Wednesday, July 30, 2008

three days in

I'm three days into my new job and I am loving it. The managers at the school are just great. I am so blessed to be with them and hope they will come to feel the same about me!

We had no hot water yesterday morning or this morning. It is so easy to take these little luxuries for granted - until they are gone. It was fixed today. I'm sure I will REALLY enjoy my bath tonight. Then I will probably forget again.

Joe is doing so much better. He actually owns the house now - even goes upstairs to visit with Sam. I have to get him a new scratching post though. He destroyed the one he had in Phoenix so I threw it away. Tonight I caught him scratching my sofa. BAD KITTY!!!

I'm reading The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason. What a wonderful novel. That is what I am off to do right now!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

fairy party

Shhh - I am piggybacking off some neighbor's wireless connection. Don't tell.

I am NOT happy to find that the fairy assigned to unpack all of these boxes has gone to a fairy party instead. Joe, the cat, also refused to do the work. You just can not find good help these days. I suppose I will just have to do it myself. Sigh.

The packers actually packed open bags of chips and a half loaf of bread. Very strange.

Sam and I went to see the new Batman movie. The press about Keith Ledger was not exaggerated. He was absolutely amazing as The Joker. There was really only one point in the whole movie where I saw Keith Ledger. The rest of the time, I was looking at a very demented villain. I recommend the movie!!!

Tomorrow I will visit Bartlett UMC. Huge church - great music program. I think I can go and enjoy the music and sermon and not get asked to do anything. I know that sounds awful, but this new job will require 10-12 hour days for a while. I will need church to keep me sane, but I will not have an ounce of me to give for a while! Hopefully things will be better in 6 or 8 months.

Joe spends most of the day hiding behind boxes or draperies. Poor guy - he will calm down eventually.

Friday, July 25, 2008

checking out of hotel

The mover arrived at 8 a.m., as promised. His helpers didn't get there until 8:45 a.m. But everything was successfully unloaded. They finished up around 12:30 p.m. Then Sears arrived at 1:30 p.m. with the new fridge. Now we are back at the hotel doing one last load of laundry. Then we will check out and take Joe to the house. We don't have Internet at the house yet, so this will be the last report for a while.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

errands, deluxe

Sam and I ran all over the place today. We got utilities turned on and we looked at rugs for the house. We unloaded all of the junk from the car. We heard from the mover. He will be here at 8 a.m. tomorrow. We're going to leave Joe at the hotel while all of the stuff is unloaded and while the refrigerator is delivered (between 1 and 3 p.m.), then we will go back and get Joe & the rest of our stuff and check out of the hotel. Tomorrow night will be the beginning of the unpacking.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

appliance buying

The lease is signed and August rent is paid. House keys and garage door openers are in my possession. A refrigerator is purchased. The day is done!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

"home" to Memphis

Sam and I began the day with an unscheduled tour of Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, OK. We were trying to find the Long John Silver restaurant to get our breakfast/lunch, but we made a right turn off the exit instead of a left turn. Once you are on the approach to the base, there is no turning back. There was nothing to do except pull up to the guard post and explain the wrong turn. The guard on duty laughed at us. After a complete search of the car and our persons and a rough interrogation of Joe, the cat, we were on our way. Just kidding. They let us turn around and go right back out.

Oklahoma was a long ride. Not much to talk about except we saw a MILLION dragonflies. There must have been a convention going on because we saw so many of them! Next came Arkansas - another boring state.There were a few spots where there were rolling hills but that didn't last long. We saw one HUGE lake and just as we passed it we heard a weather forecast indicating heavy thunderstorms and possible tornados moving into that area. Yikes!!!

Sam did a lot of driving again today. It was a real help to me. When we crossed the Mississippi River into Memphis, I said, "we're home!".

Monday, July 21, 2008


We left Albuquerque at 10:30 a.m. Well, we thought it was 10:30 a.m. We forgot about the time change - until we got to the McDonald's drive-thru. So we had lunch instead!!! Eating chicken nuggets for breakfast is a weird experience and not as satisfying when you were expecting a sausage mcmuffin and coffee. Oh well.

Last night, while we slept, the mini-cooler proved why a $4.99 cooler is not as efficient as a higher priced model. We had a pool of water in the rear floorboard of my new car when we went out to load the car. Sigh. Might as well break the new car in!

We were aiming for Amarillo, Texas today, but when we got there we decided we weren't ready to stop. So I called AAA to see what was the next thing down the road. Our new goal for the day became Oklahoma City.

Texas was huge and we only drove across that little short part at the top of the state. It is easy to see why they call it Big Sky country. It is so flat that you can see forever and the sky is so huge. I was highly disappointed when we crossed the border into Oklahoma because Sam refused to sing any of the songs from the musical.

At one point while he was driving, Sam had his IPod plugged into the radio and was listening to his chosen tunes. I had my IPod earbuds in and was listening to my chosen tunes. I took one earbud out to tell Sam something and discovered he was listening to Led Zeppelin "The Crunge", which is "my" music, on his IPod. Oddly enough, I was listening to Incubus, which is "his" music, on my IPod. We both agreed that it was a weird discovery.

We arrived in OKC around 8:30 p.m. We checked in and got Joe settled. Then we went next door to the Waffle House for dinner. Now we are back at the room. I am beat!!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Albuquerque or bust

I woke up this morning around 7 a.m. Sam didn't get in until 2:30 a.m., so he was completely out. I washed my hair last night after the water finally starting flowing. I did dry it some, but any time I wash my hair shortly before I go to bed, I wake up resembling the Bride of Frankenstein, minus the white streaks. This morning was no exception. On went the headband and I was ready to go downstairs for coffee.

I grabbed a newspaper and went back to the room to enjoy my mediocre coffee and the pastry I bought last night. I read the paper from front to back. Around 9:15 a.m., I began the process of waking up Sam. I drove over to Wal-Mart to get some last minute things. Then I came back to the hotel and we loaded the car. We gassed up, got Sam a sandwich and we were on the way.

I drove to Flagstaff, then Sam took over. He drove all the way to New Mexico, then I took over again. It was a long day, but it went pretty well. At one point while Sam was driving, we were suddenly startled by a loud banging sound. At first we thought it was coming from the engine, but we realized it was on the roof. It sounded like someone pounding on the roof. Sam pulled over to the side of the highway and I stepped out and looked. There was nothing to see. We started back up and the banging began again. We concluded it was inside the roof and began to speculate what could be in the roof that would come loose. Finally, at the next exit, Sam discovered the problem - the weather stripping across the top of the front windshield was loose and was flapping. We pushed it back into place and did not hear the sound again. Yikes!

After we checked in the La Quinta in Albuquerque, we drove over to a steakhouse and enjoying sirloins. I had a sweet potato with mine. Yummy! We are now back in the room watching Ocean's 11 on HBO.

Joe did okay today. He only meowed for the first three hours and peridocally after that. I think meowing could be used to torture people.

Tomorrow morning we head to Amarillo, Texas.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saturday night at La Quinta Inn

The moving van arrived at 8 a.m. David (driver) and two helpers (Greg and Perry) loaded the truck in fairly quick order. David is traveling with his two teenaged daughters. They seem to be a very nice family. We exchanged cell phone numbers so we could connect easily on our separate trips. I've found that this gives me a VERY FAST way to find out exactly what day my stuff will arrive.

Before the driver arrived this morning, Reggie came over and scrubbed out the refridgerator for me. I thought that was very sweet of him. After the truck left, I cleared out the rest of the crap, cleaned the oven (YUCK), spackled nail holes, did some touch-up painting and prepared farewell, thank-you notes for my landlord & landlady and also for my cleaning lady (who has become a very good friend).

Back to the La Quinta where a hot shower would be waiting for me .... NOPE - a water main had burst, water was shooting up in the air and there was no water in the room. Sigh. So I drove over to the spa near my house to treat myself to a pedicure and manicure. 90 minutes later, I was back at the La Quinta where surely ... NOPE - still no water. I called the front desk. "They will have it fixed in about 30 minutes." Two hours later, still no water. Sigh.

We leave tomorrow morning to begin our cross-country drive. I sure hope I can shower before we leave or this will be a very uncomfortable trip!!!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday night at LaQuinta Inn

Huge room. Immaculate lobby. Filthy elevator. Disconnect!!!

Joe is cowering under the bedcovers. He and I have done this trip three times previously. He does the same thing every time. The first night he comes out of his carrier, jumps on the bed, burrows under the covers and does not come out until I drag him out the next morning to put him back in the cat carrier. The second night he comes out of his carrier, jumps on the bed, burrows under the covers and stays there fora few hours, eventually coming out long enough to sniff around the room, use the litter box, eat a bit of food and drink a bit of water, then back under the covers. The third night he comes out of his carrier, sniffs around the room, eats a decent bit of food, sniffs around the room some more, eats a bit more, then cuddles a bit, then goes back under the covers. The fourth night he comes out of his carrier, explores the room, discovers the window and jumps up and sits there for hours. We will see what happens this time!

Sam has gone over to the pool hall with a couple of buddies. Thank goodness! He was stir crazy and starting to get on my nerves. Of course part of me worries that something will happen on the first of our last two nights in Phoenix, but I will make an attempt to relax.

The packing went smoothly. Tomorrow the van arrives and is loaded. Then we clean. Then one more night at La Quinta.

packing day

The packers arrive in about two hours to pack up all the belongings in my house. It is exciting and stressful all at once. By the end of the day, everything I own will be packed up and out of reach until the moving van arrives in Memphis. I have to be so careful to make sure I have everything in my car that I think I might want.

Sam is still asleep. His attorney is coming to visit him today to discuss his options for lawsuits. We are not the type of people to sue. I have had several opportunities to sue people but have never done so because I did not think there was any real negligence or long-term harm. But in this case, I think there was extreme negligence. Drinking beer and playing with guns is just plain idiotic. And the long-term harm of Sam's injuries is just a huge unknown. He needs to be compensated.

Well, I may or may not have an opportunity to post while I am on the road. If I do, I will. Ciao!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

buying a car

I absolutely HATE buying a new car. It is my least favorite thing to do. This time I am buying a "pre-owned" car. It is a 2007 model. You would think I was attempting to buy the Taj Mahal. They tag-teamed me. They added in hidden costs that they didn't explain - talked about items as if they were throwing them in for free when they weren't - tried to double back on things they offered me ... then when I tried to go out the door, the big dog appeared and asked for a dollar figure that I could live with. I low-balled it - he balked - I walked. I drove home. Within five minutes of walking in the door, the phone rang and they met me half way. I told the salesman that I needed to talk to my "fiance" and to call me in 30 minutes. He did. I said a figure that was between my lowball and the figure they had just offered. Now I am waiting for him to call me back. In some ways this is fun. In other ways it is just annoying. They just called. They offered a little bit higher than my offer. I suppose I have to let them win something. I told him I would be over in about 45 minutes. If I get over there and they screw around with me, I will walk away again.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I heard from the movers today. They will be here on Friday (18th) to pack my things. The truck will be here on Saturday (19th) to load. The expected delivery in Memphis will be between the 25th and the 29th. So why am I still procrastinating about the last minute things that I need to do? Because that is how I roll. God forbid that I get a few things done every day so I am not running around like a madwoman on the last couple of days. No, that would be entirely too easy!!!

I got out the cat carrier tonight and Joe immediately freaked out and went into hiding. He refuses to leave the den and is hiding under the end table where we can't reach him. I suppose I thought I would give him a few days to get used to the idea, but I think I am probably just making it worse!!! Poor guy.

Now that I know the dates, I am absolutely ready to go!

Monday, July 14, 2008

more surgery

Sam had his post-operative visit with his surgeon today. All of the bandages came off and we saw his hand for the first time since surgery. We actually took pictures with our cell phones, but I am not going to ruin your day by showing them here! It was pretty gross. But all fingers are there. He can wiggle them all. He can bend all fingers except his middle finger. They took fresh x-rays. That middle finger was really blasted - lots of bone fragments. Dr. Champagne (a wonderful hand surgeon) decided he wants to do a second surgery to install a plate in the middle finger so the finger will be more stable.

After the surgeon's visit we went to a Physical Therapist who specializes in making custom splints that exactly fit the patient's hand. I watched him while he created the one-of-a-kind splint for Sam's hand. Sam jokingly refers to it as his "Darth Vadar glove", because it is made out of a dark black material. It looks more like one of those carpal tunnel support braces except it extends over the two fingers to protect him from accidental bumps, which would be excrutiating.

This whole experience has been eye-opening. I talked to so many other patients. One woman sliced the tip of her finger off when she was cutting fabric with one of those rotary cutters. She sure was mad at herself. Another young man had flown over the handlebars of his four-wheeler and braced his arms out in front of him, breaking both hands. A young father had sliced the end of a finger off at work. A very young girl had put her hand through a plate glass window. The list goes on. The hand is quite vulnerable! Sam's injury was atypical. They do see accidental gunshot wounds to the hand, but they are usually not the fault of someone other than the victim! Had Sam not also had the bullet wounds (entry and exit) on his right thigh where his hand was resting, it might not have been so obvious that he was not at fault in this accident.

Again, Sam was lucky to escape with the injuries he has. It could have been so much worse!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

cool again

Air conditioning is a wonderful invention - especially in July - in Phoenix - and is most appreciated shortly after it begins working again - after a night spent sweating while a giant fan blew warm air directly at my not-quite-sleeping miserable body. I think it is safe to say that I am incredibly spoiled and will not survive in any post-apocalypse life that does not include air conditioning, massages, nail salons, Ben & Jerry's ice cream and Princess cruises. (Someone would just need to shoot me right after the mushroom cloud dissipated.) That is more of a good reason to vote DEMOCRATIC!!! :-)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

too darn hot

It is only 96 degrees, but the humidity is 38% and climbing. And the air conditioning in the house is broken. What timing!!! The only time we have any humidity and the air conditioning goes out. It is just miserable in this house!!! The temperature will slowly drop between now (5 p.m.) and tomorrow morning, but the humidity will steadily climb. Twelve hours from now it will be 84 degrees and 71% humidity. Arggghhhhhh! The air conditioning repair serviceman will arrive between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. tomorrow morning, at which time I will bludgeon him to death for not coming sooner. I will blame it on the heat and humidity and I will go free.

Sam has gone off to spend the night with a buddy. I did not want him to go, but when I expressed my concern, he answered in the way young people do - "Mom, I'm 21. I can take care of myself!" - oblivious to the fact that he almost got his hand shot off and was completely dependent on me for almost a week. Sigh - I know I was the same way - probably worse! I will just have to deal with my worry - while I sweat.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

home again

This morning I was on my way into the office when Sam called to say that they were releasing him from the hospital - without even transferring him from ICU to a regular room. So I changed directions and headed to the hospital. When I got there, he was pretty upset because they had not given him any pain medication yet. I explained to him that he was in ICU and was probably surrounded by several critical care cases, but he was not affected by my logic. He was hurting!

His nurse (Erin) came in with his meds and said that the doctor would be making his rounds between 8 :30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. and would probably sign off on his release. The clock ticked away. At 9:30 a.m., Erin said she would have the doctor paged if he had not appeared by 10. At 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 11:00 a.m., Erin paged the doctor. Finally, at about 11:20 a.m., the doctor appeared. He said that he had told the resident to release Sam early that morning. Sigh.

So we quickly got Sam's things together and headed out. He was so happy to get in my car to drive away. We stopped by Arby's on the way home to get his favorite fast food meal, then dropped off his prescriptions. We made it home and he planted himself on the sofa and happily ate while playing with the TV remote control.

I went in and worked half a day! Sam's girlfriend du jour came over to hang out with him while I was at work. I just got home and they were both asleep. I had to wake her up because she has to go to work tonight.

I am happy to have him home!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tuesday night update

Wow - what a difference! Sam actually got up and went for a walk today! He is off the IV pain medication and is hooked up to the IV only when he is receiving antibiodics. They have the combination worked out and he is off all monitoring equipment. He will be moved to a regular room some time tonight. The true sign that he is feeling better - he sent me home because his girlfriend is visiting tonight. They even told him that he might go home tomorrow, depending on his pain level. He is still hurting quite a bit, but is tolerating it better. I am very relieved!!!

Tuesday update on Sam

Sam is still in ICU and is still in quite a bit of pain, but he is okay. He even sent me home last night and I was able to sleep in my own bed. His surgeon was supposed to come by to look at his hand today, but has not yet shown up. I'm getting ready to head back over to the hospital now.

The kindness from friends & family has been most appreciated! Several prayer chains were working on Sam. The new need is to help Sam gear up for recovery. He will need to focus on healing and on figuring out what he can and can not do with his right hand. I'm sure he has some frustrating moments ahead of him. I don't want him to get depressed, which is often a result of injuries like this. Thank you all for your continued prayers and kind words.

Then we must also get refocused on our cross-country move. That should be fun!!!

Monday, July 7, 2008

son in hospital

My son is in the hospital following a gun accident. One of his friends carelessly handled a gun in his presence and the gun went off. One bullet did extensive damage to his right hand, then traveled through his right thigh. He had surgery to repair the hand last night, which (for now) has saved the two fingers that were affected, though one will never bend again. Today he was moved to ICU because the blend of narcotics was causing his breathing to be sporadic. He is now hooked up to a machine that monitors his breaths and emotes a loud BEEP if he doesn't breathe, which startles him into breathing. They are working on the drug combination to try to get it right.

Having not slept for 72 hours, I came home for a nap. Since the plan is to move him back to the regular ward after they get the drug combination figured out, we thought I better take advantage of the close supervision he is getting in ICU and get a few hours of sleep. I am headed back to the hospital now.

I'm so angry about this accident. The young man who shot him and another friend were competing to see who could disassemble and assemble guns the fastest. The first rule of gun safety is to remove the clip and check the chamber for a bullet. He did not do the latter. My son was standing nearby and is now paying the price for his friend's carelessness. The irony is that my son doesn't even like guns and thinks the friends are overly obsessed with their guns. But Sam is an equal opportunity friend and has friends from many different backgrounds. They have a wide variety of interests.

There is nothing quite as horrible for parents than to see their child in excrutiating pain and not be able to do a thing about it. That is how things felt very early this morning when he began to feel pain after the conclusion of the surgery. It was quite terrible.

This morning when Sam's breathing was still not under control (before he was moved to ICU), I was sitting with my hand on his chest. When he didn't take a breath, I tapped him on the chest with my fingers to startle him into breathing. He looked at me and said, "Mom, if I die, please cremate me and put my ashes in the ocean." I agreed to do that, but added, "But you are NOT going to die, because I won't LET you die. I am right here and I am not going anywhere until they get you to a safe place." The fact that he was contemplating his own death at the age of 21 told me that he was frightened beyond what he was showing. And that made me weep.

I will have more details later.

Friday, July 4, 2008

independence day

HBO is running all parts of their John Adams series today. The history of my country has been documented in many different formats, but none so moving as this! It is truly amazing. I weep every time I watch the vote on the amendment to separate from England and King George. Even though I know from British history that the king was a bit demented and probably had a medical reason for making such bad decisions about the colonies in America, I still marvel at the bravery that led those few men to vote for such a measure. Then the reading of the Declaration in the town square just makes me boo-hoo. Then the scene showing the inauguration is just too much for me. The actor who plays George Washington is so good.

Today is a day for packing and purging. I have allowed too much useless crap to accumulate and I am really sick of looking at it all. I have managed to take a boatload of paperbacks to a co-worker, but I am still drowning in books. WHY do I have so many? Luckily, I do have professional packers to pack everything. I choose to pack my grandmothers' Limoge and other delicates and take them with me in the car. But the rest of my belongings will be packed by professionals, which is part of why I have so much crap!!! The last three moves have included professional packers. When you pack your own things, you tend to purge as you go, sometimes out of just being sick of packing.

I also need to buy a car today. No big deal, right? Sigh. I just want it to be done for me. I wish someone would start a business conducting car sales - go to dealerships, negotiate a price, argue, bring cars to me to test drive, then bring the paperwork to me to sign. Why hasn't anyone thought to start a business doing that? I would gladly pay for such a service!!!

My extended family is gathered today in Montreat, North Carolina for the annual July 4th family picnic. Last year there were over 120 family members there. This time next year I will be living in Memphis and will be able to drive over for the gathering. I will be so happy to be able to do that! I have missed being with family.

Happy Independence Day!