

What's going on out there?

I went to get a prescription filled yesterday and there were lines out the door.
My sniffly wife is not well, and I watched Ferris succumb to a fever last night right before my eyes.
When his buddy called, I actually told him that he had to stay in because he was sick. I didn't expect him to listen. In fact, I expected him to flip me the bird.
He must be very sick tho, because he never made it out. He's a college boy. Almost nothing can stop him.

I am still holding up. I attribute that to the antibiotics I am on for my tooth. While unlikely - its all I've got going for me right now. That... and some green tea and M&M's.

Are you sick?

This just in - the doctor just confirmed bronchitis in my wheezie wife.

Monday, January 04, 2010

off we go then

It's a new year.

We had our hands full at the tail end of 2009.

It takes several hands with twins.

One morning I had to drive Ferris to the airport.
My clever wife set up this arrangement while I was gone.
Had some Cheerios on hand and found Shrek on TV.

The girls spent New Years Eve with us.
Let me tell you - these kids par-taaayy.