Thursday, November 29, 2012

"Just Us Chickens"

"Just us Chickens" .... that's what Skip and I call a day when no one is coming to the house. No aids, no nurses, no other people invading our space. Honestly, the people who do come are helping both of us immensely. Everything they do for me or Skip is something I don't have to do. And, Skip gets a change of company, someone to visit and chat with other than me while having her wants and needs met.

I wouldn't want to go more than one day in a row without assistance, but for that one, it's a real pleasure. Nine out of 10 Mondays are "just us chickens" days. Almost always, it's a peaceful and loving day, where we're both in excellent moods and spend our time together quite companionably. For some reason, even with the extra work, I rarely get angry on Mondays.

Skip is in the process of gaining approval for a state-funded Personal Care Attendant (PCA) program. This will give her a certain number of hours each week to allocate to her care and we get to hire and schedule the folks who do the work. We're still planning on leaving Mondays just as they are -- with just the two of us together at home.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pics of the Place

Found my camera and took some pics of our condo the other day. I've omitted the 2 bedrooms. One is still filled with junk in boxes that I am slowly but surely selling off. The other had unmade beds in it.
This is a view of our front door. Our chalkboard is a wonderful device. I add appts there,  have a spot to record random items we need to buy so I don't forget them when making a list, and our punch list of things to do around the house. For Thanksgiving, it was a big help tracking menu items and task lists.

When you come down the hall from the front door, this is the view to the left or our LR/DR/kitchen. You can see our 2 dachshunds relaxing along with my sister's Shih Tzu Dakini who is visiting us. She probably spends about half her time with us and half with my sister. She's much better behaved than our dogs, because my sister actually trained her, though she is prone to bouts of anxiety, especially when there's heavy weather outside.

Take a right past the chalkboard and you enter the large hallway leading to our bedroom. To the left is a little alcove that we've set up with bookshelves on one side and an immense Ikea wardrobe on the other.

The aforementioned wardrobe. This is where we store Skip's chair when she's in bed.

Turning back down the hallway, you can see our main room.

The view of the main room standing at the other end. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Fun, But a Lot of Work

The title, in a nutshell, describes Thanksgiving day (and the day after, when the cleanup was completed).

I was happy to provide a place for my whole family to celebrate the holiday together. We had 3 generations present and only one person from the youngest generation was missing (one of the older twins of my sister - who has 2 sets of twins - is enjoying a semester at sea, so couldn't join us). Everything I cooked was pretty straightforward to prepare, so the challenges of the day were primarily about timing - which task to do when.

It certainly is different having a party here in our condo than in our old house. For one thing, we were all in the same room rather than split up with some in the kitchen, some in the living room. Here, it's all one big room, so I was never by myself in the kitchen prepping or cleaning up. Also, we lived in our house for 23 years, so I knew where everything was, had routines established for parties and had lots of storage so we had tons of serving dishes and such. I gave away or sold a lot of things when we moved, so I wasn't quite sure what serving pieces we had. Fortunately, the huge platter, big enough for a 24 lb turkey, was still around. And, I found enough pieces we'd kept to put out hors d'oeuvres and serve the myriad of dishes I prepared. And now, we've made it through the first big shindig so it'll be that much easier the next time.

Monday, November 19, 2012


We're hosting Thanksgiving at our condo. By this, I mean, we'll be joined by my immediate family that day. There'll be 14 of us. It will be a good chance to show off our new home, especially to my mom, who hasn't seen it yet. I do actually enjoy hosting parties, and we haven't had a party in our home for years. I plan to enjoy myself a lot. It's always energizing to host a party.

I had a vision of a party that would include an easy clean-up. You know, paper plates and plastic silverware. Only because, honestly, our regular dishes have place settings for 12 and our flatware the same, so there wouldn't be enough for 14 folks.

Well, when I was driving my mother down to Connecticut on Friday to see her 92-year old sister, she took the long drive as an opportunity to quiz me concerning dishes, flatware, tablecloths, tables, napkins, etc. that we'd use for the meal. Too funny! When I made noises about paper plates and plastic silverware, it was quite clear that wouldn't do! She reminded me that she'd given me a set of sterling silver flatware when she moved out of her house, so we could combine them with our stainless. And, I have other one-off dinner plates packed away somewhere that we can use.

So, now I realize we've signed on for a fancy shindig. And suddenly it occurred to me that I don't know where many of the rarely used serving pieces and such are. Where did they get put away in the new kitchen? Did I actually give away all our platters before we moved or do I still have one somewhere to hold that 24 pound turkey I'm cooking? And, shades of my youth when my mother had me polish silver before any big party, tomorrow MW and I will be doing a bit of polishing ourselves, assuming I can find the serving pieces. 

Regardless of what pieces we mix and match to make up the place settings, I know we'll all have a lot of fun on Thursday. I'm really looking forward to it, and especially to showing off our new place. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Caregiver Aids #17: Combination Door Lock

So you're a caregiver. So you have people coming to your home to help your loved one. Sometimes you're not there when they arrive and your loved one can't answer the door. Do you leave your door unlocked for all to enter, whether wanted or not? Do you hide a key somewhere, like under the doormat?

This handy little deadbolt with a combination lock can be the answer to all your troubles.

You can assign up to 19 4-digit codes to unlock the door. This way, each person that comes to the house can have his/her own code. When that person is no longer a part of the "caregiving team" you can delete the code. 

In our case, during those rare times when we're both out of the house, we can lock the doorknob and that will stop access by those who have a combination to open the deadbolt. 

There are lots of other relatively inexpensive home access options, including locks that can be wirelessly controlled. I didn't entertain using those for Skip because she has so much trouble with her hands, operating a remote entry system wouldn't have worked for her. This gives us what we need without Skip's hands having to be part of the solution.