November 22, 2011

Have a Safe and Happy Holiday Everyone

School seems to be out here and people will be hitting the road soon. My youngest is flying in, and while I know that is probably safer than driving, I still worry. We are having a very informal Thanksgiving dinner this year. I want to be able to enjoy being with everyone, watching tv, playing games, and chatting - not cooped up in the kitchen cooking by myself. So we are having elk roast with the trimmings, and lots of desserts.

My in-laws are coming, and even though I don't think Pawpaw even knows what today is, he has the idea that he will soon be taking a trip from the home. Yesterday when mother-in-law got to the nursing home, she found him waiting in his room holding a cookie box. He had dumped the cookies and candy in the trash, and filled it with the toiletries from the bathroom counter, and had his shoes and jacket on the bed. He was ready to go, though he thought he was moving somewhere.

My house is a mess, I haven't been grocery shopping, and haven't cooked a thing in preparation for Thursday. But that's ok. It will either get done or it won't. Either way, I am going to enjoy every minute the kids and Pawpaw are here. I wish all of you the same.


November 21, 2011

Puddy Tat Perch

A couple of days ago I built a window perch in the garage for the cat. He likes to be with us when we are in the garage, but he needs to be out from under our feet. Because we park the cars in the garage and use it as our workshop, there isn't a lot of room for a kitty condo, or even a very big perch. The maximum depth could only be fifteen inches. It also couldn't take up any floor space because there is very little along the walls. So I built a shelf braced against the wall.

Hubby said he would never sit in a window perch; that those are just for indoor cats and this cat can go outside whenever he wants to. But I built it anyway, using scraps we had. I also attached a post to one side and wrapped some sisal rope around it for a scratching post so the cat will stop digging his claws into my tires.

We put a couple of old towels and his food dish on the perch and then put him up there too. He was content to stay there most of the afternoon, but after he got down, he stayed down. Hubby gave me the "told you so" look, but I thought I'd give it some time before I took it down.

Today, Brownie reported to me that she went out to the garage and the cat was on the perch. He likes it, he likes it!

Because he is a big guy, and likes to sprawl out, I put a safety edge on it so he won't roll off. While at a dollar store today, I found a minky blanket in the few remaining Halloween sale items and thought it would be a good cover for a pad on the perch. For now, I covered an old quilt with the minky, placed it on the perch and put the cat on it. He hated it so much that he wouldn't even put all his feet on it, and tried to back off it.

So I guess it's back to an old towel wrapped around the quilt.

Oh, and the scratching post? He won't use it either. Now he wants to scratch on the boxes of tile under the perch. *sigh*


November 18, 2011

Cast of Characters at the Nursing Home

When you have a relative in a nursing home, and visit fairly often, you can't help but notice the other residents. The nursing home where Pawpaw is makes an effort to keep their residents up so they can be more active. So there are always a lot of people in the lobby and in the halls when we visit.

Some people greet us at the door, hoping to see a familiar face, but ready to talk to anyone. There is one lady who parks her wheelchair near the front door and always asks me if I am there to take her home. I hate to disappoint her but I tell her I am there to visit my father-in-law, and she nods and turns her attention to the next person coming in the door.

Pawpaw is usually in his room, dozing in bed. Fatigue and a groggy, dizzy, sleepiness are the worst part of Parkinson's Disease for Pawpaw. He has good days where he can stay awake for an hour and there are days where he wakes only to doze off again. And on those days, he is never sure whether the stuff he had been dreaming about really happened or not. He is usually sure he has been out building a house or even putting on an addition to the nursing home. But then he will admit that it could have been a dream. I asked him how old he is in his dreams and he said he is about twenty or so. Back when he could do anything, and that feeling is still with him even when he also knows he needs help putting his shoes on.

The last time I visited Pawpaw, it was just before lunch. Normally, the aids begin taking the residents to the dining hall about an hour before the meal is served, so they can get everyone in by noon. But since I was there, I took him in just before it was time to eat.

Like most nursing homes, the residents who are in wheelchairs are encouraged to use their feet to pull their chairs forward, and not push the wheels with their hands. It's to keep them more active, and the foot rests are removed from the chairs. But Pawpaw had on his slippers and couldn't get any traction on the slick floor, so as much as he tried, he was basically walking in place. His feet were so swollen that I couldn't get his shoes on his feet, so he held his feet up and I pushed him to the dining hall. Hubby went out later and bought him some tennis shoes with velcro straps so he can get them on when his feet are swollen and when they aren't.

Once in the dining hall, Pawpaw insisted he sat at a table where no one was sitting. There aren't any place markers, so I thought maybe they did move him to another table. The time before, he had been at the next table, and the place where he sat was empty. But he didn't want to sit at that table so we sat at the other table. Pawpaw leaned over and confided to me that he couldn't carry on a conversation with any of those people in the dining hall because they just weren't with it. I got a chuckle out of that because it's hard to have a conversation with Pawpaw most of the time.

At his regular table, there are two other people, June and PeeWee (not his real name, but that's what everyone calls him). June has a motorized scooter and she is sharp as a tack. She is the one who knows where everyone is supposed to sit in the dining hall and keeps track of all the happenings in the halls. During the last meal, an aid rushed into the dining hall and said they needed the RN in her hall. June's head came up and she watched the nurse and all the aids rush out. She backed away from the table and said that was her hall and she had to go find out what was happening, and away she went as fast as her scooter would go.

PeeWee is a younger man, and as he proudly announces, the only man at the home to walk unassisted. All the other men are either in wheelchairs or walkers. PeeWee is friendly, talks to everyone, and everyone knows him. Even Pawpaw can remember his name.

There is another lady who likes to park her wheelchair in the doorway of the media and game room, and rocks her chair back and forth so no one can get around her without talking to her.

Another woman cries all the time. She sounds just like a toddler and cries while she is eating, while she is watching tv, and while she is out in the lobby. She drives my mother-in-law up the wall. I had heard her for awhile before I realized it was a resident and not a visiting child.

There's another lady who carries a doll around with her. At first I thought she was the lady who cried like a baby, but she just quietly wheels around with the doll. She looks really familiar to me, and I can't figure out why.

Then there's Mr. Nash. He is ninety-five and also pretty sharp. He likes to walk his wheelchair outside and is curious about what is going on outside the nursing home. His goal is to live to be one hundred, and I do believe he'll make it.

There's another woman who Pawpaw thinks is his cousin Imogene, but she isn't. Pawpaw doesn't understand why she hasn't come over and talked to him though. But he also doesn't make any effort to go talk to her either.

Brownie and I made a bird feeder to put outside Pawpaw's window. He wasn't sure Brownie was his granddaughter one day. I think it confuses him that she looks so much like me (or what I used to look like) and that I look so much like my mother. Hopefully he will recognize you when you come visit, Lil. The plan is to bring him to our house for Thanksgiving Day, and being in a familiar place should be good for his memory, but it will also make it harder for him to go back to the home.

See you soon,


November 16, 2011

I Also Built a Workbench

For years, our "workshop" has been in the back of the shed, in a 5x8' area. Not fun, and as a result, we didn't do much woodworking. After the kids left home, we talked about moving a wall in the garage that separated the car space from work and storage space. After Pawpaw gave us his big table saw which took up enough space that we couldn't get a car into one spot, it became even more important to move that wall. Before Hubby went to Colorado this year, we started that project, and while he was gone, I finished it and built this workbench. I'm just too old to work on the floor anymore.

I built the top out of 2x12's and 2x4's and the legs out of 4x4's, so it's really solid. The doors are out of 1x12's and stenciled to look like old gun boxes. I thought Hubby would like that and he did, enough that it inspired him to build a cart for the air compressor and he wants to continue the old box look.

I got that idea from Donna at Funky Junk. Check out her stairs. Thanks Donna!

More on the garage later.


I shared this with Common Ground - Vintage Inspirations

November 14, 2011

Fee Fie Faux Fence!



I'm sorry it's been awhile since I posted. I started this project earlier this summer, and after I finally got over shingles, I have been working on it and a couple of other projects non-stop. It's still not quite finished (I still have to put a name across the top) but close enough to finally show you.

I've showed you my shed before - strategically photographed and cropped to only show the front I covered with wood from my grandparent's turn of the century two-room cabin.

What I've never showed (or tried not to show) is what is beside the shed.

Think it doesn't look too bad? Look closer. To the right, a wire fenced area that used to be a dog run.

It doesn't look too bad like this, although I'd prefer not to see any of that stuff, which is overflow from the fenced area on the left side of the shed.

This fenced area has been a bone of contention for the last fifteen years since Hubby built it to hide his junk. Sometimes I think we are one rusting pile of junk away from being featured on an episode of The Hoarders. If Hubby ever stacked anything neatly in there, that ended at least ten years ago. Then it became a mosquito-breeding, snake-hiding, weed-growing trash pit and I refused to go in it.

One day I was wishing, as I often did, that the wood fence was on the right side of the shed so all the stuff was on concrete and hidden behind a fence, and it dawned on me that I could just do that myself. And instead of just rebuilding the same old fence, make it more interesting so it complemented the shed.

I patiently waited until Hubby went on a trip so he wasn't around to stop me. Then I took down the wire fencing, bought lumber to build a new fence frame, and bolted it to the old fence posts. (The center stud was straight when I bought it, and twisted more every day. Fun.)

Then started building the walls by taking down pickets from the old fence, and laying them horizontally on the new fence.

I stenciled "General Store" on the back of a piece of glass, and sprayed all the backs of glass with a variety of black and blue paints so it looked like a shadowy interior, even though there was a board behind the glass.

After I got all the glass in, I followed directions I found online to quickly age the new wood and sponged that on all the new rough cedar. What it did was shrink the new cedar, which cracked the window to smithereens. What it didn't do was age the new wood.

After I bought, painted, and replaced the glass, I didn't try the aging trick again.

And finished!

Junk, still hidden, but better.

Update! I got the name painted on it. Possum Trot was the original name of a nearby town until they decided to change it to something less, um, hillbilly.

Now. It's. Finished.

BTW, I added up my receipts for this project, and without tax, the total cost was $127.


I'm sharing this with My Repurposed Life - Catch as Catch Can, At The Picket Fence - Inspiration Friday, Tatertots and Jello