Tuesday, September 28, 2010

clear communication is key

A rash of miscommunication of late is causing me to get frustrated! Here's an example.

phone rings.

Kate: Hello?

Iris;Resp. Therapist: Hello. I need assessments faxed to my office. Have you heard anything yet on Rebecca Smith?

Kate: Marianne saw her last night. Would you like to speak to her?

Iris: No. Is Cindy there? (our boss)

Cindy: I need for you to set up Rebecca Smith.

Iris: Kate said that Marianne set her up.

cindy: She did? I dunno why she'd say that.


Kate: I didn't say that. I said...

cindy: It doesn't matter.

*sigh* Yes, it does. This type of thing will hurt someone eventually. "Seeing" is not slang for a full oxygen set up. Goodness.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

september 26

painting by Stephen Magsig

Next weekend will mark the eighth anniversary of Dale's death. October 2, 2002.

It was at the beginning of last week that I thought, is it someones birthday today? What day is it anyway? and a few moments later I realized that it was the countdown time.

Sept. 14th was the day he announced he was ready to go; he lingered on at our little duplex over by the Michener Centre. I was caring for him there because I'd promised him he wouldn't have to die at the hospital. Those eight hospital stays had taken their toll and he would have no more of it. Honestly, he would have liked to go off on his own to die, on his own terms down to the letter (that was his personality disorder at work) but he acquiesced to me and eventually chose to pass in his own bed, which was a double size platform.

For the first few days we didn't make any changes, he was growing weak but could still be assisted to the en suite bathroom or to lay down on the couch down the hall in the living room. One such day I remember putting a Muddy Waters disc in the stereo. He lay still for a few seconds, with his eyes closed, before whispering, "You are a Goddess."

The following week in our bedroom, I'd had to take out most personal affects to make room for wash cloths, bed pads, foamy toothbrushes and a washing basin. Above the bed where a print had once hung there were bags of saline and morphine. The bedside table was gone and a large beige corduroy papasan chair was positioned so that the caregiver could read or nap while sitting with him.

It blows me away that it's been eight years since I started that first countdown - at this time, on this day eight years ago, my sister and I were in her truck taking Dale to see his general practitioner in Innisfail. I'd be told that he had a week or so left, and he did indeed pass on a week later.

Today I'm building a little compost bin in the back yard. I think it'll be a good day.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

lovely morning

It's supposed to be 18 deg C today but feels a lot cooler. Bill and I have been in the kitchen reading the news and playing on Face book since we got up at 10:30, but now that there's a fresh pot of coffee ready, I want to sit back and read blogs.

I know that I have cleaning to do later but I'll probably take advantage of this peacefulness as long as work will allow! The last few weekends have been spent responding to customer calls; a faulty humidifier on a concentrator, an initial oxygen set-up, a traveller low on cylinders.

Last night around eight-thirty I got a call to visit a woman nearby, she was living in a beautiful seniors facility. The entire building is reminiscent of Italy, with it's wide sweeping stone balconies and Italian tiles! Large displays of flowers and beautiful paintings line the gently curving hallway, and each resident has their name engraved on a large square, ceramic tile located to the left of the door.

I was surprised at how small the room was! It was painted in the same, soothing colours as the rest of the building, but resembled a small private hospital room. A tall, frail woman lay in the bed and a middle aged woman, her daughter, stood in the narrow space between the bed and the window. Apparently the cylinder was faulty and we were able to switch it out in no time. The younger woman remarked how her mum kept hovering near death and coming back, to the surprise of doctors and family members alike. We spent twenty minutes making sure they felt comfortable with everything before coming back home.

Today Bill has a trip to Edmonton, to retrieve his own delivery truck from the repair shop. This means that I take over the on-call service, so I'm making him wait until I finish reading a few blogs. It's nice to see that many of my old favourites are back to bloggong again.

Happy Saturday!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I made excellent tai chicken for dinner and now I am too tired to write for long.

Here's Bill and Em from two summers ago.

Bill is thirty pounds lighter (from working so many hours since Christmas) and doesn't have the glasses anymore, and Em is now 5'7".

We need another vacation so that I can update the pics!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Christmas Morning

Em's new Ideapad

That's what it felt like at 9:00 last night, when we gave Em her new Ideapad.

I've wanted to give her one since she came home from her Auntie's house asking if she could use my laptop (nope, sorry) and the best time to get it would be during the month of September when all the back-to-school sales are still going. Bill and I were paid on Wednesday, it took us three days to find the time. Finally, he decided to take Em with him to Edmonton, to drop off his work truck and I took Jamie with me to get the Ideapad and to buy Jamie's textbooks for her college classes.

I can't tell you how satisfying it was to see the look of relief on Jamie's face; her books total hundreds of dollars and she was so worried! Then several hours later, we called Em to the kitchen for a family meeting and presented the little 10" laptop. It was just awesome.

I know that money isn't everything but dang does it buy some personal and parental satisfaction! I think yesterday's date will go down as one of Em's Big Days in the years to come. Yay!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

stay back

photo by Stuart Krempin

Yesterday, Bill almost killed three teenaged boys.

Actually, he was driving down the highway in his International delivery truck and the boy that was driving the half ton behind him almost killed himself and his passengers.

All he did was get up close to the back of Bill's truck, looking for an opening to pass. However, Bill was also looking for an opportunity to pass the vehicle in front of him, and when he glanced into his side mirrors for the second time and didn't see anybody back there, he flipped on his indicator light and started to move into the passing lane.

That's when he saw the half ton truck, who'd started to pull out from behind Bill's truck at the exact same moment. The half ton with the kids was forced onto the shoulder and Bill hit the horn, shaking his fist out the window as he picked up speed and left the kids behind him, shaking at the side of the road.

"Oh my god," I exclaimed as he retold the story. "I would have been freaking out!"

"After they pulled out and I caught sight of them, their faces were all frozen in some kind of horrified scream. We have to make sure that we emphasize to the kids that they ALWAYS keep a safe distance behind big trucks."

I agree. Scary! Here's a good way to know if you're too close to a big truck; if you can't see his side mirrors from your position behind him, then HE can't see you.

Personally, I like to keep six to eight car lengths behind and if I don't have the power to change lanes and overtake him from back there, I need to calm down and wait for a few more minutes.

I tend to have a heavy foot, but carrying a supply of oxygen cylinders has helped me a lot to be patient on the road.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

objects of desire

I would like to have my side yard filled with these types of flowering shubs. Next spring baby!
Yanno, snow is forcasted for tomorrow and Saturday in my area. That's crazy!

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Yesterday, I lost the 1/2 carat diamond out of my engagement ring from Dale.

I was pretty sad about it becaue the diamond meant a lot to Dale. It took him six months to pay it off, and once when I lost it in the clothing store I managed, he was so disappointed. Thank god it was found a month later and for Christmas he gave me a narrow gold band with channel set diamonds to hold the engagement ring in place.

I wore the diamond with mine and Dale's wedding band for a full year after his death, then not again until after Bill and I were married. I loved how well it set off the diamonds in the band that Bill gave me.

Yesterday afternoon I noticed that the diamond was gone, and my heart just sank.

Bill says he's excited to help me find a new one, and I'll leave the other one behind. Besides, it could be anywhere - I visited several nursing homes and a couple of private homes. It could be in someone's vacuum cleaner by now.

Monday, September 6, 2010

monday quiet

Jamie, July 2010

Last week when Jamie said, "Well I dunno how to tell you guys so I'll just spit it out."

In that second, Bill and I both thought 'don't be pregnant', as a knee-jerk reaction.

"I'm moving out."

*sigh of relief*

"Moving out!" I parroted, somehow not surprised. In the past few weeks I'd seen the odd comment on Jame's facebook page, then she started organizing her things. That alone was the biggest red flag of all, lol. Anyway, for the last year I have been waiting for that moment, yet it still felt a little shocking.

Jamie turned twenty-one last December and many of her friends have have been out of their parents' homes for years by that age, although some still require assistance from their parents.

I'm so happy that I had her at home a little bit longer.

She'd gone through Dale's nervous breakdown, alcoholism and death between the ages of eight and thirteen and lost at least two years of development in 2001 and 2002. In the aftermath of all that, we moved into an apartment on the east side (I always refer to those two years as our pergatory) where Jamie struggled through a myriad of challenges.

These last four years have been spent building a foundation for the kids. In the past both myself & Dale and Bill & Tina had been caught up in all the problems associated with mental illness and drug and alcohol abuse, and the kids paid a high price for that. Dale passed away in 2002; Tina passed away last March.

The kids have really bonded these past four years! That's the best thing about Jamie having stayed home a little longer. Plus, I got to know her as she grew and changed and in these last few years she's gained a graceful self-confidence.

Em stayed with her last night but forgot to take a change of clothes so we're running some items over after this, I think we'll also take an old buffet table and some of Dale's things. After that, Jamie is taking Em shopping for more school clothes. Yay for holiday Mondays :)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

a conversation about journalspace

Em came home from school yesterday, exclaiming "Oh my God! I was filling out forms today and had to give my social teacher your email."

I was sitting at the kitchen table with my laptop open, Jamie was making something to drink by the fridge, having come over to finish packing.

"When she looked at it, she said 'Becomingkate?' and I said 'yeah' and she said 'oh my God I used to follow her on journalspace!'"

I looked up over my reading glasses. "Journalspace?! What did you say?" I asked.

"Nothing! I just looked at her like this. Oookayyy."

"I didn't know there was anyone from here that followed me at JS," I said, surprised.

Jamie walked over. "Me either!! Small world, hey?"

Indeed! I have so many happy memories of journalspace. There were so many people whose lives I really cared about, and so many people that followed my posts from the time I'd first met Bill. Some of the very first I remember meeting was Silent Whisper, Wizardress, Tammy and Kittywoman.

Remember Smotlock? He was definitely one of a kind, love him or hate him.

I really enjoyed photography blogs, or blogs with the writer pouring out their hearts, or sharing their stories of every day life with family and friends. It's true that at the end of the day, I would much rather leave a nice, encouraging comment than a contrary one, but most of the time my comments were like a friendly wave as I weaved through link after link of friends posts.

Maybe now that I have weekends off, I can keep up with the awesome friends I have here and at various other blogsites.

Have a good weekend.