Wednesday, June 21, 2017

June 21, 2015: Woo hoo I won!

Me vs Medicare

I don't think the office workers at my surgeon's office ever gave him my message.  I never did receive a call back and neither did the social worker at the home.

I had an appointment on Monday the 19th with Dr Barney, one of the trauma surgeons who worked on me when I was brought to Legacy Emanuel Hospital.

She examined me and I told her about the problems with Dr Vande Zanschulp's staff.  She said she felt comfortable recommending that I stay in the staffed nursing facility until my surgeon said I was ready to be discharged.  She suggested that I make an appointment with Dr Vande Zanschulp  for re-evaluation next week.

When I got back to the home I gave the doctor's handwritten progress notes to Emily, the social worker.  She had received the typed progress notes from this doctor before I even arrived back at the home.  She faxed the letter to insurance.  I asked her to make my follow up appointment with the surgeon.

As of today neither Emily nor I have heard back from Dr Vande Zanschulp's office. They really do their jobs poorly at this office.  I have an appointment in July and I'll be sure to inform him.

Yesterday afternoon I received a call from the company reviewing my appeal and they said that they agreed with Medicare's decision and denied my appeal.  I was not surprised.

Then a couple of hours later Emily brought over a letter she received via fax from Aetna that approved my stay for 3 more days.  That means 6 more physical and occupational therapy!  Yay!  Therapy is the only way that I'll get better.

I don't know what happens after I leave.  No one has informed me.  Hopefully I will get home health care and some home therapy.    Therapy won't be twice a day like in the home unfortunately.  I will have to figure out some safe exercises on my own.

Yesterday afternoon my rollator (4 wheeled walker) was delivered.  I've been working on going up and down ramps and curbs with it.  The curbs are especially scary.  Tomorrow I am supposed to work on going up and down stairs using only one handrail.  That was hard for me before with my bad knee.  I hope I can do it now with two bad legs.

Monday, June 19, 2017

June 19, 2017: just kvetching

This morning I called Dr Vande Zanschulbe (my surgeon) one more time.  I had already left several messages and received no reply after I heard that Aetna was booting me out of the "home." Today at noon was the deadline to appeal that decision.
I finally got a live person at the doctor's at 10 AM.  I told her my problem and she gave me his assistant, Brittany's voicemail.  At 11 AM I called again and said it was an emergency.  Brittany spoke to me for a few minutes.  Then Monica gets on and explains about insurance and therapy, etc, etc.  She must have repeated herself 10 times.  She told me that I just did not understand.  Finally I told her to please listen to me.  I was not asking for their office to get involved with Aetna.  All I wanted was the doctor to write in his progress notes what he told me during my appointment.  He told me that I needed one to two months more of supervised care.  She started up again with her same spiel about insurance.  I told her that his note was all I wanted from her, nothing more.

Monica then told me that such a note was impossible because there wasn't enough time.  I told her if someone had called me back when I started leaving messages that there would have been plenty of time.  Then she lied to me.  I just HATE being lied to.  She said that if the doctor did write a note that it would have to be transcribed, typed up and submitted and it would take a couple of weeks.  I then told her that I was holding in my hand the progress notes that he wrote during my appointment.  They were handwritten by the doctor.  Unfortunately,  I didn't know that his progress notes were in the envelope I was given as I left.

That office never did supply the progress notes, not to me and not to my case manager.  Maybe they never even mentioned my request to the doctor.  I did not receive a phone call from them.

I  realize that the odds of my appeal to Medicare only has a 10% chance of succeeding.  But without the doctor's input my odds are even lower.

Emily, the social worker at the home, told me that I could call in my appeal and that she would have until 5 PM to fax in the accompanying paperwork.  So, I called the case reviewer employed by Medicare and said I was worried about going to an apartment that hadn't been set up and was full of boxes.  I also told her that I live alone.

I just happened to have an appointment with a trauma doctor this afternoon.  I told her about my problem.  She wrote in her notes that I should stay in the "home" until the surgeon reevaluated me.  She told me to make an appointment with him for next week.  She typed up the notes herself and her office faxed it to Emily.

Maybe my appeal has a chance.  I want to stay here where I get physical and occupational therapy every day.  If I go back to my apartment, maybe I'll be allowed to have a therapist come into my home for an hour or two per week.

If I go to my apartment I will be alone most of the time.  I won't be able to take a shower because there is only a tub in the apartment.  If I fall while using a regular toilet, there will be no one to hear my screams, no call button to push, no person checking on me periodically.

Yes, I'm scared to return to an apartment that I've only spent 3 nights in.  I'm returning with a major trauma to my right hip in addition to my handicapped left leg.

It makes sense to let me get stronger in a controlled environment for at least a few more days.  I work hard at therapy.  The therapists' records of my progress can prove that.

If my efforts don't work and I'm sent home, so be it.

June 18, 2017: The Denizens of the "Home"

The first week that I was here in the home I could not get into a wheelchair.  The activity calendar listed most of the activities as being in the rotunda.  I couldn't wait to get out there.

The rotunda is actually small and is the hub of the 5 hallways here.  It is round but calling it a rotunda is a bit of a stretch.

There are several patients who hang out at the rotunda.  The nurses must take them there hoping that they will socialize a little bit.  These people are pretty out of touch with reality.  Mostly they hang down their heads and nap.  One dude sits there calling out "Can I talk to you?  Excuse me..."  He is trying to get one of the workers to talk to him.  He then asks them things like "when's lunch,"  "what time is it" etc.  At least he interacts.

I have to go through the rotunda to get to the therapy room and dining room.  One day while I was in therapy a woman (Liz) came in looking for someone to draw her a salmon.  I volunteered and now she and I hang out together - have lunch together in the dining room, play bingo.  It's nice to have a friend here.  She's getting the boot on Wednesday also.  Medicaid is sending her to a less expensive facility.  She had heart surgery and also has a broken back.  I hope her next place treats her well.

Liz seems to know everyone here.  She even talks to the patients who don't seem to be lucid.  But they are happy to get some attention.  I try and be pleasant to everyone but I'm not as patient as Liz.

There is a lady at the end of my hallway who must live here full time.  Her room is very decorated.  She even has her Christmas tree up in there.  She can't seem to figure out how to use her call light.  So, she just hollers out - "I want my light off,"  "Please turn on my TV."  She has a loud gravelly voice.  The staff are very patient with her.  I've heard them repeatedly explaining the call button to her.

I spoke to  her one day and she told me she had a boyfriend.  The next night the 2 of them were having dinner together.  He sits with his head hanging low.  He raises it to yell out answers to her questions.  He looks terrible - skinny and decrepit.  I overheard her tell him that she couldn't keep her eyes off him.  Oh my!  Another time, in his very loud voice, he started talking about his penis.  It must be true what I've heard about nursing homes.  It's full of sex maniacs.

I truly hope I die before I get as demented as those 2 lovebirds.

I suggested to the activity director that we have a lucidity club.  We could get together and play games or just talk.  She said that she's tried that in the past but didn't get much of a positive response.  Most of the lucid people have their meals in their rooms and stay to themselves.  I think it's because of the stigma associated with being a patient in a nursing home.

It's too bad.  I think getting together would lift everyone's spirits and help pass the time.

Another woman, C, used to walk around all the halls with a big smile on her face.  She thought she lived here permanently.  But, she found out that she has to leave on Wednesday also.  Now she is so worried.  She says her kids treat her like she is crazy.  She has told me how she is worried about her dog several times now.  I closed my door to keep her out.  But she came in anyway and started up on her dog worries again.  She needs some reassurance from her grown children.  I don't think she is getting it.

Liz and I now eat dinner with a pleasant guy in a big neck brace.  He had to have some of his vertebrae fused in his neck.  He has a hard time swallowing.  He had a couple of surgeries and they left him weak.  He has to wait for someone to push his wheelchair back to his room.

The dining room was very depressing until I started eating with Liz.  The patients who need lots of help are gathered there.  Some need to be spoon fed, some refuse to eat, some keep trying to get up out of their wheelchairs.  It's unfortunate that the lucid people don't get together for meals.

I wanted to write about the patients before I leave here and the memories fade.  I hope I stay lucid when I have to be a permanent nursing home resident.  The confused patients seems so worried and unhappy.  The future is scary.  I think we should be able to make a legal document in which we can ask for an easy death before our dementia becomes too bad.  It's crazy how our society doesn't let us at least choose when we die.  There will soon be so many baby boomers with dementia.  It will be hard to give all of us the necessary care.  If some of us would like to leave this world, I think we should be able.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

June 18, 2017: Genghis Khan

My son, Andy says that I was Genghis Khan in my last life.  So, I have to atone for all of Khan's (mine) brutality by suffering in this life.  That makes as much sense as any other theory.  I've certainly have had more than my fair share.

Andy came in Friday afternoon to visit me from Houston.  He said I looked better than he thought I would after being hit by a bus.  He took the redeye flight.  He stayed just for a short time on Friday and then went to Kevin's for the night.  Kenny and Miho love to play with their uncle.

We tried to go look at a respite care place yesterday but I entered the wrong address in GPS.  We ended up at a Home Depot.

I'd love to go to respite after the "home."  My surgeon told me at my appointment on Monday that I need one to two months more care in a facility.  But he failed to write it in his progress notes.  I tried leaving messages at his office.  I have until Monday at noon to file a protest with my insurance company.  There is little hope for a positive outcome without his notes.

The supreme ruler of my health care, the insurance company, has decreed that I am well enough to go home on Wednesday.  Plus, I walk too far with a walker so Medicare won't provide me with a wheelchair.  I'm not allowed to walk alone with a walker in the "home".  Obviously, that means by Wednesday I miraculously will no longer need a wheelchair.

Yes, I'm angry and upset.  Two days ago I was crying and depressed.  Angry is a big improvement.  I'm scared to be left alone in my apartment.  I'll deal with it - what other choice do I have.

Andy and I were going to go to the movies and just have fun yesterday.  But I wanted to check out my apartment first.  I was able to get in just a few feet.  The apartment is FULL of boxes.  Every room has boxes everywhere.  I rented a two bedroom apartment and I thought all of my boxes would fit in there.  The second bedroom is piled to the ceiling with boxes.  Plus, my dresser is in there because it wouldn't fit in the other bedroom with a bed in it.  And, I only brought a twin sized bed.  Obviously,  I have problems understanding how an apartment can be SO small.

I will need to get rid of tons more stuff.  I already donated over half of my house' belongings.  My house didn't look overly full.  My apartment should be featured on that hoarder's program.

My lawyer told me to hire unpackers.  No way.  First I need to be able to at least get to the bedroom and bathroom.  Andy worked on my apartment Sunday until he had to leave.  He said that it's neater and that I should be able to get around a bit better when I return.

I didn't mean to blog all these current problems but I'm all upset again.  I'll have to write another post later.  I actually have been busy.  I don't like to blog when I'm depressed.  When I'm not depressed I roll around in my chair visiting the other inmates.  I have to enjoy being with people while I can.  I'll be stuck alone 90% of the time in my apartment when I leave here.

Monday, June 12, 2017


Today I had my follow up appointment with the surgeon.  I guess I've been in denial about my injury. It is really, really bad.  I have a metal rod all the way down my thigh with a nail into my hip.  I snapped a photo of my x-ray today.
So now I'm really feeling down in the dumps.  I should have known it was this bad.  After all I was hit by a huge bus.  These buses in Portland have been known to kill people.  I'm suffering but I'm alive.

Here I am living in a city where pedestrians have the right of way.  If you see a person at a crosswalk, it's mandatory that the cars stop.  Who would have thought that the city buses are exempt from this law?  My bus didn't even stop for a stop sign.

I'll be in the "home" for a few more weeks.  I'm not sure what I should do about the apartment I'm renting.  I guess I'll get a moving company to put everything in a storage unit.  I'll have to fight the apartment management to not make me pay a penalty for getting out of my lease early.  I've spent only 3 nights in the apartment.  My poor kitty cat is in there all alone amidst piles of unopened boxes.  No one has seen her.  Tomoko goes every other day to feed her.  So we know Stella is alive and eating.  She must be so scared and lonely there.

My Sweetsie is okay living with Kevin but she's not all that happy.  The kids chase her around and their big shepherd dominates her.

I feel like I abandoned my babies (pets).  It makes me so sad.  I'm responsible for them and I can't take care of them.

I'll get past this.  I'm working as hard as I can at physical and occupational therapy.  Eventually I will graduate from the wheelchair.  I can already walk a short distance with a walker.

Wouldn't it be lovely if life were fair?  I've already had more than my fair share of horrible crap happen to me.  The rest of my life should be a breeze.  No more pain, no worry of dementia would be my future in a equitable world.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

June 8 2017

I finished with my therapies by 11 AM today. 11 is really early since I'm scheduled for 85 minutes/day.
So, now I'm bored.
They are now letting me have ibuprofen and I'm feeling better.  It's funny that feeling better leads to boredom.  I have my computer, kindle and TV for entertainment.  I had hoped to be exploring Portland during June, not recuperating.

I laid down from 11-12:30.  My butt hurt so bad from the lumpy mattress that I got into my wheelchair.  I sat outside for awhile. Now I'm in the dining room waiting for bingo to start.  I hope it's not too too lame.

Bingo was okay. Play is slow for the more handicapped people.

I've engaged a lawyer to help me with the bus company responsible for my injury.  She has a good reputation.  It's an Oregon law that cases do not drag on for years.

This is the third time that my life was changed in an instant.  In 1969 a car rammed my car into a tree.  I lost my kneecap causing a permanent injury.  At the time of the accident I was midway in my second year in college.  I had to miss 2 semesters to recuperate.

In 2010 my husband and best friend fell injuring his spinal cord and became quadriplegic.  My life as I had known it ended.  For months I took care of him and my elderly mother.  Besides the amount of work I also was suffering from a kind of post traumatic stress disorder.  Visiting TIRR, the specialty hospital for spinal cord injuries, exposed me to so much pain and suffering.  Young wives would be pushing baby carriages next to their husbands in wheelchairs.  There were  people suffering brain injuries screaming and crying.  Then, of course, I had to learn how to take care of my permanently paralyzed husband. (It turned out that he also had a brain injury.  Subsequently, he decided he never loved me and we were divorced.)

Now it's 2017.  I worked so so hard to move to Portland.  I had to sort all my possessions.  Pack up what I could and sell my house.  I arrived in Portland on May 19, 2017 ready to make a new life for myself.  3 days later I was walking my dog and was hit by a city bus.  My hip was broken, suffered a concussion and many cuts and bruises.  I had emergency surgery and stayed at a trauma hospital for 4 days.  Now I'm in my third week at a skilled nursing facility.  I am thrilled that I did not suffer a brain or spinal cord injury.  Nonetheless, my life has been changed and set on a different course.

I now have a permanently injured right hip.  I'm learning how to walk with a walker.  I'm using some of the same equipment here that was used at TIRR.  I'm surrounded by injured people.  It's very difficult for me.  I can't help but relive some of the memories of the pain I suffered during my husband's stay at TIRR.

I am working hard at rehab.  It hurts- a lot.  But, that's the only way that I can recuperate.  I don't know how much of a disability this injury will cause me.

This is definitely not how I imagined my life would be like in Portland.  The injury will make my transition so much more difficult.  I can't go out and explore the city.  I'm lucky that I can use the walker to make it down the hall.

Maybe this will be the last major life altering incident that will happen to me.  But, then again, maybe not.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

June 6 2017: Service animal day

This morning 2 cute miniature horses visited the "home."  I'd never been up close to one before.

I've been using my kindle for blogging but now I'm using my computer for this post so I'm going to add all the photos I have taken so far after the bus hit me.

2017-06-05 on the back patio of the "home"
Eating a macaroon - gift from Ian Lowrie, anthropology grad student
               The food at the home is pretty good.  It seems like it always time for another meal.
Chicken and cranberry salad

Salmon & asparagus dinner

Menu from one day

My scalp was closed up with 10 staples.

Sweetsie came to visit me in the home./ Flower arrangement gift from the anthropology department
strapped onto a gurney for transport

Becoming aware that I'm in a hospital

The detective in charge of the bus accident

June 6 2017

I'm still at the rehab center, Marquis Vermont Hills. It's a pleasant enough place. Yesterday I ate lunch in the dining room.  That was a bit of a downer.  The people who need lots of help are taken there.

They are the stroke victims, those with dementia, etc.  Many need assistance feeding themselves.   They don't interact, each one is self absorbed.  It is scary to think of being like that someday.  It certainly would not be my choice.  But, being here with a broken hip was not my choice either, just crummy luck.

I'm going to suggest that there be some kind of gathering of the more " normal" people.  I think these people tend to stay in their rooms away from those more handicapped.  We could play cards or something.

I went to the back patio in the wheelchair yesterday. It's a large area anchored by big pine trees. No one else was out there.  Today I'm going to bring along crackers and try to entice some birds.

I didn't have pt and ot until late afternoon yesterday. I had been sitting up since 10 am.  By 6 pm I was utterly exhausted.  I had a light dinner and fell asleep.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

June 4 2017

Yay!  I can get out of my room now.  As long as I stay regular with my pain meds I'm able to sit in a wheelchair and roll around the building. Plus, it keeps me awake.

I enjoy talking to the other "inmates.". Some have been here for months.  Everybody is kind of lonely and bored.  So I'm not just entertaining myself, I feel like I'm helping other people.

My bout of depression is lifting.  I feel perky and happy to have survived.  It's like having a heavy rock lifted off my chest.

Before this accident I had big dreams of travelling.  I still want to but my priorities have changed.  I think I can go forward satisfied with being with family and just being independent enough to shop and do light exploring on my own.  Though I still would love to go on a world cruise and see the sights from the deck of a cruise ship.  I could do this despite being handicapped.  Now i just need to figure out how to pay for it.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

June 3 2017

Two weeks ago I was having a great time with my family.  We met up at the food truck park on N Lombard St.  I even walked most of the way.

I'll be walking again eventually.  But it won't be the same.  Another memory will always cloud the activity.  I used to just fear falling so I walked slowly and sometimes used a cane. A cane won't stop a bus. I already looked carefully when the bus hit me.  I guess I'll just look around even more carefully from now on.

Yesterday was an okay day.  It was the first time that I dressed in regular clothes.  I fell asleep around 8 pm but woke up at 3 am with restless legs.  It's a horrible feeling.

Today I escaped my little room in a wheelchair.  I rolled down the hall to a window.  This place is located in a nice area. I saw 2 pretty birds.  One was a jay with a light blue body and dark blue head. The other was blue and white.  It didn't have a crest like a jay.  A good sighting in just a few minutes. Then I had a nice conversation with the patient across the hall.  Hopefully I'll make it to the patio tomorrow.  It hurts to be in a sitting position- too much weight on my broken hip.

This rehab center is quite pleasant for what it is.  I haven't run across an unhappy employee.  Call bells are answered quickly and with a smile.  Meals are mostly good.  I have a private room overlooking lush grass and pine trees.  I hope I will be able to stay here long enough to recover adequately.

I'm afraid that when I'm released I'll be stuck inside my apartment for months.  It will work only if Kevin will keep Sweetsie.  I miss my puppy but I won't be able to take care of her for a while.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

June 1 2017: where I am now

I'm in the correct city, but definitely not the right place.

It was a beautiful day today - in the 60's and mostly sunny.  I can't walk as far as the patio yet.  Maybe I'll get a wheelchair tomorrow.  But I did have the window open in my room.

I had lots of energy this morning after I recovered from the mandatory suppository episode.  I walked and tried out some wheelchairs.

I had to nap after lunch.  Recuperating is really hard work.  I've been down this road several times already.  My physical and occupational therapists are impressed with my progress.

I'm disgusted with this whole episode in my life.  But, I'll just keep on trucking.  No other acceptable choice.

I'm lucky to be the receiver of this crappy luck and not any of my loved ones.  Even my sweet doggy came out of the bus accident unscathed.

When I had my knee replacement, my loving husband stayed by my side. Later he took care of me at home.  I miss having a partner but at least I experienced one for a few years.

I miss having my mom keeping me company.

Luckily I have 2 devoted sons, a loving daughter in law and 2 sweet grandchildren.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May 31 2017

The nurse in charge of my care estimates that I'll be here for at least 2 more weeks.  Sigh!
I only had a total of 30 minutes of pt yesterday. I'm going to see if I can get more. I want to get better.

I woke up in lots of pain this morning. I thought I was getting better.  I am but it will be a slower process than I hoped for.  I asked for pain med and am perking up now.  Pain wears you out.

It's nice here but boring. I'm trying to get a wheelchair so I can at least leave my little room.
Sitting in a chair hurts after just a few minutes.
I'm getting cabin fever so even a few minutes outside will be helpful.
They are supposed to have some activities. That will be an improvement, too.

I'm reading books. I can watch whatever I want on TV.  I really shouldn't complain. After all I survived a close encounter with a big bus.

I am tired of having such bad luck. I should buy some lotto tickets to see if I can change my karma.

Enough is enough already!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

May 30 2017: life goes on

I stayed at the legacy Emmanuel hospital until Friday, the 26th.  My stay there is just a mangle of snippets of memories.  I must have been heavily medicated.  The surgeon bounced in and out of my room. I'd like to know more about my surgery. I have a follow up appointment with him in a couple weeks. I'll make him talk to me then.
I was moved to a skilled nursing center, Marquis Vermont hills.  My pt and ot is off to a slow start because of the holiday weekend.
The workers here have all been pleasant. They answer the call button quickly.
Yesterday I had my ten scalp staples out.
My head is much more comfortable on the pillow now. When Kevin brings in my laptop I'll be able to add photos to my blog.
My only complaint is the wrinkles in the mattress.  When you're stuck on your back in bed every little bump feels like a rock. Relief only comes when I get up to use my port-o-can (bedside commode).

Monday, May 29, 2017

May 29.2017

I moved into my apartment on May 19. On the evening of the 22nd I went for a walk before bed with Sweetsie.
It was going to be just for a few minutes so I didn't take my phone. I was crossing a street to get back home. There was no traffic. I remember a bus suddenly coming up behind me. It probably ran the stop sign.  It hit me knocking me down and breaking my right hip. i passed out.
My next memory was screaming in pain and surrounded by people.
Then the ambulance ride and the ER at the Legacy Emmanuel hospital.
The police came and I told them my son's address. They pounded on his door and woke him up. They left Sweetsie with Tomoko. Kevin came to see me in the hospital.
It is tedious writing this on a kindle. I will post more later.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Day 5: We reach Oregon!

In the morning we had breakfast at the Black Bear Diner in a town just outside of Salt Lake City.

We drove all the way across Utah.
Then we drove across Idaho.
We stopped at Eden, Idaho for lunch at the Garden of Eden truck stop.
We drove 700 miles today stopping at Pendleton, Oregon for the night.  Pendleton is such a pretty town.  There is a walkway along the river.  I wanted to stop in Pendleton because I hope I can go into the woolen mill tomorrow.

We have just a little over 200 miles left until we reach Portland!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

2017 May: Trip to Portland: Day 4

We started our morning in Montrose, Colorado.  We stopped in Montrose - cause its name is Montrose.  It is larger than Trinidad but not as cute.

It was in the 40's.  I was excited that I got to wear jeans again.  We walked to a coffee shop with a patio for breakfast.  It was closed that week.  So Andy ran into a McDonald's and we ate at a little table on the corner.
We went back and packed up the motel room at the Black Canyon Inn.  Andy had to lift up the mattress and box springs to get to Stella and put her in the car with us.

After breakfast Sweetsie was ready for another nap.
It didn't take long for us to make it into Utah.  The area around Moab was really cool.  But after Moab the terrain became very rocky and desolate looking.

We stopped in Green River, Utah for lunch and a stretch.  The cafe had coffee bags and Van Gogh prints decorating the ceiling.  The proprietor was a character.  She said that the city had just gotten phone service a couple years ago and they were still adjusting to the new technology.  Personally she preferred the old method of smoke signals.  One great thing - Sweetsie was able to come to the cafe with us.  Another dog was asleep in the middle of the floor.

It started raining and getting cold.  
We passed by wind mills among the rocky cliffs.Another big storm was brewing after we passed Provo so we stopped just outside of Salt Lake City.  It was about 5 PM so we wanted to avoid traffic, too.  This time we plugged the holes under the bed so Stella wouldn't be able to burrow into the box springs and hide.  Right now she is wandering around the room searching for a good hiding place.  She ate a little of my hamburger.  At least she ate something.  We were getting worried about her.

Sweetsie continues to be in doggy heaven.  She has me to sit on in the car during the day and Andy takes her out for long walks.  She cries whenever Andy leaves the room.  I told him that he should stay in Portland with us.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

2017 May: On the road to Portland:Day 3

This morning we had coffee at a little cafe in Trinidad, Colorado.  There was an interesting building right across the street.

The residents are so proud of their town that even the bricks are printed with "Trinidad."  There is also a sign on a hill, just like in Hollywood.
After the cafe we walked around the town and found a pretty pink building and several pot shops.


From Trinidad, we took a two lane highway past beautiful scenery.


We stopped for lunch in Westcliff, CO at "Chappy's."
Check out the menu.

After lunch we drove through Gunnison, CO.  More spectacular scenery -
 I took the picture of the black canyon out the side window of the car.

We stopped at Montrose, CO for the night.  We had to find a restaurant with a patio so the dog could be with us.  It was a little chilly but we all enjoyed fajitas.  Definitely not Tex-Mex-  the meat was like what you get in a Philly Cheesesteak.  It tasted good nonetheless.

Tomorrow we plan on spending the night in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Monday, May 15, 2017

2017-May: The road to Portland:Day 2

Day 1:  Sunday, May 14, 2017

I had to move out one day early.  The moving company called and gave me a choice of Sunday or Tuesday.  They said they had to cancel me on Monday.  So, I stayed up all night.  I ended up throwing out so much good stuff at the end.  I had already donated tons but I must have owned a few hundred tons of stuff in the beginning.  
They finished loading my stuff by 2:00 PM.  We were on the road by 2:30 PM.  Boy, was I exhausted.  We stopped at a Bucky's rest stop.  I didn't even recognize myself in the bathroom mirror.  My hair was plastered to my head from sweating and my face was all red and puffy from lack of sleep.  Andy took pity on me and we stopped after just 6 hours west of Dallas somewhere.

We let the kitty out in the motel room.  She was so scared.  She wouldn't eat.  But, took a drink and used the litter box.  Then she hid in the closet.
My dog had a wonderful time sleeping on my lap all day and Andy walked her when we took breaks. 

Day 2:  Monday, May 15, 2017

We started driving around 8 AM today. I encourage my son Andy to stop often though.  He is used to a Ford truck with a big engine.  My car is a great size for me but Andy feels squished in it.  The dog needs to pee. I need to get my circulation going in my legs again.  So we stop, get a beverage and walk around but the poor kitty continues in her hideout.  

I try not to be too needy.  I remember driving my mom from Rochester in 2004.  I had to do all the driving, fetching and toting bags.  It was tough.  At least Andy is young and strong.  He is being a great son driving his mama and her pets out to Portland in my small, slow Subaru Crosstrek.  Maybe I'll forgive him now for the 24 hours of labor he put me through in 1979 - lol!

Tonight we are staying in Trinidad, Colorado.  We drove about 10 hours today.  Poor Stella, my kitty, is hiding in the closet.  I hope she will eat something tonight.

We are a day ahead of what we planned.  My lease in Portland doesn't start until May 19th.  

Sunday, April 16, 2017

April 16, 2017: getting ready

I've been preparing for my move to Portland for almost a year now.  Most of my stuff has either been given away, donated or packed up.

To get ready I made my dog, Sweetsie, a harness so she can sit in her carseat during our trip across country.  Then I made her a raincoat for Portland's rains.

She doesn't have the proportions for ready made dog clothes.  I could never find a harness to fit her.  The smalls are too small around her chest.  The mediums are way too large.  So I used her long and thin measurements to make her one.

I tried a doggy raincoat from Amazon.  It fit her but she wouldn't move.  The hood smooshed down her ears.  So I made her one from what fabrics I had on hand (not packed yet).   I used turquoise oilcloth from Mexico lined with fleece for the body of the coat.  The coat is made from one of those heavy plastic bags that pillowcases or napkins are sold in.

The secret to making a doggy raincoat is to make the hood detachable.  It's easier to construct and fits over the ears better.

Sweetsie will wear it but she's not too happy about it.  But she hates the rain so I think she will learn to appreciate it.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

↓↓April 5, 2017: Doing the Limbo Rock!↓↓

LIMBO # 1:
"How low can I go?"  I just reduced my house another $20,000.  It is now priced $100,000 less than what the county appraised it for and I pay taxes on.  But, if I want to move to Portland before the extreme heat of a Houston summer, I have to make it more enticing to buyers.

Portland is beautiful in the summer time.  I don't want to miss it.  And I want to be with my family there.

LIMBO # 2:
I made my house a blank slate so buyers can imagine themselves living in it.  All my dolls and poodles have been stored away.  I even removed my pink quilt and put a gray bedspread on my bed.  It doesn't feel like my home anymore.

Plus, I have to keep the house super neat.  It's hard to sew without creating a mess.  I miss making things.  It's a big part of who I am and what makes me happy.  I did make my dog a raincoat over the weekend.  I had to clean up continually during the process.  Most of my things are packed up so I spent a lot of time looking for the fabrics, snaps, thread, etc. 

𝄞All around the limbo clock
Hey, let's do the limbo rock

Thursday, February 23, 2017

February 23, 2017

Yesterday I turned in my resignation letter to Nia Georges, the chair of the Anthropology Department at Rice University.  She said they needed it so the process of finding my replacement could begin.  I put June 30th as my last work day.  I'll leave earlier if my house sells.  If it doesn't sell by June 30th,  I'm out of luck and a job.  I really do want to get out of Houston before the heat of the summer.

I've been working in this department since December 2004. It's the best job I've ever had.  The people are great.  The work I do is varied and new projects are added to my to-do list frequently.  Over the years I've supervised painting offices, copied textbooks, updated the department website and facebook page, processed graduate student applications and even babysat a dog, .  The list goes on and on.

My job was an island of normalcy when my life had such an abrupt change in 2010.  My then husband fell and became quadriplegic.  I went from a happy home life to one of service to 2 invalids - my Mom and my husband.  Life changed again when Mom went into a private care home and my husband left me.  I was alone at home but surrounded by friendly faces when I was at the office.

Leaving my job will be the hardest part of moving for me.  Already friends that I made on campus have retired or taken other jobs.  Rice is always changing - new people, new buildings, new software, etc.  I won't be able to go "home" again.  Even my parking spot will be gone as a new parking garage is currently being built.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

February 5, 2017: My house is being shown today for the first time.

My house has been stripped bare of personality.  It is a blank slate so potential buyers can imagine themselves living in it.  Today at 3 a realtor will be showing it to her clients.

Here is a link to my house's listing.  The pictures look really good.  They don't show my huge laundry room though.  I have to take more boxes out to the garage so it will photograph better.

The house has been a good investment.  It's close to the Medical Center and freeway access.  If only it could be "beamed" to Portland where it would sell for over a million dollars!  I hope to find someplace I can afford there.

Monday, January 30, 2017

January 31, 2017

I finished!  I've packed up all non-essentials in the house.  It took me a month of sorting, organizing, donating, packing to get to this point.  Tonight was my first evening "off."

It's been a painful process.  I bought my house with loads of promise.  I didn't have to do all the work. I had a partner.  Now, I'm selling the house - alone.

 It is no blessing to have a good memory.  I remember who gave me the various gifts for my first wedding or my second wedding-  for marriages that were supposed to last a lifetime.  I've found cards swearing eternal love from both of my ex-husbands.  No point in holding on to them so I threw those notes away.

I'm so envious of people who have had long and mostly happy marriages.  Where did I go wrong?  I guess I made bad choices.  I know I have my shortcomings.  Things became difficult but I always remained loyal to my husbands.  Unfortunately I did not inspire their loyalty to me.

I'll move to Portland soon and get a fresh start on a new life.  I won't be alone there.  My son and his family will be my support system.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

January 18, 2017

Another torrential rainstorm in Houston today!  These storms always scare me.  At least today I'm at home and not trying to go to work or get back home.  The rains started during the night.  I decided to not go into the office today.  I only work 4 hours on Wednesdays.  It didn't seem worth the risk of driving in.

So, I'm back at my manual labor job at home.  Still packing and sorting.  This weekend I found all my drawing supplies in my laundry room.  So, I haven't drawn in a few years.  Does that mean I should give all my supplies to Goodwill?  But-- when I'm in Portland, I will be retired and have time to draw again.

What about all my jewelry making supplies?  Keep some and donate the rest?

Knitting needles, yarns and instruction books- In Portland I'll finally be able to wear the hats and scarves that I knit.  I'm trying to use up all my wool yarn to knit a multicolored blanket.  After it's finished I plan to wash it in hot water and make the fibers dense (fulling).  I gave a bunch of whole skeins to my sewing group, partial skeins to Goodwill and I still had to pack a big box of yarn.

Not to mention my sewing supplies!  The realtor said I could keep the sewing machine and fabrics up.  She said people would realize that it's a workspace.  Wait until I have to sort through all that stuff!

I had a picture in my mind of the apartment that I was moving into - a 2 bedroom in the Heights at Columbia Knoll.  It is a low income senior apartment complex.  But, then, I got denied admittance.  The compliance officer said that I make too much money.  It's hard for me to imagine some poor person struggling to survive on my part time job salary.  The officer took my current income and added in my potential social security income and decided I would earn over the low income max.  But, I may not work after I move.  My social security has not started yet.  She said I can reapply next year.

That just sucks.  She also said they check income yearly.  If a tenant earns too much, she is booted out.  Imagine being 85 and getting an inheritance and forced to move out.  So, maybe it's for the best.

Now I will have to go back to Portland and find an apartment.  Then I return home, hire movers and Andy and I will drive my car to Portland.  I don't plan on unpacking a bunch of my stuff.  I'll probably have to move again after a year.  I'm going to spend the year getting to know Portland and deciding where I will finally settle.  Maybe I'll be willing to buy a small house then.  Right now I'm weary of all the stress and costs that come with home ownership.