Me on a Monday.

The following is my advice to anyone who may be wondering how they could possibly be, as awesome as me, on a Monday:

For most accurate results, it is best to first stay awake all night long…

As many of you already know, I am currently the Care Manager for a sweet elderly lady in Seattle, named Ethel.  We have had an extremely difficult time filling a couple of the night shifts, so I have volunteered to work Sunday nights as a caregiver.  Ethel is very excited that I’m staying the night with her now, and unfortunately for both of us her excitement has translated into insomnia.

Ethel’s insomnia seems to stem from her constant need to have me to sit next to her bed and hold her hand, massage her legs, massage her arms, massage her feet, reposition her in the bed, adjust her pillows, remove her covers because she’s too hot, add more covers because she’s too cold, etc.  There were a few times last night when she felt a little guilty because she knew how tired I was, and to my relief she would say, “Oh Winnie, you really should go get some rest.  You must be so tired.  Please go get some rest Winnie…”

But as luck would have it, I would no sooner have made myself comfortable on the couch again before I would hear her call out from her bedroom, “I miss you, Winnie!  I miss you!  I miss you TOO MUCH!!”

I have experienced this many times over my 12+ years, working as a Caregiver, and I can attest that it is both a blessing and a curse to be loved so dearly and so exuberantly by an elderly person who suffers from dementia.  While on one hand they love you so much that they are concerned for your comfort and safety (“You really need your rest, Winnie…”), they soon forget (dementia) how much time has passed between them telling you to get some rest and you actually resting (approximately 30-45 seconds), and in that short span of time the anxiety that they may never see you again sets in (“I miss you too much”), and at that point nothing becomes more important than coming up with any excuse to see you once more (“legs ache, tummy aches, shoulder aches, too hot/cold”), and therefore your life becomes an exhausting/endearing sort of living hell.

Then at around 3am they look at you with so much love in their eyes that it almost makes you feel uncomfortable, and their sad eyes well up with tears, and they say, “You are so nice, Winnie.  You are the nicest person I have ever met.  You are the nicest person IN THE ENTIRE WORLD!” and then your heart melts a little, and you just smile and continue to hold their hand until they start to nod off, and then you attempt to tiptoe out of the room…

“Winnie, Winnie!  Winnie, WHERE ARE YOU?  Oh thank God!  Thank God, Winnie!  I had a dream that you left me and I never saw you again!  But you’re HERE!  God Bless You.  God Bless You, Winnie…”

After very little sleep and several cups of coffee, proceed to begin walking the first of 6 dogs…

I left Ethel’s apartment at noon so that I could begin the dog walking festivities for the day.  Since I was already on Dixie’s side of town (Dixie is a Golden-Doodle) I picked her up first, and as always she was over-the-moon-happy to see me walk through her front door.  She was briefly disappointed that her boyfriend Nash (my yellow lab) wasn’t with me today, but she still enjoyed herself immensely during our long walk around the neighborhood.  Had our walk ended without any diversions, this particular Monday may have been much like any other.  But since Dixie had been such a good girl on our walk, and since we had the north end of Madison Park to ourselves (other than the fellow mowing the lawn), and since she was missing her boyfriend Nash so much, I decided that Dixie deserved a little off-leash time at the park.

Dixie was ecstatic to be off of her leash, and she rejoiced by sprinting back and forth along the waterfront as fast as her long Golden-Doodle legs would carry her.  When she paused just long enough to hunch awkwardly over a tall patch of grass, I groaned to myself that “of course she has to poop at the very bottom of the hill ugh” and reluctantly got the poop bag ready to clean up her mess for the second time that day.

It works best if you don’t pay any attention to where you are going and just focus on the poop and the poop bag and the task at hand…

On about my second or third step, I felt the earth give way under my feet, and I realized much too late that the bright green grass covering the steep hill toward the lake was merely an optical illusion.  There was no way to know (other than the fact that it had rained all night) that beneath the springtime glow of the glistening blades of grass at Madison Park, there lived a thick basin of slick, slimy, yucky, quick-sand-like-mud.  Before I could even find time to spew out a curse word, my two feet shot out from under me and my rear end was quickly transformed into what can only be described as a butt-sled.  As I tobogganed halfway down the hill, Dixie came bounding toward me and I hollered out to her to “get out of the way!  Save yourself, Dixie!!”

When my joy ride finally came to a stop, Dixie tried to resuscitate me by slobbering all over my face.  “Great, just great” was all I managed to say before I began the process of picking my aching bones off of the ground.

When you think that things couldn’t possibly get any worse, think again…

Not to be deterred from the mission at hand, I found the poop bag that I’d thrown in the air during the whole hoopla, made a quick assessment as to the percentage of my body that was saturated in mud, (my butt, calves, arms, hands, shoes, and I could not help but notice that the mud had actually found its way DOWN my pants and made a home in certain crevices) before I began my descent down the hill once again.

I had no sooner taken a step forward with my right foot before, once again, I became a victim of the menacing, slippery-slope, and this time I completed my journey down the hill, entirely on the right side of my body.  I had mud in my armpit, on the side of my face, in my right ear, and all through the right side of my hair.  Dixie, being my noble companion and all, decided to come and lay down beside me (white dog laying in the mud, great, just great) and lick the mud off of the side of my face.

Between these two falls, I had actually managed to dislodge a significant portion of earth. 

Once I was able to look back at my tobogganing pathway, I was horrified to see that there was a stretch of about eight feet of exposed soil, with a large mound of grass and dandelions piled up at the end.  When I went to pull my pants back up (they had practically fallen off of me by then) I actually had to pull a bunch of grass and dandelion stems out of my crack, and that was when I said to Dixie, “Seriously?  I mean…SERIOUSLY?  F*#KINGSH*TBALLS!!!”

The lawn mowing guy (ie; Sole Witness) must have 0bserved my acrobatic skills from afar, because I noticed that I no longer heard the engine running.  I looked over at him and waved (with my clean arm) to reassure him that I was okay.  He hollered out, “Sure you’re OK, ma’am?” and I just waved him off again with my muddy arm.

By then I had practically landed on the poop-pile’s front door, and I thanked my lucky stars that I didn’t just slide right through it.  Of course, since Dixie was frightened by my elegant trip down the hill, she was unable to complete the process of pooping.  In other words the whole disastrous slip’n’sliding incident, all of which began because I was trying to be a good citizen and pick up after my dog; it all of it had happened in VAIN!  While continuing my cursing rampage under my breath, I picked up Dixie’s little tiny turd-nugget with the poop bag, tied it up, put Dixie back on her leash, and we set off for home.

Remember, I STILL HAD TO WALK FIVE MORE DOGS after this fiasco!  In PUBLIC no less…

Fortunately, since I had stayed the night with Ethel, I did have a pair of pajama bottoms that I could change into, so I quickly weighed out the pros and cons of which would be worse; to walk all around Seattle in a pair of pajama bottoms, or to walk all around Seattle looking like a swamp person who may have possibly crapped themselves?

I opted to go 90’s grunge-style and tie my raincoat around my waist for the rest of the day. 

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By the time I had finished walking all of the dogs that day, I thought that I might die from exhaustion.  I drove home as fast as I could, parked my car halfway in the yard, and plowed my way downstairs, to the coziest couch on the entire planet.  I kicked off my muddy shoes, but didn’t even bother to change clothes before I collapsed onto my favorite part of the sectional and shouted, “Hallelujah!”

My yellow lab, Nash, is not allowed to sit on the furniture, but when I looked over at him and saw his adorable brown eyes looking at me with more love than I could ever possibly deserve, I couldn’t resist him.  I said, “come on up, little buddy” and in less than a second Nash had positioned himself entirely on top of me so that he could close his eyes while he enthusiastically licked my neck and face.

My phone started ringing.  It was Ethel…

(Keep in mind that Ethel has a caregiver there with her 24/7, so she is never alone.)

Me:  “Hello?”

Ethel:  “Winnie?  Are you there, Winnie?”

Me:  “I’m here, Ethel, how are you?”

Ethel began to cry:  “Not too good.  I’m not too good at all, Winnie…”

Me:  “Uh oh, are you feeling kind of crummy again?”

Ethel:  (sobbing) “I feel so BAD, and I MISS YOU SO MUCH, WINNIE!”

Me:  “I’m sorry that you’re missing me so much.  I’m sure that you caregiver is taking excellent care of you though, right?”

Ethel:  “Well…I suppose.”

Me:  “Maybe she needs to give you some medicine to help you feel better?”

Ethel:  (sobbing again) “I don’t need medicine, I need YOU!  The only thing that will make me feel better is YOU, WINNIE!”

Me:  “Well I’m not able to come and visit you tonight Ethel, because I am really tired, but I can talk to you on the phone for a little while.  Do you think that might help?”

Ethel:  “I guess so…but it’s NOT THE SAME!”

Me:  “Hey, guess what, Ethel?  Guess who is sitting on my lap right now?”

Ethel:  (sobbing sounds)

Me:  “Nash was so happy to see me when I came home, that he just had to lay on top of me and lick my whole neck and face!”

Ethel:  “Oh…WINNIE!  (whimpering sounds) I WISH I COULD DO THAT!”

Oh boy…

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Bunny Owners.

IMG_1468I have recently added Dog Walking to my professional resume. It has been a wonderful tool for getting me up earlier in the morning, you know, since I actually get paid to play with dogs and get exercise! I currently walk 4 different dogs for a total of 2 hours of walking each day, 5 days a week. That’s some great exercise!You would think that it would be pretty difficult to embarrass myself in this line of work, but rest assured; I have found a way…

Today I was walking Copper (the sweetest Labradoodle in the entire world) around her neighborhood. I always take her to this house that’s about 6 blocks away, because her favorite thing in the world is to go and visit the bunnies.

There are 4 bunnies who live in a really large, fenced, outdoor kennel, and Copper just loves to sit there and watch them for a few minutes. She doesn’t bark, or growl at all; she is just saying hello to her little Bunny Friends.

Well today, as we were walking up the hill, after visiting Copper’s Bunny Friends, we ran into 2 elderly men who were standing on the sidewalk chatting. One of the men tipped his hat to me (because he was such a gentleman) and said, “Well Hello, Copper! Is that Copper?!”

Copper got all excited, so I smiled and said, “Yes, this is Copper. And you must be one of the Boners…!”

Both men appeared stunned, and a good 3 seconds before I registered what I had just said…

Me: “I’m so sorry! I meant to say Bunny Owners! You must be one of the Bunny Owners!”

The other man completely avoided eye contact with me, and the Bunny Owner gave me a stiff smile and said, “Yes, they are my bunnies…”

Me: “Copper just LOVES to visit your bunnies! But I guess you already knew that…umm, yeah….
…nice weather we’re having today, huh?”

Both men appeared relieved and smiled as Copper and I hurriedly walked away. They both agreed, “Yeah it’s a beautiful day!”

Oh.

My.

Gargoyle.

Boners.

I called an old man a “Boner” today.

Bunny. Owner. BUNNY OWNER.

Bunny Owner!!!

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High 5-ing God.

One of my finer moments occurred this morning, when I woke up early to take Rea to the bus stop on my way to the gym.

Yes, you heard me; the GYM!

I even took a faraway parking spot, rather than taking the one right next to the handicapped spot, and opted to take the stairs as opposed to the elevator, so I wasn’t the fata** who got up early to go to the gym only to avoid walking and taking the stairs on the way to my workout.

Now, one might think that God would give me an awesome high-5 for all of my extra effort today, but instead God allowed me to trip and fall; my fata** flying and flailing all over the place.  Curse words were uttered and I may or may not have seriously injured my left, big toe.  It’s purple and it hurts.

The worst part?  I was going UP the stairs. Who falls going UP the stairs?!  There were only like 10 steps. I couldn’t handle going up 10 steps without falling this morning. That might be a new record for me…

Little Miss Size Zero, who had been skipping behind me, was trying not to crack a smile, nor fully make eye contact, when she asked me if I was okay. I just told her that I was fine; just not fully awake yet.

Of course I made a mental note to limp painfully every time I saw her in the gym the rest of the morning.

On top of all of this, I get into the gym to find out that it’s a 24 Hour Fitness Sport PLUS or some crazy thing and my membership is only the regular kind of 24 Hour Fitness, so I’m not even good enough for them unless I give them more money!

They generously let me workout for free this morning, possibly because they felt sorry for the Circus Act performance on the stairs that they may or may not have also been able to see (I’m going to hope for my own sanity that they were not able to see)…

On a more positive note: I went to the gym this morning – YAY ME!

A Naked Accident.

Excerpt from Anna McPartlin‘s brilliant novel entitled:  “Pack Up the Moon”:

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I tried the door.  It was locked.

“Anne!”  I called out.

“Em!” a small voice called out from behind the door.

“Anne, let me in!”

“I can’t!” she cried.

“Why not?” I asked, looking at the two others behind me.

“I’ve pulled my back out!  I can’t move.”

I pushed at the door.

“Stop!” she cried out, “I’m naked!”

“Jesus,” mumbled the caretaker.  I guess he was expecting a quiet night and a naked, injured woman certainly wasn’t on his “to do” list.

“Calm down, love.  We have the caretaker.  He’ll take care of the door,” Doreen said while gesturing to the caretaker.

“Doreen?” Anne whined.

“Yes, it’s me, love.  Everything will be fine.”

“I’m naked,” Anne reminded us.

“It will be fine.  I’ll cover his — what’s your name?”  She looked at the caretaker.

“Jim.”

“I’ll cover Jim’s eyes when he removes the door.”

Jim looked nervous.  I could hear Anne mumbling something about God.  Jim disappeared to find his tools.  Doreen and I kept Anne talking.  It appears that she hadn’t eaten all day and the likelihood was that she had fainted in the shower.  One minute she was standing under hot water, the next she woke up on the floor unable to move.  I tried to calm her, but she wasn’t having any of it and I could understand:  an accident is bad enough; a naked accident was like pouring salt into the wound.

Doreen remained upbeat.  “Sure it isn’t something you can tell your grandkids?”  She was smiling at me, sure that her words would bring comfort, but I knew better and when Anne started to cry so did she.

Jim returned and began unscrewing the hinges.

“Why don’t you just kick it down,” I asked.

“You want me to kick down a solid mahogany door?”  His voice was laced with the smallest hint of sarcasm.

“Well, yeah,” I replied.

Anne screamed that he was not to kick down the door.  She did not need a door landing on top of her or indeed a handyman on top of a door landing on her.  Doreen reminded her to be calm.  With only one hinge to go I insisted on taking over.  He complied a little too willingly and I wondered if he was gay.  With the last hinge removed, I alerted my naked friend that I was about to enter.

Wait!” she screamed.

We all stood motionless.

“Jim?” she called out.

“Yeah?” he said hesitantly.

“You can go now.  Thanks for your help,” she said from the floor.

“Right then,” he smiled and almost ran out the door.

Doreen sighed.  “Men.  Bloody useless.”

I pulled the door over and saw poor Anne arse up and facedown.

“You could park a bike,” Doreen laughed.

She was right.  I had expected Anne to be lying flat, not bent over and on her knees.  It was a bloody awkward position and I wondered how she’d managed it.

“Yes, thank you, Doreen,” Anne noted, not amused.

I covered her with a bath towel and then followed Doreen’s instructions and we lifted her to her feet.  She was still bent forward and Doreen worried that it was a slipped disc.

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You’ll have to find the book to read the rest!  It’s been a long time since a book has made me laugh hysterically.  I can’t believe that they haven’t turned this into a movie yet!  It’s like Bridget Jones Diary meets Nicolas Sparks, with more than a little hilarious raunchiness added in.  What more can you ask for in a good read??

The Grocery Outlet Catastrophe.

Out of all of the public restrooms in the world that I would prefer to not ever have to visit again, Grocery Outlet is definitely at the top of the list.  However, if an emergency situation were to arise and I was not left with a choice in the matter, I would just be happy that the Grocery Outlet actually had a public restroom (in the back of the storeroom, next to the janitor’s closet).

Such was the case this afternoon when Rea and I were doing some budget shopping, and I had to ask directions in order to find my way back to the dingiest, stinkiest bathroom with graffiti all over the walls and a portable urinal next to the sink that had not been emptied since God only knows when.

I distinctly recall locking the door with the dead bolt lock before getting started with my business, but that didn’t stop some crazy person from beating on the door.

Me:  “Somebody’s in here!”

BAM BAM BAM!

Me:  “I SAID SOMEBODY’S IN HERE!!”

At that point the crazy person actually started to slam their entire body weight against the door repeatedly, and I thought to myself, “Great, just great.  I’m going to die today at the hands of some Crazy Person in the Grocery Outlet bathroom and the last thing I’m gonna see is a disease infested urinal…”

Me:  “I SAID I WILL BE OUT IN A SECOND!!!”

Before I even finished my sentence, some crazy woman with ratty hair and cat eyes busted in the lock on the door and just stood there breathing heavily and staring at me.

I shielded my private parts as best as I could, and shouted, “GET OUT OF HERE!!”

Crazy Lady:  “Oh sorry, I didn’t know it was occupied.”

Me:  “Yeah, usually if you have to body slam a door while someone from inside the bathroom is yelling that they’ll be out in a minute then it’s probably occupied.”

She just stood there staring at me, and I was like, “Can you GIVE me a minute?”

Crazy Lady:  “Oh yes, sorry.  So sorry…”

By the time I got out of there and found Rea to tell her what happened I was all disheveled and felt totally violated.  Of course after expressing her concern, Rea couldn’t help but laugh hysterically and say, “Why does this kind of stuff always happen to you??”