Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Still sitting in the waiting room

Thanks for all the kind words and well wishes. We are all still holding vigils in the Cardiac ICU, and awaiting his surgery. He has not been strong enough or without infection long enough for the doctors to do his surgery - if he improves a bit, the surgery will take place within the week.

More waiting.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Christmas in ICU

In the land of eldercare, it is one step forward, and two steps back, apparently.

We thought that getting his blood sugar down to normal numbers was a triumph. And it was, but then, his kidneys started going south. Alakazaam, and some antibiotics seemed to fix that, and then the knee went crazy. Pain spasms every few minutes that broke through Vicodin and a morphine drip. No one could tell us why that was happening, but they were more concerned with a rattling in his chest.

He got an angiogram yesterday, and within minutes, the doctor came out and announced that he had to have bypass surgery ASAP. I have heard of quadruple bypass, but this would be a 6-way bypass, and an aortic valve replacement - that trumped everything else.

Heart surgery has to be done when there is no infection in the body, and his knee was filled with it, so he had surgery with a local anesthetic yesterday. The knee was drained and cleaned, but he will never walk a step until it is replaced. He has to get mobile after the heart surgery to avoid more blood clots.

To say it is a bad situation is an understatement. My brother had a priest come and give my father communion last night. If he makes it, he will have surgery on Christmas Day.

I know that there are Christmas miracles, and hopefully, there is one with his name on it. Otherwise, Christmas will forever be the day that I lost my dad.

Pray for us.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Oh, how the mighty have fallen . . .

I thought I would give a quick update while I had the comfort of a plate of my little sugar cookies and a glass of cold milk. Everyone has their vices . . .

Lulled into a false sense of security, my sister and I have both been attending to our own families for the past 2 days while my mom dutifully gave my dad pain medication and meals, waiting to see a specialist this coming Tuesday for the bad knee. My sister's husband had told her that she couldn't drop her entire life for my dad, and in a more subtle way, my husband had told me the same thing, so we both reluctantly stepped back and hoped for the best, sure that the doctor would see my dad on Tuesday and get the surgery ball rolling.

However, that was not to be. My dad's convalescence at home was short-lived.

I found myself at my parent's house Thursday night. She had called me in a panic - she wasn't able to move him, and his pain medication wasn't holding the pain anymore. Hubby and I raced there to find him weak and in incredible pain, slumped over on his portable potty chair. It was a pathetic sight. Thank God for Hubby, he stepped up to my dad, lifting him like a child and gently plopping him onto his makeshift couch/bed.

Noticing his wincing and grimacing, I stepped closer to him, straightening out his clothing and that is when I noticed just how bad he had gotten in 2 days. His sore leg was like a tree trunk - swollen now from the thigh down. His skin was shiny, it was pulled so tightly, and his leg was cold from the knee down. I panicked, and asked my mom how long the leg had been like this. She wasn't sure, she began to cry and say that she was giving him medications for his pain like the doctor instructed, and that Daddy hadn't really done much except sleep.

His mouth was dry. She said he wasn't eating much, and drinking less than that.

I'm no nurse, but I knew that his leg wasn't right. Even though the doctors had said that his condition wasn't urgent, that he would have to see a specialist next week, I knew he couldn't wait that long. No way.

So, once again, 911 was called, and he was taken to the emergency room. This time, the news was quite different. He had a blood clot behind the bad knee, his blood sugar was nearing 300, his kidneys were barely functioning, and infection was setting in.

Finally, the healthcare system swung into action. He was quickly admitted and teams of nurses began to infuse bags of liquid into several IVs. Radiologists with portable machines took chest xrays, and doctors came in and out, examining his leg and listening to his heart.

Not good.

I had heard of Heparin. I knew that it stopped blood from clotting. The doctor mentioned that my dad would begin receiving Heparin to help dissolve the blood clot. That sounded promising; I thought that if they could resolve the clot, that they would be able to fix his knee, and that he might have a chance of getting back on his feet and regain some mobility. The doctor dashed that hope when he announced that the clot would have to be resolved for better than 3 months before any surgery for the knee would be considered.

The Heparin didn't take long to start working. It was sort of a good news/bad news thing. Good news - some blood flow returned to the bad leg. Bad news - when the blood began to circulate, and the swelling began to go down, incredible pain hit like lightning every 5 minutes or so.

Modern medicine has an answer to everything. He has a pain pump now, and can hit a little button for a small dose of medication every 10 minutes. If he wasn't so high and delirious, that would be a great thing. My mom refuses to leave his bedside at this point, so I gave her the task of hitting the pain med button every 10 minutes for him. It's like talking to a little kid now with her - she is like a frightened rabbit.

I know the husbands meant well, but they both overestimated my dad's resiliency and my mom's clarity.

I think we all did.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Best Sugar Cookies In The World

Gonna take a time out from General Hospital to pass on a fan-damn-tastic recipe for the holidays. Care of Alton Brown, the coolest food guy in the world. Catch him on Food Network, and if you have the time, you gotta make these Christmas cookies. I usually hate Christmas cookies, but these are hands down, the best holiday butter cookies I have ever tasted.

3 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon milk

Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar. Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking. If dough has warmed during rolling, place cold cookie sheet on top for 10 minutes to chill. Cut into desired shape, place at least 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet, parchment, or silicone baking mat, and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to complete cooling on wire rack. Serve as is or ice as desired. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.

Extra notes: We use a Silpat cookie sheet liner - makes the cookies brown, but not burn. Also, we use a little egg white to wet the cookies before we add sprinkles and bake them.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Excuse me while I get all these ducks back in a row . . .


It is nice to be back to some semblance of normalcy; well, as normal as things ever are around my neck of the woods. It has been a hellacious couple of weeks since I last sat here with a hot tea and a blissful few minutes of quiet to virtually chit chat with you kind readers. Lots has happened, with lots more to follow in the coming weeks, so let's just jump in . . . shall we?

So . . . my dad had an accident in Florida. First, let me say something nice about the Tallahassee police. Evidently, my dad was very disoriented after the accident, and kept insisting that the police "take him to a hotel, or something." Instead of fighting the old man, one very nice cop displayed endless patience and gently, but firmly insisted that my father go to the hospital to get the nasty cut on his face checked out. The cop took the time to stay with my dad in emergency until he was settled with doctors, and he even called us in Atlanta to let us know what had happened, and that he had secured the car and my dad's stuff. Nice, nice guy . . . he is now officially on my Christmas list.

My dad was in ICU for the first couple of days. To tell the truth, the details of his early stay are sketchy; I was so mad, I really didn't have the patience to sit and listen to much of it from my mom. In short, she was a mess. Nevermind that she was ready to leave him the day he took off for Florida.

Personally, there is more than a little part of me that thinks he did this on purpose.

Anyway, his accident threw us into the bowels of hell otherwise known as Kaiser Permanente Senior Advantage. IF your parents have this coverage, I beseech you, beg them to change back to regular ol' Medicare immediately! Here in Georgia, Kaiser Permanente offers a product called Senior Advantage. It is not simply just a Part B supplemental Medicare product; it actually takes over ALL medical care and hospital coverage for Medicare-aged patients (that would be Medicare Part A AND B). That doesn't sound significant, until you realize the ramifications of having ALL care dictated by Kaiser.

First of all, Kaiser has NO presence in Florida. I can't help but think that this is due to the diligence and foresight of the lobbyists that work hard for the large senior contingency that lives there.

When my dad first went in to the hospital, he was considered a Medicare patient with a supplemental policy, and he was given very thorough care, and lots of tests, and there was no bum's rush out the door. As soon as Kaiser was notified that he was hospitalized there, their Regional Case Manager (read: Scrooge) stepped in. Not only did they insist that my dad be discharged, they didn't want to give him a medical transport back home. Nevermind that he had been in ICU and on oxygen, and that his knees were so banged up and swollen that he couldn't walk. These bastards insisted that we (the family) come down and get him. Now, the Tallahassee doctors ordered a medical transport because they thought his injuries warranted it. Kaiser overrode the doctor's orders and denied the coverage. At nearly $3,000 out of pocket, we were at a loss and had no idea what to do.

We were lied to over and over. The Kaiser contact assured us that she had been in contact with the nurses and therapists in Tallahassee, and that my father was mobile, up on a walker, able to do basic things like get to the bathroom, etc. When Good Brother (we call him GB for short, remember?) and my mom got there to pick him up, he was completely immobile, weak as a kitten, and my brother and 2 nurses couldn't get him into the van. GB was furious, and went inside to demand that the doctors come out to see the shape my dad was in. They were apologetic, and agreed that he needed a medical transport, and offered to take on Kaiser again. My dad, even in that state, begged my brother to get him home, assuring him that he could stand the pain, just drive.

And drive, he did. He got back to Atlanta in about 5 hours - flat. His Good Son (GS) and I were at my parents waiting. I had been on the phone ALL DAY with those Kaiser bastards trying to get a hospital bed, chair, walker, etc. delivered to the house. I hadn't stretched my ass-chewing muscles in quite a while, but I must still have the knack, cause by 3:00 that shit was THERE.

When I laid my eyes on my dad, I was sure that they had picked up some decrepit, homeless, toothless man on the way home. There was NO WAY that was him. His voice was barely a whisper, he was bruised, his eyes were at half-mast, rolling back into his head, and he was as weak as a kitten. GB and I had to physically lift him from the van and into a wheelchair, and he slumped and nearly slid out onto the garage floor. Cursing, I told everyone that I was calling an ambulance, pronto. My dad begged me to just get him inside, and we struggled in with him in the chair, GB and I. Once we got inside, I started to roll him toward the bedroom when he whispered that he had to go to the bathroom.

I had already put a sturdy 4-legged chair over the toilet - looks sort of like a walker. I called my mom to come into the bathroom to help us. GB, bless his soul, had run for the hills. He is as good as gold, but bathroom duty was just too much for him, squeamish soul that he has always been. My mom was on one side of him, and I was on the other as he summoned whatever bit of strength he had to slide across. My mom just stood there, like a statue, when I barked at her, "Undo his pants!" She seemed to snap back to reality just as he began to whimper "Oh, Christ," and I knew what was happening. Yep. My dad was shitting himself, and there we were, trying to deal with him.

You have to understand, this is a man that I have never seen in anything less than a t-shirt and tennis shorts. I have never seen him in his underwear. Never. He has always been an extremely prideful and private person, and this was an injustice that devastated him. I was tired, and unnerved, and I shouldn't have been short with her, but I was put out with my mom at that moment. I told her to start stripping his soiled clothing while he sat on the toilet seat and I went to get a garbage bag. She looked at me with eyes as wide as saucers, as though I had asked her to stick her hand down the garbage disposal.

I was dead cold at that second, and all I could think of, I swear, was "We TOLD you to leave him years ago. You're the one that stayed for 49 years, and it's your duty now. You BOTH waited too long to find anyone else to stand by you, so you are stuck with each other, so DEAL with it."

Yeah, cold, I know, but I tend to get frosty when things are stressful.

So, that first and second nights were a horrible struggle. All of us kids lobbied for him to go back to the hospital, and finally my mom and dad relented, and an ambulance came the third evening he was home. After getting his knee drained, and getting on some good pain medication, the hospital decided to do an MRI. Get a load of this . . . the dumbass that did the MRI paid no attention to the fact that my dad was writhing in pain during the test - evidently, the MRI vibration was rubbing bones together, causing the "worst damn pain" my dad had ever experienced. When the guy FINALLY stopped the test, he went to transfer my dad from the tube back to the wheelchair and DROPPED him onto the floor! No shit.

Despite all of thiat, he is resting pretty comfortably back at home now and is getting stronger.

A few good things have come out of all of this. Tallahassee conducted every test known to man on him (before Kaiser got wind he was there) . The doctors put him on meds that he was supposed to be on anyway, and my mom is making him stick to the diabetic diet that he was put on years ago. He has regained his lucidity. He's going to need a knee replacement as soon as possible, and he is ahead of the game because he has many of the test behind him.

He is pretty humbled right now, thanking all of us over and over for helping him. I wonder if this newfound humility will stick around after he is back on his feet?

Oh, and my mother still says she is moving. I told her plainly that she could move wherever she wants, as long as she brings him along. For better or worse, they are still married, and he is too incapacitated at this point for her to just walk out the door without making life a living hell for us kids. The accident IS his fault, no doubt, but letting it all get to this point with his crazy ass is at LEAST half her fault. Know what I mean?

Thursday, December 2, 2004

I couldn't make this shit up . . .

I swear, if I sat for a month racking my brain to come up with a more convoluted, twisted pile of bullshit, I couldn't come close to the reality.

So . . . I spent the day helping my mom get her things together for her move. We filled out even MORE paperwork for the apartment complex, looked at all of the units that were vacant "just to make sure" that she had picked the one that she liked the best, and then we spent the better part of the afternoon shopping consignment furniture stores for a sofa (she found one, quite nice, recliners on each end, $180).

I rushed home, bundled the kids into the car and on to cheerleading practice, where Hubby met me to watch the kids for the rest of the practice so I could go on to my twice-monthly outing to Music Trivia. I had really been looking forward to getting out, shooting the breeze with friends, eating some wings, and just having a little fun. I was driving down Interstate 75 when the cell rang.

My mother.

She got the call about 7:00 pm from a police officer. My dad was in an accident - he rear-ended a car. No one else was hurt, but his face was busted up pretty good, and he had knocked out a few teeth. Bad cut on his face, and he was fighting with the officers about going to the hospital. They were asking my mom if he was on any medication or if he had any medical problems, because he didn't seem to be coherent. Not knowing any better, I am sure the officer thought he had been drinking. My dad is a tee-totaler, but he tends to load up on sugar, and when you have diabetes, that is just as bad as tipping the bottle and getting behind the wheel. According to some witnesses that pulled over after the accident, his driving was erratic before he crashed, so he could have been going into a "sugar coma", at least that is what we call it when he nods off without warning.

The officer and the doctor both want a family member to come down - they don't want to release him without a family member present. I guess my mom was so upset, the officer asked if he could have a phone number for one of their kids and guess who got picked? You got it. When I got the call, I asked the officer what had to be done to get him admitted for a 72 hour psychiatric observation. He said that under certain conditions, he could order that at his discretion without any signatures from family members. But because my dad seemed to be lucid enough to know where he was, and what had happened, and because he was so adamant about not wanting to be in the hospital, the officer's superior wouldn't authorize it. Instead, they just want us to get our ass down there and pick him up, pronto. The one ace in the hole is the emergency room doctor - he has ordered a boatload of tests, and if the tests show that he is medically fragile, the doctor can hold him for 3-5 days with family consent.

So, I am waiting for his call now, and operating on the assumption that the doctor will call to tell us to come on down. I think that my mom and I will take a one-way flight down, get him, and drive a rental car back to Atlanta. I have no idea how that will go . . . she is mad as hell that he went after she begged him not to. Hell, we all are, for that matter. Part of me wants to go down there and plant my foot up his ass, and the other part of me is scared to death, and thankful that he didn't have the accident on the freeway and kill himself and a whole slew of innocent people.

Yeah, so . . . I will be gone for a bit . . . I plan to make the 6 hour drive back to Atlanta count. I am telling my mom to hold strong, to go through with her move, and I am going to keep pushing for him to quit driving on his own before his license is revoked or he hurts someone.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, December 1, 2004

We interrupt this stroll down memory lane . . .

. . . for more timely news. While nostalgia has driven this blog for quite some time now, I am going to fast-forward to present day. I feel the need to record events as they are happening, and boy, are they happening.

As soon as I get the fan turned off, and all the shit cleaned off the walls, it will be business as usual.

For those of you that hate spoilers, there may be a few in these present-day postings. I will try to minimize that.

So, prepare for the lightspeed transition from 1997 to 2004. Can't be helped, I guess. Thank you drive through.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

My husband is one of those people that firmly believes that holidays suck. According to him, most of his holidays were spent sitting quietly at his aunt's house, waiting for his turn to open a gift, pretending to quietly enjoy "healthy" holiday dinner fare, and mostly just counting the minutes until he could go back home. His aunt is a lovely woman - she and I share the same birthday - but I have to admit that her home is a bit, ahem, sterile for my tastes. Hard to square that with my recollections of the maniacal Christmas mornings I remember.

Despite all of my family's shortcomings, the holidays were our time to shine. We all developed some kind of tryptophan-induced amnesia that carried us from Thanksgiving right through to Christmas. Our celebrations were all-out extravaganzas, filled with giggling children, great food, music, gifts, and fun. The few truly happy memories I have from my childhood years are all recollections of holidays.

So, in between wanting to recreate what I had and avoid what my husband experienced during his holidays, I feel quite a bit of pressure to deliver the goods for my kids. This year is going to be particularly challenging.

My parents, it my surprise you to hear, are still both alive, still fairly healthy, and still married. They still reside in the home that he built himself way back in 1969. He is 75 and she is 72 now. Longtime readers may recall a few early postings that detailed my dad's eccentricities and volatile temper. That hasn't changed a bit.

My long-suffering mother has been married to my father for 49 years this month. For as long as I can remember, she has talked about divorcing him. For as long as I can remember, I encouraged her to. She never did, never came close. Until now.

Let's back up a few weeks, shall we? My sister and I have spent the past month helping my mother prepare to leave my father. It has been an agonizing process. We have discussed her options, reviewed her finances, toured apartments, discussed her situation ad nauseum with her, trying to convince her that leaving is the right thing to do. It is, believe me.

My sister mentioned to me that she had been having these conversations with my mother for 35 years. That sort of stunned me . . .that couldn't be right, could it? Well, my sister is nearly 50, and I think she was being generous. The conversations may have been going on for closer to 40 years.

Why didn't she leave years ago? Well, she is from another generation, she comes from a home riddled with alcoholism and abuse, she always hoped things would get better, she stayed for us, and after we left, she stayed for him, even though he acted then and acts now as though he could care less whether she was there or not. If there was any doubt at all, it evaporated when he told her to "get the hell out" this past week. This followed an ultimatum of sorts on her part, and although I wasn't surprised by his reaction, evidently she was.

She had decided that the time had come for the two of them to sell their too-large house and find something smaller and closer to the children. Both of them are becoming less skilled at driving during the day, and neither should drive at night. My father has denied that he has diabetes for years, and the effects of that denial are surfacing - he uses a cane these days to get around, and he scoffed at the doctor's diagnosis of "diabetic neuropathy". He stopped sleeping in a regular bed last year, because he couldn't get himself out of it in the morning. He sleeps on a recliner, and when his legs hurt and he can't sleep, he watches The Gem Channel and buys all manner of trinkets and baubles . . . with her credit card.

He has always been a hoarder; their large basement is full to the rafters with "great buys" he has made at auctions. He feels sure that there is a fortune to be made on all of the lots that he buys, but he never can quite bring himself to part with any of it. That goes for cars, clothes, furniture . . . anything. He has an entire bedroom in the house that is also full of all manner of . . . God knows what. He keeps it locked, and no one is allowed in there. He is also quite paranoid of having things taken from him, even by members of his own family.

The house is in a state of disrepair, and even though he was a builder and an engineer, he hasn't really done anything to the house for years and years. The roof leaks, the appliances are old and on their last legs, the exterior has been untended, and for years now, he has just sat, working on his computer, watching stock channels, daytrading their savings away, and buying jewelry. Any time that my mother has attempted to hire workmen, he refuses to let them into the house, and screams obscenities at them, calling them all crooks. He begrudgingly lets my brother (the good one) make repairs, but he insists on working side by side with him, which is dangerous. He actually scaled a ladder and got on the roof a couple of months ago, and to everyone's horror, he began his descent, stumbling down the last couple of rungs and falling onto the deck.

He stopped working altogether at 55, pretty much unannounced and with no discussion. He basically burned his last bridge, getting into a heated screaming match with his manager, and he was let go. That had happened over and over, and pretty soon, he was unable to land contracts. The aerospace contract world is a small one, and word gets around. When the phone stopped ringing, he never attempted to do any other kind of work. He just gave up pretty much, even though they were in no way financially prepared for his early "retirement".

She worked full time until she finally retired 2 years ago at 70, so she and he weren't under each other's feet 24 hours a day until recently. While she was working, she was able to tolerate his angry tirades for a couple hours in the evenings; she usually just went back to her bedroom after dinner and read or watched tv, while he stayed in the den. A lonely existence in anyone's book. Once she was home day and night, things deteriorated quickly.

SO . . . back to the unceremonious kick-out: She wrote a letter to him and gave it to him last Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, 2 days after their 49th anniversary (neither of them acknowledged the date to the other). It was pretty lengthy, 5 pages or more. She was trying one last time to explain to him that she couldn't live with him under the current conditions, that they could no longer maintain the house physically or financially, that he desperately needed medical care and that she wasn't willing to tolerate his yelling and screaming anymore. She advised him that she had found a place to go, and that she was ready to go alone if he was unwilling to concede. He wasn't willing, not by a longshot.

As a matter of fact, upon learning that her plans to go were in place, he took off for hurricane-damaged Florida, hoping to strike gold by selling some of the tons of aging construction materials he has hoarded in the basement. He feels sure that the storm victims will be lining up to pay him top dollar for his stuff, even though we all told him that Orlando is closed to anyone except licensed contractors, FEMA workers, property owners, and police. He listened to that as much as he ever listens to anything, just a muttering of "Bullshit!" as he tottered about the house, packing a bag.

We have all known that he was crazy for quite a long time, but she could never bring herself to admit it. He was always "brilliant" or "eccentric" or "unique". Now well into his "golden years", he views his future through the same murky glass of unrealistic, self-centered lunacy that he views his cheap baubles and trinkets. Let me assure you that everything that glitters certainly ISN'T gold, and the way-too-bright glimmers from his fake reality shine back onto his face just like the cheap gold-plated crap he has become entranced by. The reflection isn't at all warm, glowing or comforting, it is stark and cold and brightly illuminates one truth for all of us looking on: He isn't eccentric, he is just plain ol' crazy.

Of course we all panicked . . . he had no business getting a rental car, or driving any long distance. We tried to stop him, and he told us all to leave him alone and mind our own business. We tried to convince him to fly down to Florida, but he wouldn't hear of it. We tried to call the state patrol, but with a clean driving record, he is within his rights to go. I was willing to have him committed, but no one else was, and it takes 2 signatures to make it stick.

In some ways, his leaving makes her move easier - we will be able to get all of her things next Saturday in one trip. The place where she is going is brand new, light and bright, convenient to her doctors, shopping, and 3 miles from my house, with lots of nice men and women close to her age, still healthy, still active, trying to enjoy their health and their lives, and everyone we talked to seems to love living there. Despite how great the place is, she is scared to death, and I can't believe how proud I am of her.

She tries to think positive. She is holding on to the hope that maybe he will come home to the empty house and have a change of heart. Maybe he will visit her at her new complex and see how nice it is and decide to allow the sale of the house. When she gets to this point, though, she adds that he would have to get his own apartment; she is still unwilling to live with him. Can't blame her there.

As for him, it's not surprising that he left - he spent most of their married life "on the road". I guess that's how the marriage lasted as long as it did. If they had lived together full-time, I feel sure that they would have split decades ago. Somehow, the marriage would hit the rocks, and he would leave for 2-3 years, coming home on weekends, and the marriage would survive. I don't think the marriage is going to survive this trip. And as much as I hate to say it, I have my doubts whether he will, either.

I know that the move and the finances are going to be rough for them both. I committed to helping them both a bit each month, even though both protested. I was able to see my way clear to do that, until yesterday. Out of nowhere, my contract was pulled. The contract has been solid as a rock, and up until Monday, there wasn't any hint that things were wrapping up. That's the life of a contractor, but what shitty timing! Thank God I Christmas shopped for the kids early this year.

So, while other people are out shopping for Christmas gifts, I am looking for an apartment-sized dinette for my mom. While others are looking forward to time off, I am panicking about where my next job will come from. Instead of being a port in the storm for my aging, battling parents, I am adrift at sea again.

Maybe hubby is right . . .

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