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This is in the vein of airing family laundry in public, but really, what else does one do with one's angst these days?

My dad, he has alzheimer's. It's ugly. Up until now, my mother has been taking care of him at home. According to this list, he's somewhere between Stages 5 and 6. This past week, my mom has decided that she can no longer take care of him, and that it's time to get him into a facility.

He is aware enough to beg her not to send him away. She is wracked by guilt. She knows that she can no longer care for him -- she's way past the end of her tether, gone so far as to think about using the Tiptree Solution. I can only hope she realizes how much her children and grandchildren would be affected, and will refrain for their sakes.

They do have long-term care insurance. That is a blessing. It was purchased back in the day when insurance companies would only cover in-facility care (as opposed to these days, when in-home care is also on most decent policies). She knew this was coming, so he's already on the waiting list for the Alzheimer's unit in their town. If there's not a place for him there right now, she'll be looking for a regular facility that will take him right away. That's how bad it's gotten.

I am the only kid who can help financially. I don't have that much, but the others don't have anything, due to everything from career choices to the vageries of the economy. My mom's mother died about a year ago, and there's some inheritance there, but it's not liquid because the executor, my uncle, has not done his job due to his health.

So, I'm worried that my mother will lose her grip before she can get my dad into care. I'm worried that everyone will look to me to spend my own retirement funds, my kids' college funds, and my home equity to support my parents, leaving me with nothing to fall back in if G-d forbid we need those resources ourselves.

And, honestly, I hate getting on planes, and I know that I'm the one who will have to travel 2000 miles to help my mother deal with whatever sh*t she has to do to get this all done.

Whine, whine, whine, whine, whine.

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My friend C just married off her stepdaughter this weekend. This was one of those weddings you hear about but never get invited to. Many many many dollars were spent on this wedding and the festivities leading up to it. The rehearsal dinner was at C's house. The bride and groom flew in 40 lbs of crawfish from Louisiana to be boiled in big pots in the back yard and eaten by hoards of family. The crawfish arrived alive, in big coolers, tentacles waving and claws clicking and generally looking like nothing so much as boxes of aliens. Needless to say, there were leftovers. About 10 lbs of leftovers. Still uncooked. Still barely alive the next morning after a night buried in ice and sealed in plastic.

C's nephew J1 and his girlfriend J2 came over the next morning to help clean up after the party. These lovely young folk are Buddhist. They follow Asimov's first law of robotics, but not just for humans, for all living things -- You shall not harm a living thing, nor, through inaction, allow a living thing to come to harm. Somewhere in their backyard there are spider mamas telling wide-eyed spider babies stories about how they were saved from certain death and gently released by giants too big to see.

Do I need to tell you what happened?

J1 could not stand it. 10 lbs of weakly moving, practically frozen crawfish had him in tears. So yes, he took those mud-loving, slow river, Louisiana crawfish, and gave them a brand new home in the pristine, Class III, glacier-fed Sandy river.

They survived the flight. They survived the ice and plastic. They didn't get boiled alive like their brother crawfish. They might survive the Oregon low mountain winter. Maybe.

If twenty years from now crawfish replace salmon as a prime Northwest export, just remember --  you heard it here first.
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My Father-in-law died suddenly this past weekend, while out of town on vacation. P went to the vacation site to help his mom deal with the fallout. I am left here to keep the kids together and act as info clearinghouse for the rest of FIL's family. Lordy, I'm tired!


Sep. 25th, 2007 10:05 am
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So you know that running thing? I ran my first 5K two weekends ago. I did really well for a first timer: official time 28:58, which translates to 9:21 per mile. But the big news is I was 2nd place in my grouping (women 45-49). 2nd place! Ha!
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Here in Oregon, we have to get our cars clean-air certified every two years in order to renew the registration. My car's up for renewal this month. It's 10 years old, and when I had it in to the shop for new brakes last summer, I learned that one of the emissions-control parts needed replacing. So, early this month I got that part replaced, drove the car for a couple of weeks ("You'll have to put about 100 miles on the car before taking it to DEQ," says the guy at the shop, "in order to reset the part we just replaced." ), and took it in to the test site.

It failed. Because the new part wasn't ready.

Called the shop. They said. "Drive it more. Commute in it. "  In other words, waste gas and pollute in order to get the emissions-control part working so you can pass the clean air test. Heh.

I don't commute. I barely drive. But the Spouse commutes, so I give the car over for the rest of the week.

Went on line. Found a Technical Bulletin with a fix for Just This Problem.  Since the Spouse's commute isn't very far, we decide to run through the fix as best we can this morning. We don't have the little diagnostic readout machine that the shop would, but the test instructions are pretty detailed, so we go with the info we have.

Here is the test:
1. Have less than 1/2 tank of gas. Start the car cold, idle for 1.5 minutes or longer
2. Drive 3 minutes in 5th gear, air conditioner on, 1000-1400 RPM
3. Drive 1.5 minutes, 5th gear, air conditioner on, 50-65 MPH, 1800-2400 RPM
4. Let car idle 10 minutes. Turn off engine, wait 10 seconds, turn on engine, go immediately to step 5
5. Drive 3 minutes, 4th gear, 50-60 MPH, over 3000 RPM, do not decelerate. Had to do this in 3rd gear to keep the speed and RPMs correct.
6. Cruise steadily for 3 minutes at 55 MPH, 5th gear, 2100-2300 RPM, AC on, may use cruise control.
7. downshift to 4th, decelerate without braking for 5 seconds, idle for 1 minute
8. in 3rd gear, over 2 minutes, accelerate to 47 MPH, decelerate to 41 MPH, accelerate to 47 MPH. Don't release accelerator all the way. AC OFF!
9. Shift to 4th gear. Drive 31-44 MPH with foot as steady on gas as possible. AC off, cruise control off.
10. Put 4 gallons of gas in tank. Re-run steps 4-9.

If you mess up any of the steps, you have to do the complete step again.

Finding a road that would allow for all this idiocy was the first challenge. Then it had to have a gas station nearby. Also we were supposed to do this on as level a road as possible, but we pretty much ignored that instruction.

It took about 2 hours to run through all this. Then we got doughnuts and brought them home to the family.

I'll find out when I take it in to the clean air test site later this week whether this all worked or not.

Go Me!

Apr. 16th, 2007 03:56 pm
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Today I ran 4.5 miles in 45 minutes.

That is all.
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Did you know that you are supposed to do maintenance on your water heater? Neither did I. There's a sacrificial anode that needs to be replaced every two years or so, a pipe that delivers the cold water to the bottom of the tank that needs to be inspected and replaced when it corrodes away, and then you are supposed to drain and flush the thing yearly.

GIven that we've pretty much ignored our water heater for 20 years, it's a minor miracle that it took this long to start leaking.

So now we have  a new water heater. We'll see if it stands up to household use.


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