Sunday, April 22, 2007

I love Sundays

Many good things happen on Sundays. Some Sundays I work but it doesn't's still Sunday and I like this day. One very good thing that happens on Sundays is the new post
at POST SECRET. I don't know if you have ever checked this out but I really like this site.
It makes me do a lot of thinking. I often wonder how many people get great relief from sharing their secret, even though it's anonymously. I have about three secrets that I rarely share.
All three would shake the people whothink they know me well. I am great at keeping secrets.
Even ones that I wish I had never known. I often wonder why people are compelled to share their secret. I always fear that if you tell the wrong person that someday your secret could be used to bring hurt to others. That is the last thing I want. Even if the others caused me pain I could not derive pleasure from theirs. Sometimes I think that is something that makes my existence harder for me. Many others who seem to enjoy inflicting pain seem to relieve themselves by doing so. I cannot relate to that at all.

It's beautiful outside and I am not sure just how to enjoy that: gardening or just relaxing.
I'll figure it out.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The weekend off

This started out to be a bad week. My sister-in-law was hospitalized again. Her incision from her surgery has not healed. She was leaking spinal fluid and they are dealing with that right now. My mother-in-law has been taking off work and driving over an hour each way to see her. We have had a hard time keeping in touch with updates. We finally had a room phone number but when one is on morphine they are a bit difficult to communicate with. At least we know she is resting comfortably. This entire week has been one where it's been difficult to unwind or sleep. I am feeling exhausted and nothing I do seems to help.

The weather today was beautiful. Sunny and bright and warm. We went out for lunch.
We came home and sat outside for awhile. My son came over and we chatted with him. He has been reading the DSM and I am not sure this is a good thing. He has theorized that an intelligent person could easily convince professionals they were sane, despite their issues. Yes, I know that and find it scary. Particularly in light of the Virginia massacre.

Today I found a real bright spot. For those of you journalers who read Pennie's blog, there was wonderful news. She is home and a post from her is in the journal. I am so thrilled that she is now back at home and doing well. She is a courageous woman and an inspiration to all.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I H8 Verizon.........and guns

Yesteday I noticed that only one phone in my house, the downstairs one, was ringing and it was only a partial ring at best. Later as the day progressed, it stopped ringing altogether, although callers were put into my voice mail. I am so sorry that I switched my phone to FIOS and so are my neighbors. The ones who switched their television cable service are very upset. Rightly so.
Verizon never did come and fix the hole in my garage wall as promised, or send me paperwork to pay for the electrical repair as promised and now the phone service I was promised over and over again would not be problematic when it rained is worse than ever. Sorry, Verizon but you have the worst customer service I have ever received and I am now contemplating switching my computer and phone service over to cable. One of the reasons I didn't do it before was that you advertised that if the power went out you still had phone service. NOT TRUE with FIOS.
You have only have phone service as long as the back up battery has a charge which I was told might be 8 hours. Thinking of the storm where we lost power for 5 days that wouldn't be much of a help. When I pointed this out to a Verizon tech he told me that I would still have a cell phone. I had to point out to him that my cell gets charged by ELECTRICITY. It took him a few minutes to take my point. While this is highly annoying and frustrating and I am missing yet another day of work today.................this pales in comparison to what happened yesterday in Virginia.

When are we going to wake up and stop allowing people in this country to walk into a store and buy a gun? I am so sick of hearing that guns don't kill people, people kill people. If someone approaches me to kill me with hand to hand combat I have time to react. Not so with a speeding bullet. I think of all these students whose lives were snuffed out, and the wonderful professors whose lives were lost so senselessly. I have to wonder if there had been a major attempt to evacuate the campass quickly if there would have been less victims. If there are major alarms for theft, aren't the lives of people worth so much more? Why not a major horn system to alert students to evacuate a such a place? It sickens me that our world has come to this. I want to know what could make a person do such a thing. I am angry and I hope the person who sold this guy the guns loses a damn lot of sleep. Then I hope he sells his gun shop and becames an enemy of the NRA. I know I have.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The post Easter Noreaster

We had quite the storm yesterday. I had planned to do an open house in an adult community and we agreed that no one there would be venturing out. I was relieved. The winds were very loud at times. This morning I have discovered my phone lines are not working properly. I feel lucky that the computer connection seems ok, if not a tad bit slow. ONLY my downstairs phone is ringing, none of the three upstairs. Tried to call Verizon but they are inundated with calls and I get a message advising me to call back. Glad I have service although I was cut off twice during the calls that did make it through.

My friend who owns a house on the Chesapeake Bay called earlier. She was there alone as her husband drives back to Pennsylvania during the week for his job. The winds were so strong that she was concerned. While we were talking the phone suddenly went dead. Apparently she lost her electricity. I know this because she called later and although my phone didn't ring she left a message. She had left the house there to go stay at a friend's in town. I am so grateful for the convenience of cel phones and somedays I wonder how we ever lived without them. I can only test my phone because I have a cel phone. I cannot count the times that having a cel phone means I don't have to drive back to a place.

This Saturday I took one of my clients out to look at seven homes. That put a bite into my day but when I got home I had the most wonderful dinner waiting for me: talapia with roasted red pepper sauce and bok choy. On Sunday my resident chef made me pan seared chicken breast with eggplant in a marinara sauce and a side of rigatoni after my salad. Delicious and it's a treat to eat a meal that I did not prepare.

On Sunday I got a phone call from my friend I met in 5th grade, Karan. She relocated to Texas many years ago and I have only seen her twice since then. Normally we are in touch a few times a year but over a year had slipped by. I had forgotten to notify her of an email change and we were out of touch. Her home was still under repairs. It was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina and just as those repairs were done, another hit. She has replaced the flooring in her downstairs three times. I cannot imagine what that is like. Hopefully I will never know. She was saying how it seems things are never complete before you begin again. She is a social worker who runs a big program of case managers and often puts in ten hour days. I don't know how she manages. She is the mother of three who although they appear to be grown seem to still take up a lot of her free time. We laughed about how we thought when our sons were grown we would have all the time in the world to do all the things we still wanted to. I am hoping that sometime in the future I can get to see her home and children and grandchildren. Karan and I have a very special connection. When we met in 5th grade, so did our brothers who were in 7th grade. We were both from families with 5 children. Karan's brother Michael had a beautiful smile and was very handsome. He and my brother Jimmy often went hunting together. Both were very experienced hunters having gone with their fathers from a young age. (I am opposed to hunting UNLESS all the game will be eaten by the hunters and even then I have safety concerns.) One day Michael came to our door and asked if Jimmy could go hunting that day, with him and his older brother, Johnny. My mother said no because it was overcast and beginning to drizzle. Michael left and walked a few minutes to his house and he and John left, with John carrying a 4 10. The following day we learned there was an accident and Michael was dead. John said that the 4 10 had a broken safety and he knew that. He slung it over his shoulder and Michael was walking behind him. All of a sudden he stumbled and the gun went off. The bullet went through Michael's neck much like President Kennedy's injury of a few years earlier. John carried his 14 year old brother to the main road minutes away and frantically tried to flag down a car. Unfortunately several passed him when they saw both young men covered in blood. Finally a trucker stopped and took them to the then new local hospital. Shortly afterwards Michael was pronounced dead. I remember wanting desperately to go to that funeral. My parents wouldn't let me. I think they were in deep shock at the time. I called Karan and I went through that grieving process with her. At times I still visit Michael's grave and knowing that brings her comfort. So many years have passed and still that memory is so vivid in my mind. Karan went through so much losing her brother and the surviving brother fell apart from the incident. Sometimes we talk about Michael and it bothers her that her children will never know him. It comforts her to know that I still see his face in my mind's eye. I made a promise to Michael when he died to always be there for her. Now thousands of miles away, in a sense at least, I am still trying to keep that promise.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Jennifer's Home and I will be honoring her battle with cancer

My sister-in-law Jennifer is finally home from the hospital. As I suspected, her tumor was cancer and the first pathologist got it wrong. They removed 2/3 of it and will have to go back in a few weeks after her daughter's upcoming communion. In the meantime our office is sponsoring a RELAY FOR LIFE and I am part of the team. If you would like to sponsor me you can click MY HOMEPAGE. I am hoping to raise more than the $125 I have promised to. I am thinking that this might cheer her up, although to be honest for someone who has been through what she has, she is in good spirits. I spoke with her earlier and she is hanging in there.

Last Friday I went to my doctor. I have been feeling so very tired and experiencing some dizziness and other things. He saw my last blood work and did some more testing. It seems I have the beginning stage of diabetes. I am a carb junkie. Not sure how I can deal with this one.
I really have to give it a good try, including exercising. The catch 22 is that I am tired and don't feel I have the stamina to exercise but because I'm not the sugar in my system is not being metabolized. I am not a scientist but have done a little reading. I already eat only whole grain bread, cereal and pasta. I will have to do more to monitor hidden carbs though.

We had a nice Easter here. My sister came from upstate New York and her daughter came. She will be graduating with a degree in chemistry in May and head hunters are already contacting her. I am so happy for her. The women of this generation have so many more options than mine did. I guess many women of my generation did have the opportunity for a college education. My father didn't think it was necessary and wouldn't pay for mine. Unfortunately, that lead me to an early marriage and I often think how different my life might have been had he supported that option for me. I did later go to college for three years until my son got sick. After that I just never felt motivated again and when I finally did, I was divorced and didn't have the means.

I am starting to read again and really enjoy that. I feel relaxed in my own skin and that's a very good thing. I just wish my health issues would get resolved and I could enjoy some physical well being along with the mental outlook.

The other day a neighbor asked me if I don't feel cheated after looking at such elegant homes all day and coming home to my modest home. No way! I told her that money can buy a wonderful home but it can't buy you neighbors that are always there to help you. This is the first time in my life I have had neighbors that considered themselves my friends and vice versa. I feel blessed and fortunate to be in a home that I don't have to sit and wonder if I might lose. A small house can hold as much love as a mansion......and mine does.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

I get by with a little help from my friends

This has been a frustrating week. When Verizon was here they drilled through two electrical wires. We had no idea what they were. We were told by one neighbor they were to our water meeter. I called the water company and they came today and told me it had nothing to do with them and left. They suggested I call the electric company and I did. They sent out a repairman who assured me that he had never seen what he was looking at before and if it was INSIDE it was not their problem. He did tell me I would not be charged the $85 fee that they sometimes charge to tell you it's not their problem. Thank you kind sir. At this point I figured I might have to call an electrician. We have a wonderful neighbor, Kenny. He is a plumber by trade but more of a jack of all trades. When he came over Rob asked him to pop over for a look see. I baked cookies for him. He took a quick look and told us that it was a small transformer to our DOOR BELL! I then realized that I had not heard my doorbell ring all week. He told Rob that IF Rob could fish out the wires that had been severed he could splice a new wire onto the old ones.
Rob cut the sheetrock and found the missing wires. Kenny came back with wire and spliced them. I now have a doorbell again and Kenny has a belly full of bunny shaped sugar cookies.
The thing that puzzles me is that neither the water guy or electric company guy knew what a doorbell transformer looked like. I know that I will never forget what one looks like. So now, finally my mystery is solved, my doorbell is working again and ONCE Verizon lays the cable in the ground (I mean it's only been laying on the ground for over four days!) I will be all set. Whew. Have I ever mentioned how much I love my neighbors? I love my neighborhood, it's such a melting pot of people and everyone is treated the same......unless they are mean. We like nice people and the vast majority are great people.

My sister-in-law had her surgery. She was in intensive care over night but is doing better.
They were only able to remove 2/3 of her tumor and she will need another surgery in the near future. There is nerve damage and she will have great difficulty swallowing, if she can at all which is questionable. She will most likely need the feeding tube permanently. She already is asking questions which I think is a good sign. Her Mom snapped a photo with her phone to show her little daughter. She seemed to be most interested in the bandage around her mother's head. I scored a great gift to take her today, well actually for the patient AND her daughter. The patient will be getting the most adorable ceramic purse that is a bank and her daughter will be getting a beautiful little bear dressed for her communion and holding a book that says "My first holy communion." How sweet is that? Take my word for it, it's just adorable.

I have done little office work this week but I have been entering all the information for my clients and fellow realtors I know into my OFFICE program. I have imported my work email into the OUTLOOK and that will make things run smoother. At some point I may get a lap top to help me also. I have learned when preparing contracts at work a jump drive can be a great tool. Just do whatever load it up on that and bring it home and load it into my home computer.

It looks like I will be cooking Easter dinner, a spiral ham. My sister is coming from Albany and her two daughters will be here. Probably my parents and us and my son. I'm not going crazy with a ton of side dishes. I want to have a nice meal but then clear away things and enjoy everyone's company. We have some great games we can play.

I wish all of you a Happy Easter. If you don't celebrate Easter, I hope you had a wonderful Passover. It's cold here today, we had a snow shower. So funny to see snow falling on my daffodils that were blooming. Then the sunshine came. Today I was reminded of just how wonderful a little help from a friend/neighbor can be. A little help goes a long way. It lifted my spirits so much. Thank you Kenny for one more ounce of kindness at a time when it meant so much.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Verizon FIOS

Yesterday I waited all day for Verizon to come. I was scheduled for 9:30 a.m. I was told.
Apparently that was not correct. At 11 a.m. I called to ask where they were. I was told that the inquiry would be passed on and that the tech would be contacted and he would contact me.
I was told I would hear shortly. Well over three hours later I called again. Heard the same story again. About 4p.m. I got very impatient. I knew this was a job that would take 4 or more hours.
At that point I insisted on speaking with a supervisor. She was very nice and offered to reschedule but I told her that I had missed work and preferred they still come. The nicest guy Cliff called me at 5:30. He told me that they would have to travel an hour back to the warehouse and get parts for my installation then head over here so it was about two hours from that point that they would arrive. He insisted they were more than willing to come so I told them to come ahead. They arrived at 8 p.m. This was much more involved than I could have imagined. Once they had run the line from the box to the house they needed to make a hole. I showed them that there was an electrical device which was on the inside wall. That device allows the meter to be read from the outside. He told me that they would be careful not to disturb it. COUGH COUGH.
A short time later the apprentice (and honestly a great guy, Jeff) opened the door and told me OOPS they had drilled through one of those wires. I told them just to continue and I would deal with that today. They continued and I am happy to report that they gave me a wireless router as opposed to the corded one I had. Actually it's a DUAL router and by leaving my computer hooked up with the wire my connection is faster. This will enable me if/when I get a lap top to have router access from downstairs. The connection is so much faster than DSL had been. It's a pleasure to have the webpages load so fast.

Early this morning I called the water company to tell them about the box. Cliff said if they hit me for paying for it, they would pay but the man told me they will fix it at no charge. I may end up with another hole in the garage wall though if they cannot fish out the wire. The builder had put in the first one. Oh well. I have to give it to the techs, they were here until just before 1 a.m.
At one point Cliff asked if we could send out for a pizza and I realized they hadn't stopped for dinner. I made them cheese steaks. It's important for me to feel that anyone who does work in my house still receives hospitality. They were very appreciative. I have been shocked at stories some workmen have told me while I am serving them coffee. Sometimes homeowners do not permit them to use their bathrooms.

My sister-in-law is undergoing her surgery. I am anxiously waiting for news but it's only 1:45 and we don't expect to hear anything before 4 at the very earliest. My poor mother-in-law is at the hospital by herself today. Her sister is helping by being there for our niece. She's in school and then goes to after school program when the aunt will pick her up and take her back to the house. I am hoping my mother-in-law will be able to drive home tonight and tuck her granddaughter in. They are very close. I must keep very busy and I have many cleaning jobs I am going to tackle.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

To blog or not to blog

I am in a deep funk. Each time I go to make an entry a voice in my head tells me that there is nothing I can talk about that people want to hear. Unfortunately, not many things are going right for me. The scale is tipped and the good stuff doesn't hold a candle to the bad.
I spent several stress filled days putting a deal together per a client's request only to have him decide not to present it. He will lose the opportunity to purchase this home and I fear he will deeply regret it. Now I must begin a new search for another home. I'm tired. Gas is expensive.

I have not felt well since Friday. Rob and I have not had the same day off in the past 8 weeks. Until today. He didn't feel well and slept a lot. It was disappointing. Usually Lent is a time of religious observance for me. This year I have not done one thing to make it so. I am disappointed in myself.

Tomorrow Rob's sister goes into the hospital for a test. On Tuesday they do the surgery to remove the cancerous tumor in her skull. It's scary. I don't even know if we will be able to get updates if his Mom remains at the hospital. I mean, I just don't think calling us will be a priority for her.

Tomorrow Verizon is coming to install FIOS for my computer. While I hope to be pleased with the results, it's a lengthy installation. It's supposed to rain all week and it is already getting cold again. My usually sunny outlook seems to be having an eclipse. I don't know how to fix it.