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...

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Too many passions

When I was laid off for a year in 2009-10, I came to a career crossroad:  Should I keep doing what I do or retrain for IT Security by getting a Master's degree?  I decided though I could finish my career either way, I really enjoy what I've been doing for 30 years.  So shortly after I was hired (where I am now) I had another offer to do the same work on the side.  I've always preferred my time off, but the engineer who wanted me would not take 'no' for an answer.  That would test my 'enjoyment' over the next 7 years that ended last December, but yup, I enjoyed it enough to do it 8 hours a day, then at night another 2-4 more hours plus 2-10 hrs/day on weekends.  That totally confirmed I  have the right job for me.

This year I have more time & energy for hobbies in the evenings.  And without that side job now, I've reignited passions for other interests.  It's funny how everything just came together three weekends ago, all at once.

I've finished my security cam project, but the end result is not working exactly as I envisioned.  I'm going to keep looking in that direction, but it's okay for now.  What I want is a notification on my phone when there's an event.  I can monitor from my phone but I don't get an alert.  The other thing is, I have to clear the memory every day.  This is fine for one camera, but it becomes a pain in the a$$ to maintain more than one camera.

While I was on vacation, I tried to use my timelapse camera but the wiring had broken en transit.  I had an extra Raspberry case from the security cam project, so I repackaged it in a "real case," except that case wasn't exactly working for me.  I had to disassemble the thing every time I collect a timelapse in order to get the pictures off the memory card.  So I modified the case.  It's all good now.  The battery/power had to be repackaged, as it wasn't part of the case.

Then I got my electric unicycle.  This is what I chose to replace my old bicycle because I've never like bicycle seats.  So the first weekend I had it, I couldn't get away from Mom and I caught a cold.  So I took naps to kick the cold as fast as I could.  It was actually more frustrating that I couldn't get away for an hour.  So I decided to wait for my helmet.  I've been able to get one training hour on so far.  I rode along a fence while getting used to it.  This is going to take longer than expected.

This is the third weekend with the unicycle.  It's too hot to get out and practice!  It normally doesn't get over 80F in my home town, so we don't have air conditioning.  I'm so hot, I'm just slothing next to a personal fan. I can't run the ceiling fan because the breeze makes Mom cold.  The other problem is I've been eating too much watermelon.  Watermelon is a diuretic, so it makes me pee alot.  It's probably washing out alot of potassium from my body, so I'm getting leg cramps in the shin & calf areas.  I need these muscles to function on the unicycle.  Meanwhile I've found elbow/arm pads to replace my ol' rollerblade knee/elbow pads that I had to throw out.  I'm going to have to take a few falls to get over the fear so I can get moving with this thing.  I hope they arrive before next weekend because temps are supposed to be perfect.

I'm letting the video thing happen organically.  I'm not forcing the videos out, but I am filming my progress on the electric unicycle.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Zip Zippy Zip !!!

Back from summer vacation.  Mom never got around to banking her timeshare week so we had to go.  I was expecting a long boring week because it’s in a small town and the cheap shopping is K-mart.  Thinking we’d be in the room most of the time, I brought a project with me – to put together a video of my trip to China in 2004.  I only got as far as the research.  I’m missing pictures of some sites (I lost a couple rolls of film from mis-loading) so I’ll have to dig up the photo CD’s for the pictures that Mom took.

I still don’t have a vision to make not-a-slideshow video of all those still pictures.  Meanwhile, the Movie Maker editor I’m using is obsolete, so I need to find another, hopefully upgraded, video editor that can do picture-in-picture, tracking, and side-by-side.  Maybe I’m dreaming for a free video editor.  Microsoft Story Remix shows promise but it isn’t available until Fall and it’ll work in the cloud – I don’t trust clouds.  Social networks are fine.  You put things up there knowing it will be seen, possibly ganked.  But clouds are supposed to be private and secure—they’re not.  They’re never as private or as secure as your own hard drive.

By Wednesday, Mom had driven me over the edge so I went and signed up for a ZipLine tour!  I was meant to do a zipline in Costa Rica 2011 but I’d sprained my knee badly in Panama.  IT WAS AWESOME!!!  Probably not as awesome as Costa Rica would have been but I’m scared of heights.  So I didn’t have the presence of mind to point my camera at anything in particular and I had enough to do just to keep breathing.  That saved the week for me, but OMG I had to work for it.  Mom has massive FOMO (fear of missing out). She can’t even step up a curb without help so there’s no way she could do the little hike or climb the steps on the platforms.  She probably would have overcome the arthritis in her hands to hold on out of fear.  I broke away quickly and dealt with about 20 phone calls from her until it was finally too late.  My friends and family are great.  I was a bit guilty but they were so supportive of getting a little “me time.”