Thursday, October 31, 2013

Love of an inanimate object...

A couple of weeks ago while volunteering at the Wellfleet OysterFest, I had a few minutes to walk around the festival and check out the various vendors. After collecting my free cup of coffee at Beanstock Coffee (consistently the BEST coffee I've ever had which was made better by giving free coffee to volunteers!) I wandered up a side alley and paused in front of a booth with large blob-like objects sitting there. I was pretty tired and not really engaged in what I was looking at but they were interesting enough for me to stand there (and not wander next door where the clam fritters smelled fantastic!). After a few minutes the fellow hawking the blobs (that sounds  gross...) said "Try one. Have a seat." 

The blobs turned out to be HUGE bean bags with stretchy covering so they can be used in a variety of ways. Wow! The one I zeroed in on was called the Yogibo Max and it's a rectangle that, when lying flat, stands about 24" tall. The cool thing is that depending on how you position it before you sit on it, you can use it as an arm chair, a recliner, a sofa, a bed etc. it was pretty cool!

Here's a picture from their website of the mid-sized one:

But I had to get back to my recycling station and couldn't wrap my very tired brain around if this was a good purchase or not. 

A few days later I was still thinking about it (I've been trying to find just the right comfy chair for my new office) and found that they were at another festival that weekend about a half hour away. I decided to go try them out again and see if I really liked them or if that was my exhaustion talking. 

I loved it! I allowed these hawkers (one turned out to be the CEO if the NH-based company) to show me a variety of ways to use it and I even got up-sold to add a U-shaped bean bag of the same materials to my purchase. 

A didn't really get it by my description but when he got home that night and I was nestled into my new nest with the fire going and my laptop settled perfectly on my lap, he got it. And we've spent the few spare minutes we've had when he's not doing schoolwork or at work finding multiple ways for the two of us to comfortably snuggle on it while watching the Red Sox win the World Series. (Yay Sox!) We love it! The only thing that isn't so great is that it's hard to get out of. You just have to commit to rolling onto the floor and getting up from there. So... Whoever is nestled in the Yogibo is often there to stay until nature calls urgently or it's bedtime. 

My U thingy arrived a few days later and was quickly incorporated into the comfy-ness! 

The beautiful thing is that it's really for my office but since it's portable and only weighs 18lbs, I can move it back and forth to the living room easily!

Now I just need to keep the dogs from thinking it's an over-sized dog bed...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Hanging around with "my kids"... Literally

About two years ago one of my best friends brought some raffle tickets to a girls getaway. She was fundraising for her son's JROTC program. A few months later she called and told me that not only had I won... I won the grand prize! (I also won another prize for a furnace cleaning but... The company is in NH so we gave that one back to give to someone else.)

I hadn't really paid attention to the prizes as I was just buying $5 of raffle tickets to support Joe. Suz had to remind me what the grand prize was... It turns out that I won two tickets on the canopy tour (zip line) at Bretton Woods Resort. Yay!

Unfortunately I couldn't use it last year due to my hip surgery and thankfully, BWR extended the expiration date. But THIS was the year I was going to do it and THIS was the weekend to do it!

After trying to con A into joining me... I had to branch out a bit. Eventually my friend Suzi's teenagers said they both wanted to go so I sprang for an extra ticket and off we went!

Ant is 12 and Juls is 15. I love them. I've not-so-secretly been trying to adopt them for years. They were once "our kids" on a camping trip so I tell them that they ARE ours but we are still working on the custody arrangements. 

Anyway... They are the kind of kids that just dive right in to whatever situation they are presented with and they usually do it while cracking me up! 

We arrived at 9am in 47* weather with a heavy fog covering the basin of Bretton Woods. Thankfully by the time we'd gotten rigged up and were halfway up the chairlift, we had risen above the fog and found some sunshine. It was gorgeous!

From the top of the chairlift we hiked about ten minutes to the little training zip line where you learn how to slow down, put on the brakes, and haul yourself to the end of the zip line if you stop too soon. Then we were off!

Ahead of us were nine zip lines, two rope bridges, and three rappelling stations. (Just after the first zip line is when Juls announced she had to pee... Which is impossible in a full body harness 50+ feet above the ground on a platform with seven other people. She just had to hold it...)

We spent about 2.5 hours zipping, crossing the bridges, and rappelling - the kids were amazing! They didn't panic at all and (despite really needing to pee!) they had a great time! We ALL did!

And it didn't hurt that we had multiple GORGEOUS views of the Mt. Washington Hotel and the Mt. Washington Observatory!

So... Would I do it again? Absolutely!

The funny thing is that the other family we were with told me that my "daughter" had beautiful eyes and my "son" looks just like me. Ha ha! Later when we went to lunch the person there also thought they were my kids. Apparently they really ARE meant to be my kids... Too bad they wouldn't fit in the car on the way home!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Cozy but doable...

Before A officially launched his firearms business he wasn't allowed to accept payment for teaching. A few months ago he taught a class to some local fellows and one of them decided that in lieu of payment, he would loan us his house in NH. It turned out to be in the next town over from where our good friends live so we happily accepted!

For months we've been planning to go up for a weekend in the fall and in early September we finally decided on Columbus Weekend for a variety of reasons - 1) The owners weren't using the house. 2) It's a long weekend. 3) It's our seventh anniversary weekend (WOW!). 4) Some of our other good friends were available the same weekend and could join us. 5) Who doesn't want to be in northern New England on Columbus Weekend (which should be just about peak leaf season)?

Once we settled on the weekend we started kicking around the idea of doing a fundraiser for our friends that live there as their daughter had just been through an expensive health issue that kept her in the hospital for a few weeks and required intensive physical and occupational therapy after she got home. Brilliant idea! But we didn't know how to get it rolling in a town where they know everyone and we know no one. Thankfully one of her wonderful local friends volunteered to head up the potluck event. Fabulous!

So our other friends decided to come along too (okay... I dragged them into it lovingly). 

Knowing the house we were staying in slept 11 was all I really cared about - a bed for every butt. It turns out that the house might really be more "camp-like" as it sleeps eleven people... But eight of them are in four queen beds in a loft. 

For us gals - we do this all the time. We are quite accustomed to jamming six people into a tiny suite and sharing one bathroom. It's what we do. We are so happy to be together that we don't really care about stepping over suitcases or standing in line to go pee in the morning. We are sisters. Most of us have been roommates at one time or another and we've all been through pledging where it's a right of passage to have survived at least a week with 5+ girls in one teeny dorm room sleeping on three twin mattresses. Actual beds are a luxury compared to that!

But the guys are a different story. It's not their greatest desire to hang out in their jammies giggling or solving first world problems or re-living ancient college stories until we are laughing so hard that at least one of us needs an inhaler and another needs a dependable undergarment. But we've married GOOD guys. Men. All of them are men. GOOD men! They come along on these less-than-blissful "vacations" because they love us. They often spend their time corralling kids, making multiple grocery store runs, or simply entertaining themselves (together or alone - they don't care) because they know that this is an opportunity that we don't get very often. They know we are busy women that live too far apart and value each other so deeply that these silly little get-togethers in less-than-ideal accommodations fill our friendship love cups for a while. 

So as the weekend approaches, my wish is this: For a bathroom door that not only closes but locks so B's husband can not yell "I'm in here" repeatedly while conducting his business. A bed for D's husband so he doesn't have to sleep on the couch. A nearby Dunkin Donuts for my husband so when it's time for his daily dose of black ice tea and ten minutes alone he doesn't have to suffer. And earplugs for all of them because let's face it... 20+ years later we gals still find each other so hilarious and entertaining that we might still be cackling away when the sun comes up. It's happened before......

Monday, October 7, 2013

Random smile inducers...

Sometimes I go through the pictures on my phone with the intention of deleting a bunch of them... But I usually end up getting rid of a few and holding on to hundreds because they bring me joy. Here is a sampling...

This is my vet's new puppy named Squirt. He's a Pitt bull and bull terrier mix. I have to keep myself from spending the day playing with him!

This is a pile of stuff collected on North Beach Island where we've been doing trash clean ups for months. This has become a sculpture with people adding skulls, buoys, drift wood etc. 

Sunset over Coast Guard Beach in Eastham. Enough said...

My niece made these for me when she was bored in my office this summer. I love her. 

Our goofy adventurers...

Don't even need to say a thing about this one! 

Happy day, everyone!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Dancing on the inside...

My on-call job that I've done for almost three years (a new record by FAR I'm told by my site director since the job is high-stress and high burn-out) is coming to an end. Tomorrow. At 8:30am. I am dancing dancing dancing on the inside!

But... this hellish job wasn't going to go quietly. There are occasional weekends where I periodically check the phone to make sure it's still working because it hasn't rung in a few hours. And then there are weekends where it's a good thing that I don't know where the site director lives or it's possible I'd have done a drive-by flinging the phone and scheduling books into his yard without cracking the throttle. This weekend is almost one of the latter weekends.

I had hoped that my last weekend on-call would be peaceful. I had hoped that everyone would show up to work at the right place, ideally on time. Heck... that they'd show up at all! I had hoped that all new clients needing immediate services would call at 8:31am on Monday morning. This was not meant to be.

By 6:30am Saturday morning, I had already received two call-outs for 7am and 8am shifts and one "I can't find where I was supposed to be 30 minutes ago" call. By 10am the number of call-outs had grown. At 11am I got a call I'd never gotten before (hey, at least she was original!), "I know I was supposed to be at this client's house 3 hours ago [for an 8am - 4pm shift] but I'm lost and can't find it. Can you help me?" [This is where the words "Are you f*&^ing kidding me?!?!" ALMOST erupted from my mouth especially when she explained she was sitting at home waiting for her husband to come watch the kids... while an 84 year old woman sat at home ALONE and hungry!] Around 4pm came the first "I need an overnight aide for tonight for a new client" call. Only to be followed by "Never mind" once I spent time working on covering it. The rest were boring usual "I need to check my schedule" or "What time is my aide coming" - minor inconveniences in the grand scheme of things.

Sunday morning wasn't much better. We were trying to make a run to IKEA at 10am (optimistic, I know) as we needed to get out of the house while the house cleaner was here (yes, I'm THAT spoiled!). The first caller waited until 6:50am to make their "I need the address for my 7am client" call. From there it was all down hill. We did finally leave around 10:30am but I fielded calls the whole time we were in IKEA and most of the time we were on the road. My favorite (cough cough) call today was spending an hour talking with someone (and her discharge planner, and the on-call nurse, and the client service manager etc) that wanted an overnight aide for her soon-to-be-discharged husband for tonight... then no, never mind... then yes, then no, then maybe... and finally at 4pm, the final decision that YES they wanted an aide tonight and "OH MY! It's HOW MUCH?" "Yes ma'am, that's how much a last-minute on Sunday overnight aide costs..." I'm not entirely sure they won't cancel later this evening but hey... that also happens all of the time! Sometimes they call me at 4am to change the plan. Sometimes they think I sit up waiting for them to call.

But this job hasn't been all bad. There was one fellow that used to call because he was lonely. I adored him. Everyone else thought he was an old crank but I figured out early on that he was lonely because both of his kids has pre-deceased him and his wife of 50+ years had passed away a few months before. (He was also a veteran and I'm a sucker for anyone that wrote THAT check!) He used to call at random times and I'd let him just chatter on while I was cooking or driving or watching TV etc. He just needed a friendly voice to talk to now and then. Sometimes he'd call me in the middle of the night to tell me he was itchy - I could laugh those off though because he really thought I was sitting in an office waiting for a call all night.

My regret about him is that he wanted me to meet him. He asked me multiple times to come to his home and visit. I asked my site director if I could and he said that I couldn't as he didn't want him to get confused about who his client manager was. I should have just dropped in anyway. I'd have happily been fired if I'd just gotten to meet TF in person once and given that man the hug he was practically begging for. One day A came home and put an obituary down in front of me. "Isn't this your guy?" he asked kindly. (He hears everything...) TF had passed away and I hadn't been told. It deeply saddened me that I COULD have brought some joy to the "old crank pot" in his last days if I'd just ignored the imaginary boundary lines that the site director seemed to make up as he went along.

I did violate the bounds of my job last year... and I don't care. I'd learned from my experience with TF that reaching out to a human in need is way more important than following some blurry rules. I sent him a Christmas basket from "anonymous". I never heard if it made him happy as he was too busy grousing about some aide that wouldn't cash a check for him (against company policy - a rule even I wouldn't break!) to hear me asking "Did anything good happen this week?". Oh well. My hope is that for a brief moment, the basket made him happy.

I also learned a lot about people through this job. I learned that just because you have a title, doesn't mean you've got the experience or judgment to do a job. This lesson came one morning when a client called and said that her aide that had come religiously every day for nine years at the same time hadn't shown up and she was worried. I used some inside sources at a local police department to do a wellness check and... her fears were accurate... the aide had passed away alone in her home. When I checked in with my supervisors about how to handle it, they gave me bad advice that I refused to follow. They wanted me to lie to the client and say the aide was sick and they would break it to her later. I couldn't do it. Instead I proposed getting another aide there to support her while I told her the bad news. In the end, all agreed that was the best plan and that's what I did.

So... it's with joy that I give up this job that has interfered with more dinners, family functions, special events, and plain old evenings and weekends than I want to think about but it's also with a tiny twinge of sadness that I leave all of the positive interactions that I've had with people. But I'm not quitting... I'll cover for them when they need help (the money is too good to completely walk away from too) so I'm sure I'll be reminded again why exactly I'm dancing on the inside right now that tomorrow morning is my last (scheduled) hurrah!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

In my underpants...

Sometimes I do my best work in my underpants. (Don't let your mind go there!) 

For some weird reason, when I've got work to do, I will often take off my pants to get it done. 

For example... Last week I suddenly became motivated at 10pm to clean out and reorganize my shoes in my closet. A was doing homework and I said I was going upstairs to get into bed.  However... When I got up there, after getting half undressed I pulled the box of shoes out from under my bed and decided that 10pm was a fine time to swap out summer for fall/winter shoes and reconfigure how they are stored in my closet. 

It wasn't until I heard A coming up the stairs that I realized that I was shoulders deep into my step-in closet in a t-shirt, granny panty underpants, stripedy socks pulled halfway up to my knees, and a pair of Dansko clogs (that I'm happy that I can finally wear again now that I've lost weight, don't have back problems, and my hip is healed). Quite a vision, I'm sure.

So tonight I finally got around to putting a coat of paint on the book shelf that will become the base of my new desk... And rather than go dig out some appropriate painting clothes, I dropped my pants, grabbed a cruddy t-shirt and jumped into the project. Yes... I now have chocolate brown paint on the skin of my left hip and the tip of two of my toes... A couple of careless turns and this is what happens. 

A also has a habit of dropping trow when he's settling in to do his homework or melting into the couch for some solid TV time. 

So... If you are ever planning on stopping by our house unannounced, you may want to think again.

Pictures later once the desk project is complete... No pictures of me in my skivvies are available though!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Happy Husband!

With very few words needed, after 14 more hours on the road to Long Island on Monday, A came home with a HUGE grin and a black Mustang. 

It pleases me that this man who works sooooo hard has achieved a dream. Now I just have to limit his ability to search the internet for "upgrades" for his new toy. Haha!