Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Girl and Her Dog

This past week was Jim's annual motorcycle trip with the guys. So Kirby and I have been hanging out taking care of the house. Kirby is definitely Jim's dog, and goes into moping mode whenever he is gone. He sits on the couch in the conservatory gazing mournfully at the garage as if he could conjure up Jim's presence just by wishing it so. It is pathetic. For the first few nights he didn't even sleep with me. I guess he thought Jim might sneak in while he was upstairs. Finally he decided our bed was a better place to be than the couch. Jim gets home today, so I know the pooch will be ecstatic and will quickly get over his funk.

My sister came and stayed two nights with us, and that was fun. We went out to eat, shopped and enjoyed the Missouri Botanical Garden on a particularly beautiful June day. We also went through a box of photographs that I had taken out of mom and dad's photo albums after dad died. I have been sorting them into bags for each of my siblings, but there are some I know that we all might want to have copies of. Kathy helped with the sorting. Now I have a bunch of scanning to do. Bleh. But I also have a batch of photos to take over to Cincinnati for the family reunion, so that will be fun.

Katie is now in Barcelona for a few days. She called yesterday to let me know that she and Megan had arrived safely. In a few short days I will be picking her up at the airport. Can't wait to see all of her pictures and videos, and hear all about her adventures!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Thoughts on Father's Day

This is a very unusual Father's Day. Just like Mother's Day, we have no children here to celebrate the day with. But that is not bad since there is no dad here to celebrate with either. Jim is off on his annual epic motorcycle trip. I was surprised that they picked this week due to Father's Day occurring this weekend. Not so much from Jim's perspective, but the other three guys are all dads as well.

I guess I will be up for the bad daughter-in-law of the year award because I forgot to send Jim's dad a card. I have never forgotten before, so I will blame it on the fact that we were not making any Father's Day plans around here to tickle my memory. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it! I will call Jerry tonight and hope that a phone conversation makes up for my memory lapse on the card.

I find myself thinking about my own dad today, in part because of finally completing the book I was writing about his time period in the war. But also my cousin posted a really heart wrenching story on Facebook this morning written by a man whose dad died at a fairly young age. There were lots of things they wanted to do together, planned during a period when they thought they had all the time in the world. I feel that way about my mom, since she died when I was only 33. But we got to have my dad a lot longer than that, so I was blessed that way.


You held my hand
to keep me grounded
You let it go
So I could fly
I held your hand
as you lay dying
Then let it go
So you could soar

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Saturday was Katie's 20th birthday, and she was celebrating all right. Just not with her parents. She is in Prague for five weeks with a global marketing class, but has been taking side trips each weekend. Therefore she turned 20 in the French Riviera instead of St. Louis. So for the first time in 20 years, I was not with my girl on her birthday.

That got me thinking about birthdays in general. When it is our birthday, we tend to think only about ourselves. After all, it is OUR day. But we don't stop to think about the woman who made it possible for us to have a day to celebrate. On the birthday of each of my children I always flash back to the day they were born. There was the pain, of course. Whoever said you forget the pain is a filthy liar. But there was also the awe of holding that baby for the first time, counting the fingers and toes. Katie was whisked away from us almost immediately because she was born with a collapsed lung. She spent several days in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and I was alone in my room. It made me wonder how women who had lost their babies coped, because my arms felt so empty without her. But all those babies in the NICU, some so critically ill! We very quickly realized how lucky we were that Katie's illness was so minor.

Twenty years ago I was a very blessed new mom. And today I thank God for the lovely young woman I am proud to call my daughter. Happy birthday, Katie!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Expense of Lessons Learned

Yesterday was the last day of my photography class at the Missouri Botanical Garden. This was actually my second class, so for the past ten Tuesdays I have been at the garden for class. Tough job, I know, but someone has to do it. Scott is a really great instructor, with the exception that he likes to show too many slides. Yes, I did say slides. He uses those photos because he wants to impress upon us that no alterations have been made to the pictures. No Photoshop, no Lightroom, no iPhoto - well you get the...errrr...picture. Don't get me wrong, I love looking at his photos. Just not for 45 minutes in a darkened room on hard plastic chairs. Especially when it is beautiful outside and we could be taking shots.

Since it was pretty hot out yesterday, we only went outside for a little over an hour. He worked with each of us one on one to make sure we didn't have any last minute questions. Two of us had just gotten polarizing filters, so he talked to us about proper use of those. Then we went back inside for - surprise! - a PowerPoint slide show of his photos. He can't seem to get his timing down, so this ran past the end of class. I had to excuse myself because I had places to go and people to see. All in all, I learned a great deal from the classes and am glad I took them.

Katie forgot to take her business cards with her to Prague, and she needs them next week. On the way home from the garden, I stopped at the post office to send those over to her. I needed to catch a quick bite to eat because I had a dental appointment at 2:00, but I had a phone all and email that needed to be dealt with first. Both of these were from the father of one of Katie's roommates from Chicago. We have one last outstanding issue with their apartment.

When the three girls signed the lease last year, we got the apartment management to agree to a nine month lease. For this privilege, we paid an extra premium each month, but it still resulted in costing less than a twelve month lease. Katie told the management in March that they would be moving out, and asked questions about reserving the elevator (such as did they all have to move at the same time - which is what we had to do when we moved them in - and what else did they need to do before moving out, etc. She was told they could move out separately, and to reserve the elevator with the door person at the front desk. Flash forward to May, when Lauren went to reserve her elevator time check into moving out. The girls were informed that they did not give proper sixty days written notice for moving out. Apparently that clause is in the lease. But come on - we paid extra for the nine month lease, they KNEW the girls were going to be moving out June 6th! They then gave the girls a letter dated May 10 stating that they needed to pay an additional 45 days of rent at the new "market rate" plus a premium. The bottom line is that they said we owe an additional $5,200! The office said that they had placed a move out packet under the girls door more than 60 days prior to the expiration of the lease, telling them how to avoid extra charges. Right! All three girls walked over the packet and no one picked it up. Numerous other kids in the building also were facing this same issue and said they had never received the packet.

Now this all occurred just as the girls were studying for finals, and they were all worked up about it as you can imagine. Their numerous attempts to reason with management fell on deaf ears. I told Katie to try and put it out of her mind and that we would see what we could do after finals. We all decided to have the girls get their stuff moved out before we created any additional waves on the issue, so the apartment didn't hold anyone's items hostage. Lauren's dad is an attorney, so we put our heads together and came up with all the reasons we think we are in the right. Yesterday he sent a letter via email and also certified mail to the AMLI management. It was written as only an attorney can write, and I think makes our case. My fallback position personally is that I would agree to pay our third for the month of June at our old rate if I have to. Hopefully the legal letterhead will end this thing now. So the lesson here? Read the lease closely!

On a funny note, at the dentist's office yesterday the next hygienist over from mine (separated by a partial wall) was treating a six year old girl and her four year old brother. "You know what?" the boy questioned. "I tricked the tooth fairy! I put a lemon seed under my pillow instead of a tooth!" When life hands you lemons...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Is There a Doctor in the House?

Tuesday evening I felt the start of a urinary tract infection. Another sign of getting older, another sign that God is, indeed, a man. Men don't normally suffer from this ailment due to the length of their pee pipe. Anyone who has had one of these infections knows when they are getting one. Why can't these be like yeast infections where you can buy the medicine over the counter? Why do we have to go to the doctor and pee in a cup to get the drug? And why do the infections always occur when the doctor is indeed Not In?

By Wednesday morning I was very grouchy about the whole thing, so I called the doctor's office first thing. "Can't I just come in and pee in a cup?", I begged the receptionist. It's not like I have ever been wrong before. Oh no, you must see the doctor. She could take me at 10:40. Grrr...I wanted my drugs! I should explain about this doctor. She is from India, and dresses like she is still in her homeland. She has a revolving door of Indian residents flowing through her office like the Brahmaputra River back home. She used to have her office in a crappy little building walking distance from my house. She has since moved a little farther away into a building that used to be occupied by a restaurant. Still in a crappy, slightly bigger office. My daughter had just gone to see her for a check-up prior to her trip abroad, and she reported an hour and a half waiting period. So, still a crappy building and still crappy scheduling. I was hoping that a move to a new place would help her get a little more organized. You might be asking yourself why I continue to go to this doctor. Well, I like the convenience of the location, she is very thorough, and she can always see me the day I call if I have an issue like this. With my ob/gyn I had to call and leave a message for his nurse, wait for her to call me back, and then hopefully get an appointment in a couple of days. I just can't wait when I get one of these.

Anyway, when I arrived at the office at 10:35, there was only one man in the waiting room, and he had listed his appointment as being at 10:20. Not too bad, I'm thinking to myself. Ha! I was able to pee in a cup fairly soon after I got there, but then the wait began. Due to Katie's experience, I brought my iPad along. Thank God! I mostly leaned against the wall in the waiting room (named that for a superb reason!) because sitting with this infection is not very comfortable. Finally at 11:50 I was taken to an exam room, where the non-smiling resident took my vitals, as well as my blood. She decided I needed a blood sugar test since I hadn't seen Dr. K. for well over a year. It was low. Ya think? I didn't realize I needed to pack a lunch to go to the doctor's office. She brought me in some crackers. That seemed like a bad sign. Exactly how long was I going to be sitting in the room?

Dr. K. finally came in, said my urine test was positive (what a surprise!), and asked if I have been taking my cranberry pills. 1650 mg. every morning, I told her. She said there is a new cranberry pill out that has additional macrobiotics or something in them, and that studies were indicating that they are helping people like me. She couldn't remember where she saw them, so I'm supposed to call in a week and ask about them. Whatever - just give me my prescription so I can get out of here! By 12:30 I was on the road to the pharmacy. Where I got to wait another 25 minutes for them to fill the prescription. What a bummer that when you feel so awful, you have to wait around for the people and things that can make you feel better. The drug works like magic though, and I feel so much closer to normal today. Until next time...