Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The week in review!

Since I've put my real name out, I'd be a real idiot if I told ya'll "I'm going out of town!".  I'd come home to another robbed house! 

Mom and Dad came to town.  Mom being my adopted mother. 

I saw them Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, then they escaped and went off to the next stop on their trip.  Sunday we went to church.  "Everyone loves you, Heather!" Mom exclaimed.  "They just think you are the sweetest couple ever!" 

That's nice to know, if people are talking about me it's good stuff.  :)  

Then we went to lunch.  I had been concerned.  I wanted to get Dad a really excellent chicken fried steak.  However, I haven't found anything really good in Houston.  You might as well go to Chilis. 

I wanted something Texan.  I'll eat anywhere as long as it's clean.  Decor isn't important.  However, my family likes a dining experience.  Nothing wrong with that, but I wanted to provide that, too. 

Los Jaliscos is really good, but not really "the experience". 

Ron and I ended up taking them to the Texas Roadhouse.  Not only was it full of ambiance, they also have fantastic chicken fried steak!  Ron and Dad both ordered one, and it was nearly the size of their plates.  Mom and I got sirloin.  Everyone adored their meal. 

Then we went home and took some cat photos. 



I wanted to show "God Time".  Of course I also pray and study the Bible, but the cats are pretty integral. 

Yes, I am fat, my house, messy.  I'll refer you back to the working 12 hour days for weeks. 

Monday morning Ron and I went to work, taking an overnight bag.  We avoided the other vendors, who I noticed had stopped telling us to surrender the microwaves.  We are still on friendly terms with their guys.  In fact, one invited me to put my trash in their dumpster, and I gave him one of "my" (personal use) marshmallow pies. 

We got everything looking good, did our inventory, and met the parents in the parking lot.  We drove down to Galveston, had a light lunch, and checked into the motel. 

I feel OK talking about this: we like the Super 8 on 61st and Seawall.  It is clean, cute, quiet, and they have excellent showerheads.  A few years ago, I stayed at a Hilton.  It had nice bedding and towels, but compared to the Super 8 it sucked.  I lay in my bed, wishing for the Super 8.  Yes, I'm a freak. 

The Super 8 has a great showerhead, megaflush no-clog toilets, lovely wall art, teal & beige paint, nice dark wood veneer furniture, and new this year: wonderful dark laminate flooring and improved bedding!  I was delighted. 

I love staying there. 

Even better, I brought my tablet.  As you know I have had NOTHING but trouble.  I couldn't even install an app.  I thought I must be pretty stupid.  After all, I was using Starbucks wifi (we don't have wifi and even if I could I wouldn't steal from the neighbors). 

I love my tablet!  It worked beautifully and I had a wonderful time using it.  For the first time, I actually found myself liking it. 

Super 8 has super wifi. 

Mom took more photos:

She really likes my hair, especially down. 

Ron had to ride in the chair.  He could get in and out of the car, a sedan, and I humped the wheelchair in and out of the trunk.  Mom and Dad must have had a talk: "Don't you try to help her!  I don't want you wrecking YOUR back!" 

They saw I could manage it, and "let" me do so.  Good.  Sometimes people do more harm when they try to "help" throwing off my balance and jerking back muscles.  I had that thing in and out of the trunk over a dozen times.  Ron was impressed at my curb and threshold navigation skills. 

If you see something good in me, I always say, it comes from God. 

Monday night we went out to dinner, it was really good.  We'd saved up so it wasn't a painful pill. 

We went home, went to bed, slept surprisingly well for a motel (they had us away from the street side, good), and woke up around 6.  We went to the Waffle House for breakfast, just us, and then to the grocery store. 

I got some bread.  The seagulls were active.  I love feeding seagulls. 

I fed one loaf to the gulls in the parking lot.  Then Ron spontaneously joined in and started feeding them with the other loaf.  I got some great photos: 


 He's laughing.  I haven't seen a lot of that, lately. 

This one's Ron at home, on Sunday I think.   It's Torbie by his foot. 

That's not everything, of course, but the gist of it. 

We checked out and came home Tuesday.  I got a nap with Torbie.  Mom and Dad headed off to their next stop.  I slept pretty well last night. 

Today we went to the warehouse, work, rode for quite a while, then went to our other location.  The repairman met us there and showed me how to raise prices.  He also fixed the coin mech (it was a mounting issue and repairs are free under our contract, one reason we bleed Dr Pepper colors). 

We also stocked.  I had just enough time to run to the import store.  I told the lady Mom loved my hennaed hair.  She liked that.  "I told her I got it from you!"  I also got Mom some Mogra soap - it's an Indian jasmine soap, very rich lather and moisturizing.  I'm going to make a goodie box for Mother's day. 

I had just enough time to grab some takeout before we went home.  I ate, took my meds, and took my nap.  Torbie slept with me. 

Our schedule tomorrow calls for a 5 AM pickup.  Normally I'd be asleep now but it's "Children's Day" in Mexico and they are having a family thing next door.  [shrug]  I'm sure my bad groundskeeping causes them frustration.  Not as a retalitory thing, just I'm sure what I see as no big deal, longer grass, is very grating and annoying - like the kids screaming right outside my bedroom are disturbing to me when I'm trying to sleep. 

I try to be level-headed.  I'll go to bed later, do my God Time later.  God sure doesn't want me lying in bed hating. 

Oh, speaking of hating, some news about the other vendors.  Their #1 breakroom will be shut down as of Saturday, and customers have been referred (by the "remodel team") to "The cafeteria or another breakroom". 

Punchline being: the cafeteria, us, is the closest thing.  They would have to walk 5 minutes in any direction to find another one of the "grim little rooms" as someone put it.  Or walk 30 seconds and go into a huge, 2 acre bright and clean cafeteria. 

[shrug]  Remember months ago, when we asked him to clean up - due to repeated customer complaints - and they did their best to screw us over? We *had* been ordering soda together - but he ended that. I went ahead and got my soda from the warehouse, spending way less money anyway. I have a completely different lineup and the customers love it.  The punchline: without our help he has been unable to make another order with that company.  He had to revamp his whole product line. 

Remember a few weeks ago, when he said "I'm the big guy, I've got all the machines, I've got all the inventory (so I'm going to screw you as hard as I can when it comes to allocating space in the stockroom)?"  Just days later, the district manager swore he was doing to "get rid of all those dingy little breakrooms and bring it all into the cafeteria."  The district manager also said he'd bring in a hot food vendor, which has been [the other vendor's] boogeyman for quite a while.  If they do, I know it won't last, and I pity the poor fool who tries. 

Remember last Friday when they went buggo because I refused to hand over $3000 in commercial microwaves *because they wanted them*?    We took it to the boss, who told us to keep them.  Then the boss ripped them a new one because they hadn't provided some things they had promised. 

Everything he's tried to do, to hurt us, has blown up in his face.  Everytime he's gotten ugly he's had something bad happen to him at work. 

God has laid it on me, they are operating from a place of extreme fear and paranoia.  They are scared of losing their standard of living.  They are used to being "very" prosperous.  That is ending. 

To paraphrase Lord of the Rings: "They will diminish".  Our star is rising, theirs is fading. 

God is just.  God is fair.  I don't have to worry about payback because I'm seeing it with my own eyes. 

It's my job, now, to be loving about it.  I want to be a bitch, to throw dirt on them and gloat.  "I thought you had all the vending machines?  What happened?  Oh, yeah, you were an asshole so God's taking them away!" 

No, no, no.  Not going to do that.  I might think it and repent, though. 

If I'm ugly, you'll see it, but not in real life.  Now I need to go pray for them. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

I want to be the good vendor

12 hour days every day, working, for weeks straight. 

Except for 2 days a week, which are spent running errands, often for work. 

Thank God for medication.  Most days, about all I do is my God Time, shower, and a blog.  Y'all are a high priority. 

The machines look great, the customers, happy.  Management smiles when they see me.  My side of the stockroom looks great. 

My corner, more.  The other vendors want another, bigger, stockroom.  [shaking my head]  That's not going to end well. 

Management was not happy I got screwed when it came to the stockroom.  In fact, he told me he would ensure I got more space if I needed it.  I assured him I'd make it work, and thanked him again for going above and beyond to get us a stockroom.  "You're going to save us a lot of time and trouble", I grinned. 

I want to be the good vendor, the one who never has any complaints.  The vendor who's always happy and hardworking, who accepts what she's given, gratefully.  My customers are happy and appreciated.    Poor things are always so shocked when I thank them for making a purchase.  I want to have a wide variety of products for all tastes and budgets.  I want to have clean, functional, vending machines with personal touches.  I want people to walk away happy. 

If I can't do that - if I can't be that person, I need to find another line of work.  Ron has really stepped up and allowed me a lot of leeway in running the business - and we are seeing great results. 

I already sold two detour bars, and 5 Belvita, in addition to the usual selections.  The customers like what we're doing and even the brown baggers are buying a treat now and then. 

I have to say, my favorite customer is the one who buys a snack item or two, then moves onto the soda machine, makes another purchase, and ideally even gets a food item from the cold food vending machine, before sitting down.  But I'll take a snack and soda any day.  Any sale is a good one. 

Ron and I made two trips to the warehouse today.  First trip, we bought some drinks and snack items.  Canned soda.  We came to work and stocked it.  Second trip, we got bottled drinks, and a case of juice.  The juice got chilled and stocked, the bottled drinks went in the fridge.  Now we just take them out and stock them. 

Ron and I find it anethema to stock a warm soda.  The State gave us a fridge unit - we use it. 

I put my excess inventory in the stockroom, on my racks.  "They're already snooping in our area, and complaining they don't have any room" I told Ron "We'd better fill those racks or we'll lose them."  Mission accomplished.  The racks aren't stuffed but they are clearly being used.  They can't complain we "don't need the space". 

Speaking of space, we had 2 handcarts and a folded-up wheelchair in our "open" area, about 7 feet by 2.  The carts look like this: 
 
It looked like we'd have to send one back.  However, we managed to bring the extra wheelchair home today, and we have plenty of room for both carts and our inventory.  The cart's only about 3 feet long, so plenty of room for them both.  One has stripped wheels but so what.  It rolls. 
 
Now Ron can have one, and I can have the other, for stocking.  I can load up his soda on one cart, tell him what it is (I usually have to tell him a few times before it sticks - but no dis' because I have a terrible memory, too), and set him off to do sodas, while I load snacks on my cart and do that.  I'm thrilled.  I can't wait to tell our boss to cancel the pickup. 
 
I'm really, really, happy about that. 
 
I try to see joy, and good things, in my life, even when I'm not manic.  God has richly blessed me.  No, I don't believe in that "favored" crap but God is rewarding our hard work (not really financially, yet, but we could pay sales tax and are able to buy inventory as needed, the rest will come in time).  I'm still kind of bitter about the other vendors, how they seem to want to stick a knife in our back at every opportunity, how they wouldn't give us a salt packet if we needed it - but I remind myself they're God's problem, not mine.  Ron has a far more Biblical attitude in the matter. 
 
My job's being the awesome vendor. 
 


Friday, April 25, 2014

Thank God I take my meds.

I didn't sleep well, and woke up in a vile mood.  I took my shower and did my God Time with Torbie.  We went to work. 

Our itinerary was as followed: warehouse, work, warehouse, Christian bookstore, home. Not so bad if you have a car.

If you have a car, and can drive. 

Let's just say I had 3 really awful rides, and 2 good ones.  One driver veered all over the road, constantly distracted.  I was about to say something to him when I got out.  Just a "I won't call in on you but you need to focus on your driving."   However, right as I thought that he slammed on the brakes in a timely manner, avoiding a collision.  So I just said thank you. 

One driver wore too much cologne, and had the vehicle freezing cold.  He kept complaining that 9K a month (he has a pension on top of the driving job) wasn't enough money for him.  I didn't even make 9K last year. 

The last driver (not in order) had truly bizarre ideas about 9/11 and Bible prophecy.  "It's why people need to read the Bible for themselves" I railed at Ron "Instead of letting people tell them about the Bible."

We saw the other vendors at work.  I went to get my cart and their guy started screaming at me, "Don't shut the door" ran in, and shoved the door open. 

I told him I needed to close the door partway, so I could get my cart!  I am only "allowed" 3 feet between the door and the wall!  I have to put my cart behind the door - I have to close the door partway to get it out. 

He kept going on about I'd lock myself in there.  I said I knew, I had to get my cart, Ron was waiting, and left.  [rolleyes] 

Later on, the other vendor's wife did her syrupy sweet southern thing with me "Oh, Heather, I'll show you where to put those microwaves."  I explained they were my microwaves, allocated for use in the cafeteria only, and she should take up the issue with our shared boss.  They got very rude and the other vendor started shouting at me. 

Don't treat me like an idiot.  Don't try to bully me.  Don't snoop in my area.  She could have only found those microwaves if she moved both my carts, and a wheelchair.  What is she doing going into my area like that?  I move the chair they store by my area, but that's it, and that's just so I can move my cart. 

I was PISSED.  Ron called our boss and explained.  The boss said I might have to give them up, I said that was fine, as long as Ron was taken off the inventory, and the boss told me to do it.  "I'm not going to let them bully me and steal my equipment" I told him indignantly. 

The boss is a very soothing personality.  "That won't happen."  I told him I'd be happy to surrender said equipment, if Ron is not responsible for it, and I'm told by the boss.  He said he'd get back to us, but he planned to let the other vendor calm down first.  The vendor of record is responsible for all repairs, that's why Ron will need to be taken off, and the other guy put on, before they take it - if they do. 

I have to say, the other vendor is completely unprofessional.  If he had these kind of tantrums in any other business environment, they'd fire him.  [rolleyes]  It's like working with a 6 foot toddler sometimes.

His wife isn't much better.  She's gotten pretty ugly lately, I guess that's just her response to the uncertainties.  I will say, for people who claim to be saved, they don't show many spiritual fruits. 

OK, done with the ugly.  Oh, and Ron yelled at me, but we were both really tired.  I just went outside for 10 minutes and let him calm down. 

So, work. I stocked what I'd brought, and put my leftovers in the stockroom.  The other vendors are complaining that 240 square feet isn't enough for them.  This is where I remind you I have, at best, 35 square feet.  They are complaining to management, which I think is very risky. 

Management went above and beyond to build us a stockroom at all.  It is the only stockroom at any Postal processing facility, in the nation.  And you're going to complain? 

When management comes by I always thank them and reassure them I am fine with my area (management was pissed when they saw what I'd been given).  I know they didn't have to do it, I tell them, and I really appreciate them.  I point at Ron in the wheelchair and let them know they're helping us make a living. 

I mean, to me, you just don't bite the hand that literally feeds you.  [shrug]  Do I have it wrong? 

Anyway, I'm not stupid.  I know the other vendors will try to take my racks if they don't see me storing inventory.  I'm bringing in more inventory, now that I can, and storing it on the racks.  I can't afford to lose them. 

We also plan to bring in bottled drinks - those will fill up the racks and make life a lot easier for us, too. 

I hate running out of inventory.  I want to have at least one of each, on hand.  Ideally, in addition to one of each, in the fridge unit. 

I also made a list of inventory I needed.  I paid a refund.  A lady had lost money, twice, on the oatmeal pies, which have been hanging up.  I had already moved them to a new coil so that won't happen again.  I explained I fixed the problem, gave her a oatmeal pie, and a refund.  I thanked her for her understanding and she walked away happy, but very surprised. 

I am passionate about customer service.  "If you're not walking away happy, then I'm in trouble." I told her.  "I want you to have a great experience every time."  She nodded, and walked off, unwrapping the pie. 

Good. 

We went back to the warehouse, and just got some canned soda.  We went to the Christian bookstore and stocked it.  We also had to do some light repairs.  I bought a paperback "Streams in the Desert" which I'm sure I'll give away. 

I went over to the import store, and got some more henna.  The good, "original", kind.  I also got 2 kinds of soap, sandalwood, and mogra.  Mogra is a jasmine like scent.  Lovely.  I also got an herbal facial powder.  I mix it with water and use it to clean and exfoliate my skin. 

I will, of course, do an allergy test first.  Mom is in town, with her camera.  That would be an awful ending to the day! 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

I come from a different place

I've noticed our neighbor is spending a lot more time at home lately.  Which is baffling, he's in construction and this is the busy season. 

Are things that bad?  I don't know. 

Last night, while I was doing my henna, the kids came by asking for their ball.  I found a soccer ball in the yard and threw it over the fence.  Later, I washed my hair and went to bed. 

This morning, our ride came after his kids had left for school. 

Side note: I don't know why they think this is OK in any circumstance, but both of my latino neighbors think it is OK to follow me onto the Metrolift vehicle, stick their head in an open window, or open the door.  I find it creepy, stalkery, and very disturbing. 

Anyway, the guy comes running out and comes up the stairs after me like I'm leaving him.  I gave him the "What the hell are you doing" look.  I've been told it's pretty good. 

He said something about his kids and a ball.  I explained I had already given it back.  No, he said, there's another ball. 

OK, I told him. When I get home, I will find the ball and throw it back.  He got upset.  I have to leave I told him, indicating the driver behind him, trying to get on the vehicle.  He left. 

Now, I have to wonder, if I had a car, would they be getting in the vehicle to talk?  Opening doors?  Sticking heads in windows?  I refer to #2 as well as #6, the guy I dealt with today.  Isn't that trespass?

Do they think that trespass in a private vehicle isn't, for a public transit vehicle?  I find it a very rude violation of my boundaries. 

He has seen the circus of loading Ron, in the driveway, enough  now that he's given up on the "park the van in my driveway" routine.  You can't have a 13 passenger van and this sharing the same driveway: 

Just put Ron in the wheelchair, a different paint job, and you've got us most mornings.  The rest of the time paratransit uses a minivan cab with a fold out wheelchair ramp in the back. If anything, it needs more room. 

I just get a little pissed.  I'm not here to serve you and your kids.  It's not your property, it's mine.  Please respect that.  Don't follow me onto the vehicle, come onto my property, etc.  It's just rude. 

I don't know if it's a cultural thing.  Does the latino culture say "It's all community property, let the children run wild, property lines don't matter, have loud parties all night because the baby turned a year old (never mind the baby will spend the whole "party" crying), follow your neighbor onto public transit because your kid lost one of his six soccer balls,  let your kids kick the ball into the neighbor's house for hours, and if an adult has a birthday it's a pass to an all night party because it's their birthday!"

If so, I'm sorry.  I come from a completely different place; one where children stay on their own property, play on their sidewalk, or ride bikes around the neighborhood; going onto someone's property without permission meant a beating, no one ever had a loud party - even the high school had the Grad Night so the High School kids were contained - a birthday meant a quiet family celebration or a rented hall, you didn't go on anyone's property without permission unless you were selling candy, and kids would never, ever, be allowed to kick a ball into the neighbor's house - that would mean another beating.   

Now the neighbors guy finally left.  He was on my property, "Fixing the fence" I found them like that when I got home.  He was standing at the gate for a couple of minutes.  It's just a latch.  He let himself out and did lock the gate, but I made sure they saw me going to check that they did. 

An unlatched gate, to me, has meant untold numbers of screaming children in the yard. 

I was already in a bad mood what with #6 jumping me about the stupid ball.  If it were up to me I'd stab every ball that came over the fence.  That would put an end to it, but as Ron states "We don't want a war". 

The cats also make us hostages.  They go out. 

So.  I woke up with a migraine.  Had to work anyway.  Dealt with #6 and the stupid ball.  Wondering if the damn thing was even in my yard. 

We went to the warehouse.  We really needed bottled Sprite.  That's the one drink everyone wants.  "Ya'll got a Sprite?"  We can't put it in the Dr Pepper vendors. 

A little about that.  We have 7-8 choices in each machine.  Of those, we can only have 2 non-Pepper products.  Now Dr Pepper makes a lot of good stuff.  Diet Dr Pepper.  RC Cola.  Sunkist Orange.  Hawaiian Punch.  Pretty easy to fill those up. 

When it comes to the competiors, we're allowed 2.  So, for the first 2 machines in our row, we feature Coke, and Lipton.  The second machine has Pepsi and Mountain Dew.  The last machine (further down) has Coke and Diet Coke.  No room for Sprite. 

However, the bottled vendor belongs to the State, and is not under contract.  We still put Dr Pepper in it, but we also put water, Sprite, and Sunkist Orange (also a Dr Pepper product).  Ha.  I guess we really do bleed burgundy and white (Dr Pepper colors). 

The Sprite row has been empty for some time.  About a week.  We're trying to be better vendors so it's embarrasing.  Today Ron put some orange in there just to fill it. 

We found Sprite today, happily.  "We need to get 2 cases" I told Ron.  He agreed.  We also got him some Pepsi (it's done very well), and a few snack items for me.  I would have liked to get some pastries but they all had really short codes.  I did get some chips. 

When we came in, of course, I found I needed more items, which we'll get. 

We also found the boss.  He was doing our inspection.  We did very well.  He seemed very pleasantly surprised.  Ron and I are not afraid of hard work. 

Even in a wheelchair, Ron works his butt off.  I only have problems keeping him contained to our area. 

He has to be careful even in our area.  We have dropped ceilings with all kinds of stuff up there.  Today featured two guys on ladders with their heads up in the ceiling, totally obvlivious to wild blind vendors in wheelchairs.  I had to corral him. 

I also saw a guy on stilts.  [moan]  No wonder I get migraines.  I'm trying to keep Ron from killing himself, and the construction workers.  That doesn't even factor in the guys carrying ladders, the guys carrying metal pipe, etc.  Eeek.

Ron wants to just roll off to the bathroom as needed.  I tell him "Not yet.  After this is done you can do whatever you want."  I lied.  "But for now you need to play the game." 

So, the boss left and we did our stocking.  I also took the money out and counted it.  Pretty good.  Not famous or historical, but better than a year ago! 

We went to the bank.  Ron thought he lost some money, so after our transaction, he kept taking his money out and counting it.  I begged him to wait. 

"You'll feel a lot worse if someone robs you and you lose all of it" - he thought he had lost some money.   He hadn't, of course. 

My head was still killing me, but we got a good ride home.  We had the guys making a lot of racket on the fence.  Ron decided to order pizza. 

We got that and I ate some of mine, taking my meds.  I wish the meds were doing more for my mood, which is absolutely vile.  I think part of it stems from the fact the neighbor only does these big projects when he's having a party.  That and the whole boundaries issue. 

Anyway, they went away, leaving 2 huge holes in my fence.  I had images of his little kids coming through into my "playground".  I also realized he has a really small yard.  No wonder his kids were always in my yard.  You can hardly turn around in there.  It explains their persistence in the soccer game off the side of my house, too.  It's really the only clear grassy spot, along my fence. 

I laid down for a little bit.  Torbie laid down on my leg.  Baby Girl laid down on an old t-shirt of mine.  I slept for about a half hour then woke up to hear a very loud voice talking outside my bedroom window.  I always have my blinds closed.  Thank God. 

The guy spent about an hour in my yard doing fence work. 

See, when the kids play soccer they are very hard on the fence.  They kick the fence a lot, bounce the balls off it, etc.  So the boards crack, separate, and fall off. 

I had planned to write a blog about his gate, how the broken boards made it look like some kind of hillbilly, or jack o lantern.   A couple years ago he said the "weeds" on my side of the fence were breaking it.  I think he's figured out it's the kids. 

So, I don't feel at all guilty or indebted.   His kids broke the fence, he should fix it.  I just wish he had TOLD me this morning instead of going on about the stupid ball. 

I am fine with people in my yard, if they're expected.  You should have seen what I did to the poor utility worker who had to access a terminal in my yard!  I think he still has the bite marks. 

After I went out to make sure his guy had locked the gate (and he had, unlike 99% of people who use the gate), the neighbor came and knocked on the door.  He said they were fixing the fence.  I told him I knew, and they had woken up my husband (a partial truth, they woke me up, but I had made a big point of telling him Ron was very sick a few weeks ago).  He said they were going to clean up my back yard for me. 

No.  I told him.  I would do it.  What?  I'll do it. 

No, I told him. I'll do it. 

I have a bad feeling I'll come home tomorrow and find it done anyway.  I just want to be left alone.  My mood is horrible.  I don't want any human contact.  I don't want strangers in my space making me freak out. 

I don't want to be so freaking sick in the head. 

I wish I could tell people and have them understand, but Ron says it would backfire horribly.  I tend to agree.  They'd be poking at me, metaphorically, like they would a hornet's nest, waiting to see what made me blow. 

I just wish people felt sorry for me, like they do for Ron, now and then, and were willing to accomodate.  "We're going to have a party in a few days, Heather.  Just thought you should know."  "The kids are going to have some friends over tomorrow and play for about 4 hours."  Oh, I'd love that.   

Oh, well, he's probably figured out I'm some kind of bitch by now.  [sigh]  Does it really matter what flavor? 

It sounds awful but I really feel it is better to be "meaner" and have stronger boundaries, than to be "nicer" and get taken advantage of.  Sad we have to choose that at all. 



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Vultures

I get very frustrated when tragedy strikes and then people are all "Oh, that's so terrible, do you have any more details?"  It's vulturistic. 

Some want the details for gossip.  I don't think I''ve shared this.  Ron was in the accident on January 7.  His family made no effort to contact me.  Someone else notified me and brought me to the hospital.  Ron's family didn't care about my lack of transportation, so a little over a day later, I had to take 2 buses to get home, riding for hours. 

I was doing alright until I encountered a plant employee at the bus stop (my home bus also served the plant).  I ended up on a bench next to a part timer. 

She wanted all the details, which I shared.  Then she told me "everyone says it is all your fault".  I couldn't believe it.  Why would you ever think that was an appropriate statement?  I didn't even know if he'd live.  You can bet she went back to work with her harvest of details, talking about my reaction, etc... horrible. 

While I am prone to gossip, I will never be that person. 

When I hear of a tragedy I don't want detials.  I want to pray for the victims. 

That, to me, is what Jesus would want me to do. 

For the record, Ron's accident is the fault of the distracted driver who ran over him. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bringing Daddy home

Our friend who works for the other vendor busted his butt for us today.  He went above and beyond to make sure we got a key for the stockroom. 

I can't share all the details, but he took about an hour out of his day, on his day off.  That's a good friend. 

We got up early and went to the warehouse.  We got some drinks (they didn't have Sprite, which we need!), and some snack items.  We went to work. 

I found out I couldn't get in the stockroom so I had to borrow the other guys' cart, which doesn't go out the door.  You can imagine the fun I had lugging all the stuff up the wheelchair ramp and putting it in the cart. 

Then Ron told me, "I need to go to the bathroom RIGHT NOW."  I left the cart in the hall and got Ron to the bathroom.  When I came back someone was about to push it somewhere; I took it over and got my stuff put up, then came back for Ron. 

We had a turnaround trip to go to the warehouse, so we did that, got some more snack items, and came back.  I stocked.  Ron stocked what he could (a lot of the shelves and such are at a lower level and very workable for Ron).  I did what he couldn't. 

I added some new things, Jalapeno Kettle chips (I have a hot and spicy customer base), Detour bars (very good!), Famous Amos cookies, etc. 

"I feel OK having tomorrow off" I told Ron "Because they look good - all the machines look good".  They do. 

We got our stockroom key and I put my leftovers on my shelving.  Wow.  It's been a while since I could do that..  We really need to bring the second wheelchair home, though.  It causes problems. 

I interacted with some of the younger customers.  I'm glad they feel like they can ask me questions, make suggestions, get change, etc.  I want them to feel know I am available - that I'm there to serve them, not myself. 

Ron teases me, but I am passionate about customer service.  I want to serve them and provide them with a fantastic range of products and prices.  I want everyone to walk away delighted. 

The job has downsides, a lot of physical labor, brutal hours, disgusting cleanup (coffee machine, and microwaves), and some people who just aren't happy, no matter what I do.  But, overall, I think we and our business are well liked. 

I'm glad I don't work for the CPA in "richytown".  I had a lovely burgundy leather chair (probably cost $1000), and a cherrywood desk, in Bellaire.  That's probably the premium zip code in Houston.  But you know what?  I hated it. 

I can't talk about my job due to fidicuary rules - I have a committment to keep secrets, basically, but I found it tedious work.  I didn't go home feeling like I'd done a good day's work.  I worked pretty hard at that, but I didn't enjoy it or find it satisfying. 

Same with the other office jobs, generally speaking it felt more like pointless busywork and paper-pushing.  Some of my bosses were petty tyrants. 

Ron has always been appreciative of my work ethic.  Even at his worst he'd have told you I was a hard worker. 

I am, and Ron gives me a lot of leeway.  I enjoy it.  I enjoy watching someone pull money out of their pocket and buy a selection.  I like watching them walk away, eating it.  Even better, I love to watch them walk over to another machine and make another purchase! 

I always, always, thank them if I "catch" someone making a purchase.  I mean it.  Without them, I'm in the gutter.  They don't have to give me their money; but they do. 

Thank you! 

I wanted to do something nice for the man who had done so much for us, on his day off to boot.  So I took his dumpster out to the garbage compactor.  It's about half a mile one way.  He's more of an "Acts of Service" love language.  I left a voicemail on his home phone "I took out your garbage!  Or someone stole it!  You decide!  Thanks again for your help!" 

We rode with 2 drivers, training new drivers.  I found that interesting.  Ron's wheelchair got secured properly and that's what mattered.  I was so happy to get home. 

Ron's cat met me and laid down on her back, showing a beautiful spotted tummy.  I gave her a good tummy rub for a few minutes as she purred and rolled around, thanking me for bringing Daddy home. 

Then I took Ron in the front door.  If he's going to stay in this chair we need to get a ramp.  That's a big bump! 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Sleep well

I knew it would be an interesting day when I found myself sitting outside our locked stockroom, watching a postal worker pick the lock because no one had a key.  We had an inbound delivery, 2 pallets total split between 2 vendors. 

We got up very early, 2:30 AM for me.  I took my shower and did my God Time.  Sure glad I did because I'm exhausted.  I don't have much to give. 

I do try to give God "my best" so for me, it's first thing in the morning. 

We got to work (a good ride).  "You gave me Nutter Butters" the driver told me.  "The last time you rode with me!"  I'm glad to do it, when I can. 

We coudn't get into the stockroom.  A man with a very large key ring tried to let us in, to no avail.  Of course they installed the door lock without giving a key to the vendors or maintanance.  I rummaged around under my snack machines and stocked what I could (I'm keeping my surplus inventory there).  I cleaned the microwaves, which weren't that bad.   Ron read a talking book by Julie Garwood. 

Ron and I took the money out of the vending machines and did inventory.  About this time the guy showed up with the pick.  I found it a little disturbing.  He'd obviously had a lot of practice, but you can't find a jollier guy at work.  He got it open.  Thank God. 

Ron had arranged a 9 AM pickup.  Dr Pepper didn't show until almost 10.  The guy didn't have the good truck with the roll up door in the back.  He had the truck with multiple roll up doors on the side, which meant he had to offload each case (we had 34) onto a handcart or pallet, then roll it up a ramp, through the building, and to our stockroom.  You can bet we're calling in a compliment. 

I put up the drinks, and stocked quite a bit with Ron.  Then we left and went to the warehouse.  We had really good pickups from work today, thank God.  Everyone seemed to find us easily. 

We got some bottled drinks (almost out, and Dr Pepper doesn't sell these) and a combo Hershey candy pack.  I was out of Hersheys.  We came back to work, stocked the candy and more soda, put the bottled drinks in the fridge (we're working tomorrow), and chatted with the second in command.  He likes to call us by our last name, collectively.  He's not the only one, interestingly enough. 

Anyway, the whole day ran 12 hours from pickup to dropoff.  I am beat.  Even my butt hurts.  But we did it. 

I guess I was too busy to be depressed.  I'm cooking some fish sticks right now, and mac and cheese.  Ron's "watching" the news. 

I bet I sleep well tonight. 

Allegedly, we'll have a stockroom key tomorrow. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter

I am committed to "being real" here in my blog. 

So, instead of an upbeat Easter blog, you will find the truth. 

I was horribly depressed for most of the day.  "I wonder how many people at church" Ron mumbled "Understand it's a 5 hour round trip for us."  Good question. 

I took my tablet and tried to figure it out, but it wouldn't download - some error message.  I couldn't figure it out.  I could at least look around the Google Play store.  It took about a month to get to that point, let me tell you. 

Church was fine, except for one thing.  Ron had gotten out of the wheelchair, hunched over like a troll, and faced the car (a Chrysler 300) I was folding up the chair and putting it into the trunk.  Ron complained it was "very hard" to open the car door and requested I do it next time. 

Have you ever thought about being married to someone who can't even open a car door?  That alone could have triggered the depression. 

The service was fine, some people came over and hugged us, and only a few people stared at the wheelchair.  Ron had the idea to sit in the front row, at the end, so he wouldn't block the aisle.  Good idea, but I felt very exposed.  For some reason I tend to get dizzy in, and after, church.  I like to hold onto the seat in front of us, but the man in the wheelchair can't block the aisle.  God forbid, what if they had an emergency? 

We had good rides to and from church.  We got home, it's nice and quiet, but I'm depressed. 

I hate getting hijacked by neurotransmitters.  I ate and took my meds, all I can do, and decided not to nap.  We have to get up very early tomorrow, if I take a nap it inhibits my ability to sleep, later. 

Don't get me wrong.  I'm very glad I have Jesus in my life.  I'm glad He died for me.  I'm glad He lives in me.  If not, I'd have ended myself decades ago. 

I just want to get out of this malfunctioning brain for good.  When, of course, He decrees it. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

I ought to be

I found it very sad. 

Today we got up.  I did my shower and went to the warehouse with Ron.  I needed things like trail mix and moon pies.  We got those, and I also got the Devil's Food Zingers. 

Dolly Madison pastries laid us off - fired us as a customer, because our orders were "too small".  Last I heard $200 a month is still $200 a month.  It sent us in other directions for pastry product.   A couple months later they filed bankruptcy. 

Basically everyone in Texas does a honeybun, cinnamon roll, and cheese danish.  It's just a matter of picking a quality product with a good food cost.  I also started stocking the Bimbo Conchas, which are very popular.  They're a less-sweet Mexican pastry.  I have a lot of Latinos. 

In fact, when my repairman came out I offered him anything from any machine.  He wanted a Concha.  Good stuff! 

However, we haven't featured the Zingers in a couple years now.  I hope my customers will be happy to see them.  It's the same product, with the nice stripe of icing, dark chocolate cake, and creamy filling.  Oh, I used to love those things.  Praise God they give me migraines now. 

On our way to work we had to ride with a narcissist client.  She kept primping in the mirror, applying strongly scented lotion, and engaging in loud speakerphone conversation.  I find that very annoying.  It's bad enough to hear one side, both sides is worse.  And it's always so dull. 

Ron and I were literally choking on perfume fumes.  I don't know if she had lotion and perfume, or just lotion, but it was toxic.  When I got out I reeked like a cheap hooker. 

I can only figure she was sitting in the backseat and applied lotion, which rubbed off on the seatbelt.  When she got a chance, she moved up front to the "good seat".   When I fastened the seatbelt the fragrance rubbed off on my shirt and hoodie.  It was so bad I seriously considered stripping down to my bra. 

At work. 

When they finish the stockroom, I plan to bring an extra-t-shirt and some large ziptop bags.  I'm sure this will happen again - it's happened twice this year. 

Ron and I plan to call "the boss" and ask him to add a message to the hold que, basically saying "Please do not apply perfume, scented products, or lotion in the vehicle.  It may make other customers ill."  They have other messages already - no ticket, no ride.  If you're not out there in 5 minutes you lose your ride... "don't be a skunk" would fit right in. 

It was just a very selfish act.  She was so focused on her external presentation, but every other word out of her mouth was "I" and "Me".  Not pretty. 

As you can see, I can't abide drama-queen narcissists.  God will work with me on that. 

The way I see it, if I'm clean and appropriate I'm ready to go.  Ponytailed hair, t-shirt, capris, slip on steel toed loafers.  My summer getup.  I might add a hoodie on a cooler day.  I'm ready to go. 

I don't get people who spent hours in preparation, spending a lot of money on cosmetics, skin, and haircare - then they go out and scowl at everyone.  I think someone with a loving spirit is far more attractive. 

Anyway, we got to work.  They still don't have a lock for our stockroom door.  I wonder if we will ever get one.  I'm waiting on certain purchases "Until we get a lock" - like a very large box of Jalapeno chips.  Clearly I don't want to leave it in an open stockroom, especially since it is a very popular selection.  I'd also like to get more bottled soda instead of running to the store every few days. 

They were painting the door, though.  It's a process. 

I stocked what I had.  As I stocked, two "casuals" approached the machines and bought merchandise.  I thanked them both.  They were shocked. 

A casual is a temporary, part-time worker.  They make $9 an hour. 

One, the man, actually asked me why I thanked him.  "My husband and I are both disabled" I told him.  "Without you I'm unemployed."  He nodded and walked off with his snack. 

Why is it so unusual for a vendor to thank a customer?   I'm making a living off the purchases.  I OUGHT to be full of gratitude! 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Black tomatoes

We had a pretty busy day today. 

We got up early and went to Academy.  Now, if I were at my ideal weight, with $1000 gift card, I could do some serious damage.  I love their clothing.  I caught myself slowing as I passed all the pretty colors. 

I kept going, I doubt they have 2XL anyway. 

I only had enough for a pair of slip ons, anyway.  I got these 2 years ago.  They're still in good shape. 

Mesa slip on steel toe

Great shoes.  At first I worried they wouldn't "work" with my usual outfits, but I've even worn them to church.  They're great.  They have lost a little support, though, so I got the new ones.  The old ones are good enough to donate, which I plan to do. 

I'd like to waterproof them, though.  That's about all I need to do.  I don't want to have a million old pairs of shoes.  That's hoardy.  I try to avoid obvious hoarderisms. 

I have two cats, for example.  Both fixed.  I try to rehome things I don't need.  If I can't, I throw them out.  I'd rather throw out something that "might have had some value" than have a big pile of crap in my house. 

As it is, I have to fix things up as much as possible before the big parental visit in about a week.  Happily, they do understand we've been working double overtime. 

After Academy, we went to the bank.  We were done in 20 minutes.  However, Ron "fixed" the trip, which meant we ended up waiting 2 hours instead of one.  It had a happy ending, we did get to Walmart. 

Dude, I am staying home this weekend.  No retail at all.  Walmart was pretty insane.  I got some stuff for work.  It came to $6.66.  Pretty funny. 

Ron wanted grape tomatoes.  I also got him some black cherry tomatoes, which he really likes.  I gres some several years ago and he adored them.  I think he'll eat these before tomorrow.  He kept saying no but when I gave them to him he ate half the carton, making obscene yum yum noises.  What else? 

A big bottle of Suave Moroccan Infusions shampoo.  I seldom buy the same shampoo twice but I'm impressed.  Food items.  Some protein energy bars, no almond or peanuts (hard to find!), for breakfast.  I also got some Nature Valley Breakfast biscuits. 

As a side note, my Belvita are finally starting to pick up sales, at work. 

I got Ron his tomatoes, drink mix for me, and a couple of lemons for my next henna treatment.  That pretty much killed the budget. 

We had a pretty short wait to come home.  I kicked myself, I'd forgotten to bring my oversized tote bags.  I had to schlep all the bags myself.  It's a lot easier to deal with one large tote. 

I sorted out the work stuff and put it by the door.  They like what I'm doing and I can get a lot of the stuff at Walmart.  Yes, we pay double sales tax, but these are not big dollar purchases.  I'm not worried. 

Neither is Ron.  He's full of praise for my ideas. 

It's nice to be appreciated. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Toilet!

Ron had great trepidation about me writing this.  "I'd rather forget it happened" he said. 

I always remind him he was suffering from head injury dementia, and some very legitimate frustration, at the time.

This story has been one of the few I'd never shared.  Today Ron gave me permission to share it. I do hope it helps some other caregiver for the head injured. 

Things get better.  Lots better. 

Let me set the scene.  Ron and I are in the hospital.  I'm there because he does better with me around.  When he wakes up disoriented (every time) I orient him.  I remind him he was in an accident, run over by a pickup truck, and in the hospital.  I sleep in a pull out chair near his bed, and basically live with him. 

He couldn't walk.  He had a broken leg and was partially paralyzed on the broken side due to a stroke.  He had a "very severe" head injury.  He still doesn't remember most of 2002.  He was in ICU for 3 weeks, in a coma.

He woke up and went through some of the various stages of head injury recovery.  One of the stages: angry and agitated.  He would (and does) slip back to that when he's very tired or frustrated. 

Ron clearly couldn't use the toilet while in a coma.  They had a solution for that.  As he woke up he didn't like that option.  Who would? 

So, they got him a bedpan.  It was marginally better but not much.  At least he could holler for it.  I'd get it and either the nurse aide or I would deal with the product. 

Ron had been promised a commode chair.  He was very excited about it but it wasn't happening.  He kept having to use the bedpan.  He was getting very frustrated, yelling "Toilet!"  "Toilet!"  He sounded so pitiful. 

Like anyone, he wanted to use the toilet.  He was tired of the bedpan.  I was happy he was getting better but Ron found the bedpan humiliating.  I kept asking and they kept giving us the run-around. 

We had to learn to "transfer" Ron, they said.  But they wouldn't teach us, and never gave a reason. 

One day Ron kept shouting for his toilet.  He sounded so plaintative.  "Toilet!  Toilet!"  It reminded me of bird cries.  I got him on the bedpan.  He told me to leave the room. 

I left.  I waited about 10 minutes.  I asked Ron if he was done and he shouted at me.  I waited another 10 minutes. 

I went back in the room.  Ron was on his stomach (I'd left him on his back, on the bedpan, lying in bed).  I knew it had taken Ron a tremendous feat to flip over like that, so soon after his stroke.  Wearing my gloves, I picked up the bedpan.  It was empty. 

"Ron, did you go?"
"Yes."
"Where is it?"
He smiled grimly. 
"I threw it!"
What? 
"I threw it!" 
What? 

I looked at his hands.  Yeah, he'd thrown it all right.  He later told me he took great care molding the product into a perfectly round ball before throwing it. 

Oh-kay.  I had to find a big ball of waste.  The product was lurking somewhere in the hospital room.  I looked to the left of the bed.  I looked to the right.  I looked under the bed.  I looked at the foot.  I looked by the head.  I looked in and around the other bed.  I looked around my fold-out sleep chair. 

Exhausted, I got ready to collapse into "my" chair, when I saw the stains on the wooden armrest.  Ah.  About to drop into the seat, I caught myself and turned around, finding the product in a position of honor. 

I almost sat in it! 

I was still wearing my gloves. I picked it up and flushed it.  I told the nurse aides that Ron had a bowel movement (they had to put it in the chart).  I also mentioned the flinging episode in passing and requested "something to clean it up".   They reacted with shock and horror. 

About 5 minutes later, a nurse in full haz-mat gear came into the room.  I explained I'd gotten rid of the worst, I was happy to clean it up, and he'd done it out of frustration.  She wasn't buying. 

Ron, I asked, what did you do? 
"I threw it". 
Are you sorry you threw it?
"Yes".
Will you throw it again? 
"No"  The nurse relaxed. 
Why did you throw it?
"I want a toilet!" he wailed.  "Sick of the bedpan!   Not a baby!   TOILET!" 

"I told you" I continued.  "He just wanted the toilet.  He got frustrated.  Can someone please work on getting him the commode chair?  He's going to get constipated, he hates using that thing.  Look what he did today!"  She went out.  I cleaned Ron up. 

About 10 minutes later a tentative knock on the door.  A Spanish lady came into the room. "You need clean?"  She held some rags and a bucket of disinfectant. 

"My husband" I told her.  "I clean."  I took the bucket and rags. 
She brightened up.  "YOU clean?"  I nodded.  "OK!  I come later!" 

I cleaned everything I could find and then some, devoting particular attention to handprints and the chair.  I poured out the used solution and left the rags in the bucket.  The lady came back and took it away, smiling widely. 

Well, he is my husband.  What was I going to do?  Lord it over her like some "royal", watching her clean? 

The next day they brought Ron a commode chair and worked with me on transfers.  He spent quite a while on his beloved toilet. 

When Ron came home, his father loaned him an old commode chair from a dead aunt.  Ron was thrilled.  A couple weeks later, he took it back.  Ron was devastated at the loss of his beloved "toilet" and Dad could never give us a good explanation. 

Ron's brother and sister had refused to help us, disowned us, and I think they made his Dad choose.  When he got dementia, though, they put Dad in a nursing home. 

In the meantime I had to tell Ron his Dad had taken "toilet" away, and we were back at the bedpan.  I ordered another commode chair off the internet but it took about a week to arrive.  In the meantime, he would hop into the bathroom on his good leg. 

Ron's a man who loves his toilet. 

In 2004, the day we bought the house, I caught salmonella.  I was violently ill for about a week.  "Toilet" got a few miles because I doubted I could make it.  I did, using the chair. 

Ron was a champ, emptying the chair for me and acting so sweet about it.  He even rigged up a little toilet paper dispenser and trash bag.  He was wonderful. 

You reap what you sow. 

Good Depression food

It seems odd to say, but I'm feeling better since I realized I'm cycling depressed. 

I only had a week's mania.  I've never had a better timed one, except the one when Ron left the hospital.  It lasted long enough, that's the importance. 

However, that means I'm depressed now.  Hopelessness, etc.  Not so bad today because I woke up with a NASTY headache.  I took some excedrin and drank a mountain dew.  300 mg of caffeine is good for a boost into low mania for a few hours. 

"Don't go over 450 mg" Doc tells me.  OK. 

If I know I'm depressed than I can recognize it and deal with it accordingly.  Last night, I did a henna. 

So what have I been doing?  Tuesday I worked 12 hours plus.  I came home, ate, took my meds, and went pretty much straight to bed.  Wednesday I went to Walmart, came home, and did a henna.  I used the "playful plum".  Not a good call. 

When I use "original" it comes in orange and fades to red after a day.  Playful plum has manifested as more of a dark brown.  However, I'm only 15 hours in.  Once I use shampoo (I rinsed it with conditioner, sounds wierd but works well), and give it another day, it may get redder.  If not, I'm glad I still have time to use "original" before my parents come to visit.  They really like my hair redder. 

I love my Dad dearly.  I can only recall a few times he complimented me on my appearance.  My wedding day, for instance.  He actually *liked* the photo of me with the red hair.  Yeah, I still want to make Daddy proud.  :) 

I was and am a total Daddy's girl.  Except for running off with Ron and the whole "living in sin" thing for 10 years.  But I know Dad is proud of me for not running out on Ron after he got hurt, for marrying Ron, and helping Ron manage the business.  He told me once he was very proud I had never asked him for money. 

Dad's money is his.  Not mine. 

As I see it, Dad only has one real flaw: he doesn't like cats.  Oh, well.  I bet Torbie tries to change that when he comes to visit. 

Oh, by the way, I did some deductive reasoning.  Torbie snores.  Every snoring cat I've had has been over 10, so I think she's over 10.  She gets a little stiff sometimes.  I feed her glucosamine treats, though, with fish oil.  She loves them and they do seem to help.  If nothing else they make a really good treat (2 a day). 

I was reading up on arthritis in cats.  Apparently warmth is very good for them.  I found a heated cat bed so I put a little money in my account.  Later today, I'm going to get one
She'll love it.  She adores my heated mattress pad, the sheepskin on the back of the couch, etc.  It makes me happy to spoil her.  I plan to put it on "her spot" on the computer room couch. 

I think that's one of the good things about cats and depression: not necessarily that I've gotten a surfeit of cuddles lately.  Not that I woke up yesterday to find not one, but BOTH cats in my bed, but they enjoy the little things I give them so very much.  They're just so delighted with the little things.  Treats.  A fresh bowl of high-end cat food (the cats have a choice between salmon, or duck), a cuddle.  It makes life fun, even when I'm depressed. 

I love the little southern meow Torbie does when she wants to get in my lap: Ma-YOW. I always pat my lap, encourage her, and she jumps right up.  She likes it when I rub her ears.  Old cats seem to love that, but Baby Girl (2 years old) will get pretty growly if you try it. 

Work has gone pretty well, with a few problems: no stockroom door (installed yesterday, but no lock); power outage on Monday - we lost about $40 in perishable inventory.  One of the managers said "You don't have to throw it out".  Dude (I didn't say this), it got up over 50 degrees in there for God knows how long.  I have to throw it out.  I don't sell anything I wouldn't eat.  No water line yet for coffee machine.  I don't care about that: but the customers do. 

It is a little scary for me to work with coffee drinkers.  They get very, very, angry when they don't have their coffee.  Of course it's an addictive behavior but one can't say that, of course.  It's a little alarming when they're in my face yelling. 

As a vendor, I would never use a coffee vending machine.  Too many problems.  You're better off bringing some instant - we have half a dozen microwaves.  In maintenance they have their own coffee pot.  Everyone puts in some money every month, or brings supplies.  The pot's on the burner all day and they seem to love it.  Perfect cup every time.  Kind of like the cop shows.  I don't say this of course. 

Today should be pretty simple (ha!).  We go to the warehouse, get some snack items.  Go to work and stock.  Go home.  That's it. 

Ron's giving me tomorrow off.  I got paid, put in my money for the cat bed and my recurring debit. 

Ron wanted more protein foods; so we got him BBQ chicken strips, chicken patties (cooked, you just warm it and slap on a bun), and nonfat milk for his shakes.  I make him protein shakes with nonfat milk and 2 scoops Peanut Butter Chocolate whey protein powder per cup.  He loves it.  He'll drink a quart of that a day (insane protein).  I also got sharp cheddar slices to put on the chicken sandwich, whole grain buns, etc.  He loves grape tomatoes so we got that; and V8.  That's about it for Ron vegetable.  For me, I got cheese sticks - I'll be eating all the other stuff too. 

I'm pretty proud of us; good food, easy to fix and minimal dishes.  Good depression food. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

When you fall in love

My faith has taken a real beating lately. 

I tell myself, focus on the good things.  The business is in a great, permanent location.  The machines are healthy. We do have a stockroom.  Sure, our area is tiny, and we don't even have a door, but we have a stockroom.  The other vendor has been low-key, and pretty delighted to hear I'd get sandwiches for them. 

I have to go out on a very busy and crowded loading dock to get the delivery.  The guy who gets the delivery has a disability.  It's better if I do it.  I have to go out there anyway to get my delivery.  It's easy enough to throw theirs on my cart.  They're right around the corner from my machines.  Not a big deal.  And God doesn't want me to be a hater. 

I just wonder why God had to allow Ron to hurt his back.  Hasn't Ron suffered enough?  It's horrible watching him try to get out of the wheelchair, yelp, and collapse.  I don't mind pushing him in the chair.  I don't mind the added physical activity. 

I mind, terribly, watching him suffer.  He had so many problems to begin with, why more? 

He's blind. 

He has over a 50% hearing loss. 

He is partly paralyzed on his right side. 

He has a head injury, with memory and impulse control issues.

He has neuropathy, and can't be touched on his back, chest, or abdomen.  Legs are pretty iffy too.  Feet are very painful on standing.  Allergic reaction to Bactrim.  Oddly enough, I'm currently taking said antibiotic for my bladder infection. 

I went through this about a year after Ron's accident - depression, faith crisis.  I went through it again in 2008 when he had the allergic reaction/neuropathy.  Last year when he got diabetic blisters from overuse of the back massager for his neuropathy.  This year with the back issue. 

I can't describe the sheer awful.   Watching him climb into the wheelchair, very carefully, from his bed.  Rolls himself to the next door bathroom.  Parks the brake on the wheelchair.  Groaning, stand up very slowly, back hunched, 90 degree angle to his legs, face towards the floor.  Pulling himself into the bathroom with his hands on the doorframe.  The same in reverse when he's done. 

Yes, I'm glad he can do that on his own.  I'm happy he's not in pain unless he tries to stand up.  He hates to ask me for help because he doesn't want to "bother" me.  I like to think I'm gracious about helping, and he's said I'm "wonderful". 

But he can't even stock sodas anymore.  If they get too high he'd have to stand, and he can't.  So he sits there with half a case of soda in his lap asking for help. 

It makes me want to cry, scream, and throw something very heavy out a window. 

It's just not fair.  I remember standing by Ron's hospital bed, 11 years ago, thinking "I could just walk away. No one would fault me."  But, my code, my faith, and my love for Ron have kept me going. 

That's not who I am.  But I recall thinking, bitterly, how I had enslaved myself - made myself a hostage to his health.  How Ron's progress, good or ill, completely defined my days, my every mood, my hopes and fears.  [shrug]  No one tells you about this when you fall in love. 

They don't tell you that you'll hurt as bad, or worse, when your loved one is suffering.  I know Ron goes through this when I have a bad depression (the moderate to mild ones, I can fake it pretty well).  I don't want anyone to think I'm the only one crying here.  I know it's incredibly hard for Ron, too. 

That's the other thing - it makes me love him so much, makes me so angry that he's allowed to suffer: Ron has such an amazing attitude.  He's calm, sweet, respectful, appreciative, and a real joy to help.  He doesn't get upset at stupid questions.  He's patient, he endures. 

I'll refer you back to my comment about throwing something heavy out a window. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

God has always provided

Ron was lamenting the fact we spent my pay on inventory, even though I told him I was fine with it.  I told him, again and again "This is more important". 

At the end of it, we filled 2 food machines (we were told we'd only get one), 3 snack machines, 3 canned soda machines, and a bottled soda machine.  They look fantastic. 

We had to do that; no regrets, and Ron figured out a way to pay me anyway.  I always tell him I don't need much. 

I don't see any of this as special or heroic.  As far as I'm concerned, God has always provided, and always will. 

That's why I get a little frustrated sometimes.  I know some people online who seem to be in a constant state of financial crisis: "I don't have any money for dog food" - yet they're online, using a cell phone, driving a car. 

It makes me wonder about priorities.  I always buy pet food before people food, and I always have a reserve bag on hand (I use the reserve and put the fresh food as the reserve). 

When I went for Medicaid so I could get my wisdom teeth out, the social worker told me I could get food stamps.  "I have enough to eat" I told her "But thank you."  That's why I never took a disability check, even though I qualify twice over.  I have enough to eat. 

Someone else really does need that money, or they'll be out in the street.  Funds are not limitless.  Some will argue with that. 

Ron and I have pretty much always been poor, always lived from check to check.  Thank God they didn't have payroll advances before I was medicated.   We had some good years after they closed the deli but that all ended in 2008. 

We may or may not regain what we've lost, but I know we'll have enough.  For instance, our truly expensive home repairs have always come when we actually had the money available.  Even the cats only had problems when we had some money on hand to pay for the vet. 

God's going to take care of you.  I have to think He finds it a little insulting when someone who may or may not be managing their money properly, puts these screaming banners on Facebook.  "I'm starving!  I need money!"  People make choices and God does allow consequences.  One lady actually had a "friend" using very manipulative messages to try to "drum up" more money.  I would be furious if someone did that "in my name".  She thought it was great. 

Ron and I made some choices recently, to eliminate our landline, get rid of the data plan, and cut most of the cable programming.  I think they were good choices.   We are frugal.  We seldom eat out, and when we do it's a place with paper napkins and a dollar menu.  The cats eat a lot better than we do; salmon and duck.  That, to me, is how it should be.  I'm happy eating a $5 lasagne for a week or so.  I can make it last.  I have a $5 quart of greek yogurt.  That's breakfast every day - a little every da, just enough to make my meds happy (I have zero morning appetite but must take the Wellbutrin with food).   I don't feel I'm in hardship, or suffering.  I find it a creative challenge. 

After Ron's accident, I shared that I had been laid off, Ron's money stolen.  At the time, as his live-in and not his wife, I was not allowed to manage the business with him absent.  In the long run, that gave me plenty of time to devote to his care. 

I didn't ask for money.  In fact, I said no when people asked if I needed it.  I said I knew God would provide.  As it turns out, He did by encouraging them to give me money anyway.  I never once asked; God put it on them.  I only mentioned the "laid off" thing once.  God continued to provide for months after the accident, working on people's hearts as needed. 

So, I could focus on loving Ron, get him back on his feet, so to speak, so we could get back to work.  That's how God works. 

I wish I could tell the "beggars" out there - it's insulting to God.  You also need to take a hard look at your own priorities.  If you really can't afford pet food, you need to give your pets to a rescue.  I would never let my cats starve while I had a cell phone, computer, and internet service. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

What a dream

I talk a lot about my faith, but I don't usually label myself. 

I am a born-again Christian, and I believe in the pretribulation rapture.  I believe, very soon, Jesus will take the born-again believers (and those too young or unable to decide for themselves) to Heaven while the earth goes through the Tribulation - basically a time when the world goes to hell.  I suggest reading "Are we living in the end times?"  for more on that. 

I don't believe in dreams, which is rather funny.   The day after Ron's accident, I finally went home.  Someone else was there if he woke up (ha!  That didn't happen for weeks).  I slept.  I dreamt that Ron woke up, made a good recovery (all things considered, he did) and we started a new life together. 

Another time, before the accident, I was very angry with Ron.  I wanted to leave him but I just kept getting a NO everytime I prayed on that.  I had a dream: God told me "all your fondest dreams" would come true.  A little house and marriage to Ron.  That?  ESPECIALLY that, God told me.  In fact, I was told, Ron would DEMAND it. 

Ron, upon finding how I suffered because we weren't married, demanded marriage. 

When I was 13, I became intensely suicidal after being put on an antidepressant.  That's why they have the warnings now.  Anyway, I had planned to kill myself.  I couldn't endure another day.  I planned my suicide to the last detail. 

That night, before I fell asleep, I prayed and told God "If You don't want me to do this, You need to show me what to do.  I can't handle this on my own."  I went to sleep.  That night God literally wrapped me in His love, told me it would get better - this would be the absolute lowest point of my life, and told me to tell my guidance counselor about the suicide plan.  I did.  I got help and crawled out of the hole. 

I've had two rapture dreams I remember. 

One, I was very eager waiting for Christmas.  God said "You think Christmas is cool, wait until you see this!"  I ran to a window and looked out, seeing the start of a sunrise.  I was very excited because I knew the rapture would happen when the "sun" rose. 

That one happened a few years back. 

This week, I had another one.  Ron and I knew the rapture was imminent.  We started dancing.  That would be a trick with his back the way it is.  Anyway, we faced each other and danced joyfully.  All of a sudden I saw Ron transformed, and he was looking at me. 

Ron has never looked at me.  What a tremendous moment. 

Now, you can chalk it all up to a malfunctioning brain.  "Religious".  You name it.  But what a dream. 

"I can't take you for granted"

This is our stockroom right now. 
From the outside, of course. 

No one can get in, not even us.  [snort]  I hope that changes Monday.  It's going to really suck getting the sandwiches without my handcart. 

Here's Ron eating one of our new corndogs:


He said it was very good.  I can't eat a corndog right now, I'm a little queasy on the antibiotic plus all my arsenal of crazy pills.  I also added yogurt to the linuup (Yoplait) today. 

So this week has been a crazy haze of inventory, trips to the warehouse, and manic stocking.  Thank God I am manic.  I said it before: I have never had a better timed mania, except maybe the one post accident right before we left the hospital. 

Between our boss/consultant and the customer I met yesterday (more later), I have been adding more food items to the machine.  I have V8, cup of noodles, vienna sausage, corn dog, and yogurt (all $1 each), fresh fruit or pudding cup (60 cents), premium lunch (turkey and dressing, beef stew) $4.50, sandwiches come Monday, they are $2.25, various drinks, microwave lunch buckets $1.75, and more I'm forgetting. 

I even have sugarfree puddings.  I have a lot of diabetics and "healthy" types - that's why I sold out a whole sack of mandarin oranges in one week.  I also have a lot of people who want to eat better, on a budget. 

I even got a few bananas, they aren't quite ripe yet but when they are I'll put them out with the other fruit.  I see a lot of bananas eaten. 

Ron's been very supportive of my ideas - and as a result, NO ONE can accuse us of having empty vending machines.  Yes, we were guilty before, but like I told Ron, everyone's watching, and many blind vendors want our location.  We can't afford to trip. 

Snacks look great, and the last 2 days were devoted to building up canned and bottled drinks (in addition to food items).  I want to have something for everyone, in pretty much every budget.  If you want premium items I have them.  If you have a dollar I have literally dozens of choices, healthy and not.  If you want ethnicky I have that - a Mexican pastry is my #1 seller right now.  It has an incredibly good food cost too. 

So, they look good.  We have done everything we can. 

It's been a battle, though.  For the last 3 or 4 days, everytime we went to work the pickup driver has just had an impossible time finding us to go home.  We have clear directions.  We have cell phone numbers in the notes.  I stand there and wave my arm, and I'm told you can see me for quite a ways off. 

They just can't find us.  I have to wonder if some of them are playing games.  I wave at them, they slow down for a moment, and then keep driving.  I know they have spotted me.  Then, a couple minutes later, they come back and say "I didn't see you".  Yes, you did. 

My other favorites: "Were you waiting long?"  or "They said it was apartments" - I read the computers when I get in and they all say POST OFFICE, with our accurate pickup notes, and the phone number. 

If you're going to be late, don't talk about it.  Don't make excuses.  Let's get Ron loaded and go, please. 

One woman tried to make Ron feel guilty, going back to work, because he held a case of soda in his lap.  "Oh, you're so heavy pushing up the ramp".  Most of the clients in wheelchairs are well over 200 pounds.  Ron is 150 pounds plus a 20 pound case of soda.  I tried pushing him up the ramp today as he held 4 cases and found it very easy.  Anyway, that woman is just horrible, and very negative. 

Other rides have been very late, necessitating changes in all our other trips because our pickup would arrive before the drop off! 

I guess this is our new trial for now.  Speaking of: yesterday I got literally dragged off by one of the other vendor's angry customers.  She was screaming at me and saying we should be thrown out of the building. 

I listened to her complaints, noted the appropriate points (coffee machine not repaired, not enough sandwiches, items hanging up - that doesn't happen on my side of things).  I explained I am the cafeteria vendor only. 

"Well, you need to tell them..." I told her I HAVE, they don't LISTEN.  She got upset again.  I gave her the boss' number and said "He's the guy who kicks ass".  The boss wants me to do this, by the way.  I explained the other vendors don't listen to me but they have to listen to him. 

She was happy to get the number.  The only thing, I requested, please tell him where it happened, so they can fix it (all the problems were in the other areas, not mine).  She was happy to do that. 

I finished by saying, "I'm do my best to make sure everyone has a good experience with us.  If you're pissed when you walk away, you won't come back!"  She agreed.  "These days," I continued, "We can't afford to take our customers for granted!"  She shouted YES and gave me a hug. 

I guess I did alright! 

Friday, April 11, 2014

My Day in Photos - Grand Opening

My day in photos. 

Ron wanted to hold the drinks and snacks, after we made a trip to the warehouse. 


We filled the machines: 



And attended the Grand Opening. 
Sorry for the bad hair, I was working. 



I'm too tired to write more, but I'll give you the details tomorrow. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

No door!

Very tired, another long day. 

I am cheating here; a cut and paste from a prayer request.

The big guy came by today (in charge of 30M remodel). 

"Is this your stuff?" he asked. 

No, I explained, two vendors, this is mine, that's belongs to the other guy. 

"Well, both of you need to vacate this area by tomorrow.  We are doing demolition." 

That's fine for me.  I counted while moving 20 milk crates and about 4 medium boxes.  And two small handcarts (like they use to bus tables). 

The other vendors have FAR more.  They came in and moved their snack stuff, but will have their lackeys move all the soda (don't envy them). 

One problem: NO DOOR on our new stockroom.  Now, I praise God eternally and forever for our little tuna can.  I can fit a Dr Pepper order (it is tiresome taking soda on paratransit, and sometimes we have to make 2-3 trips due to space limitations) in there, along with a fair amount of other stuff and a couple of handcarts.  Great. 

However, the other guy, and our boss, were very upset about the lack of security.

I run a just in time inventory.  Just what you think - I only buy stuff as needed and it goes into the machine.  The snack machines have a "locker" in the bottom so I put my leftovers, if I have them, into them.  I have very little to steal.

Remember the other day, "I have all the inventory?"  Well, that's coming back to bite him now. 
Please pray for that to be resolved.  We also have various repair issues.  Thanks for praying! 

More tomorrow.  I'm very tired and I need to go to bed in 10 minutes. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I have one of those faces

I went to bed early and woke up an hour before the alarm.  I lay in bed trying not to worry about various things for a while.  Will the new entrance be wheelchair accessible?  Why is Snack #3 not giving "small change" on transactions?  Repair issues as regard the vending machines.  Moving the stockroom on Friday, getting new machines.  Back to repair issues and wheelchair access.  My bladder hurts.  I got up, showered, and did my God Time. 

We had planned to go to the doctor, fill my prescription, buy supplies, and then go to work.  Ron decided, on his own (I didn't mind) to cancel the latter two; leaving me with doctor, Walmart and home.  "I'm not abusing you" he told me, indignantly. 

Our ride to the doctor was late and I barely made it.  Agh.  Ron said it was his fault.  The driver made some bad decisions though, that cost us time.  She kept thinking I was "mad". 

I wasn't angry, I explained repeatedly, I was sick and in pain.  I didn't want to talk. 

See, I have one of those faces - that's what Ron tells me.  Everyone wants to tell me their troubles.  99% of the time I don't mind and walk away happy to be me. 

This woman has told me all about her sex life, how she "couched" her husband and threatened to leave him.  She called him 3 times on her break and he didn't answer the phone, she interrogated her son when she got home and found out "Daddy" was in the same room, but didn't get up for the call, etc.  I just didn't want to hear it today. 

God forgive me, I didn't want to hear it. 

I barely made it.  They wanted my photo ID.  They got very upset when I didn't have it.   I told them "I have a bladder infection, I am in pain.  I already gave you my social and $100 in cash.  Why do I need an ID?"  They didn't have an answer for that, but it got me thinking about Ron, and his "mark of the beast" speech. 

New King James Version (NKJV)
Revelation 13:16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

It used to be, they didn't care who I was, a long as I paid up front.  I'm paying for my medical care.  How is this a bad thing? 

Anyway, they finally settled for a federal ID - my work badge.  [rolleyes] 

I know what I need, next time.  I forget we are in new days.  Later, at McDonald's, they had a sign on one register "no cash".  Huh.  Yup.   Go back to the Bible verses. 

Anyway, I had to fill out reams of paperwork.  I wasn't surprised to see a guy rolling a folding handcart loaded with probably 20 cubic feet of paper. 

I understand "you" may need to know my family history.  But what about personal history?  That part was eliminated.  Yeah, I can check the depression box, but I also wrote 296.62 so they could put my illness in context. 

I found it creepy filling out government forms (that's what they told me) sharing my family medical history and my own personal ailments.  It also made me really glad I'm healthy.  Really, looking at that form, I am healthy. 

I know one or two people who'd be checking every box. 

I do wonder, if "they" come to round us up and put us down, or in camps, or "manage" us somehow, how the forms will be used.  "Let's get all the crazies today".   That's 90% the illness talking. 

I had my vitals.  I have lost weight.  That's nice.  Not that they know, the last time I went in was 2007.  But I know and that's nice.  It was nice to say "set it at 250" and it was too heavy. 

I peed in a cup.  Then there was a little drama over paying to get the urine tested.  Did that.  $15.  At first I thought she said $50 and said "I'll have to die, then!"  [snort]  I also told her she was doing a great job. 

Can you imagine how much it must suck to do the billing at a medical office?  Having to charge little old ladies, poor people, etc?  Getting yelled at over prices you didn't set? 

I went back in my room and read a booklet on osteoporosis.  Doc came in.  I like him.  I plan to have him as my permanent, regular, doc as long as he's around. 

No nitrates.  No leukocytes.  No glucose or protein.  In other words, perfect urine. 

He still wrote me a prescription for antibiotics.  I don't need this getting up in my kidneys.  I have a lot of work ahead. 

Work for 2 days: then yardwork on my day off.  Always housework and homecare (although Ron isn't burdensome). 

So, I left.  I got Ron a protein box (he asked for it) at Starbucks.  It had an egg, some cheese, a mini pita he liked a lot, a pouch of peanut butter (he liked that too), grapes, etc.  He ate the whole thing. 

We agreed, we wished we could sell something like it at work. 

I had lemon pound cake and some Azo (urinary painkiller) I had gone off it yesterday because it can mess up urine tests.  I also drank a large bottle of water. 

Whatever's wrong, lots of water can only help. 

We went to Walmart.  I left him sitting in the wheelchair near the bathroom.  While I was gone, he tried to get beer but they were sold out (I am OK with this). 

I got my prescription - God love you Walmart and your $4 prescriptions! 

I also got yogurt and some healthier foods for me.  I've been eating a 2 cup bowl of mixed vegetables every night.  It's not a huge deal, but it's a lot better eating than I've done.  I know I'm only healthy if I eat a wide variety of healthy foods.  And I can face the thought of a bowl of mixed veggies every night. 

I was happy to see the Banquet Lasagne TV dinner (I add parmesan after cooking to up the protein) has 12 grams of protein.  Good.  I really liked the one I ate last night, and the night before that, so I got more. 

Time to check out.  I still had some money left and I got some chicken sandwhiches for us.  McDonald's burgers are pretty terrible after I've eaten at Carl's Jr.  But the chicken is good. 

I got the one with cheese and bacon for me.  Ron said he didn't want anything, but had a couple bites of mine.  I got him a regular one because I figured he'd eat it later.  It's a dollar.  He'll eat it sometime. 

When I got home, I took everything, crazy meds, antibiotic, and some supplements.  I like to take some antioxidants due to skin issues and the freckle in my eye

I'd eaten enough that it was all happy. 

I have problems with allergies.  That translates to a very annoying dry cough during allergy season, and after I get a cold.  It goes on for weeks, and drives Ron nuts. 

But, I have a problem: old allergy meds make me groggy.  New allergy meds (Zyrtec, Claratin) make me manic and paranoid.  Most nasal sprays give me terrible migraines. 

What's a girl to do?  I had seen the ads for Nasacort and figured it must be pretty affordable if it's gone over the counter.  I finally got some today and "shot up". 

I get a very slight headache, which dissipates.  It seems to make me slightly manic, which also dissipates.  I'm fine with that.  It's also helping with the cough. 

Well, that was fun.  I had a pretty extreme bathroom flood.  I wasn't paying attention to the toilet after I flushed.  I got it all cleaned up and disinfected. 

I've read piney cleaners can be toxic to cats, so I use a lemony disinfectant I dilute in water.  It was funny, though.  I had about half an inch of "water" on the floor.  I grabbed my old towel and mopped what I could.   I needed another towel.  I tried to find my other old towel, but I coudn't.  I saw a nice midrange nice blue towel that seemed to be wanting to help. 

I had a thought: sad towels waiting to be used.  So happy when they're used, even if it's messy.  It made me feel better about using it. 

Both towels are now in the washer along with some bleach.  I'll run that as a load and then another load with detergent.  I got a good workout, scrubbing. 

I'm so glad I have a small house, and a small bathroom. 

I don't want to post the neighbor's schedule.  I wouldn't want them posting mine; but the daily ruckus seems to have ended for now. 

I do wonder, though.  During their play, and the parties, it seems like the small kids are *always* crying.  It doesn't sound fun to me. 




Consolation

Ron needs to realize, not everyone is consoled by his "Don't worry, the end of the world is coming soon" speech.  Agh.