Saturday, May 31, 2014

I have a right to grieve my losses

I told myself today, blogs are therapy for those who can't afford a therapist. 

Anyway, after my video blog (scroll down), God showed me something: I've never grieved what we lost. 

Ron and I lost a tremendous amount in the accident.  I lost that vital husband, the one who'd unload an entire pallet of soda and stack them 13 cases high, the guy who walked 2 miles to work each way while working 12-14 hour days.  Ron lost his mobility.  More than that, of course, but I never really grieved it. 

At first I was busy fighting to take him home, then I cared for him - a full time job for three.  We went back to work and I had to be the "everything" there - still am.  He got better, and worse, and worse again.  He went into the wheelchair full time. 

That's a hell of a ride.  I have a right to grieve my losses. 

Who would tell a person who lost a child: you need to forgive death for taking her from you?  You wouldn't.  You'd console them. 

It is OK for me to expect consolation when I share my feelings.  If, upon explaining my feelings, someone has a problem with that - that's on them. 

I'm not the bad guy for grieving.  If I don't, I'm liable to end up in big trouble. 

Grapple

I did a video. 

I worry people don't understand my feelings toward the man who ran over my husband.  I am sick of trite crap about "forgiveness".  I forgave him - my emotions are still complex. 

Anyway, if you don't want to watch me grapple feel free to scroll. 



Friday, May 30, 2014

"Won't give dimes"

Monday the other vendor's wife told me she'd gotten a complaint that the bottle vendor "Wasn't giving change".  I did a test vend and it worked.  I just scratched my head and moved on. 

Today someone told me it "Wasn't giving dimes".  Specificity.  Ah.  That, I can fix.  Generally speaking, that means the machine is either out of dimes, or the bottom dime is jammed.  If the dime is jammed you have to jab upwards with a pointy thing to get it loose.  Then it will dispense.

No pressure, though.  I heard the customer telling her friend I was "Going to fix it so it won't rip us off anymore".  Yike. 

The coin mech also features a handy "test" button for each denomination, so I can press the button and see if it's giving coins.  We had plenty of dimes.  I pressed the button.  No dime.  I found a sharp pointy thing (construction debris) and carefully felt for the opening on the underside of the coin mech.  I jabbed it upward, took a few tries.  Then I saw the stack of dimes lunging up and down.  I gave it "the business" and removed the pointer. 

I pushed the button "Click!" - I got my dime.  I yelled "Ha!" and raised my arms in victory.  I shut it and did a test vend, using $1.25 like the customers.  Sure enough, two coins, a dime and a nickel, change.  I did a happy dance. 

I got to sleep in this morning, and slept so late I woke up with a headache.  I watched Supernatural reruns (I haven't seen the first-runs).  I did my God Time.  Ron got up and took a bath. 

We went to the warehouse.  I got my candy bars (I desperately needed candy), and some other items.  I had an insulated bag for the candy, because it's warm.  No one wants melted candy.  It worked. 

We had to wait an hour, next to guys from Teen Challenge, fundraising.  They do good work, I heard, so I was fine with that. 

Ron kept giving them "Helpful suggestions" (rolleyes).  I'm sure they were happy to see us leave. 

We took everything to work.  I finally recited all the sodas in order, in the stockroom, on Ron's recorder so he can get his own now.  We were both very happy about that, and the Postal Workers found it very cute to see Ron rolling along in the wheelchair holding his soda. 

I did all that candy, and moved some cold food from one machine to another.  I fixed the bottled vendor and helped Ron stock it.  Ron did canned soda. 

We finally finished.  He gave me tomorrow off, so that'll be nice. 

"A Metro free day" - a day with no paratransit trips, is a must.  Even more than me getting a day away from Ron, we need a day away from paratransit now and then. 

We waited outside in the rain.  The driver went past us twice.  A Postal Worker helped me wave, then gaped as the driver went by.  I told her "I don't really get upset about my mother drinking so much, when pregnant, and messing up my brain.  But I do when I'm waiting on paratransit!"  She laughed. 

I know that will be all over the plant, if they didn't know already.  She turned out to be a good driver, though. 

I think a lot of employees have finally "gotten" the fact that I am also disabled, and we are dependent on public transit - what with seeing us waiting outside on our ride so often.  They get it now. 

It really started pouring when we boarded.  The driver had to take us home, during rush hour, in the pouring rain, on a Friday night. 

We made it.  Poor dumb Baby Girl came out to meet us.  In the rain. 

The Party Machine guy was visiting our neighbor.  He fired up around 7:30 but Ron called the police and put a stop to it. 

I ate a couple of hot dogs and took my meds.  Ron was horrified.  For a guy who hassles me everytime he finds out I'm eating, it was rather hypocritical.  He thought my dinner was "Too small". 

I got my meds down and I'm not sick.  That's a win. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Opportunities

I tease Ron, telling him this is our song for work:

"You've got the brawn, I've got the brains"

Why do I say this?  Well, I moved half a ton of soda today.  Shelf to flatbed cart.  Cart to truck.  Truck to cart.  Cart to shelf.  (most of it)  The rest is still sitting on the cart in my stockroom. 

Needless to say, I wore my back brace.  In addition to moving the inventory, I fixed two vending machines, had a small meltdown in the stockroom (not enough time, I thought), stocked snacks, stocked cold food, and helped Ron stock canned sodas. 

It's rather alarming to see how they're consuming our inventory.  They really, REALLY, like what I'm stocking.  I need more candy! 

I did have a decent amount of chips, thank God. 

We will need to do a "Will-call" next week with our wholesaler.  I need to look it (address) up on Google and see if it's safe "waiting".  If not, I think they have a nearby fast-food.  I can bring a handcart, leave Ron at the restaurant, walk over, pay, get my inventory, and walk back to the restaurant.  I love that about "street view". 

I'm out of the stuff I ordered a week ago.  "Out" meaning the vending coils are full, but no stockroom inventory.  So I have a few days. 

Our truck guy will be out of order for 6 weeks.  He's having major surgery.  We have a secondary truck guy but plan to use him for "big" things. 

He may, like one guy, really only want to do one order.   We have to make it count. 

I should add, we ALWAYS give gas money, and/or buy lunch.  I don't ever want to take advantage. 

Ron ended up back in the wheelchair because he *tried to move a vending machine*.  You can imagine how I felt when I caught him *trying to move a vending machine*.  I screeched at him and moved it myself. 

Does he LIKE using his legs?  Does he ever want to get better?  But he loses his temper - head injury thing. 

I just kind of swing my butt and bash it into the machine, it gets the job done without hurting my back (I was still in my brace).  My back's fine, I want to keep it there. 

It was a busy day. 

Last night they apparently had a birthday (I didn't see the pinata or hear them singing).  They had several cars visiting for a couple hours, then kids running around in the very muddy yard for over an hour, screaming.  I heard a lot of whooping so I think that was the pinata. 

I had to get up at 4:30.  I didn't get to bed until almost 10.  Probably a factor in my meltdown today. 

When I got home, I ate a bowl of cereal, took my meds, and looked at myself in the mirror.  My hair didn't look great, my face was pale and my eyes very tired. 

I took a nap, sort of.  Ron wanted to go to the liquor store, so he made a trip by himself. 

Did you know when paratransit unfolds the taxicab wheelchair ramp, it's really loud?  Car doors slamming next door when the Pre-K's came home.  Then Ron came back. 

I still got a nap-ish.  I felt pretty alert when I got up. 

I need to remember to drink more water, though. 

This is probably TMI.  My urine, taking lithium, has a ghastly "dead" smell.  Worse when I'm dehydrated. 

It is an easy way to tell if I'm dehydrated, and I am. 

I need to remember to drink at least one "bottle" of water every hour I'm working, especially when I'm doing physical labor.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A "treat"

Houston's been having severe weather - heavy rain events. 

Last night and this morning we had yet more.  I was really glad I was doing my phone appointment. 

I got up at 5, hit the snooze a couple of times, then realized I could get up at 7.  I reset the alarm. 

I got up and took my shower, wondering how I can save on the water usage.  We were up to 3K gallons last month.  I think I need to get one of the showerheads with the cutoff switch, when I'm lathering or shaving my legs.  That will save quite a bit. 

My aunt sent me a text so I called her back. We chatted for about an hour.  Doc called me 20 minutes later. 

You know, I told Ron, I just paid (sum of money) for a 5 minute phone call!  Yeah, he told me, he thought the same thing. 

I did tell Doc everything - Ron back in the wheelchair, a little bit of caregiver stress (sounded nicer than burnout), and mildly depressed, which he said was very normal considering.   I see him at the end of August. 

Ron gave me the rest of the day off (we might have worked this afternoon).  I watched Supernatural reruns until they ran out, then I took a nap for a while. 

When I'm depressed, I'm always tired, want to sleep a lot.  I hurt (mentally) and feel hopeless. That's a mild one.  Moderate adds in everyday tasks are hugely difficult (like taking a shower, or working).  Happily I haven't been there in a while. 

The nap was very nice.  I got up around 2.  Ron and I did some budgeting (we need to renew our dental discount plan).  They are excellent.  I had a big filling done for about $100, years ago, with the composite.  Ron has had various fillings, crowns, and root canals.  I think his last crown was $300.  The dentist is excellent (they have a list of 2 dozen dentists to choose from, at least).

Years ago, Ron had to have a tooth pulled (a molar at that) because we couldn't afford a $1200 root canal, or so they said.  It was one of the worst days of my life.  "It was a brave soldier" Ron said sadly "He fought hard". 

Ugh, AWFUL. So, $80 gets us dental care we can afford?  I'm all over that. 

Here's the number if you live in Houston (I don't mind being an ad for awesome things)
281‑488‑8100

I got the water bill.  I want to figure out how to be more efficient, even though I hear "normal" usage is about that.  I think it's the showers.  I don't water the yard.  We don't really do dishes because we use disposables (ever faced a mountain of dirty dishes when depressed?). 

If things improve at work, I'd like to replace the kitchen faucet.  That rascal has some leak issues although we've "apparently" fixed it for now.  That, and the toilet.  It's old. 

Anyway, we did that.  Ron teased me and said Baby Girl had brought me a treat, I had to come get it.  I went in there to find my pay sitting under her butt like she'd just pooped it out.  I made a joke about her being a good girl, etc. 

That's another way I can tell it's a mild to moderate depression: I can still joke. 

I did my God Time.  Ate, took my meds. 

Now it's Law & Order, Criminal Intent reruns. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Some wins

I had some wins today. 

I got a small advance on my pay. 

Doc agreed to do a phone appointment tomorrow, saving me a very long crosstown trip with Ron in the wheelchair, during rush hour, in severe weather downpour.   I think he felt OK with that, considering he once termed me "very stable".   Good.  I have a dead terror of that escalator.  3 stories.  I fell down an escalator as a child.  No thanks. 

For my next appointment, Doc is moving so I'll never have to face that horrid thing again. 

We didn't go to the warehouse, due to aforementioned severe weather.  We did go to work.  One of my machines was down, so I fixed it.  Everyone else was fine.  I even had time to clean the microwaves [shudder]. 

We mailed the homeowner's insurance.  $1048.  Not really a "great" policy (high deductibles) but like Ron said, pray God we never need it anyway. 

I also laid down the law on my Facebook.  Some people I know are just snarling and snapping at our president and his administration. The kick is coming.  They just don't see it yet.  I mean, there is no reason to say anyone, much less a leader, has manure brains (he was smart enough to get elected, and reelected).  Yet they said all that and worse.  I just said, if you don't speak of our leaders with respect, can the personal attacks and name-calling, I'm going to have to block (unfollow actually) you.  One responded with more vitrol so I unfollowed her. 

It's like a toxin.  I just don't need ugly thinking in my brain.  Even if it's someone else's.  That is probably my biggest gripe with Ron - his need to verbally express his fatalistic, bitter, frustrated outlook.  So. Done.  I feel fine unfollowing them if I need because, like I said, I just don't need that in my life

However, my self-appointed spiritual adviser tried to draw an analogy with my neighbor and the guy who ran over Ron (he was very vague, but his intent was clear).  First of all, I'm specifically talking politics.  Second, I have never, ever, spoken like that of anyone. The worst I have done lately is direct some very bad language at Snack 3, and I called someone a "bigmouth" on FB - but he didn't read it.  [shrug]  Maybe he wants to point fingers at my thinking so he doesn't have to look at his own.  I don't know.

The knee-jerk, of course, is to "defend" myself.  But you know what?  I'm a Christian.  I have the Holy Spirit.  It's been my experience that when God wants me to work on something, He doesn't let me rest until I do it.  And I have forgiven far more than most could ever dream. 

A good example: The policeman who robbed Ron at the scene of the accident.  Then he came to the hospital with a phonied up accident report.  I told him it couldn't have happened that way, Ron was walking to work, and injured on his right side, by a truck traveling east.  He must have been going south.  The officer got very angry at me and blamed me for the accident. 

God worked on me until I forgave him.  I pray he and his loved ones get saved.  I wish him well.  I pity any other accident victims.  I pray he does get justice.  If not, I know God will show creation what he did to us on Judgement day.  That has to be enough.  I let it go, let it pass, and pray for him every day.  [washing my hands] 

Some very bad things happened to me growing up.  I forgave them.  I had to.  For one, my primary abuser did not end up in a good place.  I can even pity them.  I worry about this person's family, even, and pray for them - because I know what they can do. 

I forgave the mother who damaged my brain before I was born, and then neglected me so badly, once I was born, she lost custody.  I remember how my parents' excitement when I finally caught up to the growth percentile chart - I was about 8. 

Ron has "done plenty".  Didn't appreciate me for a very long time but he does now.  Point being: forgiven.  I value him as my partner in life, and in business. 

Like I said, I don't have to justify my spiritual life: because the only opinion that matters is God's.  Does that mean I outright reject all advice?  No, I take it under advisement.  But if I'm not convicted, then I'm not convicted. 

About the only real "wrath" issues: 

Snack #3, is a no-name snack machine.  It's good-looking, though, and it vends fine.  It has a major problem, though: Sometimes it doesn't give change. 

My chips are priced at 65 cents.  Many customers insert 75 cents, 3 quarters, and buy a bag of chips.  The machine sits there smugly saying 10 cent credit.  Push coin return: nothing.  I have done everything I can think of to get it working.  We may need a repairman.  When we called him today he had one more suggestion for me. 

Truth is, we need him anyway for the coffee machine, and a tuneup on the bottle vendor (the beast), so he'll get his money.  I also have his favorite pastry on hand. 

The change bank (the little "register" inside the machine) is stuffed - at least $30.  It's not out of change. 

But, the man told me, "Maybe it thinks it is."  If so, I'll put up a photo of the machine and give more details. 

I just know this, I cannot have a machine ripping off customers.  I will unplug it and send it back first. 

I am paying all refunds promptly. 

So, after work we went to Walmart.  I had to make a deposit so I could pay Doc tomorrow (over the phone - debit card, but mine in case it is hacked).  I was looking at back scrubbers when my phone rang.  I didn't recognize the number.

We posted my number at the secondary location.  The location makes about $10 a month so it is a very low priority.  We only did it as a favor to the manager.  Anyway, if something is out they can call.  But they didn't, so when we went to stock we didn't have the Coke or Diet Coke. 

"That guy" works at the store.  The one who wants to tell us how to run our business, even though he isn't in vending.  He acts like that vending machine is our only, and most important, account.  It is an afterthought. 

Honestly, the only reason we went in: Dr Pepper called and needed to audit our serial numbers.  We had to get the number off the machine.

So, he was out that day but I told someone "Let Fred know we stocked his favorite brand". 

Today he called my phone.  I didn't know the number.  I thought it might be Doc's office.  I answered (normally it would go to voicemail but I did have the appointment looming).  The guy immediately launched into: You said you stocked but you didn't.  What kind of business are you running?  Etc.  Talking in a very loud and angry voice, with a very derogatory tone. 

"You wouldn't talk to me like that" I thought "In front of your boss or mine".  Ron is my boss - I don't mean that as some submissive crap but I do work for/with him and am accorded the respect and consideration due the only employee.  He does not allow anyone to talk down to me. 

Yes.  I know what you're thinking.  It is ironic. 

The guy kept talking to me like I was stupid.  I told him 3 things: You only drink one brand and we stocked it.  That's what we told them to tell you; we stocked your brand.  Two, we have been working 12 hour days at the location that pays the bills.  Three: it is a 4 hour round trip on Metrolift to go and stock your machine. Sorry, but we'll get there when we can.   He muttered something under his breath. 

"What's that?"  Nevermind, he mumbled, and hung up. 

I just stood there, gaping.  Then I started to laugh.  Ron called "What?"  I told him.  I could practically see him spitting nails from 200 feet away.  "Give me his number!"

I reminded Ron, with my memory, I couldn't pull it up, memorize it, and give it back.  If you want to pass on a message, why not call the store instead? 

Ron did just that.  He called me back, crowing.  "I called and told them what he had done.  I told them if he ever did that again we would remove the machine."  So, not only did "The boss" chastise the guy for yelling at me, the other store employees will give him hell because they want to keep the vending machine. 

We may take it out anyway.  Before, we were working very part time hours.  Now that things have changed at work we are fully full time and don't have time for the 4 hour round trip stocking trips. 

Not for $10 profit, a month. 

Anyway, after that, I bought the back scrubber (soft natural bristle, $6), bodywash (grapefruit - good aromatherapy for depression and a personal favorite - $3), and an exfoliating washcloth ($2) I've been eyeing for a while.  Then I spent $10 on Ron, and bought some cat treats. 

Yay, me. 


 

Monday, May 26, 2014

I'm just an irritable, selfish, crazy woman

I woke up exhausted and depressed.  I was very irritable all morning (managed to cork it around the customers). 

I had a lot of wierd things, too.  One guy kept going on about the "fantastic" vending setup in Maryland, why didn't we do that.  Management didn't want that. 

Another guy wearing a maintenence outfit wanted me to name the circuits on which they'd installed out machines.  How would I know that?  "They didn't even let me plug in my own machines" I replied.  "I have no idea."  Well, what do you know, the guy interrogated.  "They just said I'd have plenty of amps to run my machines."  He went away after that. 

The last, and I mean, THE LAST thing I want is someone messing with our circuit.  The Postal workers already have over a half dozen microwaves in our area.  They don't need another however many they plan to install.  We had a terrible time in our last place because the microwaves took all the amperage, and we had to surrender half our vending machines "to keep the microwaves in service" (rolleyes). 

Here's a hint, buddy.  The microwave is for the brown bagger.  The brown bagger is not putting money in the vending machines.  We had to give up half our business to satisfy people who weren't giving us any money to begin with. 

I lived working various jobs with no microwave.  There isn't an OSHA mandate for 4 microwaves per employee. 

Anyway, I said I was irritable. 

Then one of my regulars complained.  The water dispenser was out of cups.  Could I give him one?  I don't take care of that, I told him.  I don't have any cups.  He acted like I was lying.  I don't have any cups.  That's a custodial issue, not mine. 

Besides, like the microwaves, the water dispenser (one of those 5 gallon jobs), takes money out of our pocket.  We sell bottled water, which is in direct competition. 

Sometimes I think they don't really get it. 

Oh, and I had TWO people ask me "Which machines" I serviced.  I said these, indicated.  "No, which ones?"  I said, I do all of these.  "Oh, I thought you only did the sodas." 

No.  I have photos of Ron in all the snack machines.  One guy had just seen me stocking the food machine.  Why would they think.....[facepalm] 

Maybe they had a little too much fun this weekend. 

Ron wondered why I was in a bad mood.  Maybe 'cause I was drowning in stupid!  Agh. 

Worst of all, as I saw it, we had to go to the other location.  The one that barely makes enough money to buy us lunch.  [sigh]  We left work around 11 and didn't get home until almost 3. 

4 hours out of my day, for what? 

Now, all day I had really nice drivers.  For some reason, all the drivers had the new, big vans.  Maybe it was the holiday. 

We had taken some soda, which Ron stocked.  He determined we need Coke and Diet Coke, which will have to wait a while. 

Metrolift had left us there for 2 hours.  Ugh.  I counted my money, I only had $9.  Ron gave me some money for lunch. 

I skipped the import store and went to the linen shop.  They don't sell blinds.  Ron broke his, somehow, yesterday.  So much for that. 

I went to the dollar store and bought some sugarfree candy, a large bottle of mineral water, and some chips for Ron.  I went to the fast food place. 

I bought Ron's order, and for some reason, ordered two sandwiches on mine.  I figured I could eat the second while taking my pills, later.  I just felt strongly I *had* to do it. 

I ended up taking my last $2 to do it, too. 

I went back to Ron and we ate.  Curly fries are the best.  Our ride came, late. 

She was really cute.  I waved vigorously.  She waved back!  I pretended to look around like I couldn't see her and she waved again.  It was really fun. 

She had a great attitude even though she had to get out in the rain to load Ron in his wheelchair.  I had a very strong feeling *I had to give her the sandwich*.  I didn't understand, but I did it. 

I told her, "Are you hungry?" 
"Well," she replied "I get my lunch after I drop y'all." 
"Do you like bacon and cheese?"  [some people are wierd about pork and/or dairy]
I could see her mouth watering.  I handed over the sandwich.  "Jesus wants you to have this."  She just stared at me for a minute. 

Her lip quivered and her eyes started to water.  "Thank you!" she choked. 

"Come here" I told her, and I gave her a hug. 

"You don't know what this means to me" she said.  "God sends you to people who really need your touch, and when you share with them they'll remember it forever.  Thank you so much."  She unwrapped the sandwich and took a bite, making yum yum noises.  "Let's get you home". 

I didn't do anything - I just went as directed by the Holy Spirit.  I'm nothing special.  I'm just an irritable, selfish, crazy woman. 

But when any of us, including me, allow God to use us, He can do amazing things. 

I'm glad He can. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

I love Nigerians

It wasn't a bad day. 

But tell my neurotransmitters. 

I hate even talking about depression: I think I sound like an ungrateful whiner. 

I have huge blessings in my life, a husband I love, a business I enjoy - we can make a living at our work, two great cats, good physical health for me - most importantly the physical strength I need to take care of Ron and "assistant manage" the business.  I have a great little house in a quiet neighborhood, good friends, and many other blessings.  I have a life I can work around my disabilities and an abundance of effective medication. 

But tell my neurotransmitters.  I did get up on time, did my God Time, took my shower.  I'd mowed the backyard yesterday so I needed to wash my hair again. 

We went to church.  Our driver was training a Yoruba man.  I've met a few lately. 

Ron and I, being curious folk, have done our best to learn how to say "please and thank you" in as many languages as possible, including Yoruba.  So, our Dr Pepper deliveryman, one of my vending customers, and today's trainee were all greeted in their native tongue. 

All of them were highly impressed.  They were all really nice guys.  I love Nigerians.  They're smart, they have great attitudes, and they're very professional. 

We had a wait, about an hour, at Starbucks, waiting on our ride.  I got out my tablet.  I can only take small bites because the android keyboard likes to input wierd characters I have never seen in my life.  It's not a C, it's a french c.  It's not a 2, it's a "to the second power" two.  Subscript 2.  I won't even get into the vowels. 

Maybe [shrug] I need to get one of those portable plug in keyboards.  Maybe that will solve my "inputting wierd characters" problem.  I have to repress very bad thoughts when working on my tablet. 

I finally put it away.  Our ride came, a different person than we expected, but we got the wheelchair stuffed into the car and on our way.  I smacked my upper arm on a wheelchair handle. 

Sometimes I watch Law & Order, and see the coroner talking about "bruising".  Boy, I pity Ron if I die first.  Between my natural "clumsy" - vastly enhanced by my psychiatric drugs, and my tendency to run into things, I'm generally wearing at least one bruise at any time. 

By the way, Ron was horrified he "lost it" last night.  I was very calm about it and made a practical suggestion to scale back the vodka when he's sitting outside in the heat.  He agreed. 

In fact, he just rolled out back a minute ago. 

So, we went to church.  Pastor talked about repentance.  I think I'm OK in that regard.  I want God to use me whatever it takes.  That's the kind of spirit God wants in a human. 

After church, we went back to Starbucks (paratransit does not go to church, we have to go to the edge of the service area instead).  I got a soda and our ride came pretty quick. 

This time, the driver spoke Urdu (and fluent English of course).  "Shoo-kree-ah" means thank you in Urdu.  {tips hat}  The driver was so tickled. 

It's really a fun game.  Guess the ethnicity, then thank them in their language.  Or greet them, depending on how much we know. 

We came home.  The neighbors were home so I decided not to take a nap.  It was kind of late anyway. 

Depression is HIDEOUS.  I can do so many things when I'm manic: finish cleaning up the backyard, organizing, work...

I wish I could take my brain out and put it in the fridge until I get manic again. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Baby comes first

I don't discuss the neighbor's routine, because I wouldn't want them talking about mine.  I'd feel hideous if something happened, and tracked back to me. 

I will say I don't "get" the new "Letting the smallest kids run around, shout, and cry at 8PM and later in the backyard by Heather's bedroom." thing.  But, they stopped kicking the ball into the (side of my) house.  I think the latest fence repair (it must have cost them at least $200 +) has put and end to that, for now. 

I just want to go to bed when I want to go to bed, but I can't always have that happen. 

Anyway, this morning found me sleeping in, skipping my God Time (got it later), taking my shower, and going to Walmart.  I went to the garden center and looked around.  I was hoping to get some Coleus. 



They are pretty foolproof in Houston summers, and prefer light shade.  They'll last through the summer and die off before Halloween. 

Since we have a "good house" reputation, kids come trampling through the front garden every year.  I don't want to put a "precious" out there. 

I also find it eerie and disturbing - every, and I mean every, front yard garden on my block features impatiens.  They're fine.  In someone else's yard, but I never much cared for them. 

I guess I'd be planting them if I were properly assimilated. 

I didn't find any coleus (I would have bought them if I had), but I did see a nice purple geranium.  I seriously considered it and maybe some marigolds.  Then I realized I was manic. 

Now, a plant is a living thing.  Was I going to water it EVERY day?  And how? 

I had a problem with a muslim cab driver doing his ritual washing in my driveway everyday, I used zip ties to tie off my spigot.  How was I going to use the faucet and keep others from doing the same?  I have to pay for that water, you know. 

 I also envisioned the poor purple geranium on Halloween.  It wouldn't end well for the plant.  I'd have to dig it up (a trauma).  I'd also have to protect it when we have freezes. 

I wasn't ready for that level of commitment.  I got my stuff.  Another pair of insoles, full length.  Milk.  Cereal.  Breakfast biscuits.  Rubber bands.  Cat treats. 

I ended up in line behind another metrolift client.  She is married to an alcoholic.  He used to come out to the vehicle, take the beer in the house, and shut the door, leaving his wife and the driver to move the rest of the groceries.  I couldn't help but overhear other loud and dramatic episodes. 

She used to get lots and lots of stuff, because she only makes the one weekly trip.  Metrolift finally stopped that, so she uses a folding handcart now.  She puts all her stuff in the handcart and puts herself down as "wheelchair (handcart) plus ambulatory client". 

First, if you don't work, why not come in the middle of the week?  We always shop on the weekend?  The trips aren't as good, either. 

Second, she is a cat owner.  She was complaining recently the one cat vomits a lot.  I told her she might want to change to a grain free food.  I had noted she was buying the absolute cheapest cat food, the kind with all the grain fillers. 

"OH, I can't make a trip to a pet store for speciality food".  (Why not?  Metrolift goes there, that's how we do it.  It's not like she's working.)  I told her Walmart had something that worked pretty well.  I used it for Bubba and he loved it. 

"Oh, it's too expensive."  Fine. 

Today she bought 2 cases of beer, 3 bottles of wine at $10 each, two packages of cigarettes, tons of junk food, etc.  And the smallest, cheapest, bag of cat food on the shelf.  Her total came to well over $130. 

I was pretty furious.  If she'd put back 2 bottles of wine, or a case of beer, she could have bought a 25 pound bag of grain free dry cat food. 

I guess that's just not a priority, having a healthy pet eating the right foods. 

I didn't say much until she left, then I vented at the cashier.  The cashier didn't even like cats, but agreed "Baby comes first".  

I hope it gets sick on her pillow. 

Happily we didn't have to ride with her.  We came home and I took a nap.  I was having some trouble with depression today. 

I'm not so hopeless, just fatigued and loss of interest. 

When I got up, I decided to mow the backyard.  Ron wanted to help.  I think he had been drinking before I got up.  He basically got pretty drunk and insisted on "helping" - translated, getting in my way while I worked. 

Our lawnmower is pretty sick.  We need to either: 1. Repair current working lawnmower, the corded electric.  2.  Get a new battery (as advised by electrician friend) for the battery operated lawnmower.  3.  Buy a new lawnmower.  or 4.  Hire yard guys. 

I think 1 or 2 will be the cheapest.  Ron likes 3 or 4.  He really likes 4 because he won't have to watch me "slaving in the heat". 

Yeah, he was pretty loose but he does love me.  When we got inside, Ron rolled past the back of my chair and freaked because he couldn't feel my ponytail.  I had to take it out of the clip and show him.  Then he kept petting it like a cat and telling me I was pretty. 

It was pretty cute. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Some vending tips

You may work in vending.  If so, here are my tips. 

Ron and I have managed our "stand" for about 13 years now.  Prior to that, back in the late 90's, we built our own computers.  The computer experience has come in handy. 

A lot of people think vending is "meathead" work, for a strong back and a weak mind.  Or it's an easy, turnkey way to make a lot of money with minimal effort. 

We know better, don't we?  [grin] 

So, my tips:

  • Older machines are best.  My favorite snack and food machine are both old Rowes.  The only problem with that, though, is finding parts.  The simpler, the better. 
  • If something isn't working, check connections.  It may have gotten unplugged when a customer beat it up.  Also try to replug things into the motherboard, etc.  I've saved a lot of service calls. 
  • Clean the machines daily.  Glass cleaner works best on the snack machine glass fronts, and also bottled vendor.  I just use a basic citrus glass cleanser I bought at the Dollar store. 
  • Don't wear perfume or cologne. It can stick to the merchandise and may aggravate a customer's health condition. Don't use piney-type cleansers.  Customers hate them.  Ask me how I know.  I haven't had that many complaints since the coffee machine went down. 
  • You can use the bottom of your snack machines to store merchandise, or cleaning supplies, you use often.  I got that tip from a Warden at a Blind Vendor conference (I'm sighted, my husband's blind). 
  • Check the change banks - if it says "Exact Change Only" it's time to refill your bank!  It helps to keep rolled change in the bottom of your snack machine for those events. 
  • Useful supplies: small flashlight, screwdriver (both philips and straight, or get one of the interchangable ones), glass cleaner, knitting needle, paper towels, change bank, silicone grease, knife (for opening boxes), back brace (should be obvious when we do our "meathead" work). 
  • Have a routine.  I walk down my row of machines, checking each of them, the minute I walk into my location.  That was, I can address emergencies like a "down" machine, first thing. 
  • Have a clear refund policy and pay promptly.  If they walk away pissed, odds are they won't be back.  We have too much competition to take our customers for granted! 
  • Stick the soda can in, headfirst.  If you don't they will jam. 
  • If your bottle vendor is choking, you may need to stock less product. 
  • Vary your routine, if possible, so the various shifts can "meet the vendor". 
  • Dress and behave in a professional manner.  No one wants to see a guy with greasy hair stocking sandwiches. 
  • Be vigilant about food safety - keep your cold food cold until you stock it.  Do NOT drive around with cold food product just sitting in your vehicle.  Get a cooler or "cold bag" and keep it cold.  One guy at my location is battling stage 4 cancer - bad food could kill him. 
  • Treat your deliveryman with respect and consideration. So, he's 5 minutes late.  He's making your life a lot easier.  Get him a snack, thank him for coming, and mean it.  I think I've gotten excellent service is because I love my deliveryguys.  They know that and they bust their butts for me. 
  • Personalize your machines, if possible.  I put photos of my husband inside the glass on our snack machines.  I have 2 bad coils in 2 different machines.  I put small stuffed animals in the coils.  The customers love it and comment frequently, grinning as they shovel money into the machine.  One idea - you could glue a Hot Wheels to an interior wall.  Or just put up a small photo of your kids.  People like to know they are supporting a "person". 
  • I also decorate the exterior of the machines, for the holidays.  The customers love it.  I've had a few Dollar Store tinsel trees walk off during Christmas, but overall it's been great. 
  • Use, if possible, a combination of wholesale club, big wholesale delivery company, and small local businessmen.  If one goes "down" you have backups.  The wholesale club is also useful when you sell out unexpectedly - you can make a quick trip and restock that day. 
  • Money.  Your customer, and the average civilian, doesn't realize you probably only "make" 25% of what's in the machine.  They don't realize the wad of cash is probably entirely $1 bills.  People get stupid when they see a big wad of money.  We have to be smart.  Pull the money on a frequent basis, discreetly.  You'd be surprised - I know many experienced vendors who parade large amounts of cash in front of the public.  Not smart.  Take it out and put it away quickly, when it's quiet. 
  • Keep rubberbands on hand for when you take the money out. 
  • On that note, do frequent meter readings for accountability.  Especially if you have an employee.
  • Due to cash control and morality issues, the vendors I know all employ family.  Family, presumably, will not rob you like some guy you hired out of a newspaper.  That's your decision.  Like I said, I work for my husband.  I am the only employee. 
  • Key control.  Best case scenario: you have the ONLY keys, preferably Medecos.  "The only lock I can't pick" one repairman told me.  If you have an employee, with keys, do frequent accountability readings: for instance, take all the money (cash and bills) out of your snack machine. Do a meter reading at the same time, and calculate what you should have.  Count the money.  Does it match?  If not, fire them.  Since we are a family business it doesn't matter.  If anything I buy inventory for work with my own money. 
  • How do I do a meter reading?  Get the total.  When you take money out, get the total.  Subtract the starting total from the finish.  That's your amount.  It should match the cash total you took out of the machine.  My husband did do this randomly for a while at first just to see if I had anything to hide, and I didn't care because I'm honest.  If someone has a problem with you doing this, or hanging onto your keys, you need to run away from that person. 
  • When all else fails, pray over the machine.  This works a surprising amount of the time. 
  • A knitting needle works great to unclog a coffee machine spout (where the powders are released to mix with the hot beverage). 
That's all I've got for now.  I hope this helps! 

You can never know too many guys with trucks.

I stood in my bedroom last night, listening to the very loud sound of toddlers crying next door, in their yard, right next to my bedroom wall.  Then I went back out to occupy my time watching Law & Order reruns. 

God love 'em.  It's completely "unreasonable" for me to expect them to be very quiet on Sunday and Thursday nights, when I have a delivery.  I understand that. 

As I went to bed, over an hour later, I reminded myself I could take a nap today after work.  And I did just that.  A very nice, satisfying, nap. 

I do have to wonder, why the littles always cry in the yard.  Are they wanting attention?  Did they hurt themselves?  Are they just being petulant?  I don't know. 

I did take my shower last night, which worked well.  I did a henna too and it came out OK.  Nothing dramatic, just more of the same, but the roots are well covered. 

Apparently I have a lot of salt and pepper roots.  You can't tell now.  It was looking pretty bad, an obvious stripe.  It appears my hair really does grow about half an inch a month. 

So, when my alarm went off, I got dressed and did my God Time.  I ate and helped Ron and went off to work. 

I stocked everything I had on hand, then got our delivery. 

A little backstory: when "we" (both vendors) were given a pallet jack several years back, it was "understood" "we" would be sharing it.  It didn't really take with the other vendor.  He's always made a big production out of "allowing" me to use it, after, of course, they were done.   If I was very, very, nice.  [rolleyes] 

Forget I could get my stuff and be done in 5 minutes, they take a lot longer... I expected more of this today with our delivery.  Sure enough, they took it and did not offer it to me. 

I had a couple of options.  I could have asked to use it, but they were dragging a few items around on a pallet while they talked amongst themselves.  I was pretty sure they'd say "We're using it".  Pretty sure they would turn it into an issue. 

A big, ugly, issue, where I'm the bitch.  No thanks. 

I figured they saw me.  They knew I needed it.  If they wanted to withhold it shame on them.  They've taken 90% of the stockroom, or I'd have my own pallet jack.  If they want to be ugly about this then fine, let them hang themselves in God's eyes. 

I went and got my handcart, loading it up with product, and bringing it back.  Then I got my other handcart (I can just wedge both into my area, with my merchandise), and loaded it up.  It only took two trips.  I couldn't see to drive, but I managed. 

The handcart is a lot easier "driving" than a pallet jack, anyway.  Pallet jacks can shred your rotator cuff.  Pushing a handcart is a lot safer. 

I did forget to wear my back brace, but I think I'm fine.  I didn't know, but Ron was so furious I had to unload the pallet and put it on my hand cart, he went and told the other vendor's employee, who actually found me.  However, I was already coming in with the last load. 

The guy was great helping me put up my coffee cups (large and heavy boxes, have to go on the top shelf).  He's a good guy in a very hard spot. 

I put what I could in the fridge (2 cases of water) and put the rest on my racks.  Since I had already used up a lot of my inventory, I had plenty of room for the merchandise.  Like I told the other guy, "It should be a lot longer putting up a $500 order!" 

It was great having the merchandise on my carts - I could just go stock it.  Ounce and half peanuts for 60 cents.  Big bag chips in exciting flavors.  I was thrilled. 

I handed out a sample bag to some of my best daytime customers.  They seemed to like it pretty well. 

I'd already set Ron up - he'd done canned sodas and he worked on bottled drinks (he can reach everything but the top row, from his wheelchair).  He finished before I did and rolled over, chatting while I worked. 

A postal worker came by.  He's offered to help us off the clock if we ever need it.  He has a truck.  Ron asked him if he'd like to help us make a supply run now and then (we have one guy with a car, and one guy with a truck already).  He said sure, no problem.  Sounded fun. 

Good.  We don't drive.  We can never know enough guys with trucks. 

Pretty soon, we'd finished.  That's the great thing about getting to work at 4 AM, having just worked the day before; not much to do. It's easy to get it done while things are quiet and I got to see 2 different shifts. 

I try to stay available to all shifts.  Customer service is so, so, important.  Here's an example. Within 2 miles of the plant, you can find a McDonald's, a sit down restaurant, a drive through BBQ place, two Chinese restaurants, a donut shop, a Subway, a Burger King, a Little Ceasar's, a Stripes, and half a dozen covenience stores.  All of them sell competing, or "better" product. 

What have I got?  I ask myself this.  I have fantastic customer service.  I have "helping the handicapped" good feeling - we always thank them for supporting us.  I have convenience, and I have lower prices.  I have to have ALL of this to compete. 

I never, ever, take a sale for granted. 

I can't. 

Then, as hoped, we had a wonderful ride home with "Big John".   He told me he had come by to pick us up a while back, but we weren't home yet.  Apparently Baby Girl came up to the trainee, looking for Mommy, and scared the trainee.

She's just a little brown thing, but I guess they don't like cats. 

Sure enough, Baby Girl came out, I got my tummy rub (only when I come home), and I took my nap.  Ah.  It was a good one. 

I did have an odd dream about buying songs on Amazon, though. 


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Sometimes I have to wonder

Maybe it's me.  Sometimes, I have to wonder if someone is "really that confused" or "playing games and trying to provoke me". 

We had today off, praise God. 

I slept in, drank 2 quarts of water while sleeping.  I woke up with a headache around 5 but I took something and went back to sleep until 8. 

I had left some henna "working" overnight, so I could apply it later today (on my head right now).  However, since it's Thursday, we decided to get the Thursday fajita special. 

We planned this in advance.  Having finished with my God Time, finally, I was watching Supernatural.  I really enjoy the show.  I don't watch because the actors are "hot".  I watch because the actors are good actors.  It's also very well written. 

I own a few DVD's, most of them gifts, which I seldom watch.  If I did own a season collection, I'd probably start with Supernatural.  It's well plotted. 

I watch the reruns on TNT, which I'm sure makes TNT happy.  It's about the only thing I do watch on their channel. 

Today it was the levithans.  I particularly enjoy the episode where Bobby figures out "the weapon" that can be used on these nearly immortal creatures.  I told Ron all about it and even turned it up for him.  Ron liked it. 

Ron doesn't much like my "monster movies" but he did like the scene. 

However, I was watching a lot more than we'd planned.  Our ride was late. 

I get that.  They have thousands of trips a day.  Houston traffic.  Need I say more?  Clients are slow to come out, some get sick, and some have literally died in transit. 

Plenty of reasons to be late.  I don't fault that. 

I did get annoyed when Ron and I, individually, told her to "go left" and she went right instead.  She ended up taking a long route, a huge circle, miles out of the way, to get us to the destination, when she was already over half an hour late. 

I'd have been fine on that if we hadn't told her, but we did, and nicely, too. 

I had to wonder, was she that special, or was she trying to provoke us?  Sometimes I think it's the latter. 

Maybe they see a "happy married couple" in a "nice house", with a day off in the middle of the week.  They have no idea what we endure, or the fact we worked a 12 hour day on Saturday.  I don't know.  I try not to dwell. 

We finally got there, even had "our table".  Our favorite waitress, delicious Mexican fajitas.  Nice people, clean and good eating. 

Our pickup driver was great.  We really liked him a lot.  We had a longer ride, picking up other people on the way home, but we didn't mind.  We had fun chatting with him and making him laugh. 

We got home and I washed my hair prior to applying the henna.  Ron played part of his talking book for me.  It's a rather complex plot about a lesbian and her estranged husband.  Frozen embryos and a custody battle.  "Let me know who wins" I told him. 

I applied the henna and dressed in my grubbies.  I took all my meds at lunch (I can do that) so I'm pretty groggy.  I'm wearing some reading glasses. 

My prescription glasses are over 10 years old, with stainless steel frames.  I use a pretty acidic base for my henna, for optimal dye release.  I'm not putting acid on my steel frames, for hours at a time.  I know a little science at least! 

Instead, I'm wearing a cheap plastic pair of reading glasses that provide a surprising amount of vision. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Toolbox

I had to laugh. 

After I finished my post, setting boundaries for Ron so I don't burn out, telling him "Don't bother me unless you're bleeding to death"....

I had just settled into my comfortable chair.  I paid about $150 for it, about 11 years ago.  Money well spent.  I turned on the TV. 

Ron rolled into the kitchen to fix himself a Jack Links Teriyaki hot link.  He is addicted, and loves them.  However, they don't have a tear strip to open.  He got the knife. 

[closing my eyes, deep sigh] 

Yeah.  He called my name in a sheepish tone of voice, and I looked over to see his hand in the air, blood running down.  [facepalm] 

I'm doubled over laughing at this.  [sigh]  Yeah, he sliced himself pretty good. 

To me, it could have used a stitch or two, but he's a real man.  He has never once sought medical attention for any kind of bleeding injury. 

I got my toolbox - it's a real toolbox full of first aid supplies.  I washed my hands as he washed his hand.  We dried it off and held it up in the air with a clean shop towel.  After a few minutes I anointed it with triple antibiotic cream (left over from last year's infected blister drama), and an antibiotic bandaid.  Ron was pretty impressed at the latter. 

Today, while stocking, I made him wear a glove over the bandage.  He's agreed to use scissors when opening packages from now on. 

I had a pretty good laugh over it.  I tend to approach "dramas" with humor, most times.  Especially when it's someone else's drama. 

I don't know what is wrong with my gut.  More symptoms.  I think I'm going to need to keep a food log, note what I ate and when.  Then symptoms.  I was fine most of the day, but something I ate at Walmart seems to have disagreed. 

Thank God I didn't have issues at work. 

So, work. 

I have been pretty tired and neglecting my God Time somewhat.  I slept in later than I "should", but still had time to shower, dress, and watch the news.  It's useful to know of any accidents or other issues. 

We went to the warehouse, and got some drinks and snack items.  I waited outside with Ron, and called in our wholesale order for Friday.  Happily they had everything in stock. 

Ron gulped when he heard the total, but the customers are really excited about the new offerings.  I told them about some of the new selections today. 

They love hot and spicy everything, so in addition to the "regular" dill pickle in a pouch, we're going to offer a hot dill pickle in a pouch, too.  When I told one young lady, she squealed. 

I love happy customers

Paratransit does not usually offer a straight trip, especially later in the day.  On our trip we picked up a woman at a gym, in Greenspoint mall.  Greenspoint can best be described as "ghetto and high crime" meets "affluent office workers".  The ghetto is winning in almost every arena. 

So, when a hulking black man approached the cab and attempted to open the door, I hit the door lock.  The driver got upset at me, but I don't know this man.  We're picking up a woman.  If a guy tries to get in my vehicle - a guy not on the manifest, I'm locking the door. 

I just said "I heard a lot of people are getting carjacked here". 

He's a client the driver replied.  No, he's not my client but he is a client.  He thought this was his ride.  Well, it's not, I replied. 

The driver then read me a lecture on "not being fearful in bad areas".  I mentally rolled my eyes while thinking I had lived in various crack-towns for over 12 years.  I do evangelism in a notorious ghetto.  I'm not afraid of bad areas.  I am afraid of strange men trying to get into the vehicle when we're picking up a woman, in a bad area. 

We went to work.  In order to make room for some of the new items, I have to let my regular offerings run down.  It wasn't 100%, about 92%, not bad but I'll be glad when they're stocked.  It gets me a little itchy. 

However, I have 3 new tray cookies, large bag hot chips, 2 kinds of pickles, rib chips, you name it.  It's going to be a lot of work stocking Friday, but worth it. 

I want to have an exciting selection. 

After work, we went to Walmart.  I like going after work, actually.  Yeah, it's really busy.  That's not fun, but I don't have to shop on my day off. 

I talked to the Optical lady and found some frames I like, a large traditional style thick plastic frame, in purple.  I just need to save up. 

I got some food, since I'd just gotten stuff for work I didn't need that.  I focused on things like sliced deli turkey, cheese, and other high protein quality foods.  I spent about $12 on soda, for me a lot.  But I have a "road trip" next week, I like my Diet Mountain Dew in the morning, and some decaf for nights.  I have a very early wakeup on Friday. 

I can't find my receipt but I did get Ron some grape tomatoes, the vienna sausage in BBQ sauce, and the sugarfree carbonated peach drink.  I got "me" some of the lemon Luna bars.  I used to love those back in the late 90's, when I worked in an office.  I'd take one to work and eat it when I got hungry. 

I am never hungry in the morning, but Wellbutrin likes some breakfast biscuits, or a protein bar.  Otherwise I get horribly nauseous. 

I can eat the breakfast biscuits or a protein bar, too, if I can find something. 

My food issues to date:
Almands - most likely severe allergy.  The last time I ate almonds my entire windpipe clamped down and felt very tight for quite a while afterward.  Never eating almonds. 

Implicated in migraines, avoid:
Peanuts, coconut, and chocolate.  You will find one or more ingredients in nearly every protein bar on the market.  However, the breakfast biscuits (Nature Valley ones), and lemon Luna bars are OK for me. 

At least the food allergy people have lobbied for "good" labeling, which makes it easy to see if it may contain a trigger.  Like I said, I don't believe I'm allergic to anything but almonds. 

I'm not about to eat almonds again to find out! 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

He doesn't want that

Ugh. Very frustrated and more than a little burned out. 

Backstory: me, mentally ill, taking very strong drugs for same.  Not the fun kind, either.  The puke your guts out, exhaustive fatigue, brain fog kind of drugs.

That's on top of the brain damage. 

Now, to that let's add a week straight of migraines, yet having to work in spite of same.  Heavy manual labor and pushing a wheelchair. 

We're not done: let's add wracking abdominal cramps and worse. 

I have been getting up, between 2 AM to 5 AM, every day.  Sometimes I get enough sleep, sometimes I don't. 

Two days in a row I couldn't take my antidepressant, my migraine was so bad. 

Today we worked and came home.  I got a nap.  Then I spent hours on the computer figuring out the order system for the wholesale company.  Ron only had to "sit in" for about half an hour, yet he complained constantly and kept drinking. 

This morning he was so toxic and negative I blew up at him.  He asked me "What was wrong" so I told him "You keep crapping on me and then you call me dirty!  What do you think?  Today is not the day to dump your stupid reality crap on me." 

Ron is obsessed with the thought that "reality" isn't really "real" because "Everything is made of atoms so nothing really exists".  Someone (I believe a mental health professional) told me he uses this is a coping technique, because if he believed his life was "real" it would be too much for him to handle.  He's always going on in this vein, condescending when I'm happy about something ("It's not real you know") etc.  I tell him to leave me alone, stop, etc.  He seldom listens unless I am yelling. 

Then he wants to know why I yelled.  Ron is not always a respecter of boundaries. 

So, all this.  I told him I had not been feeling well - he knew all of it. 

I told him I was going to fix a cup of noodles for dinner.  He made a couple of comments about the cup of noodles so I know he heard me. 

I sat down to eat, finally, telling him I'm doing this, and he decides he wants to "run change".  "Running change" for Ron means pestering me every 30 seconds.  I set some boundaries, I kept telling him I was eating, but no he doesn't respect it. 

If I had kept bugging him to calculate food costs while he was in the bathtub you can bet I would have heard about it. 

The machine jammed.  I tried to fix it a couple of times, couldn't do it.  I finally told Ron it would have to wait, I had to finish my meal (remember I have been "helping" him all day). 

He agreed in a martyr's voice.  The he decided to try and disassemble it himself.  "I can't get it to go back" he said.  Clearly designed to "hook" me "Don't break it!  I'm coming" and get the "help". 

I told him to stop, I would get to it AFTER I finished my meal.  He kept bugging me. 

I finally told him to get away from the table.  I took apart the coin sorter, disassembled it, fixed it (Ron had the wrong size coin tube on the output).  I told him, firmly, I would not be helping him until I finished my food.  He kept bugging me. 

"You get one more" I told him "And then I'm done for the night.  I need to eat so I can take my pills.  Do you want me to take my pills?" 

Finally done, then he went away. 

He came back later and apologized.  I told him, we need to have a new policy.  I will tell you, I will not be able to help you for the next 45 minutes.  Unless you are bleeding to death you respect it.  Otherwise I'm going to burn out. 

You don't want that. 

I'm his only caregiver.
I'm his only employee. 
I'm his wife, which hopefully also matters. 

He doesn't want me burned out. 

Done with supplements

I'm not feeling very well. 

If you followed me around and watched me lifting, carrying, and pushing Ron in the wheelchair (the handles are low so I have to hunch to do it), you'd probably think "Of course you don't feel well". 

No, it's not the labor.  It's the damn supplements.  They're killing me. 

I have been wracked with agonizing abdominal cramps and worse for hours a day, every day, up hours at night.  Why?  The Glucosamine. 

I had a week of hideous migraines.  Why?  The Fish oil. 

I've cut both out but I still have aftereffects.  I worry I may get dehydrated or hypoanatremic (low sodium). 

Ugh.  I was thinking "Well, Lord, why is this bothering me now?  I used to take both these supplements".  Then God reminded me, that was before my medication.  Which, by all accounts, is very harsh to the digestive system. 

Oh, yeah. 

So, other than a basic multivitamin, and yogurt, I'm done with supplements for a while. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

The sound of chainsaws

I'm feeling better about my whole weekend thing.  I figured out the fish oil is causing the migraines.  Ironic because it's supposed to *help*. 

I had a lot of trouble sleeping last night, then I woke up with horrid abdominal pains and worse.  Ugh.  Not a good night. 

Anyway, we got to work at 4AM.  Stocked, did our thing.  We cannot be faulted on anything, the machines are working and stocked.  Customers are walking away happy.  Refunds paid promptly. 

I know a lot of other vendors are sharpening knives to stick in our back, coveting our location.  I'm one of those "Better under pressure" types anyway.  In this case, I believe it pays to be paranoid and vigilant about making the customers happy. 

Why, you may ask?  Well, you may or may not know the other vendor has essentially lost half his business.  Mr "I have all the machines" has been reduced to second place. 

They were aghast when they saw our soda delivery today.  We're going through an entire pallet of cans every two weeks.  I helped the guys unload the pallet and made sure they each got a lunch. 

It used to be the other way around: they had the big delivery, we had the small one. 

We have 10 vending machines (they belong to the state, we only own the inventory).  3 snack machines (my children), 3 soda canned soda vendors (Ron's babies), one bottled soda vendor ("The Beast), two cold food vendors, a couple of bill changers, and a coffee machine. 

We have been waiting on the plant to plumb the coffee machine. It has to be done by the plant.  They have been *sluggish*.  Well, it's a federal thing.  We're OK with that but coffee drinkers can scare me sometimes. 

3 vendors downtown are unemployed next year.  At least 3 more vendors graduate from training this year and want a tasty location.  The other vendor is losing all his business to our location. 

So. 

The other vendor isn't exactly stable.  So, Ron and I developed a policy: I am never alone with him.  Never.  That way I always have a witness.  Guess what?  He stopped hassling me.  It is a pain in the butt getting Ron everytime I need some merchandise but worth it. 

Today, he approached Ron.  "Hey buddy, I got a deal for you."  I rolled my eyes.  "I know that tone of voice" Ron told me later "And it always proceeds the screwing". 

"Hell no!" Ron replied.  "There, you don't have to tell me." 

No, the guy told us, it was a good deal.  Ron heard him out, skeptical.  The other guy wants to put his coffee machine in OUR area, and give us, get this - ten percent of the profits! 

Why would we give up 100% of the profits, for 10%?  Not to mention they don't take care of the machines.  We'd have dozens of enraged customers yelling at us, and we'll get stuck paying all the refunds.  Out of our 10%. 

Not only that, it gives him a leg into our business.  Right now he is forbidden to sell anything in our area.  If we let him to this we could potentially lose the whole place to him. 

The guy's pretty desperate.  They are used to quite the standard of living, which they've lost.  It doesn't look good on getting it back.  I have looked at the blueprints again and again, and I don't see his breakrooms coming back.  He may end up with 6 machines at the butt end of the building, only.  We'll have to wait and see. 

I don't wish anything bad on him, but I'm not sorry for him either.  They have stabbed us in the back again and again. 

In fact, the whole proposition reminded me of this: 




"You're such a backstabber, and everybody knows it!" 

I wasn't mad at him for trying to get a foot in our door and ruin our business.  I was more insulted that he thought we were dumb enough to buy it.   100% is always better than 10%, stupid.

He had already told me a while back they would not help us stock the coffee machine, so we went another route instead.  If he had helped us, he would have saved money on his wholesale orders (they have a minimum case count and order total - which must be met on every order). 

"You're going to take care of the coffee machine?" he asked us.  What did he think we've been doing for the last 13 years? 

"Yes" I replied.  "It's all ready to go."  He was shocked.  I guess he had really hoped to blackmail us into "letting him in".  Now he can't. 

Good. 

I could tell he was pretty agitated after that, so we avoided him.  We didn't even put up the soda delivery until his wife and employees were present, along with 2 guys from Dr Pepper. 

I put up the first 34 case, with help.  They were very nice, and the one guy was very impressed I could speak a little Yoruba. 

I know enough to say please and thank you. 

The other vendor's wife got all up in their "grill" asking about her order.  The deliveryman told her "This is only half of [our company name].  We have to get the other half and then we'll get back to you."  Pretty funny.  She has always demanded "first" service. 

Priceless, to see her gaping.  Oh, I sound like such a bitch. 

I didn't ask them to do me first, but Ron answered his phone - she went to voicemail. 

The rest of the delivery arrived, I put it up with everyone watching.  I'm glad I keep my back brace in the back of Ron's wheelchair.  I took it off afterward and helped Ron stocking. 

Everything looked really good, and I had to laugh when I saw guys working on the water line.  The other vendor only "had" one thing on us, the coffee machine wasn't working.  Now that's fixed, this week. 

He can keep his 10%.  God, it's so insulting they thought we were so stupid.  He already tried to demand this from our supervisor.  The supervisor told him no. 

We finally went home. 

I took a short nap and woke up to the sound of chainsaws.  The tree guys had arrived.  They made short work of the tree (trimming) and red-tips.  The tree looks great, it has a nice canopy, but it doesn't hang down and impede anything, either. 

Well worth it. 

I told Ron "It's funny, we get a little money and we buy pizza one night.  Then we get the tree trimmed."  Pretty wild living. 

After that, we went to Walmart.  My pills were ready.  I paid for them and got some groceries and work things.  The work things are by the door and ready to go.

They love my puddings. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Then shut up

I've gotten a gamut of responses to my experience this weekend. 

Some people accuse me of being "bitter and unforgiving".  If they had gone through something similar I might be inclined to listen. 

Others agree the guy's being a butthead. 

The opinions I respect say the guy's bound to be wracked with guilt, knowing and seeing he put Ron in that wheelchair.  I agree, but at this point and time I can't give him the absolution he seems to be seeking.  He needs to look to God's forgiveness, not mine.  At this point and time, I can't make it better.

I'm getting there.  I'm doing everything I can do "absolve" him.  I pray for him.  I wish him well.  More importantly, 99.99% of the time I'm not wishing mayhem on him and his. 

I just don't want any more reminders.  It's hard enough dealing with the aftermath day to day.  It's even harder when I see the guy who apparently "got away with it" walking around in a perfectly intact body, seemingly happy and healthy. 

I'm asking God to work in me, asking God to use me.  Asking God to take bad things out of me and put good things in.  Praying for this guy every day, like it or not. 

Right now, that's all I can do. 

Today I was in a bad mood.  We had to go to Starbucks and pick up Ron's lost keys.  I had a vicious migraine, still do - had migraines all week and really really sick of them. 

Anyway, on our way back we picked up a client.  She was extremely verbally abusive to the driver.  I could hear her screaming at the driver even with the door closed. 

When the driver opened up the doors to the wheelchair lift, she told me the driver was "Really stupid" - driver is right behind her.  The client clearly expected me to agree. 

"You know" I told her "The Metrolift handbook says they will not tolerate abusive behavior.  You are being verbally abusive and the driver has two witnesses to the fact.  You need to stop."  The client began sputtering.  I took out my cell phone.  "I have a cameraphone.  If you start up again I will make a video and send it to the director.  You will lose your service.  You might want to think about that before you say anything." 

The driver grinned hugely. 

"You don't understand" the client replied. "I'm in a wheelchair!"

Ron replied from the back of the van.  "I'm blind AND in a wheelchair.  Are you blind?  No?  Then shut up!" 

I love my husband. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

I know God understands - [bad language]

"It's a good thing you didn't have a (baseball) bat at hand." my aunt remarked. 

I agreed. 

Today, as I was unloading the pickup, the guy who ran over Ron came out of the building.  Ron was sitting in his wheelchair facing the building.  The guy, named Roy - I don't see the harm in sharing his first name.  Roy walks right up to Ron, smiling. 

Ron had no idea, of course. 

I wanted to kick his teeth in.   How can you smile I thought bitterly facing the man you put in a wheelchair?

Roy proceeded to make a few lame jokes about Ron having a "good supervisor" as I vigorously unloaded soda onto my handcart.  I said nothing.  Our friend responded and Roy left. 

I was horrified to see Roy get into a big, macho, pickup and drive away.  Our friend tried to make it better by teasingly "hiding" Ron's wheelchair.  I appreciated the gesture, but I was livid. 

"I heard about the truck" he told me ruefully. 

Who would insure a man who ran over a blind man at a red light?

Maybe, a few have responded, he doesn't have insurance. 

It's a good thing I still had an hour of hard manual labor.  I needed to work off the angry. 

Here's what I'd like:

I'd like Roy, if he sees us, to avoid us.

I'd like him not to smile when he sees Ron in the wheelchair.  Ron's inspirational and all that crap but he was plenty inspirational when he could walk.  Back when he was only blind.  Before you ran over him, you asshole. 

Last but not least: don't make jokes.  You crippled my husband for life, and cast me in for some heavy duty caregiving in the process.  You cost Ron his family.  Nothing funny about that. 

Please, for the love of God, leave us alone! 

It's a lot easier for Roy to stay forgiven when he isn't thrown in my face, acting like an asshole. 

God help me, sometimes I wish bad things on those Roy loves, just so he'll know what he put us through.  Then I repent. 

I know God understands. 

My #1 seller

Oh, I'm tired. 

I woke up this morning with a pretty bad headache, but we had to work.  I took a hot shower and took some OTC painkillers.  Then we went to the wholesale warehouse. 

I was happy to see sliced, frosted, lemon poundcake at the door.  That's my favorite "sample". 

I parked Ron and took a flatbed cart, loading it with dozens of cases of bottled drinks, my snacks, and some frozen sandwiches.  We spent about $400. 

I didn't feel at all guilty about eating that pound cake.  Our friend arrived in his pickup and I put all the stuff into the truck.  We stuffed the truck (the snacks had to go into the cab), and barely had room for the folded wheelchair, standing up, in the back. 

We got to work.  I got my carts and unloaded the truck, putting everything onto the carts and then into the stockroom.  I had to push it all up a ramp, which is a great butt workout. 

Imagine my horror when we found the vending machines blocked off, floor wax freshly applied.  Don't get me wrong: it's great they maintain the facility.  People want to buy food in a fresh and clean location. 

But we had to wait 2 hours for the wax to dry.  I walked over to the gas station and bought lunch, then brought it back. 

I was wrong, by the way.  They did install handicap wheelchair accessible tables at work - 5 of them.  Ron can roll right up under them and eat his meal.  I got him a 4 meat taco, and I had chicken strips.  I also got another nifty cup - it's a half gallon bucket, with a lid and straw.  Awesome. 

I did get our part of the stockroom loaded up.  It looks good.  Ron and I were able to access our fridge/freezer combo unit and quick chilled some bottled drinks. 

When we could, we stocked everything.  I was a little frazzled because Ron needs a lot of "help".  I had to do my own work on top of that.  I had Ron do everything possible, though, like fix a coin jam in snack 2, and mash up all the cardboard.  Ron stocked sodas and most of the bottled drinks.  I did the snacks, which needed hundreds of items stocked. 

People really like our lineup.  In fact, one guy caught me as I took out our trash and complained about the lack of low carb items. 

Now, if you want a really healthy eating plan, stay away from the vending machine.  I didn't tell him that, even though he told me I had to stock the special low carb "frankenfoods" - highly processed food items with dubiously low "carb counts".  Those things really messed me up, back in the day. 

I laughed a little and politely told him the truth: I'd already done it.  They didn't sell.  The vending machine made $30 in one month.  Once I filled it up with junk, it made 10 times that.  He got it. 

I finished by telling him I did have "better eating" choices, and he should check them out.  He came by later, while Ron and I were stocking, and bought a Detour bar.  Everyone wins. 

I also have stuff like whole grain chips and crackers, yogurt, fresh fruit, etc.  But my #1 seller is Peanut M&M's, running neck and neck with Flaming Hot Cheetos.  I'm going to sell what sells. 

So, we got it all done and I took out the trash. 

Praise God, I'd brought my folding chair.  I sat down as we waited on our ride, which we'd had to "put on hold".  Generally taking one's ride "offa hold" means a very long wait.  Not today, thank God. 

We even had a straight trip home with a very nice driver, and Torbie met me on the porch.  Best of all, yesterday I bought 2 sandwiches at McDonald's.  I only ate one, last night. 

Dinner is served. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

The happy throng

I'm not sure if I've talked about this before. 

When I was a teen our church had a youth group.  They were a great bunch of kids, very tolerant of my social oddities and such.  They were friendly to me but no "real" friends. 

I did adore one guy named Chris, a year younger than me.  Even as a teen, he had a receding hairline and a potbelly, but he had a very kind heart.  I would have died for him.  I do so wish him well.  I like to envision him happily married, with a couple of kids, working some kind of techie job (Chris was highly intelligent). 

Every year, in June, our church did a mission trip.  We'd drive down the California coast in our 13 passenger van, spend a night in LA, across the border to Tijuana.  Then we'd go to the outskirts of TJ to an orphanage and do charity work for 4 days. 

Many wonder about the virtues of short term evangelism trips.  I will say we never shared the gospel, and no one ever got saved.  The gospel wasn't even shared in the church group - we had one evangelism night outing a year after a day at an amusement park.  I know some of the kids got saved through that. 

The mission trips were basically a "good works" type thing "Because we are Christians".  I suppose the recipients were supposed to develop a desire to seek Him as a result.  [shrug] 

We went every year, and Mom and Dad happily paid the fee, every year.  After we finished at the orphanage, we'd spend Friday morning shopping at the mercado before crossing the border again.  Then we'd go to Disneyland.  You can imagine the culture shock.  A slum reeking of human sewage, without running water even, to commercialized happiness. 

Early in 1988, a psycho shot up my Dad's workplace, throwing me off the cliff, so to speak, as regarded my depression.  I spent a month in a mental hospital as a result and was only sent home because the insurance ran out. 

I was undiagnosed - they saw the depressions only, so they put me on a double dose of SSRI antidepressants.  They didn't help.  I still got suicidal, but I got better at faking my way through.  I also came to realize I could make it through, because I already had.  One reason I am so very open about my illness - because someone out there needs to know that. 

One year, I forget which, I had battled a particularly awful depression during our mission trip.  I was rather clingy as a result.  The other kids, and adults, didn't know that.  They just saw me being a pest. 

The second they got the chance, they ditched me at Disneyland.  There I was, all by myself, in the happiest place on earth, with $5 in my pocket and 12 hours to kill.  I believe it was the worst day of my life. 

I was surrounded by happy families, couples, and groups.  Yet I was all alone.  I really believed I would never find someone who could love me and accept me as I am.  What did I have to look forward to?  I would never be one of the happy throng. 

I spiraled.  It's a good thing Disneyland doesn't really have any way to commit suicide.  Not if you have $5, that is.  In desperation, I fled to this old time cinema - playing very old Mickey reels.  I laid there in the room watching banal cartoons, suicidal, and thinking "I'm always going to hate Disney after this." 

Sure enough, I do. 



A mighty crack

Ron had very high hopes: he'd go to the chiropractor, get an adjustment, hear a mighty CRACK, and everything would be back to normal. 

That didn't happen. 

I am glad I scrubbed Ron pretty well in the tub last night (showering aggravates his neuropathy).  Doc did a pretty full exam. 

We went in, Doc did an exam, and proclaimed Ron "amazingly flexible" - which I found interesting considering Ron's using a wheelchair.  Yet Doc could fold up one of Ron's legs and bring it up under his chin, or to the opposite shoulder.  "You should work at the circus" he said. 

That went pretty well, then it was time for the X-ray.  Ron did not enjoy standing up for his x-rays.  Later, upon viewing the X-rays, I'm amazed Ron can stand at all. 


"Severe degenerative changes" Doc proclaimed "Arthritis, and bone spurs". 

It's not the first time I've heard that.  After Ron's accident, the neurologist came by one day to review his films.  He took the films and went away for a while.  When he came back, I asked if Ron had back damage due to the accident. 

"No" he said.  "But he has a lot of degenerative changes.  Has he had back trouble?"  I concurred.  "I thought so."  That was over 11 years ago. 

Anyway, after the X-rays we went into a very quiet little room.  The whole office was very peaceful, natural themes and soft flute music, with muted blue gray walls. 

Ron lay down on a table.  I sat in a very nice contemporary vinyl and chrome chair.  I loved it, but thought Torbie would love clawing it, too.  Doc set up a back massager thing and a TENS unit for Ron.  Even the low setting had Ron all tingly. 

After that, Doc did a stretching session and demonstrated some physical therapy techniques.  I worry Ron will not do the PT.  Ron does love the "rolled up pillow under the knees when laying flat in bed" trick. 

Then, the moment we'd all been waiting for - the adjustment.  Doc got a couple of cracks out of Ron but Ron seemed basically the same.  Ron's very disappointed (but didn't show it so much at the office). 

Then we went to Walmart, with one of my favorite drivers.  I was sad it was such a short trip. 

I filled my prescriptions (I need more crazy pills) and did a little shopping for us.  I got Ron some decent things to eat. 

I didn't have long, so after that we went home. 

We met a tree guy, who's going to trim the tree, and the red-tips, for $120.  That's an extremely good deal. 

The insurance company can send someone out to inspect the property.  The house is fine, and the backyard will be fine once I mow, but the tree's gotten a little wild.  Insurance could ding us on that. 

Plus, I'm really tired of ducking in my driveway. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Is that a bird?

I like to try to do nice things for myself when I'm depressed. 

Yesterday I spent about $12 on various air fresheners.  I like the Febreeze grapefruit. 

I also bought myself one of those cluster-poofy (cluster puff, my original choice of words, just sounds wrong) pillows.  It cost about $8, but it's been great.  It's got a lot of bounce.  I've been sleeping great on it.

I still have nightmares.  For some reason I've had some nightmares lately about stepping on broken glass.  It's stuck in my foot and I'm trying to get it out.  Pretty awful.  But falling asleep, and staying asleep?  Great. 

That's the nice thing about manual labor.  I sleep pretty well. 

Other than the nightmares.

So, I've enjoyed the new pillow.  I can't remember the last time I bought a new pillow. 

I am pretty simple, I never do my nails, I trim my hair once a year and use Suave hair care products, wear cheap and modest clothes, I have 3 pair shoes (workboots, cheap sneakers, and sandals).  But I do love my pillows.  I have them on every couch, and my chair.  I have 5 on my bed.  I love my pillows. 

I don't feel bad about that little luxury, because a pillow lasts for years.  I make my own laundry detergent and God knows the washer and dryer have paid for themselves several times over. 

When the day arrives, I plan to have them repaired.  I hear bad things about the very expensive new appliances.  I also hear they don't last very long. 

We went to the warehouse.  I was out of Hot Pockets, but not for long.  No bottled Coke!  Getting pretty disgusted.   They did have the Jalapeno chips, though. 

We got into work and got busy.  I had to tag and stock cold food, help Ron with sodas (beast of burden duties, mainly), do snacks, and take money out of the vending machines.  We did all that.  I also took out my trash. 

I could, I guess, make it someone else's problem, but that's not who I am. I piled my cart with a mountain of discarded cardboard and took it all out (a very long trip). 

I got back.  "How much time do we have?" 

"12 minutes". Yike.  I put up the cart and we ran out of there.  We went to the bank.  We went to the mall. 

For a payday, the mall was pretty dead.  I got Wendy's.  Ron ate some Wendy's but also got some chicken to go. 

When we got outside, the driver pulled right up, but teased us by saying he was here for someone else.  I believed him (I always do!), until he waved me on the van.  We got home, I took my meds (could have brought them, will next time), and a nap. 

I was OK for a while, but then I started having nightmares.  I had the broken glass one, and then a wierd one about a family known as the "Harrigans" invading a home.  I was staying there, but it wasn't my house.  Then, in the dream, I stepped on more broken glass. 

I was pretty happy to wake up.  About that time, some of the kids came home next door and began making racket.  I've figured when the little ones come home, she sends them out in the backyard.  They're not all hers, some are carpool kids, and she lets them run wild in the yard until the carpool Mom comes for them.  After the carpool kids go, she takes her own in the house.  [shrug] 

So, I have to watch my naptimes. 

I got up.  Did my computering. I already did my God Time first thing this morning.  I ate pretty decently today. 

I've mentioned this before: I get some really nasty little infected cysts.  Even if I had ultimate unlimited medical, I wouldn't get the antibiotics and drainage every time. 

You'll find some really sick people at the doctor's office.  For me, I do better taking a lot of Vitamin A and E.  It seems to help a lot - with healing, and prevention. 

I was out of E.  I bought some at the mall.  It wasn't cheap and it isn't USP, but I hope it works anyway. 

I don't want to have oily vitamins shipped until wintertime.  Walmart has a fairly limited selection.  I figure my fish oil (A, D, omega acids) and 400 mg E's ought to help.  If they don't I learned my lesson.  I figure if the Walmart brand works the other brand will. 

I should see dramatic improvement in a day or so if it's working.  Ugh. 

I remind myself, though.  My brother died of immune deficiency.  My half sister has extreme immunity issues.  I'm a little prone to cysts (and, in my teens, acne) if I don't get a lot of antitoxidants.  That's not a big deal in the long run. 

Speaking of my sister, she sent me a forwarded email "Read when you have the time to respond".  I responded by deleting it.  I also set it up so her files will go to the spam folder. 

I didn't like the tone.  It appeared she had not done any self asessments.  I was certain it would be a long and manipulative tirade about how I'd wounded her, etc. 

"I've done some thinking and I'd like to talk."  THAT, I would have read.  Not some forwarded thing.  I am also still getting the occasional stalk from her.  One of her friends tried to friend me on facebook.  I found that amusing. 

I have an open profile.  If you want to see what I'm doing you can look (unless you are one of the very few people I've blocked).  "Buddy" could have spied on me now and then and gotten back to her. 

Why "friend" me?  She was very rude to me at the wedding.  She didn't like me.  She doesn't want to be my friend.  She wants to spy.  So I declined. 

It's just not a good idea to pester someone, stalk someone, with a paranoid illness.  Now I have my Haldol, which does a very good job, but still... it's not polite. 

I did have a funny moment at the Walmart a few days ago.  A guy standing behind me asked "Is that a bird?" in an alarmed tone of voice.  I told him it was, and told him "I'm just evil enough that I thought about saying no, and screwing with your head!"  We had a good laugh. 

You may know I had a moment like that myself a year or two ago. 

Hm.  I think Ron went a little over the limit on the alcohol tonight.  He's just a little belligerent.  Maybe I can encourage him to eat a little, or more prudent just leave him alone for a while. 

He's upset Baby Girl brought us a lizard.  She's a cat, that's what they do. 

Anyway, I need to throw Ron in the bath so he looks pretty (he hates showers) tomorrow for his doctor's appointment.   I also need to do some laundry. 

Consolation

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