carolinainmymind

can't you see the sunshine….

Selecting a caregiver

In the Spring, Ben went through an evaluation by the Movement Disorder Clinic at UNC. I knew this clinic exsisted. Why I waited to schedule an appointment with them I have no idea. Anyway, we are now under their care. It is a good group. Run by a woman neurologist. They treat the whole person and me too!

As part of their reccomendations they suggested that since we have no family living nearby, we look in to getting some outside care for Ben. So I could be gone from the house for more than 2 hours without coming back to some sort of disaster. So that was the project for June.

Last October, Ben and I went to the Caregivers Summit. We collected business cards from many caregiver groups that were exhibiting there. I made notes on the cards. Like, did the rep look up from her phone when I approached the booth? Did the rep speak to us? There were two that I rated highly. So, in June, they were the first two that I called.

For businesses offering care givers it seems that the inquiry process requires two people. One who comes out to ‘sell’ and a nurse who follows up to assess what type of care is needed. I called the first group and set up appointments.

Now some background. I used to interview people to hire for a job that required following driving directions. (This was in the dinosaur age, before GPS!) If possible, I would set up the interviews at a hotel in Raleigh that was difficult to find. It required the applicant to listen to me and get the directions and follow them. If the applicant didn’t show up on time or was flustered because they got lost. Strike One!

So first group. Making appointments. Two are required. Okay, how about the ‘sales’ person the first day. The nurse the next day. (this is my top choice. The one I rated highly in October) Appointment lady says okay. I confirm two appointments with her. Two times before I end the phone call, I confirm the TWO appointments.

‘Sales’ guy comes. We talk. TWO times during our discussion I mention that nurse is scheduled for her appointment the next day. Next day, nurse appointment time comes. No nurse. No phone call. After 30 minutes of waiting I call. Ohhhhh, everyone is SURPRISED that an appointment was scheduled. No one seems to be able to find this. We agree on a new appointment several days in the future.

Next week, appointment time for the nurse. Fifteen minutes after scheduled time with no arrival, I call. Thirty minutes later she shows up. No apology. No explanation. With an attitude that she shows me she clearly does not want to be there. Well okay.

We move on to the second group. I make the phone call to set up the appointments. The woman wants to send me an email. That’s fine. Now my email is not difficult but it can be confusing. I know that. It has the word ‘to’ in it. Not too. Not two. Not 2. When giving out my email I explain that it is all lower case, no numbers, all words. Then I say the email address and then I spell it. Starting with ‘t o’. It’s a phrase. ‘Too’ ‘two’ or ‘2’ would make no sense. Next day, phone message “your email address ‘two…..’ bounced back as undeliverable. Please call me.” Strike one! Sales person comes. Nurse comes. I decide to possibly overlook ding bat appointment person.

Third Group. Appontment made. Owner of company and nurse are coming. Day of appointment, about 30 minutes before, I get a phone call. Owner of company has been in an accident. Flurry of phone calls and rescheduled appointment. Appointment day comes. Basic sales person and someone else who I have no idea what her function is arrive. This sales person is the only one to comment on how well adapted our space is for Ben. And how pretty our deck is. They move up several notches. But they want their person to come 8 hours a week. We can’t afford that. We need only 4 hours a week. They agree to see if there is a person who just wants 4 hours and get back to me. Several days later she gets back to me. We make arrangments for someone to start two weeks later. But the nurse still has to come. Nurse shows up, 15 minutes before the care giver starts her first shift with us.

The caregiver is very close to my age. Looks a good bit like me. I am fine with this. For what she needs to do, she is just fine. So now, I can leave from 2 until 6 on Thursday afternoons. I can actually go shopping. Go to multiple stores and have enough time to try on multiple things. No more buying several sizes, colors, bringing them home, trying on and taking back. I could go see a movie. I could have lunch with a friend. I could wander around the library. I could go swimming. A whole world is waiting…..

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Ben’s Birthday

Ben’s birthday was July 1. We celebrated on the 30th by having brunch at Poole’s Diner in downtown Raleigh. https://ac-restaurants.com/pooles/

We were a big group so we had to wait for a table. So we had a drink while we were waiting. It was not hard to get Ben in and out of the restaurant. Food and service were good. Sorry no food pics. I felt like it was a nice size meal, without feeling stuffed and without dragging home left overs. I would certainly go back.

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Happy Birthday Ben!

We recently went to a conference for the disorder that Ben has, PSP. It is similar to Parkinsons, but different. A very nice thing that the drug company, UCB, did was to bring in a professional photography company and have them pose us and take pictures. Thanks to Jonsar Studios for these great pictures. https://www.jonsarstudios.com/

Ben and I have been together for a long time now. We still have a lot of fun and I wish him many, many more wonderful birthdays and all my love.

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Warm Weather

Guest Post by: Guppy, Luck Dog 3

So glad that it is here. I get to sit outside on the deck every morning. But I think the squirrels have multiplied! There seem to be a lot of them now.

April was real busy. I went to dog school and my extra walking classes. I graduated.

And I had to go to the vet. Then She got all busy cooking and cleaning because folks came for Easter Lunch. That was fun. Then She started moving everything around in my room and cleaning. I couldn’t drop hair for a whole week. And then we had a cousin visit! I like cousins. I think that She Who Must Be Obeyed has a few cousins but not all of them come to visit. This was a girl cousin on her Momma’s side who is 4 years younger. This cousin came to visit them when they lived in Italy. On Saturday, they all went running off to see things and were gone a long time. I didn’t like that but I sure did like visiting with them. The husband is real nice too.

I hope they come back again.

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Will it ever end?

Guest Post by: Guppy, The Lucky Dog 3

March is an awful month! All that basketball. Will it ever end? I mean that is about all My Ben and She Who Must Be Obeyed do is watch basketball games on TV. They stay up late. Get all excited! She yells at the TV. Really!

If that wasn’t enough, I am going to dog school again. Repeating the same class. She told me that the teacher had called and asked me to be part of the class because I was such a good role model. So I agreed to go. More dogs in class this time. A beagle and his room mate some sort of stubby hound type, a real low rider. And this ditzy little fluff bit that yaps. And my new BFF, Nova. She is a very pretty German Shepard. Very classy. But she knows how to have fun. Anyway, at the first class, since I was supposed to be helping with the class, I was just pointing out to this Lab puppy how he was doing sit all wrong and everyone got all upset with me!!!!!!. So I hid between the shade and the window and just looked out the window for a while. Then when everyone had calmed down I watched the class for a bit. Then that silly lab puppy couldn’t figure out how to walk around so I had to try to explain it to him. And everyone got all upset again! The teacher brought me over some toys. So even though other dogs had touched them I batted them around a bit. Finally all the other dogs left the room and I thought we were going somewhere fun to play. But I had to wait and wait for She and the teacher to finish talking. BLAH BLAH BLAH! So we went outside BUT ALL THE DOGS WERE GONE! Well, that was it! I just sat down and refused to move. I was so upset!

She was a little bit upset with me. And now everyday we have to do homework. And on Saturdays I have to go out for ‘pack walks’. So I can learn how to walk past other dogs without getting upset. You know, all I want to do is be a dog for a bit. When I first arrived at Saving Grace and filled out my questionnaire, I checked that I wanted a family with kids that would play, and a big couch and a fireplace. And what did I get….two old people who can barely move, no couch and no fireplace! Ohhhhhhh But I have made the best of it. I love them with all my heart and protect the house they are gone. So I guess I’ll try to control my outbursts.

The nice thing about March is that I’m sitting out on the deck more.

I have been working on these new black patches.

I think they look real nice when they finally grow out.

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Finally!

Okay, I know I am writing about a very first world problem. I’ll say that right up front. But it is what I know and what I can write about……………….

BUTTER

Yes, butter. We eat butter. We have eaten it for years, years. Like Julia Childs I try to use it in moderation. That said, I appreciate good butter. Butter in Italy was CRAP! The only way I can describe it, waxy. It just wasn’t good. No matter what brand. And that is because there is such good olive oil, that many folks produced them selves. So why bother with butter.

When Ben and I visited Ireland with his sister in 2004, we rented a house. First thing, I bought several different kinds of butter. So we could taste test. (And several different types of cider too) There were some good butters there. When we used to stay in France, again, all different types of butter. Then we landed in Italy. Butter, a small disappointment. Really not good.

When you live in Italy it is easy to vacation in France. We drove. Heh, six hours away to the south of France. It dawned on me that we could buy French butter and bring it back to Italy. So for a number of years I did that. I was happy with a commercially mass produced brand, President. President made basic salted and unsalted butter and they also made a ‘sea salt’ version. That is butter with sea salt crystals incorporated in it. Discrete, taste them on your tongue salt crystals. I like salt. I will choose something salty over something sweet any day. So this butter was just the best.

After two years back in the US, I had actually forgotten about my favorite butter. Then I was reading a French blog online and reminded of it all over again. I thought longingly of that butter. Looked on the President web site to see if it was sold anywhere nearby. Well, basic butter is the sea salt crystal, no. So it was pushed to the forgotten corners of my mind. Then….

I was in the Harris-Teeter looking for President butter. IT WAS GONE! DISAPPEARED off the shelf. Of course I had to discuss this with the dairy products guy. He seemed to think it was a warehouse issue, not a discontinued forever issue. (Good for him, because my reply will soon be ‘Well, you might well just drive me to Wegmans’ which will be open in the fall) Anyway, I found Vermont Creamery Cultured Butter. Heh, give it a try. It sat in the fridge for two days before it occurred to me to try it.

OH MY!!!!!!

BUTTER WITH SEA SALT CRYSTALS IN IT!

DISCRETE, SEA SALT CRYSTALS THAT DANCE ON YOUR TONGUE

I almost cried. Really, I am so happy I have found this butter. This is the butter to put on a warm croissant. To put in hot baked potato. To melt and pour over popcorn. And the best of all, a hot ear of corn on the cob.

So tonight, we watch the ACC final and eat baked potatoes, I’ll have mine with the Vermont Creamery Sea Salt Butter thank you.

 

 

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Twenty Years

Ben and I got married. Twenty years ago today. How about that! We have been together longer. We just rambled around to getting married then.

Look at all that hair I had

With no pre-event coordination, look how well colour coordinated we are with the celebrant and ‘my little bridesmaid’, Delaney, Ben’s grand niece. I still call her that. (And don’t miss my DIY chandelier. I had forgotten about that until I was looking at these pictures)

The bride

The Groom

The Ceremony

To share these with you I am taking pictures of our album. The actual pictures are all in focus. It is hard to light the picture, hold the album and the camera to get a picture to post. We only have these wonderful pictures because our friend Betty Truman took them and printed them and sent them to us. A wonderful and thoughtful thing to do.

What a great card. And this one

They both lead you to our honeymoon in Paris

What a fun twenty years it has been. We moved from Virginia to Italy and now North Carolina. Our relationship has grown and changed. We still love each other very much and laugh every day over something. Here’s to at least twenty more.

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Valentines, Letters, Keeping in Touch

This is the Valentine that we sent to Ben’s grand daughter

You can’t really see it, but that is the Effiel Tower behind the kissing couple. Ben and I honeymooned in Paris. The grand daughter is in a French Immersion Charter School in New Orleans. Her French is so good. And Ben and I were the first set of grandparents to take her to France. I like to remind her of that, subtly, of course. Side note: The grand daughter has a FULL set of grand parents, 8, yes that is correct 8. Each parent of the child (aka Ma and Pa) has divorced and remarried)

On to the letters. I recently updated my traveling address book.

My traveling address book used to be little bits of paper that were stapled together. I realized that a number of folks on the list are no longer with us. So a new address book was in order.

Our mailman loves us. Every 2 or 3 weeks I send notes or cards to a number of folks. I started this when we first moved to Italy. I wanted to keep in touch with my aunts and uncles and some friends. This is also when I started my blog. Sending mail from Italy was expensive. I cut my card and letter writing back some and sent them links to my blog entries. Anyway, I still write about 10 notes every two weeks.

And just the other day there was a notice at the city park center for ACTIVE ADULTS that we go to. They were looking for someone to respond to letters from 5th graders who are working on the art of letter writing and cursive writing. What’s a few more letters….

One was beautiful. The handwriting was easy to read. The child wrote about her interests and asked about mine. No problem. She got a 2 page response. The next….well, I had to take my highlighter to it. I couldn’t read some of it. He/she got a response. I was nice. Suggested that more work was needed. Try again. We’ll see what happens….

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Happy Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year was the first full week of February this year. The year of the pig. We celebrated on the first Sunday of February by having friends over for lunch.

For Christmas my Uncle John had sent us a check so I decided to use that money to replace a few pieces of my Chinese fish china that were broken during storage or the move. I thought that would be easy to do. It is a very common pattern. Or was a very common pattern. I had to order it from Pearl River Trading Company in New York City. I was very pleased when I received all the pieces, so I was excited to be able to set a nice table.

The recumbent Dragon Fruit and the pineapple became dessert.
Also used the Asian beer glasses that came from Nice, France.

I never got around to printing up menus. But we had Hot and Sour Soup, Thai Chicken Larb on a bed of noodles, Vietnamese Eggplant Salad, Gingered Yard Long Beans, Pork Tenderloin with Chinese BBQ Sauce on a bed of Roasted Butternut Squash and Roasted Baby Bok Choy. I am lucky to have at least two well stocked Asian grocery stores.

Besides fruit for dessert, there were egg custard tarts, almond cookies and ….

There were 3 kinds of Asian beers. And of course some wine. How can you go wrong spending a Sunday with friends eating and drinking?

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Winner Winner

Ben won a gift certificate from Wayfair

Getting paperwork notarized

There was a bit of paperwork that had to be notarized and shipped back and forth but we managed to do it. Then we spent considerable time ‘shopping’. It would have been nice to have had this 18 months ago when we needed more things. We didn’t really need anything but decided to upgrade and then donate the old.

Old on left, new on right

So we got a new electric tea pot. We have also ordered a new toaster to replace the small one in the back right corner but it hasn’t come yet.

We moved over a service for 4 of stainless flatware which we had ‘bought’ using loyalty points from Esselunga (do miss Esselunga). I am really glad we moved it. It is a nice heavy set and would have cost a good bit to have replaced it. But it was a European set, meaning no teaspoons and only for 4 folks. So we have been augmenting it with Ben’s collection from

Ben’s collection

you guessed it, assorted airlines. From his days of being and international business man and flying business class all over. So we added another set.

It is not as heavy as I would have liked but you knew I couldn’t resist it. And of course we upgraded something for Guppy

Considering her new bed

A new bed. Her old one got moved to the small amount of floor space in front of the TV and she seems to still be using it. Since our floors are so cold I am not surprised. I am not sure I will be able to get it away from her to donate.

Thanks Wayfair!

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