Friday, April 30, 2010


We're coming to the close of our first week with Hospice. Words cannot begin to describe how grateful I am for their loving care and coordination. The nurse has been by the house twice to evaluate Michael, we have all new oxygen equipment, tons of medication, a shower chair and a lot of literature to read. The thing that appears to have helped Michael the most is a small dose of anti-anxiety medication that he takes just before going to bed at night. He slept through the night for the first time in months! That meant a lot to him. Hospice has advised us to make sure he gets his rest, a little bit of exercise and fresh air. Sooooooo, Andrea and I took him to the park near our house after dinner - first time we used the new wheelchair. At first, Michael felt like a dork, but later admitted it felt good to get out. One other item Hospice is going to provide is a panic button that will activate my cell phone when I'm out of earshot and Michael needs me.

Spoke with my Mother on the phone - their trip to China was spectacular and she can't wait to show me all 460 photos they took!

I finished my Very Badly bad and I am thrilled with the final product! May even gather up my courage and work on another one soon. Right now, though, I want to work on a red-white and blue Boxy Stars quilt - courtesy of Bonnie Hunter and Quiltville. I found some lovely blue and red fabric on the discount table at Seams Sew Easy earlier this week.

The other news at Chez Howe: our insurance company has agreed to foot the bill for a new roof. Expected delivery: three weeks from now. Michael said he was worried about the roof and feels a huge relief that I won't be saddled with that expense and effort after he's gone. Our other "thorn" - the broken window seal is being taken care of as well. Home Depot agreed the window was under guarantee and we did buy it from them - (duh, moment here, folks) and they've ordered the replacement. Once that's arrived, it'll be interesting to see how they want it handled since we certainly cannot pick it up and Michael's in no shape to install it.

So, it's been a busy week and it's not over yet. There's a social worker from Hospice at the house right now meeting Michael. More to come.......

Love ya,

Monday, April 26, 2010

Helping Hands

Andrea's getting better; Michael and I both agree on that topic. I spent a lot of time with her this weekend. She and I went to the art museum in Cincinnati, out for lunch, Hobby Lobby, Aldi's and Ikea. Between all that, we finished putting together her new Ikea furniture including the chair we just bought and had her laptop fixed. Thank you, thank you, thank you to my nephew William for doing that computer task. Andrea is soooooooooo grateful. She used our main computer at home, which caused some friction between her and Michael. In other words, Michael doesn't share well with others, even me, when he wants on the computer.

Spoilt baby, is what Andrea and I call him! LOL.

Michael had a rough weekend. He was supposed to join us for the art museum outing since a dear friend provided us with a wheelchair for him. Even with that assistance, he just couldn't muster up the body/lung strength to go. Interesting change of heart for him: Friday was a good day for him - breathing-wise. I mentioned Hospice to him and there was no way, no how, never, ever going to agree to their help. By Saturday night, he had taken a 180 turn on that issue. He said I may be right, go ahead and contact them. We have an appointment tomorrow at the house with a Hospice nurse. I'd be grateful for any type of help they can provide to make our lives easier whether it's equipment or counseling.

Believe it or not, I got some sewing time in yesterday afternoon!!! I'm working on a Very Badly handbag with a zipper. First time I've put a zipper in anything since Home Ec in junior high hundreds of years ago. I really was proud of the effort even though it was frustrating at first. If I can get 90 minutes of uninterrupted sewing time tonight, I could be finished with this new bag and it's mine, all mine!

Need to work on a couple of small projects for Mother's Day and then get a quilt top on the frame. This one is slated for the spare bedroom which I have to get painted first. That is a weekend project...... Andrea has to get her stuff outta there first.

My mother is supposed to return from her two week China trip on Wednesday. I have missed her counsel for that time. I usually speak with her at least once a week. Andrea was admitted to Lindner Hospital the day BEFORE they left and I just didn't have the heart to tell Mom about it since I knew she'd either cancel her trip or fret about her grand-daughter the entire two weeks. Either one wasn't fair to her. So I kept quiet when when she phoned the night before their departure. That was difficult. So, I'm looking forward to her safe return and hearing all about their China experience.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tender Mercies

Thank you to all of you who have contacted me regarding recent events. Through the grace of God, things appear to be getting better for my DD. She has a test today at school that's giving her some anxiety, so keep her in your thoughts and prayers. My darling girl has too much to handle right now in addition to all the regular teen-age struggles.

DD and I spent some time last night after dinner putting together one of the bookshelf units we purchased from Ikea. Not too much of a struggle and we managed to keep Michael out of the room. Involving him would have created a lot more stress for us gals. I doubt if we get any more of the Ikea stuff put together tonight as "Avatar" is being released today and I'm under "orders" to get a copy with the extra features on it.

After we celebrated our building success, I managed ten minutes in the sewing room without any guilt! Our quilting group at church was asked to create some potholders and hot pads for the kitchen/parlor, so I worked on my kit. Quick work - ready for the binding. An e-mail from Sew-Ez described another quilt show in South Lebanon this year, further cementing my decision NOT to attend the national show in Columbus this June. With the show in South Lebanon and the expo in Sharonville in late June, I'll have more than adequate exposure to finished quilts and vendors. I do not want to be away from home for a solid day, so the upcoming local shows are a God-send to satisfy my "addiction".

So, there are some more bright spots presently and on the horizon.....back to the tougher issues....

I need to convince Mr. Michael that some of his behaviors are rather selfish. For instance he watched television until 1:30 am in our bedroom when I tried to sleep (have to get up at 5:30 for work) Four hours of sleep just isn't enough. The ear plugs don't blot out all the noise and the light from the television isn't a help either. Michael stated he didn't see how it was a problem??? Perhaps I should turn on some lights and make noise in the bedroom when I get up every morning whilst HE tries to sleep. Nah, that's not in my nature. I hate the thought of sleeping in another location, but I may have to start doing that. Between his horrible snoring/breathing noises/coughing and television viewing I haven't had a solid night's sleep in weeks. If he has a pulmonary episode in the middle of the night, there is NOTHING I can do for him if I were in the room. But he thinks my presence is a comfort. I fail to see how a bleary-eyed, sleep deprived woman is a comfort!

Despite Michael's insistence he does not want Hospice involvement, I have called our family doctor for a reference. If anything, Andrea and I can use their family support services at this point.

Other things going on with our house: roof installation if the insurance company cooperates and a window replacement if Home Depot follows through on the guarantee. I'm into week six of Financial Peace University and have paid one charge card off and am in a position to pay the remaining two off by mid-May. Debt-free except for the mortgage. Won't that be wonderful!

Keep us in your prayers!

Love ya,

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Long Time, No Post

Things haven't been a bed of roses in Chez Howe since my last post. In fact, it's been pretty darn challenging.

My DD, already in counseling for anxiety issues, had complications. She stopped taking her prescribed medication for a week. Bad enough. But her father stopped by two days after her birthday. She hadn't seen or heard from him since Christmas. So, she asked him what he's been doing in the last four months. He replied working and lounging around in his apartment at night with a visit to his parents' house once in a while. Basically told his daughter he doesn't want to see her. Unfortunately, this hurt her to the core since she adores her dad. I got a phone call from DD's counselor two days after that saying she thought aggressive care was needed - she was having trouble coping. Long story short, DD spent a few days at a mental health care facility.

And I struggled to keep my sanity.......

She's home now - appears with the medication, coping skills and loving care to be much better. We made some adjustments to her schedule at school (for instance I drive her to school each morning - gives us a chance to talk and start the day calmly). Dear little thing has a lot on her plate - most kids don't have to deal with a step-dad going through a terminal illness and a dad who can't be bothered. I tried to phone her dad several times last week, but he never answered and his voice mail was full.

Michael is struggling. His oxygen is maxed out - there's no higher setting on his concentrator machine at home. Anything beyond sitting taxes his respiratory ability. And he has panic attacks which worsen his ability to breathe. It pains me to watch this and the only thing I can do is sit beside him and hold his hand in an effort to calm him down. We want to get him a wheelchair so we can do things together as a family from time to time. A dear friend may have lined one up for us.

So, dear followers, that's my "excuse" for not posting. Very little sewing/quilting involved, but I did manage to get to my church's quilting club meeting this past Monday. When Andrea was being cared for, I found it mentally taxing to even think about quilting. Slowly, but surely though, I'm pondering projects and ordered a design wall from Connecting Threads.

Big blessing: Social Security approved benefits for Michael! Not much, but it's better than nothing.

Ultra big blessing: My Sunday School class. We're working our way through the book of Ephesians. We're on Chapter 3 this week and that particular chapter includes a prayer by the Apostle Paul about the ENORMOUS love that God has for us. Kay, our teacher, asked us to read that chapter every day this week and it has been such a comfort to me. I'm even waking up each morning with a song from church in my head. One line is "For the Joy in the Lord is our strength; how great how awesome is He". Then another friend sent me an e-mail that described how God doesn't send such trials to us without having something greater/better in its place.

Such support brings tears of joy to my eyes.

Well, I'd best get back to work and deal with maniacal new business clerks, pesky agents and doctor's reports. Routine is a wonderful thing!