I’d like to think that I’m in the home stretch with my parents’ house. Lots and lots of work has been done so far. The house is probably 98% empty right now. The dining room table is still in the dining room, though the chairs are now in the garage. I discovered that the flatware is still in the drawer under the wall oven. Cleaning supplies and 2 cases of Snapple iced tea are on the back stairs to the second floor. The Amstel steins are still on the kitchen wall along with a few of the copper jello molds. On the second floor the single and queen mattress and box spring sets are still waiting to be carried down to the garage and I think that there are two old suitcases (empty) up there, too. In the basement I’ve still got tools to deal with and also some art and craft stuff. The two exercise bikes are also in the basement under the stairs. And there is a 4 drawer file cabinet down there that I need to sort through. Much of the contents will go to recycling, but it also contains some of my father’s artwork samples that we may put into his portfolio for sentimental reasons.

I hired a carpenter to take care of repairs to the greenhouse window and a variety of other little repairs around the house. Last Saturday the painters started prepping the walls. They will be doing the whole house over the next few weeks. I’m thrilled with the repaired floor of the greenhouse window. It is solid and air-tight. The old structure and floor had rotted badly over the years without me realizing the extent of the damage. Basically, it was supported by a single lally column instead of the 3 it was supposed to be resting on. This caused some leaking at the top. We had heavy rain on Sunday and not a drop came in. I can’t say the same for the back basement entrance, though. It still leaks and I’m not sure how to deal with that yet. The entrance is under the outside stairs and I believe that it is leaking where the concrete landing at the top meets the house and also at the bottom of the door to the outside. We’ll figure that out eventually.

As I emptied the house over the last few months I realized that not only did the house need some repairs, cleaning, and painting, but that it needed a great deal of un-renovating. The first major effort was removing the built-in cabinets and dressers in the front part of the master and the paneling headboard and shelves in the back part of the bedroom. This bedroom, on the main floor, was once two rooms. The front room was the master and the back was my room as a baby and later also my sister’s room before the dormer was added and bedrooms created on the 2nd floor. When the dormer was added, a new staircase was added, stealing space from both the bedroom and living room. I have no recollection of where the original closet for the front bedroom was, but the back bedroom closet was expanded and a half bath was added. My father had built a wall of closets in the front part of the bedroom opposite the built-in dressers and shelves. The doors were a dark green paneling that extended to the back bedroom on the bathroom side only. The exterior wall was still painted, though you couldn’t see too much of it due to all the shelving and built-ins! The built-ins were finished off with a different paneling and the headboard was yet a different paneling! One part of the closet was actually accessible from inside the bedroom and from the hallway as this was the original entry door. I pondered for a while about the closets as the baseboard heating, added in the early 1970s, ran at the base of this wall of closets.

My next de-construction was to remove the shallow storage closet by the front door in the living room and the excess shelving in the dining room. I don’t recall the dining room ever not having shelves flanking the window on the west wall, but I remember the updates. Cabinets were added underneath the original shelf units and then shelves were added to the ceiling all the way around the tiny space. It should be noted that there was a wall unit, floor to ceiling, dividing the dining space from the living room for as long as I can remember, too. However, it used to be light and airy open shelves with vertical round dowels as supports. Over the years this divider went through many transformations. The last updates covered it with dark paneling that matched nothing else and took it all the way to the ceiling. Well, after removing the upper shelves and the lower cabinets, I decided to remove the entire wall unit to open up the room. Once that was done, I knew that even the original shelves had to go. That’s now done and the walls have been patched and scraped.

I moved on to the bedroom closets and took them all down. I had the carpenter re-build the wall between the two original bedrooms. On Friday a plumber will remove the baseboard and route the pipes to a new length of baseboard on the exterior wall. Although neither room has a closet now, I figure that the space is much more usable. A new owner can update it further to add closets as desired or even change it into a master suite, expanding the half bath into a full bath and adding a large walk-in closet.

This past weekend, when the painters started on their work, I removed the living room paneling. I had intended to leave the hallway paneling in place, but that’s also coming down to fully brighten up the space. The carpenter will then trim out all the doors with new casing.

Since the “porch” is really the first thing you see upon entry, through the living room, we’re going to enhance that by removing all the white paneling and putting up drywall. The hanging tube “shop lights” will be removed and a few fixtures put up in the ceiling. The original greenhouse windows – the kind designed to put in the opening formerly occupied by a regular double-hung window – will be removed and replaced with new framing and two side by side windows. Upstairs, the desk and shelves in what was once my bedroom will be dismantled to make it less busy looking. We’re leaving the closet and built-in dressers in both upstairs bedrooms, though. I figure that anyone buying the house will eventually take off the roof and build a proper 2nd floor to really expand the space.

I’m hoping to remove the paneling and upstairs desk/shelves this weekend. I’ve been trying to keep my time at the house down to a single full day on the weekend so that I can relax a little the other day or at least spend it on stuff at home.

After the painters are done, the slate floor tiles in the living room (leading from the front door to the kitchen and also from the front door to the porch) and the carpets will come out. I’ll have someone sand all of the wood floors on the first floor and refinish them.

The last step will be to have the house cleaned top to bottom and then get it on the market by the end of January. The stuff in the garage is slated to be donated, but that can happen after the house is on the market.

It has been a whole lot of work and there’s still quite a bit to be done, but we are in the home stretch now. I look forward to seeing the house listed and eventually sold for a good price. Keep your fingers crossed for me that the investment of time and money pays off and that it happens quickly!

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It is the day before Thanksgiving, I’m at the office and there isn’t much going on. Many people took the entire day off and quite a few appear to be leaving early. I may do the same.

Since it is rather quiet, I’ve had time to reflect on what I’m thankful for despite the fact that 2010 has been a rather turbulent year in my life with the passing of both of my parents within a 5 month period.

I am thankful for my lovely wife, above all, for being in my life. It has been a tough year for her, too.

I am thankful to my parents for all that they did for me as I grew up. They showed me love and taught me, by their example, how to live.

I am thankful for my adorable granddaughter. Amaya brings me great joy on a regular basis!

I am thankful for friends and family – for their love and support.

I am thankful for my job. The economy has been in turmoil now for a few years and many people lost their jobs. I am fortunate that I have been with UPS for over 18 years now. I enjoy what I do and I enjoy the people I work with. I am happy with the move to the Wayne building, with a shorter commute and a cubicle facing the windows.

I am thankful for the house that we live in and thankful for the animals we share that house with – our dogs Finnegan, Lily (Peanut) and Ruby and our cats Severina, Penguin, and Bootsie.

I am thankful for my abilities and knowledge that I use to help others in the forums and other places with computer issues. I am also thankful that Microsoft has awarded me with the MVP award for what I do in the Microsoft forums.

I am thankful for technology – I continue to be amazed by the advancements that have been made in so many areas in my lifetime alone.

I am thankful for the great friends that I’ve made in the forums and on Facebook. The support that so many provided during the really difficult parts of this year was amazing and really helped us through.

The list could go on and on, of course. Smile I will continue to reflect on all of the things that I am thankful over this Thanksgiving weekend and every day. May you have a Happy Thanksgiving, too.

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Another Year

Dear Stephen Boots,
Congratulations! We are pleased to present you with the 2010 Microsoft® MVP Award! This award is given to exceptional technical community leaders who actively share their high quality, real world expertise with others. We appreciate your outstanding contributions in Windows Live technical communities during the past year.

This is my 7th year as a Microsoft MVP. I was originally honored in 2004 as an MVP for MSN. When many of the MSN services switched over to Windows Live, I became an MVP for Windows Live due to my work in the forums and newsgroups.

I’ve been busy since my last post to Windows Live Spaces, now migrated here to WordPress.

Work on clearing my parents’ house has taken a considerable amount of my time. I had the JunkinIrishman come to the house several weeks ago to clear out two loads of stuff, including furniture, the old refrigerator and freezer in the basement, and more plastic, wood, and metal than anyone should have in their house. I’ve been proceeding with bagging up trash and putting out anywhere from 6 to 12 bags twice a week for pickup. Paper recycling is a challenge as there is tons of paper to get rid of. I’ve got a pile of boxes on the second floor, a few in the porch, and loads more in the garage and basement. I bagged up magazines and paper into grocery bags and put out about 10 each week and another 6 at our house. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but there is still lots of paper to dispose of. I will have another load for removal in a week and then the final load some time in early November, I think.

The yard is looking great, thanks to a friend of the JunkinIrishman who does landscaping work on the side. He worked like gangbusters starting two weeks ago, but this past week he’s not been able to come over due to the rain. He expects to be there this weekend to put peat moss on the beds and to spread fertilizer and grass seed. The patio has been cleared off and the back gardens, which sadly had turned wild, have been cleared and graded, ready for seed.

I’ve made significant progress inside the house. The top floor, including the attic space, is mostly cleared out. There are a few odds and ends to deal with, but the bulk of it is clear. The main floor is pretty empty, except for the kitchen and dining room. The contents of both of these areas are mostly going out for a garage sale that we’ll have later in October, once I confirm a date with my sister. The basement was an remains the scariest space, but I’ve also made progress there. I started on the “storage room” yesterday and should have it sorted and cleared this weekend. The remaining space down there is the tool space, which will require a bit of sorting to determine what to keep and what to put out for sale.

I’m still considering what should be done before putting the house up for sale. Since I expect 2 types of buyers to show interest that won’t need me to do any cosmetic repairs, I am only considering if some minor work will increase the value. Right now the house looks very dated and a bit dirty – a real “handyman special” sort of house, though it is solid. I am expecting interest from people not afraid of the work and seeking a bargain or a developer interested only in the property. Part of me thinks that removing a number of the built-in shelves and cabinets are in order, while another says, why bother? Part of me thinks that a coat of paint will do wonders, and that removing all the rugs and waxing the wood floors will raise the value for a little elbow grease, while the other part of me thinks that doing any work would be pointless and costly – throwing good money away, in essence, as there would be no return. The yard had to be done and the cleanout has to be done. We’ll see.

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Hello world!

Well, it is official. Windows Live Spaces is shutting down. I’ve migrated my blog to WordPress, though I haven’t been all that active lately. Time is an issue, of course…

Posted in Computers and Internet | 1 Comment


I’m waiting, what seems to be forever, for the Surety Bond that I need in order to become the Administrator of my father’s estate. In the meantime, I’ve been managing to pay the bills as they come in. Strangely, his checking account has not been locked, so I am still able to pay bills using the BillPay feature, but there’s not much in the account.

I went to the Morris County offices on the 10th to meet with the Probate clerk. She gave me the needed paperwork – a Letter of Renunciation for my sister to sign, notarize, and submit, as well as the form for the Bond. I decided to pursue getting the bond through a local agent, who I met with on the 16th. Everything was in order, so he was sending the application and paperwork to the Bonding company and I am supposed to get the Bond in the mail, along with a bill for just under $1,000 (for one year to be bonded for $250K). He had told me to expect it at the beginning of this week. Once it is in my hands, I go back to Morristown with all of the paperwork. The documents that will then authorize me as the Estate Administrator will then be drawn up and signed by the Surrogate for me to pick up the following day. Once I have those papers, I can begin to handle the finances of my father’s estate.

In the meantime, I’ve been slowly working on clearing out the house. Each day after work I sort through stuff for recycling, trash and donation. This past Saturday, Pennie, her mom, her daughter, and I spent a few hours at the house getting clothing into bags for donation. The bags are now piled up in the Living room waiting for me to load them into my car to bring to the Salvation Army drop-off location in Pompton Lakes or to call them to arrange for pickup of the bags and some furniture and other items. I may bring the clothes in myself, but then call in the future to have them come and get the other items. There are some furniture items that I believe should be tossed, but they may want them instead. It would be great if they want the items as I do hate the idea of piling all of the furniture into a dumpster destined for a landfill.

My sister and I decided that the house should be sold, but I am at a loss to determine the value. The house is in decent condition, but I think that any buyer will need to do some pretty significant work to it. There is a mish-mash of paneling and built-in shelving everywhere and the bedrooms are all a bit oddly shaped. If I were considering buying this property, I’d either do so with the idea of knocking it down and building a new house on the lot. If that were too costly, the very minimum would be a gutting and reconfiguring of the downstairs and the roof would need to be removed in order to put on a normal second floor. The basement is a good space and it could be made better, but it isn’t critical. The reverse mortgage company sent out an appraiser, but I won’t be able to get a copy of the report until after I get the official paper naming me as Administrator of the estate. When I get the appraisal report I can get a sense of what direction to take. Should I simply empty the house and sell it as is or should we do some minor work – removal of built-ins, shelving and paneling, stripping up the carpets and refinishing the floors, for example? For the time being, there’s enough to do just to sort through everything and empty out the house.

There is one resident at the house, Bootsie, the cat. Pennie and I are going to bring him to our house and we are hopeful that Penguin and Severina, our cats, and Bootsie get along. For years Bootsie would run away when I came over, but now I am his best friend. He’s become a very loving cat. He loudly greets me when I arrive and follows me around the house. He loves to be petted and he even lets me pick him up and hold him for a bit each day. I’m thinking that I’ll bring him to our house over the Labor Day weekend. When he first arrives, he will stay in the guest bedroom so that all 3 cats can get used to each other’s scents. Then on Sunday or Monday, we’ll open the door to see how it goes. I think it will go well, though I’m not sure if I can get him to follow me into my bedroom each night to spend the night. That may take a bit of training. We shall see.

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Dealing With It

I spent part of each day this week at my Father’s house, continuing with the cleaning that I had begun while he was in the hospital and rehab. I’ve made some very good process, but there is still a whole lot to do. Garbage pickup is twice weekly, along with recycling pickup and I’ve been putting out loads of bags for each pickup. The paper recycling is the worst, since there is so much of it and it is heavy. I started clearing out some stuff in the garage on Monday and the moved back inside, dismantling the rickety shelving that housed my father’s cassette tapes and the stereo. It is a wonder that it didn’t collapse. The “porch” is pretty presentable now as are both bedrooms upstairs. part of my sister’s old bedroom still needs clearing and there are a slew of books and magazines that need to be removed from my old bedroom up there, but I’m getting there. There is a small “attic” space to be cleared out, too, but that can wait until I finish the main rooms. I haven’t yet started on the basement and that’s a bit of a scary prospect, too, as it became a dumping ground for all kinds of odds and ends over the last 20 years or more. All of it will take time.

It gives me comfort to be doing that clearing and cleaning, though. I’m not sure why. I know that my parents would not be thrilled with the fact that so much goes to the trash, but they would still be pleased with the resulting neatness.

Once I get through the clearing of stuff that is destined for the trash it will be time to begin sorting and gathering things for donations and to select those things that my sister and I want to keep to remember and honor our parents. I suspect that we’ll be dealing with the house and its contents for many months to come.

Bootsie, their cat, continues to live in the house. Pennie and I are giving serious consideration to trying to integrate him into our household, but we’re worried about that as he and our two cats are older. Penguin has his claws and so does Bootsie. We are holding off on trying out the integration for several weeks and hope that someone may step forward to adopt him first. He would do well in a household with no other pets and only adults.

Earlier this week I made a bunch of calls to get newspaper delivery stopped and cable TV turned off at the house. I also called the medical supply place that rented the oxygen machine to my father. They will be picking that up on the 9th and someone needs to be there to sign. They will call me to verify the window of time that they will be there. I’ve been trying to hook up with the company that provided the monitoring/alert service so that I can return the equipment, but they haven’t yet returned my calls. I put the follow-up calls on the Identity Theft situation on hold since my POA is null and void now until his estate goes to Probate. I’ll probably touch base with Discover, Capital One and Citibank next week to let them know why I haven’t proceeded. There is no longer a rush as his credit files are locked and will be further locked once Social Security notifies them of his passing. With the exception of the fraudulent charges on the Discover card, his accounts are up to date and paid.

When I contacted work on Sunday to let them know that I would be out due to my father’s unexpected death, I planned to return to work on Thursday, yesterday. When I awoke yesterday morning I knew that I wasn’t ready, but I went in anyway. However, I immediately scheduled the afternoon off as Discretionary time and today as a vacation day. I just wasn’t ready to sit in the office for the day. I’m mostly taking it easy today. I’m planning to head over to his house this afternoon and also to do the weekly grocery shopping that I normally do on Saturday. The funeral service is tomorrow morning and I know already that it will be a very, very emotional time. The family will gather at his house after the funeral for a while, just as we did after Mom’s funeral service. Tomorrow will be harder, though, since now they are both gone. The feeling of loss and grief is overwhelming at times, but I have many fond memories of both my parents to sustain me. I have a very loving and supportive partner in Pennie and we face each day together.

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Rest In Peace, Dear Pappie

Henri Anton Boots

Born September 27, 1920

Died July 24, 2010

Grief is a terrible thing to bear. I am struggling to come to grips with the fact that my father is gone – just a few short months since my mother passed away just shy of 4 months ago..

On Wednesday, when I visited him in CareOne, he complained that his stomach was upset and that he had cramps. Later that evening he began to have diarrhea. The sent it for a culture and on Thursday the results revealed that he had developed C. Diff, which is a terrible infection that inflicts people in hospitals and nursing homes above all when they have lowered immune systems due to antibiotics killing the organisms in the gut that normally keep this bacteria in check. According to the research that I did and the conversation I had with the nurse, the bacteria can live in someone as spores for years or it can be transmitted by touch or linens and clothing when proper sanitary procedures were not followed. In my father’s case, it is hard to say what the cause was as CareOne’s staff was extra careful with their sanitary procedures. In any event, he was started on Flagyl to deal with the infection and he was expected to come through it in about 48 hours or so, though he would likely be uncomfortable for that time. When I visited on Thursday he was feeling pretty lousy, but this was the first day of the Flagyl. On Friday he was feeling worse when I visited. He drank some Ginger Ale, but he didn’t eat all day. His vitals were good, with the exception of an elevated white blood cell count from the infection. He was a little confused, but nothing like he had been in the hospital early in the initial infection treatment or following the surgery when he went to CareOne. He knew who I was, but he wasn’t quite sure where he was. I reassured him that he was in good hands and that he should drink and sleep. I kissed his head and headed home, hoping and praying that he would be feeling better this weekend and on the way to recovery.

At 10:30 PM, I was about to head to bed and the phone rang. It was CareOne telling me that they were transferring him to Chilton Hospital as his blood pressure was very low and he was complaining of the cramping pain. What I found out today was that he asked to go to the hospital.

At 3:15 AM today, the hospital called. Normally we would not have heard to phone as the window air conditioner was running. Pennie had been up, though, due to waking earlier with some cramps and she had fallen asleep on the couch in the Living Room. She picked up the phone and the nurse would only speak to me. She woke me and the nurse told me that my father was in critical condition and that the doctor suggested that I should come there. I took that to mean that he was not long for this earth and I was right. He had gone into cardiac arrest and they resuscitated him, which is what prompted the call to me. Pennie and I dressed and headed down to the hospital. I know that my father’s Living Will instructed that no excessive efforts should be taken to continue his life if he was not expected to recover, so we told the doctor that. We both held his hands and kissed him, talking to him throughout. He grasped our hands ever so slightly, so we believe that inside he was aware of our presence as he slipped away. He breathed his last at 4:45 AM with Pennie and I holding his hands.

We believe that he knew that he had to leave and that he hung on for us. Pennie and I are both devastated, though. Although we both felt in our hearts that he wasn’t going to come home again, he did seem to get feeling well right up until the beginning of this week. Despite that, we still hoped for a miracle, I suppose.

Thank you, Pappie, for all of your love and for being the best father that I could ever imagine. Thank you for loving Mom unconditionally, and please give her a kiss and a hug for me. We’re going to miss you terribly.

Posted in Family | 2 Comments

Please, May I have my life back?

Although the subject alludes to my state of mind at times, that’s not what I meant. Smile

What I’m referring to, though, adds to the reasons that I feel a little bit loopy these days.

About 2 weeks ago there was a call on my father’s answering machine from a credit card company fraud department asking for some information about a recently opened account. Of course, he had not opened an account, nor did he have one with that company. I called back the next day, but they could not discuss details with me until they had a copy of the Power of Attorney granting me rights to act on my father’s behalf. Fair enough, so I told them that he had no account, and gave them his address, suggesting they might want to close the account while they awaited the POA via FAX. I sent it off on Monday (after speaking with them on Friday evening) and had planned on calling them in a week if they didn’t call me. While I was at my father’s house late last week the phone rang and his answering machine picked up the call. It was the same credit card company, so I picked up and told the caller that I had sent the POA via FAX. Well, that didn’t matter since they called the listed number and I was the answering party, making it more likely that *I* was not a scammer. He told me that an account had been opened in my father’s name and there were charges against it, but the account was suspended due to suspicious activity. He would now close it. He also advised me to follow up  with the credit reporting agencies as the address used was not my father’s, but his Social Security number and birth date were used.

Fast forward to Saturday as I opened his mail which included a letter from another bank advising him to call as they had closed his online account access due to suspicious activity. Hmmm…. And, a letter from Bank of America’s Privacy Guard service. There was an address change on his credit report. Yikes! I called Privacy Guard and received guidance on how to proceed. I went online and created an account using my father’s member number and accessed his credit reports. There were 6 banks pinging the files over a 2 week period starting late in June. I called all of them on Monday and sent them the POA papers, advising them to close whatever accounts were opened recently in his name. I’ll be following up with them all next week after they have married the POA with the accounts and case opened. I also called and filed a report with the FTC and placed a 90 day fraud alert on my father’s credit report, which means that any requests for information will require a call to me first or no information will be provided to the inquirer. And, finally, I filed a police report with the local police.

Now, the funny part of this is that I’ve been worried for some time that my father would fall victim to a scammer due to his junk mail addiction. That was not what happened, though. I am certain that this was someone with access to his medical records. Knowing that he was elderly and likely to be hospitalized for some time, he was easy picking in order to do a hit and run using the new cards to spend money quickly before they were closed. I do hope that the thief was sloppy, though, and they are caught as this behavior is absolutely disgusting.

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Coming to Grips

My father is still at CareOne in rehab and doing fairly well. His PICC line was removed yesterday after the doctor who originally handled the infection case inspected the wound and reviewed the case reports. His IV antibiotic course is now ended. They are monitoring his white blood cell count as he still appears to have a low grade infection of some sort. They check his blood sugar several times daily and he often gets an insulin shot. He is still bedridden and his left leg continues to remain swollen. He’s lost loads of muscle tone. He is getting therapy daily, but he wants to go home.

Yesterday, Pennie visited and stayed with him for his physical therapy session. It saddened her as she said that he worked very hard, but it was pretty clear that he can’t walk at all and it is very difficult for him to get out of the wheelchair. The therapist indicated that she thought he’d always need the lift to be moved from the bed to the wheelchair and that she didn’t think he’d walk again, even with a walker. She didn’t discount miracles, but at just shy of 90, regaining muscle tone is just going to be super difficult.

I’ve already considered this possibility since I’ve been visiting him daily. Although I have seen improvement, I know that there are so many factors working against him, despite his best efforts and the efforts of the staff at CareOne. I knew that 24 hour care at home was in the cards and knew that making any changes at his house, such as adding grab bars in the bath, would be premature. I hope for a miracle, but I’m coming to grips with the fact that a miracle is a long shot. I just hope that he doesn’t give up and that we can find the right live-in caregiver to make his life at home pleasant and comfortable.

Posted in Health and wellness | 1 Comment

The Meeting

It sure was hot this past week. We had several days in the upper 90 degree range and it exceeded 100 on Tuesday and Wednesday. We survived, though. Smile

I continue to visit my father daily at CareOne after work. His spirits are generally good, but I’m not really seeing any progress in his ability to care for himself. He is being brought downstairs for physical therapy each day and he tells me that he generally walks with assistance using the parallel bars. Yesterday afternoon Pennie and I met with the CareOne staff to review his progress. The Physical/Occupational Therapy lead told us what we already knew. He’s improving ever so slightly, but it will be a long road. The Social Worker lead spoke with us about his options on discharge and shared a target date with us – 7/30/10. That date is not set in stone and is dependent on the condition of his wound more than anything. She asked if he had considered assisted living and we informed her that we knew that he wanted to go home. We agreed that he would need live-in care in addition to whatever prescribed care he would get in the home in the form of nursing and physical therapy. As I expected, that means that Medicare would typically cover 3 days per week at 2 hours per visit for nursing and physical therapy. The Head Nurse told us that his wound was still draining a little and told us that the doctor who handled the case in the hospital had been contacted to assess the current status and review treatment. He also has a low grade chronic infection visible in his urine tests, which is to be expected at this point, apparently. We discussed the fact that they are checking his blood sugar 4 times per day and occasionally giving him insulin. The nurse explained that they would probably scale back the checks over time, and that the cause of the diabetes was the infection and healing process. Once it appeared more stable, they would be able to scale back on the checks.

The difficult part in this is that my father wants to go home and has accepted the fact that he will have a live-in caring for him. I believe that he thinks that this is not permanent, though. On the other hand, he isn’t making any efforts outside of the scheduled physical therapy to care for himself. He is content with the care he is getting and is fine with spending most of his time in bed. No matter how often I gently remind him, he doesn’t seem to connect that every effort that he makes to sit up, move his legs, lift his arms, etc. are going to help him regain some mobility. In my opinion, he should not go home. I believe that he should be going to an assisted living facility. I know that he has no desire to do so, though. His memories of almost 60 years with Mom are tied to his house. It is his “safe” place and that’s where he wants to go. Changes will need to be made, but I won’t know what changes until I know what level of mobility he regains.

As for changes made already at his house, I’ve made progress in a few areas. Last weekend I mowed the yard and cleared some more weeds from the front flower beds and along the driveway. I spent most of my time on cleaning out what serves as an attached shed alongside the garage. It was packed with junk. It is still loaded with many plastic and clay pots, but most of the junk is now gone. Behind this shed were two extensions that my father “built” that were covered with blue plastic tarps. They are now gone and the junk inside of these extensions is gone. Over the past two trash days I put out 20 large plastic trash bags of junk from the shed area. I want to recycle the plastic, but I’ve also been cleaning up the pantry area on the back stairs. That has filled the recycling can to capacity over the past 2 weeks and there’s a bit more to go yet. Ideally, I’d like to take down the shelves he built along the outside wall of the pantry as this is also the back stairs to the 2nd floor. it would be nice for the live-in aide to have safe and clear access down these stairs. I’ve made some progress in the porch, too. It doesn’t look much different yet, but that’s because I haven’t removed the shelving units from the front greenhouse window or organized the books and papers that should be on the shelf unit on the bedroom wall. I’ll probably address these items soon before moving upstairs to start clearing out the 2nd floor junk and moving downstairs to clear out the junk from the basement.

Life is certainly interesting…

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