Sunday, February 19, 2006

Cleaning House

My wife decided it is time to give up trying to take care of her dad in our home. The fine line between him being an "inconvenience" and realistically not being equipped to provide 24/7 care for him with our limited family resources is a tough one to negotiate emotionally. She and her brother visited several private nursing care homes last week and put his name on waiting lists.

The roller coaster is now in motion. This decision has been the kick start for putting our household back in order. This weekend we started remodeling the basement that has become a catch all for everything from storage boxes, my father in law's coffin we built, old Christmas stuff, a bed for visitors, my guitar and amplifier collections, boxes and boxes of books, old computers and just plain crap. Its a nice finished basement family room with a fireplace that has become a dumping ground. We've been putting out fires for so long it has become a "lifestyle" and we've become immune to the sight of having a garage sale in our basement. I'm thinking of invoking the 6 month rule: if we haven't seen it, used it or missed it for 6 months it goes in the dumpster. That would be most of our possessions, I think. At least just about everything in the basement right now. Gotta go vacuum.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Que Pasa, Homey?

This is "The Garden of the Gods" in Colorado Springs. It looks a lot like Sedona in AZ. The main difference between them is James Dobson and Focus on the Family and the Air Force Academy are housed in Colorado Springs and witches and druids with real estate licenses and people who do aroma therapy, peruse pictures of crop circles with magnifying glasses for messages from aliens, and sleep with tin foil hats on live in Sedona. In the end "garden of the god*S*" is probably correct. No telling which god people think dwell in those hills.

So...this is the "Christmas Newsletter" update of the life of steve, I guess. There's so little time for blogging lately.

Let's see. My wife is finally burning out on taking care of her father. She has been a saint with him but he's getting harder to take care of. I think the vacation was a break but also a reality check about how he is consuming her. We both knew it was coming sooner or later, but she finally brought up permanent nursing home care for him. I can't really make that decision for her. Yeah, I'd love to get an uninterrupted night of sleep too and have my wife and all the rights and privileges thereto back. The reality is, because of my work and Church stuff I don't do much of the direct care of him except when she is gone, which is not often, so I'm not the one feeding him, changing his Depends, dressing him for Church, getting up in the middle of the night to give him his nitroglycerine and suction his phlegm. And he's not MY dad who took care of his wife and mother when they were dying...and she's pretty susceptible to "guilt". I think I'd probably err on the side of keeping him too long too if she asked me. But I tend to go the third fourth and fifth mile with things myself. We're not a good combo in that regard... no objectivity. I was in a position once of deciding whether or not to "pull the plug" on my brother. This is actually a harder decision because Gil will live on indefinitely and as dedicated and compassionate as the staff are, we've seen nursing home conditions. They aren't our house.

On other fronts, I just finished an article on "Homosexuality" for AGAIN an Orthodox magazine. It will come out in their Spring issue this Lent. I had some very brave souls who are Orthodox Christians who have "same sex attraction" who participated in a questionairre who assisted with the content of the article. Kudos to the staff of Conciliar Press for taking on this issue.

On the work front, I seem to be getting a rash of crazy clients. The latest is a woman who has changed every detail of her house at least a half dozen times. She is the master of catastrophizing life. She's also slightly infirm and plays it for all its worth with her daughter and anyone who will respond. If things don't go her way all of a sudden she has to sit down, rest, breath deeply and sigh a lot. She'd walk around with me and say "Can you do this? What do you think about that? Do you like this color?" etc. etc. Then I'd find out she thought I was telling her I'd actually DO all those things...of course for the same amount of money as the original contract...then she'd play me against her designer, who I work with. The designer finally quit and now the woman's LAWYER... yes ANOTHER LAWYER!!! is now running the job and his WIFE is now the designer. The woman was told she is not to speak to me directly any more on the job, all changes and ideas have to go through the lawyer and designer. We all met on the job after The Big Meeting and the woman looked like a whipped dog. She waddled after me into a room like a lost duckling and tugged on my shirt. "I can't talk to you any more...." she sniffed with a quiver in her voice and bassett hound eyes. She HAD to see "progress" so I painted the huge living room/family room/dining room and halls. I came in today and there were about 15 holes cut in the finished walls of the halls and living room where she decided she wanted a new light and outlet. Now she wants surround sound. The stereo people will be there next week to cut up the finished family room walls. The dining room is intact as of 3:00 today. Yeah, its all money, but I see the lawyer train a'comin again, and they never have money on them in my experience lately. sigh.....Other than that I have WAY too much work on my books and WAY too little time. I've been in the putting out fires mode for a long time. When EVERYONE is a squeaky wheel it gets old after a while. On the other hand, I thank God for the work because I still have not heard a word from the last lawyer I worked for who owes me almost 10,000.00.

AND my youngest daughter just turned 13 and the junior high drama gene flipped on. Fortunately I've been through this before so I know the end of the world won't come no matter what she says.