Thursday, January 4, 2018

Sanity in the Family?

I'll be the first one to tell you I have a crazy family.  I love them all but sometimes we just don't get along.  It's nothing big like the Hatfields and McCoys.  You can't have strong people get together and not have conflict.

When my mother made me - her youngest daughter - the executor of her estate and her financial power of attorney (back up on medical), I figured it would be a struggle with my siblings. 

Mom's health took a dive just before Thanksgiving.  I'm not sure what I expected but I didn't expect all of us to be on the same page.  We text, email, and finally we've set up a Google doc to keep everyone up-to-date on what's going on in mom's life. 

Starting in the hospital, we would make sure one of us was with mom regularly.  We couldn't cover her room 24 / 7 but we did get someone there particularly when the doctors came through.  When they wanted to do a risky procedure, we got a call from the sibling at the hospital and had a quick consult.  When they pressured us to do said procedure on subsequent days, we refused and gave each other support. 

Now as she's been at the nursing home getting antibiotic, we've come together to discuss without arguing options and possibilities for the best care.  I'm point person - I'm handling the bills, the communications with the nursing home.  However, one sister is listening to my concerns and stress.  Others are handling mom's appointments.  A few of us are looking at facilities.  It's been a collaborative effort in handling all the appointments, problems, paperwork, and stress.

It's a pleasant surprise to find we can all pull together and come to a consensus on the steps and actions we need to take.  We're lucky we are all on the same page - it really doesn't happen often.

To all my sisters and my brother, thank you.  This stressful process could be so much worse.  It isn't because we are setting aside our own differences and focusing on what is best for mom. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Book and Publishing News

Wayfarer Contentious is out and available on Amazon and Smashwords.  This is a continuation of Adara and Decker's story.  More turmoil and trials with the Command withdrawing their support and racial tensions rising.

Change and conflict surround the Phoenix.  New trainees and Nancy O'Neal Finnegan arrive to board the Phoenix.  The Command mandates keep coming provoking the unrest amongst the crew.  Racial tensions rise with many attacks on other races.  Trainees complain about Adara, leading Command to issue and ultimatum.  Allies are attacked, humans only group is on the rise.  Have they reached a tipping point?

In addition to publishing the book, I've updated covers for the Defenders series.  TJ Jahns created new artwork for me (see her web site).  I think they turned out well and are a decided improvement.

Defenders of Magic is coming soon.  I have the cover done (I think).  Final edits went on the computer but I still have to read through one more time and do a spell check before I can publish.  I have to find a few hours of free time in order to do the actual publishing.

Behind the scenes, I've been updating my files so I can more easily market my crochet patterns and my short stories.  Part of this was to find links for my web site in order to make it easier for people to buy from their preferred vendor. 

Over and above my own writing, I'm working on reading some books to write reviews.  I've completed six and have two more to read.  Out of the six, only one of them was enjoyable enough to keep.  I'm hoping the other two I have are more enjoyable but I'm not holding my breath.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Getting Your Ducks in a Row

I'm getting an education which I'm not sure I want.  With my mom in the nursing home, I'm taking point on her financial stuff.  My siblings are standing behind me which is nice.  However, it means I'm digging into a lot of tasks and information in order to take care of my mother's stuff.

Here are a few things I've learned.  Make sure you have a power of attorney for both health and finances.  This is just a first step.  In addition, give the person who is POA access to medical and financial stuff.  This doesn't mean you have to turn over your accounts to them but it makes it easier.  Mom has bills to pay and while she is able to write checks and such it is hard for her as she is tired and recovering.  I had to go to her bank get to become an authorized signator on her account.  This allows me to sign her checks and pay for things with her money rather than paying for it myself and having to get paid back.  The medical allows the medical community to talk to me about her appointments and her treatment. 

This is the business end of it.  When my sister and I went to prepay for my mom's final wishes (no she's not dying but it's better to be prepared), I had to write a large check.  Every time I write a check, I question is this necessary?  Is this what mom would want?  I'm spending someone else's money which in theory sounds fun but the reality is I'm more conservative and concerned with her money than I am with my own. 

Mom needed a few clothes and a new bathrobe.  My daughter and I shopped, got good prices but still I questioned whether I was getting the right things, too many, not enough.  It's her money.  It's hard for me to spend it.  I know - this is what I'm supposed to do but still. 

There are so many details to keep track of I feel like I'm forgetting something important.  We are trying to get mom registered with a county program to help once she goes to my sister's house.  This means I'm looking through all of mom's paperwork to pull what they need.  In order to qualify for the programs, she has to have less than $2000 in assets.  This includes life insurance policies, money in the bank, and anything else (cars, houses etc).  The more she has, the more I have to figure out if it counts.  Apparently for life insurance, whole life counts against her assets but term life doesn't. 

Mom has one policy.  I called and asked.  They wouldn't talk to me.  I understand I'm a voice on the phone but I had to fax over the POA which isn't really in affect because mom isn't incapacitated.  Next I have to call again and work my way through their phone system.  It eats up time.  Once I get the answer to my which type of policy is it, I'll have to take the next steps.  Whole life she has to cash in and then spend the money down.  Term life she can keep. 

It's a lot of work.  It's a lot of details.  With mom being 86, I know at some point dealing with her will and her belongings is going to be an issue.  Since I'm her executor, I'll have all those details to deal with.  I'm trying not to stress out about all of this but it all rolls into one massive ball of wholly shit this is a lot.

I keep reminding myself I can only do one step at a time, one thing at a time.  I have wonderful family backing me up.  With six of us total, we have rarely agreed on anything but when it comes to mom we all seem to be on the same page with her care and how much we're willing to allow the medical people to do.  My daughters have been amazing with offering support via phone (for the two in Georgia) and with helping with all the details.  My husband has been good about helping with logistics and being there to listen to me cope with all of the stress. 

I'm learning a lot with this whole process.  The next step - when I have time to take a breath - is to get stuff set up for my hubby and me so it's as simple as possible for our daughters.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Crafting Escape

It was a good weekend.  Friday I left work to go to the doctor with Vicki.  We were forceful about her needing a different antibiotic.  She has a sinus infection - the first antibiotic didn't help.  Our ENT said this happens a lot.  So we got the second antibiotic and it worked.

After the doctor's office, we went to Joann's to spend my gift card.  I got yarn to make a blanket for my mom as she particularly liked one of the ones I made while she was in the hospital.  I'll work on it this week I think.  We spent quite a bit of time wandering the yarn aisles.  It was a nice escape.  By the end of the trip, I spent my gift card and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Saturday was errand running and then we watched the Die Hard movies.  While watching I crocheted.  It was nice to sit down and not think about anything but a mindless movie and crocheting. 

Of course I paid bills this weekend and checked on sales for my books.  The fun thing was Friday night Stephanie called for some crocheting advice and we chatted with her while the three of us (Vicki was with me) crafted.  Even though we were in different states we crafted together and chatted.  It was fun.

There were the inevitable chores which had to be done.  Vicki and I worked on prep for food this week.  She made apple crisp and I made garbage soup.  The nice thing - Sunday I spent the whole day in my jammies.  We watched the Lethal Weapon series while we crafted.

A couple of editors sent me books to review.  I've gotten eight to ten from them.  I've read and reviewed three.  I read one last night.  It was a beginner book for Wicca.  I'll be writing the review today I hope.  I started a second one on tarot.  I'm hoping to whittle these down and get them off my to do list relatively quickly. 

I didn't get to publishing but I'm hoping to do that next weekend.  There will hopefully be fewer things going on. 

For a pay weekend, it was pretty calm and mostly relaxing.  I needed a relaxing weekend with a bit of me and crafting time.  It's nice to escape into the yarn and the pattern without thinking about anything else.  Hopefully it has refilled my energies so I can face another week of handling mom's stuff and life in general.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Crocheting for Sanity (or as close as I can get to sanity)

I've finished a scarf for one gift.  Last night I worked on the edging for a fleece blanket for the mother of a friend.  Vicki told me her favorite scarf was ratty so I told her to hit her stash to find yarn for another one.  I started that last night.

At work, I meet up once a week to crochet with a co-worker.  This week I'm working on a cloth to put in the door of a refrigerator under the ice / water in the door.  Water collects there and I was asked if I could create something to fit in there to soak it up.  I'll be working on that today during our weekly session. 

I'm hoping the weekend will be busy with crafting.  I need to clear off some of the projects on my sofa.  There are a ton of them.  Some of them need prep work and some need finishing.  If nothing else, I'll pop in DVDs and watching those while I crochet.  I'm binge watching Designated Survivor.  I have one more disc to watch to finish the first season.  Then I'll determine whether I'm interested in the second season which I'm hoping is all on On Demand.  If not, I may have to wait for it to come out on DVD and get from the library. 

It's been a stressful week.  Monday is Mom's day - I go to the nursing home to visit with her and do anything she needs me to do.  Tuesday this week we met with the county person for aging to talk about the programs.  I also got grumpy with one of her doctor's offices about scheduling.  The end result - I'm pretty sure that doctor's office doesn't like me but mom's appointments got moved to a city half the distance from her location.  My sister Aimee and I are doing funeral planning today - no mom is not dying but we are being proactive about the process.  Plus for the county programs she has to have fewer assets and funds.  Long term the county programs will help her more so better to spend down her accounts. 

I also need to find time to read some books.  I have four or five books which I need to read and review.  People have sent them to me so I feel obligated to get them read.  I'm working on a tough one where it is a bunch of essays.  The authors use a lot of big words to say nothing.  It's disappointing - at least so far.  I'll continue to work my way through it.  The nice part about the essays is it gives me short goals to get through the book faster.  But it's a large book - 300 + pages I think.  My goal is to set the book next to me.  Then I can read an essay or two between crocheting.  I'll see how this works.  I'm hoping the other books are better and more interesting. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Crafting as Therapy

Saturday I had a plan which changed.  My plan was to get a bunch of book work done.  When I was playing one of my games, I got several hours of free play.  So instead of being responsible, I played on my phone until my middle daughter and a friend showed up to go craft shopping. 

I was reluctant - yes, I know but true.  I felt like I had too much to do to wander a craft store or two.  I went and in the first store we were wandering.  I got some Christmas stuff to decorate my mom's room in the nursing home.  I also found a Christmas present for my oldest daughter. 

At one point, I was by myself in the yarn aisle.  I texted my youngest daughter and she said it was dangerous.  I was good and didn't buy any yarn in that store. 

In the second store, I wandered off to the yarn aisle by myself again.  I found the colors and type of yarn I was looking for. 

In both stores, I was able to get a lot of great deals.  The Christmas stuff was half off and I had a coupon for 40% off the other item.  At the second store, I had a 50% off coupon for one item and then a 20% off coupon.  By the time I was done, I saved more than I spent.  In the second store, I got three skeins of yarn and with my coupons, the third skein was free. 

The rest of the day was spent crafting, cutting out fabric, prepping projects and crocheting.  I spent most of Sunday (after doing the responsible stuff) crocheting and watching tv.  After all the drama and stress with dealing with my mom's health issues, it was nice to hibernate in my house and do something which de-stresses me.

I finished one project for a Christmas gift and worked on more prep stuff for other gifts.  I'm happy with my progress on the projects even as my living room is a bit crowded with projects.  I really needed a crafting weekend to help reduce the stress. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A Rough Week

It's been a rough week.  Mom went by ambulance into the hospital on Saturday.  My oldest sister rushed to be there so she wouldn't be anxious or upset.  I followed as soon as I could.  They weren't sure what caused the problems but suspected a TIA (mini stroke).  After we left another of our sisters stopped in to spend time with her.

After being there Saturday to support my mom and sister, I went back on Sunday as did one of my sisters and one of my nieces.  Monday I picked her up from the hospital and took her home. 

Yesterday my daughter was supposed to take my mother to a doctor's appointment.  When she got there, my mother was lethargic, unresponsive, dizzy, and couldn't get to the car.  My daughter called for an ambulance. 

In the last four days, my mother has had two CT scans, two chest xrays, an MRI, and ultrasound, and lots of blood drawn.  Now they think she has a heart infection.  They wanted to send her to Madison for a test - to be taken by ambulance, put under anesthesia, and then brought back by ambulance. 

I'm not thrilled with the medical community under normal circumstances.  This makes me even less thrilled with them.  Why did they release her on Monday?  Obviously she wasn't well.  Perhaps if they had kept her in the hospital, she wouldn't have deteriorated or they could have caught the other issues. 

We are facing a lot right now.  I have to say, as much as kid about my family and how we don't always see eye to eye, we've been on the same page.  It's all been about the best care possible for mom without infringing on her desires for little intervention. 

Mom is 86.  She's fighting this infection.  I don't know where this will take us but hopefully we will continue to all be on the same page.  We all have different belief systems but we are all sending our positive energy or prayers or whatever we believe in to our mother for the best possible outcome. 

My daughters have been amazing in offering me support and care, giving me a chance to vent and talk through all the things going on.  The family has all come together to support mom in this difficult time. 

Sanity in the Family?

I'll be the first one to tell you I have a crazy family.  I love them all but sometimes we just don't get along.  It's nothing b...