When last I saw her ....

The last time I saw Velma was at Andi and Stu's wedding. She and Soren were sitting at one of the tables, quietly talking. On slightly drunken impulse, I sat down across from them. We'd had a falling out the previous year. I still hoped for reconciliation but that hadn't happened. They greeted me politely then ignored me equally politely.

I knew I should move on but for a few minutes I allowed myself the pleasure of just plain watching them. Watching them smile at each other. Watching them talk. So beautiful. Both of them, together.

I'm enormously sad that I will never see Velma again, but I might be more sad that I won't see Velma and Soren together again.

Skippy is a goner

Sigh. My beloved cat's kidney disease has progressed to the point that it is time to let him go. I took him home from the vet but will bring him back Saturday for the final shots.

Skippy has been such a good friend to me.


Money Matters

I kinda sorta feel like my finances are under control, which is an immense relief. Last summer things were looking so grim that I had a nightmare about money, which I can't recall having done before. With big help from friends, I made some un-fun changes of direction. Now, I have enough coming in.

Just got another big help from a friend -- I still owe money to two people, one of them got a windfall, and she choose to share some of it with me by forgiving my loan. She says I squeaked. Her name is no secret but I hate to create additional links for people, so I will just say for now that my next door neighbor is wonderful. <3 <3

I started being able to pay back on debts the first of this year. Damn, did that feel good! I'm too much a numbers person to rest easy with negative cash flow. Now, I'm working mildly hard for peanuts per hour, but I can rationally envision a roof over my head in the future.

Next, I want a roof with solar collectors and maybe a wind turbine!

Long Plans

It's not unrealistic to think I might live to be 100. It's also not unrealistic to think I might be noticeably demented by 90. Many of my thoughts about what to do now concerning those distant possibilities revolve around my house. I want it to provide me with income, I want it to be as self-sufficient and low-maintenance as possible, and I also want it to be safe for someone with serious physical or mental limitations.

It gives me a giggle to realize this last item means an internal surveillance system that would embarrass the NSA. (Kate suggested last night that maybe I could get them to install one.) Motion sensors everywhere, gait recognition and analysis, body temperature, respiration, analysis of toilet contents, and ... you get the drift. Proper use of that data could add years to the lives of anyone living there, but some of you probably shudder to think of having your home watch you so closely.

Well, right now I need to get the roof repaired. That leak isn't huge, but they never get smaller with time!
  • Current Mood
    cheerful cheerful

House Plans

I want my home to be accessible and self-sufficient for energy. Full compliance with ADA standards would probably require a tear down and rebuild. However, I could put in a lift that would get a wheelchair from sidewalk level to my front door for about $10k and a lot of work of my part. Energy self-sufficiency also isn't fully feasible (we need better storage technology), but again I could go a long way on another $10k and more work.

I might be in position to start one of those projects in 2015, and now might be a good time to sign up for some classes at the Phinney Ridge Home Center. Been wanting to do that -- I can do most basic repairs but my skills are no good for building.

I finally got work space set up for myself in the basement again. Almost a year ago, I was trying to build a gadget that could make old milk bottles into plastic filament for a 3D printer. Got derailed from that by medical stuff and then big changes in my household. I've laid out the pieces I had made or acquired, and it looks like I only need to order about four more items.

The next steps require soldering and I'm not very good at that. I just got out my iron and some junk for practicing. By the time the burns heal, the additional stuff I need to order may have arrived. If I haven't soldered in a while, I always need an aversive conditioning refresher on why you don't hold it like a pencil!

Are my settings wrong?

If someone posts a comment into a friend's entry, I would like to see that entry show up high on my friend's page the next time I check in. Is there a way to make that happen? Right now, it seems I must check friend journal pages individually if I want to follow a conversation about an entry. It also seems I am too darned lazy to do that!

The Rhythm of My Days

My daily life is sure a lot different than it was a year ago. I'm a housewife! Caring for Phyllis and feeding two teenage boys means a near-endless routine of cleaning, shopping, and cooking. Most women my age have had at least one stretch of doing this sort of work for a household, but this is the first time that my primary life duties are so home-oriented.

This is lots more regular physical labor than I have done in decades. I thank my still-healthy back several times a day and almost never skimp on my exercises. The total daily work load isn't huge but when I had two weeks of feeling lousy, I did get behind on chores.

On the good side, my stress levels are tons lower than last year. My income from rent is five times what it was. I've paid off Group Health for the cancer surgeries, zero-balanced my credit card, and started paying off the friends who loaned me money when I was foundering. Went on a small shopping spree and bought ten used paperbacks at a thrift store. LOL!

I'm thinking I may be able to buy myself a 3D printer kit for my birthday next month. There's company in Spokane with a very good reputation for customer support that offers a Prusa Mendel reprap kit for $799. Putting it together would be a lot of work and I'm not sure my soldering skills are up to the job. So, I hesitate about whether this would just turn into a folly that clutters my work area for the next year and never works. Makerbot offers a smaller printer that is fully assembled for $399. Maybe that would be more sensible, but it would also teach me less and it would be difficult to modify.

Meanwhile, spring is starting to sprung! I've got a crocus or two in bloom and several groups of daffodils poking their heads up. Time to set up my grow lights so I can start seedlings. I do love watching the little guys grow.
  • Current Mood
    cheerful cheerful

New Year Thoughts

I don't make New Year's resolutions but I do tend to think about the shape of my life. What have I been doing? Where am I going? Where do I want to go?

The first half of last year was dominated by cancer and money problems. The cancer was a slog and painful, but the news got better at every step and now it seems to be gone. The money issues were much worse. Partly due to the cancer, my finances were out of control and getting worse all the time. I had a nightmare about money worries, which I can't recall ever having done before. One day I realized that I had just spent several hours sitting in a chair, staring at my hands, and feeling so shut down I couldn't move. EEK! Depressive sliding! I put out a call to several friends who helped me immeasurably. I finally bit the bullet on a solution to the money problem that was very painful personally.

My life changed a lot and got harder in some ways but my mood and energy climbed steeply when I could see a future that didn't look like bankruptcy. I worked my little tushie off on the house to make space for new renters. I now have two Vietnamese high school students and my very demented 91 year old mother living with me. None of them pay as much rent as I might be able to get in this neighborhood, and cooking dinner every night has gotten old fast, but I have achieved positive cash flow plus I find my household interesting and satisfying.

Caregiving occupies a lot of my time and my mental space. As dementia patients go, Phyllis is pretty easy. She's mostly calm, doesn't have complicated medical problems, and doesn't wander. However, she can't do much of anything for herself. She can't even tell me clearly what she wants or needs. My daily do list is long and I'm embarrassed by how often I end the day with, "Aw, hell -- I forgot to do X!" "X" is usually not terribly important but X*3 can induce guilt attacks.

What I think about is this: My generation of boomers is already hitting the nursing homes, and we're going to wind up warehoused if the nitty-gritty of caregiving can't be made a whole lot easier. I think technology exists that could vastly improve the lives of those who give care as well as those who need it.

For example, I'm just about sure I could rig up something that would alert me when Phyllis ... has certain biological events. I wouldn't care if it had a high false positive rate. Cleanup is much easier when done promptly. Of course, even better would be a device that did the cleanup without me, but I don't think that's feasible yet! An alert would be a worthwhile improvement in both of our lives. Besides, I really want to take an Arduino class....
  • Current Mood
    cheerful cheerful