Friday, July 31, 2009

faith and butters and sam and bg and me

We all piled up on her new mattress today to watch a movie. She had read the book and I knew the ending but I did it anyways. It was an incredibly cleansing ugly cry, as Okra would say. Big old sobs from the heart. I reckon we were due for a relaxed afternoon and a good spiritual cleansing what with all the family drama of late.

Fronto temporal dementia is a very rare sort of disease where the patient remembers most everything about the past, but is bound by the devils of OCD and loss of speech. Eventually they become mute, and I'd say we're almost there. It is a particularly obnoxious disease process for family members like my mama who is stuck in the house with her husband of 55 years while he loses his mind and she loses her vision and bone mass.

Meals on wheels and home health do their part but there's nothing like family to make it all better when times are hard. I'm thankful for the other members of our care team. That's what the hospice philosophy is all about.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

lie to me

To me, the notion that one can fall in love ONE time and spend forever with a person without falling for somebody else is, uh well. Not realistic. There were two or three times when I was married that I just knew I had found "the one". My biggest mistake was telling my husband about it. Oh, it was all non-sexual banter with friends who became more as the emotional bonds grew. I was emotionally unfaithful, but not physically. Does that count?

Since then I've noticed that the ones who want to "play" like that are usually married looking for a little adoration on the side because wifey is just too busy keeping the household running and raising the family. And working. And trying to have a life of her own. Please spare me the bravado, guys. Been there...done that. Won't go back.

Even single guys in relationships that aren't officially over can be bad news. Hey..a broken heart is a broken heart whether it's legal or not. I've been "single" in the emotional sense for a couple of years now and damn it feels good not to need anything and be content with the critters and the rest of my family. There are two hands full of people that, if I called, would drop everything and come to my rescue. That's a lot in this day and time so I feel like somebody's got my back.

Cherished childhood friendships have eased into a comfortable stride with all of us keeping up with kids, grandkids and aging parents, thanks to electronic connections. Thanks, Al Gore :) Sometimes I try to remember what it was like to be 25 like BG or almost 30 like Cassie Rae. Though I can't put a timestamp on the exact moments that I remember, I definitely recall the feeling that life would last forever and that it would pretty much stay the same. Twenty years have taught me otherwise, often harshly.

I realize the importance of family now more than ever before and I hope that all ya'll do as well. Everybody's crew has a story and unless it's passed on that family's existence will not be carried into the future. As soon as I find the damn USB cable for the scanner, I'll share some of mine. And quit laughing at my use of "all ya'll." It's a Southern thing.

Peace out. ^j^

Monday, July 27, 2009

the patient's advocate

My official job title is MT,ASCP, Tennessee licensed laboratory supervisor. There were four years of college and a lot of bullshit over the years that validate that title. We work our tails off to reduce medical error and increase productivity which is, in a sense, math. How the hell I ever ended up in THAT field is beyond me. Never did like crunching numbers. Patient contact is very limited which is not my style at all because, hey. I do love me some people ;)

On occasion, when someone near and dear is hospitalized I step out of those shoes and go to visit, unofficially of course. It's a very effective way to see patient care up close and personal. Today I tried three times before I caught my old friend's Mom what with all the tests and treatments and such. We have visited at the bedside before, usually talking about her sons whom she adores. She's one of those tough old broads who won't cry because she wants them to think she's a-OK. It is an in-between place that I've seen many aging patients pass through in the various stages of denial bargaining, anger and acceptance. The goal for a successful passage is to have as many family members as possible on the same page when it comes to care. From my experience, that doesn't happen very often. I held her hand while she cried today, scared out of her wits because she doesn't know what's coming next. Her last surgery was in November so she's still not 100% back from that and in a lot of pain. She lives alone in an older rural home. So far, she still drives for errands and church. When I spend ten minutes with somebody who trusts me like that, the rest of it is just punchin' a clock. It's an advantage to working in a home town hospital.

I could have gone on the road a few years back as a contract tech for the bucks that I desperately need. That window of opportunity slipped away when my parents became dependent on me as part of the team that guides them through "the golden years." Maybe my tendency to procrastinate has worked in the family's favor. I plan to be here with them until there is no reason not to be and then....well, I'm not sure. We take it one day at a time here on Pecan Lane.

Maybe that's when Sugardaddy will show up with the glass slipper. No, wait. That was Santa Claus or Prince Charming. Awww...ya'll know what I mean.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

dance with the one what brung ya

It's hot again, so the old Poopster is hiding out under the AC frittering away a free day. I went out to visit Yaya on her 53rd birthday and we had a glass of wine at noon. Yeah...I know. We're rebels like that. She headed over to her mom's house for the family dinner and I knocked off the dollar store and beer run on my way home. Wild horses couldn't drag me out of this house until Perkins time tomorrow.

The yard mowing guy has evidently cut me off for non-payment so the orchard grass has gone to seed and so has what little garden I grew. About this time every year I say "to hell with it" and quickly turn my interest toward fall and the pecan harvest. This year's crop looks mighty slim, by the way.

There's this praying mantis that's been hanging around my 'puter for a day or two and I've decided he needs a name. Any suggestions?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

roll over beethoven

BG and I have lived for about 21 years here on the hill at the top of pecan lane. It's a dead end road with one other house that has a circle driveway for confused explorers. For many years my brother and his first wife lived about a quarter mile down toward the riverbed. After they left, a couple of odd-couple anesthesiologists called it home. I worked with both of them and can testify that they were the ultimate odd couple. The big one was a jolly harley man with a heart of gold who didn't give a shit what he said when. That other was one was a piece of work too what with his ER style theatrics and the long hair and bicycle. I'm not sure where they are now but I'll never forget 'em.

Brother moved back in and that house became the birthplace of a business that would lead he and his new wife to Virginia. This old lane has much less traffic now that it's out of the regular daily UPS route. They're news publishers now...of the kinder and gentler sort who tell happy stories and report on positive happenings in their valley community. I love it when that happens.

There were a few other tenants and then Beethoven and his family moved in. We call him that because he's a huge music freak who puts his speakers out on the porch so he can blast away with AC/DC and other unidentified bump. From here, all I hear is the bass pounding when I'm on the porch bird watching. I must be officially ancient according to the "if it's too loud, you're too old" adage. Then again, they might be in their own little world just like us.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

there are so many things that I am grateful for in my life. it's not like I have a list or anything, but more akin to a day by day appreciation for little things that make me smile or give me faith. ya'll know how it rolls here on pecan lane. look up low maint in the dictionary and there's my sign picture.

the temps are mild for july and don't think that the poopster doesn't say amen on that one. southern ladies just hate it when they sweat, except when they want to like in the garden or on the beach. with a fruity drink, by the way.

this goofy ass friend of mine jumped out of a plane with his daughter the other day and sent pics later. O.M.G. Somebody would definitely have to hold my hand for that leap.

gotta go ya'll, because i don't believe in preachin' to the choir.


Monday, July 20, 2009

in spirit

My dear smartass friend Joe is in California visiting his elder daughter and skydiving, in between frolics on the beach. Dude always sends pics when he acts up like that. To him I say "enjoy, my friend". That's what it's all about! You are fifty four and much older yet wiser than the Poopster.

I'm watching what Congress does with their healthcare legislation...hope you are doing the same. I hate to sound like a broken record but. Ummm...the system is broken. I can't rightly blame anybody but the insurance and drug companies. And consumers who expect a miracle every damn time they show up with a sore throat in our ER. I don't know about ya'll, but I think twice about who I give my healthcare dollars to. One of my bffs is a physician's assistant who used to draw blood at the hospital and listened to me whine about some long lost love who hauled fertilizer from the big muddy to parts unknown. If I was a bettin' gal, I'd say somewhere around Gibson or northern Dyer counties. This land stays underwater from the Obion river when BE sees fit to flood the earth upon which we live. On the left of the highway there's a huge bottomless pond where the interstate trash got dumped. People have drowned up in that shit!

Sometimes I wonder what it looks like now up at Cool Springs cemetery.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

a taste of fall

Just a teaser, but enough to remind me that some day it won't be sweltering hot and humid. The front moved through on Friday giving us weather that is more like September than July. Do I hear an amen? Thanks Big Ernie.

I slept in and BG picked up the grands after church to do the Perkins thing. They have their own waitress who keeps up with whether it's blueberry or strawberry day for Daddy's waffles. She also brings extra napkins and brings the bill with the food so she's a big hit in his book. Hopefully the new birthday duds fit his shrinking waistline and he wore them today.

Gotta make hay while the sun shines.

Later ^j^

Saturday, July 18, 2009

the new normal

We celebrated Daddy's 78th birthday today with a southern fried feast, complete with green 'maters. BG and I whipped it up in about an hour down at their place. It's so much easier to cook in their kitchen...and besides. It tastes better there. I can't count the number of times we've lined up through three rooms of that log cabin waiting on a Memaw cooked meal. After lunch Daddy went for a walk to the mayor's house and us girls settled in to chat. Mom kindly reminded me of the time the middle school principal came and picked her up from work so they could find my truant ass. Yes, it involved a boy and yes I was in deep dodo. Ms. Ponder called me a tramp. Fun stuff!

I was, though not a BAD kid, a very curious teenager during the changing times of the sixties. Still, I wasn't sure that going totally radical was the way to make my parents happy so I compromised and rode the fence a lot. Most of my friends were in the high school sorority and I chose not to be because I liked sleeping late on Saturdays while they were up doing bake sales. least I'm honest. I did manage to keep the hippie values of peace and love and rock'n'roll as a prominent part of my personality though. And here I sit at 53, spirit intact. They never really understood that part of me, but they've accepted it.

Now that we are a functioning family unit again, we've all had to accept some warts and go with the flow. That means understanding that a particularly bad day for one of them means they're both miserable. Part of the fronto-temporal thing is a rigid adherance to rituals and schedules. I've seen my dad, on more than one occasion, sit on the porch watching the second hand move until it's time for the news to come on. He is fixated on TV and goes into a panic if it's not available. And this is the man who used to wouldn't DARE let a day like today go by without working in the yard. A new medication has put a check on his angry outbursts so mom is a bit more mellow.

It's a good day in the community of Samaria Bend ^j^

Friday, July 17, 2009

the wall

I saw someone that I love with all of my heart hit it head on today..a trusted co-worker who became my friend the hard way, over the years and through the woods. Oh shit...ya'll know what I mean. Like, when you can't go no more 'til you've had a nap or a timeout or a cookie. Been there a brazillion times. Big Ernie be with you honey. The warrior sisters are all around you whenever you call their names.

My Daddy turned 78 today, bless his heart. That's a lot of years to live on this not- so-green-anymore earth. We're frying some southern shit cooking lunch for the fam tomorrow in his honor so Fred gets a day off from delivery to bond with Aunt Bea. You can thank me later, dear. Cousin Mo took them and Aunt Granny on a funeral home run this evening to pay respects. I'll try my best to catch up with the bereaved in the morning before heatin' up the iron skillet.

Our friend Blanca is headed to Chicago to care for her elderly parents so we're having a little good-bye party here tonight. It is cool for a change and that can only be a sign that fall is on the way sometime in the next three months.

I'll take it.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

he who squawks loudest......

...sometimes gets paid quicker. But not usually around here because, hey. You can't get cash from a turnip. We try really hard to watch money and only spend on things like healthcare when we absolutely have to. Essentials like food sometimes are slim. My memory fails when I try to remember the last time I bought a piece of clothing other than a t-shirt at the beach ( Thanks Mom! ) We are ass deep in debt what with student loans and the cost of living. One would think that in times like these, healthcare providers might cut the insured some slack.

Several months ago I visited a traveling neurologist to get the testing done to PROVE that I have carpal tunnel syndrome before treatment can be administered. This cost over five hundred dollars which was applied to my one thousand dollar deductible. Following the arrival of the bill, I wrote a letter to the physician personally and also to his administrative office explaining our circumstances and asking for some time to pay the bill. Today I received a final notice with seven days to pay before collections begin. All I can say is "bring it on." You can take my first and only born but then I wouldn't have a paying roommate so you'd be shootin' your own foot. Or yacht, as the case may be.

I don't blame docs for wanting to be paid. The government is ruthless with them and malpractice premiums are out the roof. For this, we can thank sleazy lawyers and insurance companies. They are who run the industry and set the price tag. This is not a drill, ya'll. Something has to be done and soon. Congress is considering legislation on healthcare reform as I type and it's down to kinda sorta the "war on healthcare" as such instead of some foreign country or an ambiguous thing like terror. Had you been witness to some of the terror that I've seen, you' be ready to jump OFF the twin towers. The really sad thing, is that the medical technology available today has the capacity to serve every man woman and child in this country where they are if only the resources are distributed fairly and at an affordable price.

Both of my parents are on Medicare and with Daddy's federal retirement they manage to live comfortably in their elder years with chronic diseases. He retired 23 years ago when the economy was still looking good, and in fact is one of the last recipients of the golden years of Social Security and Medicare benefits. The crisis that is coming up on us as a generation of baby boomers is that we are nearing that age minus that huge cushion that has kept the system viable thus far. And CEOs of drug companies march on toward billionairedom. Go figure.

Delegating responsibility should be shifted off of the feds and more to the state governments. Smaller operations mean less opportunity for waste and more accountability for both providers and consumers. Federal dollars can be used as subsidies in programs such as rural healthcare initiatives and local demonstration projects featuring end-of-life care and holistic approaches to medicine. That B12 they got down at the dollar store may not work as quick as a shot in the butt, but it still gets the job done.

Ya'll wanna vote for me now or later?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

the good old? summertime

Yes...I still hate to sweat. Sucks to be me about right now. I envy people who can wear makeup in the summer. I don't even bother because it all slides right off by the time I walk to the car. Though I'm not real big on girly things, I do like to not scare folks at the sawmill. Me and Faith took a road trip down to have lunch with the grands. That poor baby sat on the porch with Daddy patiently waiting for me to get done so she could go back up the hill. She's a homebody like me. We're in for the day attempting to get our collective shit together, but not having much luck. It's too tempting to just sit down and feel the fan blow.

My favorite little vegetable salesgirl was out again today with corn so I picked up a dozen ears during the marathon shopping trip this morning. Not too shabby for one who slept in until 10am. Heat, humidity and old age take their toll. Life has turned into a big puzzle to work with the pieces consisting of work, attempting to make a path through the house, errands and rides for my parents and a little down time now and then. I rarely watch TV anymore but still pay for it. That will probably go when the contract is up. If you will remember, I learned the hard way about contracts with TV companies, even when you don't know you're in one. These folks explained it up front, so I have no problem with it.

Another wreck....this time involving both my brother AND daddy. He was taking daddy up the highway to drink coffee with his morning pals when some guy looking at a deer rear-ended 'em and demolished both vehicles. I'll let you guess which one didn't have a seatbelt on. Both of them seem to be okay...the other guy got beat up by his airbag and will probably up the premiums on his employer's insurance since it was a company truck. His story? Bubba was going too slow. I thought that's what the passing lane is for!

I am content to be cool in my little old farmhouse with dogs laying around on the floor and clothes OFF of the floor and in the washer. Low maintenance. No doubt.

Ya'll keep the faith ^j^

Monday, July 13, 2009

bad day at the office

It was devil karma, all the way around...left over from the weekend, I swear. A few of my co-workers were on vacation broadening their horizons and I got stuck with the incredibly cute and sweet rookie bone marrow guy. It's always a chinese fire drill up in there when somebody orders that procedure, what with all the special testing and such. What should have taken half an hour turned into a ninety minute sentence in the closest private room with no functioning AC. For THIS I went to college and almost jumped out of a tenth floor window???? Think again, ya'll.

Our patient was already scared shitless when he got there thanks to some helpful friends who told him how incredibly painful it is to do this thing with nothing for sedation. Wifey just grabbed her Joel Osteen book and marched right down the hall to the ICU waiting room to preach a little while. I went and got her when it was over and she seemed glad to be gettin' out of there. She told me that she was sure the tests would be negative, and by golly I believed her in spite of it all.

I could say more, but hey. I might get dooced...then who would pay the ginormous utility bill?


Friday, July 10, 2009

damage control

Ever since I became a single gal seven years ago, it's been a struggle both emotionally and financially to keep this boat afloat. After the first few years involving multiple calls from creditors and lots of wild and crazy early twenty something encounters, I decided that as long as everybody's healthy and fed and not in jail or at the funeral home, the rest will take care of itself because, hey. I'm not superwoman....just a smartass country girl with a whole lot of faith. Thanks, Big Ernie.

I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel finally. Over the years I paid back every bit of what I was dinged with, a lot of it by two or three credit card companies. Several generous and loving friends have pitched in with donations to help me with the crisis du jour....divorce money, new tires and other things too numerable to mention. A few business owners have cut me some slack by extending credit when we needed something desperately like propane or groceries.

Babygirl will get her first paycheck from the REAL job next week after working for free for a month :) She will no longer be totally dependent on mom for a place to live and something to eat. Oh, it will be here for as long as she needs it. And she promised not to abandon me with the grandparent situation at hand. is a milestone in her life, and in ours together. We have struggled together as friends over the years, one complimenting the other with a hefty door slam or a teary conversation fueled by disillusionment and sorrow. We are family, forever. I pity those who don't know that feeling.

Here's to you Babygirl. To your evil habits, old soul and beautiful smile.To your stamina and love for life. No wonder Butterbean grins when she sees you! We made it. Ain't that something????


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

into the outbox

Anybody who knows and loves me, warts and all, knows that one of my most annoying habits is procrastination with a capital P. I haven't always been that way, yet in my middle years I've become one to roll with it and believe that Big Ernie knows I'm doing the best I can do and to heck with the rest of that small stuff. My decorating style has taken a 360 degree turn from "everything matches" to a funky electic mix of treasured pieces and an emphasis on vibrant colors. It reflects who I am. When one houses three dogs, one cat and two (soon to be three) women, one must learn the value of flexibility and comfort in lieu of perfection.

If we had voted on it in high school I would have won this honor: Most likely to keep on plugging and eventually get 'er done. That is what faith is about to me....weighing options, considering outcomes and eventually taking action. I marked something off of my "to do" list today by setting a date for surgery on my hand. The doctor, bless her heart, said she didn't know how I had functioned for this long with such severe carpal tunnel syndrome. I thought to myself " Because I've had to." It has absolutely nothing to do with that stubborn Stafford streak.

Changing the subject, I've heard a lot of chatter about how much BIGGER Michael Jackson's death is than that of Elvis. I bet to differ, ya'll. The difference is in the way the MSM works today vs. 1977. Thanks to newshound mentality, there's not a private moment to be had by anybody remotely famous. Which ain't me or mine, by the way. Just check the obituaries or call the funeral home if you want to know what my arrangements are.

We are, as usual, waitin' for the other shoe to drop on Pecan Lane.


Monday, July 6, 2009

never a dull moment

Well well....are all ya'll full of bbq pork and seeing flashbacks of fireworks? This is my fourth day off so I'm not even sure what day it is. Ummm...Monday, I think. Gotta go back tomorrow for one then off for another two before working the weekend at the sawmill. It's been an adventure filled weekend around here, to say the least. My youngest brother came in from Virginia in the wee hours of July 5th for a short visit. We were sittin' on the porch of the old cabin over on the hill enjoying the breeze and a brew when my phone rang. "You're missing all the excitement!" Daddy exclaimed. We packed into brother's jeep and headed down toward the fire, only to find our father hoofing it down the middle of the road to the scene, smooth leaving Mama on the porch. He hopped in the back seat and away we went.

It took a few minutes to piece together the story but this is how it went. Everybody on that end lost electricity so the trusty rural electric company came out to repair the line that had fallen. Somehow the live wire managed to ignite 30 acres of wheat stubble that had been planted in no- till beans (aka "wheat beans") and it took off like a gas fire with heavy wind fanning it out of control. Though we have city fire coverage, it only applies in the case of a house being threatened which was not the case. Sooooooo....who should come to the rescue but one lone volunteer firefighter from a nearby community. Nobody to pump the water...just this one guy and his truck. The guy who is head of the electric company was the one repairing the line, so he gave that chore a break and pumped water to douse the fire. There were county cops. My other brother was roaming around the edges and through the embers in HIS truck checking things out. Then the farmer and his wife pulled up to see what was going on in his beanfield. By that time all that was left of those baby soybeans was a bunch of ashes.

Farmers can survive all manner of natural disasters but this one was bizarre to say the least. The whole purpose of n0-till farming is to plant OVER what was just harvested so I haven't seen a wheat field burned off out here in many a year. The really ironic thing is that I never go anywhere without my camera, and didn't have it on me for the most exciting thing the farm has seen since the last tornado. Just my luck!

Ya'll be careful out there. And keep the faith ^j^

Saturday, July 4, 2009

let freedom ring

Everyone has their own way of celebrating the 4th. Usually it involves food, fireworks and family. Here in the south, that food is something from the grill, and pork is king around these parts. Ribs. Butts. Shoulders. You name it and we'll smoke the hell out of it then douse it with somebody's special sauce. After all, it's the other white meat.

Our family ate some freshly pulled shoulder sandwiches dressed up with Quick's sauce from the guy down the road. He's got all varities for sale at the bar, but I chose mild because I'm just that kind of gal. Afterwards, we visited the mayor of Samaria Bend and her family and enjoyed some hand cranked homemade ice cream. The grills were loaded and smoking. Back in the day, they would start cooking the night before on an underground pit. Lord at the cars that would pull up for THAT family reunion. They're scattered now, like most everybody else. But they all know the value of family get togethers and teaching their children about the heritage of the farm where they grew up. We are all adult products of a lifetime on this place, black and white living peacefully and respectfully side by side. This neighborhood was integrated before the courts ever even thought about bringing the idea up. I like that about my childhood.

I'm finally gonna get something done to the left arm to make life a bit more bearable. Chronic pain just doesn't fit into my plans for working until I drop dead at the sawmill. Last time I had surgery, some smartass nurse wrote on my toes with a sharpie. I imagine it will happen again.

Peace out ^j^