Monthly Archives: July 2009

“There’s a Skunk in the Pool!”

Sometimes, I really love my life.

At almost exactly 6 this morning, my phone buzzed a text message. It was Auntie, wanting to know if I was up.

“Oddly enough, yes,” I replied; “I woke – BING! – at 5:30. NO idea why. What’s up (besides us; yuck, yuck!)?” (even in the morning, I have a sense of humor.)

Not more than 15 seconds later, the phone starts ringing. Well, not ringing, per se; Auntie’s ring tone is the sound of a motorcycle revving, but that’s neither here nor there. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Good morning!

Auntie: Hey. There’s a skunk in the pool, and animal control doesn’t go on duty until 7:00. What do I do?!

(At this point, I’m feeling a mixture of pride that she would call me for advice about such a vexing problem, and a little bit of confusion about why she would call me for advice about a skunk in the pool.)

Me: How long is your skimmer? Can you nudge him to a corner?

Auntie: How far can they spray?  He’s already in the corner. He can’t get out.

Me: Okay, here’s what you do; go get a long towel, anchor it with some rocks or something, and drape the end into the pool so he’s got something to grip to pull himself out.

Auntie (lowing her voice appreciatively): Oh! That’s a good idea! I’m gonna go try that; I’ll call ya later.

I swear, you guys; I don’t make any of this shit up.

At last report, the skunk made it out of the pool (the towel trick worked) and looked as though he’d survive to stink another day. Auntie’s going to “shock the shit out of the pool” in an attempt to rid it of any evidence that the skunk was ever there.

In other news, far as I’m aware, Mom made it into care with no major incidents. I’m in the process of getting a report and visiting information from Bobbie and will make my way over there this evening (though I might have to take a boat instead of the Puck; I’m not kidding – it’s POURING out right now). I’ll make sure I say everything I need to say before I go, and I’ll leave with a full and guilt-free heart.

At least, that’s my intention…


Filed under backyard wildlife, doing my duty, family matters, funniness, Home and Family, Little Bits of Nothingness, my oh-so-exciting life, on death and dying, strange but true, technical difficulties, weather


I have pretty much made the decision that I cannot continue to care for my mother the way things have become.  It occurred to me as I was driving over this morning that this may be the last time I have to do this, and the thought brought me such a feeling of weightlessness that even I was surprised.

It’s time.

I am profoundly relieved that she’s going to be going into skilled nursing care tomorrow.  She’s afraid that she’s never going to come out, and I don’t think that she’s wrong.  The situation is such that she’s altered more often than she’s lucid.  She is beginning to get combative and angry.  She doesn’t remember facts or details beyond 10 or 20 minutes.  She cries several times a day.

The emotional toll on me is significant enough that I’m recognizing that it can’t continue without its doing some serious damage.  I’m starting to see that I can’t be of help to her and that, if I continue to try, I could be doing myself some real harm.

She asked me – again – this morning why this was so hard for her.  I asked her to entertain the idea that she’s a little like a poltergeist; stuck in a place that confuses and confounds her (though the ghost is in the next plane and she’s in this one).  I asked her to consider that it’s possible that she’s sent all her good stuff ahead of her – her joy, her passion, her creativity and light – and she’s leaving behind all the things she’s experiencing in this plane – namely confusion, suspicion, anger, and fear.  She said she’d think about that, though I wonder whether she can.

Bill will go with her tomorrow to check her into the skilled nursing facility in the next town over.  I will go to see her tomorrow evening after she’s had a chance to settle in a little bit, so that I can say goodbye to her before I leave for the lake on Saturday.  I am well aware that I may be saying goodbye to her for the last time (in point of fact, I’ve been profoundly aware for months that the last time I saw her might have been the last time I’d see her).  I believe I have reached a point where I am completely ok with that.


Filed under compassion and connection, concerns, doing my duty, family matters, frustrations, Home and Family, learning, messages from the Universe, my oh-so-exciting life, on death and dying, ruminating, technical difficulties, Worries and Anxieties

Another Quick Hit

Oh, dear God.

Mom called after I was home about 20 minutes. She’d worked herself into a panic thinking that she was going into care TONIGHT, despite everything I told her before I left AND what Bill was telling her as she cried into the phone. It took me nearly half an hour to talk her down.

I’m exhausted in my heart.

She’s afraid that if she goes into care, she won’t come out. If she goes in, I really don’t think she WILL be coming out; I don’t think I can keep this up for more than what I’m already doing…


Filed under frustrations

Quick Hit; Perpsective

A text conversation between Bobbie and me this afternoon:

Me: Mom wants me to go with her to be admitted to the care facility.  I’m uneasy about that.

Bobbie: Hm.  When is she going in?  I’m available on Sat. if she’s okay with a stand-in.

Me: Friday.  We’re switching her to general in-patient instead of respite; no time limit and a higher level of care.  Of course, she’s thinking we’re trying to put her away…

Bobbie: What does she really expect?!  She can ask Meadmaker to care of her at home…

Me: Yeah, right!  Anyway, I’ve made plans for a friend to come up on Friday and I don’t want to cancel (that’s why I wanted you for tomorrow late-afternoon to sit with Mom, so I can meet him when he gets here).  Do I call him to cancel and get kid-care I wasn’t planning on needing so I can watch mom make herself crazy (and possibly go off on me because, for all practical purposes, I’m the reason she has to go in the first place)?

Bobbie: You’re also the reason she’s not already there…



Filed under messages from the Universe, on death and dying, quick hit

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

Today’s been a tough one, you guys.  While texting with Kizz, I was lamenting that there’s no way I could be coherent about all the things I wanted to write about at the moment, and she responded “It’s Wednesday. Find an image you like and go nearly wordless.”

PERFECT!  See? That’s part of why I love her so much.


This was taken upon our arrival at the lake last year.  I cannot adequately express how desperately I’m looking forward to going back.


Filed under Friends, Little Bits of Nothingness, love notes, messages from the Universe, my oh-so-exciting life, remembering, ruminating, vacation

Ten Things Tuesday

A little bit of this, and a little bit of that…

1.  This is a random TTT primarily because I wanted a forum to showcase this for RedRoach and, really, the only way to talk about this stuff is in a randomness post…


We went to our local kitchen goods store this weekend after the Harry Potter outing.  It seems that Mr. Chili broke his favorite wooden spatula beating the children scraping fridge-cold chocolate chip cookie dough out of a bowl, and he wanted a new one.  We didn’t find one that met his requirements, but this display caught my eye, so I grabbed a picture.  Thomas, my first thoughts went straight to you.  Let me know if you want some of this (‘because everything should taste like bacon!’) and I’ll hook you up.

2.  We leave for the lake in four days.  I can’t believe it.  Today is going to be spent catching up on laundry and doing some preliminary packing (or, at the very least, compiling lists).  Since I’ve got a lot of other stuff going on in my life right now (Gee, Chili; really?!  We hadn’t noticed!), I figure it’s better to do the big job of packing for a week in little, manageable bits over several days.

3.  I had a very interesting conversation with Bill last night.  I think he might be a little bit manic (or perhaps more than a little bit).  I chose to not bring up my continued ferocity about his deciding to alter Mom’s medications and instead let him to most of the talking.  What he told me is that he senses that she’s very close to passing (Gee, Bill; ya think?!) and he wonders if she’ll even live long enough to go to respite care.  He said he talked to Ellie about what to do if she stops breathing (DO NOT DO CPR!) and told me that he understands what’s going on.  I think that he gets it intellectually.  Emotionally and spiritually, though?  Not so much.

I kind of feel bad for the guy.  He really struggles – a lot – with some pretty basic concepts, and the result is that he expends an enormous amount of energy without actually accomplishing much.   I wish there were something I could say or do that would help him get a better handle on all of this, but I recognize that he’s got to find his own way, just like everybody else.

4.  Falcon is working quite literally in my neighborhood this morning.  My plan is to sneak over to where he’ll be and steal him away for lunch with Mr. Chili and the girls this afternoon.  For all that it astounds some of you that this man and I can be friends (Hi, Kizz!  Hi, Gerry!), I really do like him an awful lot.  Do I agree with him all the time (hell, do I agree with him often)?  No, but we disagree in a way that is very agreeable to both of us.  We don’t have to understand it, we just have to accept it.

5.  I’m starting to think about teaching again, and fell asleep last night compiling potential topics for persuasive essays in my head.  I’m sick, nearly unto death, of the well-worn topics (abortion, the death penalty, legalizing marijuana, lowering the drinking age, blah, blah, blah) so I was trying to come up with more interesting, less traveled avenues.  Of course, I didn’t write any of them down, so I can’t recall much this morning.  Sigh.  Feel free to try to refresh my memory.

*Edited to include; OH!  I remember one!  Parents should/should not have influence over the curriculum in their children’s classroom.  Coincidentally, Tense just wrote a piece about this very topic; go on over and have a look*

6.  BlogHer ’10 is in New York City next year.  I’ve already claimed my spot on Kizz’s couch, and I’m hoping to gather up a posse of women (Auntie, O’Mama, and Snob, I’m looking specifically at YOU!) to join me there.  I’m also thinking about how I can spin the conference to count toward professional development hours for my next teaching license certification cycle…

7.  Someone I care for dearly is completely melting down – in a spectacular and ugly way that is entirely of their* own making – and I’m still trying to sort out how I feel about it.  I’m infuriated at this person for doing what s/he did in order to precipitate this crisis – s/he should have fucking known better, as they’ve been down this road before – but I recognize that, this time, at least, it has nothing whatsoever to do with me.  That doesn’t keep me from recalling all kinds of emotions, though, or from wanting to deliver a swift and stinging combination of dope-slap and ass-kicking.  For all that, I’m keeping a respectful distance from ground zero, and only offering up my help and/or opinions when they are specifically requested (and, thus far, the person doing the melting has not asked, though others have).  It is astounding the mess that some people will willingly create for themselves, all the while lamenting that it “just happened” to them.

*As a rule, I dislike the use of “they” as a singular pronoun; however, given that I don’t want to divulge too much here, I’m trying to keep the person in question gender-neutral.  I find that “they,” even when used incorrectly as a singuar, is far less cumbersome than “he/she.”  I’m just sayin’…

8.  Once-a-week yoga is entirely insufficient.  I’m actually a little sore after teaching Sunday’s class, and that’s all kinds of wrong.  I have grand plans for my vacation week; I’m going to bring my earphones and my sneakers and walk before everyone wakes up (I’m the earliest riser of the Chili clan, so no one will miss me), and I’m bringing at least two yoga mats; Bruder is joining us for the week (he arrives here Friday night) and he does yoga – or, at least, he used to.  Regardless, I’ll be practicing every morning on the dock  – or, at least, that’s my plan; anyone who wants to join me is welcomed to pull up a mat.

9.  Switching over to the unlimited text plan on my phone was a very, very good idea.  In addition to allowing me to offer moral support to someone in crisis whenever it becomes necessary, I’m also able to send and receive love from various sources whenever and as often as I want without worrying about whether my next phone bill will give me seizures.

10.  A girlfriend of mine is going to take the girls to see G-Force tomorrow.


image credit

My friend actually wants to see the movie, and it will serve as a much-needed two-hour distraction from some pretty serious shit she’s grappling with in her life at the moment.  I just texted her to say that, additionally, she will enjoy a LONG stretch of gratutide from Mr. Chili and me for saving us from having to bring the girls to this film; they both want badly to see it, and we both want badly to not.  That my friend is willingly volunteering to take my kids is a little piece of Universal Synchronicity.  See?  It really does all work out in the end.


Filed under celebration, compassion and connection, concerns, family matters, Friends, fun, funniness, general kid stuff, Home and Family, Little Bits of Nothingness, love notes, messages from the Universe, my oh-so-exciting life, on death and dying, Parenting, randomness, strange but true, ten things Tuesday, the jobs, vacation, weirdness

You’re Not a Doctor… *Edited*

…you don’t even play one on t.v.

Seriously, People?  Where my patience is coming from is entirely beyond me.

Bill called me yesterday, just as I was heading in to yoga class (perfect timing).  It seemed that he’d taken it upon himself to adjust some of her medications, and was calling to tell me what the new doses are.

He’s always been bothered by the amount of medication Mom’s taken, even from the very beginning.  His current freak-out is due to the fact that she’s on a couple of drugs which are purposed to be sedative (phenobarbital) and anti-anxiety, anti-nausea (Adavan).  He seems to think that these are unnecessary and, as a result, as switched her dose from one each every four hours to HALF of one each every SIX.

Now, I understand that neither of these drugs is meant cure anything.  It’s not as if he’s cutting back on an antibiotic or an antiviral or something and thereby doing her any real harm.  Regardless, it is NOT HIS PLACE to decide what is or is not necessary, and it’s CERTAINLY not his to adjust medication.  Further, he’s not inside her head (or her stomach) and has no practical knowledge of what these medications are doing for her.

I’m so beside myself, I’m practically two people.

I gave her full doses yesterday (he made a disapproving face when I told him that, and I somehow managed to refrain from unleashing the full force of my indignation at him at that moment).  I’m following the last orders given to me by doctors and nurses – you know; people with MEDICAL degrees.

I spoke to Ellie this morning, and she hinted that she is of the opinion that Mom may not be able to stay in her home for much longer as a matter of practicality.  Bill is neither a good energetic influence, nor is he particularly trustworthy at this time (if he ever was).  I fully support the idea of moving Mom into a long-term care facility when and if that time comes, and will unflinchingly exercise my medical POA if I have to.

*Edited to include: Ellie called back after visiting the house this morning.  She told me that she tried to talk Bill into recognizing that Mom’s terminal (he knows that, but he doesn’t really know it, you know?) and that addiction to drugs is, in this case, not a concern.  She also tried to get him to understand that it’s not necessarily the drugs that are sending her into other places – a lot of what she’s doing is very spiritual, otherworldly work –  nor will it be the drugs that end her life.

I was taken entirely aback by her seeming lack of concern for Bill’s taking it on himself to change Mom’s dosages, though.  She did say that he didn’t do any harm; if Mom had asked her to dial back the extra meds she’s taking, Ellie would have set them to pretty much what Bill was already doing.  I pointed out to her that that may be so, but it’s not HIS decision to make, and he shouldn’t be messing with her medication without the EXPRESS consent of someone with a medical degree.  “What’s next,” I asked; “is Bill going to think it’s okay to adjust her Dilaudid pump?”  Neither of us thinks he’d do that, and she agreed with my point, but I was still disturbed by her “it’s not a big deal” attitude.

I understand that Ellie has to walk a fine line here.  She NEEDS us, and she can’t really afford to let either of us jump the proverbial ship (there’s a post about THAT coming sometime soon; watch this space).  I understand that she had to get me calmed down, and I understand that I wasn’t there when she talked to Bill, so I don’t know how stern (or not) she was with him.  It’s just frustrating to know that I’m justified in my anger and frustration, but to not have it reinforced by the people who SHOULD be pissed about having their orders not only outright ignored but tampered with, to boot.  I wonder if, back at the office, Ellie pitched a private fit to her coworkers.

I’m trying to let it go.  I’m better than I was this afternoon, but I’m still not quite there yet…*


Filed under concerns, doing my duty, duh!, dumbassery, family matters, frustrations, General Bitching, Home and Family, on death and dying, strange but true, technical difficulties, Worries and Anxieties