Sunday, December 26, 2010

Well, I thought I was prepared . . .

I always think I’m prepared. Not because I used to be a Boy Scout (I was in the Brownie’s, though!) but because I’m pretty organized. Some say compulsive. Compulsive, OCD, organized – call it whatever, but who do people come to when they need to know where to find something? That’s right – you know who you are.

This skill/neurosis comes in handy when helping Robert. I’m still perfecting my skills when it comes to him, though, as I have found out whenever I go out of town.

I don’t leave often but there are a few times a year that I am out of town. Last summer, when my daughter turned 21 years old, we went to Las Vegas for a couple of days. Just me and her – it was a blast (although I found myself wishing she was a spring baby instead of born in the middle of the summer – who knew Vegas was so hot??).

Before leaving, I made sure Robert had enough supplies. I didn’t have a back stock of anything but I was only leaving for a few days and, after a quick inventory, he seemed sufficiently stocked.

Apparently not.

One afternoon, while enjoying a cocktail at a couple of promising slot machines (don’t judge – where else are we going to keep cool when it’s 110 outside?), Robert calls.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sending Christmas cards isn't as easy as it seems

Not only is my own Christmas a bit crazy (see below), I try to spread my craziness everywhere. Robert has lived in The Home for about a year and a half and he already has a supply of holiday decorations. We decorate his room with a tabletop, pre-lit tree (with unbreakable ornaments, of course) and a few knick-knacks to set around his room as well as all of the Christmas themed arts and crafts projects he makes. This year, we added a happy, rotund snowman cut-out to his front door which will make anyone smile as they pass by.

Robert also sends out Christmas cards. Last year, he only did a few but this year I started him early and gave him a lot of time to complete them. I finally figured out Robert likes to give cards (birthday, holiday, happy new year, whatever), with a religious theme so I brought over a couple of boxes of cards to let him choose which ones to send out this year. (um, I do realize Christmas is not all about the decorations, thank you very much). He was very pleased with the selection. I put address labels on each envelope and slipped a card into the inside flap of the envelope so it would be very easy for Robert to see who the card was going to. He told me he likes to write a personal greeting and then sign the card. He told me everything he was going to say. Crap. This will take weeks. I should have started him on Halloween.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Ahhhh, the joy of Christmas. Peace, joy and goodwill.  People are kinder to each other, aren't they?  Such a peaceful time of year. . . . carefully making lists while leisurely sipping egg nog, scouring the ads for the best sales, shopping (remember the coupons!), baking, setting off the smoke alarm (with each and every batch of cookies), deciding not to bake quite so much, more shopping (because there are more sales), more lists of gifts for people who didn't make the first list, hang Christmas lights outside, find the perfect tree, blow a fuse (because of all the lights), add more decorations to the outside anyway, spend hours getting the giant (but perfect) tree into a teensy tiny little tree stand (and making sure it is straight!), run back to the store for more lights (this time, for the tree), fight a little old lady for the last box on the shelf, be unable to resist the urge to add yet more lights because the neighbor added more to his yard (we will win the decorations war!!), hang as many ornaments on the tree as possible (note to self: buy another Christmas tree next year or stop buying ornaments), hang stockings (at least the ones you can find; what does everyone do with their stockings from year to year?), find one of the missing stockings in the bottom of a closet of an unnamed teenage boy (bonus! Christmas candy left over from last year), blow off the dust and hang said teenage boy's stocking,  print labels for the Christmas cards, realize the printer is out of ink, run to the office supply store to purchase another cartridge (can this count as a Christmas present to my husband?), reprint labels for the Christmas cards, cajole the teenage and young adult children into signing the Christmas cards, resort to bribery to get signatures on the cards, wrap presents, place presents under the tree, watch cats demolish the wrapping, rewrap presents, learn to live with a little rip here and there in the wrapping, is there time to hang more lights? (dang that neighbor!). . .  wake up Christmas morning to happy, smiling faces.  (And the realization that we won the Christmas decorations war!)

I love Christmas.  Hope you enjoy your holiday too!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Don't Change that Routine!

Robert is a creature of routine.  I suppose many of us are but I have always been fascinated by Robert's obsessive, bordering-on-OCD, routines.  Washcloths have to be laid out a certain way on the bathroom sink; deoderant has a certain place in his bathroom bag; drinks at dinner are lined up from orange juice on the left to coffee (decaf, please) on the right.  He's almost Rainman-esque (an old movie reference for you young-uns), in his compulsion to count.  In Robert's case, it's "diesel trucks" when in the car or the amount of bites it takes him to eat ice cream or the number of sips it takes to finish a cup of coffee. 

Robert loves the weather report.  The news comes on and he diligently writes down the expected high temperature for the next five days.  Robert will recite the current wind speed and direction to anyone who will listen. 

Robert knows that "Jeopardy" is on at 6:30 and "Wheel of Fortune" is on at 7:00.  It's TV Land at 7:30 and Channel 3 at 8:00 p.m.  Doesn't matter what is on at 8:00 on Channel 3, Robert just switches to that channel and watches whatever is on.  It could be "The Biggest Loser" or "Dateline: To Catch a Predator" -- Robert doesn't care as long as it is on Channel 3.  Every time Robert and I play cards he tells me the TV watching routine. He prompts me to change the channel when it is time if my fingers aren't fast enough.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Do Not Get Between a Man and His Pizza

"Trish.  This is Robert.  I am calling you and need you to call me back right away.  It seems they won't let me have any pizza.  They showed me a piece of paper that says I can't have red sauce.  Why do you not want me to have red sauce?  Why don't you want me to have pizza?  I want to know why you did that, Trish.  I want to know.  Call me back right away."

Uh oh.  This is the second time in as many weeks that Robert told me The Home didn't let him eat pizza.  I assumed the first instance was due to The Home putting him on a diet again without telling me.  I can usually talk Robert into things so he doesn't get upset by changes in his routine but I have to be notified about any proposed changes first.  (Although telling him he can only have 1 piece of bacon when Joe, his neighbor at the breakfast table, can eat 3 is quite the tough sell).  The diet thing didn't really work out a year ago and his pants size has, thankfully, leveled off (anyone need jeans size 32, 34, 36 & 38??), so I'm not too keen on trying another diet.  After our card game on that first No Pizza For You Day, I talked to the CNA who informed me that Robert did have pizza a few days ago.  Oh, okay, Robert is known to mix up his details and days sometimes so maybe he just wanted a LOT of pizza and they said he couldn't have more.  I didn't think anything more about it.

But then Robert called accusing me of somehow affecting his pizza eating.  I called Robert back to explain that I did not tell The Home he can't have red sauce!  I told him I would immediately call the nurse and figure out what the problem is.  Robert was very, very appreciative.  So appreciative that I suspected he thought I would straighten out the whole pizza problem and someone would immediately come into his room with a piping hot Combination Pizza just for him.  Well, I'll deal with that expectation when I call him back.