Tuesday, September 29, 2020

aged like fine whine

It's been a busy couple of weeks, mainly because of the new job plus a couple of orientations I needed to attend on my days "off".  But now I'm all orientated and established with a true day off. So, aahhhh.

I don't want to blog too much about the nursing home, it's just been at the forefront lately.  As I've gotten to know both residents and coworkers, a few fun things are emerging

  • Three of us worker bees in the department are full on adults - I mean we have kids of our own, have completed college (and actually we all have grad degrees), have paid or are paying mortgages, and have various other adulthood characteristics, like the fact that we read the news... 
  • The majority of coworkers are in their late teens and twenties - college kids and even some high schoolers. I'm starting to see some truth in the idea that I was hired to be among the other two "den mothers", which is fine by me.
  • There are typically around 80 residents at any time, of which the majority are women.  Our oldest is one of the many Betty's.  She's 98, and we're thinking she's going to outlive everyone currently in house.
  • Most of the residents are actually quite cognitive, but deal with various physical limitations.  Only a few are obviously in the throes of dementia or memory loss.
A couple of young girl coworkers told me how they've received unsolicited advice regarding sex and birth control.  

"Back when I was young, we'd just pull out.  But you girls have lots more options!"

OMG, Vivian??

"I got a diaphragm, hoo boy, thank goodness for those!"


By the way, this prompted me to research out of curiosity:
"... the diaphragm had become the most frequently prescribed form of birth control in America by the 1930s"

ANYWAY, to be sure, no one has given me advice on birth control or sex.  I usually get tips on how to stave off various effects of aging, as learned in hindsight I suppose. They see me as a near peer!

One of the orientations I attended included a short presentation on dementia and resident rights.  The speaker told of a study where each resident was asked if they would like to remain where they were - in a long term care facility - or go back to being 16 again and have a do-over.

An overwhelming majority wanted to stay where they were.

I too would not want to go back to being 16.  Would you?  Have another age/timeframe to which you would like to return?  

In other news, Wolfgang has reminded me that Inktober is once again upon us.  

I plan to participate again, but I'm not going to stress out about getting all 31 prompts completed.  I haven't done much art play at all since... last Inktober?  I think the process of moving to another city, house selling and buying, and then dealing with the pandemic short circuited me a bit, and I veered away from my art hobby.  Maybe Inktober 2020 will get me back on that track.

In other other news, I expect my partial tooth any day to replace that mean bum tooth I got rid of last year.  

I refuse to call it a denture.

Friday, September 25, 2020

in the hearts of others

 I was at work on Monday, and one lady resident wasn't feeling well.  I asked her what she'd like for lunch, and she apologetically said she didn't care for any.  Other than that, she seemed her usual friendly and talkative self.  

I mentioned to my coworker, young Mick, that Marilou didn't feel like having lunch, but maybe we could check a while later.  He seemed surprised.  He's known her longer than I have.  

"Hmm, she always looks forward to lunch.  I'll go see", he said an headed toward her room.

Young Mick was able to get her to order some lunch, good ol' young Mick.  But when her lunch was ready, alas, she turned it down when I brought it.  We kept it warm for her in hopes that she'd feel better in a bit.  Mick came back with it a second time.

"She said she didn't think she could keep it down"

Aw, well.  GI issues show up all the time.  She'll be back to it soon enough.

I went to work on Wednesday and learned that Marilou died Tuesday night.  This is the first death of a resident with whom I was familiar since I started working at the facility.  I'm just two weeks in, and I know it goes with the territory.  But Marilou?  There are others who seemed closer to death's door.

My coworkers were visibly shaken even though they've been through this sort of thing before.  They dried tears and carried on.  

I was thinking of young Mick.  I remember the thoughtful concerned look on his face when I'd told him Marilou didn't feel like having lunch and his determination to urge her to order something.  Mick had the day off on Wednesday, so he wouldn't know about Marilou until later.  

When I started this gig a couple of weeks ago, I had to focus on understanding the workflow, the logistics, the "system".  I was impressed at how well my coworkers knew the needs and quirks of so many residents.  Over time, the "system" has become more second nature to me and I've been able to get to know the residents and hope to soon be caught up with my coworkers' memory banks.

It was difficult to pass by Marilou's room on Wednesday, but I'll take it as a sign that I'm getting better at this job.


Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
5. A blog post inspired by the word: better.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

do you do it?

One day a few years ago, I was sitting at my computer, checking things off in a paper register.  Wolfgang asked me what I was doing.

"I'm balancing the checkbook", obviously.

"Whaaaat?", he looked at me like I was creating hieroglyphics.  

Yes, he was aware of what "balancing the checkbook" meant, he just never saw a reason to do it.  It was something only old people do.

So I was all, "how do you know how much is available in your account??"

And he was all, "I just check my balance in the app!"

And I was all, "What about stuff that hasn't cleared??"

He wasn't concerned.  I think at the time, he was finishing up college and living in our house, so no real bills to check off.

I never write checks anymore, but there are automatic recurring payments, direct deposits, venmo transactions, occasional debit card activities... I wanna know where we're at and make sure I'm not forgetting an impending payment.  Plus I like knowing what each transaction was about - something the bank app doesn't always clearly describe. Has it become an obsolete activity?

I'm thinking about this because I was "reconciling the checking account" (maybe I should say that instead of "balancing the checkbook") this morning and found it's about time for a new register for penciling in the entries.  Maybe that's the real thing Wolfgang was poking fun at - keeping a pencil-paper record.  

Do you do it?

I do have a spreadsheet I update, but I like to be able to just open a physical register and see what's what.  Since I'm about to run out, I went to amazon to order more.  Out of curiosity, I read a few of the reviews because what's to review about a checkbook register?

One reviewer stated that he has registers he's kept for the past 30 years.  He likes to go back and see what he was spending/receiving, "like reading old journals".

OMG, now THAT seems like an old person thing to do.  Or maybe I just equate "keeping stuff" with "old people" because my parents had a hard time throwing anything away, and I've gone totally to the other side by being a clutterphobe.  

Nope, once I fill 'em up and everything's cleared, they're gone.  So there's that.  

Do you keep a physical checking account register?  Do you regularly reconcile it?  If so, how long do you hold onto the old ones?

Old people want to know.

Friday, September 18, 2020

I don't have tuberculosis, but I do have an ample chest

Yes, there's a pandemic and all that brings with it.  It seems like half the country's on fire while the other half is hit by a hurricane.  The list goes on.

But what's good about it?  Let's find stuff.  In my little corner of the world anyway...

We had this Douglas Fir in our front yard.  Ever have a Douglas Fir?  They're pretty enough, but GEEEZ, they generate a lot of garbage in the form of needles and pesky little pine cones.  Plus, this tree was much too close to the house.  Whose idea to plant it there?  

Nevermind, it's gone now.  We'd scheduled it's removal for last week, but strangely, it snowed on the scheduled removal day.  The crew was able to squeeze us in this week, and I came home one afternoon to the tune of much mulch making.  Good-bye Doug.

Speaking of wood...

Long story short, we inherited a piece of furniture from Magnum's sister who'd inherited it from their mother.  To clarify, my MIL is alive and well, but she and her husband moved from a largish home to a smaller home a couple of years ago, and furniture spilled over into SIL's.  

Once the dust settled, SIL was dealing with a good sized chest they didn't really have room for.  So she sent out an email looking for a good home.  We took her up on it, and Magnum had a work trip this week back to Colo. Spgs and brought the item back.

It's larger than it looked in SIL's photo, but we found a spot for it and will put it to good use.

Speaking of useful things...

I completed the first of two orientations at the new job.  It was four hours of one person reading Power Point slides to us.  *YAWN*.  Good information, but they could use some variety in their media approach.  

Round two is next week and I'm REalLy LoOKinG FOrwArD tO iT.  And I once again confirmed that I do not have tuberculosis.

Speaking of orientating...

I got together with a local P.E.O. sister as the ladies here have gotten word of my arrival.  There are no in-person meetings happening now because of COVID-19, but it was nice to get together with someone and learn a bit about the local P.E.O. scene.  

I've blogged a few times about P.E.O. since I've been a member for many years.  My mom was a P.E.O., so that was my in.  What is it?  I'll be lazy and cut and paste from the website. In a nutshell, 

P.E.O. is a philanthropic organization where women CELEBRATE the advancement of women; EDUCATE women through scholarships, grants, awards, loans, and stewardship of Cottey College and MOTIVATE women to achieve their highest aspirations.

But seriously, hit me up if you or a woman you know could use some money for school... or if you're interested in membership.
Even though you've probably never heard of it, there are chapters ALL over the US and Canada. Each chapter has around 40 members or so.  There are ten chapters in Fort Collins, so I'm getting some phone calls and emails.  

Another P.E.O. invited me to a Zoom social next week.  Her email included, 

"You are more than welcome to have an adult beverage on hand when you join the meeting."

I like that chapter already.

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
6. Write about something good that happened this week

Thursday, September 17, 2020

my first time wasn't very good

I got tired of shouting, so I finally just wrote it down, hoping she could read.  

Beef tips over egg noodles
Green beans
Strawberry trif
le cake

Yes, her sight and reading comprehension were just fine.  

"Ah, beef tips over noodles.  Sounds good.  I'm not stupid, I just can't hear"

"Oh, I can tell you're not stupid!", I shoutingly assured her

"Ha, well I've got you fooled anyway!", she fired back.

Some of these nursing care residents are a lot of fun.  Often pathetic to look at, yes, but inside lurks a good time.  A coworker told me of one resident's response to hearing the luncheon special:

"Sounds delicious, but if I eat it, I'll shit my pants"

Yeah, plenty of TMI to go around on a daily basis.

I'm one week into the new job at the care facility.  As optimistically hoped, it's an enjoyable and rewarding gig.  As I've met my other coworkers, I've learned they're not all young adults.  There are a couple of older mom types like myself, and everyone gets along very well.

One of the "elders" told me she trained many of the younger ones as we were talking about  how compassionate and patient they are with the residents.

"I told them to think about their grandma or grandpa whenever they're with a resident"

That training tip seems to have worked out well.

We're also taking part in COVID research by the local university.  To participate, we are voluntarily tested weekly for the virus.  Sure, why not?  

We test ourselves, and I administered my first test yesterday after a very brief verbal description of how to do it.  Honestly, not sure I did it correctly.  Probably didn't go deep enough into my nasopharynx (a body part I just now learned about...) 

But I've since watched some youtube, and I'm ready for next week!  Don't swab "up the nose", but more like "deep into your head, through your nose".  Pleasant!

After I'd already done mine, a coworker let me watch him do it.  He sneezed and teared up a bit afterward, which is normal.  I neither sneezed nor teared up, further making me think mine was a fail.

I can just imagine the research lab when they get to my first sample:

Saturday, September 12, 2020

what's old is new

 I always feel like a fresh start this time of year.  I think it's  a holdover from my days as a schoolkid.  This is the time of year for new school supplies and clothes, new teachers and schedules, etc.  Open up that fresh new notebook with the virgin paper, at the ready with a long pencil with a pristine eraser or a pen full to the brim with ink and let the learning begin! ... before everything goes to sh*t around the second week of school.

With those memories in  mind, I started the new part-time dietary job at the rehab facility this week.  The place consists of two floors.  The first floor is more typical rehabilitation residents - recovering from a recent surgery or such.  They're not bad enough to be in a hospital, but not quite good enough to go home.  

The second floor is people who will never fully recover and need long term care.  The only "home" they will return to is the Home with capital-H, know what I'm sayin'?

I never purposely aspired to work in geriatric care, but here I am, and it's all good.  My new coworkers are very nice, caring... kids.  I say kids because, so far, they all seem so young.  College age.  The kitchen staff is older and more on par with me, but I'm out with the young troops.  

I've typically worked with other retired moms like myself in these positions, and I think one of the reasons I was an appealing applicant was because I don't have a class schedule to plan around.  Plus, maybe our boss thought the crew needed a den mother?

Walking Dead fans will get the reference
regarding my den mother skillz

So I think I'll enjoy it, and it gets me out of the house a few days a week while adding some fun money to our lives.  It also allows for a few tutoring hours each week.  From what I've seen so far, the residents are well cared for, and the place is clean and abiding by all the COVID-19  protocols.

Some of the residents are very sharp and interesting to talk to, but they can barely move.  Others have no idea where they are or what they did 5 minutes ago, and they can barely move.  Magnum asked if we have to worry about someone escaping.  Oh hell no.

Many have photos scattered about their rooms, depicting them during younger, livelier times.  I try to look past their current frailties, of which there are many. 

It's pretty sad if I let it get to me, but I'm learning from these "kids" who are good at keeping things upbeat and respectful.


Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
3. Write a blog post inspired by the word: fresh.

Monday, September 7, 2020

bring back the green

Today, facebook reminded me that 5 years ago, I was doing the marathon.  Not "doing" as in running it.  I was working an aid station.  Labor Day has traditionally been the day of the ADT marathon in Colorado Springs, and Meego and I used to volunteer for it.  

I don't remember how many years we handed out water and Gatorade, but 2015 was memorable since the very next morning, I got dog bit.  We'll see if facebook remembers that tomorrow.

This Labor Day is quite different.  No marathon because of Covid-19, we don't live in Colorado Springs anymore, and the skies are not clear blue among other things.

I was out shopping this morning and snagged this pic of ashes that accumulated on my car after about 30 minutes in the store along with the poor little sun trying to peek through the smoke.

isn't this what wiped out the dinosaurs?

No orange filter, that's just what it looks like right now.  It's like having the blue light blocker turned on full all of the time.

If nothing else, I think people are heeding the mask wearing more diligently now - not so much to protect others, but to filter out the air they're breathing.  Whatever works.

So while we're all rather freaked out at the "winter" storm forecast for tomorrow, it would be nice if the Cameron Peak fire gets a good wallop.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

cars, cookin', and c-c-c-cold

 This past week ended up being rather productive.  It was my last official week working at the hospital.  I was - as had become customary - scheduled to work one shift, but since everyone's working low hours, I "donated" my shift.  I would have worked if no one was interested, but not surprisingly, someone else happily worked it.

As far as the productivity time:

I had a handful of tutor sessions
I haven't wanted to add new students to the fray in a while, but I've had a couple return for additional help, and I also took on a younger sibling of a past student.  All nice kids and about the right amount of tutor time for me.  Speaking of staying educated, 

We are no longer criminals
Recall that we recently realized that all three of our vehicles were overdue for registration renewal?  Got 'em all done.   I was able to renew two of them online, but the third had lagged just over two months, so I had to go to the dreaded DMV.  But all went very smoothly - everyone was masked and social distancing measures were in place.  Took me all of about 15 minutes.  Speaking of vehicle ownership, 

Got that pesky lock repaired
When I swung by Meego's to give him the registration sticker, his key got stuck in the door lock.  He's had trouble with that lock for a while, but it was stuck good this time.  I was able to take the car to a locksmith I'd talked to pre-covid about the issue, and they were able to make the repair.  I was able to take care of it since Meego had classes and this was my week of no-worky.  Speaking of kid time, 

Fired up our new grill
We recently bought this gas griddle, and I finally got around to getting it seasoned and cooking.

Chaco came over for the day on Friday since he's working remotely and wanted to get himself and the dog out of the house.  His dog Ella got in some playtime with our two pooches, and I cooked some burgers with which we were able to get Wolfgang and Meego over for an impromptu family gathering.  And speaking of family, 

Happy birthday to the FIL
Yesterday was Magnum's dad's 86th birthday, and we had a Zoom celebratory family gathering to toast the occasion.  He's been a good father-in-law to me and a good Opa to our kids. 

Meanwhile, the state continues to burn
The wildfire smoke has returned.  I think prevailing winds had given us a break for a few days, but the smoke returned with an almost eerie vengeance.  The sun was a dull orange, and ash was falling like snow yesterday afternoon and evening.  Here's a patch of our uncovered concrete patio with a dusting of little burnt pine needles.

The silver lining is that the area of this particular fire is in need of a good clearing anyway, and there are very few structures/people in the path.  The fire will make way for good healthy forest growth. 

Of course, things could take a turn for the worst with such a large blaze (about 25,000 acres) and air quality is in the gutter.  So we watch and wait... and cough... and sniffle... Speaking of fresh air, 

The days are getting, uhm, cooler?
Talk of the weather is typically considered small talk, but people around town are feeling a little flabbergasted at the forecast for this upcoming week:

What the heck's with Tuesday??  100 percent chance of  whaaaaaat?!
"High" of 35 whaaaaaat?!

Well, this year already feels kind of like an Alice-in-Wonderland rabbit hole.  Monday into Tuesday looks to be just another side trip.  

Thursday, September 3, 2020

sunny side of covid?

Summer 2020 is coming to a close.  It's been a summer of  "the new normal", and I think we're still trying to figure out what that really means. 

Was this summer different than it would've been without Covid.  On a global scale, definitely.  On a personal scale, yes and no. 

Probably the biggest impact on me personally was the effect on my job at the hospital.  Working in culinary brought several restrictions on both us kitchen people and our customers.  The restrictions greatly impacted staffing.  I was part-time to begin with, so I became part-part-time.

As I mentioned, I recently decided to leave the hospital and take a similar position at a medical rehab facility.  I'll miss the old place and the people and am optimistic about the new place, which is a much closer commute as well as a better and more consistent amount of work hours.  

So Covid "forced" me to consider options, and this new gig might turn out better than the last.  I'll miss my coworkers, and I do appreciate the transferable skills I picked up at the hospital.  Cooking is the easy part...

On the social front, my social life is lacking in these social distancing times.  I was looking forward to meeting some new P.E.O. sisters here after we moved.  Welp,  no meetings happening.  But thankfully, I'm able to zoom meet with my familiar group back in Colorado Springs.

Meego had a couple of online summer classes.  Did we get an itty bitty break in tuition?  Maybe? BUT, we did get in on Meego's all important student Hulu account!  And how 'bout that Netflix?  Would I have even watched if not for covid?

We did get a bit of a summer getaway, and covid might have also helped us out in that regard.  We managed to get the whole of the fam together for a few days in the mountains.  Wolfgang and Chaco possibly had more vacation time available as a result of the ski season abruptly ending because of Covid.  

Additionally, Trestle, the downhill mountain bike park we recreated upon restricted the daily number of visitors, so noobs like me were able to hone our skills in relatively uncrowded conditions

Now with restrictions being somewhat lifted, I do appreciate the little things like toilet paper availability.  Not that it's necessary because Covid "gifted" us with those bidets 😀!

And summer's not quite officially over just yet.  More fun to be had, I'm sure.  I say...


Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:

2. How did covid ultimately impact your summer for the better and for the worse compared to previous years?

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

once in a corn moon

 Sunrise rides have turned into moonset rides

and I'm fine with that.  

I belong to a bicycle commuter group on facebook.  A while back, a member mentioned missing his  commute since he began working from home because of covid.  "Just go for a daily ride anyway!" seems like a simple solution.

"Yeah, but it's not the same"

Many agreed with that including me.  It's not the same if I don't HAVE to be somewhere.  But I have the ritzy lake neighborhood to entice me a few days a week.  It's dark in the mornings now. Stars are still out, but the ride is pleasant.  And this morning we had the big Corn Moon, to which my phone camera did not give justice.  

This sets the stage for two full moons in October - the blue moon set to occur on Halloween.  Well, how appropriate for this year.  

Choose a costume yet?