Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Then the shit liquified

My dad passed on Sunday.  I can't travel because of Mom.  The dementia is getting worse, partly because the days are shorter.  I started the caregiver service so that I might get 24 hour caregiving if I had to travel for this, but I have near zero confidence in these caregivers.  So I was going to get mom qualified to go to a respite/memory care place but when Auntie died, that process got put on the back burner.  They only need one signature on the death certificate, so my brother will go and bring his ashes back to Hawaii.  Then he'll get a US Navy burial at sea.  Dad was retired Navy and a Vietnam Vet.  He was 87, so he had good run.  He was the last of 13 siblings.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Then it all goes to shit

My Aunt Edith died (in the Philippines) in July.  She had been withdrawing over the past couple years & getting less verbal (like Mom), then she didn't want to leave the house any more, she wasn't walking around the house for exercise, then she stopped talking.  She stopped eating.  I used to write to her all the time.  She loaned me money to help buy my first house.  Then writing became difficult, but phone calls were useless.  Most of the time on the phone between Mom & Edith was like, "Hello?  Can you hear me?  ____ is that you?"  Her last real communication with me was when I got cataract surgery in 2014. "Upgrade for the lens correction," she said. I already requested it.  She knew my taste in clothing.  She gifted me my most favorite shirt ever.

Two months later, my incredible shrinking Auntie Susie passed away.  She lived about 70 miles from me.  Back in the 90's when my cousins started having kids, they started calling her Lola (grandma) but she said "No, call me Auntie.  I will be Auntie to everyone." And she was. 

OMG, this was hard.  In the past few years, as Mom slips deeper into dementia, Auntie was my shoulder to lean on.  I used to tell her all of Mom's incidents and accidents.  She didn't have any advice, but she would listen.  Then my birthday passed.  This was my saddest day.  All the usual suspects called, but I missed her phone call so much.  She used to be the first one every year to call to wish me happy birthday.  So now she's left me to be executor of her will.  So much to do, but somehow she did everything she could to make this easier.  I mean everything was so organized.  She left cash in her safe so that we could pay bills until the probate court makes me the official Trustee.  We tried, it isn't enough to the bank that we present the death certificate and the three most likely beneficiaries. 

But wait, there's more!  My aunt's cousin lives around the block (I call him Uncle because of the age difference), he was the closest and has a key to the house.  He's the one that found her.  In the Filipino tradition, her body hadn't left the house yet while all the closest friends & family gathered at the house and prayed for 9 days, followed by pot luck every night (OMG, so much food!  I don't think I've done groceries for a month, and I was only there on weekends.)  By the third day, Uncle was complaining about chest pains and went to ER.  A couple days in the hospital for tests, then he's having a quadruple bypass.  I think Auntie broke his heart, yea I know it was like going through a stress test.  My heart broke too, but I'm much younger than him so I guess I stressed out better.

Now we're coming up on her 40th day.  There will be more prayers at a special mass.  Apparently this time, rather than pot luck, it's time for the family of the deceased (that would be me) to pay for a buffet for everyone who has been praying and pot lucking for my Auntie.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Incompetence is making alot of work for me

It's been 2-1/2 months since I've had a caregiver coming in.  Just when everything is going smoothly *crap* school starts.  So she's taking classes toward a nursing degree and I only get her 3 days a week.  She'll be a good nurse and she has a passion for clients with dementia.  The first trained substitute is no longer available.  There's another substitute, but she's not trained to do stuff the way we like. Heck, she couldn't make instant coffee.  So things are up in the air for 2 days/week right now.

A month ago, I hired carpet cleaners off of a local coupon book.  They showed up and pulled a bait & switch.  I showed them the door, they came back and bargained. So I let them just do the downstairs.  It looked clean when they left but it didn't feel clean.  I had to go over it with my own carpet cleaner, a plain water rinse. The collected water was literally black. End result was good enough, but I need to do it again because dirt is coming up in the high traffic areas even though we're not wearing outside footwear inside.  I wanted to do it this weekend, but I don't have enough time.

A year ago I bought a solar-charging battery banks with the intent to use it for my raspberry pi projects.  It didn't work out because #1 it didn't charge my phone to 100%, it would stop around 97%.  #2 The pi projects didn't draw enough current to keep it on, so it would keep going to sleep.  I complained to the company, they sent out another one and a cheap, random "gift."  It wasn't totally useless, I loved the flashlight function--came in handy for a couple of electrical blackouts.

Well, the replacement battery bank was just the same, so it I just had to accept that it the wrong battery for my purpose.  But last weekend, it was dark while I was plugging it in to charge and the input mini-USB connector broke off.  I took it apart hoping it was fixable, but my soldering iron (and eyes) aren't fine enough.  For their part, they cheaped out on assembly.  If they had just soldered down the housing, it would have prevented the connector breaking off the way that it did.   This weekend I took the battery out of it and made the battery power supply I wanted in the first place.  It's still charging now, so I'm going to test it tomorrow to see how long it lasts.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

3-1/2 weeks

At the end of week 2, Mom tried to send the caregiver home.  It just took a phone call home to sort it out but at least I didn't have to go home.  I did have to go home the other day. but it wasn't drectly care related.  My wifi was out at the house, after caregiver had left, so I couldn't keep an eye on Mom. 

I started the caregiver in the afternoons because that's when I was running home the most for dementia issues.  It was making a difference to me and Mom's quality of life but I was still always running late, and if I'm too late, I can't work the full 8 hour shift because I don't want to work past 5pm because that's when dementia goes up another notch.  I was worried about losing my job but then my boss started chemo treatments (so I'm okay--praying for him to get through his thing).  After that event, I moved the caregiver hours to the morning.  By this time, she's familiar with the house and Mom's quirks.   

One of the reasons I was always running late, Mom just wanted to sleep a little longer.  Now she can and I don't worry that she's stuck upstairs.  I don't worry that she's going all day without eating.  There was a little dementia issue this week but the caregiver & I came up with a prevention plan for that.

So it's still a work in progress.  We had wins this week with bathing. 

Today, the HOA opened up the gates for a community garage sale.  We have two a year.  They took care of the city permits and advertised in the local papers & Craigslist.  I put very little effort into it anymore, yet this year I managed to sell $12 and get rid of a couple bulky items while I was doing some yard work.  Last year I made $20 for less than a hour of effort, while I cleaned a corner of the garage.  I call that a successful day.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Finally! Caregiver

It's only the first week done - three days, three hours a day.  It was a slow start as she tried to build a rapport with Mom.  I really had no expectations other than hopefully I don't have to run home from work anymore because Mom's been sitting on the floor more than an hour.  Mom is resistant to having help.  By the end of the 3rd day, though, she was able to brush out Mom's hair.  Bonus for me, I think she washed my bedding.  I didn't see that coming (or on the camera either).

So today, Saturday, I'm looking around the house to see what needs doin'.  I cleaned up last week.  I had decluttered a bit, I put away ID-sensitive papers & camera gear.  I got rid of all the little boxes that have been accumulating.  I'm also getting together some stuff for the community garage sale next month.  After getting groceries, now what am I going to do?   I've forgotten how to relax!  Maybe I'll be pulling out my paints soon...we'll see.

However, I'm still having a hard time putting in a full 8 hour day at work.  I don't sleep well because Mom keeps getting up at night. I don't think I've been on time since daylight savings kicked in.  So I'm often 30-45 minutes late, and that's after I adjusted my hours.  I do have the flex to work as late as I need to, but I can only stay until 5pm because of Mom's "sundowning."  That will get progressively worse as the days get shorter until Christmas.  I have a computer job, what I need is to be able to make up my time from home.

Sunday edit: I had energy today!  I put it toward yardwork.  It's been so long since I had energy for the yard, it's either overgrown or browning.  I'm going to minimize then look for a backyard makeover.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Wow, it's almost June

It is Memorial Day weekend.  It's too long!  I'm so bored.  I did all my cleaning & laundry last week, so I have noting to do this weekend.  I edited 3 videos yesterday (they're too personal to publish). We had a BBQ at work on Friday, but I left at 2:30 because I hadn't seen Mom on the camera since before lunch.  (Pushing though long holiday traffic commute home) I found her sitting up on the tile floor behind the chair (camera view).  She says "I was waiting for you."  Wow, that's about a 4 hour wait. I need to get serious about finding a caregiver.  Then I have to figure out my next step because I took so much time off work this week.  Good thing nothing's hot on my desk.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

TMI Life update

Wow, time is flying, it's March already!  I can't say I've been really productive but I do have more things to do than I have time in the day.  I haven't had side work since December, but let's start with weekends.  I'm pretty non-productive on Saturdays and Sundays.  I'm always awake by 7:30, but then I wait around until Mom's ready to awaken so that I can offer her a bath.  If it doesn't happen on Saturday, I get a little more firm on Sunday.  If it still doesn't happen (like today she was really cold despite me turning up the heat + bathroom heater), then it's sponge bath & dry shampoo, and I'll offer the bath every day until she accepts.  It'll make me late for work, but I don't care about work anymore. I'll cover the time with vacation, until they say I can't do that anymore.  I can't work late anymore.  Mom gets confused after 3pm so I can't stay at work past 4pm.  I think she tried to scare me couple weeks ago when she told me she "went to the other house looking for me" when I was late.  I don't think it's true, she was never off the camera view that long.  Anyway, I'm burning out.  I think I'm not completely burnt out yet because of the weekly workouts I'm getting in.

Mom's motivation to leave the warmth of the bed is hunger.  So I prepare her breakfast & lunch before I leave for work.  That takes more time than I have, actually, so I'm always late to work.  But I'm able to bait Mom by offering coffee. I don't think I've been at work on time since December.  Whatever, I almost don't care anymore.  If it comes up at my next review, I'm going to give it to them straight.  I need to be able to work from home 10-20% of the time.  There's alot of work out there, I could do better than my salary now freelancing from home, but I'd be spending all that to buy healthcare insurance.

So Mom's tired from watching TV all day and walking between her chair and the couch.  She turns in early and I help her into bed.  When it's really early, I can come back to my home office and do stuff, otherwise it's the end of my day, too.  I need a longer day to actually get stuff done.  At least I'm a step closer to getting help from a caregiver.  I successfully installed a smartlock this weekend.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Finally doing things for me

I got  so much done yesterday with just 2 extra hours.  I finished my design on Thursday but I went to work on Friday in case the vendor had any questions.  I really didn't have anything to do.  So I looked busy until lunch and bounced off the walls for another hour before I gave up and decided to leave.

I ran alot of errands and went to the gym to check out the renovations.  Every year I keep an eye out for a deal on a personal trainer.  This is my year!  So I'm signed up for 10 sessions to finally do something for myself.  I was very specific that I want a routine I can do at home because I can only get away to the gym on weekends. I have other age-related limitations now that need to be taken into consideration.

I need to get back into sketching.  I've got all these canvases (and paint) that haven't been touched in a couple years.  So...

2018 Resolution:  Do something for myself every day.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


I woke up early to put the rib roast in the oven.  Good thing I had a dry run a month ago, the roast couldn't have been more perfectly seasoned or perfectly cooked.  My incredible shrinking auntie (60 lbs!) loved it so much, I left it all too her.  I thought she might share it with my cousins who met with her yesterday, but she's planning her meals around the meat now.  I gave her a couple batches of my biscotti as my Christmas gift, which she is thoroughly enjoying.  I told her I hope she gains 20 lbs this year.

Mom doesn't understand time anymore.  It's always April now.  When she's wishing Merry Christmas, she's just parroting me.  I gave her a clock that shows the day and date with year, as well as the time so now I don't have to write it on the board every day. 

I got myself an Echo Spot as my new alarm clock.  So last night was the first with a different clock -- now I remember why I've been using the huge LED clock for the last 35 years, I'm blind as a bat without glasses!  Okay one of my eyes was upgraded a few years ago, so I can see the clock now in analog mode.  The digital text just is too small.

I have go to to work all week (insert sad emoji face here, I can't find it).  I wanted to do half days but the engineer I'm working with keeps deciding to change something and then it takes all day to catch up to all the domino's that fell down because of his change,

Thursday, November 23, 2017


I'm cooking for just Mommy & me this year.  While I wait for the roast to cook, I set up some new tech.  On the doctor's advice I got an Echo Dot because Mom keeps taking off the emergency button from her neck and leaving it around the house, usually where she is not.  I've been using the reminder & timer function today for cooking.  Every time Alexa talks, Mom asks is that your Auntie?  (Auntie has already called.)  If Mom actually needed help, I don't think she would have the presence of mind to pick up the phone, let alone ask for help from Alexa.  But it is just the first day...

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Back from Las Vegas

It wasn't the vacation I hoped it would be, I cut it short and came home early.  Mom's health has been relatively decent this year until September when combination of dementia, diabetes, depression, and poor medical advice hit all at once.  On top of that, I was deep into a project at work that had me burning both ends of the candle. I turned to my accupunturist to relieve some stress but she was out of town for a couple weeks.

She couldn't get in her head that we were there for the full week and that it was a timeshare trade.  She kept ganking everything that wasn't tied down, like we were going home the next morning.  Days were so short.  I couldn't get her to leave the room before lunch, I had to bring her home right after dinner. She can't travel anymore.  Until their sold, I think we'll just have to let the timeshare weeks lapse from now on.  At least she's gotten her use from them over the last (almost) 40 years.

Penny slots have changed.  I used to play nickel & quarter slots, but the fun games anymore are penny slots.  So even though they're "penny" slots, minimum bet is still 30 to 50 cents.  I have a new point-of-view camera that I had fun with on this trip.  Kind of makes my pi cameras moot, they are capable of the same thing but the new camera looks so much better and has better lens.  Still, the pi cameras have come in handy so that I can keep an eye on her while I'm at work and I haven't hand any problems with her leaving the taps open since I put in the motion activated LED strips.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Eating Pi(s)

My timelapse camera has not been working well since I repackaged it into the Raspberry Pi case.  The picture has been washed out when I tried to use it outdoors.  I swapped cameras, it worked on another Pi.  I'm sure the camera connector has finally failed.  If it wasn't before, it is now.  So I tried to use the defective Pi Zero W (wifi doesn't work on it) and things were going well until I broke that camera connector, too!  Dammit.

The rest of the board is working so I looked around for a replacement part number, but I know in my heart that after buying the part, shipping, and getting my friend to solder it for me, it's going to cost more than a new board.  So that's what I did, I bought a new $5 Pi Zero without the "W".  Not going to throw away the two broken Zero's.  They still work and I already soldered the 40-pin header, so I'll be able to use them to play with I/O when I get around to it.  Meanwhile I've got them both working headless via USB.  Just waiting for delivery right now...