I Did Not Win the Mega Millions Lottery Wednesday, Dec 18 2013 

You heard it here first. Or maybe second because they announced where the winners live and I do not live in San Jose California or Atlanta Georgia and you knew I’m in Texas. I tried to win. Really. Well, what I mean is I bought a ticket or two, so that the dream could live for a day or two. And I did dream, mostly while driving on my long work compute, what it would be like to have that much money, or ‘enough’ money. I know money doesn’t solve problems but it would solve my lack of money problems. Money also doesn’t buy happiness. We’ve all heard that one. I’d like to give it a whirl myself, before making any snap decisions on its ability to make me happy. I bought my tickets early Saturday, just after the Friday night drawing that yielded no winner. I did not wait until the last minute. I had four days of hope that I could beat the odds and win. It was not to be.

In the meantime, my life continued as of nothing was pending. My grandson turned 6 and I survived his birthday party with all the other 5/6 year olds. Some Christmas items I ordered arrived. My hubs crunched the fender and removed the side mirror of his car by close encounter with a construction barrel in a construction zone, therefore damaging his pride more than the car. (Everything around this town seems to be under construction.) I talked my mom (over the phone) through changing the battery in her smoke detector. I am still working on getting the Christmas tree decorated. I work in little bursts and have the living room in complete disarray. Winning the lottery would not have changed any of this real life activity. Would today have been different? Yes. I think so. But how different, I will never know. I am like everyone else (except two people) in America today. Deep sigh. Life goes on. And even without winning the lottery, life is good.

News Flash-World Keeps Spinning-Story at 10 Wednesday, Sep 25 2013 

Having now spent over a week answering emails for 1) people who really need help with the new system 2) people who hate change no matter what it is and 3) people who complain because they can, I have decided that the world will continue and nothing will change.  The people that needed help received it.  The people that hate change had change thrust upon them and will adjust or move on.  Keep in mind the last time there was a technology change they hated that system too, and now it is the one they want to flip back to using :).  And the complainers, well, they were killed with kindness and will find another topic to complain about, focus their unhappiness on, and in general continue their unhappy little lives.  Live is too short to worry about them.

During my lifetime, I’ve dealt with different types of issues and problems, one of which was mother in law’s demenita, which I detailed in my postings in this blog and when my brother in law wasted away from lung cancer in front of our eyes.  Currently both my parents have aging issues and there are plenty of real life, personal stresses on me.   That, my friends, is when times are tough and you dig deep, not when online banking rejects your password at 3am.  Seriously, is that the worst thing that has ever happened to you?  Because your reaction seems a bit over the top…..just sayin’.  (In case you don’t get that last part, it was sarcastic.)

So kick back, eat some ice cream, smile.  I’m going too, as soon as I answer all these bleeping emails.

People Hate Change! Get A Grip on Yourselves Saturday, Sep 21 2013 

I am continually surprised at how perfectly fine people think it is ok to rant via email.

When you email a business to complain about something, like a change in product, or something you are not happy about in general, do you not realize that someone at the other end (not management) has to read what you’ve written?  It is someone’s job to respond in a pleasant, professional manner to your completely unprofessional behavior?  Do you think cussing and calling them stupid makes their day?  If you were standing in line at the counter would you act like that or  is it because you are sitting in your living room with your laptop, tablet or phone?  Have some manners people.   I’m not saying you cannot complain, but be constructive.  “IT SUCKS”  doesn’t help anyone solve an issue, if you are indeed even having an issue with who you are complaining about.

The company I work for recently launched a change in its technology platform that impacted its customers.  We had been putting information out there for weeks talking about the upcoming change, letting people know the exact date, because we know that change can be unsettling.  Each customer would need to complete extra security to navigate the site.  And you know what?  Most customers had no problem handling it.  If they hit a slight snag, they called, emailed or actually read the material we had provided and it was solved in a flash.  But some of the low hanging fruit couldn’t handle any part of it and it was obvious they didn’t try.  Those wonderful group of people emailed messages like ‘what idiot made these changes?’ ….’the new site sucks’…”I can’t believe you would block me from access”……”Why didn’t you tell me this was going to happen?” and I am not even listing all the cuss words people did not even pretend to hide with %&$# and so on.  Instead of spending time helping those that needed help, we had to allocate resources to answering emails and calls from people that were just mean, asinine and deliberately abusive.  While we killed them with kindness, what I wanted to say was:   Can you read?  The world doesn’t revolve around you.  You kiss your mother with that mouth?  Is that how your talk to your children?

As technology has advanced I think society has lost touch with how to be polite and respectful.  I am willing to bet that most of the people that emailed in and acted like jerks, would not it if they were they ones being treated they way.  But then again, that type of person does care about others anyway.  When a 73 year old emails in WTF?  you know the world has changed and not for the better.

Gas Station Etiquette-Get Some! Friday, Oct 5 2012 

One of my least favorite things to do these days is to gas up my car.  I compute about 50 miles one way to work each day, so I am forced to stop by a gas station more frequently than some others might.  And recently, I have encountered a trend that is unpleasant and actually downright rude.  It seems that the public is determined that there is no reason to be courteous of others or consideration of the time spent waiting at gas stations!

Let me describe just a few of the examples, all starting with: Pull into a busy gas station and find a pump that lines up with my gas tank:

1)      One car in front of me at the pump. Brief moment of good feeling. A female in the car.  Is she done?  Getting right to pump?  Can’t tell, so I wait.  It is obvious she is texting on her phone.  I glance at my car clock.  One minute passes. Other cars are moving in their lines. Driver of the car in front of me glances in her rearview mirror, so she knows someone is waiting behind her. Two minutes pass.    The driver of the car in front of me decides she has completed her text conversation and gets out of the car to start pumping her gas, in no rush.  She wanders over to the attendant to pay before pumping and slanders back.  From the time I pulled up until she started pumping her gas, 5 minutes have elapsed.

2)      One car in front of me at the pump.  Young man is pumping gas.  Glances at my car when I pull up.  Finishes his transaction and gets in his car.  Picks up his phone and starts texting.  I glance at my watch.  One minute passes.  He is alternating between texting and reading his phone.  Two minutes pass. He starts his car, clears button on his dashboard, and puts on his seatbelt.  Answers another text.  Puts his foot on the brake (brake lights light up), places his car into gear (back up lights flash). Three minutes pass. Reads another text.  Then pulls away from the pump.

3)      One car in front of me at the pump.  Nozzle already inserted and pumping.  Young man leaning on side of car texting.  Auto fill clicks off.  I hear it from inside my close car and look up. Young man continues to text.  I glance at my clock.  Young man makes no move toward nozzle and continues to text.  I put my car into gear and move forward a bit. Young man continues to text.  One minute passes.  Young man finally reaches for nozzle, removes it while still reading phone screen.  Tries to place it into its holder on pump, and completes an ‘air pass’ because he is still reading his screen.  Second try is successful.  Waits for receipt and texts.  Receipt prints, and flaps in breeze, while he texts.  Two minutes pass.  He reaches for his receipt still reading his phone and texting.  He gets in his car. Puts on his seat belt. Puts his foot on the brake (brake lights light up), places his car into gear (back up lights flash). Reads another text.  Then pulls away from the pump.

4)      Four pump station, two on one side, and two on the other.  Pull into station and a pick-up with a trailer is blocking both pumps on one side of the station.  The driver is standing on the passenger side of the truck handling another person cash from his wallet.  The other person runs into the store.  The driver glances at me and starts checking his tires and hitch.  One the other side, a pick-up is placing the nozzle into his tank to begin filling.  He sets it to auto fill on gets back into his truck.  The last pump has a SUV pumping gas.  I pull around and line up behind the SUV.  The driver of the SUV finishes her transaction and pulls away; I pull in and start my transaction.  Other cars pull in and line up between me and the truck with the trailer.    I fill my tank and complete my transaction.  The truck with the trailer is still blocking both pumps on the other side with the driver sitting in the driver seat.  His passenger walks out, comes around to the driver side window, hands him a cold drink and his change.  Then walks to the passenger side and gets in the truck.  They both open their drinks, put on their seat belts and take a drink before putting the truck into gear and starting to move.  The line behind them is now three cars long.  The pickup on my side has auto clicked off while I was filling up and the driver is sitting in his truck on his phone.  I get in my car and pull away.  The line behind me is two cars long.

This is not a full listing of all the instances I personally have encountered recently, but it is enough to paint the picture.  I do not mean to insist that a minute or two of time is even that big of a deal.  However, I do question if we, as a society have become so distracted by our phones or so discourteous, that we cannot function or consider that others are waiting as we perform our routine daily functions.

In each one of the instances I listed above the guilty knew someone was waiting.  And their behavior did not alter.  They made no effort to show any type of courtesy.

I use my phone.  I text.  I get emails, posts and tweets. I am not opposed to instant communication.  I just don’t delay others while doing it.

Now should we talk about people that talk on their phones in line at the store?

Forever My Child Thursday, Jul 7 2011 

It’s hard to watch a grown ‘child’ be unhappy and not be able to fix it.

When I was younger and I heard ‘old’ people talk about how your child stayed your child no matter how old they got, I had a hard time taking in the concept. I knew I would love my children no matter what, but I thought that once they became adults that, somehow, the parenting part of me would fade away. I thought they would make their mis-steps, and mistakes, have their triumphs and successes. They would be able to build on my life and their life would be better for it. Just as I learned from or was influenced by my parents and my life was better for it. I never dreamed that the natural progression of life would not happen that way.

I married young and I am still married to him. We’ve had plenty of ups and downs, and as I joked on Facebook on the date of our last anniversary, for all those doubters that thought we were too young, I think we are going to make it. I hoped that we set an example of the ebb and flow a marriage takes and somehow that rubbed off on our kids, empowering them to have what it takes to accomplished the same thing.

Now I find I have son with a marriage that is failing. And he is so unhappy, for his family, for his child, for his wife and for himself. I’ve watched as he has dropped 30 lbs in just a few months. He appears worn out, dark circles under his eyes, and lethargic. I can be supportive, listen to him, and such, but I cannot fix the problem.

I find this situation extremely stressful. My head knows the problem is not mine to fix, but my heart doesn’t want him to hurt, so therefore, fixing it becomes something I want to do. And yet, I know I cannot.

And times are different know as well. This age of instant communication makes discord so easy and impersonal. How does one know the tone of any text or email? Now people can argue all day and night and never speak a word to one another. I also find that stressful.

So, I wait, listen and support. I try to understand. I worry. I remain a parent.

Feeling Guilty Tuesday, Dec 14 2010 

A very good friend of mine lost his father last week.  It was not unexpected, as his father had been suffering from ongoing, worsening complications of  a stroke.  His decline was at least two years in the making. But regardless, it doesn’t necessarily make his passing any easier, and certainly not when the public goodbye is a spectacle for the ‘current’ wife, that fails to recognize his father had a life before her.  Including two grown children. Such a shame. I feel for my friend and his family.

And I feel guilty, as I am struggling with my parents.  The death of my friend’s father brings home how lucky I am that both of my parents are still here. They are showing signs of failing physical and mental health, but still here.  I am happy they are still around.  I say that up front.  I am, however, struggling with their increasing needs of me and what I see coming in the future.  I’ve been down this path before.  I know the signs and I know where the path leads.  I kid myself that I am in denial, but I am.  Each time I talk with Mom, and she is confused, has forgotten something or some other issue arises, I feel sick to my stomach, and may even have a small panic attack.  Her ‘forgetfulness’ is so much like my MIL, which if you’ve read any of my postings, you know about.  And I ask myself how can I do this again?  And somewhat selfishly, why do I have to do this again?    I feel guilty for even thinking it. But I do.  Think it.

Drama, Drama, Drama Aging Parents Saturday, Apr 10 2010 

I have several excuses for why I have not written ‘blogged’ in a while.  Not that anyone cares.  I happen to be suffering from a bad case of spring pollen fever right now and don’t feel well, so my whining might show up in my blog tone.  My best excuse is a computer versus that wiped out my system, or should I say the cure caused me to have to wipe out my system, and I am slowly reinstalling things I had backed up.  Always back things up!

Next-At the beginning of February, on a Friday evening, as I was heading to dinner with friends, I received a call from my mother saying that my father was being admitted to the hospital for observation.  It wasn’t any big deal, but it would be good if I could come over and help her out.  She was vague on what ‘help’ she wanted and the overall tone along with the vagueness of her request was strange.

You might be thinking, but of course a daughter would drop what she was doing and run to the hospital when a situation like this pops up..but of course.  The background of the situation is much more complicated and suffice it to say that both of my brothers and I have parent issues that wouldn’t necessarily lead to that automatic occurence.  I think it is safe to say that overall neither of my siblings or I are ‘close’ to our parents.  But I digress.

Regardless, when Mom called and asked, I stated I’d come and I did.  I called my husband, the famous S of the Belle story included on this blog, and told him to go on to dinner without me. When I arrived at the hospital it was immediately apparent the situation was chaos.  My almost 75 year old father was in distress, vomiting, dizzy, amount other things, and my mother was not able to provide some of the simplest information the doctors needed regarding his medical history which is long and complicated and which she knows, quite well.  If there is one things my brothers and I agree on is that our mother can go on forever regarding the smallest detail of anything slightly medical, to the point that all of us stop listening the second she starts it up. However, this time, when I asked (which all by itself should have been a clue) about details regarding how this situation had come to pass, she was vague and distracted.

Over the course of the next 5 days, while my fathers condition worsened, was diagnosed, and then treated, I took control, as my Mother displayed all the signs I have feared  and have witnessed before.  Her short-term memory is failing.  I’ve guess I’ve known it, the small signs have been there all along but I guess I just didn’t want to belive it could happen. (again) But it is.

During the last several years Mom has become almost a hermit in the house.  She only leaves when she has too, and that is rare.  Doctor appointments, things like that.  Dad is the outside world, does the shopping, runs the errands.  With his new diagnosis, he cannot do that anymore.  He has seizures and is on mediation.  So now ‘their’ independence  is threatened.  And it gets better.

After all the hell we went through, Dad, with help from Mom has decided that he doesn’t need the new medication, and when going to the follow-up doctor, who had never seen him before and did not have his medical records, didn’t exactly tell him the truth about the circumstances surrounding the hospital diagnosis.  I was supposed to go to the appointment with them, but they changed it and went without me.  Then omitted the information.  The doctor wont talk to me until Dad gives permission.  Mom doesn’t recall all (or should I say any) of the details of the appointments and Dad only hears what he wants to hear.

I want to scream. I’ve discussed the situation with my brothers, via email, believe it or not.  And based on the way we are, that is probably best.

So after two months, here I am, waiting for my father to give his doctor permission for me to speak with the doctor about him.  I Have spoken with my mother about possible testing for her, pointing out some changes I’ve seen, giving examples, of why I think she should be tested for memory loss.  And here I sit wondering if my whole adult life is going to be swallowed up by caring for an elderly parent.  We took care of Belle for years and now, are we moving into a new phase with my parents?

Can I do this again? I really don’t know.

Weddings! Expensive! Sunday, Jan 31 2010 

OMG!  I cannot believe how expensive anything labeled ‘wedding’ is!  Doesn’t matter if is ordinary or not.  If it is attached to a wedding or labeled ’wedding’, the cost goes up.  Period.

We are helping plan a wedding.  Or should I say we are planning a wedding and making it look like we aren’t making all the decisions.  My spouse (remember  S?) is good at this type of thing, organization, and has basically taken over being the wedding planner.  I am good at colors and such.  And the fact the wedding will be at our house….that’s a different piece of the story….but also part of the reason we are so involved.

We don’t have any daughters, but figured at some point in our lives we would be paying for a rehearsal dinner.  And in a more traditional society, that might still be the case.  But tradition is out of the window, and that’s okay. S and I got married at a JP, no big or small wedding for us, and we’ve gotten along all these years just fine.  And it appears the days of a small reception in the church rec room with nuts, mints and punch are gone as well.  Nowadays, if everyone isn’t completely stressed out and broke by the time the wedding day arrives, then something has gone wrong it seems.  Our plan is to remain liquid, as unstressed as possible and still have a nice small, pretty wedding that provides the essentials of wedding held to today’s standards without the cost.  Is that possible?  It better be.

Like we do with almost everything else, we say we will ‘hire it out’ and then price it to do just that and decide we can handle it better and less expensively ourselves.  And then we dive in and get’r done.  S starts making lists. He’s a good list maker.  At least this time, he is checking things off the lists he’s made.

The house is designed to open(double doors) from the living and dining room onto the back porch, but even then it is not big enough to hold all the planned quests inside, so the ceremony and reception will be in the backyard and overflow into the house.    The yard is shaded and fenced, but after the recent drought needs some replanting and such, which we are now planning.  (Too cold right now) We want to have as much blooming as possible.  The rest of the blooming plants can be possible by potted plants on the fences and just sitting around.  The tables and chairs have been reserved.  We decided to include a few higher pub style tables for standing at for those that like to mill around.  The tablecloths have been arrived.  I thought it would be a nice touch to hang some coordinating curtains on the porch, and have ordered some.  I am looking for some ribbon to match the colors now for tie backs and other things one would use ribbon for.

S has handled cakes for weddings before and plans on baking for this one as well.  He is taking decorating classes now to up his game.  The cake part will taste good and he wants the decorations to look as good.  The food to be served is still under discussion, although we already have all the items needed to serve it.

Looking at invitations. Tons of options online.  This should be….  ummm ….    fun.