Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Education of Imma Foxwatcher

I miss my Dad. Since his death I am the lone Democrat in a sea of Tea. A fact brought home to me for the umpteenth time during a conversation with my stepmother. Something I try not to do too often because...well...it just might be contagious.

I called her. It's that "respect your elders" kinda thing that my Mom raised me to do. *sigh* During our conversation she made this statement. "Your Brother finally got a job in Louisiana, no thanks to that black bastard and his job killing policies in the White House" Yeah, she actually went there.

Some background here is necessary. My Bro has been out of a job since the BP disaster. He was employed doing maintenance on the platforms until that happened. He was a member of the crew that had been replaced by the guys on the platform when it blew up. He was back on land a whole 3 days when that happened. Since that put the company he was working for out of business, he's been unemployed ever since.

After taking a few deep breaths I asked her what policies she was objecting to and why. Yepper, I really am just that stupid. Of course her reasons were Obamacare and all the jobs it killed. Along with a few other items that are Congressional Bullheadedness that she seems to feel is the Presidents fault. She gets her news from the "number 1" cable news network.

The partial list of things she doesn't know or never heard of is monumental.

1...She didn't know that the mandated "tax" would NOT apply to her because she has Medicare.
2...She didn't know that the ACA CLOSES the donut hole.
3...She didn't know that she wouldn't have to pay, at all, for preventative visits like her mammogram.
4...She didn't know that her copays would be reduced.
5...She believed that the Paul Ryan Budget changes to SS and Medicare were policies CREATED by Pres. Obama.
6...She didn't know that the tax increases that President Obama wants are on people making more than $250,000 a year. She believed the increases would affect my youngest brother's small business.
7...Despite the closing of businesses and the outsourcing of American Jobs while "job creators" were not paying higher taxes, SHE BELIEVES THAT TRICKLE DOWN ECONOMICS WORKS.
8...She believes that jobs are scarce because of all the undocumented aliens stealing those jobs from American workers.
9...She doesn't understand that the debt ceiling increase is something that happens with no fanfare for every president EXCEPT the one we have now.
10...She also doesn't understand that if we weren't supporting a warfare economy, there would be no need for all these other cuts.

My Dad, who was as liberal as they come, actually married this woman?

If one stops to think about everything she doesn't know, it proves the study conclusion that Fox watchers are the least informed of all Americans. She wasn't the least bit inclined to listen to me until I mentioned to her that Fox can't be broadcasted in Canada. Seems they have a truth in broadcasting rule that eliminates Fox from their airwaves. She didn't really believe me until I suggested my other bro spend some online time away from Texas Holdem and look it up. He did so, only to be able to say I was wrong. I wonder how disappointed that made him?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Thank You Captain Kangaroo

If you haven't figured out that I might be crazy, this post should remove all doubt!

I was minding my own business and actually doing some housework when the song "Animal Fair" popped into my head. I'm pretty sure I learned it as a child from the Captain Kangaroo program, but never realized the hidden meaning to the song. Of course the song was written in 1898 and probably had an entirely different meaning then. I might be crazy, but I'm not insane enough to believe that song was prophetic.

Animal Fair! With hidden meaning in parentheses.

" I went to the Animal Fair." (Congress)
"The birds and the beasts were there" (Dems and Repubs)
"The old raccoon, by the light of the moon was combing his auburn hair. ( Time wasting)

"The monkey he got drunk" (John Boehner makes his appearance)
"And sat on the elephant's trunk" (Parked his hiney in the Speaker's Chair)
"The elephant sneezed and fell on his knees, but what became of the monk?" (Lost a re-election?)

And in case we needed a reminder of why the GOP needs to lose, this should do it for normal, sane people.

I know that's not Boehner, but you get the picture.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Miscellanous small items, usually of no large value and too numerous to mention separately. I have a bag of those. None of them important enough to write an entire post about.

Vacation: Week 1 was spent catching up on all those lovely chores that I haven't found the time to do during my work weeks. Our bedroom ceiling needs painting but it's far too hot and humid for me to expend the energy doing it. I'll wait until the weather cools off, sometime in October and maybe I can find the time then.

Cat: My lovely big furry love bug seems to have developed a play aggression problem. He doesn't see it as a problem, but he's not the one wearing scratches on her legs and arms. I think the source of his aggression is the neighbor's cat who appears to have chosen our deck as a great place to hang out on. I have begged and pleaded with this neighbor to keep his cat indoors to no avail. The cat likes it outdoors and goes to great lengths to escape when attempts are made to confine him. In the meantime, I can't safely use my hallway without running the risk of an attack unless I carry something to distract my attacker. Must remember to pick up a battery for the dead laser pointer and remember to carry it with me when I enter the hallway. This morning I managed to grab an empty cardboard toilet paper roll. Now I have to clean the mess up but at least I'm not bleeding anywhere.

Global Warming: Not sure what I believe about it except that I know something has sure changed here. According to our local weatherpeople, New York State has an average of 5 days of temperatures reaching 90 or more degrees during our summers. This year we have all ready surpassed 14 with 2 more to go this week alone. We are also on the verge of drought even though we did get some rain yesterday. Gov. Cuomo has issued a burn ban on outdoor fires for the entire state. Those who make money selling wood for campfires aren't happy, but it beats losing ones home to a forest fire.

Income: Mine has tanked. I gave up 6 hours and lost 10 more to clients going to hospitals and nursing homes. The nursing home issue may be for rehab purposes only which means I'll get the client back. However, my projected number of work hours for next week when I go back to work is 12. I can do fill ins if available, but can't take a new client until the nursing home residency issue is decided. I like to pay bills on time, however, if the temperatures here stay as high as they've been, I might be farther ahead with less work. Rehab stays average 4 to 6 weeks which will take me to cooler weather before I am able to rebuild my client roster.

Health: I am much improved over all. Blood pressure is down, weight is still coming off, although much more slowly than it was. Doctor changed some of my supplements to fit better into my reduced financial situation. However, my concern will be the effect of these high temps and drought conditions on local produce. We just might not be able to purchase enough of the hormone/pesticide free foods to get me through the winter. The income rebuild might not happen until after harvest, and the drought appears to be increasing the price of fresh foods. Always something...right?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

When Our Silence Supports And Condones Bullying, Where Do The Victims Turn?

I used to spend time trying to make people see that when we are online and see people being abused, we need to speak up. I lost a lot of "friends", found myself in the middle of messes that I had no desire to be in. After awhile, I gave it up and turned away from those type of problems. However, today I read something that made me sorry I had changed my ways.

I was reading a post about the bullying of someone and in the comments someone else pointed out the number of teens who are committing suicide due to bullying and the message we are sending them by ignoring their problems. When I was in school, bullying took place in the schoolyard and sometimes at home via the telephone. When it occurred that way, usually we hung up the phone and the victim was left in peace until the next school day. There were friends and loved ones that helped salve the wounds. We could speak to them without the information being spread around the world. Unfortunately thanks to today's social media and the internet, these kids have no place to go to stay away from it unless they don't try to make other friends online.

Everything said to them is pretty visible. Online bullying is VERY visible. So, what do you think these teens are taking away from their situation when all of the people who read these posts don't say a single word? It would seem to me that the deafening silence from every one else would lead them to believe there is no hope of ever finding peace and acceptance.

I wonder what it must feel like to be that victim and witness the total lack of compassion for their plight? The complete absence of a kind word for them or the lack of defense that they must be quietly praying for? No one to stand up and defend them? No one condemns the perpetrators, no one says STOP IT!

So they read between the lines, these victims of an angry, mean society and they decide their situation is hopeless. They're helpless to stop the torment in any other way except the final solution of suicide. Both Facebook and Twitter have Terms of Service that specifically say bullying is not allowed. Yet, when these bullies are brought to the attention of the powers that be, nothing is ever done. It's "Free Speech" and they won't suspend or revoke an account's privilege to post when the Constitution defends our Freedom of Speech. The tormentors are defended, the victims are not.

We are protected by the First Amendment, but are we protected against anything except government interference? Do we have the right to use speech to verbally abuse, harass and bully anyone we choose? I don't believe we do. There comes a point where we have to take responsibility for our actions. We can't pick up a gun or knife and shoot or stab someone without consequences. Why do we have the right to injure someone with words without consequences?

Sadly, until we resolve these issues, and honestly try to stop bullying, our kids will continue to take matters into their own hands and end their misery once and for all. As long as we stand silently by and not defend them, we are condoning their torment. We are almost as bad as the bullies.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Reality Check Just Bounced

For the past 10 years he's been taking care of first his Mother, and then his Aunt. He's done so without any help at all from his sisters. Both of them are living in another state. The Aunt is co-owner of the home they all live in BUT, there is a mortgage, paid by him. Remodeling the home to provide additional living space for himself and his wife required money that no one had sitting around in a bank someplace.

The client was able to purchase this home years ago when she moved here at the insistence of her sister. She'd lived in Florida in a modest home that she bought. She sold it and used the proceeds to purchase another modest home in a nice neighborhood here in Central New York. She had fallen, breaking her hip. Since she lived alone, there was no one to call an ambulance. It took her 12 hours to make her way to a phone to call for help. This wasn't acceptable to the sister living here and so she convinced her to move here so she could have someone to help her.

The house was purchased and the two of them lived there until the sister's health deteriorated enough to require someone else to help. There were more falls that broke more bones. And the nephew's Mother developed a heart condition which created more problems. This was when the home was remodeled so that the nephew and his wife could stay and take care of the two ladies. When his Mom was alive the caretaking mostly consisted of making sure they hadn't dropped a lit cigarette someplace where a fire started, and of course, putting out the fires that did start. One bedroom floor required replacing because of that.

In 2007, his Mother died following a heart attack. He promised her he'd take care of his aunt, and that's exactly what he's done. His Aunt, being who she is, has taken full advantage of that. She does nothing for herself that she can get someone else to do for her. Some of that is because of dementia, some of it is just her being willful. She's like a child who doesn't want to do anything except what she likes to do.

She doesn't like eating in a manner that would assist her diabetes to remain under control. She doesn't like taking all those medications for her various illnesses, like colitis, like high blood pressure, like emphysema and renal failure. Had it not been for her nephew's rather firm insistence, she wouldn't do anything except spend her days in front of the TV eating hamburgers and chocolate cake, pie, cookies, ice cream etc. She squirrels her meds in her cheek to be spit out at a later time, IF he'd let her get away with it. He insists that she open her mouth so he can check. She's the only person I know that can drink an entire bottle of water and not swallow a pill.

She developed a UTI. She tends to say she feels fine when she doesn't so, although we had a feeling something wasn't right, there were no symptoms he could call a doctor for. Until she became quite sick, requiring IV antibiotics. Unfortunately, left to her own devices, as hospitals have to do under state regulations, she refused to cooperate with the physical therapist and became so weak that she's in danger from any little infection. The doctor said she's in such bad shape a cold could do her in. So, despite her strenuous objections and those of her nephew, she's in a nursing home for rehabilitation.

One of her nieces spent a day here with her last year. The other one hasn't visited since their Mom died. However, now that Auntie is in a nursing home, even on a temporary basis, they are up in arms. They have informed their brother that they plan to sue him for "custody" of their Aunt. They don't seem to understand that their Aunt requires much more than they will be willing to do for her. They also don't know that Auntie gets care paid for by the state Medicaid system, which she gets because of that mortgage, which has placed her nephew's name on the deed for the house. There is no money in the bank, there is no house for them to sell. This was arranged by my client when she was still in possession of her mental faculties some 7 or 8 years ago.

The nephew has durable power of attorney and is her healthcare proxy. It was not his decision to place her, it was her doctor's decision. They refuse to listen to that, having it in their heads that they might miss out on an inheritance? I can't say that for sure, but from what I've seen, my client thought so. Which is why she made the decision to do what she did.

I've been in that home when he's asked her if she wants to spend some time with either of her nieces. Her answer has always been NO! She never says why because she isn't someone who will say less than flattering things about people. Her only response to his question has been to say that they won't take care of her. I can understand her reluctance because neither of them would take care of their own Mother when she needed help.

They left all the work to their brother, and seem to prefer to meddle in business that they aren't the least bit informed about. That isn't his decision either, since he ASKED them for help when he himself became overly stressed. They allowed her to spend 3 weeks in a nursing home for respite last year. They didn't bother about her then, even though that was a stay not ordered by her doctor. People just annoy me. If it weren't for my knowledge that having those two women take care of my client wouldn't be in her best interest, I'd say let them have her. This is, after all, the client I have that takes the phrase "having a shitty day" to a whole other level. I can't think of a nicer couple of women to wish that on.

In the meantime, I am on vacation. Which will last until the end of next week and then I'm back to working a whole 10 hours a week. I can't take new cases until we know where my client will end up since she's unwilling to be cared for by anyone else. Except her nephew, and he really does need help with her. I can pick up extra hours taking care of other aides clients while they're on vacation so I won't be entirely out of pocket. And it has been a long hot summer so far so the less I have to do, the better I like it.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Class Reunion

In 28 days our class reunion will be happening without me. I've never gone to one of those celebrations. Usually because there were other things I had to do on the weekend they took place. I worked 3 to 11 for a lot of years. First at a hospital and then, when I decided I didn't really like that kind of work, I worked at an answering service on that same shift. My work interfered for so long that I just never acquired the habit.

So, for 45 years I've been listed as Missing. Still am, which makes me somewhat amused. See, there are at least 5 members of my graduating class that see me regularly. One of them is a member of the Alumni Association. He knows my married name, and where I live. Yet, I am still listed as Missing.

The other 4 of my former classmates are like me, they haven't attended a reunion since we graduated either. We've never really discussed our reasons, I do know for one of the girls it is entirely because of being bullied. She was unfortunately born with a defect. Some of the fingers on one of her hands are missing. Plus she developed psoriasis on that hand. She always put a brave face on what would occur, but sometimes we'd find her in a bathroom stall crying as if her heart would break. I'm sure it did, more than once.

Some of the poorer kids would get picked on because they didn't have the best clothing, or weren't the best looking. Maybe they weren't the best in gym class either. Life was better if you could make the cheerleading squad. We weren't cheerleading material. I don't know why, but we were more interested in music, dancing and reading books.

Rather than school activities, we were volunteers for the Junior USO. With the exposure to the young adult males that we had the pleasure of spending time with at the USO dances, school kids seemed to be rather juvenile. We thought we were more adult than they were. In some ways we were, and in other ways we were forced to grow up a little faster than we should have. We were there when these 19 and 20 year olds went off to Viet Nam. It changes you to spend time with someone who is facing the unknown experience of war, and the possibility that they might not come back. Many of them didn't, too many.

I went to the website for my graduating class, planning on registering myself for the upcoming reunion. Before I did, I looked around at all the pages the website has. The "Gone but not Forgotten" page was quite a shock to me. Out of my class of close to 600 graduates, 66 of them have passed away. Some familiar faces that I expected to have the pleasure of seeing, won't be there.

 I know Al committed suicide, Mary and Brian died of brain cancer. Tom, Colleen, Keith, Elaine and Raylane were a shock to me, I don't know what took them. Whatever it was, I hope they didn't suffer. And, of course, my beautiful cousin Darlene. They would have been the only classmates I would have cared to see, and since they won't be there, neither will I. Despite being listed on the Missing page, I'm sure no one will really miss me. 

I also looked at the photos from the past 2 reunions and found myself saddened by them. There were well over 100 pictures and all of the graduates in these pictures were the jocks and the cheerleaders. Not one single picture of anyone other than the clique.

I guess some of us spend our lives growing and others reliving the past. I'm more interested in what lies ahead rather than what was behind. Who knows? There will be another reunion in 5 years. I might just go to that one. We'll see.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Seems Twitter Has A Use After All

Somewhere around 5:30 last night we lost our TV satellite signal entirely. Seemed odd to me because the breeze wasn't that strong and the sky was a very lovely cloudless blue. A conversation with the uncle of a friend who also owns his own satellite TV company had lead us to believe the problem with the interrupted signal was the trees surrounding our house. What he said made sense since it fit the scenario of what was happening. However, I'm not looking forward to the high price of "new" Time Warner cable installation.  I found out that the cost of a standard installation is around $300. What will it be if we have to have cable brought to our home?

There are days when Twitter is terribly annoying to me. Makes me wonder sometimes, why I even bother with it. Fortunately for me I have an account so I know that Dish Network has a customer service account, and I'm one to feel that when you venture nothing you gain nothing. I contacted them with my problem.

It took just a few short minutes and someone with the initials RG was speaking with me. I ran a signal strength and switch test. The switch test indicated that I had lost all contact with one of the satellites and the remaining satellite was at a signal strength of 25%. It didn't change when the wind wasn't blowing which is an indication that the problem may not be the trees.

My girlfriends Uncle installs both Dish and Direct TV. However, he SELLS DirectTV equipment which means he makes more money from them. What he does is tell potential customers that Dish has a satellite that is lower in the sky so trees can be a problem. DirectTV has a higher satellite so the trees aren't a problem. I wonder how many customers he took from Dish that way? He doesn't do that to people who've all ready signed up through the 800 number, just to those who might call him directly, and to people like me with problems. He couldn't sell a system to me because I don't like DirectTV. They get you with a great introductory price and then nail you with bills that aren't the same all the time. Need to really read the fine print when it comes to DirectTV. My eyes aren't that good.

I had called him because although he wasn't the one that serviced us when we moved, he sold us our system to start out with. That was 12 years ago. I wondered, back in 2007 why Dish sent someone out from Syracuse to reconnect me but I never thought it was because of things he does.  It never occurred to me, given the time he spent on the original installation, that he wouldn't give this problem his best shot. I am now in the uncomfortable situation of knowing he's a bit on the shady side and I'm a very good friend to his niece. I'm not going to say anything to her, it's not her problem.

For the whopping sum of $15, I will be getting a service man from Dish Network to re-point my dish on The 4th of July, since that was the first available date. I'm also getting a new receiver shipped. The problem may not be the trees, it may be the receiver. Which I wouldn't have found out if I hadn't ventured to speak with Dish Answers via Twitter.

I'll know after Wednesday, which is fine with us since we aren't doing anything this year except staying home in the air conditioning. It's going to be hot summer week and I'm on shorter hours due to a client in the hospital. If we do have to switch to cable I'm going to have to bite the bullet and do it. Hubby isn't happy without his TV and he's only been without since last night. He missed Ice Road Truckers. I'm sure the next few days are going to be interesting. We will survive.