Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The so-you-can-sleep medicine!

Once again enjoying the peace and comfort of the Retirement Home!  My mom is puttering in the kitchen and my dad is puttering in the library/sewing room/staging ground.  I'm in my favorite chair in the living room, instead of sitting up in bed, but otherwise, the cup of tea is steaming at my elbow, and I'm feeling very relaxed.

It's a lovely grey and overcast day, constantly nudging you in the side and whispering, "Rain!" but never quite raining. 

I am suffering from some sort of allergenic head cold.  I had thought it was just allergies getting to me, but it has lasted too long, and progressed too far.  As a result of this, I took a couple of Nyquil capsules when I went to bed last night, and I would like to stand up and attest to their soporific properties.  I slept perfectly soundly, until my phone rang its six-thirty alarm, without a twitch.  I then got up and staggered to the bathroom, and was extremely surprised to see an unfamiliar woman sleeping on the living room couch.  I went in to the bathroom and peed thoughtfully, and when I came out I stood and looked at the woman for a minute, to make sure that she was there.  And after I returned to bed, I got up again and went out to look.  Yup.  Still there, still asleep, and still totally unknown.

Turns out that my parents' meth-head neighbor had had one of his noisy, shrieking, furniture- breaking fits, and had thrown his wife (girlfriend?) and their small daughter (eight?) out, and all their belongings after them, splintering the breakable ones all over the street.  My dad had gone out to investigate, and found the woman and girl silently picking up clothes and shoes and books and toys, and hiding them in the shrubbery, preparatory to walking in to town and waking up a friend.  My dad brought them in and my mother put them to sleep on the couches in the living room.

And I had slept like a puss-cat through it all!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

It's Fall!

Gorgeous day!  Thick white cloud cover, quite low in the sky -- Big Pink disappears into it completely, well below its top floors.  There's a definite nip in the air -- time to start thinking about wearing my jacket when I leave the house!

So yesterday I started working on my costume for our yearly murder mystery Halloween party!  I'm a circus muscle man, (Death in the Big Top!) so I started out by spray painting two large styrofoam balls black, to make them into a fake barbell.  It took quite a while, since the paint kept running into all the tiny holes on the surface of the styrofoam, and I kept having to leave the house to catch some air and let my head stop swimming.  I painted the dowel that goes between them, as well.  Tonight when I get home from work, I think I will try blocking out the white letters on either end, saying 100 lbs.  Or maybe 500 lbs, since this is a costume party -- I can claim as many pounds as I want!  Didn't the world's strongest man set a record with 1,155 pounds?  So maybe even 1,000 pounds!    We'll see how well the numbers lay out over the curve of the ball.

Good news from my mom last night -- my sister Sarah is coming for a visit!  All the way up from Mexico, on a plane!  And not with all of her family in tow, just one son is accompanying her.  I'm feeling very happy about this, since it seems that she will relax so much more without having to run interference between her children, and feed them and make them behave, and all the caregiving things she would have to do were they all with her.  And she is staying for two weeks!  Two whole weeks of rest and peace and the sound of the ocean at Mom and Dad's.

Wow -- just raised my head and looked out the window at a young man taking a large hit off his pot pipe.  I know this became legal today, but it still gave me a shock to see.  I should accustom myself to this sight, shouldn't I?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Only in Portland

Here's a funny story for you.  This past Friday, I was late getting home with the food box, it was about 8:30 or so when I came off the bridge.  As I parked the car down the road a bit from the apartment house, I could hear voices, raised in argumentative merriment, from the yard, which made me smile as I heard them.  I figured it would be some combination of Linda, Russ, Janell, and Lynn.

Dusk was deepening into dark when I opened the gate with my first load of pineapple juice, plain yogurt and apples.  The gazebo seemed much more lit than usual, quite suffused with gold as I glanced up at it, looking for one of the familiar faces.  Four people, three male and one female, all young, no one familiar.  Two of the guys were wearing ball caps and had their backs to me, so I couldn't tell for certain that I didn't know them, but I certainly did not know the young woman or the young man facing me.  I took one hand from the bag and waved, and the young woman stopped talking and stared, quite rudely, it seemed to me, and then turned away and kept talking.  She had golden hair, thick and wavy, swirling around her face and bouncing over her shoulders.  She was definitely the center of attention, and she was being quite loud.  Well.  They all were.

They were still at it when I went back out, and when I came back in.  I had decided by this time that they must be friends of the new young couple upstairs, Hannah and Whatever-His-Name-Is -- since I have at least seen most of the friends (the ones who visit, anyway) of the other people who live here.  Plus they looked about the right age to be Hannah and Whosit's friends.  And I couldn't tell if one if the two with their backs to me might not be Whats-His-Name, since, like I said.  Ball caps.  Backs to me.

However!  This afternoon, I heard from Linda that on Friday evening, four complete strangers, fairly drunk, apparently, since one of them puked in the yard, had brought their six-packs, and their food-from-Food-Front-containers into our yard, and had settled themselves in the gazebo.  They had found the extra string of lights which Linda had stored in the bench box, and had plugged them in, and strung them up, hence the extra gold of the scenery.  They had stayed there long enough to eat their food, drink their beers, and puke, and then had trooped off, leaving all of their detritus behind them, just before Linda went out to see what was what, at about nine-thirty.

So where else on earth would strangers come in to your yard to eat and drink and argue with one another, and then decorate the place while they were there?  Only in Portland.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Midnight Laundry

So last night it was very hot, and I was in that uncomfortable state of being too miserable to remedy my situation.  You are familiar with this, I hope -- I hope I am not the only human who falls prey to this --  and will recognize the feeling that kept me, sweaty and unhappy, from merely getting up and going to bed in the air-conditioned bedroom.

I was sitting in my living room, watching a movie on my laptop, and it was about 11:30 at night.  The lights were off in my place, since they reflect on the screen, otherwise -- and I was sitting next to the open window that looks down into the laundry room.  My ear was first caught by a clinking sound which caused me to turn my head and look -- I recognized the sound as being something to do with the washing machine as I did so -- and I saw an arm stretched across the top of the machine.  "Goodness," I thought idly to myself, looking back at my movie, "That is a very tanned arm.  Who is that tanned, among us?"  This niggled at me, and I frowned and looked back into the basement window.

I was looking at a man, age indeterminate, with reddish, raggedy hair and a greying beard, very tan all over (open, tattered denim shirt), with a dark, greasy ballcap and no teeth.  He was sliding the (now empty) coin box back into the washing machine.  In the brightly lit basement laundry room.

I was momentarily baffled -- my mind did not make the necessary jump, but was instead trying to figure out a reasonable explanation for this creature to be in my apartment house.  Repairman?  Nonsense -- it's nearly midnight.  Friend of somebody's, doing a favor for Linda?  Ridiculous -- she wouldn't ask such a favor of someone's random friend at nearly midnight.  Thief!

I was wearing very little, shorts and a tank, in an attempt (which had failed utterly) at being, if not cool, at least less hot, but still was too little to venture out in, so I couldn't think of what to do for a moment.  Then I leaned closer to the window and yelled, "What are you DOING?!"

As Pooh and Piglet would say, "Did he run? No, no."  He did not run, jump, blench, or even look around for the voice, but merely replied, in an obviously-attempting-lightheartedness, (and clearly toothless) voice, "Just doing my laundry!"

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Giant abalone shell

So -- I've had my first bad experience at UCP.  It wasn't even bad, as far as bad could possibly go, in this job, but it was very unpleasant for such as I. 

I got a call from Brenda, an Assistant Team Leader, as I was parking at Leilani's apartment at 8:30 in the morning, yesterday.  Brenda told me that she had rearranged my afternoon, so that my final two med passes would be handled by others, so that I could go and spend three hours with a woman I had not yet met.  She had dementia, could not spend any time alone, and was recently returned from an emergency hospitalization due to liver failure.  She had diabetes and was having difficulty adjusting to her return to her apartment.  I was very hesitant to just show up without being introduced and trained by someone, but it was an emergency, and I was the Eastside weekender.  So I got it.

It was not a good time.  I could do nothing right.  She was unable to wrap her mind around my being in her apartment ("Who let you IN?  Who let you into MY HOUSE?") and did not want me to help her to get up, get dressed, or go to the bathroom, did not want me in her kitchen,("You are STEALING my FOOD!") or to touch her television set, or to assist her into or out of her wheelchair.  She could not hear anything I said, and if I approached her to speak loudly close to her ear, she would shrink back ("Get AWAY from me!  Who ARE you?"). She would stare up at the corners of the ceiling, and then slowly look down and if her eyes met mine, she grew angry immediately ("Who ARE you?  How did you get IN here?")

When her regular live-in assistant arrived, I was feeling like crying -- I didn't!  I was just feeling like it -- and I fled immediately.  I still feel fairly freaked out when I think of it.

The weather, praise be to a merciful providence, is slightly cooler.  The evenings are cooler than the days, and the nights are very nearly cool enough to sleep in.  I am looking forward with eagerness to my coming weekend (hooray!) to get some housecleaning done, but you will be glad to know that I have not merely been waiting for the days off.  I am not merely existing in sweaty exhaustion amid a welter of books, crumbs, wrappers, torn envelopes and tea cups.  I have already cleared off my dresser (piles!) changed the sheets on my bed, cleaned out the vacuum cleaner (that thing has three places where filters have to be removed and cleaned out, besides emptying the main chamber), washed two drainers full of dishes, and dusted the living room.  More will be accomplished over the next few days, as long as the thermometer stays below 90!  Just waiting for the rains to come, for my apartment to rise slowly up, cool and glowing, like a giant abalone shell, pearl-like, out of greasy, trash-filled harbor waters.  Yes.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Happy Days Are Here Again

Hmmm -- I'm sitting up in bed this morning, listening to the quietly occasional twittering of birds, and enjoying the cool ocean air,  And then I realize I've been hearing that distant shuddery thump -- not unlike the scene in Jurassic Park where you see the water in the glass tremble? -- for awhile now.  It isn't rhythmic, so I'm reasonably sure that no T-Rex is about to burst through the undergrowth and shriek-bellow with rage.  It can't be anything firework-related, can it?  It would be like someone lighting sticks of dynamite at a distance.  But this is close enough to make the floor vibrate, and yet not loud.  Very T-Rex!  Any ideas?  

So I'm quietly happy this morning, for several reasons.  Firstly, I'm up at the Retirement Home, and I love it here.  There is always a little more progress made on the house, that I can admire and enjoy, I love the weather and the location (ocean ocean ocean) and it is always an enjoyable visit.  Even when my dad starts talking about things I cannot argue with him about, although I want to, and I know he hopes I will -- but my arguments would all contain  things I know would wound him, and I'm just not willing to do that.  And eating Mom's cooking always makes me feel like a kid again, plus I made an exceptionally delicious peach and strawberry pie.  Mmmmm -- gonna eat some more for breakfast.  What?  I'm getting my fruits and vegetables!

Secondly, I was offered the job I was hoping for, as a Support Service person for United Cerebral Palsy.  And yesterday I called my boss and gave notice.  So that is excellent news, and  the only bad part easily taken care of.  And now I only have a week and a half that I have to spend with CoWorker for the rest of my life.  The rest of my life!  Hooray!  Huzzah, huzzah, oh, that is such a relief.  I'm beaming as I think of it.  Sometimes the meek DO inherit the earth, or if not the earth, per se, at least a very different section of the earth than those unmeek people.  

Goodness, that thumping is getting closer.  Is there a giant lost in the woods?  A slow-moving but very heavy giant, who can only take one step at a time?

Thinking it over, I realize that a part of my joy in this job-situation is this: other times in my life when I have been looking for work, I have spent a long time and a lot of effort at it before even getting an interview.  And then the interviews themselves were a strain and a blight.   And this time I sent  an e-mail -- written pretty casually -- and attached my resume, and heard back within two days.  Had an interview two days later, and was offered the job a week after that. Since I had been looking at each new day with dread at RHP, the length of time I was sure it was going to take me to find a new job was making me gloomy.  But then, instead of heading for the Administrative section, I thought about it and opened up the Non-Profit Sector instead.  Since I can't count on my abilities in the office to pass muster, if the company is going to be staffed by young people, (what does a Social Media Advisor do, actually? All day long?)  but I can count on my interpersonal skills.

Hmm, One-Legged Giant has stopped his massive thumping. Wonder what that was?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Thursday in June

It's a beautiful day!  At least, so far; the media is threatening that the cool grey beauty of this morning is going to "burn off" and be miserable hot heat for the rest of the day, and they may be right, but at the moment, it is purely gorgeous outside.

I'm at the library, which is cool and quiet (except for the woman next to me, who is trying unsuccessfully to keep her laughter under her breath as she listens to Shia LeBeouf on headphones )  My mouth is a little sore, day two of wearing my brand new bridge, which I am so very grateful for and glad to have! And I feel fairly certain that the soreness is going to wear off, as I grow accustomed to this presence in my mouth.

Talked to Sarah on the phone this morning!  My older sister, who, since she has lived in Mexico speaking Spanish to everyone for the past 25 years or so, has a definite difference to her pronunciation of English and style of speech.  It's the first time we've spoken on the phone for about five years, and I really enjoyed it.  Her second son was just married last month, and she is still recuperating.  I wish I could have been there for it!