Archive | March, 2015

Dumb and Dumber

30 Mar

Every year, my Lenten discipline is to try to be less judgmental, and then folks like this come along and simply blow me out of the water. Please remember, these people are elected officials.

These two clips are no longer available.

Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.


Disorganized Religion

30 Mar

Running late. If I don’t get this stuff on-line before 8:00, it shows up as the next day, but trust me, it’s Sunday. A very confusing Sunday.

Some time ago, the three local churches – Presbyterian, Roman, and Episcopal – had decided to have an ecumenical Palm Sunday “opening” at the Presbyterian church, since it is the most centrally located. Our services begin at 10:00, but the other two don’t start until 11:00, so this event was scheduled for 10:45, to give folks time to get back “home”.

The details were announced in church last Sunday, but folks forget, and a lot of people come to Palm Sunday and Easter who don’t normally attend every week, and even those who heard the announcement probably didn’t all remember it. There was a large write-up in the newsletter, but unfortunately, the rector did not get his article to me until Saturday morning. I had the thing on-line before noon, but that didn’t give the congregation time to “read, learn and inwardly digest” before they went to bed.

Palm Sunday

So we had some people coming in at 9:45 as usual, and none to happy about having to wait an hour, but willing to ride over to Good Shepherd to see how this was going to work. Considering that is was a bit nippier than expected for this time of year, and the service was outside, we had a fair turnout. (I’m the redhead in the alb, “straight down the middle”, and no, I did not plan it that way.) The three clergy read portions of the service, the Presbyterian minister, who has a fabulous voice, lead us in All Glory, Laud, and Honor, and we dispersed to our home parishes.

Because of the crowd, we had planned on two Chalicists, myself and the white haired gentleman standing next to me, but we discovered the Altar Guild had only put out one cup. Trying to do signals to get somebody to go to the sacristy, which is in the back of the church, to get the other chalice, short of waving our arms and yelling “yoo, hoo”, but finally Ken just backed off and let me do it by myself.  When the head of the Altar Guild came up for Communion she whispered to me, “Did you need something?” “Yes – another chalice.” “Oh. Well. Too late now.” Hmmm.

Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road

23 Mar

Or, worse, yet, a dead mouse someplace in the guest/sewing room.

He wasn’t there last night while I was working, but, boy, howdy! is he there today. About knock you over, and of course there are a gazillion places he could be.

The Squire and I did a bit of searching today, but we both had several other things we needed to do – fortunately out of the house – so tomorrow we will tear the place apart. Most of my costumes are in tubs with tight-fitting lids, but there are still oodles of disgusting places the rotten critter could have crawled into.

Wish us luck.

Old Bones

21 Mar

Wednesday morning I took my “grabber” when I went out to collect the recycling bin from the end of the drive, and picked up all of the beer cans, paper cups, and soda bottles from the ditch, along with a human ulna. From the size of it, I’d say it was from a child.

I brought it up to the house and wrapped it in a paper towel, intending to put it in my car and take it over to church, so Fr. Matthew could bury it in the cemetery. I put it on the shelf under the kitchen window, and didn’t get around to moving it, and now it is gone.

Back in the 20s, one of the local hospitals got rid of all of their medical specimens by taking them to the dump.  About thirty-five years ago, the State Highway Administration did some major repair work along our road, including replacing the culvert, and, unknowingly got their fill dirt from the same dump. From time to time, a bone will work its way to the surface, and The Squire or I will wrap it up for a proper burial.

The first time we found a bone – a stained and gnawed femur – I called the police. A young man had disappeared in our area and I thought maybe we had found one of his bones. The officer who came to the house told us that the young man had been found years ago, buried in a shallow grave in the State Park about a mile up the road, and then explained about the medical specimens.  He said bones turn up from time to time, and some people really panic over it. I suppose if what I had found was a mandible, rather than a femur, I’d have been a little less sanguine about it.

Anyway, I am really upset about some animal taking this arm bone. This was somebody and whoever it was, they deserved better, not only from the hospital, but from me.

Two Inches of Snow

20 Mar

1st day of springBut not to worry – it’s supposed to be in the 50s tomorrow.

Back to the Salt Mines

19 Mar

The Squire got home after dinner on Tuesday, and Wednesday morning the church secretary called, sounding very apologetic, to say she couldn’t get her computer tuned on and could he please come over and take a look at it.  While he did that, I got the count for the soup supper – 21 people – and decided I needed to take another look at my recipe, as I had only planned on cooking for 24.  No big deal. Crank the recipe up one more notch.

We went to breakfast at IHOP, and then to the store to pick up twelve pounds of squash and six  packages of cream cheese. I cut the squash in half, lay it cut side down on a rimmed cookie sheet, and bake it for about a half an hour. Once it has cooled, I just scrape out the meat and dump it in the pot. While it’s baking, I sauté the onions in butter, and pour in the water, spices and bouillon cubes. It really does look grody while it’s cooking, but a whirl in the blender with the cream cheese, and it looks like liquid gold.

My Butternut Squash soup is easily the most popular soup served during Lent. (Excuse me while I break my arm patting myself on the back.) One lady had already gotten ready for bed, and when she heard it was Butternut Squash night, she got dressed, and brought a container so she could take some home for her husband!

While we were eating, The Squire very casually remarked that, in addition to the “we don’t keep people in the hospital this long” remark, they had also told him his blood was so thick it was starting to clog his veins. He wouldn’t have lived the night if I hadn’t taken him to the hospital. Lovely. I don’t think I was supposed to hear that part of it!

We went to the Laundromat this morning, and I have spent the day playing put-and-take with the dryer. I will be so glad when I can hang the clothes on the line again!

Snow tomorrow, and in the mid-50s over the weekend.



He’s Home!

17 Mar

After an extremely long and frustrating day, The Squire is finally home.

Yesterday, he called me around 12:30 to say the nurse had told him the doctor would be in to see him in about 20 minutes, and they would discuss a possible discharge. It takes 15 minutes to get to the hospital, so I grabbed a bagel and drove his car down the road. (It is almost impossible for The Squire to fit into my Nissan; he has to ride in the KIA.) I arrived shortly before 1:00, bummed countless cups of coffee from the staff and got a bag of cheese crackers from the machine; that was my lunch. At 4:05 I slipped my purse over my shoulder and kissed him goodnight.

As I reached for the door the doctor walked in. We weren’t nasty, but we made it quite clear that this had been easily the longest 20 minutes on record. He did apologize, and said he’d had two admissions, ya-dah, ya-dah, but then told my husband that there were still some problems with his blood work and they wanted to do a stress test early this morning – NPO, of course.  “We’ll make as early as possible, so you’ll be back in your room for breakfast.


I had asked my girlfriend if she wanted to meet me at IKEA for breakfast at 9:30, and then I’d go over to the hospital and she could do some shopping. Well, she couldn’t make it, and it was all for the best. I moseyed around here, running the vacuum, dusting, etc. and call The Squire’s room several times, beginning around  11:00. By 1:00 I was absolutely frantic, and could not find a phone number for the hospital. is the most single useless piece of junk I have ever encountered. You look up one hospital and the first thing you get is a listing for another hospital entirely, and then two veterinarians, and finally six – six – listings for the hospital you want. Each one goes to a different department, but you don’t know it is until you call, and a sweet voice informs you that you have reached the Women’s Pavilion, Sport Medicine, Neuro and Pulmonology, and so forth. There was NO listing for the front desk.

Just as I was about to jump in the car and go down there, The Squire called from his room, sounding very, very tired. They had collected him at 11:00 (I probably just missed him) which doesn’t count as “first thing in the morning” in my book, and had brought him back up at 1:15. Because of his feet, he had to have a thallium stress test, which he passed with flying colors. Honestly, if I had gotten there at 10:30, fully expecting him to be back, when he hadn’t even left the room, there would have been Big Trouble. When I worked at Hopkins, thallium tests were very tightly scheduled; if you were told your test would be at 9:30, don’t show up at 9:32. They’d send you back home. I suppose in-patient testing is a little “looser” but it’s annoying to the patient and the family.

Anyway, two doctors came in around 3:30 and gave him the all-clear, and said he ought to have his discharge papers in hand by 5:00, so he called me to come get him. Yesterday we had discussed whether or not he would have been able to manage this at home, rather than my dragging him down to the ER. They both told him No. One doctor hung his elbow over the I.V. stand and said he didn’t think “you wife would be able to handle this” and the other looked up from a sheaf of papers  and told my husband his electrolytes would have never gotten back on track by themselves. “Believe me, we don’t keep patients in the hospital for five days if they could get well at home”.

So, we walked out a little after 5:00, and came straight home. The Squire wanted to work on his genealogy stuff, but gave that up after about ten minutes. Right now he is watching TV, and I fully expect to find him sound asleep when I go up.

Still Here – or There

15 Mar
     I came home last night, typed up my blog, fed all the critters, and fell into bed.  When I went upstairs, our bed was made, but the guest room bed was open, as that was where The Squire had started to sleep. I was too tired to turn down our bed, so just flopped there. Slept straight through until 8:30,  when both the cat and Blazer came in to inquire after my health, “and by the way, we’re starving”.
     I had every intention of going to early church, which starts at 8:00, so that took care of that. I ate some breakfast and ran a few errands, and went on down to the hospital. The Squire was drifting in and out of sleep, so I just sat and knitted, like Mme. What’s-her-name during the French Revolution.
     The doctors seem to be giving this everything they have. They are keeping The Squire hydrated, which is the big thing at this point, as he has had liquid diarrhea to go along with all the other stuff. Diarrhea alone can kill you, so that’s a big deal. When I was there last night, they had put a “pot” into the toilet, and the tech came in to get two different fecal specimens for testing. They have ruled out c. difficile (?) and food poisoning, which I had pretty much eliminated anyway, as we had both eaten the same thing for dinner. Other than Imodium, I.V. potassium, and the I.V. fluids, I don’t think they’ve given him any sort of medicine. He has, at least stopped vomiting, which is a big help. They say his blood is “compacted” – too thick from all the loss of fluids.  His blood chemistry is all out of whack, and the staff is just trying to keep ahead of the symptoms.  Every once in a while he will get a searing headache and spike a fever, which nobody has been able to explain.  I did ask for the doctor to call me, as a) my husband is hard of hearing, b) he is so sleep deprived he admits he doesn’t always know – or remember -what he’s told, and c) I have a medical background and can get a better handle on what’s being said.
     He had gone to his urologist on Wednesday and that doctor had told him the blood tests showed his blood was “too thick” and recommended he see our GP about it. We think this crud was already working on him then, although he doesn’t remember any symptoms.
     Everybody has been wonderful.  The I.V. technician came by to make some changes to his line, and I told her he had just drifted off to sleep. “No problem. I’ll come back later.” I know the woman had five patients to see just on this floor, so that was really kind of her.
     At the moment, The Squire understands that there is a good chance they may release him tomorrow after lunch. He did have chicken parmesan and peach cobbler for supper – the first solid meal he’s had since Friday lunch. He wanted to walk around the unit for a bit, so I helped him get a gown on to cover his back, and then he brushed his teeth. By then he was exhausted, so he never did get his walk.
     We only have one bathroom, and that is on the ground floor, so I will open the sofa bed so he can sleep downstairs.

Never Get Sick on a Weekend

14 Mar

Friday night (was it only last night?) The Squire began complaining of severe stomach pains and burping almost immediately after dinner. This went on for a while, so he took some Tums and said he would sleep in the guest room, in case what he had was some sort of flu.  I take an anticonvulsant for my Restless Leg Syndrome, and it just plain knocks me out; I left the door open, so if he called out in the night, I would hear him.  About 11:00, he woke me up, banging on the bathroom wall.

I raced downstairs to find him standing over a toilet bowl full of blood.

While he pulled on some sweatpants I grabbed the clothes I had just taken off, and we left for the hospital. I hadn’t taken time to find my glasses, I was for all intents and purposes, on dope, and it was rainy and foggy.  God really does take care of drunks and fools. We got to the emergency room around 11:30 and I hung around until around half-past 2:00; the nurse told me he’d be several more hours and they would call me. It was 2:44 when I got into my car and the clock was just striking 3:00 when I came in the door. I think I was in bed by 3:05.

So – The Squire was admitted this morning, and they still don’t know what’s wrong with him. They have ruled out pyloric stenosis (rare in adults, but not unheard of), gall bladder, and a bowel blockage. The blood was because he had vomited so much he’d given himself a nose bleed.  Fr. Matthew stopped by, and I took down some things I thought he might want or need – a book of crossword puzzles, fresh pencils and erasers, his glasses. He said Blazer was quite concerned last night, whining and putting his paw on his leg, with long, serious looks into his face. “Anything I can do for you, boss?”

The staff at Franklin Square has just been wonderful. Can’t do enough for you, bringing me coffee, and asking if I wanted a meal from the cafeteria. All of the rooms are private, because of the Patient Privacy Act (Thank you, President Obama!) and visiting hours are 24/7. There is a recliner and a pull out couch in every room, and no charge if you want to stay the night.

Anyway, we hope to get a diagnosis tomorrow, and then we shall see if this little jaunt is going to involve surgery, or just lots of fluids and bed rest.

Of Hard Drives and Furnaces

11 Mar

The Squire found his missing hard drives late Monday.

I was sitting on the sofa reading, and he came into the living room for a kiss. When he bent over, he discovered the cases sitting on the floor, under the end table – in more or less plain sight. Well, at least one can assume it wasn’t a place a thief would think to look.

We went to see our financial advisor yesterday (which is not quite as impressive as it sounds) and got to talking about misplacing things, and stuff piling up when you’re not paying attention. I remarked that from time to time I have to watch a rerun of Hoarders just to get motivated. Bill laughed and said his dad could have outdone them all; his father was a hoarder to end all hoarders. The house was so cluttered with stacks of papers and other junk that there were only narrow, unstable, paths to get from room to room. Many years ago, the furnace had gone up, and his dad had ordered a new one, which the men were unable to get into the basement, so they left it in the dining room.  Now old furnaces were big – maybe five or six feet long, by four feet high – and this thing sat in the dining room, taking up most of the space.

At some point, his dad was taken ill and spent some time in the hospital, so Bill and his siblings decided to clean the house. He said they actually had a celebration when they found the dining room table. (Sounds like my mom’s apartment, doesn’t it?) Imagine their astonishment when they uncovered the furnace! Here is this huge, hulking monster, so completely covered with junk nobody even knew it was there.

Bill said they were all very pleased with what they had accomplished, but their father never forgave them, and groused about it until the day he died. At least my mom was so foggy she didn’t even realize we’d cleaned up.  I wonder how long it took Bill’s dad to get the house in a mess again? My mother had her apartment “re-junked” in about a month.