Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thursday, Happy Halloween!

     We are ready the candy bowl is full, I will be teaching but mom and Hubs can answer the door.  Halloween was my favorite holiday as a child.  I think I trick or treated into college.  I was very small and could still wear children's shoes when I was a freshman.  I think I just really loved candy.  Okay I still love candy.

     Mom was sick before bed last night, but I have to say she slept better.  She sis not have a good day yesterday, she burned a cake, and she had a long phone call from a woman in her church who is a retired lawyer.  She is going to work with mom to try to resolve the problems with the boys.  Of course she told mom everything we have been telling her for 45 years and mom could not rudely stop the conversation.  It will be a lot more difficult for her to back peddle with these people.  She also had a harsh call from my younger sister, who repeated the same things that the lawyer had said.  She does not want to hear these things.  She would rather live in an abusive chaotic fiklthy mess and complain than stand up to her abusers.
But we are all so tired of the mess.  We three girls have just had it, and it is hard to see our mother like this.

     Took mom to Costco last night.  She likes to get out at least once a day.  She is going to start making aprons for Christmas.  I love aprons.  She has been doing some of my ironing and is now up getting dinner together.  Hubs has been loving this, a good meal every night and baked treats.  I will be as big as a house if she doesn't stop.

     I simply must get some bookwork done.  I mean really what is my problem?  Don't tell me I am in denial and I can't take the truth right now:)

saga continued:

     In the early years of the studio I tried to keep up my schedule, but it was really hard.  Things started to drop by the wayside and that was okay.  Three years in I was involved with the High School.  We were doing "Guys and Dolls".  I needed to make new hot box dresses.  I also had 28 new and very complicated Celtic costumes to make.  My dancers kept growing.  I just remember being so busy.  Running, running, trying to keep up.  B was a freshman in High School and the flier for her cheer leading squad.  She had developed a bad cavity in an upper back molar and it needed a root canal.  I was really upset with her orthodontist whom I felt was too busy and ran from chair to chair barely looking at his patients.  I would always ask is every thing okay?  He would say yes and move on.  So why in the Hell is there a cavity big enough to drive a truck into on the back molar?  Were you not a dentist first?  You could not see that when it was small and say something?  No he couldn't, it was wasn't his table, like a bad waitress he moved on.

     I had taken B into the dentist and she was in his office all afternoon.  Like four hours.  He was having a really hard time with this tooth.  They had to send other patients home so he could concentrate on B.  When I finally picked her up she was a mess.  She went back to school the next day as Cheer Leading Championships were a week away.  She seemed fine and I continued the crazy schedule, but on a Thursday afternoon the school called and said she was sick.  I went to pick her up.  As I was waiting in the foyer a teacher that I know well came out and we were talking.  He was a resource room officer and I did not notice B had come up behind me.  She must have been there for a few minutes and she finally said, "Mom can we go?"  Her voice was very cranky.  The teacher jumped all over her about being rude to her mother and not waiting while adults talked.  I was embarrassed for her, for me and even for him, as I felt he was over reacting, but then he did work with the worst kids in the school.  On the way out the door B threw up all over the concrete.  She continued getting sick all the way home.  Thanks goodness I had brought a plastic bag.

     All day Friday B was sick.  Vomiting,fever, diarrhea.  I bought orange juice as that is what she wanted.  Yuck? When you are sick?  7-up crackers.  But she continued sleeping and vomiting.  I called the dentist, could this be an infection from the root canal?  He said no his daughter was home with the flu also.  B started to turn red like she had a sun burn, she was blotchy, I continued to watch her and sew.  All day Saturday, we watched and listened and I really needed to go out a get some supplies for the big project I was working on, but I kept putting it off as I did not want to leave B.  Finally at about 7:30 I had to leave so I put Hub's downstairs with her and said I will be back in a while.  I left with my list of errands.  I got to the first store to get milk and eggs, I knew I also had to go to K-mart and Wal-mart.  A voice came into my mind as clear as a bell.  It said not to go to Wal-mart or any where else, but to go straight home.  If B stood up and lost control of her bowels I was to take her straight to the hospital.  How strange,  I really needed those supplies, but I went home.

     I walked into the family room and B stood up in her PJ's and lost it.  She did not know who she was or what she was doing.  Hubby and I were in a state of shack.  I said, " we are taking her in to the hospital."  Now we had to clean her up and it took us forever.  She could not help us and was incoherent most of the time, she kept losing her fluids and finally we just wrapped plastic bags around her and took her to the car.  I remember we put her in the front seat and she reached over and buckled her seat belt.  In my mind I was asking myself how a kid that was too sick to stand, could remember and buckle her seat belt.  We drove to the hospital, it was the height if flu season and again the voice said go to another hospital they will never get in her in on time.  What? Why?  I went across the bridge into Washington to a smaller hospital that just did surgeries on older people.  We went to the emergency room door which was locked as it was after hours.  We were helping B to stand.  You had to read instructions on how to open the door or call for help.  Both hub's and I were too distraught to do this,  however B read them and hit a button and the doors opened.  Again I asked myself, how can she not be able to walk and be so alert?

     Once we got inside I told a nurse I was really worried I said look at her skin, when you press on it she has a sunburn.  The doctor that was sitting behind a desk, practically climbed over the counter.  He was an older Chinese man that had spent many years at a large University health service.  He had retired in Idaho and worked night shift on the weekends.   His immediate diagnosis, Toxic shock in it's final stages.  We were quickly ushered out of the room and could hear the rushing and clattering of many people trying to set up an intensive care unit in a hospital, that had no intensive care.  There were no beds at the other hospital and B's blood pressure was so low she could not be life flighted out to a larger hospital.  They would do what they could.  The funny thing is that it was now about 1o'clock in the morning.  I remember them coming in with papers to sign.  The last one was to harvest her organ's.  The doctor said, " She is in peak physical condition and could benefit many lives."  It was February 13th,  22 years before on this date we had, had the same conversation with a doctor.  How could we lose a child on the same day 22 years later?  I remember Hub's turned and asked me,, "Can lightening strike in the same place twice?"  We were told they would keep her on life support until the girls could get there to say goodbye, but if her blood pressure did not stablalize we were out of options.

saga cont:

Must go teach dance.  Don't eat to much candy!
have a great and productive day.



Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wednesday, got more sleep.

     Mom slept better last night, or at least I slept better last night.  When I left mom to go to the studio last night I asked her to make a pot of bean soup.  I left all the ingredients out and I had been soaking the beans all day.  It was so good!  I hemmed her new jeans and she loves them.  She was able to get a couple more cakes made. She will do two more and then be done.  I will help her make rosettes this weekend.  I took her to JoAnns  last night after dance.  I needed a few items and she walked around and looked at things.  We went to the grocery store and bought candy for Halloween.  She really likes to get out at least once a day as she gets house bound, but she doesn't have much stamina.  I wear her out pretty fast.

     I sewed a lot yesterday and of course cleaned and did  some laundry.  When Hubs and I came home from cleaning last night, mom was asleep on the family room sofa. We watched an episode of Big Bang Theory and she didn't even wake up.  I think she was tired.  Today I will sew some more, I have things that need to be out by Friday and also things that just need to be out!  I am going to make a deposit today and get the desk cleaned off the rest of the bills paid and the studio books ready to input into the computer. I just realized that I have to have $500.00 for the house payment and it is the 1st.  How does it sneak up on me so quickly?

     I miss Mysti and I want her back!  Come back!!!!!!  I am proud of Rhitter.  I am praying for Judy.  Can't wait to hear form Lena.  Sluggy is her usual kick in the pants, what would we do without Sluggy?  Jane is back and I am grateful.  Carla is busy and makes me look like a slug so that helps my reputation some.  See how much you guys mean to me and there are so many more.  But I want Mysti back.......

Saga cont:

     So in January 7 years ago I opened a dance studio with my daughter as a partner.  We took 85 students with us.  About 13 stayed at the University studio and some of them doubled at both.  We turned a profit immediately but we had a lot of debt.  I realized that I could not put on a Wedding and replace all my costumes now owned by the University and also costume and choreograph a high school musical.  I called the director and told her I could not help.  I felt awful, but I was just too busy, my responsibility was to my students and I had to make this studio work.  I was under so much pressure.  Actually I was terrified.  I just doubted my ability to do this although I had been doing it for years.

     I made some serious mistakes along the way.  Because the University's program was a non profit they run at a loss.  They also could get many art grants to pay for various things.  I was determined to give back to the community and run as they did but with out the ability to run on grants.  I would find this impossible.  After losing money for three years on productions, I decided to charge.  I also charged parents for costumes once a year or twice if they are Celtic students.  At first I was so afraid they would leave and go back to the University so I gave away so much.  This put me seriously in debt.  I was trying to operate the same way as the program I had left without the resources.  Now I am not a stupid person, I am naive but not stupid.  I was just so scared.  Why?  Well WP was viscous.  She was going to close me down come hell or high water.  She tried bad press, bad publicity anything she could do to destroy me in my own community.  She was very good and very powerful at publicity.

     She knew that my greatest strength in numbers was my Irish program.  This is what she attacked.  She flooded the area with Irish performers, she blocked my kids being able to perform.  She made sure dancers from their schools got billing.  What she did not have was a good teacher, so when parents entered they eventually came to me.  Then she started to copy our recitals.  If I decided to do Alice in Wonderland, she wold bring three or four groups into do this production.  Flood the market so no one would go to my show.  I constantly had to stay ahead of her.  My mind just does not think like that and it was so hard.  I started to become very secretive.  I could not tell my kids what an upcoming show was until after March.  That way we could not be copied.  She managed to get into the small college here as the resident dance studio.  I was furious and scared, but I didn't need to be.  Again the problems that had plagued them when I was with them followed.  Teachers did not show up, classes were cancelled.  She was all about printed pictures and hand outs and advertising, but you also have to deliver a product.  She could not do that.  I did not have the unlimited budget for advertising but I delivered a product.  I just wish I could have calmed down and enjoyed those first few years more instead of running scared all the time.  She really was good at mind games.

     Now looking back 8 years I realize that I have what I want.  My background is in Ballet, professional level Ballet.  Not the Bolshoi, but really good classical training.  My Irish skills were secondary.  It was something I was interested in and started because it was in demand, fun and brought in good money.  But what I really wanted was a good ballet studio.  Ballet is the basis for all good dance.  WP did not realize or appreciate my real training.  I also am very good with young children.  It is your children's programs that build a studio.  Children's classes are hard and frustrating to teach.  I realized this early on and I oversee these programs carefully.  They are our bread and butter.  This is something WP failed to see.  I also know that there is a point of diminishing return.  After the studio gets more than 100 students quality goes down, payroll goes up.  Building, building enrollment and numbers is not the answer.  Good quality teaching and experiences are the answer.  This year we have over 75 of our students enrolled in some part in ballet.  We still have a strong Celtic program but ballet has taken over.  If you want good ballet with good choreography you come here.  I feel like I have made it.  I don't care about WP in fact she finally took (I should say obtained) another job.  After 8 years the poison in gone.  She lost and she lost badly.  They had 3 magnate studios two of them very large.  All are closed.  They only have their program at the University and what ever else they can put together a few weeks at a time in rural communities.

     My purpose was never to shut them down, but theirs was to shut me down.  I ran scared and worked harder than I ever have in my life, I have made many financial mistakes, but I am learning.  The debt I carry today is mainly studio and medical debt.  I am trying not to go further.  It is hard as I have to watch every penny.  But I do feel like I have made it.

     Owning the studio has brought me much satisfaction.  But every single threat made by the board has come true.  I don't make a living from this business.   I make my living sewing.  If I did not have another business I would have folded.  I cannot afford the advertising like they could.  I have to save for taxes every year.  I am tired of working so hard for nothing but pats on the back.  It is nice to have the respect and love of the parents and students but I really would just like a salary.  It also took a real tole on my family.  B suffered because of the studio.  I was not there for her in High School like I was for the others  The studio was my life.  I tried hard to keep up with her activities but I know in my heart it was not the same.

     The studio did give me the opportunity to slow down in other ways.  I do not do 2 High School shows a year anymore.  I do not coach at the Jr. High any more.  I do not do Civic theater any more.  I learned to cut back, but I learned to do this in a very hard way.  To pay attention to things that were important.  Saying yes to every one had become my habit and I needed to take care of Kim and my family and home.  They still needed to come first, putting them on the back burner a few times a year almost cost me the life of my youngest daughter. It was a real wake-up call.

Saga continued:

     Have work to do, mother is still sleeping:)

Have a great and productive day!


Tuesday, October 29, 2013


     Mom was very sick last night.  She was up several times.  She has lost so much weight and is down to 154lbs.  I did get her to TJ Maxx yesterday and bought her two pairs of new jeans.  They are in the dryer right now and I will hem them when they are dry.  Her bras are hanging on her so I pulled out the very expensive bras I was going to return to a store that had sent me the wrong size.  With a bra extender they fit great.  I am tired as my sleep is being interrupted.  I don't dare go in a sleep with hubby because I am getting up to much and he has to drive an hour on really bad roads to get to work.  I can't have him sleep deprived.  Mom just calls out to much.  Now the bathroom is a disgusting mess.  I won't go into the details.  She is in the shower right now.  I just start the shower and tell her to get in it.  Sissie this seems to work.  Anyway....

     We had a good day yesterday, I really got a lot done in the shop and Mom made two Swedish almond cakes for her bazaar and also got her pies wrapped and frozen.  She was able to get one receiving blanket done.  Today she wants to bake a couple more almond cakes.  She naps in between everything she does.  Just like a baby.  I know Mom is much like me, she wants to get things done or accomplished.  It makes her feel useful.  I don't think she can get anything done at home because of the chaos and mess. 

     My phone has been ringing none stop and I have plenty to do in the shop today, had over $100.00 worth of work come in yesterday.  Mom wears a cell phone on a lanyard around her neck.  Usually she tucks it into her clothes. Well when she was doing dishes last night she let her phone drop into the water and she killed it.  I put it in a bag of brown rice all night and it powered up this morning.  I have it on a charger right now so we will see if that trick works.  Other than that we will be switching out her phone.  I have an old phone here she can use.  It is always something.  I just keep smiling.

Saga cont:

     I always swore up and down I would never open a studio of my own.  I have often thought of that and wondered why I did it in the first place and at my age and with my health.  What was I thinking?  Was I thinking?  What I did not realize is that the new director of the University who acted like such a ditz was a very vindictive person.  She really thought I was bluffing when I told her I was leaving.  She actually said to me, "You are bluffing".  No one wants to throw that kind of a gauntlet in front of me.

     It was November and I had a big Christmas show up at the U of I.  I would be taking my dancers on the road for 4 days and I also had a Jr. High Christmas musical.  My eldest was getting married February 17th, I had a full blown musical of Oklahoma opening March 3rd and I had a studio to open, plus try to sew to keep money coming in.  Let's not even talk about Christmas.  The one thing I was very thankful for during this time is that I was so busy because the fallout from the director was so bad I think I would have lost my mind.

     I delivered my letters to my parents that I was moving to a new studio right after Thanking.  The director was furious.  All I had asked for was a $400.00 a month raise.  I made the fatal mistake of delivering the letter at the the studio after classes.  This was wrong on my part and I fully recognize it.  It was like stealing the Rolodex.  I don't know why I did it this way, just was not thinking, too busy,but it was done and I could not take it back.  I was called before the board and I was smart enough to take an attorney with me.  I wrote out a three page letter of my grievances as to why I felt I needed to leave and a list of all the things I was doing for the University without charge.  I made copies to be distributed at the meeting.  The attorney that I took with me was shocked he assumed the studio was mine.  He had been bringing his son to me for Irish dance for years and he only saw me, cleaning, replacing toilet paper, sending out notes, running the shows, and the theaters.  He had know idea that I worked for a board.  That is what most of the parents thought.  These people did not exist to them, they sent their money up the hill to the big rat hole.

     The meeting was grueling.  WP (Witchie Poo /alias director) kept changing the meeting time.  She wanted to get to the board  before I came.  I had been the right hand man girl Friday for these people for 11 years.  I was the golden girl, she had a very short time to destroy that.  When we got to the location of the board meting there were many cars there.  The attorney told me to stay in the car and then went and felt the hoods of several of the automobiles.  He came back and said that the meeting had been in place at least 2 hours.  She was in there trashing me.  She also had know idea I was bringing an attorney.  When she opened the door and saw me her face was full of sweet poison and then she saw Ben.  Ben is a short grey haired nice looking cowboy in a long tweed trench coat and cowboy boots, he has a face that would back down a train wreck.  She stopped smiling.

     As she ushered us in I could see looks of contempt on the faces of all the people who a week before had loved me.  It was awful.  Ben took charge.  He passed out my letters and asked them not to read them now, but later after the meeting when they had time, right now he wanted to know there concerns.  Now I had been led to believe that I was going to get a proposal to help me either get the studio or stay with the organization. In reality WP was going to hang me out to dry and watch me writhe.  Ben had suspected this I had not.  See again how naive.    I answered their questions many of my answers were contrary to WP's information.  I had worked for these people for so long and I was always known as an honest hard working person that did what I said I would. I had reasons why I did things and I had good justification.  WP was not looking very good by the end.  I realized my time with this company was truely over and I was devestated and sad.  The last question WP was asked is why I had not signed a non compete agreement like the rest of the professional teachers.  Well I am not a professional, I don't have a degree in dance, I don't have a Broadway background.  What she failed to realize is that those things do not matter in the Arts.  Talent and the ability to get things done made all the difference.  I was not good enough, I was not to be worried about.

     Many harsh and hurtful things were said to me by board members.  I would be closed down in a year.  I would never be able to keep up with the taxes, and advertizing, etc.  I was a flash in the pan.  The work would prove too hard and the pay too little.  Anything to discourage me.  When they were done watching me bleed, we got up to leave.  I was angry and ready to give a rude retort, when Ben put his hand on my arm to shush me.  He turned to the board and said, "Your studio in Lewiston is going to close and Kim is responsible for that".  Kim please look at these people and acknowledge that you are responsible for the closing of the Lewiston school.  Kim is the reason your school will close."  I was so shocked how could he do this to me.  I looked at him like he was from Mars but I turned and said that I was responsible.  He then said, " You have threatened to close this studio for the last 5 years by Kim's records,  she has kept it open and has classes that pay huge sums to your business (non-profit) with very little coming to her.  So if she is going to be hung for a horse thief she might as well have stole the pony.  Let's go sister." and he slugged me on the arm.  The look on the boards faces was priceless.  I had stolen their pony.  But not after giving them every opportunity to take care of the pony themselves.

     I felt so bad and did not sleep the whole night.  I just felt betrayed and I was the betrayer.  It was an awful feeling and it would take me years to get over it.  However several of the board members called me to apologize.  They had know idea I was doing as much as I was and they would certainly  have given me a raise.  They were sorry to see me go. That was a small comfort.  What was especially funny was that the Professional advanced Ballet teacher had taken a Nutcracker contract right after Thanksgiving and had not asked permission (as it would have been denied) and did not show up to teach any of his classes through the rest of December, I was called repeatedly by Witchie Poo to go teach after she had technically fired me.  This only allowed me more exposure to the parents and the poor running of the studio.  I did not clean or bring in toilet paper, but they were determined to keep it open for the rest of the year.  Good luck!

     Because Sissie and I had taken on our get out of debt plan by 50 I was able to give our daughter a beautiful Wedding without going into debt.  We had it all.  Not one thing was charged.  I did however call in many favors.  When you do as many things as I do non gratis people owe you and are glad to help you.  All decorations were given to us and were put up by a stage crew from the High School under the direction of their teacher.  Her wedding cake and grooms cake were made by an old director that I had done many ,many pieces of free choreography.  (it was a $700.00 cake).  The hall was a trade as I had huge studio fans that I do not use in the summer, the hall used them  and I was given free rent.  I made the dress, the bridesmaids dresses.  I alter tuxes for a store in town so the tuxes were free.  We mad all the food ahead at the Methodist church and  girlfriend who owns a large restaurant and catering company came in to over see the meal.  I had made her mother of the bride suit and altered her daughters dress a few years earlier.  Oldest has a beautiful voice and could certainly followed her Aunt into Opera, but she chose the law and sang in Jazz choirs all 7 years she was in college.  Her choir director loved her.  A great voice he could put any where without the drama or theatrics.  She just sang what he wanted where he wanted.  He put together our band.  All were professional jazz players and they traveled in from all over to this small town.  We had a drummer that had played on the Johnny Carson show.  It was a wonderful wedding in spite of my life being in chaos.

saga cont:

     I really must get busy my mother is going to yell at me.

Have a great and productive day.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday,my toungue is bleeding....

     I have a great deal of sewing to do today.   Not being able to sew on Friday has put me a little behind.  Mom and I made 5 apple pies yesterday and dried 10 trays of apples.  She came with 2 boxes of apples.  So I wanted to get them out of the kitchen before the fruit flies discovered them.  She seems to have calmed down.  I just want her to get to a place where she is not crying all the time and she can make logical decisions.  My brother is a terrible bully, and he keeps her so keyed up (on purpose) to control her.  She is such a mess.  I just never thought I would see my Mother like this.  She was always so strong and tough with me.  What happened?  I am trying to be very careful with what I say about my brother, as she has been lectured so much by everyone on what she needs to do.  But boy is it hard to bite my tongue.

     We are going to freeze at least three of the pies for her church bazaar.  She also wants to make several Swedish almond cakes and rosettes.  So I will be helping her cook while she is here.  She brought some projects with her.  Just want her to be happy and calm while she is here.  I want her to see that living with me or in Lewiston is a better place for her than where she is now.

     Right now I have a load of her laundry I just put in the drier.  She only has one pair of jeans as she has lost so mush weight.  I need to take her out and get her a couple more pair.  I told her this was how I was going to control her.  I would take her clothes and not let her get dressed.  She is in her nightgown right now eating breakfast, that my daughter cooked for her.

     One of the woman's presidency from our church came into the chapel yesterday while I was putting things away from a practice.  She had a huge pile of pans, bowls, dishes from meals that had been brought in for people and then brought back to the church.  As she staggered up the aisle I went to help her.  Well all the the items were mine except for one.  No wonder I can't find anything.  I am still missing at least 6 pie pans.
I went home with a pile of dishes.  Hubby was laughing at me.

Saga cont:

      Some where in this mess called life Sissie and I after trying and some what succeeding in getting our (my) house in order, decided to get our financial lives in order.  We came up with a plan to be out of debt except for our homes by the age 50!  I am now 55 so you can see how well that worked.  But life is a process.I know we both learned a lot and we did make huge progress.  It just takes so much longer than one thinks it is going to, get out of debt.  Changing old habits is hard.  Like alcoholics we had relapses, we justified our spending.  Mine was my kids, hers was .... well I don't know what hers was?  Maybe me?  I love you sissie!

      The fall that our oldest got engaged and I was deep into CATS! I was somewhat able to ignore the drama at the University.  I did my work at the studio, and tried to hold things together.  Because our director was such a ditz several of the professional teachers that were coming down to teach were very irresponsible.  Parents were steaming.  I was trying to cover their classes.  It just became obviuos that things were going to get very dicey.  I did not trust the new director, she was all about profit and I can understand that but I was not going to give my time away for free.  I was not going put up with teachers that did not show up.  This was the studio I had worked hard to preserve and I had 85 students that needed stability.  The work ethic of the other teachers affected me and my reputation.  Either she had to get the act together or I was going to leave.  I wanted to take over the studio down here and buy it from the University.  It was too hard for them to run it.  So this director in her sly way of avoiding me asked me to write up a business proposal she could take to the board to see if I could take over.

     This was all a lie on her part, she had no intention of having me take over.  I was her money bag.  I did not really know this as I was always told how broke they were.  I had really thought about leaving mostly because I just could not stand her.  But what about my students?  We had several very harsh phone conversations where I straight out called her a liar.  I don't know why she did not fire me.  I just remember so clearly calling my sissie so upset.  She told me she would help me write up a business proposal.  It was a Saturday morning.  I had been told about a promising studio space in an Historic building in downtown Lewiston.  I really did not want my own studio, I was scared, but I told sissie that I would call her back in about an hour.  I went upstairs and asked hubby if he would go with me to look at this building.  We hopped in the car and went down.  As I climbed the stairs into the 3rd floor I felt peaceful. Wide dark wood staircases,burgundy carpets, like an old bank.  When the land lord met us and let us into the studio space, I looked out the 10 high old fashioned windows that overlooked the confluence of the Snake and the Clearwater Rivers.  I felt so at peace, a warm feeling that this was where I was to be, things were going to be all right.  I went home and called my sissie.  I told her not to bother with the proposal, I was leaving and I had found a space.

saga cont:

     The phone is ringing off the hook and I need to get into the shop.

Have a great and productive day!


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Friday, late night post.

     We traveled round trip 450 miles today to get mom.  The roads were good.  Slid a couple times on the ice.  Scary, black ice on curvy, narrow mountain roads.  But the drive was beautiful.  Mom's house was a wreck.  The worst I have ever scene it since us kids left.  She is very depressed.  I am not sure at this point what to do.  We can't get my brother and his son out and the have destroyed the upstairs.  She just cries and cannot let go.  She feels if she has a restraining order put on them she will lose her son.  The problem was she lost that son years ago and just does not realize it.  I feel bad for her and I am at a total loss as to what to do.  She will stay here for about 10 days, but I really don't want her going back until the brother is out of the house.  She talked to a girl friend and was telling her that the last three weeks have been awful.  Brother has been yelling, screaming, throwing terrible fits,  he has her other set of car keys and takes her car every night even though he has no license.  If he is caught driving the car it will be impounded.  She has jewelry missing.  I packed up all that I could when we left.  He and his son have terrible battles and then the son comes down and begs mom to throw his father out.  I have to laugh in a way because we spent our childhood begging mom to do something about this brother, then our teenage years avoiding his temper and all of my married life trying to get her to see his horrible behavior and she will not stand up to him.  He has told her he will never leave that house, it is his and he has it by squatters rights.   Without her permission to do something against him we cannot help her.  She does not want to sell the house but that is what she will have to do. 

     We are going to look at houses here tomorrow.  But I am afraid they will end up here.  Can she keep them out here?  Such a dilemma.

     Came home and ran to the studio as we have a big performance tomorrow.  Advanced classes will do Thriller and the Corpse Bride tomorrow at the Pumpkin Festival Downtown.  I must be at the studio at 10 to start makeup on 18 kids.  I also had 2 homecoming dresses I had to finish tonight when I got home.  They are done a steamed and I am letting them dry.

      Saga cont:

     My arthritis seemed to be in remission.  It would flare once in a while but it really was controllable.  I was still running almost everyday and having the shop open was really helping our cash flow.  Things were by no means perfect, but I was trying to be more responsible, with my home and money.  I was still way to busy.  Every year our director at the the University would threaten to close the Lewiston school.  Just so many problems with teachers and staff.  So because I needed the job and I wanted a good dance education for my girls I had taken it upon myself to take care of all of the problems.  Flooding, I cleaned it up, lights burned out, I got a ladder and replaced them.  Studio too small , I negotiated with the land lord to give us a small apartment and found a contractor and worked with him for no pay to make a small studio. 

     It was darling and we used it every day.  I remember pulling a closet jamb out of the wall with a crow bar.  The entire jamb came out and I was off center so I stumbled and stepped on the jamb and a nail went through the ball of my foot.  Because I have had a few surgeries on the foot I have spots with no feeling.  I drug this board over because I could not get it off my foot.  The old contractor that was working with me had to stand on the board so I could pull.  Then it hurt.  White tennis shoe immediately filled with blood.  I then had to go get a Tetanus shot which was a bummer as I had so much heavy lifting and carrying to do to finish the studio and my arm was much more sore than the stupid foot.  Good times.
     Because I was an excellent seamstress/designer I made most of the costumes.  I was so stupid.  They just took such advantage of me.  My Celtic program continued to grow and so did my classes.  I really loved my director but she could not handle the stress of running the organization.  She ended up with breast cancer and her house burned it was just a bad year.  We were without a director for a year and back with the original founder who I believe was senile. It was such a mess.  I just continued to try and hold things together the best I could.  We would have these rehearsals for show  30 miles away up a terrible winding road in horrible snow storms.  We would rehearse all day to jell the show and often well almost always my routines were done and rehearsed  and the (PROFESSIONAL) dancers things were a mess.  I always assumed that people who had spent their lives dancing would know how to teach and choreograph.  Not the case.  It is very unusual to be  able to do all three.  I was so naive.  My directors would come whisper to me, "Kim wold you please go over and fix that group, help(Bertha, Mark, Alison, Jeff or who ever happened to be the professional of the year) get that movement together.  I had a way of suggesting and helping without making them feel that I was taking over.  I would always acquiesce to their judgement while suggesting something that might work.  I became very good at this.   To the point that with in a few years I was doing almost all of the work for major productions and when the show was up and running, my name was on the back cover with seamstresses.

     Now I have never been one to want the spotlight (that was my sister)  I have always been content to stay backstage and sew costumes and do the grunt work.  I often would write a show for a small rural school or go in and direct for a poorer parochial school and I would always say. " but please do not put my name on the program."   "But why", they would ask?  "I don't need the advertisement, I am too busy as it is."  I was serious when I said  things like that.  However the parents of the students that drove up the hill would be furious at their treatment of me.  It really was the parents that wanted to be done with the University that made me think I should branch out on my own.  I am stupid and very loyal.  I also did not want to own a dance studio.  I still had my youngest in grade school.  A dance teacher leaves home at 3 and comes home at 9.  She puts her love and devotion into her students.  I remember one of my favorite teachers whose daughter came up to me when I was in High School and said, "My mother loves you more than she loves me." I never wanted my kids to feel that way.

     We finally got a new director and she was a blond sorority bimbo.  Now I do not have anything against blonds, or sororities.  But imagine the worst cheerleader, self absorbed personality, barbie doll drip you can ever run into and double it and you will have my new director. She had no theater or stage background, I do believe she had taken some dance as a child.  She had a degree in business finance and could promote and advertise well.  I knew that money was always a big issue in the arts and the Universities program was floundering.   My parents hated her.  Most people who met her, hated her.  I decided I would give her the benefit of the doubt.  She was very good at balancing the books.  Which was great.  But she wasn't going to do it on my back.  I was tired of being taken advantage of, and being used.  I did not feel that she was honest.  I explained to her my medical condition and that I wanted to avoid some stressful situations.  She just did not get it.  After working with her for a year, I knew I needed to leave.  But our Oldest was graduating from Law School and she had been running a huge Irish Program for these people at the University of Washington's sub program.  Our Second daughter was graduating from High school and was teaching also. I just did not feel the time was right, or I chose to ignore the signs.

     Oldest moved to Boise to join her boyfriend and take pre law school exam courses.  She was set to take the bar in July.  She lived with hubbies folks and studied.  D#2 and I taught all the summer workshops even the ones that Oldest usually taught.  We were busy, my arthritis started to flare on the last workshop.  I told bimbo(new director)  that I would need help.  It was a Cat in the Hat theatrical dance workshop, which involved a lot of crafts and costumes.  I would need help cutting and sewing as one of my arms was braced.  She said she would make sure I had help.  I remember leaving her office and walking down the corridors of the P.E. building to the dance studio and I got a distinct feeling that I was to turn around and give notice.  But I was afraid.  I ignored this warning and it would come back to a haunt me for years.  I received no help and the workshop was a huge success.  She wanted to take the kids to a farmers market to performs so she could beat up enrollment.  I told her I did not live in this town and I was busy she would have to do that herself.  So she did, and then took credit for all my work.  She also bought a big sound system from a store used it once for the performance and took it back as she really did not need it.  Now is that something you do in front of kids?

     In the mean time D#2 decided she was going to try out for a productions of "CATS".  She had always wanted to play Victoria the white cat.  I did not mind.  All of the girls have great voices. ( Did I tell you that my twin sissie is/was an opera singer?)  Not a big deal except she got the part and told the director( an old Broadway legend whom I am scared to death of) that I would make her costume.  Okay fine  what is one little cat costume, when I just got done with 24 Cat in the Hat costumes?  I ordered a white turtleneck unitard and sprayed a yoke of white glitter pant on the chest.  I also sprayed the same paint on the thighs to give her definition.  I took an old pair of pantie hose and made a skull cap and then took white fir and cut it into random pieces and sewed it on the cap.  I formed ears and it looked just like a cat wig.  I got a couple of different kinds of white yarn and loomed long white furry leg warmers and hand spats.  The tail was a white feather boa and I added a pink ribbon covered with glued on Rhine stones at her neck.  Throw in some white jazz boots , took it to the theater done!  About a week into rehearsal I get a call from the (Broadway legend)   director who asks me to just sit in on a costume meeting with a committee. I don't have to do anything just sit in.

     This meeting is held on a Sunday afternoon, which right away throws me off as I don't like to work on Sundays.  So I meet at this huge really beautiful rich woman's house with all these stuffy, artsy, fartsy people to discuss costumes.  Now some of these women have parts in this production and of course they want fabulous costumes.  Well there is no budget.  They have a book of the original production and they want this and that.  I finally after 2 hours of getting no where ask, "How many of you can sew".  One of them raises her hand.  I then explained that they needed to make 36 different cat costumes, with no budget and in a very small town with out any real theater or sewing supplies.  What they wanted was out of the question and could not be done.  The one woman that sewed suggested that she and I each take 7 costumes  that was 16 including her and D#2's would be done.  The rest would need to be done by the committee.  We would help over see and teach them how to use a crochet loom and put together a wig.  To  make this long story shorter, I did my share and so did the other woman, with whom I became great friends.  We were three days to open and none of the other costumes were finished.  We had taken the hardest costumes.  What In HE#$ was going on?  The poor director looked like he was going to have a stoke.  My new friend and I stay up for three days and got every single one of the those damn things done.  I would start to cry and she would comfort me and then she would start to cry and I would comfort.  It went on like this with a lot of diet coke.

     The morning the show opened, we had both gotten a few hours of sleep.  I had a queen sized bed in the shop and when I came downstairs here she was asleep with a crochet hook in her hand.  We still had all the rat and mouse heads to do for one scene and I was so tired and mad.  I was really MAD!  So I went for a run to calm down.  I felt that 5 miles on the track would give me a new perspective.  When I got home, I noticed that the light was flashing on my answering machine.  Who would call this early in the morning and leave a message?  It was the oldest daughter and she had passed the bar so had her boyfriend!  All of a sudden I did not care about my problems or lack of sleep or my aggravation with rich bitchy women that don't have a clue, I was just so happy.  You see it is perspective, and I could have had 10 more costumes thrown at me and I still would have been on cloud nine.  Even better that night after the show opened and it was a smash success, I got a late call from D#1  she had something very sparkly on her finger, her boyfriend had proposed.  I heard her go into her grandparents room and wake them up to tell them.  It was just so darn cute.

Saga cont:

Gots to go to bed.

Have a good night.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thursday, It is debt goes down day!

  Hey, hey look, look. Look at me!  Yeah over here by the window, Look at my debt.  It has gone down this month by (drum roll please) $2789.10  yes, yes it has and it is going to continue.

And, and, and, and,  you might also notice that my house is below $100,000.  That always makes one feel better!  It will be at least 10 months before it drops below $90,000.  I will get there.  In 10 months I should have the studio/loc paid off and the truck.  Cross your fingers.

     Sewed like a demon yesterday and I still have things to get done today. Just got a call from a grandmother who needs her granddaughters dress altered for home coming and I will see her later tonight.  I will have to fix it Saturday morning.  I have no choice.  Hubby and I are getting up early tomorrow to go get mom.  She is excited and calls me every few hours.

     The woman who is doing housekeeping for me in exchange for dance is here and the upstairs smell so good.  Maybe I just need to pour a little pine sol down the cracks and call it good.  Smells clean!

     I really need to get to the studio books done, I am avoiding them because I am broke!  I don't want to know:)

Saga cont:

     The real problem with getting a disease like this is that it is not curable.  You can go into remission, but it will come back.  You just treat it for as long as you live.  I wanted to live a long time.

     The first 6 months were grueling.  Constant stomach pains and a lot of time spent in the bathroom.  I was so tired.  I had to keep going.  I thought we would lose the house.  But we did not get behind on anything.  I continued to work as much as I could.  We went and added $35,000 worth debt for medical bills and meds and missed work in 6 months.  In order to do this we tapped the equity in our home.  Stupid I know, but we did it.  If my kid needed a kidney I would go there.  But with my new mindset on debt I don't think I would do that again.
     Things were tough, but I was blessed and went into remission.  The drugs worked and I really felt like I had gotten my life back. My younger sister sent me $3000.00 as a gift to get caught up on doctor bills and water, sewer, gas, utilities.  I was very careful to always pay the bills that reported to credit agencies first.  I would let utilities and doctors slide.  I would send $10.00 to  doctors.  Always a little something and the utilities I paid what I could; I was on a program for people that were sick so I could rack up a bill and not be disconnected.  But I knew in my heart that this was the last fix I would get.  My family was just tired of me not making my own way.

     Over the years we as sisters and our mother had always taken a girls trip.  I was always included, but I never had any money to actually take the trip.  My sisters always bought my plane ticket and paid my way.  I would try to scrounge enough money to have a little spending money for cokes and jokes as we call it.  I would try so hard to make sure I looked good.  I would get my hair colored (it was always a disaster)  I would put on my nicest clothes and meet my sisters in the airport.  They would both take one look at me up and down and say with disgust we are going shopping.  I started not packing anything but underwear as nothing I had wold be good enough anyway.

      I remember one trip when B was a baby, we were so broke.  I drove to Missoula to fly out as mom had bought my ticket, I think we were going to Virginia Beach that year.  Mom gave me a $50.00 bill.  When we met my two sisters At BWI each of them secretly gave me $50.00.  So now I had $150.00.  This continued through out the 7 days I was with them.  When I got home I had $450.00 enough to pay the house payment.  They paid for everything and I did not spend a dime.  I, in my childlike mind did not realize they knew I was doing this, that they talked behind me, I thought I was so clever and doing this on the sly.  It was very embarrassing, to never have any money.  To always be the country cousin.  I had no choice and I love my sisters for their generosity.

Sissie  and I embarked on a new program. We decided together that we would tackle the debt and we would be out by the time we were 50.  I am 55 right now so you can see how successful that plan was.  We laugh about it now.  We, I, she and I were much more successful at learning to keep a clean and organized home than in not spending money.  We tried really hard and we did make real progress in certain areas.  For instance I used to have 7 or 8 store cards with balances.  I was always juggling and felt I was spending less when I was splitting up the debt on different cards.  (How stupid was that).  We both got rid of all cards but two.  One for personal and one for business.  This made a huge difference.  Just the number of bills to pay and the due dates.  It really helped with interest.  I also learned the hard way that we cannot have two car payments at once.  It is just too hard and we don't make enough money to pay for two cars.  I will never do that to myself again.  I will walk or buy a $1000.00 in town beater.

    I became very frugal, reading every book I could find on debt.  It scared the kids.  Remember the spoiled kids?  They did not like that mom was getting her act together.  They have survived.  When I say I have no money, I have no money.  It has taken me years to say no to my kids.  It is still hard, now I use the excuse your dad is trying to retire in a couple years, do you want him to have to work forever?  See I can be a Jewish Mother when I want to.  I even use the accent. My biggest dilemma with debt and my bills was cash flow.  We always had enough to squeak out the bills, even if they were minimum payments, but never enough for gas and groceries. I just had no cash.  Nothing extra. Ever.

     After we had taken in a myriad of really bad exchange students, my illness and state of mind was beginning to be affected.  Sissie and I talked almost every day.  I would whine to her, she would whine to me.  Sissie has always been able to look into my life and tell me where to go next.  She was as fed up with the students as I.  She could logically see how they brought in more problems than money.   Finally the last one (Meju) broke the camels back.  I called Sissie with her latest escapade, and Sis said get rid of her, let her go.  I was terrified as I needed that $400.00 a month.  Sis said no you don't, not as bad as you need sanity.  Sis told me to reopen the shop.  Go back to sewing.  Kim.  How much sewing do you need to do a week to make just $100.00?  I thought about it and really that was not very much.

     So I went down had business cards made again, put and add in the paper's business directory (it has not stopped running for 9 years) and I went to the 3 dry cleaners in town to ask for referrals.  One of the dry cleaners gave me work immediately.    I went home with over $100.00 worth of work.  Now sis would say to me,  "You just have to make up the exchange student the rest is cream."  It was so easy I could not see why I had given this up.  Why was I so immature that I could not see where my money was coming from?
This advice was the best I have ever been given.  It was so obviuos.  I started to make money and I had cash flow.  I had enough to put gas in the car.  I had enough to buy groceries.  I had enough to squirrel away money for things we wanted or needed.  It was possible.  I still have down times when work is caught up and I start to fret, you have all heard me do this, but the reality is I was am slowly making it.

     I rearranged the girls rooms and took my shop out of the hallway.  I took over the largest bedroom and Richard knocked a handicapped door into the wall by the garage.  So now customers did not have to climb the steep stairs into the house but could pull right up or into the garage and go right into the shop. I started to pay attention to advertizing.  I just learned to sew during the day and teach dance a few nights a week and also clean a building.  It was still a tough schedule.  I did not have to deal with a cranky, selfish, spoiled, student.  Life was getting better.

     I begged the University to allow me to start an Irish dance program in the Lewiston school.  They thought it was a flash in the pan.  My classes had always been large so they allowed me on hour.  I had about 8 adults and teenagers that first year.  The next year they allowed me a children's class.  Again I had about 8 students.  On St. Patrick's Day I took my little group to several schools to dance.  It was a lot of work and I had made beautiful costumes for them.  The following year I had 25 new students sign up and the program was born.  My oldest had started a program for the University in Pullman at one of their schools.  Hers was a huge success also.   It became pretty clear that my daughter and I were making money for this dance program.  We also were very good choreographers and were good at putting out fires.  In the arts there is always a fire.  The success of our programs was a great boon for the University, one of my one hour classes alone, brought in over $1700.00 a month.  We started doing really big productions always up at the University never in my home town.  I would be dragging 85 kids up the hill to perform several times a year.  Parents were getting owly.   Why were we not doing these productions in or own town?

Saga continued.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wednesday, Making progress

    As we are going to get Mom Friday and we have a homecoming on Saturday, I have at least 5 dresses that have to go out today.  So major sewing. I also have, I mean HAVE TO balance the books and get the rest of the months bills paid.  Hubby's second check will come tomorrow and this has gone on too long.  You see I am now into intuitive checking.  I think I might have the money to cover that?  But maybe not.

     I learned at least 20 years ago that my intuition about money is always more positive than actual reality. It can get me into trouble.  I have to say I took the 2 CC's I have out of my purse.  I would have used them last Saturday if they had been in there.  When I realized they were not I was really careful.  Bad habits are so hard to correct and so easy to get back into with out even thinking.  I need to think more.

     Every month that I don't add to my debt I am making progress.  I have to keep telling myself that, over and over.  I am excited to see my numbers at the end of the month.  I want to see the difference grow.


      I seem to be getting mixed up in my years as things tumble into each other and I was so busy that life was overlapping.  My family (sisters and mother) had been on me for some time to get a full time job.  They just felt that I was running too hard and that my money problems were the fact that I gave so much of my time away.  This was true.  When you are in the arts you do a lot of Pro Bono work. 

     Because I spent so much time working at my friends nursery in the spring, I was offered a part time job at another bigger plant nursery across the River.  The owner called me and asked me to name my price.  I told him something I felt was outrageous at the time and he said yes!  So two or three days a week I went to work at this large nursery.  I loved it.  I love to be outside.  I love to dig in the dirt.  The owner was very good about letting me work around my dance schedule and the arts.  The nursery closed down at Thanksgiving and opened in early March.  I also did his show booth during the off season.

     He had a manager at the nursery, whom I liked.  She had major problems, both physical and mental.  I have the ability to get along with people.  I really can get along with almost anyone.  It is one of my gifts.  I just try to find out what makes them tick.  She did everything she could to discourage me from working there and she was sometimes just down right mean and unfair, but I just smiled and kept right on with my job.  This seemed to irritate her even more.  My work was beyond reproach so she could not cross me on those grounds.  My sales were also substantial.  I love to draw up plans for yards and landscaping.  I was able to keep the work crews busier with my sale of trees and shrubs.

     After the winter layoff which was good for me as both Christmas shows were done and so was the spring musical and the big Celtic show.  I went back to work full time.  This really angered the manager.  I was put in charge of sales and customers and she was to manage the nursery.  I still had my share of hard work, but she threw a fit and walked out.  I did not want her to leave.  I did not want the full time care of this large nursery, but it is what I got.  I learned so much there.  It was an amazing opportunity to grow in an area that I had so loved.

     My Sissie came to stay with me that spring.  Because I was working full time, the house was taking a hit.  I was still teaching dance but we had actually given up cleaning late at night.  Sissie tried to organize me and she did a good job, but she could see that the physically hard work of the nursery was getting to me.  I was driving tractors, loading and unloading plants and the work was back breaking.  I never minded hard work in fact I like it, however it was tearing my body apart.

     The other thing that I noticed was that I was getting no where with my debt.  Mom and step-dad had come in and loaned us $30,000 to pay off all our debts except the house.  I was floundering on high interest.  The payment on this loan was $400.00 a month for 10 years.  So essentially we were paying two house payments.  I just had not learned not to spend money I did not have.  I was working full time and making decent money, I also had part time jobs that brought in money.  Why was I not able to control myself?  My problem was the house was way more than we could really afford and I spoiled my kids.

     We still had exchange students and Sissie had such a good time with them when she visited.  She went out and insisted that Hubby and I have a new King Size bed.  She also insisted that we get a dishwasher.  Both of these items I have never regretted.  Sissie is smarter than me sometimes.  I was so paranoid about spending any money on large items but I would throw money out the window on crap for the kids.

     I look back at the season that I ran the nursery as one of my happiest years.  I really loved the job.  I liked my boss.  Lay off came at Thanksgiving and I could collect unemployment for the winter. I was having problems with my hands and elbows.  I just thought it was over working them at the nursery.  When my feet started to bother me it was just over work at the dance studio.  Then I started to run low grade fevers.  Sometimes I would get the chills so bad it was incapacitating.  Now I had , had symptoms like these my whole adult life, I ignored them, they went away.  But this time they did not leave.  I was having nightly spasms of chills that hurt my back so bad I felt like my muscles were tearing off my back.  It was not a good winter.  I tried to exercise thinking it would help.  My fingers were swelling up like sausages and I could not bend them.  I went to the Doctor and they ran tests for RA but they came back negative.  The doctor however did not want me to go back to the nursery.  The work was too hard on my body.

     Great now I had given up cleaning, and working at the other nursery what was I to do?  I called both places and they were glad to have me back.  We picked up the Police station which was a great contract and I could work at the flower nursery for crappy wages but all the flowers I wanted.  It was a short season.  I could also substitute teach.  I was back to the Kim scramble.  My finances were a mess and this led to stress, I was just trying to convince myself I was okay and keep going.  I did through the summer and the fall.  It was very hard.  I was an emotional mess.  I did not know what was wrong with me, obviously it was in my head.

     Finally, close to Christmas I went to the doctor and I saw a nurse practitioner.  The chills I had at night were so bad, my hands were so bad.  I had bruises up and down my spine that looked like I had been hit by a ball pine hammer.  Of course all blood work came back negative.  But this wonderful woman said to me, " Something is wrong with you, I don't know what, but I have made you an emergency appointment with a Rhuematologist in Spokane tomorrow."  I remember my girlfriend drove me up, she was also a nurse practitioner and she had long been wondering when I was going to do something about my hands.  The blood work came back negative again, but the doctor there started me on medications anyway and sent the lab work onto the Mayo clinic.

     Our insurance at the time, did not have a co-pay.  You had to meet your deductible before it paid anything.  These blood tests were running $700.00 and $900.00.  Office visits and lab work were barely covered.  Now I was on a very expensive medication also not covered.  The mayo results were Synovial RA.  Rare, deadly and mine was out of control.  They had to get me into remission and now.  I was put on a new experimental drug that was about $1200.00 a month.  Insurance did not cover it.  I continued to work, but the drugs made me  very sick. We were climbing deeper and deeper into debt and I felt so helpless to stop the spiral.  I felt like I had ruined our lives.  We would lose everything we had worked so hard to achieve.  This disease usually does not cripple a person.  It does affect the joints and they do become swollen and tender, but its real damage is cause to connective tissue in the body.  Your vocal chords, your, lungs, your eyes and your heart are held together by connective tissue.  Heart failure is a real concern with this type of RA.  You must keep it from affecting the heart valves.  The inflammation must be kept under control.  I had let it get way out of control.

saga cont:

    I am going into the shop to work on Homecoming dresses and other things.

Out My Window:  Beautiful Fall day.  It is supposed to hit 71 today.  Wish I was outside.

Have a great and productive day.



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tuesday, Goodby Mr. Chicago

     I had to put down our beloved Mr. Chicago yesterday.  We adopted this furry little grey and white bundle from our traveling Vet.  She had called me to ask if I would come get a kitten.  She had too many and would be in trouble if she didn't give a few away.  So I took our oldest with and drove out to the Vet's ranch.  She escorted us into a tiny bathroom and out of the corner of my eye I saw a flash of something.  It crawled up my leg and attached itself to my t-shirt.  A little kitten, that was so ferocious.  It hissed at me.  The Vet tried to get it off but they don't retract their claws at that age and I told her to just leave it.

     She said we call that one Mr. Chicago because he has white spats, a white front and a bow tie.  I don't really know if you should take him because he is Ferrel and has been bottle raised.  He may never adjust to humans well.  He has always been a little on edge since we found him, in a dumpster eating a throw away sandwich.  He is very possessive about food.  Well he was also possessive about me.  I just felt that he had chosen me.  So we took him home.

     He never really bonded with the other girls.  He liked Hubby and he liked me.  We had to get the girls another cat to play with.  Chicago did not play with children.  He grew into a huge sleek grey and white Tom cat.  The Vet always said to him, " Mr. Chicago you have hit the cat lottery."  He prowled and moused and owned the house.

     When we moved from the old house into the house we live in now, he knew something was up.  No one could catch him.  Finally we were into our last load and I sent the oldest and her boyfriend to catch Chicago.  What a fight.  I have never seen an animal put up a fight like Chicago did, but finally he was in a large box, hissing and spitting like a Tasmanian Devil.

     When we arrived at the new house and was released he took off out the back door and I did not see him for 10 days.  I tried to work in the yard everyday and once in a while I would see what I thought was him, when I would call out his name; I would get the tail lifted and a view of his back side.  He was definitely mad.  About 2 weeks after the move he slouched into the back door and demanded to be fed.  He then ran downstairs and hid under a bed.  Now he stayed under that bed for three days.  He only came out to eat.  Finally one morning I was asleep and I felt a thud on my chest.  Here was Chicago glaring at me.  I started to talk softly to him about his attitude and I scratched his head and ears, rubbing my hand under his chin like he loved me to do and soon he was purring away and happy or the first time in a month.

     Chicago lived King of his domain through many other cats and batches of kittens.  He basically ignored most people unless he felt you were deemed good  at petting, then he might give you the time of day.  When Chicago was about 11 we got our dog Sandy.  She was B's dog.  B was home alone so much when she was in High School and she really wanted a dog.  We loved Sandy a mutt that we rescued from a Vet that took abandoned animals.  She is the smartest dog I have ever seen.  Chicago hated her.  I mean with a red hot hate of the damned.  So he moved next door.

     Our next door neighbors had 2 dogs and a cat.  The cat lived with us most of the time.  I would often find the larger of their 2 dogs asleep with the girls downstairs.  Community pets we called them.  Chicago could not be convinced to move home.  So we left him with the neighbors.  They were getting ready to downsize and both of their dogs were gone and I think Chicago was a comfort.  He loved solitude and quiet and so did they.  But when they sold the house they could not find Chicago.  He was not moving again.  Cats are smart by nature and Chicago was smart for a cat.

     Within a couple of days he was back with me and he was miserable.  He still hated Sandy and Sandy loved to chase him.  But at 14 he did not want to be chased.  Three years ago a new family with 3 children moved into the house next door.  It was a young doctor who was doing his residency at the hospital.  Chicago moved back to his other home.  They got him a heated outdoor cat house.  He spent most of his time sunning himself, and trying to get away from the 3 year old twins.  He suffered being dressed in baby clothes ( he had certainly mellowed)  After the doctors residency was over he moved his family to another town about 30 miles away, but they kept this house as he does rounds down here 2 days a week.  Chicago is now a very old man of 17.  He is skinny and stiff in the joints.  When the doctor would come home Chicago would follow him from room the room and complain.  He became very vocal in his last year always chewing doc out for leaving.  Doc would lift Chicago onto the counter (what a bad habit) fix then something to eat and then pet Chicago and go to bed.  Chicago wanted him there.  This relationship went on for about a year.  Chicago has always been a fighter and somewhere along the lines he contracted Feline AIDS.

     He would only grow weaker and would not be able to survive outside.  He was also a danger to our cats and others as he could bite them give them this disease.  I called the traveling Vet that had given me Chicago and asked her what to do.  She said it was better for him to be put down.  She said the late stages of the disease were horrible and I should not let him reach that stage of the illness.  So yesterday doc came to the door, got a pet carrier and we went over to get Mr. Chicago.  He was laying sprawled out in his favorite sun beam.  Both of us called him and he acknowledged our presence with a flip of his tail.  Doc picked him up and caressed him and I got the carrier ready.  I did not know if this would work as Chicago is smart and has a sixth sense.  The first time was a wash, he was out of the carrier in a flash, but doc was too fast for him and we managed to get him in while I slammed the gate.  I thought we would now listen to a chorus of Chicago's spitting and grouching, but he was completely silent.  He just looked at us through the grates with his yellow eyes.

     I called the Vet and she came over about 2 hours later.  Chicago slept next to me in the carrier on the floor.  He seemed content and resigned.  It was over so quickly, just a reach into the carrier and he was gone.  We wrapped him in a little blue bag and spoke to each other about his wonderful life.  17 years of Chicago's cat lottery.  I will miss him.

     I am behind in the shop having to take on the cat yesterday so I must get to work.  Who is reading this nonsense anyway? My readership is over 500 a day now it is getting kind of creepy.  :)

Out My Window: beautiful, I want to be outside so bad.

Have a great and productive day,  more saga tomorrow, sorry running behind!


Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday, Nice weekend

     I had a nice weekend.  Girls were here for Dinner yesterday.  We had steaks, baked potatoes, salad, and squash from the garden.  So good.  Pumpkin pie of course.  I still have pumpkin in the fridge that needs to be cooked, but I am going to buy those frozen pie shells to put it in, as I am not going to waste good home made crusts on a filling of which I am not fond.  I will send them to Hubby's office.  With whip cream it is just fine and they will eat anything.

     B filled a couple of bags with groceries out off the storage.  She had brought a friend with her and the friend was just amazed.  So I asked B what she needed.  She took ketchup, mayo, pickles, cold cereal, milk (I had an extra gallon for pies) butter, frozen chicken breasts, cube steaks, oil, cake mixes, pam spray, eggs from the chicken, peanut butter.  I have all of this on shelves or in the freezer.  When I see a good buy I stock up and keep extra.  It really does save money.  I think everyone should have a little stock pile of basics if they can.  It will really get you through tough times.  Or when you have a college student:)

     There is a homecoming dance at the High school across the River.  So I have several dresses to do, it should be a good week.  I think we are going to get my Mom this Friday and bring her back to Lewiston for a while.  Hubby and I will drive together and I will drive her car back here so she can get around town herself.  Hubby is fiddling at a Chili feed fund raiser at the Methodist church here the first week in November and I hope to get Mom to go to that, as I want her to make friends here so she feels comfortable moving.  But we will see.  She is pretty stubborn.

     There are plenty of leftovers for dinner tonight so I will not cook.  But I will run through the house and get the rest of the laundry done.  Hubby's bed still has the extra quilts on it and his bedding is ready to go back upstairs as it is dry.  I have had several phone calls already this morning so I need to get into the shop.  The house is looking a little seedy and needs a thorough wipe done and dusting, but I hope someone else does that. :)  I want a House Elf. 

    Saga cont:

     It was three days before they were able to find Dad.  I don't think I slept at all during the time he was missing.   I remember sitting on the sofa in front of the TV and trying to turnoff the TV with the telephone.  I was just so distraught, rummy and tired that I would get them two mixed up.  I went every where with the phone.  The strange thing was that my step mom did not call to tell us our dad was missing.  I waited and waited for her phone call.  Finally I called her and she was very defensive.  As in , "Who told You?"  She said she did not want to call us until they found him.  But I did not buy that.  It was just strange. 

     Dive crews came from all over ND and SD to look for dad's body.    I could not figure out how they could not find him when they only had about 2 miles of canal to search.  I asked Richard where he had last seen dad and he told me.  In fact they had gotten into a heated argument on the side of the canal.  Dad was not supposed to take the boat out, it was Richard's boat.  Richard had the right to be angry.  Dad could be a poop.  Richard was on his way to give an electrical quote to a young couple.  Dad had agreed to pull over at a certain bridge so Richard could have the boat.    Richard delivered the quote went back to the bridge and that is where he saw that the boat was empty.  It came around the corner of the canal  empty.  Richard went nuts   He did not have a cell phone, but the young couple that he had just given the quote to drove by and Richard flagged them down.. They went into town to call the sheriff. 

     Waiting was Hell.  Finally on the 3rd day they talked of draining the canal and I asked Richard why it was taking so long and he told me they were searching in the wrong place.  I then call ed the Sheriff and told him to get Richard down there to mark where he had last seen Dad.   Now I don't know why they didn't do this in the first place.  Dad's body was just a few yards down resting peacefully.   He was trying to tie a fishing hook on his pole when he went down.  I know this because his teeth were out and his reading glasses were on, he also had a fishing hook hooked into one of his hands and that kept his hands together.  He looked like he was praying when they brought him up. 

     I ordered a full autopsy and told them to put his teeth back into his mouth and leave the fish hook.  There was very little water in his lungs indicating that he had not breathed much under water.  He died of a massive stroke.  But he had a full load of walleye and he was working on his last fish.  I can see him now.  When ever dad wanted to work on something tiny or that took good concentration he of course used his glasses.  But he hated his dentures and always said he could not concentrate with them in.  So his front shirt pocket always had glasses or teeth.  I had been fishing enough with him to know just exactly what he had been doing. We had his funeral 11 days after he went down.  He was handsome in his brown leather suit coat, glasses, and his fish hook on his finger. But let me tell you.  Do not have an open casket funeral when a body has been under water for 3 days and then in a morgue for 6 more.  He smelled so bad it was hard not to gag.  At the graveside we sat down wind as the wind is always blowing in the Dakotas and even with the casket shut it was horrible.  If anything smells particularly bad in our family we all say, "Ew, grandpa."  We are sick and twisted people and have no respect for the dead.

     The funeral was a hoot.  Standing room only.  I don't believe for a second dad was that popular, but in a small town of 435 people he was news.  Plus he was such a character I am sure they wanted a peek at his family.  So we descended on that small town like the pack of wild animals that we are, I don't think Turtle Lake was ever the same.  They had lost their village idiot and would have plenty of stories about the little idiots to tell for a while.    There are only 2 places to eat in town and a couple of bars.  Just immediate family brought in over 75 people.  Where do you put them?  How do you feed them?  One of my cousins races thorough bred horses.  She was between races and pulled in with an 8 horse trailer.   That small town opened it's arms to our family.  Strangers housed us.  The restaurants fed us.  People stayed open late and opened up early to take care of us.  Richard's was packed and the horses where tethered on lawns all up and down the street.  My cousin was able to exercise the horses up and down main street.  Amazing people.  Food was sent to dad's to feed us which Dar immediately took and froze.  We were hardly allowed in the house.  The house was in my name so Dar could not keep me out.  When people found out about the food more was sent to Richard's it was like a huge soup kitchen.  Richard loved it.   I don't think the people of Turtle Lake were expecting educated successful children.  Dad had good genes just bad habits.

     Richard was so upset that his last words to Dad were in anger.  They both had nasty tempers and Richard's was worse as his Alzheimers became worse. We had a big family reunion and more laughs and fun that we should have, most of them at Dad's expense.  The morning of the funeral I was walking down the steps of my cousins house.  I had my arms full of pictures and crystal picture frames. We were going to make a display of pictures outside of dad's church Foyer.  I don't know what happened, but I slipped and fell smashing all the frames and I broke my ankle.  My sister heard it snap.  I refused to go to the hospital and it swelled up like a balloon immediately.   The weird thing is that is was numb.  So I put on my black pantie hose and suit and luckily mules were in fashion then so I stuffed my foot into the black mule and went to the funeral.  I spoke, Eldest sang, Hubby played dad's father's violin, it was a beautiful laughter filled service.

     We spent the next day buying sweat shirts that said Turtle Lake on them and then wore them up and down main street with our heads pulled inside.  Imagine 40 people lined up like this.  Then we would count and all pop our heads out at the same time. Like Turtles.  Such a clever bunch.  Betty Boops bar was busy that night and we all reminisced and had fun. Well I was by that time in pretty severe pain, but I kept limping along.  It was the 17 hour drive back to  Lewiston with my foot up that killed me.  I went in and had an Xray and it was cracked so into a boot for 6 weeks.  It took me 2 years to get my speed back on that foot and it still aches when it is cold.

     Richard was lonely, he spent more time with us and his family.  It was very obvious now that he had serious dementia.  I took him to the doctor here several times and as I was signed as his contact here I was able to find out so much about his Alzheimers.   It affects everyone differently and there are several categories.  Richard had always said he was terrified of alzheimers.  He would put a bullet through his head if he ever thought he would go this way.  This was a great concern of mine and I voiced that to the Doctor.  He said don't worry he won't realize what is happening, and it will be too late for him to act.  If anything he will die by accident do to poor judgment because of the Alzheimers that is why they have to be so carefully watched.  Richard did not recognize people in town who knew him very well.  It was sad.

    It was just safer to have him in Turtle Lake, where every one knows everybody and he could not get lost.  His brother called him every day.  Neighbors checked on him.  He would call us regularly but would forget who he was talking to.  I remember we were discussing him as  family and telling the girls that soon he would have to be put in a home.  He would not recognize them.  I remember B was about 13 at the time and she said, "Grandpa will never forget me."  How sweet and naive.

     I was sad when Dad passed but also relieved.   I did not have to drive out there or buy a plane ticket every time there was a crisis.  He was a financial drain.  We estimated that we had spent over $18,000 in the 5 years dad had been in Turtle Lake.  One bombshell we found out is that Dad and Dar had never married.  They appeared as man and wife and I truly thought they were married.  They had been together for over 20 years.  He moved into Dar's the day Mom made him move out of the house.  Because Hubs and I were on all the property notes and ND does not recognize common law marriage put Dar in a sticky position.  We could not deed over the property to her as she had no legal right as dad's wife.  What a mess.  I gave her everything.  She had cared for him and he was not good to her.  He had women on the side all the time and I don't know why she stayed with him.  But she had all of their possessions and land.  She also had a huge funeral bill.  Dar was very mercenary and was always looking for someone to take the bill.  None of us did.  My sister was going to pay the cost and I said no.  She can sell out and pay and then she will have a small nest egg.  She was terrified that I would come and kick her out of the house.  Of course I did not do that, but she ordered the grand funeral and when I first spoke to her after dad disappeared, I asked her about funeral expenses.  She said they were taken care of, well they were not and then she was looking for someone to pay for them..  I had, had enough of being taken advantage of, she had children that could help her and by deeding all the land over to her in the Montana court where they recognized common law marriage allowed her to sell all the property and get out.  That chapter of my life was over  Except for our attachment to Richard.

     I was still trying to clean and teach dance and substitute teach.  But a new opportunity came knocking and I took it.

(To be continued)

     I have had so many dresses come in today I had better get to the machines.

 Out My Window: It is such a beautiful day today.

Have a great and productive day!


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday, the midnight hour

     I am so stupid sometimes.  I really need to be locked up for my own protection.  I woke up really late this morning.  It was Saturday so I did not care.  Hubby let me sleep late as he was working on a talk for church.  This was as late as I have slept unless I was sick in a long time.  Got up and put on yard clothes.  Hubby mowed the lawn and  I continued to clean the garden.  It is completely empty now.  Hubby will winter till it next weekend.   I did a lot of cleaning and cutting around the pond area.  Trimmed I don't know how many branches off the crab apple tree.  It still needs work.  The wisteria is also a work in progress.  My really big job today was all the bamboo.  I cut and cut.  Bagged about 12 large bags and had to weed one of the rock paths.  Thanks goodness those are done.  At 3:30 we had an hour to load everything up and get to the dump.  Usually we load out the back which means we have to drag everything up a steep hill.  I asked hubby to drive the truck up to the edge of the garage roof and he and I put every thing on the roof and then I moved it across as I don't weigh that much.  I dropped everything off the roof into the truck bed.  Bags went on last to hold down the branches.  Truck was loaded in about 15 minutes.  I have done this before, but could never convince him.  Much easier, I think he will do it my way from now on.

     We got to the dump with 7 minutes to spare.  We are unloading and hubby says, "Jump up into the truck and throw down the bags."  Yeah like I jump up into a 4 wheel drive truck beds on a daily basis.  The man is so clueless.  So after lifting me into the truck and we unload he says, "Jump down", so I jumped on him.  He won't be making that request for a while.  Whew!  Now we need to go and get things for D#2's birthday dinner tomorrow.  After going to 4 places we get home and I have hubby split  a pumpkin and I roast it while I am putting away groceries and cleaning up the kitchen.  He also roasted the seeds, yum!  Then I went to make pie crust.  Well I can only find 3 pie plates.  When I make pies, I make pies.  If you are going to go to that mush work at least make it worth your while.  I am frustrated and tired and I don't want to go back to the store to get tin foil plates.  So I decide to just make 4 pie crusts.  I have small patty pan pie pans and I crust up the three pans and two patty pans.  Finish cleaning the kitchen and ask hubby to carry up a really big basket of laundry.

     We are now sorting through the laundry on an unmade bed.  I did not make the bed this morning just got out into the yard.  We go to pull up the covers and one of the animals I  am thinking the old cat has gotten sick on the bed.  Managed to hit every blanket and sheets.  I also left the bedroom door open all day so I kinda asked for this.  Animals not allowed in bedroom.  Anyway hubs and I Strip bed and I notice that the king size mattress pad is shredded on Hubs side.  It had given up the ghost.  We flipped the mattress and I went and pulled out a new king size mattress pad I had purchased on an 80% clearance.  Made the bed up with extra blankets and proceeded to do a ton of laundry.  In fact it is still going and will be going again tomorrow.  I had hubs help me change the guest room bedding also and put on the heated mattress pad so when mom comes she will be warm.

     The pumpkin is done and cool so I scrap it out and mash it.  I have enough for 5 pies, so I will just put the extra in a baking dish.  Start to put in sugar and spices and eggs, but something does not look right.  Like and Idiot I have doubled the sugar.  It is like pumpkin pie syrup.  I don't want to throw it out, so I add more canned pumpkin and eggs and milk and spices, and I now have enough for 10 pies.  But no pie pans.  I also had to get hubby out of bed because I cannot operate a can opener any more and could not get the pumpkin open.  He says," that is it, I was asleep and you are getting an electric can opener for Christmas".  Shucks I thought I was getting a tennis bracelet. I hate appliances on my cupboards, but I also realize that this has become a necessity.   I fill the pie pans and a baking dish and put the rest of the mix into plastic bags in the fridge.  I will make more crust tomorrow and get daughter to bring pie pans from boyfriends house.  I know several of my pans are over there.

     So now it is 12:40 and I am still waiting for pies to be done.  I just took the patty pans out and the rest need another 15-20 minutes. Which means I have time to add to the


     I am very close to my sisters.  My twin and I are well twins.  We don't look that much alike any more, but we are built the same.  It is obvious that we are sisters.  I am also very close to my younger sister.  Who is much taller and has big boobs.  (I secretly hate her)  If you stand my twin and I on top of each other and add our breasts together you will get my younger sister.  My younger sister was born with the neat gene.  Twin sis was and is like me, however she  did not have children and can there for devote more time to learning organization skills and teaching them to me. Sissy is a bang up decorator, a fabulous cook, and just very organized.  I'd like to throw a few three year olds at her and see how she does. I remember her coming one year to stay with me and clean me up and she cold not believe how messy Hubby and B were.  She literally followed them around with a wash rag.

    Sis some how was introduced or discovered Fly Lady.  She has a web site all about cleaning and organizing your home and life.  Sis really took this woman's philosophy to heart.  Now neither one of us is dirty, or filthy or on the hoarder level of filth,  We just did not have good habits and we (especially I) had too much stuff.  You cannot organize clutter.  I think that is one  of my favorite statements.  I just had too much stuff.  So did my kids.  It was a constant (still is) struggle to find enough space to store the clutter.  When you have someone like me with poor management skills, that never put anything away or hung anything up you soon have uncontrollable clutter.  The clutter is so constant that you get no where when you clean.  You are just moving crap from one pile to another. When every drawer and closet are bursting you have no where to put anything.

     Sis was really into this.  I had to laugh because some of the tricks flylady she used were so much like games my mother had played with us as children.  Setting a timer and seeing how much you could get done in 15 minutes.  Or moving as fast as you could to beat the clock.  What I especially loved was the 27 fling boogie.  Where she had you go into a room and throw away 27 things. ( or give away) The problem was I could go into a drawer and get rid of 27 items I no longer used or wanted and I was not even 1/4 through the drawer.
Even her techniques were overwhelming to me.  But sis insisted they would work and I started with the front hall closet.

     We have a closet right as you enter the front door.  We had lived in this house for 7 years and had yet to use this closet as a coat closet.  It was packed to the brim with crap.  I told hubby we were going to empty that closet.  We started together and by the time it was empty we realized not one thing that was in there belonged in a front hall closet.  We had a good laugh.  This closet also had bright pink shag carpet on the floor. (leftover from former pepto bismol days)  All of the floors on the main level are hardwood so why the carpet?  Hubs tore it up and under neath was particle board.  He went into the garage and got scraps of pergo left over from the Kitchen floor and trimmed out that closet.  He then took down the ugly tin trailer doors?  Why these doors in this house?  We went and purchased wooden bi-fold doors and painted them and installed them.  It took us a whole Saturday.  But I would go and stare at the closet a couple times a day.  I caught hubby doing it also.  One small space in this large house that was clean and organized and not overstuffed.  It was a start.  Because it was in the front of our house I decided to work on the living room first. I systematically cleaned every cupboard and drawer. It was amazing how much junk I threw out and how much I gave away.  I do remember it was August.  I did a room a day and by the end of August the house was brand new.

     Now to maintain it.  That was the hard part.The real areas of my home that were out of control were the kitchen, laundry and bedrooms.  Flylady's mantra was a shiny kitchen sink.  One did not go to bed without dishes done and sink shined.  New concept for me.  But it was summer and I was not teaching.  I had more time to concentrate on changing very old ingrained habits.  I did not even try to get my two younger kids involved.  I just worked on me.  You cannot teach someone to be neat if you are not neat.  When you roll your hair in the morning put your rollers away.  When you put on your make-up put your make up away.  I mean I have a make up table built right into the bathroom.  It had drawers use them.  Hang up your clothes and take dirty clothes to the laundry,everyday.  Do not leave your room in the morning until you are dressed, make-up, and your bed is made.

     I just taught myself to develop new habits.  I am uncomfortable now when my room is a mess.  I just do a round the room sweep of the bathroom as I leave in the morning.  I slide all my make-up back in a drawer, pick up the hair brush and put it away.   Eye drops, deodorant, are put back in drawers.  I wipe out the sink after I brush my teeth.  I make the bed. Pick up the dirty clothes and take them to the laundry room. Now I don't clean every day. Scrubbing of toilets, dusting, mirrors, sinks and things are done some what haphazardly or as needed, but bedroom is picked up and clean.  If someone came in they would not be appalled at the sight.  It would not be spotless but picked up.  Makes all the difference.   After I learned to maintain my own living space and my kitchen, I branched out into the other areas of the house.  I started to pick up the kids baths and their rooms every day.  It did not take long because it was every day.  They can only wear so many clothes and it was easy to hang up or pick up and make a bed.  Bathrooms were shove the makeup in a drawer and wipe out the sink.

     I was able to get through my house (I call it a run through) in 30 minutes.  That was making three beds, wiping up three bathrooms.  The kitchen was clean except for breakfast dishes.  The front room really is not used except for music and company.  I learned to pick up the family room at night before I went to bed.  None of these things is hard or time consuming.  It is just a quick run- through and I am done.  Now cleaning is a different story.  It is something I still struggle with.  Finding the time.  Wanting to do it.  Things can still get pretty dusty and hairy.  But when I look at pictures of say the oldest daughters room when she was a little girl, I marvel at the amount of stuff she had crammed say on the computer table.  Too many decorations.  Too much stuff means too much work. It is hard to keep clean.

     I now try to do a thorough clean out of every closet and drawer, room by room at least once a year.  I did not do that this year and believe me it is starting to show.  I swear things just accumulate or the junk has sex.   I do know that there is a correlation between people who have too many things and who have a hard time with neatness also having a hard time with financial things and debt.  If I find someone who is really crafty and into scrap booking, and things of that nature, they also have money problems and organization/cleaning problems.  Not always.  I am not saying if you like to scrapbook you are a pig.  Just that there is a strong correlation.  Too much stuff.  Oh let's buy that, oh that is cute, oh I can use that on this...... it goes on and on into chaos.  Now if you are born with the neat gene this may not be so.  But it is so for me.  The more I have the messier I am.  It is a constant battle of the junk and clutter.  I must be very firm with myself to keep from becoming my father. 

   Sis and I e-mailed and checked each other progress on developing new habits for about a year.  Not all of Fly lady's things worked for me.  But the constant reminders and many of her ideas worked.  Sis came out to my house and stayed a few weeks and helped me with my Fly lady routines.  She could see a huge difference in the house.  Now the habits  just had to stay.  We took a trip just the two of us with my youngest daughter B back to Dads that summer.  I remember how much fun we had.  I think it was the last time sis saw dad.

     The summer dad had the stroke, I went out  to check on him.  He seemed to be fine and I left him ready to go fishing. We were in front of Richard's house and the girls were in the car loaded.  Richard asked me to stop and let him take a picture of me a dad.  Richard was a camera hound, it drove us crazy..  But I stood for a minute and Dad took off his fishing cap.  Richard snapped the picture.  A shrunken older man with snow white hair, glasses with his arm around a small reddish blonde haired woman, both smiling into the sun.  It is a picture I will always treasure.  As we were backing out of the driveway I started to rear up.  I turned and looked at D#2 and she asked me what was wrong.  I did not know, but I made the remark that I felt  that the next time I drove into Richard's drive way it would be for my dad's funeral.  

     That fall I was teaching Dance for the University, sewing very little, cleaning, subbing, etc.  I had an adult celtic class that was a blast.  Eight women all close to my age all learning to do Irish step dance.   It was a hoot. We would laugh so hard all of us racing for the bathroom when we had over done the laughing and jumping.  I came home in such a good mood and as I came up stairs hubby asked me to sit down at the kitchen table he had something to tell me.  Richard had called and dad had taken a boat out on the the canal.  The boat was Richard's and dad was supposed to meet him at a certain bridge and trade out.  As Richard waited for dad to come around a bend he saw the boat and no one was in it.  Dad's hat was by the boat floating and so was the the boat chair.  Hubby said.  Kim, "your father is dead"  I would not believe him.. I called Richard and he was beside himself.  He could hardly talk he was so upset.  I called the sheriff and told him not to take dad's truck away as I knew he was in the weeds some where with a broken leg or he had crawled out and was at a bar visiting and had lost track of time.  Just leave his truck over night that way he can get home I pleaded.  He told me they would find him.  I called my mother, I was hysterical.  It was about 10 at night when I realize we still had to clean the police station and I needed to call my sisters.  It would be 12 and 1 at there places of residence and I decided to call in the morning as they would be in bed.  Let them have a decent nights sleep.  I knew I would not get any shut eye until he was found.

saga cont:

     Well the pies are out of the oven and I used a new recipe and am not to fond of it but with whip cream it will be fine.  Last load of laundry is in.  I have to go to bed.

Have sweet dreams.