Monday, July 31, 2017

I AM AN IDIOT

(You know, you don't have to agree so readily..geez.)


July is car tag month for our family. Unfortunately, when we got the new car registered and had the tag transferred, we did it at an awkward time that didn't allow the DMV records to have time to be updated to show we no longer owned the convertible before the bill was sent out.  When we got our tag payment paperwork in the mail, it still showed that we were responsible for the Seabring, and not the Jetta.  Lovely.  Because of this problem, we couldn't just pay online like we always did.  Steve informed me that I'd need to go to the DMV satellite office (which is luckily at the mall near our house) and try and fix the issue. 

I didn't wanna go!!  It was going to be the last day of the month, which meant that everyone who'd been slacking off would be there!  I'd be there foreverrrrrrrrrr!  But, as I am an adult and have responsibilities, I (begrudgingly) hauled my cookies down to the office and stood in the very long line of people this morning. 

Actually, it wasn't that bad.  I was only in line for about 10 minutes, and even with the mistake on the payment form, the lady who helped me had me in and out in no time!  Go me!  As I was leaving, I decided that I was going to put the sticker on my car right away and not risk losing it before I could get home and put it on the tag.  So I knelt down and very firmly applied the sticker to the license plate, quite pleased with how well I'd covered the old one.  As I was just about to stand up, my eye fell on the back of the car.  I noticed that it didn't say "Jetta" like I expected it would.  It said "Focus."  Well, that was weird.  My car isn't a Focus!  So, yeah, I'd just applied my tag sticker to the wrong car.

To be fair, it was the same color and general shape of my car AND it was parked in the spot I'd originally pulled into (I pulled forward into the empty space in front of that one at the last minute) so it was directly behind my car.  It was a mistake anyone could have made....right?  Heh.

So I had to pull the sticker off of that car, tearing a chunk off of the other car's sticker in the process, and run to my car and slap it on and then jump in and drive away.  That parking lot has CC cameras all over the place, so I know that there is video of me doing something that looks shady.  I was so embarrassed.

So to the person who owns the dark red Ford Focus, I'm sorry I ripped your tag sticker, and I'm sorry I look like I was trying to break into your trunk. I was just trying to hastily cover up the fact that I still don't know what my car looks like out in the wild. 


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

ONE MORE UPDATE FOR NOW

For those of you who have been checking in on updates about my brother, I have another and unless something changes, this will be the last one for a while.

He finally got to come home on the 3rd of July and everyone was very glad.  He's been resting much better and I know he's much more comfortable at home without people coming in at all hours and poking him with needles.

Last weekend, he had to be taken back to the ER because of a fever, and they found he had an infection and several blood clots in his lung.  He was given medication for both and sent back home.  It was decided that it wouldn't be useful, or kind, for him to be sent back to the hospital.  He is now under the care of Hospice, and will be for the foreseeable future.

My mom now has help with a lot of the "heavy lifting" and hopefully that will take some of the stress off of her, and also we hope that being at home will make him happy.  There's really no way to know how long this will last, could be months or even years I guess, but we're just glad he won't be put through any more useless, frightening, and painful, medical procedures.

Thanks again to everyone who has checked in on him and that want to know how he's doing. It's not necessarily an easy thing to talk about, but it does help to put it out in the universe.  I'll let you all know what is going on as things progress. 


Monday, July 03, 2017

YET ANOTHER UPDATE

I've got another update about my brother and unfortunately it isn't as great as we had hoped last week.

Without going into a lot of detail, I just wanted to let you know that his surgery was unsuccessful.  We had hoped that the surgeon would be able to repair the damage from the last surgery, as well as fix whatever needed to be fixed, but it wasn't possible.  Tommy's problems are just too varied and complicated to repair.  They did implant a feeding tube and plan to send him home as soon as they are able.  We were all hoping for a different outcome.

The news isn't all bad, obviously, because the feeding tube will help feed him at least, and my mom will be getting help from home health, as well as from my sister and me. 

I'm very worried about my mother and the stress this will put on her.  She's the kind of lady who will try and do it all by herself and not ask for help until she just has to.  So, keep her in your thoughts and cheer her on from the sidelines, if you please.

As of now they are still in the hospital and they are very ready to come home.  We don't really know how things are going to go from here, but let's just hope that they can come home soon and get started on whatever new kind of normal they'll have from here on out.

Thanks for thinking of them.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

RANDOM ACTS OF BLOGGING

1) So, I have a new update on my brother! 

He was moved to a bigger, more well equipped hospital in Huntsville to get treatment, and so far he's doing better than he was. That's good news and we'll take that!  When I wrote before, he was very sick and weak from not being able to eat, but in the new hospital they have given him a feeding tube (?) which has helped him a lot.  He's still not doing great, but he's much more stable and a little bit stronger, or at least he seems to be.  I have gone to see him a couple of times and he seems to be in a better mood, but of course, if you know my brother, he's usually in a good mood. 

He will have to have another, fairly complex, surgery this Friday morning, and as long as he pulls through that with few complications, the doctor seems convinced that he will get back to the way he was before he got so sick, which would be a huge improvement.  Once again, keep some good vibes out there for him and my mom, who has been by his side this whole time.  She is a superwoman for sure!  I'm sure everyone would just like to go home and be able to get some normalcy back in their lives.

Thanks to everyone who's checked up on them and sent hugs!

2) Last Friday I had a bit of minor surgery, myself. I hate to even call it surgery, because it took all of two hours from start to me being back home, but it did involve actually going to the hospital and being sedated and all of that.  It was nothing serious, just one of those things that I knew I needed to do, and then kept putting it off until I just bit the bullet to get it over with. It's been a looong while since I've had anything more serious than a root canal, so a lot has changed since I was in the hospital last. 

First thing they did was tell me to take off all of my clothes and put on thigh high stockings.  Heh...yeah, I've head that before! It was like college all over again! :)  Actually, along with my blood-clot-fighting stockings, they also gave me some sexy, barf-colored non-skid socks, and a hospital gown that afforded me zero dignity.  Being a hospital patient is decidedly non-glamorous, no matter what ER and Grey's Anatomy might say to the contrary!  Everything seemed to go really quickly once my IV was in place, and then some very lovely gentleman gave me a shot that made me not care about anyone or anything, and they took me into the OR.  I remember saying "WOW, there's a lot of stuff in here!  I didn't think you needed all this kind of stuff!"  Stuff being lights and medical equipment, which in retrospect, makes a lot of sense.

I woke up in recovery, not really sure of what was going on.  I had been fitted with an oxygen mask and remember saying "Oh, good, I like oxygen." after asking why I had it on. They scratched my vocal cord with a breathing tube, and my voice is still a little scratchy from that, but not terribly. I also remember singing a little and then bursting out crying for no good reason, but I think it was just a reaction to everything.  The very sweet nurse talked me through it, so there's no telling what I said to her.  I probably confessed many private sins to that nurse, who now has to live with the terrible knowledge. I have no idea how long that went on, but it seems like in a flash I was back in one of the recovery rooms with Steve getting redressed and wheeled out to the car.  I wasn't completely lucid, though, because there are big chunks of the next couple of days I don't remember, but apparently I survived.  By Sunday night I was almost back to normal and trusted myself enough to send an email.  I still tend to burst out crying from time to time (stuff like, oh, God, I've been abandoned by everyone and every little thing sets me off so don't hurt my feelings, yo) but it is getting much better.  You'll also be happy to know I only had to take 3 of the heavy pain pills, and I behaved myself each time. Mostly. I wanted badly to get out of the house at one point, and so I hobbled into Publix to get some juice.  I had taken one of the pills before we left, and about halfway through our trip I kind of fazed out and found myself giggling and petting a carton of drinks.  I also got into a weird smiling fit, because the more Steve told me not to make "that face," the less control I had over making "that face."  He managed to pay for the juice and get me back home before I did anything embarrassing.  He was a good nurse, all told.  Anyway, I'm healing and hopefully very soon will be back to fighting shape!

3) I'm sure you've been waiting with baited breath about what I ended up naming my car.  I took a poll on Facebook and it was close.  I had an equal number of votes for "Joan Jetta" and "Other" and I had a couple of great suggestions from the "Other" camp.  My cousin Amy's suggestion was perfect.  Now my car has been christened "Brunhilde Farfegnugen" but I'll just call her Brunhilde for short.  I also liked the suggestion "Dave" but the car is clearly female, so what can I do?

So far I like the Volkswagen, with one exception.  When you connect the sound system to Bluetooth and listen to music from the phone, the sound will get louder and softer depending on your speed.  That doesn't happen with the radio, but I've almost deafened myself  when listening to my playlist because when you slow down, the music gets quieter, and not realizing it was a feature, I turned it up to hear what was playing, but then when I started driving again, the sound blasts out at you without any warning.  I hate that and haven't figured out how to disable it.  Don't tell me how loud I can listen to my crappy playlist, Brunhilde!  All in all, though, it's a nice car and I'm glad to finally have something reliable.

Now I get to take all of those road trips I've been talking about!  Imma visit everyone! 



Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A CAR HAS NO NAME

So, guess what?

I finally got a new (well, new to me) car!  Aren't you excited? 

Can you at least pretend?  Thanks. :)

I've been saving up for a new car for a couple of years because my poor car was hanging on by a thread.  I was hoping to eventually save up enough money to buy whichever car I chose straight out, because I'd gotten very used to not having a car payment!  Unfortunately, my convertible was beginning to do some things that made me wonder if it was going to last long enough for me to save up the whole thing, which would have taken me a couple more years. Shakes, creaks, and bits falling off I can handle, but once the air conditioner starting skipping out on me, all that went out of the window.  Maybe it makes me a huge weenie, maybe it doesn't, but air conditioning is essential when you live in Devil's Buttcrack, Alabama, where it's 6 inches closer to hell than anyplace else on earth.  No, seriously, that's the town slogan. ; )

Monday night, Steve and I began looking online for some of the new cars I was interested in, but I got discouraged with how much the cars cost. I mean, I know cars cost a lot of money, and I was prepared for that, but it seemed like anytime we found a car I liked and maybe changed a paint color, or wanted an automatic transmission, it was adding on thousands of dollars over what I could afford.  Sigh. 

We stopped looking at the new cars and began looking at the "certified pre-owned" cars at the different dealers around town.  Most of them were either way older than I wanted, or way more expensive than I wanted to pay for a used car, but one caught my eye.  I'd never considered a Volkswagen (unless I could get one of those Mystery Machine type vans, and I'd still totally get one of those if I could) but out of curiosity I checked out their website and they had a 2016 Jetta that had several nice add ons for a very, very reasonable price.  It had 41,445 miles on it, but it had gone through the official check and had a great warranty, so we decided to check it out in person.

My boss was so excited.  He loooooooooves wheeling and dealing with sales people, and so he spent the first half of the day giving me pointers on how to pay lots less than they were asking on the car if I decided to get it.  He even called me on his way home to make sure that I "had my game face on."  Heh.  I assured him I did, but I'm not like him.  The man can walk into Wal-Mart and get a discount on something because he doesn't want to pay retail price, but I'm not that aggressive.  However, I figured I could do a bit of haggling. 

We got to the place and test drove the car, and is there anything more nerve wracking than test driving a car in after work traffic?  Add to that, that the windshield was covered in stickers and papers, and I'm just lucky that I made it to where we went and back!  It drove well, had some nice get up and go, and after I figured out how to adjust the seat and steering wheel, I decided that I liked it fine.  Maybe it wasn't exactly what I set out to get, but it was nice, and I couldn't find anything wrong with it.

We got back to the dealership and sat down, and I was all prepared to start to haggle over the price, but Steve...bless him, he wanted me to have a more reliable car so badly...tried to do it for me. When they wouldn't give him the price he asked for, he caved and agreed to everything.  I did interject and manage to get a little bit of money off.  Not a lot, but still a little is better than nothing!  (My boss was disgusted and wished he could have gone with me. I probably would have walked out of there with them paying me to take it, that's just how good he is.)  I also had to trade in Lois, my convertible.  Bless her heart, she was a good car that held on for a long time, but she was in bad shape.  They were only able to give me $750.00 trade in value on her, and that was being generous.  I checked Kelly Blue Book to make sure, and what they gave me was more than it was worth on there.

At any rate, now I'm the proud owner of a car that was made in this decade!  It doesn't seem to leak, I'm certain that the door doesn't hold water when it rains, air doesn't hiss through various cracks and crevices so loud that you have to shout when you talk, and so far it doesn't sound like it's cracking apart when I drive over bumps! Also, I can play music from my phone on the radio!  That probably doesn't sound like much to you, but for someone who had to make mixed CDs up until early last year (when the CD player quit working in the Seabring and trapped a CD of "Let It Go" in it's guts) it's fun to listen to music I choose!  The only downside of it is if I want to sneakily play a little Marvin Gaye, the name of the song pops up on the LCD screen before the first guitar licks of "Let's Get It On" even come on.  Tsk, tsk, tsk...

I'm also trying to name the car. It's just a thing I do, so don't judge me. I put a poll on Facebook for help choosing, but we've narrowed it down to these:  Joan Jetta, Jetta James, Jetta Li, Kenny "The Jetta" Smith (which is not named after my own personal Kenny Smith, but after the basketball player turned commentator on TNT) or The Cranberry.  So far Joan Jetta is winning, but as of now the car has no name. If any of you fine folks have a recommendation, I'd be glad to hear it. 

Anyway, here is a picture!
I hope we have many adventures together!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A NEW UPDATE

Well, this is not the update I was hoping to give, but it's the one I have.

My brother is not doing well.  He has been in the hospital since Friday night, and his body just doesn't seem to want to work the way it's supposed to.  So far, nothing the doctors have tried is working to make him any better.  He's being fed through an IV, and that's about all they can do right now.

I'm worried about him. I don't want him to be scared or in pain.  I'm worried about my mother, because she is doing everything she can to get him well again, and she won't leave his side longer than an hour at a time and she is stressed beyond reason.

There's nothing I can do, and it feels so helpless.  I don't even know how to pray about it.  It's too much.

He doesn't deserve this. My mom doesn't deserve this.

Every time the phone rings I'm expecting awful news.  I feel guilty every time I eat because I know he can't.  I don't know what to do. There's nothing I can do.

I hate this.

If anyone ever tries to me that all this is happening for a reason, I'll gouge out their damn eyes.

Friday, June 02, 2017

ANOTHER UPDATE

I haven't been talking much about my brother because up until a few days ago, everything was fine.  He wasn't eating much, but the doctor said that was to be expected.  We assumed that after a few months, he would get back to whatever new normal that his surgery would allow.

For the past few days he's been sick.  Not terrible, but not great.  I saw him yesterday when I was out that way, and he seemed OK, even though he hadn't been eating much.  My mom told me about him feeling sick, and she was worried, but he'd just been to the doctor a week before, so again, we assumed it was normal.

Today they had to take him back to the hospital because he wasn't getting any better and he couldn't eat at all.  Some tests they did show that his surgery came undone, and now he's back in the same shape he was before.  According to my mother, there isn't anything they can do for him now.  To try and redo the surgery is too risky, so they are going to send him home and hope for the best.  If he can't eat, then the best isn't so great, is it?

I don't really know what to say about any of this except that it sucks.  Again, please send prayers and good vibes towards my mom and brother.  I'm not sure what will happened from here on, but I know this is going to be very stressful and difficult.

Thanks in advance.